Monday, November 15, 2010

Here's a cool experience that happened to us this week:
Yesterday Elder Simkins and I were in the projects looking up some people that had ordered BoMs and/or movies from the church. After trying one of the houses and no one answered, Elder Simkins knocked on the door next to it. No one answered and I was ready to leave to look up other people but my comp decided to knock again. Still no one. He knocked one more time and then a hispanic man answered. Smikins gave a brief description of what we teach and the man looked at us funny and let us in! We were pretty surprised! We sat down and asked if the whole family could join us and he went and got his wife who was caring their newborn baby who just came into this world last Thursday. She was so tiny and cute! Turns out Sis. Hernandez is a member but didn't know where the church was around here! She joined the church back in the Dominican Republic 2 years ago. She was really happy to see us and then we taught her husband who is not a member. It was a good day! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Storytime!

August sent this story to me this morning, along with this picture. xoxo, Megan

We had a really great lesson with an 18 year-old boy this week. His name is Anuar Andres Mendoza. He's originally from Colombia, but he's lived in NY for most of his life. We found him because our bishop used to be the landlord of his sister and brother-in-law. The bishop talked with them a bit and referred them to us, saying they should be interested. When Elder Torres and I visited, they were nice but told us to come back 3 weeks later, which sounded like a tip-off that they weren't interested. But we tried visiting them anyways. They turned out to never be home while I was with Elder Thompson, and their phone didn't work. But the bishop urged us to keep trying because they are really good people. So Elder Harris and I tried again two Sundays ago and Anuar opens the door. He's home alone but talks to us. We explain we're looking for Gabriel and Kelly and he tells us they're in Colombia but will be back on the 20th. We explain who we are and what we do and he tells us to come back on Tuesday. When we do, he seems really excited to talk to us. We taught him about the Restoration and he accepted everything! He was so excited about everything he was learning! He had also heard about the Word of Wisdom, so we taught him that, along with no tattoos or piercings and he will totally live it! He's on vacation in Colombia now, too, but he promised to come back and keep learning. We gave him a BoM in Spanish (even though we taught him in English) and he promised to read it on the plane. I love teaching prepared people! I won't be here for when he comes back, but I have no doubt that he will get baptized. What an awesome kid! :)


6/18/10: New vs. Old Shoes

Monday, June 21, 2010

August Lactates

I'm not sure who August told this to, if anyone, but this story definitely deserves to be posted on his blog, because it made me laugh so hard! He sent me this in his last letter:

"I just remembered another embarrassing story of mine that's hilarious. It happened on my mission, Jan. 6, 2010. Elder Rudaz, our district leader, was visiting our pad in Long Beach. I was minding my own business, reading the scriptures at my own desk when E. Rudaz comes up behind me and grabs both of my pecs really hard. I shoved him away because it hurt. After he let go I massaged my aching nipples and found my shirt to be wet. What?! I took off my shirt and felt it more closely and there was a lump underneath my nipple! I squeezed it and a yellow-ish brown substance started drizzling out from above the nipple. I was worried now and called the mission doctor. He told me that it is physically possible for a man to lactate... Weird... He prescribed I not let men touch me there anymore. Thanks doc! At the end of the day when we were back at the pad I milked myself clean. Now I have no more problem. :) All the other missionaries made fun of me for it, but I poked the most fun at myself 'cause I thought it was hilarious!"

So... now we know that August lactates. HAHA. Good story, yes? Here are some pictures he sent me today from back in October last year.
10/26/09: August trying to save a baby stingray.
10/8/09: August and Elder Mangum being "betardus bikers."

10/5/09: "Oh noes! I'm ins the waters!" Apparently missionaries aren't supposed to be in the ocean. :)

xoxo, Megan

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pictures of August

Hello to all of August's friends and family! I'm Megan, Auggie's best friend. I'm just gonna post a few of my favorite pictures of August that he took out on his mission, so you guys can see what's going on with him out there.
He's doing really well right now. A Sunday or two ago, he had 5 new investigators at church, which is awesome! He's learning a lot, and I absolutely love hearing about how much he's growing. He says that being on a mission is really difficult at times, but he's pushing through with a good attitude. What a wonderful missionary.


2/5/10: August and his padmates having a long johns party.
4/2/10: August's padmates gave him a makeover.
5/21/10: August and Elder Grimm.
5/17/10: August somewhere in Queens being cool.

xoxo, Megan

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial day

Dear Family,

Today I'm e-mailing at the same place I do it ever week. It's a little internet cafe owned by some Colombians. Spanish people don't really care about Memorial Day. Well, except our ward is going to have a party today that we'll be going to later. Sounds like you'll be having a fun Memorial Day!

This was my first week with this new companion. We have been working really hard and talking to many people on the street. It's great! We're having so much more success than I had last transfer! His name is Elder Harris and he's from Houston, TX.

Hey Chase, Wow, donating Plasma, that sounds cool! After watching my own blood come out of my veins and through some tubes I decided that was the most I wanted to do, haha! Have fun with it!

That's awesome you're going to finish the BoM so quick! Good job! I wish I had read the BoM more before I came out here. I honestly didn't know enough about the gospel before coming here. Best to be prepared!

