Monday, June 24, 2013

A Testimony of Christ

I didn't get around to making an audio update today. Things are kind of rushed. We're getting 2 new missionaries today, 2 more in a couple weeks, and about 15 more on the 22nd. So today we'll be giving the new missionaries some orientation =) I loved the Missionary Broadcast. I think it really helped everyone to realize how much things are progressing and how much we need to change. I'm happy to be on this end of it right now because I get a unique perspective on it. We're the ones kind of making all the preparations for the change to occur and for the whole wave of missionaries with the new tools to have room and be in place.

Life is good up here. The work in the ward is really starting to blossom. The ward is so supportive. We love it here.

This week I've really been thinking a lot about the Book of Mormon. I've been impressed with the power it has to help us change. Whenever I read it I always feel so much better, so much more confident. I'm able to have a clearer mind to cope with struggles and, when we're teaching, with objections and rejections. I'm realizing that the reason that is the case is because of how clearly and powerfully the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and His divinity. As I read the stories in the Book of Mormon I see how the people were able to find help and strength (grace) through the savior. I learn how I can apply that grace in my every day life because I'm able to easily see how they did it in theirs. I especially love the powerful testimonies of the Atonement that are given. I love reading about their boldness and their determination to serve the Lord till the very end. I love the messages of never giving up even in the face of extreme opposition. It's so fun to see how much the Book of Mormon really does focus on the Savior. I love Him, and I know He lives. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn of Him, not only from reading about Him, but by serving Him as well. I pray I'll continue to gain a deeper understanding of the Atonement and love for the Savior.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, June 17, 2013

Challenges of a New Missionary

Elder Yde and I on our way back from Soldotna.
I'm standing outside; backing up Elder Yde [pronounced wide]. We are about to go inside the mission home and email, and it's HOT!! It's so hot! It's sunny and beautiful and green, but it's baking. The car is on fire!! It's 80ºF in Anchorage. How on earth does it get 80º in Anchorage? So I don't know what I'm going to do. Although, I do have hope because a guy that we know went down to Mexico for two weeks. He said it got to 120, but he said it felt the same there as it does in here because it's more humid here. So, I'm hoping that's why it feels really, really hot right now. I'm hoping that when I set foot in Utah, I won't turn into toast.

This week we actually went on exchanges down to Soldatna. Elder Yde was with Stirling for a little while, but I stayed in Soldatna the whole time, or with the Elders in Soldatna I should say. That was good. They are good hard workers, and they teach well. There wasn't anything we really needed to be concerned about.
The new group of missionaries.
They are wonderful and we're so happy to have them here! =)
We had transfers. That was pretty intense. We helped all the new missionaries and helped them get in ad situated. We had to bring in a bomb squad to clean our apartment. It was pretty trashed. It was pretty hectic until about a day or two ago, and then we went down to Soldatna. We haven't even stayed in our apartment for the last two weeks. Well I haven't. When Elder Yde came in, we stayed in the mission home for like a week. Anyway, it's been fun; super busy; super awesome. I'm definitely learning a lot, especially about being organized. I committed to be super diligent, especially in my record keeping (no pun intended) this last transfer.

I am excited to be with Elder Yde. I'm pumped about the area; it looks like we will have more time to work in our area and help the people there. We have a few investigators that are really cool and prepared to hear the message of the gospel. Yeah, I really couldn't ask for anything more; I'm pretty happy.

Life is good. Talk to you all next week.
Elder Record, Elder Martinez and Elder Yde


Various places Elder Record has traveled as an Assistant to the President.
View AP Travels in a larger map

Q: As you have begun working with the 18 and 19 year old new missionaries, have you noticed any common challenges they face that are different from the challenges the older missionaries faced?

