Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011

Hello Family!
I am doing well here and having a fun time being on a mission. It is starting to get a little colder, a little darker, and it sounds like Friday that it will be quite cool. I think that today I will go and buy a hat. I received a nice letter from Madison. She writes very well, descriptive, and I feel that I have seen her grow a lot. It sounds like you had fun Dad helping those little kids out at saint Vincent's and also doing service there at the cemetary in guadalupe. There are a lot of cemetaries in Russia, and often we walk through a cemetary on our way to President's home. It is pretty, but there is often some trash, so it is nice that you cleaned to make a place that should be peaceful even more peaceful. Here, almost all the leaves have fallen as well.
The ward will probably be completely different when I get back it sounds like with so many new people coming in. We had the opportunity with President to visit another ward in our mission, and he drove there. There are a few places that we can drive to in around 5 hours, and President likes how he can choose his own schedule that way and not be so dependent on the train schedule, but when it snows, President probably will not be driving to those other places.
There were a few baptisms that happened this weekend and some coming next week in our mission. It is interesting to hear about baptisms of people that I may have been around in other areas but just weren't ready. There was a referral that I could not get a hold of or meet in Perm, but she was baptized on Saturday, and the mother of a young woman will be will be getting baptized on Wednesday. Some people just need the right people at the right time, and that is why we are sent to serve in a specific place at a specific time. The missionary that is in Perm right now is a great missionary. It is Elder Ray who's blogs you see. I know that some people are not quite elect today, but that our influence has a lasting effect on people and can help them come a step closer to being elect.
Thanks mom for understanding my decision. I will tell you if I think otherwise.
That is cool how Tyler and President Clason son are going on the mission soon. It is nice to hear about the mission from other missionaries because there are so many great experiences, sometimes sad experiences, but experiences that shape our lives. Thank you parents for helping shape my life. Have a good week. Have a good surgury whenever it will be. I love you all.- Elder Larson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17, 2011

Hello Family,
It sounds like things are going very well there in Arizona. It is finally starting to cool down here, and it seems to be dipping close to freezing. Some of the Elders from the mission use an adapted P90X as part of their morning exercise. I have also been learning a lot being around President Rust. He is a very gentle and understanding man. He is very successful, but he and his wife are also very humble. It is also interesting to hear that Dad is planting since everything here is dying. It sounds like Erik is also doing well, and I am so glad to hear that Shane is working hard. I am trying to work hard too, but it feels like I can always be doing better and I can. Recently I have had the opportunity to hear from President, other missionaries at trainings, through email from Blaine and Shane, and we also saw a missionary who is part of another mission who was with us in the MTC, and we shared a few ideas. This week there was training for missionaries who have only been here 3 weeks, there was zone leader council meeting, we had a visa trip in Finland (I got to go to the temple) (We also met an american who got married to a finnish woman through who is slightly related to my comp. It was strange. She spoke perfect english, but he was a really funny man, and they were able to give us a ride. They had two daughters, and they hadn't watched conference, so we gave them a commitment to watch Elaine S Dalton's talk.) I also went to a place called Surgut with President, which is a northern place. We got to interview a young woman who got baptized, and we helped President with interview and talk translation. I think that as we find and teach people, and even outside of the mission, there are many ways to share the Gospel and it is important to be creative. Our mission has recently set goals, and we are trying to be more open and accept change if it is what the Lord wants so that we can accomplish his work here, and the Lord gives us many talents so that we us them in building up the kingdom as well. Some missionaries do plan of salvation chalk drawings in Moscow, some do Book of Mormon stands, we have been focusing a long time on teaching, but now we want to look more closely at our statistics to see what we can work on, and Blaine sounded like he had a pretty successful open house. I also get excited when I hear about how missionary work is going in other places, knowing that everywhere, the Lord's work is going forth. With the elections and Mitt Romney in there, there will probably be a lot more opportunities for you to share a little bit about the Gospel. Matt's going to Jamaica? cool. Pig hunting will also be fun.
When I was in Finland, I saw some things in preparation for Halloween, so they probably celebrate it, but here there is nothing, and I almost completely forgot about Halloween.
I am really enjoying the mission, and it truly is a wonderful time to dedicate life to the Lord. If we forget ourselves, and give to the Lord, he really can carve us into whatever we need to be. I have seen some people change on the mission, both converts and some missionaries, and the Lord gives us so much, and he asks for so little in return. I love you all. Bye- Elder Larson

