Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lea Valley Mansion Kitchen

Zone Leader

Dear Family,

Question #1: What are your responsibilities as a Zone Leader? (You were secretive and didn't tell us but President Patch wrote to us.)

Hmmm, it must have been a mistake. If I was Zone leader, I would go on work-overs with all the missionaries in the Zone, report the numbers and how the missionaries are doing to the Assistants, set goals to help the Zone improve, work with the Stake, and so forth.

Question #2: Is the Hyde Park Chapel in your area?

Nope, but we often go down there for work-overs, meetings, and p-days.

Question #3: What approach are you using these days?

What I say often changes, I like to mix it up so it doesn't get routine. This past week I have been asking people what their favorite food is and asking them why Jesus Christ was widely rejected.

Oh no, you're letting Matt sleep in my room? Only if he wears my Tim Duncan jersey and roots the Spurs on for their games. Haha.

Matt, I think if your super power is to have your freckles explode that would be amazing. Just make sure when I am watching the show I have an empty stomach.

Today we are going to Hyde Park to play some ultimate frisbee!

Dad, whenever I see big motorcycles riding down the road I imagine us cruising up those mountains.

Things are going really well here in Lea Valley. I had my first Lea Valley Ward Sacrament Meeting since I have been back, it was great. I was able to see some old faces and the ward seems really excited with us missionaries.

Having three missionaries is great because we can really divide our focuses to make sure to get the best results. For example, this week I will be in charge of getting members involved in the work, Elder Birberg will confirm all our appointments before we see them, and Elder Montgomery will be doing the Area Book and inviting people to church.

This week we should be doing some splits with members of the ward, that way we can get more things done and make use of our trio.

It is really exciting to be with these great missionaries, we really build each other up. Elder Birberg has just 4 weeks left and is keeping up well.

This Wednesday is Zone Conference, this will be very great. I am always excited for these wonderful meetings. President Patch is always very inspiring. This will also be his last Zone Conference. Lots of the missionaries who were the young missionaries when I came in will also give their departing testimonies.

Thanks be to God. Have a great week, I love you.

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lea Valley Mansion

I Love Being in This Mission

Dear Family,

Question #1: What's the scoop on your two new companions?

Elder Montgomery is from Centerville, Utah. He is a really great missionary. Elder Birberg is from Sweden. Both of these missionaries are top notch. Elder Montgomery has been out for 11 months and Elder Birberg has 1 month left.

Question #2: What do you do different as a trio in finding, etc?

So far we haven't done too much very different. We always split up and talk to people, we have been talking to loads of people. It can be interesting to teach people with members, 4 on 1, it can be a bit daunting. This week we will go on splits with members allowing us to be twice as effective.

Question #3: What is different and what is the same about Lea Valley the second time around?

Now there is just one companionship in Lea Valley, one floor of the house (aka Lea Valley Mansion) for each of us. It is a lot warmer than when I was here before, but still not really summer yet. We still have some of those April showers. Lots of things seem to be the same. The Hyde Park Chapel is open and will be dedicated in July by the Area President, Elder Kopishka.

It has been a great week here in Lea Valley. It is good to be back. All three of us standing in front of the chapel and inviting people in has been great.

I really enjoy our companionship, we all seem to lift each other to higher levels and have a common goal. If we ever have a problem, we can all talk about it and do what is right. It is the first time in a long time that I have been with experienced missionaries, so it will be exciting.

Today we had Zone Meeting at the Hyde Park Chapel. In the morning I was looking at the old Mission Presidents, wow. There are 4 or 5 prophets on there and a good number of apostles. I just love being in this mission. I can't believe that when I opened my call I was slightly disappointed. The Lord knows best.

We also had stake conference this past Sunday. During the service I really had in my mind letting the gospel change you. I look back on my mission at the rapid change that happened to me early on. I have noticed that we change the most when we set our wills aside and focus on the will of the Father, which is to serve others. Heavenly Father didn't send us to take the easy way out. I hope to re-evaluatae my missionary service now and make any improvements to increase my rate of change.

There is a missionary here in my Zone called Elder Lawrence, he went to the same high school as Michael.

Mom, you must not know very many missionaries. (Mom's note: I told him he was the most amazing missionary I know. I guess I better rephrase that in my next letter.)

I'm having a strange time imagining Lincoln as a dad, haha. By the time I get back old Cec will be 3 years old. (Mom's note: If that were true, Andy would have to extend his mission 2 years! Which is obviously what he wishes he could do.)

Things are going great, have a great week.

Elder Larsen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goodbye, Wembley

Back to Lea Valley

Dear Family,

Question #1: What was your favorite part of the Mother's Day phone call?

I really liked it all. Matt sounds a bit different. It was funny to talk to Joey about him being smooched on his mission.

Question #2: Is Elder Young's accent pretty different being from Wales?

Elder Young's accent is really quite mild, he lived a bit of his life in England and Northern Wales and is relatively English sounding. He has a mild English accent.

Question #3: What was the most inspirational thing that happened last week?

Last week we met a guy from the Phillipines who knew a bit about the Church when he was back home but his parents are Catholic and didn't want him to join. Now that he is here, we talked to him on the street and taught him a lesson and he asked what he has to do to be a member. We set a date for his baptism.

