Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Six Investigators at Church This Week

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: What did you learn at your last Zone Conference?

I learned about how the gospel brings people onto steady ground, and heard testimonies from all the new missionaries in our zone. There are four. Kind of sad, to be honest, I'm not sure any of them really have testimonies yet, but if they work with the right attitude they will.

Question #2: How many kids are there in the average British family?

Umm, not really sure, in our ward probably about 4, but maybe British is one.

Question #3: Have you taught any families?

Nope, that bothers me.

Matt, I nearly burst out laughing here in the library when I read your question. (Mom's note: Don't ask.)

Say hello to Jeff for me too.

Really really good. Still we aren't seeing as much success as I would like, but there is a steady incline in a lot of our work. Six investigators were at church this week, which is fantastic. And I gave a talk, so my companion was left to herd all six investigators. One investigator will be baptized on the 31st. Can't complain, we just need to find more investigators and teach more lessons.

I love being a missionary, we are surrounded by people with so much knowledge. If I ever have a question I can ask my companion, District Leader, Zone Leaders, AP's, President Patch, a million other people. . . It is so great, this last few weeks I have been learning so much from other missionaries.

Transfers are coming up this next week, crazy stuff will happen since 20 new missionaries come for the second transfer in a row. Right when I started writing this letter the office called and got my details to get a driver's license here. . . Maybe I'll move to an area with a car and drive? Don't know.

Mom, clearly my arm is much more muscular than Matt's. Let's be serious now. . . haha. (Mom's note: I had mentioned to him that I briefly thought it was Andy's arm that was suddenly thrust in front of me with a sacrament tray at church, but of course it turned out to be Matt's.)

I'm going to miss my first family reunions ever, crazy stuff. Matt, head up the night games for me, would ya?

Choosing to serve a mission was the best thing I ever did, I just regret I didn't learn more before, make time to study every day.

I give up on sending pictures by email so I will use your CD's and send them to you by mail.

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm Flooding My Brain With Information

Hello Family,

I have to make a confessioin. I have wasted so much time so far on my mission. I feel really bad. I can honestly tell you that 1/3 of my time here I have done absolutely nothing. Haha, get it, because we sleep 8 hours a day. Anyways, I scared you didn't I, Mother? Don't worry, I didn't come here to slack off.

P-day was yesterday, but we had President interviews and interviewed an investigator for baptism so there ended up being no time to email.

A girl called Prasna from Nepal will be baptized on the 31st. The first person I have taught from start to finish. Woohoo! There are a couple other people we are going to push for to be baptized on the 31st as well.

President Patch is great. He really is inspired for us missionaries. One thing I worry about, though, is that he will kick me out of Cambridge after this transfer. You see, there are 20 more missionaries coming in so Elder Vitorio will probably train. That's life though. I'm just going to keep on working as hard as I can.

Here are the answers to your questions:

Question #1: What was most challenging for you this week?

Honestly, the hardest thing is working really hard but seeing not so much success. We work so much and don't teach a whole lot of lessons. I take in all I can when on work-overs so that I can improve the effectiveness of our work. But it is on the rise.

Question #2: What was most rewarding for you this week?

We got more people out to church this week and Prasna is interviewed and ready for baptism.

Question #3: Are there missionaries in your mission that were called to speak in a language other than English?

Elder Vitorio is called as a Portuguese speaking missionary but there is only one area that speaks Portuguese. I don't think anyone is called to any other specific language though. But a lot of areas have lots of different people so any extra language someone knows is very useful.

Here are some British to American translations Joey might be interested in:

Cheers - Thank you
Bruv - Dude
Oh my days! - Oh my gosh!
You alright? - How are you?

Oh Joey, I wish I could talk to you about your mission. Something that made me think of you is when I get annoyed at the way my companions eat. Sometimes the littlest thing can make you so irritated. Ha ha.

This week I have gained a testimony of the power of planning. Yesterday we had a very good planning and I know it will make a huge difference in our effectiveness today.

Also this week, I am taking a look at the things keeping me from being 100% obedient. There are just a couple things I need to put more effort into and change. The challenge comes in when your companion doesn't feel the same way.

Right now my focus is totally on the Cambridge area. I am making a transition from being just a worker to working and doing lots of other things, such as: great planning, keeping up the area book, involving the ward more, and helping less actives. It is really hard to do all those things but, whatever it takes to make Cambridge better I want to do. Right now I'm flooding my brain with information which is useless unless I apply those things. Which I am starting to really do.

Mom and Dad, I'm so glad your cruise went well and I can't believe you saw Mr. Richards. What a guy. (Mom's note: On the cruise we ran into Mr. Richards who is an amazing older man who is a volunteer helper for the Woods teacher at Timpview and since Andy took tons of Woods classes he was quite familiar with him.) Fishing in Alaska - that had to be fun. It's probably a good thing that I wasn't home to go with you because I probably would have beaten up too many grizzlies up in Alaska.

And Pittsburg Lake. . . Matt and Lisa, that is so great that you went there, and with the little ones. Matt, you have to dunk yourself. Dunking yourself is like talking to a stranger - you just have to do it.

I love you all. Have a great week.

Elder Larsen

Monday, July 11, 2011

Usefulness of Knowing Other Languages

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions:

Question #1: Did you get the package with the bag and the small quad?

I got the package. Forget the bag, I just like the Gold Fish. Just kidding, the bag is great, not so bulky, and I don't break my shoulders every day carrying my quad. The pictures are awesome, the Doritos, Twix and the letter are great too.

