Monday, February 20, 2012

With Elder Hansen

I Don't Want to Grow Up

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Have you bought yourself any warm clothes that you need?

I got 2 pairs of warmer socks and cheap gloves, got sent thermals, and got a coat that was left in the Cambridge flat (it could have been Elder Sikahema's). Oh yeah, and my posh newsies flat cap.

Question #2: Have you tried much British candy? What's your favorite?

They have some posh chocolate here, Cadbury's and loads of other good stuff. At home I didn't care for chocolate...Hersey's...but here chocolate is amazing.

Question #3: What was your talk in Sacrament Meeting about last week?

I wasn't feeling good at all the days preceding the talk, so I didn't really prepare. That morning I spent 5 minutes making bullet points to talk about, then on the stand I felt prompted to change. I instead told the story of the power going out and I was alone downstairs in the dark til I was rescued by Joey. I related that with how we can be instruments in the Saviour's hands to rescue others and I read my favourite scripture, Alma 29:9-10:

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

No, no, no, no, here in England losing your lunch is literal. We were sitting in an appointment and my lunch that was in the kitchen on the table was all of the sudden gone. The other Elders were there and claimed not to touch it...right. is the same here. Haha.

President and Sister Patch just sent us an email that the new President will be a guy called David Jordan. He was previously a Mission President in Brazil.

Sounds like the little ones are very active these days, and cazy (that's how Savannah says crazy). I can't believe that Heidi and Steve are buying a house in Arkansas. Here I thought we would all move to England as a family. I love this place.

Today we will be going to Central London for a few hours. This time we are going to go to the Tower of London. I just saw it in quick passing on moves one day and it looks quite posh. I will try to put off my natural man and take some pictures to send you guys again. We may be going around there with a member that apparently was a Jewish prince back in the day. It should be fun.

Speaking of meeting amazing people on a mission, last week we taught a guy from the west of Pakistan that has some amazing background. He has traveled the world as a trader, owned a super posh hotel/restaurant in Pakistan, and almost got killed with a posh Chinese business man. Because it is so dangerous there he came here and has to start from scratch where no one really knows who he is. But us, haha. At this exact point in time he doesn't have much freedom to meet with us because he isn't living with people who are very pro-Christianity, if you know what I mean.

I am still trying to fight my cold these days, our past few days have been very good though. Missionary work in this area is going fantastic. Our 16 year-old investigator Barbara's mom as of now will not give permission for her to be baptized, so we will fast with her tonight.

This coming Wednesday is Zone Conference, I am as usual very excited for that. I look forward to hearing President Patch speak. There isn't much better for me as a missionary than to hear him speak. After he talks I just want to go and try that much harder to be better.

They have been remodeling the Hyde Park chapel for a long time now. They should be putting a statue of Christ in the visitors center just like the one in Salt Lake. I hear that at the rededication it is very likely that someone from the First Presidency or an Apostle will do it! How amazing would that be? That should be in April, when there is also a Mission Leadership Meeting, which that person could come to.

This past week at our chapel they had some people trying out to be in the New Testament movie they are filming in Utah. That sounds like it's going to be a really proper good movie. One of the parts was for Stephen found in Acts 7, amazing. I should have gotten some pictures with all the people so that if any of them did make it, I could show people a picture of me and them, but hence I am not a big picture taker.

Things are going great here. I don't want to grow up, I always try to deny things like that. I always tell people I have been out about 6 months...I don't like thinking about how long I have really been out. Maybe I'll tell people I'm about 19 as well. That's not really lying, is it?

I have been reading Exodus, it is really good stuff.

Love you guys,

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling Rubbish

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: How do you get around in London?

We have an Oyster Card (London in Your Pocket" - priceless) for zones 2-3 which means we take trains and the tube (subway) in zones 2 and 3 unlimited and bus all over London unlimited. We take both 1 or 2 times a day.

Question #2: What is the church building like that your ward meets in?

The church is a normal size for England as far as I have seen. There are no benches in the chapel, we set up chairs. It has a baptismal font and about 8 rooms for classes, bishop's office, etc.

Question #3: What interesting experiences did you have finding and teaching people last week?

