Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The London Eye

I Love Prophets

Dear Family,

Question #1: Were your birthday treats smashed after their journey across the ocean?

The Pringles were the only thing that took a bit of damage. Everything else was in tip top shape. They sell some goldfish at a place called Azda (Walmart in England) and the American ones are way better. Those were delicious treats. Those ties are some of my faves too.

Question #2: What attitude do the British have towards Americans?

It varies, some think we are the greatest invention ever, others say they let us win the war and we were just the peasants so they didn't want us. I got a pamphlet that said America is the Babylon talked about in Revelations. Overall it is a pretty good response.

Question #3: What was your best experience finding someone to teach last week?

Last week we received a referral from the Manchester Mission. It was a great referral of a guy that had a doctor from Salt Lake City. We are teaching him now. He has depression, his medications don't work, but reading the Book of Mormon does. He is so excited to learn. Solomon is his name and he's from Pakistan.

I am very excited about Conference. Yesterday I was able to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting about Prophets. It was great to talk about a topic like that. I love Prophets. I read an article from an Ensign of President Hugh B. Brown having a conversation about modern day Prophets with a man who didn't believe there was one on the earth. It went something like this:

HBB: "Why doesn't God speak to us? Well, God used to speak to us in the past, maybe he doesn't now because he lost the power to do so."

Man: "Of course that would be blasphemous."

HBB: "Well then, maybe God simply doesn't love us anymore."

Man: "God loves everyone and he is no respecter of persons."

HBB: "Well, if you won't accept those reasons, then it must be we just don't need him anymore. We have made such advances in science that we no longer need him."

The man started shaking at the thought of impending war, "Mr. Brown, if ever there was a time we needed to hear God it is now. Do you mind telling me why he doesn't speak?"

HBB: "He does, we just need faith to hear him."

It was a really good article. It helps me understand better how to teach investigators about Prophets as well. Giving the talk definitely raised my excitement for Conference. I hope it did for everyone else too.

Ahh, the days of playing Kombat in the sun. Sounds like you guys are having a good time. I was just looking at the picture of us at the Dirty Devil river covered in mud and thought of playing some great Work Up on the river. I'm just saving up for a while to have some amazing splash offense.

I am constantly amazed at the promise that we will be given what to say in the very hour and very minute we need them. We had a busy week so I ended up preparing my talk Sunday morning with a prayer in my heart. I felt that God helped me to inspire others. I remember a talk I gave in Lea Valley, I was sitting on the stand and the spirit prompted me to give a totally different talk than was planned. Amazing how the spirit can work.

Next Monday we will be moving flats. I looked at the flat last week and it is very nice. Sadly, it is farther away from Wembley Stadium so we will have to change our running spot. I think we will still make a run around Wembley stadium once a week to keep the tradition.

I hear you, Dad. My feet, shoulders, and back hurt most days because of walking. I must be getting old as well. As a missionary when I come home totally drained, in a way it makes me happy. It feels good to know you are working hard. Sadly, I have had very few moments when I came home and wasn't worn out at all. I don't like that feeling.

Things are going great here in Wembley. I am excited to pack a bunch of things in the flat to prepare for next Monday and probably do some extra study. I am nearly done with marking all 5 lessons in Preach my Gospel in the new Scriptures as well as marking the ones I find during my study of the Scriptures.

Random - Elder Young also knows his Pokemon so he and I yesterday evening listed all 150 original Pokemon. Because of Paul tutoring me on them, I was able to win the race.

Love you guys, hope everything is proper posh,

Elder Larsen

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tall Matt

Fake British Birthday Treats

Two Baptisms

Dear Family,

Question #1: What do you think of how tall Matt has grown from the pictures we sent?

Well from the pictures he must be 6 foot 6... But from my logical 2+2 brain, I would say 5 foot 7, and from the looks of it, 91 pounds.

Question #2: What have you learned from your companion?

Elder Young is amazing. I remember seeing him when he first came (the same time as Elder Mahendran) and the change is amazing. He is a really good guy, he knows the gospel is true. He is a great listener and I am trying to learn from that and do the same to discern the needs of investigators.

Question #3: What was the highlight of your week?

It has been a good week and the 2 baptisms finally happened. The water was warm indeed. We did some door knocking around the chapel and it seemed to work pretty well. One guy we teach, if you look out his back door it's the back of the chapel. I think it is a good area to find people because it is so near.

