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