Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Transcription: 30 July 2012

Well, now that I've been writing in my journal every day, I have stuff to talk about I guess (haha).

We had a couple of neat experiences. On the 22nd, there was this one guy who is a little less active. He's got some struggles. He had prayed for the first time in a long time that morning. We showed up later in the day (haha). He was on our plans to go see, but he was kind of in the background of our minds. It came time, and we went to go see him. He was like, “oh, okay, I get it. I get the hint.” We are helping him come back and change and enjoy the blessings of the atonement.

We are going to take this family to visit a part member family – well two part member families actually. We took and active member family with us to go visit them, and they brought some cookies to give to them. We are praying because we hadn't set anything up. So we were praying that they would be home, and both of them were home. So that was another miracle.

We had another miracle where we ran into this member, who was in our ward and is less active, at a gas station. Somebody wasn't able to feed us so we got a coupon for a pizza. So we went to go get the pizza and she was there. She was like, “hey, Elders!” We thought, “woah, they're members,” because nobody calls us Elders – unless they are members (haha). She said, “what ward are you in?” The third ward. She said, “that's my ward.” We said, “oh,” and she said, “I need to come to church.” She has a hard time getting up, and she is trying to push herself to come, but you know, it's hard. It's a new situation. There are a lot of new people, and some people have a hard time coming back. We are going to help her out and help her to come back to church.

We had a zone barbecue on our P-day at Pioneer Park. We were able to play football there, a little bit. We had fun eating and just hanging out as a zone. They kind of celebrate pioneer day up here, but not really.

We had one day where (haha).... We have been doing really good and working hard to get out to as many people as we can, and trying to share the gospel with everybody. We are doing our best to help people, and things are going really well. I started to think, “we doing really good, we're good.” Then of course, this being not my work, but the Lord's, I needed some chastisement (haha). So we had where we had like nothing going on. We were like, “okay, this isn't us doing these blessings, it's the Lord that is providing everything and everybody.” He is helping these people out. We are just tools in his hands to bring about his work. If we are not humble, and we don't trust in him, and try to do his will as best we can, we are noting going to experience those blessings. We are not going to be able to help those people out. We are not going to be guided by the Spirit. As we are striving to do our best and work hard, we are also striving to be humble. Like it says in Ether 12:27 that if we will choose to be humble, then those weaknesses can become strengths.

We were able to help a family move, but none of them are members. We were able to go, and talk with them, and sing a song for them – “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” They really liked it and want us to come back. We gave them a Book of Mormon, and hopefully next time follow up with them and see if we can't teach them more about the Church and all these wonderful things, and help them be happy and gain access to the atonement.

We had a training meeting that was over webcast. It was good to be reminded and refocused on what our purpose is; which is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel.

We had a really busy day (haha); goodness. We had a lot of really busy days, which is fun because I like organizing really busy days. We like to help out as many people as we can.

I hit my year mark on the 27th, so I have less than a year left. Today is my last July 30th on my mission (haha).

We tracted into a guy who works on Fort Wainwright. That was kind of neat. We were like, “oh, let's go stop by that house.” So we went over there and he was really friendly, and we talked about the Book of Mormon, and he's like, “oh yeah, my friend told me all about that.” Apparently his friend is doing a pretty good job because he remembered everything that we talked about. He said he will go and talk to his friend (haha). We will probably go back in a week or two and see how's he is doing. That was fun. We find that when we do tracting as a backup – we are kind of selective in our tracting – but the first one or two houses it's like there's the person we needed to talk to. It's kind of neat how it happens. There are just amazing people that are being prepared that don't have any associations with people in the ward that we are able to help out.

