Tuesday, December 28, 2010

28 December 2010

Hey everyone
it was good to talk to y'all on Skype the other day! Not a lot new since then, really, other than my area is being split, as expected. I'm staying in the Esco 1st Ward, and some new missionaries are coming in to fill the San Pasqual Ward. President called me Christmas night, and asked me to train a new missionary. Very unusual for someone of my experience level to train, so that's nuts! It should be good though, this is a good place for him to start out.
Oh, funny story, on Christmas after I called, we went to dinner with a recent convert and her member boyfriend. While they were making dinner, they asked us to go start the fireplace. We were using another members house while they were gone, and they had accidentally left the gas in the fireplace on just a little bit. When we went to go start the fire, Elder Child turned on the gas all the way without realizing it'd been on before, and lit it. A HUGE fireball (probably the size of a small couch) ignited and singed most of his hairs, and wrapped around my leg. Obviously it was too short-lived to do anything, but it was hilarious. The recent convert, Christine, stopped her current phone conversation and laughed and laughed and laughed. Good times.
I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday, but we had zero time to prepare (along with forgetting/procrastinating), so I ended up giving my farewell talk again. I got lots of compliments, so I guess it worked out! Whew!
Well that's about all for this week! I'll let you know how the greenie is next week, and how it's all going. It'll be interesting, especially living with the Boroughs. haha...
Happy new year everyone, I hope Christmas was great. I love you all, take care

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21 December 2010

Hey everyone!
It's been a great week!
First off with the best news! Barry was baptized on Saturday!!! He is doing very well and has good friends in the ward now. He will be fine.
Funny story, Barry is a big man. A very big man. We found a GIANT suit for him, a 4X, at the church, and it wouldn't fit. You can fit Tara and Camillle in a 4X. We spent 3 hours trying to find a bigger suit Friday morning, and finally got one from the San Diego temple to rent. They had 1 6X suit, and let us borrow it. He fit, whew!
Since Barry has a really bad back, we almost had Elder Child AND me baptize him and lift him out (we got permission to do so), but we ended up putting a church chair under water, and having Barry literally sit in the chair, and then Elder Child pushed the rest of him under water. The first time we tried it, Elder Child said the prayer wrong, so we did it a second time. Barry's pinky and belly were above the water the second time, but the third attempt was good! I gave a talk at the baptism on the Holy Ghost, and then on Sunday I had the priviledge of confirming him. It was really cool to literally feel the transfer of the Holy Ghost from me to him.
I also found out on Wednesday that Phillip [edit last name], one of my investigators in Mira Mesa, got baptized and confirmed the Sunday after I left, as scheduled, so that was awesome! Missionary work is very hard, but seeing baptisms makes ALL the work on the side even more worth it.
On Thursday, Elder Child and I got some wood, and made a small replica of Lehi's dream on a board. We made it so it can be built and taken down, so little kids can participate in the lesson. We drilled 3 holes so we can stick the "tree" in and out, as well as the iron rod. It's awesome! We are going to put some velcro on the "great and spacious building" so little kids can build it. We took it to our lesson that evening with a recent convert, and they loved it. After the lesson, the convert's boyfriend Kurt (a member from Vista, grew up in Sp. Fork) showed us his 7 pistols. They were awesome. It was a little awkward though, since he brought in the guns to the church (against his girlfriend's will) to show us. Don't worry, we didn't pick them up--that's against our rules. They are so funny. They are both in their 50's, and I would bet they'll get married. We're having Christmas dinner with them.
After the lesson, we went to a member's house--the Christensens-- to help them out with stuff, and while watching then prepare dessert, Elder Child mentioned that it was impossible to swallow a spoonful of unsweetened cinnamon. I took him up on the challenge. I failed. Camille, I dare you to try it. Let me know how it goes.
Well it's Christmas time! I hope you are all happy and well wherever you are. I think about you and pray for you, and don't forget why we celebrate the holiday! I think you should include Hel 8/9 in Grandpa's Luke story he reads.
Final decision--I will call Mom's cell phone at 12:30MT on Christmas Day. If Skype doesn't work, etc, I will call other phones individually. I will do my best to talk to everyone. Yes, I am allowed to. We can call all immediate family. I look forward to talking to you all! I love you all so much. Merry Christmas
Elder Jon La Follette

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

14 December 2010

Hey everyone!
Sorry about the short replies to your personal emails, we had a temple trip this morning so it squished the rest of our day. I appreciate them though!
This week has been another good one. It's been HOT though! It feels like late June or early August in Utah! It's been above 90 everyday this week. Blegh
This week in Escondido there was a house that belonged to a guy who made massive amounts of homemade explosives, with very dangerous chemicals. The police found out a couple weeks ago and arrested him, and this week they did a controlled exploding/burning of his house. It was pretty cool. Some people said it was national news, so you may or may not have heard about it.
Barry might get baptized on Saturday. He has been taught all the necessary lessons to be interviewed, and he will be interviewed tomorrow. If all goes well, I'll have a baptism to talk about next week!
Still no word from Salt Lake on Jamie's situation.
This morning we went to the temple again. We got special permission from President Cook to go WAY early with the Jahns because they work in the temple on Tuesday mornings. Missionaries only get one session when they go, but we got to get to the temple a 5am and do two sessions and 7 initiatories, and we got breakfast at the cafeteria. It was awesome!! They do a really neat job with Christmas lights at the San Diego temple, it's almost as cool as Temple Square. We got there when it was still dark, so the lights were really bright, and spotlights were still on the temple, and everything was surrounded by the morning marine fog. That was really neat! Sorry I forgot my camera.
Christmas is coming up soon! A lot of people are in the Christmas spirit down here, and I am sure they are wherever y'all live. Whenever you read or think about the Christmas story, remember to include the Christmas story on the American continent with the Nephites and Lamanites! Christ wasn't born there, but there were a lot of cool things that happened. Helaman 8-9 (I think) covers that, so I suggest you read that again when you're in a Christmas-y mood.
I appreciate the support, love, prayers, etc in my behalf. I feel very blessed to have the family I have. I pray for each one of you individually, and I hope you are all doing well. I'll miss y'all this Christmas, but there'll be more in the near future I'll be there for.
I love you all so much, I hope you all stay well. Keep writing! I've had a big lack of letters the past couple weeks!
Have a great week
Elder Jon

