Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Wear

I Can't Wait To See My Mission Dad

Dear Family,

Question #1: What difference has the Olympics made the last few days?

It has had a very minor impact on us this past week. Just a few more people in our area from other countries and a few extras at church. We will see what  happens this week.

Question #2: What interesting experiences have you had talking to people who are in London for the Olympics?

I was able to go on an exchange to Stratford the day before the Olympics began. I talked to people from all over the place. It made me scared, there were video cameras all around. I made sure not to pick my nose or anything.

Question #3: You said missionaries in your Zone would be working at the Olympics 2+ days a week. What kind of work?

The missionaries go to Exhibition Road, near the Hyde Park Chapel, and talk to people. They give out mormon.org balloons, have badges for the country they are from, their bags have mormon.org on them with a scan for i-phones, the email program, etc. There will also be many events at the Hyde Park Chapel, and the sister missionaries will be in the Visitor's Center giving tours.

We had a surprise on Friday. We got a call from the office asking if we could be there in an hour to pick up a missionary waiting for a visa. We will be with him for 6 weeks until he goes to the MTC in Ghana for his mission in Sierra Leon. Elder Flament from southwest England is now with us in a trio. He's a great guy. They just tossed him in deep water, haha.

I just looked at the pictures you sent. Abby has huge eyes, Nunners' hair is twice as long as it was, and where on earth was that picture of Nunners with the medals taken? Haha. (Mom's note: In our new kitchen.) Don't even get me started on Marty.

I may be able to answer why you didn't see Elder Sikahema at President Patch's mission homecoming. His father is here doing some things for the Olympics and he is here as well. I haven't seen him yet but we have a Zone Conference today where his father will be speaking! I can't wait to see my mission dad.

The super hero name Masher fits you, Matt. You eat enough mashed potatoes to qualify. As far as your freckles exploding... did you want the cartoon show to be rated G for gross? Haha.

Wow, Joey, if you wouldn't have argued with your companion maybe you wouldn't have found that guy. Maybe I should argue with my companions more. Haha.

Thing are going great, our investigators are doing well, the ward here has been really good in helping us to fellowship them.

This week is going to be so great. Heavenly Father put Elder Fament here for a reason. His faith is so strong. New missionaries aren't deluded with bad habits and they don't have skills to pull them away from the Spirit. It will be a week of Miracles. It will sure start out right with the Zone Conference today. Thanks for everything.

Elder Larsen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Houses of Parliament

Email Program During the Olympics

Dear Family,

Question #1: What is the email program you mentioned in your last letter?

Since people will be rushing during the Olympics, and will also be from other countries, we will have a program where they text their email to a number or we write it down and send it in for them. When this is done, they will weekly receive an email with a Mormon message and other links.

Question #2: What was your most memorable experience last week?

On Saturday I bumped into a lady I had talked to earlier in the week. She was with her two daughters and we invited her to Church. She is from Eritrea (just above Ethiopia). They usually attend a Christian Orthodox church where they speak Tegringya but she wants her children to learn better English. Yesterday she came to church and her kids really liked it. We will see them tomorrow. Eritrea is very small but in our area we  have met quite a few people from there. They are very nice. This month we have had about 5 new investigators from Eritrea.

Question #3: What have you learned from your companion in the last week?

Last week Elder Montgomery focused on the Apostasy and Restoration in his street contacting. I learned a lot from that. When we clearly explain apostasy and restoration people better understand that we are sharing a unique message.

I took a video when the torch went by the Church here in Walthamstow but it's too big to send. I've not taken many pictures since charging the camera but today we'll go to Stratford which is where the Olympic Village is. I will try to take many pictures.

They made a change of plans for the Olympics. Everyone in the Zone will be going to work at the Olympics 2+ days a week except us. Haha. I guess we are worthless since we don't speak any other languages. Luckily, there is a spot in our area that is a 20 minute walk from Stratford that has some Olympic stuff going on as well.

Oh boy, right now, just to the side and slightly behind my head, there is a TV which sounds like Basketball is on. Temptation.

I used to think that Joey, me and Matt were nothing alike at all. Actually we are more alike. Sometimes I look at a picture of me and it looks like Matt.

Perspective now and before my mission is totally different. I used to think there was no such thing as different accents within America (besides New Joysey and Cowboys). Now I have noticed there are lots of different accents. Sometimes I laugh when we talk to Americans.

It has been another great week as a missionary. We have tried street contacting in a few new places. Solomon is still doing great. I don't know if I ever emailed about Gareth. His wife is a member in Hong Kong. He was taught by missionaries there and almost baptized. We bumped into him his first day moving into Tottenham and are now teaching him. He is super good and excited to be baptized.

Have a great week. I love you.

Elder Larsen

Monday, July 23, 2012

President and Sister Jordan

My Mission President Doesn't Look Like Tim Duncan

Dear Family,

Question #1: Have you received our package with the camera battery charger?

