Tuesday, September 27, 2011

At the Preston Temple with MTC Companion, Elder Hutchings

Candy Finding

Dear Family,

Happy Birthday Mom!

Answers to your questions:

Question #1: What is your new address?

14C Marine Avenue
West Cliff - on - sea
England S50 7PS

Question #2: How is it that your new companion is only 18 years-old?

I guess for a couple of months they let 18 year-olds go from Brazil, yay...haha.

Question #3: What valuable lesson have you learned this week?

You have to get creative when things are tough, to make it fun. Finding with Elder Siano was hard because we simply haven't got along so well. So we went into the 99p shop and got some candy and did candy finding. That made it more fun. Music is very good as well to have peace.

I got the package, much appreciated. Later today we're going to take some pictures near the beach and what not, so hopefully next week I will send you some. On the beach there's an amusement park as well which I don't know if we can use or not.

Guess what? I have had a few people tell me that I sound posh and not so American. Of course it's skewed because the people over here are the ones that talk very unproper. I think it's just some of the words I use and I am well spoken. I just hope I keep my Cambridge accent and don't pick up the Essex one. Haha. Cheers, bruv.

Haha, doing laundry instead of going out, sounds familiar. (Mom's note: Joey wrote to Andy about what one of his companions did when they should have been out working.) There is always some excuse not to work. Let's just say that our flat is very clean. . . haha. Things are starting to get better. It's a slow process of course, but things are on the rise. Funnily enough, with my first 3 companions I felt like I learned a lot about what it would be like to be married. I think this one is more like what it will be like to have a teenager. Haha.

The best thing that happened this week was that we taught an inactive member (baptized at 15 and not been to church in 20 years) and we also taught her three children, 16 year-old boy, 13 year-old girl, and 11 year-old girl. They will all read the Book of Mormon and pray. The mom and the 13 year-old came to church and a fireside on Evidence of the Book of Mormon. We will teach them Wednesday and watch "Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration". The kids are unbaptized by the way. . . not for long.

In this ward we get fed a lot because the previous missionary spent all his little working time with members. So we have like 5 or 6 dinner appointments this week. Awww. . . I just wanted to work. I love to work and each week there is improvement. This area has huge potential.

In the Book of Mormon Fireside we learned a lot about evidence of the Book of Mormon. Very fascinating. I wish I had more time to look more into that. We'll see if that helps us in teaching people or not. Maybe with some people a little evidence can help. One example of evidence is that there's a temple in Central America. It has different layers from rebuilding it and things and apparently they date the earliest layer to about 600 BC, hmmm, interesting. Another thing is that Native Indians can't grow beards yet they have drawings of people who do and what not. There's a book on it that must be pretty interesting.

Love you guys, have fun being 50.

Elder Larsen

P.S. Mom, there is a lady in the ward here that had a baby die soon after birth and she has trouble with it still. She says that what bothers her most is that she can't raise the child now. She wants to see him now. Everyone tells her that she will see him again but that doesn't do it for her. Maybe you could send me a letter about your experience and I could try to help her.

Monday, September 19, 2011

MTC Days

Pray For the Area of South End

Dear Family,

Answers to your questions:

Question #1: What do you do on Transfer day? Do you spend much time at the mission office?

Transfers we met at the mission office with about 30ish other missionaries, talked with some buddies, and they rush you out of there.

Question #2: What is your new area like?

South End is pretty good so far. We live about a block or two from the sea which looks really nice, someday we need to wake up and take a jog on the beach, yes, I'll take pictures. The Town Center is one big street and there's lots of room to talk which is nice.

Question #3: What have you learned about your new companion?

Let's just say he is 18 years-old, Brazilian, and this is the roughest start to a transfer ever! Haha, don't worry, I won't ever give up. We had a total of 18 hours of work this week and the least I've ever gotten was double that, even when I was super sick.

Mom, I will take pictures of what I eat. The plan is that I take pictures of all my classic missionary meals and send you a cook book like you did me. Also a cook book of all the recipes you sent me that I make. For your Birthday! It may be late because all I've made so far is mashed potatoes. You see, in Cambridge we had a 10 minute lunch and ate dinner at 9:00 pm when we got back to the flat so no time really. Now we take an hour for both. . .

Sample Recipes
Big Mac and Fries: present your bus ticket to worker at McDonalds and give them 2 pounds.

Nutella and Toast: put bread in toaster and "carefully" get the nutella and wipe it on the toast. (Mom's note: One of the recipes I sent him was for peanut butter sandwiches and it featured a picture of his one year-old niece Savannah "carefully" dipping a knife in the jar.)