Question #2: How do you go about learning the languages you want to learn?

I learn Chinese from investigators or just in quick first time lessons, and we teach a girl from Nepal, so I learn a bit from her. (She will be baptized in 2 weeks!) Here in Cambridge there are a lot of Chinese. If only I was fluent then I would be so much more effective. Yet, the little I do know often opens the door. We stopped this Chinese girl and at first she looked a little wierded out then I said a few phrases in Chinese and she was glad to listen.

Question #3: Does England have as many smokers as Spain?

There are more smokers in Cambridge than in Provo, (ha ha) not more than in Spain, but I would guess that England as a whole is similar. Cambridge is less because it's a lot more students and posh people. It's a bit weird to see 15 year-olds smoking all the time.

Things are going well here in Cambridge. In the last while something that has been on my mind is the usefulness of not only knowing other languages but having been to other places. Every time I meet someone from Spain I can talk a little about our trip there. If only I could speak Spanish. Just like with the Chinese girl, knowing about their country opens the door. I think later on in life I will do a lot of traveling and learn a few more languages. Who knows, maybe someday I'll do an apprenticeship in Germany.

Right now things are going pretty well, I am trying to learn as much as I can about what I can do better. We work very hard but I know that our time could be more effective than it has been. I am starting to teach using more scriptures, involving the investigator more, bear frequent testimony, and more companion unity, as in switch off regularly.

(Mom's note: The following is in response to Lisa and Matt expressing excitement at having their parents away for a week.) Yes, life without adult supervision can be interesting. We also end up eating pizza quite regularly without it. I should try pretzel bites though. Without adult supervision though you often have to do work. Weird how that is. You never appreciate not having to cook, clean, work, and what not.

Have a fun time, play some combat, ultimate, night games, and what not. Enjoy the cousins and little ones. Speaking of ultimate, we got to play for Institute last week. Oh man, it felt good to play again. Let's just say you don't mess with the Cambridge Elders when it comes to ultimate.

Hope you have a good time in Alaska, that should be pretty fun. I only wish I was there to show the Grizzlies who the boss is. (Not really though, Cambridge is too fun.)

Elder Larsen

Monday, July 4, 2011

No Weetos For a Month

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: How much money do you get each month for expenses?

We get 110 pounds for food and whatnot a month and 66 pounds a transfer for travel.

Question #2: Does England have the same hymn book that we use in the U.S.?

I think the hymn book is the same but they do have God Save the King/Queen, haha.

Question #3: What do you do for dinner usually? Do you eat at members' homes? When you eat at your flat do you have to wait until 9:00 pm?

I have total so far eaten at members' homes 7 or 8 times. We have both elders and sisters in this area. Sisters usually get the benefit of more dinners because they are girls and homes with only a woman can't really feed us. This used to bother me but now I have a love with working so I don't mind much at all. Dinner can sometimes feel like wasted time. We got fed curry (one couple is vegetarian), pizza, and other chicken on rice type things. At the flat I usually have a pizza or chicken or something. We don't have to wait till 9 to eat. In fact we have an hour for lunch and dinner during the day. Rather than doing that, we have a half hour lunch and wait til 9 to eat. We get about 4 pounds a day, not quite even that. Breakfast and dinner don't usually cost much, but if we eat in the city center, it usually costs at least 2 pounds. Don't even ask what happens on p-day and district meeting. We usually end up spending 7 pounds at a buffet or something. Though I do get my money's worth . . . you know I do.

This week was another hard working week. Things are going pretty well. Who would have thought that I, of all people, could ever like to work. Now that the working part is second nature, I need to focus on getting all that I can out of that work. I am focusing on things we can do to get solid investigators, teach with more interaction, and many other things to make our days even more effective.

We have an investigator who was having a hard time with tea so we taught about fasting and did a fast with her. Fasting is quite hard when all you do is walk around all day, which I know made it even more meaningful. I also promised that if she would stop drinking tea I would support her by not eating my Weetos for a month. Easy as it sounds it sure isn't. I have a full box of Weetos, and for a few days that's all I had because we couldn't go shopping, so I basically ate tortilla chips for breakfast.

Another investigator has a hard time giving up tea so we will do something with her as well. Luckily it's kind of my companion's turn, which is extremely fortunate. Nothing has been set up yet, but she is trying to get him to not eat meat for the rest of his mission if she quits tea for her whole life. Anyone who truly knows me knows that would be about the hardest thing I could ever do. I can barely imagine one day without meat. Although, I may find a bad habit I have and quit that to support her.

I'm still learning languages. Right now I am working on Chinese, Nepalese, and Portuguese. I like reading the Book of Mormon verse by verse English to Portuguese.

Happy Birthday, DAD! Even though you said it in the email, I will let you know I remembered. I will celebrate your birthday by working the whole day and teaching people about the gospel. Haha. I will celebrate the 4th by having p-day, doing some food shopping, going around town and whatnot, and hopefully a little time to relax. And of course teach a few lessons later.

Matt, I think it would be best if you just flew over to Cambridge and joined us to make a trio. We would baptize the whole place. You don't even know how much I wish I had done more before I left. Study the scriptures, open your mouth, study Preach My Gospel, preach the gospel, spend time with those you really care about. It's funny to hear you talk about me refusing to go to St. George, I wouldn't refuse now.

About the pictures. . . I will send them next week seeing as I finally can charge my camera again. Have a great 4th, have a good birthday. I know my week will be awesome.

Elder Larsen