Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Boy, I'm Getting Big

Dear Family,

I never told you, but in the MTC, after being there for about a week, I gained five pounds, then a week later I gained five more, then I gained forty five more . . . and now every month I gain about one hundred and fifty pounds. Boy, I'm getting big.

Anyways, I thought I would start doing a thing for emails where each week you guys ask me three things that you all decide are of importance so I can answer them. Now that I have more time I can actually answer these questions. At least this week I'll write a little bit about some of our investigators.

Karl - 9 year-old boy, started going to church with a family in the ward a long time ago, asked to be baptized so we just need to teach him. Baptismal date: June 12th. Teaching him is a challenge because we have to adapt the lessons to be very simple and interactive. The great part about teaching him is that his mom is always there and his older sister has taken an interest (not just in the lessons . . .). He seems to be a lock for baptism, but we hope we can get his family members into it as well. This last lesson was funny. After the lesson, his sister and her friend started asking questions. It started off about church then they started asking lots of personal questions like, "How do you find a wife when you travel around so much?" I don't think she understands missionaries. Creepy. When it came up that Elder Sikahema leaves soon (thanks to the member with us, haha) she asked, "Will you come back?" He said, "Yes, I'll definitely visit England after my mission." Then she said, "Will you come back for me?" I'm not sure what he said. I was too busy laughing in my head.

Vincent - Vincent was supposed to be baptized earlier on but decided to take a break while he focused on exams. We should meet up with him again on the 4th and the plan would be to have his baptism on the 19th of June.

Robert - I like Robert a lot. He is one of our most promising investigators. Right now he has a month long or so trip with a professor doing research. My hope is that he keeps up his scripture study and prayer while traveling. He has had spiritual experiences and seems to have a solid testimony. My thoughts are that he will be baptized after his trip.

Weitao - decided he wants to take a break from meeting with the missionaries and think about everything on his own. He thinks of things very academically so it can be hard. I'm not sure he understands how the spirit works. I pray that he will come to know the truth.

I shiver at the thought of winter here, I'm going to have to get a Newsies cap and probably some warmer gloves.

A lady in the ward came and gave me a bag of goodies. She said she had talked with Sister Miller. I've been shoveling M&Ms into my mouth lately and a member made us some vanilla chocolate things that I munch on. I love chocolate. Today I bought some hamburger and tortilla chips so I can make chili soon. Not to mention I bought 6 pizzas for a pound each.

Elder Larsen

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm Not Nearly As Scared of Creepy People

Dear Family,

Well, things are going alright here in Cambridge. I can't wait for exams to be over with. We had a so so week, some investigators are progressing, others are not. One of our best investigators is apparently going on a trip with a professor for about 2 months. I am growing so much, my teaching, finding, and so much more are becoming better.

My companion is a fun guy. The only time I have a hard time is when he teaches me how I can be refined . . . yeah right. Na, someday I may become refined. We laugh all the time. He loves my position when it comes to McDonalds and Dominos. He was trying to convince me that when I'm old I will need to eat healthy. I replied, "I'll eat Dominos till I die, don't you ever tell me how to live my life." Hehe. I hope sometime I can eat Dominos here. We'll have to check their deals though because a regular price large pizza costs 15 pounds. Thats more than $25. Not going to happen.

When I opened my package, my companion came in the room and for a second thought I was the King of the World. I went through all the stuff and said, "My mom loves me." Seeing the candy and what not reminded me of camping. Good times. Just remember all of you that camp, while you are hiking, I will be walking with you the whole way, unless I'm teaching, so hopefully not.

Of course Smash Brothers has come up in conversation and my companion thinks he's real good so I told him he would have to play you when he goes to BYU, Matt. You'll have to invite him over for dinner sometime. He leaves in late June I think and goes to BYU in the Fall. My companion loves joking about the reactions some people give us. Some start talking in this creepy whisper and try to tell you wierd things, others just laugh.

Now to the serious stuff. Because we teach mainly students, they ask real hard questions sometimes. It makes me want to study that much harder in the morning when I know I need to be able to answer all the questions. I love teaching investigators who really put in some effort to know the truth. We can tell that our investigator thats leaving for a couple months has felt the spirit and he wants to be baptized. I wish he wasn't going on that trip.

We're teaching a 9 year-old who we're 99% sure will be baptized. While we were teaching the plan of salvation, his older sister walked in and was interested. She mainly asked a lot of questions. She goes to a different church but we gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read.

Now that I'm pretty used to people here I'm not nearly as scared of creepy people as I was last week. It's funny to me that we are out doing good things all the time and people dislike us, but it reminds me of the best person ever on this earth, so that's good. He did nothing wrong and was hated by so many. Nothing real bad has happened so far, just been heckled and had an empty bag of chips thrown at me from a car. They say that the more you're persecuted as a missionary the prettier your wife gets . . . Keep it coming!

I love the habits I'm picking up as a missionary and I'm going to do all I can to keep them all my life. Out here I decided I want to build furniture for temples someday.

The work is very hard and because it is I am growing like never before. I'm starting to develop a love for the people. So far it's pretty easy to love the Oriental people and hard to love the others. I'll work on it. One of the lessons I've learned is that you have to have some fun out here. When you have fun, you don't focus on the rejection. I try to focus on the good stuff, have some fun and be a friend to everyone.

