Monday, November 26, 2012

Manual Labor Is Relaxing

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Have you noticed any cultural differences with your companion?

There aren't too many noticeable cultural differences with Elder Klobcic. He has been on his mission for quite some time, so I'm not too sure.

Question #2: What was an amazing experience you had last week?

This week we did service for a part member family in the ward. It was amazing. We lifted up big cement slabs from the ground just behind the house and put a drainage system into the ground. The water from the rain would get water into the house. We did it with a couple of brothers from church. It is very relaxing to go out and do that kind of work every once in a while. (Mom's note: I can't wait til he gets home so I can help him relax.)

Question #3: Is there anything in particular that you want for Christmas?

In a previous meeting with the Mission President, we brought up that we would like to have more music options to listen to. I have good reason to believe that we will be able to listen to a bit more. I'll find out for sure on Saturday. I would like a CD or two. BYU Vocal Point will be approved. I hear that is really good.

This year I had 2 Thanksgiving Dinners. That made up for last year's 0. It was really good.

I can't believe John is having a baby.

Twinkies!!! (Mom's note: This desperate outburst is his response after learning from us that Hostess has gone out of business.)

This has been another great week. We have gone back into the Town Center a bit more. It has been really fun. We get to go around talking to everyone we see. One thing I have grown to love on my mission is the ability to be nice to those who don't really deserve it. I remember at the beginning of my mission people would say something rude or ignore us and I would get so frustrated. Now I just put a big smile on, say something nice, and walk away. It's amazing to experience the blessings of serving a mission. If you would have put me in a busy town center and told me to talk to as many people as possible before my mission, it would have been embarrassing.

Reading through the Book of Mormon (in 59 days) has been going really well. On my mission I have gained a thirst for the scriptures. Today I read through most of Jacob, including Jacob 5. It used to take me days to get through Jacob 5, haha. I heard recently that if you read 7 pages a day you can finish the entire standard works in 1 year. I may make a push to finish the Book of Mormon before the new year and start on that next.

This week we, as a Zone, need to make a slide show or short video about a Book of Mormon story for our upcoming Zone Conference. I'm not sure which story to do. I have one idea to do it like a news channel:

"Welcome to the Book of Mormon Network. My name is the Brother of Jared. Let's start off our episode with Judge Noah."
"Abinadi is pleading his case."
"Now let's go to Enos."
"He's praying!"
"Enos is still praying!"

It would go from different stories and keep returning to Enos praying as the day goes on. We'll see what we do, but it should be fun.

Hope everything goes well in the U.S.A.

Elder Larsen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Read the Book of Mormon in 59 Days

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Have you had to pay any customs fees on any of the packages we've sent to you?

I've not had to pay any customs fees for anything so far. I'm not sure how the process works.

Question #2: Do you still cut your own hair or do you get it cut professionally?

I get my hair cut professionally, by myself. I do allow a non-pro to trim the back (my companion). Last time, to make sure there was no mess up, I held a comb as a straight edge for him to cut.

Question #3: What did you learn at your Mission Conference last week?

I learned quite a few things. Elder Teixeira gave a great training on how to find out what friends and family investigators have that we could teach by praying for them. Sister Teixeira invited us to read the Book of Mormon in 59 days, the time it took to translate it. I am doing it and right now I'm on page 64 or so. I was very impressed with them, I felt the spirit. When Elder Teixeira spoke, my eyes were glued to him and I listened for spiritual impressions.

This has been quite an eventful week. Mission Conference was amazing, then the next day I had a great exchange with a newer missionary. Being a missionary is filled with amazing experiences. Sometimes I have to stop myself and ponder how amazing it is. I am in England, I am assigned to an area with 30,000 plus people in it to preach about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It makes me feel big and small at the same time.