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

7 December 2010

Hello everyone!
Today is Dec 7... Pearl Harbor Day.
It's been a good week here in Esco. Recently we've been working on Brother Borough's Mercedes, which has a big problem in the fuel line. I've been learning a lot about cars since I've been with Elder Child. Told you he was like Brad. We changed the fuel filter and some hoses. When we unscrewed the old filter, a bunch of gas sprayed out and got all over us, so we smelled pretty bad for about an hour or so until we showered. But when we were done, I got to drive his car for a little bit to his garage. It has a lot of juice! That was fun. I have realized how much money we wasted when we had to get a fuel filter replaced on my truck or some other car. The part is like $10, and I know how to put one in now. Yay
Last Friday I went on an exchange to San Marcos with our district leader, Elder Walters. He is from near Rexburg, ID. He is a very stereotypical Mormon missionary, it's funny. Went to BYU too. When we were there, we had a lesson with their investigator family, and had it in their storage unit, which may or may not have been their house. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they loved it. The next day, since they only are teaching that family, was spent tracting almost all day. We walked all across San Marcos, tracting and things. Towards the end of the exchange, we decided to turn back on the 45-min journey home, and crossed a train station to get there. We decided to instead take the train back to the apartment, which was very convenient. It is a lot like Trax, but Trax is nicer.
Yesterday we chopped wood for a member family, the Livingstons. Elder Child had the axe the whole time, and I did the sledge hammering on the axe. I didn't have gloves, so I have blisters all over my hands, but it was so fun! Later we came back and had dinner with them. They are a lot of fun, good friends with the missionaries, and their personalites are a LOT like Mike and Emily. Sister Livingston can't say La Follette, so she calls me "wallet."
When I first got here, I slept on a broken box spring bed frame thing that squeaked a lot. We finally got a new one yesterday from the APs. The past couple weeks we have been breaking down the old one and using it for fire wood in our fireplace. Good thing the APs didn't ask where the old one went!
This weekend a bunch of congregations from lots of churches are getting together to do a big reenactment of Bethlehem around Christ's birth. There was a meeting on Sunday at the Methodist church to discuss it all, and we were asked to go by some stake guy. It was really awkward. But some Methodist people realized that we couldn't have coffee at the event, so they timidly asked if hot water was okay. We assured them it was, and then added "hot chocolate is okay too!" They were floored at the idea. I am not really sure why. They were baffled that we couldn't have coffee and tea, but hot chocolate was okay, even though it had caffeine. They were shocked when they found out we could have soda too. That was so funny.
As for investigators, Barry is continuing to progress well. He agreed with and accepted the Word of Wisdom last night, and is listening to the Book of Mormon on CD in his car. He really enjoys it. So far his Bap Date for the 18th still looks good. He will probably get interviewed this Saturday.
Still awaiting further word from the First Presidency for Jamie's situation. Billy will be off parole in February, so he can get baptized then. I will likely still be around. We had a couple referrals from Salt Lake a couple days ago, so we may have new investigators by next week.
Mom said Utah and BSU are playing in the bowl game, that will be awesome! GO UTES!!!
Poor byu has to face UTEP in the chili pepper somewhere-in-the-middle-of-nowhere bowl.
Let me know how practice goes with the teams. Who's in the championship game?
Well it's good to hear from everyone, I hope you all continue to do well. I love you all and pray for you every day. Be happy
Have a great week
Elder La Follette
2 1/2 weeks until Christmas! I think

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 November 2010

Hey Family!
It's the last day of November... already! Holy cow! This Saturday is my Monthday. 4 months. Crazy!
This week has been a good one.
I found out that in the bordering ward, the Felicita Ward, there is a Brother Weddle. Yes, that Brother Weddle. I hope there is some stake activity that I can go meet him at, and give him a U sign!
Thanksgiving was good, except that my companion and I were SICK all day. Our mission president's wife told us to stay inside all day. A sick day as a missionary is not as fun as a sick day as a human. We got to watch Church movies all day. That's it. We had to call our Thanksgiving dinner and tell them we couldn't come, but he said to come down anyway to pick up a plate. We went down, and they had two spots on their table for us (the rest of it was cleared, because they already ate). The dad, Brother Cottam, talked to us as we ate our dinner. He is a jazz trombonist! I hope he lets me play sometime.
Utah beat byu! WOO!!! Most of the people down here are upset for that... haha! Go UTES! Elder Child is a big Ute fan too, so we had a good day.
We were going to a dinner appt. the other day, and we were going about 60 on a lonely dark road. Suddenly there was a huge buck that jumped in the road. We swerved violently, missing the buck's head by about 1/2 an inch. In doing so, we almost swerved off the road into a medium-steep drop. That was scary!!! But, we're alive. Whew
Yesterday we went to a Chinese place with Brother Boroughs and Brother Smith. I got some orange chicken, and it had what looked like a radish or something on it. I decided to eat it, and see what it tasted like. The next 20 minutes were spent extinguishing the inferno in my mouth caused from an intense extra-spice cayenne pepper. That ruined my lunch!
Our investigators are doing well. The biggest update is that Barry committed to (missionary lingo, I know) a baptismal date! he is scheduled for Dec 18. He seems excited for it. He has a lot of questions about the Priesthood that we're trying to answer, that we really can't answer. Such as, why is the Aaronic Priesthood not named after Moses, and why are the apostles called disciples, when everyone else is called disciples too. The simple answers we gave him just confused him, so that made it pretty frustrating! We'll have to continue to study up on everything Priesthood.
Billy and Jamie are doing well also. Billy has a new girlfriend, named Sherry. She is a recovering alcoholic, and super nice. She is a Lutheran, but loves to study about other faiths, especially our church. Billy is trying to get her to listen to us.
Jamie had her baby right before I got here, so it's been hard to get a hold of her, but she is doing very well.
Christmas season is coming up! The decorations are already up here in CA, as I'm sure there are where you all live.
I hope to hear from you all! I haven't gotten letters in two weeks, so you better write! The emails are very appreciated, so those of you who have been writing, thank you.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you all
Elder Jon La Follette

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

23 November 2010

Hey family!
I guess you are all wondering,
I have been transferred to Escondido (some of you may have heard of it). We serve in the Escondido 1st ward, and San Pasqual ward. It's pretty sweet. The geography here is weird-- lots of bumps (they call them mountains), but not in a big line. They just are there randomly throughout the valley. If you look at a bowl of bubbly oatmeal, it looks like that.
My companion right now is Elder Child, from Magna, UT. He was pretty happy to find out I was a U fan. He wants to go there in about a year. This is his last transfer in the mission, he'll go home Dec 28 or 29. He reminds me a LOT of Brad Christopherson. Not the same look, but the same voice, mannerisms, and he LOVES cars and is a good mechanic and fix-it guy. He also makes a lot of "Christopherson jokes." It's been easy to get along with him.
There are some members in the ward we visit a lot to get supplies for whatever, to work on service projects, or to hang out on P-Day, named the Boroughs. In their living room, they have a pool table, a HUGE rock display with a black giraffe statue, a talking parrot in a big cage, a chess set, a weight machine, a bunch of comfy recliners, and a large swimming pool. Yes, indoors. For Tara, Camille, Joe, and whoever else, you know those houses we used to build on The Sims game that were too good to ever happen? That's the Boroughs house. They also have ten (10) pianos. To make it more interesting, Bro. Boroughs served a mission, wears garments, went to BYU, actively attends church and activities, but doesn't believe in God. He has a very interesting but fun personality. They are a fun family. They get offended and annoyed if we ever ask for permission to get or use anything. If we ask they'll say "of course you can, why are you asking?"
We have some pretty awesome investigators, and a recent convert that we teach. The RC is Christine, who is dating a guy that lives in Vista, also a member. She is around 50, but has a personality like Tara, just super happy, silly sometimes, and very fun to be around.
Our investigators are cool too. Billy is a former NFL receiver, played for NYG, and the Chargers, and is a "dry member." He is waiting for his parole to be over in February to get baptized. He is super solid and happy with the church.
We have Jamie, a lady with two kids (2 yrs old and 2 weeks old), who also has a fabulous testimony and actively attends everything. She is waiting for a probation exception from the First Presidency to get baptized. President Cook is working on that with Salt Lake.
We also have the Pinson family. Bro Pinson was excommunicated, but is working hard on coming back to church, and has a wonderful testimony. The first night I was here, we went to see him at work (he's never home), and he used his position at Nordstrom to trade one of my beat-up pairs of shoes for a brand new pair of really nice ones that were more expensive, but with no cost! Everyone helps missionaries in their own way. That is the way he likes to help. Sis. Pinson is a member, and their two children are 9, and are waiting for their dad to be baptized again so he can baptize them. They are so wonderful.
Our newest investigator, Barry, is a big black guy (I seem to be teaching a lot of those!) from Pacific Beach, CA. He just showed up to stake conference a week and a half ago, and wanted to be taught. He's been taught by missionaries before, and wants to try again. He is getting fellowshipped well, and I have no doubt he'll be baptized while I'm here in Escondido.
That's all of the people we've taught since I've been here.
What are everyone's plans for Turkey Day? I hope you all have a great one! We're just eating with some members in the ward. Remember to be grateful for blessings outside of Thanksgiving. We are really blessed.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a fabulous week, and for the Utahns, enjoy the snow!

