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!!!