Tuesday, December 27, 2011

27 December 2011


Hello family!  I hope you all had a great Christmas.  It was good to talk to you (the ones that I was able to)!!  Dad I just realized I might have been sending my emails to the wrong email address.  If so, I apologize!  I didn't mean to.
I had a good Christmas.  In the morning we opened the presents we had, a box of jelly beans and a couple envelopes.  We are still waiting on our packages, both of us!  We heard the USPS is really backed up and busy though, so maybe that's the reason.
After church (which was a really good music program--we got to sing in the choir too) we went to the Barnetts to skype, have dinner, and opened presents.  They even got some presents for us, so that was nice!  They had a lot of kids and grandkids over, so it was almost like being at home at Grandparents La Follette for Christmas Eve.  We each got a tie, some candy, a pocket knife, and some black socks.  We ended up getting most of the leftover dessert too, which could be a problem!  I'm going to let Elder Graham take most of that!
Yesterday we were extra concerned about not having new investigators, so we went through our area book and found all the non-members we could that we have any record for, and made a list.  Yesterday and for the next few days, we'll be seeing as many as we can.  Last night we tried about 10, and 3 have invited us back--one of them tonight.  Hopefully our drought of new investigators will end soon!
This morning we again played Settlers of Catan at the Jacksons and had a good breakfast.  I almost won Settlers (it was a really close game) and I won Ticket to Ride pretty soundly.
Other than that, there is not a lot new to report.  I'm doing well.  I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year!  I love you all lots.
Elder La Follette
PS-- GO UTES!!!!  Bowl game Saturday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

20 December 2011


Hello family!  I hope you are all doing well.  I'll try to include a little more about last week, as well as this week's stuff.
Also, I'll probably Skype mid-afternoon, about 2pm PT.  I will probably have Sister Rosell call Mom and make sure that's all good, since we're all spread out around the country and I don't want to miss anyone, if at all possible.
I've been practicing the trombone lately to get ready to play for our mission Christmas conference.  I have lost a lot of upper and lower range, but my tone is still good, thank goodness!  It feels really good to play again, it's been a long time.  I have lost articulation skills too (playing fast notes).  I'll see if I can get pictures or even a video of me playing on Saturday.
Tatsiana went out of town for the holidays.  Her baptism has again been postponed until probably January 28.  Maybe Jan 14 if we're lucky.  We have stake conference in between there so we couldn't do a confirmation.  We haven't taught her in a while, so there's not much to report there.
Her fellowshipper, Yamilda [edit], had her husband come home this week from Afghanistan.  He is not in the military, but is a scientist doing something out there.  He is a returned missionary, but now is not a member of the church.  A few years ago he asked his records to be removed from the church.  He will be home for 3 weeks, and Sis Evans wants us to talk to him and see what we can do to help bring him back.  I hope it goes well!
Last week I did a baptism interview for a young Marine named Jay [edit].  He was very prepared.  He knew some members growing up and admired the Church.  I have done several baptism interviews, but I bring him up because he had a cool testimony.  The last question is something to the effect of "you're about to make a covenant with God to follow Jesus Christ and take His name upon you.  Are you willing to do this?"  He responded "How can I not?  I know it's true.  I could keep doing what I was doing and waste my life away, or I could join the Church and do what I know is right.  I can't wait any longer for this."
Last Wednesday we had a district meeting that I probably won't forget.  The day before we'd had a district activity at the church, and one of the elders invited some high school kids to come join after school and play basketball.  We had decided to play volleyball as a district.  When the kids came, he asked us to move volleyball to just one side of the court so they could play basketball with him.  I tried to talk him out of it, letting him know that wasn't the best idea, but he was very persistent.  Eventually we went over, and another elder went to join them as well.  The 6 missionaries playing volleyball were very upset and there was a schism in the district, and a sour taste in everyone's mouth when we left.  The next day in district meeting, there was some discussion about it.  I decided to abandon the training I was going to present, and instead we discussed the issue all the way.  There were a lot of apologies but it still didn't feel right in the room.  We decided to all kneel down together as a district and I offered a prayer, asking for the gift of charity and forgiveness to come to everyone, and immediately the contention was gone, and the Spirit flooded the room.  The sun even came out and shined really brightly in the window.  It was a really nice demonstration of how the Holy Ghost can change hearts and attitudes.
This week at the lemonade stand I've been holding our sign that says "Free Lemonade".  I've gotten really good at the sign spinning and flipping thing!  There's no way I would do that for a job though!
On Friday we had our ward Christmas party at the church.  It was very well attended and there was a lot of really neat decorations!  We helped decorate between appointments.  There were over 230 people that came.  Bishop Ferrell said that about half of all the members there brought friends to the party.  We were very busy meeting a lot of people!  It was a really good event.  The best part of the program were the young men.  The audience sang the 12 days of Christmas while 4 guys ran around and tripped over each other and tried to hold up props for each of the items that were sung about.  It was awesome.  The prop for 3 french hens was a KFC bucket.  Dessert was a pie contest.  Lots of the ladies in the ward brought their best pies, and we had a feast!  Dinner was make your own burritos.  The tortillas were enormous.  They were more than the length from your elbow to the tips of your fingers in diameter.  I guess they call that a cubit!
We had a lesson with Beth on Sunday about following the prophet and the law of tithing.  She has transitioned to our ward very nicely and will be just fine.  We met in a member's home in our ward.  She is still set for baptism on the 13th of Jan.  We are all very excited!!
Also wanted to mention last week we had dinner at the Beers' house.  Bro Beer's nickname that he goes by is Speedy.  His email address is cervesarob@ (whateveritwas).com.  Translation is beer rob!  We thought that was funny.
Anyway, things are going well here.  I am excited to talk to y'all on Sunday.  Have a Merry Christmas week!  I hope Tara's baby comes smoothly!  Have a good week
Elder Jon La Follette