I got the package, it was really funny. My Zone Leader made fun of that picture on the Pringles. Fish and Chips, Chip Chap Chips, Blimey Bar, very good. The ties were very good as well.

Yesterday for England was Mother's Day so that was a good church service. Elder Young called his mother. It's a bit sad for them over here, haha, call in December then in March. It was less than 3 months apart.

This week I have noticed the silly things the Devil uses to keep people from the truth. So many times we have a good talk with someone or are teaching them then they hear that we are Mormons and it's like a brick wall. But hey, he can only nip at our heels but we can bruise his head.

Well, now I head into Central London for a good old time, not sure exactly what we will do, but we'll figure something out.

Have a great week. I'm so excited to see Devin's call! Which reminds me, I wrote a letter last week and still haven't sent it! Uh oh.

Love you,

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At Admiralty Arch

Back to 130 Lbs

Dear Family,

Question #1: Do you see preparations for the Olympics going on in your part of London?

Umm, I don't know if it is just for the Olympics or not, but they are doing quite a bit of construction around our area. They are building a civic center and some other big buildings now. They also have a sign that they are building a huge shopping mall but it is due to be finished in late 2013.

Question #2: Have you found a two bedroom flat for missionaries yet?

No, but I just got called about a flat while reading this email, hopefully we see it today or tomorrow and it is good.

Question #3: What investigators do you have now?

We are working with a few investigators. We have 3 that are very good and others that vary in progression. Samuel and Cortney will be baptized this Saturday. Samuel was supposed to be baptized last Tuesday but the boiler for the water wouldn't work. He didn't want to be baptized in the cold water so he will be baptized after it is fixed. We also teach Ronald who is very good, Catholic background. We need to reschedule his baptismal date. He just can't really come to church now because of his job. He works for a member along with another member who works for her too. Both members come to church so he works Sunday. We need to talk to the member to see what we can work out. This week we are putting all our efforts into finding someone who will be baptized in April.

How tall is Matthew right now? (Mom's note: It sounds like some comments about Matt's height in our letters are making him curious.)

Do they really expect Devin to come into this mission? (Mom's note: We thought Andy would realize that it was only wishful thinking that made us expect that one of his favorite cousins would get called to his mission.)

Did Joey serve in (I will just spell it like it sounds since I have no idea how to spell it) My-your-ku? (Mom's note: It's spelled Mallorca, and yes, Joey did serve there.) We went to a member's home and her mom was here from Spain. She said she does remember a missionary that looks a bit like me.

It has been a good week, hectic at times but great. The work is going pretty good. Elder Young continues to wear me down. I am going back into my pre-mission weight. I am now just under 130 lbs.

Our investigator called Ronald is being called by Jehovah's Witnesses and one of these days we may go with him to their Kingdom Hall. He is a really good investigator.

It is a wonder why not many others teach to pray to receive answers. Sometimes people will ask how we can know what we share is true at such a young age. It is through prayer. Without it no one could really know, for you "cannot know spiritual truths without prayer." That is one of the strong indications of the truthfulness of this message. Don't take our word for it, take Heavenly Father's.

Just yesterday we had some really good talks with a Muslim man and a Hindu lady, I love to learn from others and share what I know.

Have a great week!

Elder Larsen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

By Big Ben

Running Around Wembley Stadium

Dear Family,

Question #1: Have you ever received your birthday package?

No, I haven't received it yet. The Zone Leaders will be in South Kensington on Friday, maybe they will get it or maybe not, but that's ok.

Question #2: What have you learned about your new companion?

Elder Young is from Wales, he comes from a split family, he likes video games, and he has lost over 30 lbs on his mission 5 months in. He wears me out in the morning running around Wembley Stadium. He has already lost about 5 lbs so far this transfer so I'm doing my job. He is great, we ran home from an appointment the other day and made it home just on time.

Question #3: How is your new area?

It is a good area, we do some good finding around places in Zones 2-5 of London. The members seem to be pretty missionary minded. I am enjoying it a lot so far.

Joey, how on earth did you find out that they call them (the tube or subway) chubes?

Neither of us know our address off the top of our heads. But rumor has it that there will be another area opened up in Wembley. We need to a call a guy to look at a two bedroom flat. Next transfer it is very likely we will have 2 companionships here in Wembley.

Oooh, March Madness....focus Elder, haha.

I am totally going to run in the Olympics. I wll run around vs Bolt with my badge and suit, he's not so fast...