The 1964 World's Fair thing out here is a little bit boring if you just stand around outside and look at the statues. But there's a museum there that's not open on Mondays that you could check out.

Thanks for the spiritual thought Mom! It's true, without charity (the pure love of the Christ) we are nothing, Moroni 7. That's the reason we are here in this life is to learn to put our will aside. God gave us the gift of free agency. That's the only thing he can't take away from us, and it's the only thing he wants. We need to sacrifice our will to be true disciples of Christ. Speaking of service, you said that you had some good service project ideas. I didn't need them back in Long Beach, but here in Richmond Hill we are struggling to find service. We help people move when possible, but not much more than that or other very small projects. What did you have in mind?

Hey Nick, That's crazy you guys are only living by a few things. Well, I guess not *that* crazy. In my apartment here we only have about 6 plates total for 4 people. We just wash the dishes all the time.

This week Elder Harris and I were looking up some former investigators. In an attempt to look up one of them we found ourself at the correct house, but the person we were looking for was not there. Instead we found a Dominican woman who had an instant crush on my comp. Haha! We were trying to make small talk and in doing so we asked, "Is that your daughter?" pointing to a little girl running around. "No," she responded. "That'll be OUR daughter," looking at Elder Harris. It was really funny and awkward! Right after we left talking with them we met a couple of drunk guys who wanted to talk with us about Jesus. One of them actually didn't believe in Jesus or the Bible, claiming that we are the mutt offspring of apes and an alien race. He refuted the Bible, saying it was all just a made-up story by humans trying to justify their existence. It was pretty funny! :)

It was great to hear from you all, thanks for writing to me on this lovely Memorial Day!
Love,
-Aug

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pink ring and Bus ride

Family,

So, you know in the Cat in the Hat story about how The Cat takes a bath and there's a pink ring left in the tub? So I always thought that that pink ring was some crazy made-up Dr. Seuss thing. But apparently pink rings really exist. We have one in our toilet. I'm not sure what causes it, if it's bacteria, mold, or hard water deposits. But they're real!

This week we got on the bus, the Q56, to take us 25 blocks away. As soon as I got on the bus I inserted my metro card into the machine and said, "Hi, how are you today?" to the bus driver. He looked at my name tag and asked somewhat roughly, "You're the Latter-Day Saints, right?" "Yes..," I began, noticing an opportunity to share the gospel. "You believe in another book besides the Bible, right?" He interrupted. Oh good, I thought, he knows a little about the BoM! He continued, "Your book is about Jesus' life between when he was 12-30 years old, isn't it?" That surprised me, 'cause we don't know anything about that. We set him straight, telling that we don't have a book like that, but we have the BoM, which is the record of the people in America and another testament of Jesus Christ. He asked if we believe that God and Jesus are the same person. We replied that they are two separate, distinct persons. His reply surprised me, "Yeah, not many people believe that, but I think they're different. How could God send his son if he's the same person." We talked more about what we believe and then had to get off the bus sooner than we wanted to because we were almost in Brooklyn. So we gave him a Mormon.org and BoM pass-along card and said good-bye. He was a nice man and I hope he calls the number on the back of the card.

I love you Dad, have a great week!
Love,
-Aug

Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving

Dear Mom,

You'll hear about Thanksgiving from Sabrina and Chase. :)
No, my only requests right now are a scarf and hat! Maybe earmuffs or something.  Also, coupons to use in the supermarket would be nice. :)

Well, most of our members are in need of a car, but that's a little out of the budget. They're all holding on pretty well. One missionary rule in the little white handbook is not to ask family or friends at home to contribute to organizations or causes here. Ever since I got to Long Beach we've been giving good service. We help out at the Soup Kitchen, serving, every Wednesday. Then we also help out the non-member husband of a member with a house he owns. He does a lot of what [Uncle] Doug does, buying and fixing houses, so I'm familiar with the kind of work he puts us through. :)

Transfers comes up next week. So next Sunday I'll find out if I'm leaving or staying. Then that Tuesday I'll find out where I'm going if I am leaving.

Thanks mom, those are some great scriptures! As I talk with people that have never heard what we know to be true, they seem so forlorn, so lost.  I've heard Christians talk about reincarnation, but when I look it up in the Bible, BoM, D&C, and PoGP, it's not there! There is so much false doctrine in these other churches! It's so sad that they don't know the true meaning of life, and Satan just grabs them and confuses them even further. I really feel the weight of my calling when I talk to other people. I'm so glad to be spreading the gospel out here! And at home too, remember what Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Every member a missionary!" We all need to work for this great cause together, not just us full-time missionaries. I thought recently about that idea of taking some of our extended family away to some farm in the countryside, being secluded from the world. While I like that idea, I realize that we'll be missing out on the opportunity to be member missionaries. Prophets have said to be IN the world, not OF the world. We need to be in this world, no matter how terrible it is sometimes. We've all got a duty. :)


Thanks mom, I love you!

Love,

-Aug

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Conversion of Lost Investigator

Dear Dad,

The weather is actually quite nice out here [on the island]. I will be wanting to start to wear more socks, eventually, though. Some nights when we tract my face and ears get cold, but that can be easily fixed by buying a pair of earmuffs or the like.