No, I think the struggles are pretty much the same. I think the focus should definitely be on the mental preparation like you said. That's the biggest challenge I see in both groups. People talk about how wonderful and spiritual missionary work is, but in conversation it's hardly ever discussed how stressful and challenging it is. For example, I came out very idealistic thinking that all missionaries loved being there, loved being obedient to the mission rules, and were always happy and energetic, always focusing on the work. You have the exact same struggles, attitude, and challenges you came out with. Things don't change overnight. I'm not clueless, but I guess the thought never crosses my mind that everyone wasn't perfect... sounds silly, but nobody ever really expressed the stress that's involved. However because of experiences you shared dad, and from other things I knew there would be challenges, I just never had any idea at what magnitude. I've grown so much because the Lord has helped me to look forward with hope much like it's described in 2 Nephi 31:20. So when things got really hard, the question wasn't "do I do this or not?", but "how do I get through this?" It was also important for me to know that my first source of support was my Father in Heaven, then those around me.

Anyway, that's kind of a long winded version of what I was trying to say =). Just make sure they prepare for the mental stress and not to shy away from letting people who need to know, know your struggles. One of the biggest things that causes us grief is when we find out problems people have after things have gotten out of control when we could have prevented the problem by helping out in the beginning. Spiritually people seem to be really prepared, and that is so wonderful, but missionaries tend to be way less mentally prepared for the challenges of dealing with people and working hard and effective all day. Physically I've never noticed any problems. =)...

One more thing, tell the missionaries to lock their hearts. If there is anyone in there waiting for them leave them locked inside. Don't bring them out on your mission, and don't let anyone in on your mission. A mission president, not mine =), once got up in front of his missionaries and asked very kindly, "By a show of hands, who has been promised in their patriarchal blessing that they would find their eternal companion on their mission?" Everyone, of course looked around wondering who it was, expecting to see some raised hands. Nobody raised their hands. The mission president then said, "Nobody? Then stop looking!" and sat back down.

We are expected to devote all our time and attention to serving the Lord. That is what we promise when we come out. It's not a status thing. It's not a rite of passage. It's for the Lord and about him. Your not going to be a very happy missionary if all you can see is yourself. You need to learn how to look past yourself and see others. No part of serving a mission is about you. It's about the Lord and your brothers and sisters you are here to help. If someone can't handle it mentally, things aren't magically going to change when they get here. They have to have the mindset before they come out that they can turn to the Lord, and that He can and will help. I wasn't entirely prepared to come out. When I got here I was very much overwhelmed and stressed out. However, I knew that He is mighty to save and I could turn to Him with "full purpose of heart" and He would deliver me (Mosiah 7:33). The principles found in Ether 12:27 also helped me out a ton. I'm not perfect and I'm still not perfect, but if anyone has a desire to serve the Lord in full-time missionary service, they need to understand the principle of turning to the Lord for their support if they want to be happy, have fun, and grow the way the Lord intends them to on their mission.

Ya... you can tell I've been thinking about this a lot lately =) I hope some part of that helped. It helped me understand my thoughts a little more. =)

Love, Elder Record

Monday, June 10, 2013

Transfers Are Complete

This week has taken a lot of energy. So many people need help, and there is only so much help we as individuals can give. I'm so happy to hear all the wonderful news of how well things are going back home, I can't really even explain it. Transfers are tomorrow and we've been busy all week. It's an interesting process. President and Sister Beesley, Elder Martinez, and myself gather around the projector as we view all the missionaries in the mission. We prayerfully try to determine where the Lord wants each individual missionary. Some things come together quickly others take longer. We get to the point where everything feels comfortable, except for one. We try to fit them in but nothing seems to work, so we have to pull several people out and shift things around again. It seems almost impossible for things to come together the way they need to. Then President reassures us that this happens every time, but that something amazing happens also. He tells us that things get to the point where it will never seem to work, but then we fit one person in the right place with the right person and everything falls into place in a very dramatic way. This time it happened with a new missionary. We felt uncomfortable about who he was with and that he needed to be trained by someone else. We finally found the right person and just like President said, everything fell into place. It was like a bunch of puzzle pieces dropping into place. It helped me to know even more how our Heavenly Father is concerned about the one. He knows us individually and loves us. He is into the details of our lives and knows where we need to be and what we need to do. If we turn to Him, He will help us.