Food - My companion and I have become addicted to Wheetos, a delicious cereal. 4% milk is delicious. We usually go to a place called Sainsbury's for lunch. It's a grocery store. If they have it out, I usually get a couple slices of pizza. Often times I get sausage rolls. Those are delicious. You should try beans on toast. Toast some bread, put some baked beans on it. Good stuff. I'm told that the high class people butter the toast and put cheese on top of the beans . . . we're not high class. Haha. I miss my mama's food, but I survive.

My address is:
42 Corrie Road
Cambridge CB1 3RB

Love you guys,
Elder Larsen

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm In Cambridge

Let's get down to it, I'm in Cambridge (tell Brother Miller, he knows people here and was here for a while I believe) my companion is Elder Sikahema (yes, his dad is Vai) HAHA. I got an awesome companion, unluckily he's done after 6 weeks, so I'll have to explain the area to whoever comes to replace him which will be hard. I remember Dad talking about Vai at the cabin, so it was cool when I found out that's his dad. Everyone in the mission tells me I'm lucky to be with Elder Sikahema and in Cambridge.

Right now it's a lot of adjusting, I haven't had much time to take in where I am and what not with focusing on the work. Living in Provo my whole life, and not wanting to go to Salt Lake because it's creepy, Salt Lake is not creepy, this is creepy. Hobos approach us sometimes and I just let Elder Sikahema do the talking. I'm still a little kid! My legs are sore, I'm tired, but I'm growing like never before. The MTC was cake, this is the real deal. I can't wait until I get used to the walking and lack of sleep.

So far missionary work here is pretty good. It's funny, one day we have a handful of lessons and the next everyone is a no show. But we feel like June should be a good month for baptisms. A 9 year-old wants to be baptized and it seems like a shoe in. There are also some others that seem to be on track to be baptized maybe on June 12. Lots of peple we teach are Asian, they are very humble and want to be better. We will see what happens, but I have high hopes right now.

I'm working on approaching people in the streets and giving lessons. I have a good example to look to. I'm getting there but I definitely have a way to go. I feel pretty good about my street contacting, whenever Elder Sikahema tells me to stop someone I do, even when it was a giant, tattooed, tank top, angry looking guy, who laughed when I stopped him. I do need his help a lot though. If he doesn't tell me to go for it, I don't always stop people.

I love seeing how the spirit can touch people, and how when people hear the gospel it's something they want. When we taught one of our investigators named Robert, he really liked the idea of having the Holy Ghost. Sometimes it's hard to get people to meet with us right now because of Exams. Most of the people we teach are students and now is very busy. In the next week or two things should free up.

We do most of our contacting and teaching around a mall near colleges. We usually stop people and try to set up for another time to teach them (everyone is very busy...) haha, or we take them into the library and give them a quick lesson. We usually do Lesson 0 which is an overview of a lot of things with invitations to read, pray, go to church, and conditional baptism. It's hard to see that some people seem to like what we teach, then don't show up to the next lesson and what not. It's also great to see the people who act on what we teach and want to meet with us.

Please don't judge me for my lack of grammar and what not. hehe

Elder Larsen

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Already a Different Person

(This letter came via airmail. They must have had him write home before letting him know where he was assigned because he gives no clue.)

Dear Family,

Got here today, May 11th. The London Mission is considered to be the oldest mission in the world. The Mission President is nice and so are all the people here.

I'm a little worried about diving into the work but I'm also so excited because that will be the way I learn best. I'm already a different person. My life will never be the same. I used to think, "I can't ever be an outgoing person". Wrong. My life is changed for the better and I'm not done yet.

You hear about how people come off missions and become inactive - no way. I can't and won't ever deny I know this is all true. This message is a message that will better people's lives. I thought it was funny/lame that, when asked why they were on a mission, some people at the MTC said, "tradition". I can tell you right now, I'm here to better other people's lives and my own.

I know the gospel is true, Joseph Smith is/was a prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God, the Book of Mormon is true, and so much more.

-Elder Larsen

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Headed Off Tomorrow

Well I'm headed off tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to email or not. We should be at the mission office at 12 ish. It was great to talk to you guys too. Hopefully in the field I'll at least be able to answer the questions you ask. I'll send you a letter with some pictures and doodads from the MTC. Hopefullly I can email tomorrow. I'm Really On A MISSION!

Love you guys,
Elder Larsen

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elder Hutchings and Elder Larsen (Woody and Andy)

Fearful of Sharing the Gospel

It's great to hear from you guys. This email schedule is terrible so I'll send you some letters if I have time during p time.

We went to Manchester last Thursday. It was rough. The first hour me and my companion were totally stunned by what we were doing and didn't even approach almost anyone. The second hour we talked to 4 people for a decent amount of time. Three of them had Books of Mormon already so we didn't place any. In the end we were both glad we just talked to people. With seven minutes until we were going to have to go I wanted to talk to one more person so I saw an African at a bus stop and we talked to him. I wish we had more time but we taught him about families and gave him a Proclamation on the Family.

It stuck in my mind all day that we were too fearful of sharing the gospel. That night lying in my bed out of nowhere I (the spirit) thought of 2 Nephi 8:12. I didn't write it down but I remembered it in the morning and looked at it. It applied so well. I love that missionaries do receive special power. I can't wait to go door to door on Friday to redeem myself.

I call for Mother's Day at 3:30 here, 8:30 am there.

Love you,
Elder Larsen

2 Nephi 8:12
I am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of man, who shall die, and of the son of man, who shall be made like unto grass?