Elder Jon La Follette

PS--- RIVALRY WEEK! GO UTAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone wear red on Saturday for me, and cheer extra loud. A lot of members here are BYU fans. A couple are U fans. I can't wait to give them a hard time when Utah trucks BYU. Go UTES!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

9 November 2010

Hi family!
I don't have a lot of time, but it's been a good week.
Monday-Wednesday the Santa Ana winds came in and suddenly November turned to July. It got up to 98 degrees on Wednesday. Whew! That was hot. But it's nice and cool now.
We have a new investigator, Phillip, in the singles branch. He was a referral from church HQ, and has a friend that is an active member of another branch. Long story short, we gave him a book of Mormon, and have taught him 4 lessons. He has been to church twice and LOVES LOVES LOVES it. He has a baptismal date for the 21st of November. He keeps telling us every day how excited he is.
I am sorry I don't have time to give updates for everyone else, but our investigators are doing well. Rod didn't come to church so we'll have to push his BD another week. Marvin is doing awesome and found some work part time. He is actually sitting next to me here at the library looking for more work. He is awesome.
Transfers are a week from today. It is very likely that Elder Hinds will leave, and I will stay here with a new companion. We find out Saturday night.
I apologize that this is so short this week. I love you all so much. Keep your letters coming! I pray for each one of you individually every day. Stay happy!
Love, Elder Jon La Follette
PS- Utah vs. TCU......yuck. Let's all hope they pick it up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 November 2010

Hey family! I hope you all had a great week.
This week has been trying, especialyl because my back tire on my bike bent, so I can't ride my bike for a little while, probably for two more weeks, when it gets fixed at transfers.
We have a couple new investigators, one of them reminds me a LOT of Tara. Her name is Collette Graham, but she goes by Bishop. She has the same stature, haircut, hair color, face, mannerisms, open mind, and similar personality to Tara. It's weird! She also went air softing at the Marine base with her husband this weekend. She is awesome.
Last night we dropped by her house a little late for our appointment, and her husband, David, answered the door. He said they couldn't meet because he and Bishop were about to head to church. It was Monday night, so I knew it was another church. We were disappointed, until we asked which church. He talked about how his neighbors (members of the branch) had invited him to church tonight. Then we realized it was the singles FHE, which we were about to go to. We turned from sad to glad in one second! We go every week to the branch FHE, so it was fun to watch them get acquainted and have a good time.
This Thursday we had Elder Zwick of the Seventy come to our mission. I can't possibly summarize all that I learned when he was here, but I learned so much about how tobe a better missionary and human. He talked a lot about having a solid foundation on Christ. That is the only thing that is immovable (Hel 5:12). I had a great experience. I also got a picture with him and his wife. (He and his wife were U grads, so we enjoyed talking about the football season for a brief moment!)
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Rod Hudson at the church, but my bike was broken, so we had to get a ride, or walk. We spent an hour calling for a ride in the morning (27 different people) but no one could come. Finally we got a ride for our investigator, but we had to walk. We also had planned on a member coming with us--Jesse, who is in a wheelchair. We walked to get Jesse, knowing we'd have to push him to Church. He was still in bed, and the only one home. But, he yelled out the window and told us one window was unlocked. So we hopped the wall, climbed through a bunch of garbage and furniture, pried open the window screen, and climbed in the window to get in his apartment. We felt like ninjas. We got him up and dressed, and ran over to the church.
Got a letter from Brett this week too, he is in Sweden. He is happy and doing well.
Well family, it's been a good week. Trying, but good. I love you all so much. I pray for you, and I hope you pray for me.
Talk to you next week
Elder La Follette

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

26 October 2010

Hi family!!
It's crazy how fast all of these weeks go. Next week I will be 1/8 done with my mission already. Crazy, isn't it? I am loving every moment of it.
Recently I've been studyin the 2nd coming of Christ. I encourage you all to read about it somewhere. It's going to be so cool! Armegeddon is going to be nuts. Just thought that'd be interesting for all y'all to study if you're bored.
This week has been okay, just average really. Except that we have no scheduled baptisms upcoming. Within 2-3 days, Marvin, Charles, Zeny, Kerry, and Rod's baptismal dates have all fallen. It's crazy. We are still visiting with Charles almost everyday. His testimony is strengthening quite a bit, and I don't think he'll have any problem getting baptized. He has officially quit smoking!!! The bishop met with him and said he'd write his part of the letter that will go to the First Presidency, petitioning for Charles to get baptized before his probation finishes in 6 months or so. After Charles and the bishop write their part, President Cook (mission president) will write his part, and we'll send it off! I bet it'll be on it's way to Salt Lake City by the end of next week.
Marvin is still waiting on getting his legal papers from his family in Tijuana. He has been trying to call them on members' phones, because he doesn't have enough money to pay his phone bill. Once he gets that, he can get married and baptized. His fiance, Rosa, came to church the other day for the first time and loved it. The Spanish speaking elders are teaching her, because she does not know English. She has been hardhearted the past several months, and she now wants to be baptized the same day as Marvin. It's so awesome!
Zeny was one lesson away from getting a baptismal interview, and getting baptized this week. But she recently learned that she'll have to give up gambling to be a member. She is the founder of a non profit group that helps poor people in the Phillipines that gets its funds from a local casino, that pays the group to bus the members of the group over to gamble for a night. She said she would pray about it, what she should do. She recently decided to not give up gambling, and indefinitely postponing or even cancelling her baptism. It is very sad, but we can't force anyone to do anything. Hopefully a miracle will occur.
Yesterday we were riding in on bikes to eat lunch at our apartment, when suddenly my bike stopped. I got off and looked, and somehow, some way my back wheel rim bent in a very odd shape, making it impossible to ride. It basically taco-ed. It was baffling how that happened, but I suppose everything happens for a reason. I'll have to get it fixed soon. Ugh
On Friday night we ran into a couple of serious bible bashers. Two guys had planned to meet us on the sidewalk one night (it worked out too perfectly to not be planned), and started trying to convince us that we weren't real Christians, that our Christ was different from the real Christ, and that our church, though with good intentions, was really Satanic in nature. One of them was a pastor from Orange County, and the other, I don't know. We talked to them for about 30 min, trying over and over to end the conversation. It was annoying, but oh well. We invited them to visit mormon.org and pray about it. It was entertaining, almost, to see how childish adults can be. There were a lot better things they could have done with their night. The downside with that is that it caused us to miss an appointment with a strong potential investigator. Oh well. That was interesting. We run into bashers a lot (usually JWs), but these guys were extra rough. Good times
Last week we started talking to a nice old man who let us in his home. We shared the story of the Restoration with him. In a very spiritual process, we explained how Joseph Smith knelt down to pray to God, and Elder Hinds shared a powerful account of the First Vision. When he finished, it was quiet, and we waited for his response. He finally said "gentlemen, it has been a pleasure to talk to you today. But, I'm afraid I have to poop now. Have a good day." When we got outside, we laughed and laughed and laughed. It was so funny
The weather here has been beautiful. We've had warm (not hot), breezy days with some clouds most of the time. This is not the October I'm used to! It's pretty neat! I am excited for winter, when it hovers around 50 degrees.
Well family, it is good to hear from all of you in emails and letters. I love you all so much and appreciate your support. You are in my prayers constantly.
I hope you all have an outstanding week!
Elder La Follette
PS-Mom, did you find my camera card? Do everything you can to find it! When you find it, send it down (after you put the pics on the computer), and I'll send the one I have up! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