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

13 December 2011

Hello family! I hope you are all doing well. I am short on time today, but I'll try to type as much as I can in the time i have.
Things are well here. Tatsiana's baptism has been postponed a couple more days, because we couldn't meet with her last week.
She is doing very well. We are concerned she is not reading the Book of Mormon as much as she is saying she is, so we will address that tonight in our lesson. She is doing great, though.
Elder Graham and I are getting along well. He is finally letting me play some Christmas music without getting mad. I figure we're ten days out from Christmas, it's probably appropriate!
Beth is also doing well. She is set for Jan 13, and that baptism should happen as scheduled. She is getting along with the YW very well.
I'm sorry I'm out of time this week. I will try to write more about it next week.
I love you all
Merry Christmas!
Elder Jon La Follette1

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

29 November 2011

Hello family!
I hope you are all well. It's been a good week here.
First off, today is transfers again. Yes, it's already been six weeks since I got to Carlsbad. Elder Herald is getting transferred, and I have received an assignment to train again. We had a meeting last week in Vista for the upcoming trainers. This time I knew all 7 trainers! President Cook has accomplished his goal of bringing it to the point that all of the training elders are former district leaders, zone leaders, or assistants, or current district leaders. I hope I can measure up to the assignment I have been given. Transfers are at 4pm today.
We had two lessons with Tatsiana the past couple days. Her baptism is now scheduled for December 17. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and keeping the Sabbath day holy. She had stuff to work on to keep both of those commandments, but she is more than willing to. She is awesome. We found a place in the 4th ward just to our south that is very affordable for her. She doesn't want to go to the 4th ward though, so we'll see if we can get permission to baptize her in our ward. In between lessons, we helped Sister Evans (Tatsiana's gym buddy in our ward) jump her Lotus. That is a really cool car but way too small for me. Getting back in our Corolla afterwards felt like a lot of leg room!
Several weeks ago Elder Herald got pooped on by a bird--I think I told you all that. This week I got pooped on in two spots--one on each shoulder. I guess that's what I get for laughing at Elder Herald about him getting pooped on!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. We didn't have much to do on Thansksgiving so we ended up street contacting and tracting most of the day. We ran into a lot of football fans--some were sad, some were glad. We ate dinner at the Swan family's home. They had their daughter's family over for dinner, who are not members of the Church, who live in Oceanside. They were a very nice family, and we enjoyed our time over there. In the evening we walked the dark and quiet streets of Carlsbad without much luck! The missionary handbook says to proselyte as much as possible on holidays, but they seem to be our least productive days! That's okay though.
I can't think of much else to say this week. I'll tell you about my new companion next week. The rest of the district is staying here, except one other sister who is going back home to Arizona tomorrow.
I hope you all have a great week.
Love,
Elder La Follette

