Monday, January 28, 2013

Funniest Companion, Plain Pasta, and Cowardice

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Do you still have a car in your new area?

Nope, we don't have a car here in Clacton.

Question #2: How many active members are in the branch?

Somewhere around 50, probably a bit under that.

Question #3: Where in France is your new companion from and what else have you learned about him?

He is from 15 minutes west of Paris. He's my funniest companion so far,
we eat pasta every day, and he was baptized 2 years ago. He has a
brother and his parents, who are not members. He has cousins that are
members, and he was brought into the church by one of them who served
in Africa.

This last week has been great, once again my feet are in constant
pain, which is great. I feel like a missionary again. We are both
really excited to be working here in Clacton, it's a great place,
people in town are pretty willing to talk with us. We are putting a
lot of focus on finding families and people that are seeking the

It is so great to see the way the church is in different places around
the world. I couldn't have imagined going to a Branch with 50 people
in it before my mission. I really love being able to make a difference
in building the church here.

Last week we came to the flat with no food, so we bought some pasta,
cereal and milk. Haha, we have had pasta (basically plain) for all our
meals so far. It will be nice to do some proper shopping this week.

Elder Delannoy is really funny. He is quite afraid of dogs, he makes
me look so brave. The other day we were knocking on doors and a dog
ran up to the door. We went, "uh oh". We hadn't seen the dogs head
until it lifted up to the window, wow, massive German Shepard. Elder
Delannoy just ran off, so I waited a second and left too, luckily
there was no one home to see our cowardice. It's great, we both have a
real focus on our purpose, and both like to laugh.

Hope things are going great in Provo. Take care.

Elder Larsen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Clacton on Sea

Andy has been transferred to Clacton on Sea where he'll be working with the Tendring Branch.

Transfer to Tendring Branch and "The Dream"

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.

Question #1: Are you still hoping to extend your mission?

So I asked President Jordan in a President's Letter if he wanted me to pray about extending and he didn't reply. When I'm around him again I'll ask him about it.

Question #2: Do they have Pringles in England? (We saw some in one of your pictures.)
England does have Pringles, although, unless they are on sale, they are quite pricey.
Question #3:What has been the highlight of your time with Elder Klobcic?
Haha, last week was the highlight. Things are really picking up here in Duston. Roger is interviewed and set to be baptized on Saturday and our teaching pool is a good size now...

And now I'm leaving, haha. Last night we got the moves calls, I am going to go to Tendring Branch (in Clacton on Sea) with a French missionary called Elder Delennoy. Both of us are coming from other areas, so it will be a white wash. In February they are going to have a church building, right now they meet in a school I think.
Oddly enough, a couple hours after the call from the Assistants, President called at about 11 p.m. He said that one of the old Assistants that finished his mission came to visit and when he saw that I was going to Tendring, he said, "Wow, Elder Larsen is being released from being a Zone Leader and going to Tendring. I remember him telling me that he had a dream that he got released as a Zone Leader and went to Tendring." It took me a second to remember that, it was in my last transfer in Lea Valley that I had that dream. Funny, huh?

I'm excited to go to Tendring, it's on the east coast, in the Ipswich stake. Which is the same stake that Cambridge is in, but it would take over 2 hours to travel to Cambridge from there, haha. It will be great to get that cold breeze coming from the sea... haha.

All the best.

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We Should Be More Like Superman

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.
Question #1: What advice do you have for the new teachers quorum president in our ward (aka Matthew Kenneth Larsen)?

I'm not really sure. Matt, you know these young men and you preside over them. The best I can tell you is to pray about and for them and think about them often. I try to think about investigators and other people we work with as I am falling to sleep, oddly enough it's a great time to receive inspiration.

Question #2: How many members attend the Duston ward each week?
Somewhere around 130 members attend Duston ward each week, I would say that is the biggest congregation I have been in. That is except for Cambridge during the summer when 40 extra BYU students came.

Question #3: Have you continued working with the Chinese student who stopped you on the street?