19 October 2010

Hey family!
I'll start off with the great news.
Patrick [edit] was baptized this week. I had the wonderful honor of baptizing him. What an experience. It is such a joy to be able to participate in that ordinance, and helping one of my brothers come back to Heavenly Father. It was awesome to see his face as I pulled him out of the water. He was still Patrick, but he looked like a new person. He couldn't stop smiling. He said it was "the craziest feeling [he had] ever had. It felt like a dream." It was so fun! Pictures are to come soon.
Not a lot else happened this week. Except, that we had a couple hold-ups on our investigators. Charles will not end up being baptized for a few more months. He is on the tail end of a probation for a robbery a few years ago. That was definitely depressing news. But, I believe he will still be baptized. It will probably happen after I am transferred, though.
Marvin also had a hold-up. I will tell you later why.
Zeny will be delayed about a week, but she will also be baptized soon into the family ward. We are all so excited!
This week it has been really cloudy and really misty, sometimes rainy. Today it's raining hard. This weather is very unusual for San Diego. The people here are running around panicking like molten lava is falling from the sky. It's quite amusing.
That's really all for this week. It's not terribly exciting, sorry. I hope you are all doing wonderfully. I appreciate your emails and support. Someone tell Grandma and Grandpa to write. Have a great week!
Elder La Follette

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

12 October 2010

Hi family! I hope you all had a great week!

This week wasn't quite as eventful for me as others, but it was still good.

Charles ended up relapsing to his cigarettes and coffee right after I finished telling y'all he was done. But, overcoming addiction is a process. He is now scheduled for Oct 23. He was clean yesterday. We are praying hard for him!
Marvin FINALLY got his fiance's birth certificate from Mexico. Turns out he needed it because she tore up her old one in some weird rage. But, their relationship is improving a LOT. We gave him some advice, which coming from missionaries, was odd, but it helped. We told him to be more romantic than he was. He said he hadn't been on a date with her in a year, and didn't really do any favors. That day, he took her and their little girl, Jocelyn, to the park and played games. He practiced saying "please" to her, and spent a lot more time together. She noticed a huge change. They are beginning to be happier. He can't wait to take her to the temple in about a year or so. Marvin will probably be married on Thursday, interviewed Friday, and baptized Saturday. Now that he has his papers, it's a lot more realistic.
Patrick will be baptized Sunday morning. He has a strong testimony already. Though he was nervous and shaking (like Clifford getting into a bath) as he went up on Sunday, he bore his testimony in front of the singles branch. It was simple, but very powerful. He was so grateful for being able to finally come to know the truth (he grew up in Ogden.. haha). He is very excited to be baptized.
Zeny is also progressing well. She finally understands the Restoration and why Priesthood is so very important. She grew up Catholic, and was confused by a lot of things. But, she wants so badly to be a Latter-Day Saint, and is willing to do anything to get there. She is so nice to us! She makes us a lot of Phillipino food that is very yummy. The other day, she had some questions about whether some things she was doing were unacceptable for Latter-Day Saints. The thing she was most worried about was her attendance at several nursing seminars, in trying to become a nurse. We assured her that was completely fine to go to those, much to her relief. But it was really neat to see how faithful she was, and willing to give up something that meant a lot to her, so she could be a good follower of Christ.
Recently we've had a drought of referrals received, and had a really hard time contacting the ones we had. On Sunday, we received 7 referrals. Yesterday we received 3. When it rains, it pours! It's a great day when we receive 1. Some of them look very promising.

Saturday, we had the chance of helping someone move their furniture and belongings out of their home that had just burned down. This person lived next door to one of our investigators. It felt really neat to help. Then, we received a phone call from a member, saying that his mom also needed help moving things out of her house, which had also burned down a couple days before. Twice in one day we gave that same service. It was ironic and very neat!

Yesterday I was asked to give a 15-min talk on Charity in district meeting, which began an hour after the phone call. That was fun. I have never prepared a talk so fast in my life! But it ended up being a pretty good one, and it helped me realize how long of a way I have to go in order to have Christlike love. But if you don't have charity as a missionary, you can't really be a good missionary. I will need to develop that really quickly. I am trying really hard to love the people here, and I do, but I could always love them more.

Well, I don't have really any funny stories from this week. Sorry. If I think of any, I'll write them down in my letter that I send.

I love you all very much, and hope you have a great week!

Elder Jon

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

5 October 2010

Hey family!

I hope this week is going well! The 4th is my Monthday! I've officially been gone for two months already. I'm already 1/12 done. Crazy isn't it? Time goes by so fast.

This week was awesome. The weather was a lot better. In fact, the past couple days it has been super cloudy, and we had a misty rain yesterday that we don't ever get in Utah. It was almost like warm snow, just droplets floating in the air. It felt so good!

There's been an air show going on recently at the airbase, featuring the Blue Angels. It is so. cool. Holy cow! Several times they flew right over our apartments, so close that we could read "US Navy" on the bottom. It's always been a dream of mine to see them, and now I've seen them four consecutive days! There was lots of lightning and thunder the first day they came in, which was really neat. It was the first time Elder Hinds has seen lightning since he's been here in CA.

Sunday night we had dinner with a young, fun family. They fed us chili, which I was really excited for. We get dinners every night, but this one was fun because of the chili. She likes to put spice in the chili to give it flavor, which is good. Her husband and her took a bite of it first, and said she'd put way way too many peppers in it. I figured "how bad can it be?" I took a bite and it felt like my head burst into flames. It was SO hot! I immediately started sweating and snot started coming out of my nose. It was really funny, we all had the same reaction. She didn't finish hers, and her husband dumped a huge amount of yogurt in his to douse the flames. He said he never thought he would put yogurt in chili. The whole thing was really funny.

The other night we were short on our standard street contacts (20 people a day), and we were running out of time. We were a long way from our apartment, and still had 8 people to talk to. Elder Hinds sped a little bit driving around, and the first light we came to turned red just BARELY before we got to it. I said a quick prayer and looked up, and it immediately turned green. It was so cool! This happened for 4 consecutive red lights. We were eventually able to barely get our contacts and get in the apartment on time. It was so cool to see Heavenly Father watch out for us in such a simple, but awesome way.

Two nights ago, we had just finished contacts for the day and were about to head in for the night. We walked down a really dark street to our car, when I felt a really strong tugging inside, feeling really unsettled. It was very uncomfortable. I then felt fear, that didn't generate like it usually does, but it felt like the feeling was placed inside me from somewhere else. Elder Hinds felt the same thing. We knew it was a warning from the Holy Ghost, and we went in a quick direct line to the car. I am glad we followed the warning. I don't know what was going to happen, but I know that we were being warned of danger.