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

22 November 2011

Hello family!
I hope all is well with y'all. It's been a good week here. We've been teaching a lot of lessons this week to members. Our bishop is pushing us to have a certain number of lessons every week, and we can't fill all of those with our own teaching pool, so we have to teach members. It's fun to be able to get to know members though. A lot of members have asked us to go by and visit their friends.
This morning we played Settlers of Catan with the Jackson family (one of the Utah fan families). We had a great time! I didn't win, because the number 8 kept being rolled, which never helped me. We're planning on a rematch during the kids' Christmas break in December. They will probably be the family whose house I Skype from for Christmas.
We had a great lesson with Tatsiana last night at Sister Evans house. Tatsiana might have to move into the 4th ward though, instead of ours. Sister Wightman prayed and decided to not lower her rent price for Tatsiana. Hopefully we won't have to pass her off. She has read clear through Mosiah 3 in the Book of Mormon. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. AFter we told her the First Vision, she said she felt very happy, and believed it was true. She came herself to church this week even though she was sick (rare for investigators!). She said she feels the Book of Mormon is true, and is very excited to be baptized. The baptism will probably take place December 16, just before our ward Christmas party. Hopefully she can stay in our ward!!!
Last Thursday we had a really good lesson with the [edit family]. Al didn't sit in for the lesson, but his wife and son did. I don't know if I mentioned before, but their son Ian died this January, and that is one of the things that is slowly bringing them to church. Sister [edit] and Chris wanted us to teach the plan of salvation, but rushed us as we taught it! They kept saying "okay, got it! Let's hear about the spirit world!" They had a lot of questions about where Ian was, and they feel a lot more at peace than they used to be. Chris is slowly progressing. I think he will start going to church again in a couple months. Al and Joann go every week. Hopefully we can set a baptism date with Al this week!
I hope all of you are well. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! We will have a good one. I will probably be very full! The family we are eating with is famous for making a LOT of food!
Love
Elder La Follette

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

15 November 2011

Hi family!
First off, I'd like to make a "public" Happy Birthday wish to Mom for tomorrow!!
It's been a good week this week. This morning for P-Day we went to the Music of Making Music, next to Legoland and the Flower Fields of Carlsbad (Mom, you'd like it here!). It was so fun there! We walked in, and there were probably a couple hundred instruments in there, old and some new. There were all sorts of guitars (I took pictures) and several trombones! There were a few spots you could play some instruments, so I played two electric drumsets, a slide guitar, a bass guitar, a weird noise thing I didn't even know what it was, a banjo, and a synthesizer. It was so fun! Elder Herald and I played some songs together. Unfortunately they didn't allow people to play wind instruments, but that makes sense.. At the end they have a gift shop, and I got a post card. It cost 54 cents, but the cash register glitched and said I paid over 7 billion dollars for it. It was pretty funny! I wish I had that much! Some people here probably do.
It seemed like we didn't have much time for proselyting in the daytime this week, because of zone conference, P-Day, Elder Herald getting sick from McDonalds that a member got us, weekly planning, and me getting my back pain to flare up again (it's gone now, don't worry).
Yesterday we had our usual lemonade stand, except 30 minutes before Carlsbad High got out (by the way, I don't know if I mentioned, but Tony Hawk and Shawn White both went there!) it got really cold, so we decided to make our chilled lemonade hot. Some people loved it, some spat it out pretty quick. Most people weren't expecting it. We modified our "free lemonade" sign to "free hot lemonade" but most people didn't see I guess. We'll probably just stick to hot chocolate on cold days! Most of the non-LDS kids at the school call it Mormonade. It's a pretty big deal here! We didn't have the stand last Monday because of zone conference, and we got a lot of complaints from member kids at seminary!
We weren't able to meet with Tatsiana this week because she was working late and was too sick to come to church. We will have to move her baptism date back, probably to the 10th of Dec. We finally have a lesson with her tonight, and we are excited for that! It's been almost 2 weeks since our last lesson with her.
Still no other new investigators, but we met with Chris and Joann [edit] last night. Chris had a really bad asthma attack the night before and apparently almost died because of it. To counter that, they put him on some steroids, and one of the side-effects is that he will have a REALLY short temper. So it was. We got to the door, and his mom had to be persistent in have him stop playing his new Call of Duty (? out of the loop) game to meet with us. Eventually he threw his controller on the ground and stomped to a chair and sat down. It was a rough start to the lesson but eventually it worked out okay. Chris is struggling a lot keeping some commandments, but he is a good kid. Hopefully he can change his life around and notice how happy he can be.
Yesterday we got 3 phone calls during a lesson with Brother Waddell (an older high priest in the ward. Interesting note, his son is Elder Chris Waddell in the Quorum of the Seventy). Brother Vigil called us (a good friend of Bro Waddell) and Brother W told me to answer. Brother Vigil sounded a little irritated and said "I'm down here at the village pie shoppe waiting for you to come to dinner! You have 15 minutes to be here or I'm leaving." We had not previously set up this dinner, so we were caught off guard. We told Brother Waddell and he laughed and told us to go. We zoomed downtown to the pie shoppe and there was Brother Vigil waiting for us. He smiled and said "I woke up and I was hungry, so I came here and wanted to feed you guys. Well what are you waiting for? Let's eat!" We love Brother Vigil!
Last Wednesday the U of U Marching band sent me another letter! This time I didn't recognize about half of the signatures. There were several people that said "I can't wait to meet you!" One guy said "Jon I miss your sweet trombone and tuba magic!" I wasn't aware that I had played any tuba in college, but it's good to be remembered! They have sent me 3 letters so far. It's really good to know they haven't forgotten me!
This week I have again learned how much God loves His children. With my new responsibility, I have the charge of helping all the missionaries in the district learn and grow, and be better. There are very diverse backgrounds and personalities, and everyone has different challenges. There are a couple missionaries that sometimes make me want to strangle them for making some very dumb decisions. I always pray before I talk to fellow missionaries when there is a situation to help them. Every time when I am upset for a dumb decision they made, the Lord tells me to love them. Be patient, and love them. It amazes me how much He loves His children. It's a wonder how patient He is with me, no matter how much I can make mistakes. The work is great, and with God's help we can do everything.
I hope you all are having a great week! I hope you stay warm, those of you up north. It's pretty brutal weather here, too. The sun is only out about 2/3 of the day, and the thermometer is almost bottomed out at 65 degrees. The occasional sprinkle of rain makes the roads treacherous. Only the bravest venture out into the elements.
Have a good week!
Elder Jon La Follette