Yes, we just got back from the Mission Office with it. Thank you very much.

Question #2: Are you still getting rained on a lot?

Yes, it is still raining. We handle it ok, it's just so unpredictable. About every day last week I would look out the window to see the sun shining and put on a short sleeve shirt then at about 3:00 it would be cold and raining. People are a lot easier to talk to when they don't have rain pounding on their heads.

Question #3: Did you participate in any of the events celebrating the 175th anniversary of the gospel being taught in England?

The day of the anniversary was the dedication of the Hyde Park Chapel which we went to.

Mom, it's funny you say that about President Jordan looking like my role models because just this morning I saw a bit of Grandpa Hall in him. He doesn't quite look like Tim Duncan though, far too short.

Elder Ashcroft.... how exciting. To be honest, I was thinking the same thing. If I'm chilled to the bone here in England, what will toothpick Devin be like in Montana?

I'm not sure where the Gameboy is, Matt, but I'll bet there is a set of scriptures in the house somewhere you can read. I love to read the scriptures and wish I would have read more previous to my mission. Two of my main regrets are lack of scripture study and learning languages.

This morning we had a meeting with President Jordan and a few others about what we will do for the Olympics. The Hyde Park Zone will be having 3-4 companionships every day on Exhibition Road and in Hyde Park. There will be musical firesides at the chapel, a missionary choir in front of the chapel one morning, and another email program.

Solomon came to church and during Priesthood we had people sharing missionary experiences. Solomon came up and shared how after meeting with us he went and shared the Gospel with a homeless man and gave him some food. The next day the guy was clean shaven and looking much better. Members of the ward were surprised when they found out that he wasn't a member. The Ward Mission leader said, "I thought you were a member, man. What a legend!" (In his awesome Welsh accent.)

Just over a week and the Olympics will get going. Who knows how it will affect our work and area.

I'll do my best to make up for the lost time with pictures, the Olympics should make for a few good ones.

Elder Larsen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Up There?

Talking to People on the Tubes

Dear Family,

Question #1: What nationality are most of the people that you're teaching now?

We're actually teaching a few people from the Carribean now.

Question #1: Are you seeing any preparations for the Olympics?

Actually, the Olympics haven't really made any impact where we are so far. We are not too far away from the main place (30-45 minutes on the bus) but I think we are just far enough away that it won't affect our area much.

Question #3: Are you missionaries going to be giving service or anything to help with the Olympics?

There is nothing specific yet. It seems like the Mission President will leave it to the Zone and the missionaries to decide what we will do. I assume we may have members invite investigators over to watch with them and think of other things to do.

President Jordan is a mix of Dad and Joey as far as his face goes. He has similar facial features of you both. The hair color of Joey, with the skin of Dad, etc.

I really liked the lesson in Priesthoood about President Smith as well. He moved down along the train sharing the Gospel. I have had a chance to talk to a few people on the tubes. Elder Montgomery is a pro, I need to overcome my fear.

We had the chance to have President Jordan come and teach a lesson with us last Saturday after a Leadership Meeting. President is very inspiring. On the way to our area he was talking to people on the tubes, helping us do some street contacting, and then was very powerful in the teaching process. He would direct the teaching seemingly perfectly. It reminded me of what the Holy Ghost must be like to those that have amazing faith.

It may not be easy to be a warrior but it sure is fulfilling.

We are teaching a man called Solomon from Nigeria. He has truly been prepared by Heavenly Father to hear the message of the Restored Gospel. Early in his life he was Muslim, then all of his siblings converted to Christianity, but he and his mom did not. He said that he was his mother's favorite, and when he decided to change, she did with him. He now has a baptism date for the 18th of August. This will be a great example to his family.

This week during a lesson I received a new insight: Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, this was in similitude of the sacrifice Heavenly Father would make of His Only Begotten Son. I explained to the investigator that often God will give us a foretaste of major future events and that the vision Stephen had just before he was stoned was a foretaste of the First Vision.

My prayer of protection was successful this week. Nothing scary happened other than talking to people on the tube.

President Jordan is great at inspiring us as missinaries. He has made a big focus on building faith and expecting miracles. My scripture of the week is Joshua 3:5, And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

Have a great week, I will.

Elder Larsen

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Miracle and Persecution

Dear Family,

Question #1: How was the rededication of the Hyde Park Chapel?

It was really good. Three Seventies bore testimonies, the Stake President gave a talk, President Kopishke gave a talk then dedicated the chapel. It was great.

Question #2: Have you met your new mission president yet?

Yes, he arrived on Saturday, he was at the dedication. We also had a Zone Meeting at 5:00 yesterday evening. It was a great 2 hour long meeting. They are great people. On his mission President Jordan was an assistant to President Faust who at the time was equivalent to an Area Seventy. It should be exciting. President Jordan resembles what I imagine Dad and Joey would look like if they were mixed together. His dad was in the Military. Something President Jordan quoted from Elder Eyring was that "missionaries are called more to a Mission President than to a Mission Area."