General Conference was awesome! We were able to watch all 5 sessions at the stake center. There were about 14 of us missionaries and like 4 other people. It was fun. Our YSA branch president's son is first string on his football team on offense, defense, and special teams. They had a game Saturday night, during Priesthood session. He chose beforehand to miss the game so he could go see the session. His coach obviously wasn't happy, but the kid was really happy he made the right decision. I thought that was really neat, and a very hard decision to make.
Well we have two baptisms scheduled for this Saturday. Charles so far has been clean from smoking for a few days, something he hasn't had since he was 13 years old. I think he is finally done with that, which is wonderful! Marvin still isn't married, but he is trying to get it all figured out. We are really leaving it in the hands of God.
Time for me to go, but I love you all very, very much. Good luck with the move, and don't forget to ask for help. Wish I could be there to help. Give Cliff a pat for me. Have a good week

Elder Jon La Follette
PS- Camille, my baseball glove is at a kid's house named Carson Rawle. Go on facebook and talk to him and see if you can get it back. It's a really nice glove. Thanks!

21 September 2010

(Received Saturday Sept 25 via snail mail)

Hello family,

I'd just like to finish the email.

Marvin [edit last name] will probably be married this week, and be baptized on the 9th with Charles.

So our investigators are as follows:
Charles [edit]- Oct 9
Marvin [edit]- prob. Oct. 9
Patrick [edit]- Oct 16 (probably will move up to 9) {new investigator in YSA branch. He is from Ogden and never went to church stuff. He is a Marine that works on planes.}
Carrie [edit]- Oct 23 (prob will move to 16)
Shakema [edit] (she reminds me a lot of Daniell)- postponed baptism
Zeny [edit]- a sweet old Phillipino lady who loves learning about Church.
Ben Whitby- sweet guy in late 30s, slow learner but is fun to teach. He will have to quit smoking and drinking coffee.
Ryan [edit]- late 20s, is reading and enjoying Book of Mormon
Caesar [edit] we've only met him once, but trying to get a hold of him.

On top of those are a couple dozen potential investigators and some less-actives. Needless to say, we are busy! We meet an average of about 50 people every day through street contacting, tracting, and referrals.

One day when we were tracting, E. Hinds found a quarter. He wondered what state it was from, so he brushed it off. He said "Wyoming... No wonder it's on the ground..." I laughed pretty hard for a bit. I thought you'd appreciate that.

The Utah marching Band (more specifically some of my friends who are in it) sent me a card the other day! That was really nice of them. Most that signed it aren't LDS. That made me happy!

Turns out one of the guys I know in the singles branch is the son of Bob Bedont, the guy that announces the marching band at all our games & shows. That was so neat! He likes Utah football a lot too.

It's still mid-September, but most people here have Halloween stuff up already. A surprisingly large amount of people have their Christmas stuff up all year. Californians are crazy! Some people CA "The Land of the fruits and the nuts."

I wish I had time to tell about all my experiences. The mission is awesome. I am learning so much about the Gospel as I learn to teach it. We truly have something precious that no one else has. I encourage everyone to talk about the Church this week that needs to know about it. Let me know how it goes!

I love you all very much. Have a great week!

-Elder LaFollette

PS- I got a Dunder Mifflin shirt today for free. I love Kohl's free coupons for $10 off!

Addendum- Thanks for the package!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

28 September 2010

Hello family!
Sorry I don't have time again to reply to all your emails, but I read them and very much appreciate them!
This week has been great. It was really, really hot yesterday. It has been in the 80s the whole time I've been here, and then it was 95 on Sunday, and then 110 yesterday. We were on bikes yesterday. Not very fun! I drank about a gallon and a half of water throughout the day.
Our investigators are progressing very well. We now have 5 investigators with baptismal dates, all in October. Charles (Oct 9), Marvin [edit last name] (Oct 9), Patrick [edit last name] (Oct 16), "Auntie" Zeny [edit last name] (Oct 22), and Carrie [edit last name] (Oct 23)
We had a fabulous lesson the other day with Patrick. Before we arrived, they had watched "The Testaments" which are apparently very, very touching. I guess I am the only Mormon in the world that hasn't seen that DVD. But, we talked about Christ a lot to start the lesson, about what he means to all of us, and his Atonement. The Atonement is for everyone that ever comes to the world, but it is so personal at the same time. Two of the members present tearfully shared dreams they'd had in which they met the Savior, and felt his love for them. Most of the lesson, we didn't say anything, but rather just soaked in the Spirit that was filling the room. It was so strong. Almost everyone there was silently in tears, and everyone had a huge smile. The Spirit felt like swimming in molasses, it was so strong. Even with the places I've been in my life, that was the strongest I've ever felt the Spirit in my entire life. It was very special.
We gave Charles a priesthood blessing on Sunday, because he is still stuck on having 2-3 cigarettes a day. He is pushing very hard to get baptized, but knows he needs to break the habit first. He was promised that as he was faithful, the cravings would be taken from him, and the burden be lifted from him. On Sunday, he smoked 1/2 a cigarette. That was the fewest he's smoked in a day in over a decade. He attributes his success thus far to the blessing. He is truly becoming converted in mind and now in his heart. It is so exciting to watch!
The last of the legal papers Marvin needs to be married should be in today or tomorrow. (This time for 99% sure) He will be married before General Conference, and be baptized next week.
Some of the days have been very difficult. Sometimes it is very hard to go across the street yet again and talk to a person that will most likely turn you down, just like everyone else. But the Lord is with us all. He loves us so much. Our burdens can and will be lightened because he went through the Atonement. He did it just for us. He knows the hardships we go through, and He knows them perfectly. He will take the burdens from us as we allow Him to.
I know Heavenly Father is there and hears our prayers. Yesterday I was having a very, very difficult morning. I felt angry inside, frustrated, exhausted, and sad. I felt alone, and didn't know what to do. I knelt in prayer, spilling my feelings to Heavenly Father. A couple minutes later, as I was still talking, a small voice came into my head. I felt the words "Jonathan, I love you. You are my son, and I love you." That was the first time in my life that I have ever come to tears because of a prayer or prompting. I know He is there. Remember that in your own lives. We all have something very special that most of the world doesn't know. I hope that we treasure the precious knowledge we have.
I forgot most of the funny stories from this week. But yesterday (the really hot day) after our district meeting, we were having contests as to who could keep their hands on the hot metal of the car the longest. Not quite sure why! But it was fun. I got 2nd place before I had to douse my hands in water bottle water. We were also seeing who could pick up other people. Only one person could pick me up, because I've so heavy. But I tried to pick up someone, whose weight I overestimated. Because of that, I ended up falling on my butt. It was really funny.
Well, that's all I have time for this week. I love you all very, very much, and I appreciate your letters. Please print out your emails and send them, because I don't have time to really read them. I will try to write back something though, because I appreciate it so much.
Have a great week
Elder La Follette

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 September 2010

Hi family!

This week went by really fast.

Wednesday-Thursday I was on a companion exhange with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Morton, in the Del Mar area. Holy cow there are some rich people there. It is the richest ward in the church, and pays the most tithing. The people are also less humble and less receptive there. I got more doors slammed in my face there than the rest of the mission combined. Whew! It's funny though, seeing how childish some adults can be. They seem so afraid of two young guys in white shirts. I also talked to a lady in French while I was there, so that was cool. We taught a lesson at night at a park right next to the beach, so that was awesome!

As far as our investigators, we've had some disappointment. Becca (edit last name) suddenly stopped contacting us, and we found out she is moving back with her husband and doesn't want to talk to missionaries for a while. Very sad. She would have been baptized this week. Shakema has also been hard to get a hold of, cancelling appointmens too. It's frustrating, but we have to be patient. We haven't dropped her yet though. Charles is trying really hard to keep the word of wisdom, and so far doing well. He is down to 1 cigarette a day (used to be two packs a day), and is no longer drinking coffee. He has a lot of faith, and is excited to be baptized. He reminds me of Dad a little bit, in that he is in his late 40's ( I know Dad is older), and licks his beard when he thinks. It's really funny. Marvin (edit last name) will probably be married this week, and baptized the Oct 9 with Charlie.