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

8 November 2011

Hello family!
I hope you all had a good week.
That is sad news about Sherm. I hope the family is doing well with the passing. I will miss him.
Yesterday there was a baptism for the Carlsbad 1st ward for a man I got to interview. His name is Craig [edit]. His children were all baptized a few weeks ago, and now the family is complete! His son is the starting QB at Carlsbad High School, and got to baptize Craig. I can't wait until we can baptize a family here. So far we haven't found many new investigators. The work here has been slow for a while. The missionaries have been teaching members a lot and depending on referrals that we don't get, and haven't been using our own efforts to find people. We've been trying to focus on that a lot lately.
Tatsiana came to church again this week and had a great time. We taught the Gospel Essentials class about baptism. Our ward mission leader had to take a 2nd job that requires training and working indefinitely in Sundays, so he's going to be limited in what he can do. The lesson went really well, and Tatsiana is excited for baptism. We had one lesson with her this week, but I couldn't be there because I was interviewing Craig. Elder Herald and Brother Rosell taught her the Plan of Salvation. This week we're hoping to teach her the Restoration and probably the Word of Wisdom. She shouldn't have any trouble with the Word of Wisdom, but we'll see. She is still looking for a place to live. We talked to a lady in the ward that has a room available, but she said she is charging $650 a month for a room, and Tatsiana is looking for $500. But, Sister Wightman (the renter lady) called us back yesterday and said she's been praying and fasting about having Tatsiana stay, and might be willing to take her anyway. She wants to pray about it further, so we're hoping that she will allow Tatsiana to stay with her.
We went to the temple again this morning. It was my 7th time going to the San Diego Temple, but I still love driving up to it and looking at it. The inside is just as beautiful, and the Spirit is so powerful there. I always learn a lot of new things whenever I go in. Sister Sheila Wanlass from my Escondido ward (Kaytlyn and Mara Monsivais's aunt) attended the same session as us, so it was good to see her again! I don't know if I mentioned that a couple weeks ago we got to see Christine [edit]'s endownment session. She was a recent convert we were teaching in Escondido. We were invited to see her get her endowment, so I got to see her, as well as a bunch of members from Esco. It was a lot of fun!
Friday it was raining a lot. We usually do a free lemonade stand for the Carlsbad High School kids after school on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. This Friday we did hot chocolate because it was "cold". The hot chocolate was very popular! We're going to do it whenever it's cold.
We had zone conference yesterday in Cardiff (couple towns to the south, full name Cardiff-by-the-Sea). The church building there is weird. It is built in a square with a fairly large outdoor courtyard in the middle. One of the gym's walls is made of mostly glass windows, which opens to the courtyard. I was again asked to play piano at zone conference. Sometimes I feel like a fraud playing piano. I'm not as good as a lot of people think I am! I really like playing at meetings, but I have to spend some time learning the songs days before the meeting starts. It's forcing me to be better at playing though! President Cook usually trains for a considerable amount of time on something we can improve on as a mission (which is normal to do) but yesterday he didn't talk very much, but spent his 45 minutes of time on showing us scriptural blessings for those who labor to share the gospel, and then told us how proud he is of us for going out working hard, even with so much opposition. He teared up a lot as he was telling us how proud he was, and that Heavenly Father is taking good care of us. The rest of the time before President Cook (about 5 hours) the APs trained on how to make lesson plans in companion study. We came to the realization that the mission (including APs) have been doing lesson plans and training on how to do lesson plans wrong all along. They then trained on how to make lesson plans just as Preach My Gospel tells us to. I felt pretty stupid because I learned in the MTC to do it the right way but never applied it in the mission field. My trainer didn't do it like that so I assumed he was right!
By the way, it would be cool if all y'all could read Preach My Gospel. It's really good. Chapters 3,4,5, and 6 are all very applicable to everyone.
I hope you all have a great week. I love you all. Have a great week
Elder Jon La Follette
PS-does anybody have questions? I don't know what you like to hear about