After talking to you guys on the phone, it was so great, I really miss your voices. Yesterday I talked to President Patch and I'm going home. Not.

The name of the Ukrainian Elder in the Ensign picture that Ammon Weser met in Czech Republic and Kai Weser met in the MTC is Elder Boysuk. He came in the field the same time as me, but was in the MTC for 9 weeks in Provo.

The time here in Wembley has been good, I have really enjoyed the people here, the mixed culture is very good. I love to see the truths that are all over the place. I will have to study more about other cultures and religions.

This past Sunday, as I mentioned on the phone, there was a baptism of a man called Jan Naziri that was great to see. He bore his testimony with his very broken English, the Spirit was very strong. After his baptism, I think he will be very well welcomed in the ward.

I am so excited to return home to Lea Valley... I will be going back there and will be in a trio. One companion, Elder Bierberg is from Sweden. The other, Elder Montgomery, is from the U.S., not sure what state. I am excited, it will be quite interesting to go back there.

I can't believe Emma was lucky enough to be mugged with a knife, Dad was lucky enough to get stabbed in the hand, and Joey got the headbutt/punch combo. When do I get my story to tell?

Thanks for all you do, you make me happy.

Matt, do you still say "Peace to ya"?

Elder Larsen

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Ben at Night

Marty on Matt

Police, police!

Dear Family,

Question #1: How did that picture of you end up in the Ensign?

Elder Krebs (Zone Leader) had a member of the church take a picture of our Zone the day of General Conference and sent it in.

Question #2: How was your tour of St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey last week?

We ended up only going to Westminster, we were able to go to a 45 minute service. It was really great. There are quite a few famous people buried there, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, very interesting. The service was really nice, the choir they had was great. We also saw the most amazing toy shop I have ever seen, 5 or 6 stories just full of amazing toys and workers doing really amazing things.

Question #3: What's the most humorous experience you had last week?

Not really a funny story, but an interesting one. There we were knocking on doors, not far from where we live, at the high street. As we are walking to the next door I glance across the street and see a couple police officers walking with 3 guys in hoods. One guy in a hood had a big metal pipe, probably 3 feet long with a radius of 5 inches. The officer says something to him. I think, "That is a bit weird", but just move on to the next door. Right as I knock, SMASH, "Police, police!" I looked across the road and they had smashed the door down and run in. Was an interesting experience.

Marty looks like he is going to destroy Matt, haha, we see where his loyalties are.

So, Matt is blooming into an All-Star. I'll have to work on my moves... or we could just have a stand up all day and walking contest, haha.

This has been a great week. We got a wonderful new investigator called Jaime from Ecuador. We set a baptismal date with him for June 17th. He is just great, he wants to change his life.

We had Stake Conference yesterday, it was really great. They reorganized the counselors in the Stake Presidency so there was a seventy from the Area Presidencey, Elder Texeira. President and Sister Patch were there as well and gave brief testimonies. I love to listen to President Patch speak, it makes me so excited. I know that he is called of God. He spoke on the emotions of the gospel. Some emotions leave when we gain understanding but some never leave such as his (and my) amazement for the love Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have for us. I can't believe he is going in 7 weeks.

It has continued to be rainy and cold here and is supposed to stay that way this week. Where is summer? Haha.

Things are starting to get crazy here. Soon a bunch of the veteran missionaries will be going home. It should be an interesting shake up this summer. Missionaries going home, President Patch leaving, President Jordan coming in, and the Olympics. I am happy to be in the Best Mission in the World.

I hope you guys have a great week, remember I've been out about 6 months. (Mom's note: He wishes. It's actually been a year.)


Elder Larsen

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cute Face

In the Ensign

Dear Family,

Question #1: Have you seen yourself on page 74 of the May 2012 Ensign? (Lisa was flipping through it and found a picture of you and your zone.)

No, I had not seen it yet, but wooohoooo. Please save a copy of that for me. What a great idea it was to do that.

Question #2: Has the Hyde Park Chapel been rededicated yet?

Not yet, about a week ago President said it should be in about 2 weeks.

Question #3: Have you started losing hair in the shower? (Joey came up with this question as he was curious if you are having the same experience he did on his mission.)

I don't think so, my hair line seems to be doing well. I shall win the battle.

I just called and told my Zone Leader about the picture. He is well excited. He is the guy on the bottom left, Elder Krebbs. My companion is on the top, 3rd from the right, Elder Young.

This week has been good. We helped another area in our district do a blitz on Saturday. They set up a stand and we went around talking to people. The ward was really involved and it was great. We may have to do something like that in Wembley.

For the past 2 weeks it has been raining most of the time. I think it's rained more these past 2 weeks than the rest of my mission. Today appears to be a sunny day so I am excited for that.

Last week we visited a Hindu temple, it is the biggest outside of India. It was quite interesting to see what they do in there. They were very respectful and were excited that we were there. Today we will travel to Central London and hopefully we will see St. Pauls and go to a short service in Westminster. This is kind of my "other religion" transfer. I want to see what other religions are like.

This week I have been studying a talk on Self-Mastery by President Faust. It is really good. That seems to be one of the hardest things in life is to totally put off the natural man. I hope I am making progress in doing so.

Have a wonderful week. I will try to take a good amount of pictures today to send you.

Elder Larsen