We have two new investigators. One of them is Patrick, a Marine, who is friends with some people in the singles branch. He is so excited and soaks everything like a sponge. Carrie is the other, she is 14 and wants to be baptized soon. She is very smart and is fun to teach.
Well I have to go. It has been a great week, exhausting, and up and down emotionally. I have a good San Diego tan going on.

I will write more in a letter. Have a wonderful week

Elder La Follette

Sunday, September 19, 2010

14 September 2010

(via snail mail)

Hi family,
Here is the end of my letter this week.

I sent my camera card a couple weeks ago. I really, really hope it wasn't lost in the mail. I have like 100 pictures on that.

So two of our baptisms were postponed, because we can't get a hold of Becca and Shakeme keeps cancelling because of homework and friends. Devin just moved out of our mission into his mom's house. But he said he'd still like to talk with us when he's around.

We currently have 12 investigators, and several other people we are focused on. Needless to say, days are busy. We did a lot of tracting my first week, but not much recently. We've been blessed with a lot of referrals and investigators.

Sunday Night, we had dinner at the Colin's house. We have dinners w/ members every night except P-Day. But this time, it was just Sis. Colins and her mom, and we have to have an adult male there, so we were forced to eat outside. It was sad and awkward to tell them we had to eat outside, but being obedient to mission rules is more important.

Last night we had FHE with our singles ward again. We go every week because the branch president wants the missionaries to teach a lesson at the end, to whoever wants to stay. We had a long but very powerful discussion on the Restoration, particularly about prophets (general conference), and the First Vision. The Spirit is so awesome. There was a non-member there, and now he is pumped to hear the rest of the message from us. We meet tonight.

Someone also brought a huge box of old ties to get rid of. I picked out 4. It was like Missionary Christmas! I got a nice one, a very ugly one, a Santa tie, and one with otters on it.

Will, everything is going well. Some days are better than others, but it all goes fast. It's crazy to think I'm already over 5 weeks in, 6 on Wednesday.

I hope you get those pictures.
I also left my razor cord at the MTC. I wrote them, and they said they looked but couldn't find it. If all else fails, I could send my razor home and use it later. Or you (someone) could find me a cord!

Well I love you all very much. I pray for you and love to hear from you. Have a good week.

-Elder LaFollette

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

14 September 2010

Hi family!
Sorry I wasn't able to email last week. We had our quarterly temple day, so there was no time. We didn't even get to shop, so I had Ramen all week for every lunch. The SD temple is beautiful!
This week has been awesome! On Wedesday we had another companion exchange, which lasts 24 hours. Elder Hinds went with the DL, Elder Snyder, so I was left in charge of our area for a day with another greenie, Elder Woodward. That was interesting! I forgot a map, so it we had to cancel a couple of visits because I didn't know where they were, and we also couldn't drive, because I haven't been certified by the mission yet (lots of paperwork)
A few funny stories this week:

[edit content for privacy of individual]

When we were tracting the other day, we passed a house that looked like it was straight out of Willy Wonka. It was all green, but the shrubs in the front were cut in perfectly smooth balls, and there was a perfectly wavy hedge. I should have taken a picture. That was my favorite house so far.
When we were talking to one of our investigators, Ben [edit last name], his wife (who has a learning disorder, and is a member), would make really bizarre comments in the middle of one of our thoughts. For example, we were telling him about the Priesthood and what it was, and she came in with a "I've known sign language since I was 4!" It makes it interesting to talk to them! They are so fun though! She also sings REALLY REALLY loud in church. It's so fun!
Camille, you can use my computer. Be nice. And send more CDs. Just churchy stuff. I'm not picky.
We were going to have two baptisms this week, but both girls are being flaky, so we've had to postpone it for next week. So far, we have 3 baptisms scheduled for next week, with a possibility of one more. I don't have enough time to go into detail, so I'll probably just write.
My time is running out so I'll have to write by hand the rest of the letter.
How is everyone doing? I appreciate your emails and letters. I love you all very very much, and pray for you often.
Have a good week.
Elder La Follette

Saturday, September 11, 2010

7 September 2010

(snail mail)

Hi Family & Friends,

We didn't have enough time to email this week because we went to the temple this afternoon. If everyone could print and mail their emails, that would be great.

This week was awesome. We had a zone conference on Wed. where we found out that until August, the mission was averaging about 23 baptisms a month. August brought 78. President Cook was thrilled, but no one is satisfied. We have a goal of 90 for September. Elder Hinds and I are looking to contribute 5 to that this transfer. We have been blessed with a lot of people to teach. Our top 5 investigators are:

Becca [last name edit]- she is set to be baptized Sep. 18. She is soaking everything up like a sponge, and praying all the time. She is getting divorced and looking for a a good religion.
Charlie [edit last name]- Charlie is in his 40's, divorced, and has been in some pretty deep poverty. He has been out of work for 15 months, searches for a job all day everyday, and still has a smile. He has enough faith in Christ (a born again Christian) for 5 or 6 people. He loves to visit, talk, and ask questions. He is set for Sept. 25.
Shakema [edit last name]- Shakema reminds me of Daniell. She is 16, african-american, and very mature for her age. She knows she needs something to add to her knowledge of the Bible, and she is loving the true gospel so far. She is set for Sep. 18.
Marvin [edit last name]- Marvin is in his late 20's and has been taught the lessons several times The only thing between him and his baptism (which he is pumped for) is getting married to the girl he's living with. that will probably happen this weekend or next.
Devin [edit last name]- Devin is 18 and needs something to do. We had a hard time getting a hold of him for a while because he's always out loking for a job. But recently we had a great lesson with him on the Joseph Smith story He decided to pray right then to know if it was true. So we went outside and knelt, and he offered his prayer. He described being "wasted with calmness and peace." We told him that was his answer. He basked in it for a another five min. or so.

We are teaching a lot more people than I have time to write about. But there are some funny stories.
We met a man that looks like the guy in "Up." He had a memory problem. He invited us to come see his pictures. He showed us pictures of his old job as one of the main guys behind the Tomahawk missile, and he life in rocketry, and his boyhood near Bransen, Missouri and how he herded cattle and drove mules, then about his college ears, and getting a job making missiles, and the Tomahawk, then back to his boyhood, etc. The 5th time around, we had to politely excuse ourselves. That was a pretty funny experience!

Sunday night, Elder Hinds had to poo. To his great suprise, we had no toilet paper. I heard shuffling and cupboards opening in the bathroom. Eventually, he emerged, searched frantically for Toilet paper, then went into the kitchen. A minute later he came out carrying a box of Swiffer wet wipes, and went back in the bathroom. I was disturbed. We told our ward mission leader, he and his wife laughed hysterically an gave us a couple rolls. Wow.

Yesterday we met with Jessie. Jessie is a recent convert. After we talked to him about the Holy Ghost for a while, he began to tell us his take on the Book of Mormon stories, mostly on his idea of what King Lamoni's servants' reaction was to Ammon cutting the arms off. He then told us what the people who were trying to steal the sheep were thinking. He is African-American, and used some of his slang in the stories. It. Was. Hilarious! After an hour of nearly peeing our pants, we agreed he needed to do a a comedy tour of "The Book of Mormon according to Jessie [edit last name]."