A lot of little miracles happening, it's pretty cool. Obedience is key (haha). If we are not doing our best, it doesn't happen.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Transcription: 23 July 2012

Steese District, Fairbanks Zone
Elder Brooks, Elder Clegg
Elder Vandenberg, Elder Conlin,
Elder Merrill,
Elder Record

This week we got to help out with the pigs again. That was fun (haha). These pigs smell really, really bad. If you put your hand in the pig poop, it smells like pig poop for... a long, long time – like three days. For whatever reason, Elder Conlin's hands end up smelling worse than mine. I think it's because I wear gloves. But, that's beside the point, it's really stinky.

Somewhere in Fairbanks, AK
We were also able to help this one family move some stuff in their shed, because they are going to physically move their shed and their house to a different location on their properly and then they are going to build a new cabin. So we went and helped them out with that. They were clear out in Haystack, that's like way out there.

On the way back, one of the members was really nice and bought us pie at the Hilltop and a little breakfast, and that place is really good. He told me he thought it was like one of the last stops the Ice Road Truckers make on their journey North, I guess. It will be fun, because I want to watch all those Alaska shows when I get off my mission, because I'll like, “oh hey, I was there.”

We had transfers this week, and they changed things up a little bit. It was fun. We were still able to see the transfer meeting over video now because they do things on webcast, which is pretty cool. It's not like just doing it over the phone – which is kind of boring sometimes. We got to see it and listen to some of the songs they sang. There is this one missionary who is really, really good. We listened to him sing a little bit because he is going home. A lot of missionaries bore their testimonies. The Spirit was there pretty strong.

We have had a couple of experiences where the Spirit has guided us. There is this guy who has been a little less active and fallen into the trap of drinking and smoking and so it was the first time he'd prayed in a long time yesterday. Then we go and show up that same day, and he said, “I guess God's trying to tell me something.” (haha) He was pretty cool. He has a son he wants us to teach before he gets baptized – he's about seven. We are teaching him and also helping this guy out.

We have a couple people we are teaching who are just really excited about it (haha). They are just solid. I don't know, Elder Conlin will probably say this too. It's just really fun to teach people because you see not only how true the gospel really is and how it blesses people's lives, but when you see other people have that change, their faces light up; that's really neat. You can tell if someone is really listening to you or just taking the time to sit there and listen to you. If they are really listening to you, and they really want this in their life, it pumps us up and we love teaching them.

We also got to sing a song in church. It was called, “Faith in Every Footstep.” It was fun. Apparently nobody put in any ear plugs, so that's a bonus. Apparently we don't have that terrible of voices. Elder Conlin's voice is very good, so he carries most of the weight.

Steese District, Fairbanks Zone
B: Elder Vandenberg, Elder Brooks, Elder Conlin, Elder Record
F: Elder Clegg, Elder Merrill
Fairbanks is awesome. We have been working really hard and helping a lot of people. We have seen a few of them really make a lot of changes in their life and really understand their purpose and Heavenly Father's plan for us.

Mom, I was reading the book you gave me on those faith experiences in the family. I was reading your testimony and Dad's. That was really neat, and I really felt the Spirit. I really like how – I don' t know, reading some of these testimonies is really fun, because it reminds me of how much the gospel really does bless us and what it does for our lives and how much strength it gives us when we have needs. I read Grandma's too, and her conversion story and thought that was really neat. We were teaching about the Holy Ghost the other day and realized you know that it was not us; the Holy Ghost comes with us because we have the gift of the Holy Ghost and we are trying to have it with us. When we are being obedient and take that Spirit with us into a lesson, they notice the difference. They don't want us to leave, they want us to keep staying; but they don't really want us to stay, they want the Spirit to be there. So if we can help them make that connection, and let them know that they can have the Spirit with them always when they are baptized and receive that gift. There are a lot of promising things about to happen, and I'm excited to keep teaching and just keep being a missionary.

I know the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I am thankful for the temple, and I love everything about it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, July 16, 2012

Combined: 16 July 2012

Dad: What are the areas in your district?
6th ward, 5th, and us 3rd. We kind of form the bowl around Fairbanks. 6th is the west side, we are north east, and 5th is just east. Although our district is changing now. Elder Clegg is the new district leader for the other district in Fairbanks and will no longer be in ours. We are losing 6th but gaining the 4th singles branch. They are being whitewashed by the sisters. Sister Gardner will be training in the 4th branch. They cover the whole stake I believe.