Saturday, October 29, 2011

25 October 2011

Hello family!

I hope you are all doing well.

I have been transferred to the city of Carlsbad, Carlsbad 3rd ward. Now I can actually say I served in Carlsbad in the Carlsbad mission! My new ward has great members who are very good missionaries, and we live a ten-minute jog from the ocean. We jog or bike there almost every morning for exercise (don't worry, we don't go on the sand or in the water). My ward also has Legoland in it. A member is getting us free passes to Legoland, so that will be fun!

My companion is Elder Herald, from Allen, TX. He just got finished being trained by Elder Bailey (yes, I just replaced one of my former companions!). It's been nice, because Elder Herald tells ward members that I trained Elder Bailey, so I am instantly trusted. Elder Herald was also Elder Bowen's (my last companion) MTC companion. So, that's a fun net of connections there. On Thursday morning, we had just left our apartment for the day, and Elder Herald got bombed by a bird right on his head. It was hilarious! We went back and he took a good long shower!

As I said last week, I'm the new district leader here too. In the district are: Elder Herald-Allen TX, me, Elder Wheeler-Grauss, ID, Elder Nash-Sandy UT, Elder Stubbs-Kemmerer, WY, Elder Findlay-Snowflake AZ, Sister Ellis-I forgot where, Sister Hermanson- St. George, UT, Sister Gilmore-North Salt Lake, UT. Elder Gale is one of the zone leaders too. It's a fun district!

We have a lot of members and part-member families in the teaching pool. We have the [edit] family, who are less-active members with a non-member husband. Their names are Al, Joanne, and their son Chris and his girlfriend Ambria. They recently lost of their sons, Ian, and that is what is driving them to come back to church. They are a really good family. Also we have Scott [edit], a less-active 28-year old guy who is trying to come back to church. He doesn't want to go to the YSA ward, so we're meeting with him. You can tell by his speech that he's from California. Commonly uses words like "totally, sweet, solid, etc." I'm pleased to say I can speak fluent Californian! Also we have Ric and Anya [edit], who are recent converts. Ric is almost done with his USMC career, and is very excited for that. He's a fun guy and loves telling stories. Anya was a champion tennis player back in Ukraine. Her name may or may not be on ESPN.com somewhere. She retired from professional tennis, but is still teaching tennis lessons as a full-time job.