One Pound Pizza: put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Haha. I love you guys.

Please pray for the area of South End that it can be a place of work. Today is once again Zone Meeting with Zone P-day. To be honest, usually I don't like it so much because we can't work for 3 hours on that p-day, but this time it is nice to see some other missionaries, truly to learn from them, and to be lifted up by my new zone leaders.

I know the Church is true, I know it is led by Jesus Christ who atoned for us and therefore knows us personally. Truly I will need to rely on him very much during this time. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, receiving Authority to restore the Church back to the earth. He was led to the Book of Mormon, a volume of Holy Scripture that changes lives, especially my own. As we turn to the scriptures we find hope. Through the new and everlasting covenant we can be sealed to our families for time and all eternity. We come to know of the truth as we sincerely search for it and live the gospel. Every time we are down, if we turn to Jesus Christ, we will be picked up. I have experienced it for myself. I know that these things are true, and that is why I devote my time to my Saviour. Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet and I cannot wait to receive revelation from God in two weeks from the General Authorities. I love my Family.

I was reading the Ensign this week and they have a UK section that has a few pages. They were talking about the 400th anniversary of the bible and something I read really stuck out to me that is evidence of the restoration. When William Tindale was receiving a lot of anger for wanting the bible to be available for all and not distorted he said, "If God spares my life, I shall cause that a plowboy shall know more the scriptures than thou." How true that was. Later in 1820 the plowboy Joseph Smith read James 1:5, asked in faith, and was called to restore the Church on the Earth.

That story strengthened my own testimony of the restoration and will allow me to teach it better to others as well.

I love you guys, I'm a warrior.

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Knock Knock

Going to a New Home

Dear Family,

Answers to your questions:

Question #1: Have you received our package yet?

I have not, it should be at the office, where I will pick it up tomorrow. Thank you so much.

Question #2: How many stakes are there in your mission?

I believe there are 8 which makes 8 zones in our mission.

Question #3: What is your favorite English food?

I am a big fan of ........ ______ rolls. Take a wild guess. Sausage! If we don't go to McDonalds for lunch, we go to a place called Greggs where I get 1 or 2 sausage rolls. Lately I get 1 sausage roll and 1 sausage, bean, and cheese bake.

I'm goin' out goin' out of Cambridge
I'm goin' out goin' out for good
I'm goin' out goin' out of Cambridge
Goin' to a new Neighborhood
South End on Sea
Is the new place for me
Deep in the sea
Is where I'll be

I jinxed myself, haha, they are shipping me out to South End on Sea. Interestingly enough, that is where Elder Biondi spent his first transfer in the mission before coming here. And Elder Biondi's trainer trained this last transfer and I will be going to his area to follow up train his companion again. Haha.

The work is really starting to pick up in Cambridge, which is a bit hard to leave, but hey, "I'll go where you want me to go". I hear that it's a biking area, that should be pretty fun. It is in an area filled with what are called "chavs", haha, that will be funny. Isn't = in it, water = wah uh, bruv. From totally safe Provo to pretty safe Cambridge to South End. Haha. Wu eva, bruv.

I have grown to love the people of Cambridge, it is going to be hard to leave behind the people I have taught, but they are in good hands. At the end of it all this past 4 1/2 months may be the best time of growth for me in my life. I have had companions from many different places, none of them white. That has given me a love of other cultures (especially Italian food). I can barely remember what home was like back in Provo. Cambridge has been all I know for so long, but I suppose it may be the same.

The new experience of going to a different city will really help me to grow. I am excited to go work with another Brazilian, Elder Biano. That makes 3 companions in a row that have Italian surnames and 3 in a row that that are "lian"s (Brazilian, Italian). To be honest, their culture is much different than Provo culture, which makes it fun sometimes.


This past Saturday, we had just finished lunch and were out finding, I really wanted to find someone that would be baptized next transfer. I said a prayer in my heart that we would find someone whose circumstances in life make them ready to receive the gospel.

After 30 minutes of finding, were right in front of Anglia Ruskin University and I stopped a man from India. As we talked, we learned that he is Christian and that something is making him question God a little bit. We sat down and started talking and I asked questions to try and figure out what was going on in his life. It came out that his girlfriend wasn't talking with him for 2 weeks. For some reason his girlfriend just cut everything off, which made him very sad. He hadn't eaten since then. When we stopped him he wasn't actually walking anywhere, he was just walking. As we explained the love that God has for us and that God won't force his girlfriend to get back with him he really felt that we cared about him and accepted the invitation to come to church with us the next day.