Dad: Who are the missionaries serving in those areas?
Clegg/Brooks in 6th, Merrill/Vandenberg in 5th, Gardner/a new missionary... in 4th

Dad: Will you please email a picture of your district with a caption of who the missionaries are?
Yes, I'll take it today.

Dad: When you attach pictures, please include the last two digits of the picture and a brief caption of who is there. The last two pictures you sent are hard to tell who the missionaries are. I can't zoom in enough to read their name tags =). Thank you so much for the pictures. They really add a lot to your email update.
K, I'll reply to the email and give you the names.

Dad: It sounds like you really had a great time at Denali. Did you get to sing along with the other missionaries on the train?
Yup, Yup I was one of the main ones singing. You'd be surprised. I've turned into quite the fearless singer and nobody has even used earplugs once! We will sing at people's houses all the time.

Dad: Did anyone get a new investigator as a result (haha)?
No, but I think they'll be more inclined to listen if they ever see missionaries again.

So, I'm finding more and more that I am not a very good multitasker ... at all! Haha. Sorry guys. I'm having a hard time focusing on anything, but what's going on right now. We are able to work hard, but unfortunately I have a hard time transferring all this out of my brain in words or on paper. I've never worked so hard, fast, and focused in my life. It's incredibly fulfilling and fun to help so many people, but unfortunately my brain can't fit much else in. I'll probably be the same when I get back home too. I won't want to sit still. I can't wait to go back to school either. Anyway here's my update.

This was the last week of our transfer, and we are staying together. They are changing up our district though, we don't have Elder Brooks and Elder Clegg anymore – that stinks. Elder Brooks is probably one of the funniest guys we know (haha). That's okay, we'll make it work.

We were able to run into a couple of new people this week. We were able to teach a lot. We have been having some really good lessons with this one family. We saw them and taught them about the restoration, and invited them to read the Book or Mormon and pray about it. Then we went back the next week, and one of them had already read through 50 pages (haha). Normally people don't do that. That was kind of fun, and we are excited to go and help them chop their wood today.

Lately we have been playing music at dinners. I'll play the ukulele, and we'll sing “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Everybody loves it. I haven't seen anybody put ear plugs in yet. We actually sang it at a fireside that was yesterday. We had a missionary fireside where a lot of missionaries got together. We had the mission president speak, and President Duval and a couple of recent converts. President Duval is the stake president. It was really neat, and the Spirit was there. In between the speakers, we had some musical numbers by the missionaries. We sang our “Battle Hymn of the Republic” song with the rest of our district. It was a neat experience, and the members there really liked it. We didn't get any non-members to come, but next time – next time.

[NOTE: The Fairbanks stake broadcasts many of their meetings due to the extreme geographic challenges they face. The missionary fireside Elder Record is talking about was broadcast on the Fairbanks Stake website http://fairbanksstake.org. It looks like Elder Record's district performed the musical number. You can watch the entire Missionary Fireside or skip to minute 12:55 through 16:05 for the musical number. I think the missionaries from left to right are: Elder Clegg, Elder Merrill, Elder Record, Elder Vandenberg, Elder Brooks and Elder Conlin. There is a problem with the video and audio, which seem stuck from minutes 40:00 to 57:50. Just skip to 57:50 to continue.]