I will do all I can to obey the mission rules. The hardest rules, however, should be the easiest. Getting up at 6:30 and exercising. I don't like doing either, but I know I need to. Obedience and faith go hand in hand. If I have faith that God made these rules for us missionaries, than I should have faith that he knows what's best for me and I should just obey them no matter what.

Storytime!

Elder Mangum and I, being blinded-in [(transferred in at the same time)] as we were, we didn't have very many people to work with. We wanted to look up former investigators who had stopped investigating for one reason or another. One former we looked up was a man named Adam Gregory. He had started investigating a year ago, and he had had two baptismal dates previously. Unfortunately, he ditched those dates and was never baptized. We figured that if he got THAT close to baptism before, we could get him under the water.

We found the house that he lived in, but when we knocked, no one was home. This was in our first transfer together. Later that transfer we went to see if he was around at a different time. We began to walk to the front door when a little wiener dog with a pink collar came running towards us. It was really cute and friendly, so we stopped to pet it. From around the side of the house, a man poked his head. He came over to us and said hi.

"Are you Adam?" my companion asked.
"Yeah, heh heh," he replied.

Adam was a big man, both tall and a bit round. We began to talk with him and scheduled a day to meet with him again because he was on his way to work right then. A couple days later we met with him and asked him why he hadn't been baptized before. He wasn't really sure, but I got the impression that he wanted to be absolutely sure of the gospel before getting baptized. Strangely, however, he had read the Book of Mormon entirely, read other Mormon books, had some good Mormon friends, and even wore a BYU sweatshirt at times! We could tell he really liked the Church. The next time we met up with him, we challenged him to be baptized on Nov. 8th, a Sunday, after church. He works after church, so he asked if it could be done on Saturday, and then he gets confirmed on Sunday. We said that would be perfect, so we did it. When he got his baptismal interview the next week, I was there on exchanges with the district leader. We asked who he wanted to baptize him, and he pointed at me!




The baptismal service was held at our stake center (where we have a font) and it went really well! I only had to baptize him once, though he almost pulled me in with him! Unfortunately, we had a small showing from our branch. There were more supporting missionaries than there were branch members. But it was a Saturday morning, I think most of them were working.

One of our members that came is very old and didn't want to have to walk up the 5 stairs in our stake center. Luckily, there is an elevator in the building. The building has 3 floors, the chapel is on the 3rd. So my companion wanted to help our member out and he tried to operate the elevator for her. The stake president who was there told him to get inside and bring it down from the top floor. He did such and when he finally got to the bottom floor...the doors wouldn't open! There was a malfunction in the elevator that would only allow him to go up and down, but not get out! He was stuck in the elevator for 45 minutes as we tried to get him free! Eventually we had to call the non-emergency fire dept. and they rescued him. Yay!

Love, Aug

Monday, October 26, 2009

End of October

Dear Dad,

Our stake conference here was pretty good too. We didn't attend the Saturday adult session, but we took our ward correlator to the stake (actually district because we're so small) building for the priesthood leader meeting because he doesn't own a car. The members were told a lot about how to help out the missionaries, which was great for us! :)

District conference was good too, but I missed about the last 30 minutes of it because I was talking with this [former] missionary who served in Long Beach back in 2003-2005 and was back for a visit. He was telling me some really good info about some of the people we're working with that have been around for that long.

In my first two transfers I felt like I was struggling with Spanish. In my third transfer I felt more like I was getting it, even though our branch is half Spanish half English. Yesterday I translated the gospel doctrine class for our English investigator. One of the other elders here is from Argentina and so he likes finding Spanish[-speaking] investigators. So the gospel doctrine class was taught in Spanish to Spanish speakers, and I translated into English. It was hard, but a lot of fun! I'm in my 4th transfer today, and I'll be staying in Long Beach for at least the next 6 months. It's a great place!

I actually didn't celebrate my 6-month mark. I didn't know I was supposed to! My trainer texted me, wishing me happy 6-months, and to burn a tie, but I was confused about that. Apparently you burn a tie at 6 months, a shirt at 1 year, pants at 18 months, and a suit at the end. I don't think Mom would be very appreciative of my burning my suit, lol! I might burn a tie, we'll see if I want to part with any of them. :) I'll take pictures if I do.

Dallas just e-mailed me today. Doug and Lisa sent me a letter, but I haven't written them back yet. Little Sharon wrote me when I was in the MTC, but I can't remember who was the last to not write. Alexiana, Reg's oldest, wrote me a couple of short letters, but I didn't write back to the last one. That's pretty much everyone that writes me. Part of it is my fault that I haven't written some of them back. I have the desire to write them, just other stuff comes up. Last week I was going to write a lot of letters during laundry, but we instead talked with two women there and got a great lesson out of it! It would be nice to receive letters from other people too, but I don't want any "cause I have to" letters. :)

I haven't been very regular about writing in my journal, but I'm very glad that I can e-mail you and record some stuff there. :) I need to get better about keeping a journal of the spiritual things more.

I love you!
-Elder Larson