Yes, she and her friend came to church yesterday. They had an appointment so they only stayed for the Sacrament Meeting, but the ward was so excited. They came up to me at the end of the meeting and said, "Do you know who those Chinese sisters are?" A few members introduced themselves before they left. We will see them again on Wednesday.

I sent the pictures 2 weeks ago. I just asked to send it the cheapest way, which may have been a mistake... I hope they didn't send it on a boat.

Speaking of Super Heroes, I was so excited when our Stake Patriarch spoke yesterday. He talked about Batman, Spiderman, and Superman. He said Heavenly Father wants us all to be like Superman. When a real disaster would happen, Superman would fly into the atmosphere and circle the world so fast it would turn back time and he would fix the problem before it happened. We can be like Superman by doing family history. Good, huh.

Speaking of our Stake Patriarch, we have this investigator that we had seen a couple times. We had gone with an 18 year old prospective Elder and in the teaching she always talked about how we are too young to teach her, haha. So we brought the Patriarch with us on Saturday, the lesson was amazing. She had a question she wanted to ask and he answered it without her even asking. I hope one day I can be that close to the Spirit.

The work has really been moving forward, we are having more people to teach, more people are coming to church, etc. Roger's baptism will be postponed just a little bit more, 1 or 2 weeks. We are thirsting for new investigators, and it is working pretty well. Yesterday I called a couple potential investigators that we had met quite a while back, a 90 something year old lady and her 57 year old son. It turns out that just before Christmas the son passed away. It was quite unexpected to call someone you saw doing just fine a few months before and they are now dead. We will go to see her on Tuesday and share the Plan of Salvation and try to give her some comfort.

We received training from President Jordan on Prayer last week during our interviews. I think that has a big part in why we are seeing more success now. During interviews President Jordan pretty much told me I will not be in Duston next transfer. I will be put with a missionary that needs help turning around their mission or with a new missionary.

Dave's moving to New York!? At least that gives me an excuse to visit. He better still come for a few camp outs.

Thanks for your support.

Elder Larsen

Monday, January 7, 2013

Are You Missionaries?

Dear Family,

Here are the answers to your questions.
Question #1: Has it been freezing cold in Duston like it has in Provo lately?

Actually, the weather has been fantastic for the last 3 or 4 weeks. Every day it is between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius (43-50 degrees F). Not too shabby at all.

Question #2: What do the English do to celebrate the New Year? What did you do?

There are big fireworks in London and all around the country, other than that I think similar to the U.S. So we secretly wen to London to watch the fireworks at midnight... or we just went to bed at 10:30 as usual. Haha.

Question #3: What is a good teaching experience you had last week?

Last week we were heading to a dinner appointment with some members about 10 minutes late and in a fast pace. We walked by a couple of Chinese students, just as we walked passed the girl said, "Are you missionaries?" We had a nice conversation and found out she knows the church in Hong Kong and had been to Salt Lake City. We exchanged details and continued on rushing. The following Saturday we had an appointment with them (She and her Boyfriend). They made us a nice Chinese lunch. After the lunch her other Chinese friend came in and we taught a lesson, it was great. They are all coming to church this next Sunday and we'll work on getting them baptized!

Hah, Elder Krebbs, what a great missionary he was. I served around Elder Krebbs for 6 months, he was my District Leader and Zone Leader. (Mom's note: Andy's cousin, Julia, works with Elder Krebbs at BYU.)
I see in the pictures that there seems to be a new fence around the garden, and the kitchen isn't the kitchen anymore.

No, no, no, Lisa of course there are no sketchy people here in England. I didn't get verbally and physically attacked last Saturday, I didn't have the police called on us while we were tracting, the man in the flat below us does not use illegal drugs... Haha. Don't worry it wasn't really physically attacked.