There are a lot of U of U fans in the ward. One or two of the men here played football at the U. The bishop is a very missionary-minded bishop and is really great to work with. We are good friends with the Rosell family. Bro Rosell is a former stake president and is currently the favorite seminary teacher. He is hilarious. Sister Rosell cuts the missionaries' hair and feeds us a ton. Their next-door neighbor is Brother Waddell. He is Elder W Christopher Waddell (first quorum of Seventy)'s father, and also the father of another Brother Waddell that was in my ward in MIra Mesa. I'm bound to meet Elder Waddell at some point, since I've already met two in his family!

Everything is going well in Carlsbad. I hope you all have a great week.

Love

Elder Jon La Follette

PS- late April-early Oct pictures soon!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

18 October 2011

Hello Family!

I only have a couple minutes, but there isn't a lot to say, really. I've been through my last week in Vista. I am being transferred today. I will let you know where I go next week. I do not want to leave, but I feel that it is time. It's been very hard to say goodbyes to everyone, members and investigators. Brother and Sister Voigtlander (ward mission leader and wife) even cried when we said goodbye. I will miss this place and the people here very much.

President Cook has also assigned me to be a district leader. I received some training, but I feel a little nervous! I'm sure it will be okay though.

West got my first letter in Afghanistan. I have decided to write him all the missionary lessons, because he wants to be baptized essentially in a 1 week window in February. He's going to need to know the stuff! He will be fine.

I hope you all have a great week. I will let you know how everything goes next week.

Love you all

Elder Jon La Follette

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

11 October 2011

Hello family!

It rained last Wednesday pretty hard all day. We had to pull out our raincoats (I've only done that 6 or 7 times on my mission) and ended up changing our pants 3 times because we got so drenched! Needless to say, the streets were completely empty. People hate rain here! I will admit, for the first time on my entire mission, I crashed on my bike that day. It was before it was pouring, so we were out riding, without raincoats or anything. We were riding down a long steep hill, and I got a feeling at the top "You're going to crash at the bottom, just so you know." I thought "nah.. I'll go slow and I'll be fine." I did go slow, but at the bottom, we turned onto another street, which required going over a section of slick wet concrete, and my bike slipped out from under me and I did a full body plant on the ground. Luckily my bike was almost perfectly fine. The only thing that broke was my little bell (yeah, it's cute) but I can fix that easily. I didn't feel the least bit of pain, which was interesting. The only damage was a very dirty shirt, no pride left, and a good-sized hole in my brand new slacks Mom just sent. We'll see if that can be fixed! There was a car with people that saw the whole thing. They stared for a minute, then drove on. California! My companion didn't see it, thank goodness! He was well behind me because he's scared to ever go fast.

I only have 5 minutes left so the rest of this will be short.

We had a lesson with Mary [edit] last week. She is still concerned about having to be baptized again, because she thought her Baptist preacher had authority. But, the good news is that she knows that all she has to do is read the Book of Mormon and ask with a sincere heart and real intent if it's true. I know for sure that she'll get an answer, and she will be fine.

Last week we went to the library to make mormon.org profiles, as President Cook directed. While there, a kid sitting next to Elder Bowen asked him to tell him about the Church. Elder Bowen started to, and the lady next to me told them to be quiet and do it somewhere else. So, Elder Bowen started to get his info and do it later. A few minutes later, the lady stood up and started to walk away. She turned back and pointed at the kid and said "You better find out the TRUTH!!" "What is the truth?" "ONLY GOD KNOWS THAT ANSWER!!! YOU BETTER FIND OUT!!!" and stormed out. Everyone within 40 feet was staring at the situation. It was really awkward. Then after the lady left, the kid turned to us and said "is that the anti-Christ?"

I am out of time, unfortunately. I had a couple more things to say. We had Stake Conference this weekend, with Elder Maynes of the sSeventy. It was remarkable. They are crazy with stake conference here. Ushers and everything

Love you

Eldre La Follette

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 October 2011

Hello Family!

I hope you all enjoyed conference this weekend. The Provo Tabernacle is being rebuilt into Provo's 2nd temple. How 'bout that? That is great news! Also Wyoming is getting their first temple! At least something in Wyoming will be on the map! Just kidding

I really liked the emphasis put on young men going on missions. The number of full-time missionaries has decreased pretty steadily the past several years. Missions are becoming more of a menu choice than a duty. I hope young men can see what they need to do, and do what they can to serve missions. We need a lot of help out here! Also, Elder Callister's talk on the Book of Mormon was wonderful. Really, all of the talks were great. This conference went by very quickly for me; I was enjoying every minute of it. Watching general conference at a church building makes a huge difference (we're required to watch them there).