To finish the lesson, I said a prayer. I prayed that God would soften the heart of his girlfriend. That night, when I called to arrange how he would get to church, he said that his girlfriend sent him a text and they would meet to talk about it. At church he was fellowshipped by so many members and had a great time. He is so thankful to us for all our help, and is now eating! We'll see what happens from now, but one thing I know is that God does answer prayers.

I love you, all of you, Dad, Mom, Joey, Michelle, Marty, Heidi, Steve, Nunners, Lisa, and Matt. Thank you for being part of my life and helping me to be better. Other missionaries can't believe that I'm kind of a rebel in our family, haha. How great you are.

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preston MTC Scenery

"Want a Tic Tac?"

Dear Family,

Answers to your questions:

Question #1: What have you learned from the missionaries that you go on work-overs with?

The missionaries I am with on work-overs are always the really good ones, AP's, ZL's, and what not. I haven't been on on a work-over with a DL yet, oddly enough. The work-overs with the Zone Leaders always go really well. Especially now with me having younger companions these last couple times, the work-overs help me to make new goals. This last work-over with the Zone Leaders I learned how to make finding much more fun by using candy and things. "Excuse me, sir, want a tic tac?" and so on. Or when we stop someone and TTI (Teach Testify Invite) we get to have a tic tac. Fun stuff.

Question #2: What have you learned about President and Sister Patch?

President and Sister Patch met when they were at the slopes. A bunch of people were going down the mountain and Sister Patch saw the guy way ahead who was wearing a t-shirt and shorts (so I hear) while everyone else was bundled up. A man's man. President Patch always inspires me to keep on being exactly obedient, even though with members and missionaries it's not exactly popular. Sister Patch has said "I love you" to me more times than I can count. Especially my first day in the Mission Office I was getting a little creeped out honestly, but I love it. Sister Patch leaves no doubt that she cares about all the misionaries, especially the new ones.

Question #3: What's a funny experience you've had lately?

We were teaching a guy from Albania that was here studying English. He is a member of parliament in Albania. We really developed a good bond with him. We'll see what happens in the future, we'll stay in touch. So anyways, on his last day here we taught a lesson then he took us to get ice smoothies, had a chat and had to say goodbye. So, I say goodbye and give him a handshake. All the sudden he reels me in and gives me that European 2 cheek kiss thing. I'll tell you that was really creepy. . . haha. . . you know me. My companion doesn't hesitate to tell the members what my face looked like and what not.

Matt, clearly the Larsen genes are superior, they had no chance. (Matt wrote about competing on a ropes course with the teachers at mutual.)

Joey, I agree that Green Lantern was the best, one night I snuck out because I just had to see it. I loved that part when he recharged with the Lantern. Haha. Yes, I have seen ads on the buses my whole mission, X-Men, Green Lantern, Thor, Conan, Harry Pooper, Captain America, and now. . . Spy Kids? Fun stuff, all the good movies come out now. Oh well, it just means we'll have an awesome party in 2 years.

(Joey told Andy about a Missionary Tie that his Elders Quorum passes out for a week at a time and asked for his advice on how to use it well when it's his turn.) Hmm, a missionary tie. Unless you have someone in mind that you know, you could just carry a Book of Mormon in your hand or something. Something I have heard of is wrapping a Book of Mormon in Gold wrapping paper and writing a question of the soul on it and giving it to someone and promise an answer to that question. The #1 rule is just to OYM (open your mouth). Who am I to give you advice, you were a legend.

Grant is married, hah, that's just silly. Seems like the Hall family is growing perty fast now. I guess everyone got scared off when they met me before, but with me gone they don't have to worry.

The students are slowly starting to arrive, most should be here by the end of this week or so. Already this last week we have met with many more Chinese again. My Chinese has become quite weak over time. Now that they arrive, transfers is next week, we'll see if I can stay again. This time I think it is actually quite likely I'll stay luckily. Oops, did I just jinx it?

Today we will probably see if we can go through the colleges and things. I will try to take pictures even though it is completely against my nature.

Yes, Heidi, I am now blind and require to wear nerd glasses. Haha. I have actually thought about wearing those while I find and teach. Being here in Cambridge I think it would work quite well. Pull out my Posh old man English accent while wearing those and people may stop. Maybe wear a sweater underneath my suit as well. "Pardon there, sir" then they'll think, "Wow, I'd better stop, this guy must know what he's talking about." Haha.

I love you guys a lot, hope everything continues to go well across the pond, haha.

Elder Larsen