There I was in Huntingdon area doing a little blitz with the missionaries there knocking doors. Elder Fullmer and I knocked on a door, a dog started barking like mad, then a man answered the door. I took a short uneasy look at the dog (German Shepard) then started to say, "Hello there s..." but was interrupted by, "Swear word every other word commanding us to leave and never come back." We walked away being yelled at, walked around the other side and knocked the next door. As we came out from knocking that door he came out across his yard towards us with his dog (sound familiar Joey?). Still swearing every other word asking us if we understand we are to never come back again, etc. In the process he gave me a nice push, which I am excited about. I have been trying to write more in my Journal and Heavenly Father has blessed me greatly. Mom, don't you love the way Heavenly Father answers my prayers? (Mom's note: No, I do not. Why do my boys value persecution so much?)

The work has been picking up again after the Holidays. Roger should be baptized a week from Saturday, and we have quite a few other people that we hope to set baptismal dates with. We have set a goal to have 12 lessons taught to investigators with a member present this week. Church yesterday was fantastic, a Less-Active member we have been working with bore an amazing testimony and in Elders Quorum quite a few people got up and shared missionary experiences.

I got one of the Christmas letters you guys sent. Matt, I can't thank you enough for that letter. I love you guys.

Elder Larsen


Two Minute Teaching Drills

Dear Family,
Mom, you ask what I have done with your son? What have you done with my "little" brother, Nunners, and Marty? And who is this Abby you keep talking about?

Don't worry, you aren't the ones having all the fun with little ones. Yesterday I did a baptismal interview in another area, and their 15 month old baby girl ran up to me and offered me a smooch, sadly I had to decline.

This last week has been filled with all sorts of good experiences. We made a real effort last week to drop by the inactive members of our ward and wish them a "Happy" Christmas. A few people accepted to have us drop by again, many appreciated our drop by, and just one was not too cheerful at all. The activities we have had during these times have been great, many people who don't show up to a normal service would show up to the carol service.

Right now as a mission we are reading the Book of Mormon and a new study to improve our teaching. After getting all the way to Alma in less than 3 weeks, I am now back at Jacob. It has been great to read everything again. As I read the Book of Mormon I really feel that it is true. To help us in teaching we have been memorizing scriptures and doing 2 minute teaching drills with our companion throughout the day.

Hope you guys have a great week,

Elder Larsen

I Love Gravy

Dear Family,
Here are the answers to your questions.
Question #1: What was the best part of your Christmas Dinner?

The best part of Christmas dinner was the stuffing, I love stuffing... or maybe the gravy, I love gravy. (Mom's note: Who is this boy? Before his mission  he wouldn't touch stuffing or gravy.)

Question #2: What was the worst part of your Christmas Dinner?
There was no worst part about Christmas dinner, "I like food". Matt or Joey, I hope you know where I got that quote.

Question #3: What stands out most to you from our Christmas Day phone call?
The thing that stands out most to me from the phone call is... this strange little girl voice I heard in the background all the time. (Mom's note: That was 3 year-old Savannah.)

I as well almost gave up talking to you yesterday as well, it took about 15 minutes to finally get the call to go through with that calling card. I saved it for last so you would appreciate it even more, haha.

I believe Matt's shirt has his name on it disguised as a super letter. That background isn't our house is it? The trim and wall looks like our house, but the rest of it does not. What have you done to the house?! haha.

This week sure has been great, the recent church services have been especially good. We had a carol service with the nativity on Sunday and a carol service with some scripture reading on Christmas. The way I feel about going to church has completely changed. The members here treat us so well.

It has been very special to study the scriptures and watch the devotional and other videos about the birth of the Saviour. There is a very special spirit about it. I really love the Bible Videos that the Church is making, they just go through the scriptures like it is. I hope that we can continue to take advantage of this wonderful time when peoples hearts are softened towards the Saviour.

It's funny that yesterday I mentioned Brandon's pointy toed shoes in the phone call and then this morning I see that you wrote that in your email. I'm going to have look around some of the stores for a suit and shoes, this time of year they have the big sales. Don't count on me wearing them while I'm still here though. Have a great week!

Elder Larsen