Roger is still doing well. He is struggling with his health at the moment but keeps pressing on. We have been working with a member that hadn't been to church in quite some time. He came to church yesterday which was great. We're still working to find new people to teach and found a few this last week. One lady had seen a TV program on Mormons. When I stopped her I said, "What do you know about Mormons?" She expressed her interest in learning more about our family values and the Book of Mormon. It is so exciting to be led by the spirit.

Last Saturday evening we were talking to people in the Town Center. We were walking down the high street past a group of teenagers that were having a little fight. As I walked by, one of them was escaping the hit of the other and elbowed me right in the ear. Haha. It was quite funny. I was hoping it would leave a good mark but it's not even noticeable.

That kiosk looks really nice. I hope business picks up. Kids will start getting "board" of their Christmas break and buy "bored" games to play. Joey, I didn't know you would sink so low as to sell Settlers of Catan. Haha. Whether you make millions with that kiosk or not, the experience will be something memorable.

Well, Matt, I am no expert on Isaiah but it is possible that it would be chapter 56 or something. That rings a bell.

That is sad that Sister Shawcroft passed away. It must be really hard for Nelson. I'll keep them in my prayers.

Have a great week,

Elder Larsen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Most Pure Mission

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: You said you worked at the church farm in your area. What do they grow there?

I'm not too sure what they grow in that church farm. We were just breaking stuff. The fields didn't seem to have anything growing in them.

Question #2: Now that you have a car, are you able to stay out of the elements more?

I suppose having a car helps a bit to stay warm although I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. In old areas we had to take a bus to get places which took a lot longer which meant more time out of the weather.

Question #3: What is something funny that happened last week?

Last week we helped the Northampton sister missionaries move. They had someone in their ward coordinating it for them. The day before the move we got a call asking to try to arrange with a Duston ward member for a moving van last minute. Haha. In the end, we and the member with the moving van did all the moving for them. I thought it was quite funny. Duston ward is the greatest.

Amos 3:7 (Mom's note: This is Andy's response to Matt's weekly scripture quiz. The scripture was "Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants, the prophets.")

This was an exciting week. We had our Zone Meeting which went well, went to T.G.I.Fridays, and I got a hair cut.

Teaching Roger has been great so far. He is the investigator with cancer. We gave him a blessing the other day and he will be going into the hospital for a few days this week. His commitment is amazing. He has made some big changes in his life during the short time we have been teaching him. In our tracting this last week we met a few people who knew members. Knowing a member moves someone a bit closer to accepting us as missionaries.

In the most recent meeting we had with President Jordan he talked about improving the personal worthiness of the mission. He told us of a previous mission president of the Manchester Mission. Before his service they had 300 baptisms the previous year. His last year they had 3000. Wow. President Jordan asked him what things he did. The mission president told his missionaries, "We may not be the highest baptizing mission in the church but we can be the most pure mission in the church." As a mission we are trying to become more pure so the spirit can work with us more freely. I am excited to make changes in myself that will help me be a better instrument for Heavenly Father.

This Wednesday we have a Missionary Conference. We will be meeting with 4 other Zones. Elder Teixeira, our Area Authority, will be coming. He has asked us all to study Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel before we go. I am excited to learn more about how the Spirit can come into our work even more. Being a missionary is full of meeting amazing people.

Marty is talking now, huh? Those little ones are not going to be quite as little are they? Being a missionary is funny that way. I like kids so much but I can't really do much with them. For example, if they sit on my lap I have to get them off. Haha.

I hope your "bored" game stand goes well, Joey.

Mom, I'll definitely make an effort to take more pictures to send to you. That will be part of my Purification.

Have a great week. It isn't snow cold here yet.

Elder Larsen

Monday, November 5, 2012

A-Bomb Lives On

But what happened to Mattman?

Church Farm Service Project

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

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

Elder Klobcic is from Slovenia. He is about 6 foot, he's 26 years old and has a degree in Electrical Engineering. I committed him to have 6 children and he accepted. He is a really funny guy and drives like a wild man...haha, wait for question #3. Don't know much else to say about him. He makes good pasta.