What else exciting happened this week? We got to help one person move and drop wood off. Yeah, pretty much just the average week in the Fairbanks 3rd ward. It's raining right now, that's something new. Anyway, bye.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Transcription: 10 July 2012

Back Row: Elder Boyer, Elder Dold, Elder Conlin, Elder Leota, Elder Vandenberg, Sister Burbank, Elder Merrill, Elder Dastrup, Elder Burnham, Elder Adams, Elder Allen, Elder Clegg, Elder Brooks, Elder White, and Elder Merrell.
Front Row: Elders Rowley, Elder Record, Elder Hartman, Sister Chan, Elder Na'a, and Elder Moyle.
Missionaries at Denali National Park
On the train, Elder Conlin, Elder Record and Elder Clegg
Alright, so yesterday I didn't email because we were in Denali. We got the chance to go from eight in the morning to eight in the evening. We took a four hour train ride down to Denali, looked around and did a little hike, and then came back up on the train. That was pretty neat. That's like a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was pretty fun, and that's why I didn't email, and why I'm emailing today.

We did some exchanges. We were doing a lot of service, so the exchanges were kind of short. Elder Conlin and Elder Brooks had a really good experience. They were able to meet a family guided by the Spirit – the [Name withheld] family. They were praying where to go, and through a series of events, they ended up like walking into this one lady who was LDS. She had just moved in that day and had been praying for missionaries to come by and give her a blessing, and they happened to show up (haha). That was pretty neat. We have been able to meet with them and help them. Now they all have a really strong testimony of prayer, and they are all kind of interested in church. Hopefully we will be able to start teaching them. Only the wife is a member.

There was a house we tracted into that we felt like we should go into. We went to that house, and they said to come back. We came back on Sunday and had a good lesson with them. They were very open and friendly. We hope to see some good things come of that.

This week was really busy, probably our busiest week – not it was our busiest week yet. It was actually the busiest week on my mission so far. We have been hustling and bustling everywhere. That's why this week's update is kind of choppy and on the go. We are actually on our way to the university [University of Alaska Fairbanks] right now where we will be emailing.

We just had district meeting, which was fun. We did a role play where if someone is struggling to wake up, we do a game where they put a water gun in the middle between the two beds. When the alarm goes off, whoever can wake up first and get the gun, gets to squirt the other one. That was just a suggestion in case they needed help waking up. We found that the more obedient we are, the more things get done, and the more we allow the Spirit to be with us. It has been fun. We have a lot of good people in our district – working hard, all is well.

It was a fun week. Very busy. We have a lot of cool people we are meeting with. They are doing very well. They are searching hard. I like how it's not necessarily our job to convince people, because we're not. We invite people to come to Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance and baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then enduring to the end. We are not there to convince them to come unto Christ or push them to come unto Christ – we just invite. We kind of lay it out and hope and pray that they will accept when we invite them. There has been a lot of people we have run into that are accepting. It is kind of a special point in our mission.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, July 2, 2012