Well it's time to go. Sorry I couldn't do emails today. Print them out and send them, please! I will email next week. I love you all so much. Hang in there. The Gospel is True.

-Elder La Follette

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

31 August 2010

Hey family!!
I have finally made it to California! I am currently in a city called Mira Mesa. We are about 25 minutes from the beach. It is right next to Miramar, where the military base is. We are serving in the Mira Mesa 2nd Ward, and the Black Mountain YSA branch.
The first day or two I was dying because I was sweating like a fire hydrant from the humidity, but I've gotten used to it now. Some days it's hot, but it's not unbearable. Short-sleeved shirts are awesome.
President Cook and his wife are so awesome. They are great leaders and great listeners. He said my name right the first time, which was cool, because no one ever does. My companion still messes my name up sometimes.
My companion's name is Elder Hinds. He is from Pearland, TX, which is just south of Houston. He has been out for almost 15 months. He, along with all the other missionaries, is extremely obedient. The mission is full of obedient missionaries. A minute late to get up, get to bed, be in the apartment at 9, etc, is unacceptable. It's awesome. He has a strong testimony, and is very faithful. He doesn't have the most upbeat personality, but that's okay.
Mom, my bike is WONDERFUL. It's a smooth ride, the gears work, and best of all, it's really light. Apparently it's made of aluminum so it's light and therefore easier to pedal.
The night I got here, we set down my bags in the apartment and jumped right to work. It was a little intimidating, but oh well. We had an appointment with our best and most progressing investigator, Becca (edit last name). Becca is around 24ish, going through a divorce, and best friends with another girl in the family ward. We taught her about the restoration, and committed her to read the BoM and pray. We also watched the Finding Faith in Christ DVD. She is having a very hard time in her life, but she is so awesome for trying to press through it. She is going to be baptized on September 18.
It's amazing how many people we teach. We currently have about 7 investigators, 2 others who are almost investigators, 8 referrals, 4 LARC (less active/recent converts), and about 20 potential investigators. As well as seeing as many of those as we can every day, we tract and contact about 2-3 hours a day. Needless to say, work is very busy. We have a car-share, which is we get the car Thurs-Sunday, and the companionship in the area next to us, who we share with, gets it the rest of the week. Mon-Wed we use bikes, and Tuesday is our P-Day.
Our district is awesome. Elder Snyder is our District Leader, and he is from Sandy. He's been out 13 months I believe. His companion is a greenie like me. Next week we go on companion exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I am going with Elder Kim to Del Mar, and Elder Hinds is staying in our area with Elder... I forgot his name. Del Mar is the richest ward in the church, and pays the most tithing. It is right next to the beach. I am excited for that day!
Other investigators are Charles, who is divorced, in his 40s, and going through the lowest of low times one can come across. He's been out of work for 15 months, and has been back and forth between his sister's house in our ward, and a homeless shelter in downtown San Diego. But, he has some of the strongest faith I've seen anyone have. He still trusts in the Lord that he can find a job and get on his feet.
Another is Ben and Kristin (edit last name). Kristin is a less active member, and Ben is a non-member who has a big problem with the Word of Wisdom. He smokes a drinks a lot, and has admitted to an addiction to coffee. I challenged him to not have any coffee today, and take an ibuprofen for the headache. He said he would, and I will call to see how it went. They met with missionaries before, but ended up being flaky and cancelled appointments a lot. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he agreed to read it with us as much as he can, since he can't understand it very well (he and Kristin both have learning disorders). They are wonderful souls, and I think they will eventually be baptized.
I am out of time, so I will have to send it as it is. Everyone have a WONDERFUL week and send me mail!!!
Love you all
Elder La Follette

Monday, August 23, 2010

23 August 2010

Hi Family!!!

Another week is suddenly gone, and tomorrow it is time to depart to the mission field. The MTC has gone by so fast, looking back. I've had two amazing teachers, Brothers Losee and Thacker. They are different in personality completely, but both have helped me and my district so much in learning how to effectively share the Gospel with others. My district has been amazing. We have been family to one another, since we are all away from our real families. I will send pictures home soon, so you can see what everything looks like!

I now know how missionaries are weird when they get home. The MTC is like being in seminary or institute all day, every day. You can't be doing that and not have a completely different mind set than what you've had the rest of your life. It's amazing, though. The Spirit is always so strong here in the MTC, and everyone has strong testimonies of the truth.

This week we had our final practice teaching appointments. Louise, who we were visiting for the second time, brought her husband this time, which was at first intimidating. The biggest reason was that we came to the door to knock, and realized we didn't remember at all what we had taught her the previous week, because we have so many people to teach and no where to write everything down yet. But, her husband said "Louise told me everything you talked to her about last week! It's amazing!" So we responded "Great!! What did she tell you?" Whew! We committed her and her husband to being baptized in that lesson. Of course, these are members being good actors as investigators, but they really help in knowing how to teach. I feel comfortable now walking into someone's home and getting to know them and talking about the Gospel. It's amazing how far I've come in three weeks, really.

We got a new set of missionaries this week, just like every week. But this time, our district was selected to help host the new missionaries, just like I was. I got to take 3 different missionaries around to get all their supplies, to their room, and to meet their district. One was from TN, one was from Boise (a big BSU fan, so we talked about football), and one went to Timpview High. My companion thinks I'm so popular because I've been seeing so many people from high school and college!

In our fireside last night, there was an especially beautiful musical number, a trio of piano, cello, and the best male voice I've ever heard, performing "I Know My Redeemer Lives" It was so amazing and reverent, that the main speaker asked to cancel the planned closing hymn so they could perform it again. It was amazing. This morning in the temple, the elder who sang was in the same temple session as me and my district. Very cool! I guess he's a celebrity now at the MTC.

That's about all for this week, I think. I will get up at 4am tomorrow to report to the travel desk, and travel to SLC, and call y'all, and fly out to San Diego! Thus begins the mission.

Thank you all for the updates. I am proud of Joe and Daniell! I wish I could be at the wedding!!!

I love you all dearly, and I will talk to you soon

Elder La Follette

Thursday, August 19, 2010

16 August 2010


here's the rest of the letter. Have Camille post it.

It's hard to really say what I'm learning, except that it's just... missionary stuff. Finding, loving, teaching, baptizing. That's about it. Lots of sitting. The camelack is the only thing keeping me awake sometimes.

Went to the temple again today. Went last week too. We go on P-Day morning at the MTC.

Another batch of elders left this morning, and the last 4 from their district leave tomorrow. Suddenly, we're the oldest district left. There are 3 districts to a zone here.

I leave the MTC a week from tomorrow. Tuesday the 24th. We report to the travel office @ 5am. We drive to the airport and then fly to San Diego, then drive up to the mission. It's coming so fast! I can't wait to get to real work. I just want to teach and baptize already.

(Addendum #1) Make sure Dad and Joe and M/Tara remember to write or email. I know how easy it is to forget so I don't blame any of them. Letters are nice though.

I need mailing address for M/Em, M/Tara, Joe, and Dad.

(Addendum #2)
Mom, forgot some things.

The other day, I met Elder Roark, who is going to Carlsbad Spanish speaking. He said my name right the first time and I was confused and asked how he knew. He is from a town 20 min. from LaFollette, TN. Cool, huh!

I've also been asked to play piano for priesthood and prelude music for sacrament meeting. Big surprise... ha ha.

I think that's all I forgot.