Question #2: Did your Zone change much with transfers?

Other than us, we got a new Elder from Brazil and 2 sisters switched. Not too big of a difference.

Question #3: This week have you, by chance, run over an elderly fellow who was pushing a walker while you were driving your car? If so, is he okay? (We thought we would ask a specific question like yours last week.)

Almost, but no. Although, today when we were driving home from doing service at a church farm, we were pulling onto the freeway and a semi was coming and we were .003 seconds from smashing the back of it or jumping the curb into bushes. Haha.

Matthew Kenneth Larsen, you wore my Super Hero Suit for Halloween!? Must not have fit too well considering the massive size of my muscles.

Matt looks like he's getting tall and staying skinny.

Things here in the UK stay great. This last week we have had some good success in teaching. We are working with a couple of part member families. I really enjoy it because if we can bring them into the gospel it will not only help them but their entire families. It is really funny when we go to the Rugby player's house because they are American. I say, "Can I use the loo?" and then he says, "What?" and I say, "Oh yeah, the bathroom."

Today we had a Zone service project at the Church Farm. It was really fun. They needed some extra help as winter is coming soon. Elder Klobcic and I were the demolishers. We broke down a 5x5 ft little room that came out of the side of the house and sledge hammered a brick wall down. Good times, at least for now. Tomorrow I'll probably wake up to see that my arm has fallen off.

If there are any church farms around, that would be an amazing Eagle project to go with a big group and demolish things.

Elder Wing was in this mission. He went to Timpview. I was in his district for 3 months when I was in Lea Valley. He is quite a funny guy. He likes to ride dirt bikes and wants to go riding after our missions.

Hope  you guys have a great week. I love you.

Elder Larsen

Friday, November 2, 2012

Too Bad I Didn't Get Thrown In Jail

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Did you, by chance, almost go to jail recently?

Yes, actually. How on earth did you know? Haha. So, about 2 weeks ago we were tracting in a village and got stopped by police two times asking who we were and what we were doing because there had been some burglaries in the area. We thought that was a bit odd but continued on thinking not much of it. We only found out yesterday that there had been a rumor spread that we were the thieves because we had been tracting there the day before as well. A friend of some members that lived there told them about it. It was all sorted out by the members in the end. They had agreed not to tell us but we found out anyways. It's too bad I didn't get thrown in jail.

Question #2: It's transfers this coming week, what is happening with you?

I am staying here in Duston. Elder Brownlee is going down to Watford (where the Ensign picture was taken). My new companion will be Elder Klobcic. I think he is from Slovakia or something. I haven't served around him at all so far.

Question #3: What have been some of the highlights of your week?

Well, it has been quite a crazy week. I was on exchanges in other areas on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Last night we had our ward pumpkin party. That was quite fun. The cars were nicely decorated for trunk or treat. This morning we did some service for the next door neighbor of a member. Including us, there were about 10 people from the ward to help at one point. We cut down a tree, pulled weeds, trimmed bushes, and much more. The lady will be coming to church tomorrow for the Primary Program with her daughter and hopefully we can start teaching her.

The reason I write today is that President Jordan has a meeting in Germany next Wednesday (the normal moves day) so, instead of having moves calls on Monday, we had them last night and our P-day is today. I probably should have told you that in my last email but it slipped my mind. (Mom's note: So yes, we were surprised to get his email on Saturday instead of Monday. Sadly, we hadn't written our letters to him yet so he had to come up with his own questions to himself which explains the interesting first question.)

There isn't too much to update you on in our area. I haven't been here almost at all this week. We had a few investigators at the pumpkin party which was great.

It is starting to get real chilly over here. Apparently there is going to be a Siberian frost coming through.

I love being a missionary in this ward, working with the members is great.

Have a great week, I'll have my next P-day a week from next Monday.

Elder Larsen

p.s. Check out the Bible Videos on They are amazing.