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011

Hello Family!
I had a great week this past week. I had the opportunity to do some exchanges with some younger, less experiences missionaries, but it was great. They were very excited about the work, loving missionary life, and looking for any way in which they could improve. Missionary work truly is great, and I love how we had such a joyful time while we were together. I got to take a look back at them, and sometimes they worry or maybe doubt themselves because of language skills, but I have seen that the Lord really watches out for missionaries and as long as we are doing his will we can be confident that our effort counts but is also effective, no matter our skills or abilities. The Spirit is great and directs us to what we need to do. I have an experience with the Spirit that happened this week when I actually didn't act on a spiritual prompting to grab a letter for a less active member. I was to pass it on, but I did not bring it seeing that I would not have a chance to give to the desired person. I thought that it would not be necessary, really on my wisdom, but a sister missionary from the other branch came, and I could have given it to her. In conference, President Monson talked more about the necessity to follow the spiritual promptings, and I want to better follow them. Oftentimes we get no second chance, but I was given another chance. The same prompting came again this morning to take the letter, and I had no idea how I would pass it on or to who, but I knew I needed to take it. Here at internet, the sisters came, although I have never seen them here before at this place, and I was able to pass the letter off. The Lord gave me another chance at a small opportunity to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and I was very grateful for it.
Right now in Ekat, there has been a turn to warmer weather. Today is sunny and nice, and I am actually just in my suit top, but it has not gotten cold yet, but everything is yellow and brown looking. I am interested to see the winter and cold, but I think more towards the beginning of November there will be snow, but we will see. It is really nice, and winter is pretty until it starts getting very cold.
That's wonderful how Shane's companion came over and that you had an opportunity to talk with him and learn about Shane and his mission. He sounds like a very nice young man. I really enjoyed conference here, and I felt like it was very associated with missionary work, and a sharp call to moral cleanliness and daily study of the Book of Mormon. That was nice how you got to see some of our friends and see how they are doing a little bit. I wonder how Davis looks? I wonder how Shane Sorenson is. Hopefully those friends may be interested more in the Gospel. It is also great to hear about Hung.
I will try to answer the questions about school, but unfortunately we might have to discuss some things over the phone at Christmas about it. If I can get a scholarship that will cover tuition, then I think I would like to go to school in April, and hopefully I can find work in Utah so that I will be able to pay for the other items and housing, unless Erik really would be fine for me to live there with him for a while, but I would not want to burden any other person financially. I think that since I will go to school at BYU, I should probably go to Utah as soon as possible to get my life moving forward. It would be a good think for me to work in the summer though, because then everything would be fairly sure, and if I had tuition scholarship, things would go very smoothly. But I actually haven't thought a whole lot about this. I will think some more (but of course not too much as to distract me from the work), and I think next week maybe make a more sure decision, but also I am not sure which classes that I would take as well so I would need to figure that out. Do you know if the scholarship is likely, because that will be a large factor in deciding? Thanks Mom and Dad for keeping an eye after this. It is an important decision. I love you all. I received a nice letter from Jenny and it is interesting how Ryan is forging. I hope you all will continue to be worthy of the Spirit. I am grateful for all that you have given me. Good bye. Love you. -Elder Larson

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011

Dear Family!
I am having a great time here in Russia. that is really cool how you have seen some conference. I am really excited to watch it this next weekend and see what I can learn. Did you see Randall Bennett speak who came to speak to us in our mission? Wow, Shane has over 4 times as many missionaries in his mission than in our mission. That is cool how he gets to serve with his old companion again. Mom wants to here some news about Russia, so I will try to share some news. I got to visit Kurgan this weekend, and the missionaries there are really working hard, talking to people, and living their missionary purpose being really good examples for me. They had a baptism, which was a priesthood holder and great to see. Our investigator Anya we passed off to the sisters. Being that she was a 14 year old young woman, we figured that it would be better for them to meet with her. She went to church for the 3rd time this week and her mother came as well. She also has a large ambition to tell as many people as possible that the Church is not bad and that a lot of good comes from it. Here it has been raining or at least cloudy every day for about a week, and it sounds like it will continue to be like that for a while. Mom, on P-days we do not do a whole lot special. We do our studies, clean the apartment, write home, buy groceries, and then we have a few hours before we need to start working again. We looked at buildings one time, or saw the sights, in the past, we have played frisbee or basketball. The problem is that P-day is on a Monday and none of the museums are open on Monday, but if we wanted to we could switch that to a different day to accomodate. Sometimes we go out to eat and in the past I have made good meals. Also, we sometimes go around looking in stores. Seperate from P-days, you can periodically do a cultural activity which are sometimes ballets or a type of folk dance, but we can somewhat choose. Then if I need to mend something or would like to study a little bit more or write or think, we also do that on p-day. Maybe Shane's P-days have been more interesting than mine, because mine have not been to extraordinary. Maybe he can even give some ideas. I also like that I can just talk with my companion.
This week I have been trying to focus a lot about charity and love. In doing acts of charity, it helps us become more humble. I have been thinking about accentuating the positive a lot and especially in the characteristics of others. Erik after his mission told me that I will need to learn that. I have been trying to look for the good, and it makes me happier, and I do not feel guilty about looking at the faults of others. Christ is the perfect example of charity and love and he also called people to repentance. He did not focus on the fact that some people sinned, but he focused on the path of repentance, forgiveness, and becoming a different person. I know he is my Savior, and I am glad to be his servant. He takes recomittment each day, but it feels really good at night to know you have done as the Lord has asked you to do. Of course every night isn't like that because I may have messed up quite a bit, but I know the Lord loves us, and through him we can have success and happiness. I am having a great time on the mission really learning how much the Lord loves me and being able to spread his love to other people. I love you all. Bye.-Elder Larson