Question #3: Were both mission presidents there for the rededication of the Hyde Park Chapel?

President and Sister Patch were not there for the rededication.

Miracle- On Saturday we were at the church at 2:35 waiting for an appointment with Joyce that was meant for 2:30. We gave her a call and got no answer so we decided to go to our main finding are. On our way to the tube stop we were talking to people. We stopped a Romanian man who was interested and came to the church for a 25 minute lesson. We then set off again, locking up the church and the gate. Again on our way to the staiton we met a Romanian man (he lived in Spain for 10 years). He was losing his faith due to difficulties in his life. We helped him recognize that meeting us was God reaching out to him. He came to the church and we taught him a lesson. We locked up the chapel. "Third time's the charm, let's see if we can make it to the station." Ten steps away from the station we run into Joyce who was running late and her phone wasn't working properly. We proceeded to teach her. Heavenly Father loves her very much to help us stay near just at the perfect time. The stars aligned themselves.

Persecution- Last Wednesday, I think it was the same guy...swung a punch at Elder Montgomery, whisking his hair as he walked away and threw something at me, missed. Be careful what you pray for.

Guess what Matt, my legs are sore as well!

Are Abby's eyes like Eva's were? (Mom's note: If Eva's were enormous, then, yes.)

You made 22 pizzas at the Hall Reunion? Good thing I wasn't there, I would have had 2 to myself.

Devin leaves for his mission as the reigning champion of the Hallympics. This means I will have to await his return in 2014 to challenge him. By then Matt will probably beat us both.

I think in the coming years the Hall family is going to get very very big. Families are so amazing. Because of two great GRAND parents the world is so much a better place... especially Walsburg.

These coming weeks should be very exciting, there will be lots of things to keep track of. We will be setting new goals for this month, full of meetings, while doing all we can in our own proselyting.

It seems like every day I meet people who speak Spanish. I shrink when I think of the day I will stand before the Judgement Bar of God and be asked why I didn't learn it before my mission.

Things are going great.

Elder Larsen

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Heart's Forever Changed

Dear Family,
Question #1: What advice do you have for Devin and Michael as they get ready to leave on their missions?
Understand that your agency very much affects the agency of those around you, your companion, other missionaries, members, investigators, potential investigators, etc. Commit yourself to Heavenly Father from the beginning. Read the first paragraph on page 4 of the white handbook, "When You Accepted Your Call..." and the "Remember This" page on the back of Preach My Gospel. They will do great.
Question #2: How did the baptisms go on Saturday?
They went very well. The mother and her two children were both baptized and then confirmed on Sunday. They will really strengthen the ward. I love the spirit at baptisms, it is a wonderful chance to see the power of God manifest in that sacred ordinance.
Question #3: Are transfers this week? If so, how does it affect you?
Yes, this is transfers. Elder Birberg will be going home to Sweden, I will stay with Elder Montgomery here. Lea Valley 2 will open up again and it will have missionaries from Switzerland and South Africa.
Indeed, studying the Character of Christ is a lifetime pursuit. Even more so, at least for me, will be gaining that Character myself.
I was pondering the other day about the Savior and I came up with this quote, "He is the price that I can't pay." It sounds nice but I'm not sure if it is doctrinally correct. Maybe you can help me, Dad.
I read Romans 14:21 this last wee. It is a great scripture for the Word of Wisdom.
Yes, finally I have gotten around to getting a British driver's license. I took the Theory test, now I need to take 3 hours of driving with an instructor and take the Practical.
Sounds like it is a busy summer. I can't believe Michael already gave his farewell talk. The reunion already! Back in Hidden Springs. Matt, maybe you can get chased by crazy cows again. Catch a frog for me.
Yesterday was a great memorable missionary day. I got spit on (it was great because on Sunday I prayed that I could be persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ), I ran into a guy just returning from Hong Kong that was almost baptized there, and then I ate some cow stomach and toes.
The Mission President switch will be happening this weekend as well as the rededication of the Hyde Park Chapel. That will make for a hectic week. We also have to prepare for Zone Meeting and make new Zone goals. Sometimes life as a missionary seems really busy but I'm just thankful that I don't have to worry about things like money, food, school, and all those other things that come with normal life.
The other day I was pondering my mission and a really good song from EFY was playing; it explains very well my thoughts thus far on my mission. "Sitting in this moment, I'm feelings things I've never felt before, my heart is beating in my chest, and I can't hold back my emotions anymore, and it's sweeter than I ever imagined. My faith is taking root, now that I've tasted the truth, my heart's forever changed, and I'll never be the same...It's written on my soul." That isn't exactly how it goes, but something like that. If you want to listen to it, it is Track 3 on EFY 2012.
Have a great week at the reunion. I love you.
Elder Larsen