Mom, I just moved into a new flat as well. Missionaries don't have very much time to unpack and organize, so..... could you come arrange my stuff as well? Maybe Lisa could come and make some pizza pockets and pretzels as well. But, when we get back you will have to get out of the flat because we can't be in the flat with women. No hugs either, haha.

I love my mission. I've been thinking a lot lately and I think I want to permanently change my name to Elder.

Mission work here is good. We first taught an investigator that didn't have a baptism date and set one for the 17th, then he called us and wanted to move it to the 6th, so we did. Samuel will be baptized tomorrow. Another investigator called Cortney, from America, will be baptized on the 17th.

We are setting goals to do some major work and see some major miracles so that the area will be prepared for 4 Elders. We will be fasting and praying and working to see miracles.

Elder Young is gaining a lot of confidence now. In his previous 5 months his companions have been very dominant so now that he does a more equal amount of teaching he is feeling great. He is so willing to do the right thing, I am so happy to serve with him. The Zone we are in is great as well. My old District Leader, Elder Krebs, is one of the Zone Leaders and it is great to serve around him again.

We will be getting Zone T-shirts with the Olympics symbol but with certain things switched into it like England London Mission and Watford Zone. Things are going really good right now. I love my companion.

Have a great week. Please pray that our Zone can get 3 new investigators a week and 4 investigators at church a week. Love you.

Elder Larsen

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nunners in the Bag


Dear Family,

Question #1: What did you like best about the Tower of London?

Well, we were not able to go inside. It looks really nice and I took a few nice pictures around it. It is also right next to Tower Bridge, that was great to take some good pictures at. We got some really good pictures. Oddly enough there are two pictures where I look actually a lot like Matty boy. I never noticed any resemblance in any of us brothers but now I start to see some with all of us.

Question #2: Do you need your camera memory card back?

Yeah, that would be good. I have some other pictures on my other one from last week that I will send once I get that one back.

Question #3: How does the London accent compare to the one in Southend and Cambridge?

Ummm, it is hard to tell, most of the people here are from the Middle East or Africa, but the English around here is slightly more posh than Southend but much less posh than in Cambridge.

It has been a good week, the weather has really improved and some days last week we didn't even need our winter coats. Some crazy things have happened with investigators, but what doesn't make you pass out or wet yourself makes you stronger.

Zone Conference last week was very good. We watched a video about a guy named Billy Peck. He was a real go getter who would never give up. If he was asked to do something he wouldn't stop till it got done. It was a really funny old video, you should try to find it and watch it. The Assistants gave a training on attitude, it was very good. I love what attitude does in mission work. Having a great attitude changes everything.

I cannot wait for the good old days when I can wear just a white shirt out finding. We are approaching that blessed time.

I am getting to the point where I feel quite confident in my missionary skills and now I want to work on the inner things. Sometimes it can be hard to have a good balance. This coming transfer I want to really work on putting my unique attributes more into my work. The first lesson on George Albert Smith talks about his creeds, I want to come up with some personal creeds to focus on for my mission and my life.

Sounds like things went well with the move, that is good news. Sometimes I look at the picture of me putting Nunners (Andy's niece, Savannah) in my bag and dream about what missionary work would have been like if I had brought her. Oh the success and great fun that would be. I could train her to say, "Hey!" and tap people on the leg. They would all stop and then I could swoop in and invite them. If they walked away I would train her to make a very sad puppy dog face. Hahaha, that would be good times.

I bet you are wondering why the title of this email is Wembley! Well, I will be moving to a new area called Wembley, 30 minutes west of here, in Zone 4 of London. Crazy stuff! Our flat will be 5 minutes away form Wembley Stadium, 5 minutes away from a tube station and about 5 minutes from the church. Wow. President Patch informed me that we only cover about 2 million people in this area.

My new companion is from Whales. He came out at the same time as Elder Mahendran. I think he has been in Wembley for 3 months already. It sounds like it will be a great area. Sometimes I feel a bit spoiled by the Lord, I am getting a lot of very good areas.

I don't know if they will have much of anything for the Olympics in Wembley but they most likely will have Soccer Matches there. If I stay there a while that should be interesting. I hear on game nights it is pretty difficult to get much sleep. Haha. And also just after games isn't the best time to street contact since it isn't exactly the most sober crowd. Haha.

The new companion is called Elder Young. Maybe I will get a good UK accent serving with him.

Love you guys alot,

Elder Larsen