I love the Lord, and I feel so good as I diligently serve him. It feels so good to be diligent in general. I feel like I'm gaining so many experiences that, though hard, are preparing me to be so much more capable of helping others. I pray the Lord will help me to stay focused on the one so that I won't ever pass by someone who needs my help. It's exhilarating to stay focused and improve myself each day in hopes of being more ready to help people. What motivates me the most however is the thought that one day I will stand before my Father in Heaven as He embraces me and says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..."(Matt. 25:21)

Life is good! We truly can find joy and peace even in hard times. We can also find it in the happy times.

P.S. Cool side note, I met my friend, Thatcher Lamb, again. I ran into him at the temple when we went to ponder the transfers, and at church yesterday in Rabbit Creek ward. He just got off his mission in Paraguay and we was up with some family working. I love to come back after a while of not seeing someone to find that they are still striving to draw nearer to the Savior. Alma 17:2 came to mind. Also my new companion is Elder Yde. Elder Martinez is going home to Arizona tomorrow night. We'll be covering only the Rabbit Creek Ward which we are very excited about. We get to focus more on one area and not be spread as thin. A lot is happening too. The members are really helping us out with the missionary work too.

=) Love you all, Elder Record

Monday, June 3, 2013

Beautiful Juneau and Ketchikan

Elder Record
Man! This week we were in Juneau and Ketchikan, and it was incredible; it's beautiful there. If I were to ever go on vacation to Alaska, I would go there. It was amazing. We had a lot of fun walking through down town and OIM'ing and visiting people whose homes were down there. It was awesome. We were just working hard and going from place to place. The scenery was amazing. Ketchikan is setup … like the whole city is packed in close, but it's on a hill too. So it's like walking in a movie, and it's beautiful – super green, the water is beautiful. Anyway, it was really fun; and the work is going really well down there. The missionaries are doing a really good job. It was cool because I got to be with Elder Blackhurst again.

Elder Bernie and Elder Record.
This was p-day at mormon hill in Juneau,
another BEAUTIFUL CITY!!!!
In Juneau I got to be with Elder Bernie and Elder Thorne; some of my other companions, who are Zone Leaders down there. So it was really fun. I got to be with the missionaries. They are doing great! It was really nice. We got some really good insights for how everybody is doing and what we need to do for transfers; which we are working on this week. We are trying to seek the inspiration from the Lord where they should go and what should happen, and how we can best help the missionaries to improve.

We have been given a couple of referrals. We are excited to go contact these people. The ward is really getting excited about missionary work; and … that's good (haha). We love serving.

So yeah, if I were to ever come back on vacation, I would probably take one of those Alaskan cruises and stop in Ketchikan and Juneau because those places are amazing!

Life it good. I can't wait to work more in our area next week. Actually, we are going to be kind of busy because we have all the transfer stuff to do and a lot of new missionaries coming in. In July there is going to be even more. Elder Martinez will be leaving in a few days. So we are helping him cope (haha). I know who my new companion is, but nobody else does so I can't tell you yet.
Anchorage before we left.
Now it's green =) in a matter of less than a week.

It's amazing you can almost pull up a chair and watch everything grow. It pulls my thoughts to the Savior and the new life that can fill people's hearts as they let him in. The change can be slow, but it's wonderful to be in that chair watching the beautiful transformation that can happen in people's souls. From night to day, dark gray to vibrant green and full of life. I know this gospel blesses our lives because it's true. The Savior's help is real. I was thinking about grace the other day. It is basically divine help or strength given to us. I read a verse in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 7:13, that I thought described grace very well and how we access it. Grace isn't just for after we die. Grace is for today. Grace is for right now.

Love, Elder Record

Elder Record waiting for the ferry to Ketchikan
Cruise ship in Ketchikan
Ketchikan, AK