Transcription: 2 July 2012

Elder Record: There is a cool lady we live with, and she is a member. She is giving me piano lessons. So I learned a bunch of the chords, which was pretty cool. She is really good with the music theory. We did that on P-day, my birthday. We played football. Elder Conlin is sitting right next to me, by the way.
Elder Conlin: Haloo
Elder Record: On Tuesday we had exchanges with the zone leaders, which was all right (haha). We enjoy being together a little more in our own area, I'm pretty sure. Right Elder Conlin?
Elder Conlin: Correct.
Elder Record: Yeah, we got a lot done this week though. This week has been probably my best teaching week so far on my mission, which was really nice. We were able to meet with a lot of people, and help them out. We had a few pretty good experiences. It seems like we will have some new investigators here pretty soon, that should be pretty interested in hearing about the gospel. We also went to the DMV and Elder Conlin got his license (haha). How was the test?
Elder Conlin: Uuuh, you know, it's almost moron proof, except I passed it. So, you know (haha).
Elder Conlin's license picture
Elder Record: You guys should see his picture some time, oh my goodness. It's soo funny. So his picture looks normal, but on the Alaska licenses they've got these gold boxes in the foreground, and it goes right over his face! So he's got this golden handlebar mustache that goes out to his ears...
Elder Conlin: My word...
(haha haha)
Elder Record: It's hilarious! (haha) But other than that, his picture is normal. So I've got to figure out this whole voting thing. President Beesley wanted us to vote. He wanted us to get absentee ballots from home, but I have to double check if I still do that. When I got my license [Alaskan license], I accidentally checked this box, “do you want to register to vote.” So I'm like sure, why not. So apparently I think I'm registered with Alaska, but I'm not entirely sure. So I don't know if I get an absentee ballot or just doing something here. So I will probably try and find out about canceling that and just going back to Utah and getting an absentee ballot from you guys. If you would please send me a little bit of information on the candidates that will be running for president so I can make somewhat of a decent choice. I trust your insights a lot too. Oh, we wrestled some pigs this week too. They stink!! (haha) It was quite the battle. We were herding them into this other pen. There were these two pigs that were dumb and young and wanted to do their own thing. I didn't have boots, so I was outside doing the easy stuff. Elder Conlin had boots and was in the middle of the pit, stepping through the poop and everything. He got in on his hands and...
Elder Conlin: Everywhere
Elder Record: Does it still stink?
Elder Conlin: Yep.
Elder Record: So apparently his hands still smell like pig...
Elder Conlin: Pooh, urine and stuff.
Elder Record: Yeah. So that was unfortunate. (haha)
Elder Conlin: Yes.
Elder Record: We were able to have a good service experience there, and help this lady out. She is like seventy, and she still has these pigs. She was very nice and very friendly.
Elder Conlin: We shared a good thought.
Elder Record: Yeah, we shared a good thought (haha) about how Laman and Lemuel – the brothers that were kind of annoying – she's like, “that's just like these pigs.”
Elder Conlin: They are trying to go to the promised land and they still fight it because they are paying well.
Elder Record: Yeah, yeah that's right. So it connected really well and she laughed about it a little bit. We have an investigator who is really awesome. He's getting ready for baptism. We love teaching him, and hopefully we will have some more people who will have a desire to make those covenants with their Heavenly Father here pretty soon. A lot of good work to do. We are busy all the time. Sorry I haven't written too many letters to various people (haha). I'll try to work on that, but until then, I just want to bear my testimony that I know this Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that as we stop focusing on ourselves and focus on others, things get a lot easier. Especially, the missionary work becomes so much more fun, if you just forget about yourself and think about others, and study and find out answers to their concerns, and help them. It becomes a lot of fun – especially when you see people progress too. I know that it is true because of all the joy and happiness it brings into other people's lives. We can see people change. You know that it is good. You know that it comes from God. Not only that, the Spirit too testifies that it is true. I am thankful for all the wonderful people up here that help us with the missionary work. They are doing a good job. We really like the ward up here. Elder Conlin, what are you thoughts on your first area?
Elder Conlin: Hmm... my first area. Well clearly I've had a pretty good trainer. I'm sure you guys are biased and would agree. But, let's see. It's kind of what I imaged it to be like, except it's like 80 degrees hotter than what everyone thinks about.
Elder Record: That's true, wasn't it like 90 not long ago?
Elder Conlin: Yeah, not too bad.
Elder Record: I guess it wasn't quite 90, but like in the 80's.
Elder Conlin: Yeah. It's enough that you like go to wave at someone and they see the uh, armpit stain. It's just like, well, hello. Anyhow, as far as the work and what not, there are a lot of people that are pretty darn interesting. I guess that makes it easy that they live far apart, and they are strange; so they really do like to talk. So it's not that often that we have people say, “go away,” and slam the door on you. They usually want to yak about the UFO they saw or the plane they landed in their front yard or anything in between.
Elder Record: ...and this has happened.
Elder Conlin: (haha) Yep. It's been good. We have been working incredibly hard and sleeping about just as hard...
Elder Record: It's true.
Elder Conlin: ...at night you know – you know what I'm saying.
Elder Record: Anyway, we'll talk to you all next week.

Love, Elder Record