Hmmm, well, we were talking to people and we stopped an Indian-looking girl. We first asked her something about Jesus and she replied, "Yes, I believe in Jesus."

Then we asked her, "Do you believe families can be together forever?"

She replied, "Yes, I am a member of the church."

"This church?" I asked, pointing to my badge.


It was a surprise. She and her family were members in Pakistan. We continued talking to get to know her situation when Elder Hansen asked, "May I ask how old you are?" Haha.

She took two steps back and started saying, "Disrespect, disrespect, disrespect, don't you know you never ask a girl how old she is?"

I must admit, I was laughing quite hard. Later on, when we met her last Saturday, I very tactfully got her age out of her without her even noticing...haha. She is 25.

Good week, things are continuing to go well. The beginning of the week was amazing and the end was quite funny. Friday I had not been feeling well all day. During one appointment my head was throbbing and my stomach was unsettled.

Later, in our last appointment, I excused myself and made my way to the church restroom and lost my lunch. I came back to the appointment feeling a bit better and finished it. Then I started feeling rubbish again and lost more of my lunch. It was a fun weekend, but finally I am starting to feel pretty good.

It is good that you didn't drop the couch, I would not have been happy to come back to the cabin with a big hole on the middle floor, let alone a little brother with a broken neck. (Mom's note: Lisa, Matt and I had quite the adventure moving a couch up two floors at my parents' home.)

This area is so good, and the transfer is going by way fast. We are having a really fun time teaching some of our investigators. We teach a man called Hima, his family origins must be Indian or something, but it is so fun to listen to him talk.

Elder Hansen, Elder Machen (Zone Leader), and I all gave talks in Sacrament Meeting. It went pretty well.

Happy Valentines day, love you.

Elder Larsen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coldest Week Yet

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Do you know how many stakes there are in London?

Hmmm, Hyde Park Stake covers mainly Zones 1-3 of London and has 7 wards, other Stakes have parts of London, Watford Stake is basically London, not totally sure about all that though.

Question #2: How was your interview with President Patch?

Interviews are great. President said I could pretty easily extend at least 6 weeks but to bring it up in 4-5 months......when he won't be here. Haha. I need to sign up for a driving test as well. I asked him for advice on how to talk to big groups and he gave me some good ideas for that. What a great man.

Question #3: What memorable experience did you have on the streets of London this week?

Hmmm, I guess the best experience on the streets was that during Sunday School in Church all of the sudden there was loud music and loads of people walking by the church chanting and so forth. It turns out it was Mohammed's birthday so they were doing a parade. For a second I thought it was a protest of some sort against our church.

Things here are going great. This week we taught 20 lessons and had 5 investigators at Church. Things here are getting good at a fast pace. Hopefully we keep that trend going. We have an investigator called Kingsley heading to be baptized on the 18th. This week we just need to solidify him for the interview.

It was the coldest week yet of my mission. There were about 5 inches of snow or so after Saturday. My toes felt like they were about to fall off most days, but I like doing it. The things we have to share make it worth it, no doubt. I'd not be doing it if not.

We've been putting a big white board in front of the church with the Plan of Salvation on it to show people. It worked quite well.

Wow, Matt, you seem to be doing well on your scriptures. Mate, I haven't even read loads of the Old Testament yet, you should definitely read the standard works. Leaving it to your mission doesn't work out too well. I love the Bible. If read with proper interpretation it is fantastic, but I can definitely understand why there is so much confusion concerning it.

The Larsen missionary scriptures are coming along nicely. I've developed a thirst for spiritual things, I always want to learn and study the scriptures. I suppose that's a good addiction?

It is so hard to see others not going down the right path. I often pray for those people. Sadly, I have seen that simply praying about it rarely produces results. When we pray for things concerning the agency of another child of God, we must also act. We must pray and put effort into it. Elder Sikahema once told me, "If you want to move mountains, pick up a shovel." It is a challenge because those going down the wrong path are not usually good for us as people to mix with. We must find a way to help them without hurting ourselves.

Hope things continue to go well with you guys, they are going well here. The Gospel is true, I know it.

Elder Larsen