(Addendum #3)
Oh yeah!
I get a phone call before I get on the plane. I will let you know how many minutes I get. Depends on how many I buy. Probably half hour or so. It'll be like 6:30 or 7:00. Will be early. make sure you're up!

Monday, August 16, 2010

(Blog-Keeper's Note)

Unless the author indicates otherwise, comments on this page will likely be sent to Elder La Follette.

Keep writing to him!

15 Aug 2010

Hi family! The computer is dumb and just took like half my time away so I will try to type fast.

This week was awesome. I've always heard to "make it to Sunday and then it will go fast"
Completely true. I woke up Monday morning and suddenly it was Friday and Saturday again.

Speaking of Friday, Camille may have told you there were firetrucks and sirens and stuff at the MTC. It was Friday the 13th, and on my way to breakfast I saw everyone standing outside. Come to find out, the fire alarm had gone off. Sister Decker said she saw a jammed toaster and some black toast right before the alarm went off. I was irritated because I was hungry, and we were about to miss our teaching appointment. But, 45 min later we were able to go and eat, and the TA people said they'd made a mistake and ended up bumping us back an hour anyway, so it all worked out.

We had a fireside last night all about music. Three composers of hymns came in to speak about the hymns they have written. The final speaker was Newell Dayley, who Camille might remember, was one of the men that helped our Jazz Band when we did the MENC project. He wrote Lord, I Would Follow Thee. The two others were Thomas Durham and Stephen Jones. Most of the missionaries I could see were bored out of our minds, but us musicians were fascinated and had our hymnbooks out the whole time. Elder Cathcart (of another district. He will depart for Fort Worth tomorrow) and I were just eating up everything they said. He is a lot like me, except from AZ. He is a percussionist, loves music, and he played baseball in high school and is a big Diamondbacks and Padres fan. We have a very fun zone. Some missionaries left at 3am this morning to West Indies and South Africa. The South Africa missionaries are on a 36-hour journey to Cape Town. I do not envy them.

I am learning a lot here. We study as much in 15 min as normal people do at home in a week or two. We are cramming our brains full of teaching goodies, and learning how to concentrate on investigators' needs. We teach people, not lessons. I love it here. The Spirit is almost always very strong. Some days you just don't have it though, and you have a "stupor of thought" feeling all day. It's awful! I hope I have as few as possible days like that in the field.

I am glad everyone is doing well. My time is running out because the computer is dumb. I will handwrite again whatever else is left to say. I love all of you very, very much. Your support is awesome. Keep sending letters. The MTC is a wonderful place, but a very hard place to be, and letters are a huge morale boost.

Also, send my camera card so I can send pictures back with some explanations.

The Gospel is True, and God loves you all.

Elder La Follette

Monday, August 9, 2010

9 Aug 2010

Hi Family
Just send me goodies you know I like, I don't care what kind! Also, on Wednesday nights, our zone has "fiestas" where we all share and put some food in a big box and we all partake of the goodness.
I squirt bottle would be nice. My exercise clothes get wrinkly, and it gets hot sometimes. The air conditioning at the MTC isn't very good sometimes.
I am glad you're doing well. I am doing well here, and staying very busy! Of course there isn't a lot of down time so there isn't much time to think about home, which is good. It is weird sometimes to look out the window in class and see the mountains I've grown up around. The hardest part is during gym when we go outside and I can the area where my house is. But I am soon distracted by the joys of sand volleyball with the other elders and sisters.
The MTC is awesome. There is a LOT of work to do everyday. The schedule changes daily because the MTC has to accomodate so many missionaries. My district is better than I could have hoped for. They are Elders Turner (from WA), Buttars (from Logan), Bennett (from Syracuse UT), Johnson (from Holliday UT)--they are all going to Phoenix--, and Elders Hart (from Ogden), Owens (from San Antonio), and my companion, Elder Zarate from Ithica, NY (said Zuh ROT ay). The last three elders and myself are the Carlsbad missionaries. We also have four sisters, Sisters Ashby (from Springville), Thurston (from Burley ID, wherever that is), Decker (from West Jordan) and Lyman (from NC). We all get along very well and have a great time working together. Our two teachers are very different, but both amazing. One of our zone leaders reminds me exactly of Mayor Quimby in the way he sounds and acts, which is funny because his name is Elder Simpson.
The other day we were outside studying as a mission and a bird flew under the tree we were by and pooped on Elder Owens' journal. We had a great time laughing at that. We don't study outside much anymore!
My branch president lives on Osmond Lane, President Myers. Maybe you know him. Our church meeting yesterday was so awesome. We had priesthood in the morning, in which Elders Hart and Owens had to wing a short lesson on blessings because the branch presidency forgot to let them know in advance what the topic was. That's how the missionary talks work. Everyone in the branch prepares a short talk, and two are chosen to speak out of the congregation with no warning. The music is the best here. We aren't allowed to listen to music on CDs or anything so live is all we get. The departing district in our zone sang a musical number, Joseph Smith's First Prayer, with a gorgeous piano part. After two verses, the piano played the melody while one elder recited the account of the vision, then they proceeded with the last verse. If you pick up a hymnbook and read and imagine what it sounded like, maybe you'll get some of the overwhelming spirit we had in the meeting.
The fireside last night was decent, but not as powerful as church. But, there is no sound in the world like a beastly organ and 3,000 missionaries singing their guts out to Hope of Israel and We Will Bring the World His Truth. In the second hymn, the words were changed from "we will be the Lord's missionaries" to "we are now the Lord's missionaries." That was so, so, so powerful.
I've seen a lot of friends here from high school and college and other places. I've seen a lot of Ryan. We have eaten together, and talked in the halls. He came by with his companion last night to say goodbye, as he left this morning for New York. He will be a great missionary.
My new nickname after a night of loud snoring is "Hermano Oso", which is Brother Bear.
Let Kevin know my whole district is praying for him.
My time is running short, we have a timer for 30 min until the computer shuts off. Send mail, email and packages! I will write on Mondays, my P-Day.
Also, there is a pile of institute stuff on my desk, particularly a diagram of the plan of salvation. If you could send that to me, that would be wonderful. Also, send my other camera card. I want to send my other one home next week so I can show you my pictures.
If there is anything else to say, I'll send a letter, since I have about 4 minutes left to print and send everything.
I love you all dearly. Have a great week. The Gospel is True. Tell people to write, letters are not overrated.
Elder La Follette

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aug ? 2010 (day was torn off)

(received via snail mail 8 Aug 2010)


I am allowed one letter today to let you know I've arrived safely and started working.

My companion's name is Elder Zarate, from upstate New York. I've seen Ryan a few times as well as other friends from THS and Utah. My district and zone are wonderful. The Spirit is strong here.

I am scheduled to leave on August 24. I will email more thoroughly on P-Day (Mondays), so you will hear from me again soon.

Send food! I love you all

-Elder La Follette

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pictures of MTC Day

Jon stepping off the porch and seeing his childhood home for the last time before it is sold. Jon and Camille wrote this in the concrete when they were very little.

Jonathan's father, Rodney
Deciding what to order!

Jonathan's sister, Camille

Cousin David
Jonathan's mother, Tammy

A very full Jon
A mother doing her duty- cleaning up Jon's spill! Jon is embarrassed.

On the way out of Missionary Mall for a couple last minute things, Jon and Tammy walked by this sign for a store, so they took a picture!

Unloading luggage

"Make your best cry faces! 1... 2... 3... Cheese!"

Elder LaFollette

A final farewell to his mother

"Well, see you in two years!" Jonathan crossing the street to the Missionary Training Center.