Ceyda and Lavena both watched a good portion of conference and loved it. They learned so much. Their testimonies are growing and growing and they just want more and more knowledge. That's a true sign of someone becoming converted: you want all the knowledge you possibly can. We went over the night before to show them how to get on LDS.org to watch it, and also led them to the pictures of the temples, which they were fascinated with, and then to mormon.org. They were glued to the computer looking at all that, so we left to let them inhale it all! We found out that West will be back February 12-26. They have two weeks to have a nice wedding (They are married but never had a nice wedding, so they're going to do that), go on a cruise, and get baptized. I have felt that I should write West several letters and teach him the missionary lessons from afar, since there won't be enough time to learn everything the first time when he gets back here. I likely won't be here for the baptism. I hope it works out! I will probably only be in Vista for two more weeks. Transfers are on Oct 18. Hopefully I can stay longer.

Last week we picked a family as investigators--a rare opportunity here. They are a Catholic family from Baghdad. It's been really interesting teaching someone from Iraq! They can speak English pretty well. All we have to do is speak simply and they understand well. They don't read English very well though, so we got two Arabic Book of Mormons for them. There's no chance in the world of me reading those squiggles and jumble, but we handed the books to them, and they said "ah! The Book of Mormon!" They looked inside and read some things "Peter Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon" and so on. It was amazing!

On Sunday we had a sad lesson with Jeff Merkel, a less-active man that we've been helping come back to church. He has been very doubtful of the truth of the church, and religion in general, based on "science". The whole time I've been in Vista, we've met with him once a week, trying to help him accept the Gospel into his heart. He's been to church several times and likes it there. He "believes the church metaphorically, but can't believe it to be literally true." We've talked to him about faith, repentance, prayer, the Holy Ghost, church, sacrament, Jesus Christ, he's read in the Book of Mormon up to 2nd Nephi, and we even had one lesson on why the church is scientifically true, because that's what he's been asking for. For 6 months he has been very slow to accept anything we say, despite going to church and praying. He has rejected any evidence, scientific or spiritual, that we've given him, and this Sunday, asked us not to come back next week. It was really sad, but I feel we've done all we can for him.

To make that better, 8 of our investigators had to be dropped this week. Christian and his family moved to San Marcos, TJ, Janet, and Grace had to suddenly up and leave to LA, and Julian moved, and last night his phone number was no longer in service, and we couldn't get his new address in time, and with him goes his brother and their two girlfriends. It's been rough, but it'll be okay. There's always a reason for everything.

I hope you all have had a great week. Thanks again for your support and prayers. Love you all

Elder Jon La Follette

PS- someone send my SD card!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

27 September 2011

Hello family! I hope all is going well for you.

We had a good week here for the most part. Janet and Grace didn't show up to church this week. They were on their way to church when Janet's grandson stole Janet's phone, threw it out the window while the car was driving, and destroyed the phone, so they pulled over to pick it up and continue to church. After they picked it up, they got back in the car, and the car wouldn't start up again. Bad luck! They will for sure watch general conference this weekend, they said. TJ (Janet's fiance) delayed our lesson this week twice, then ended up just cancelling it, and didn't try to go to church. We're going to have a throw-down lesson on Wednesday to try to get him to shape up. As interested as he is in finding the truth, he isn't making a very big effort to learn!

We finally got a hold of Julian, Leon, Amanda, and Tony this week, and had a lesson set up at the Davis's house (no we're not related). They didn't show up, and we found out later than Leon has two abrasions in his eye and had to go to the hospital. Hopefully he heals up soon. We're trying still to get another lesson in. They moved this week to a new complex outside our boundary, but still nearby. They want to stay with us and our ward, but we'll have to see how committed they are before we talk to President Cook about that. Hopefully we won't have to pass off 4 more baptisms to another ward. We've already given away 5 since I've been in Vista.

Ceyda and Lavena are doing very well. We finally had a lesson with them on Wednesday, and we were able to catch up Lavena some more on the lessons by teaching the Restoration. She is just as intelligent as Ceyda regarding the scriptures. They are learning a lot and are progressing very well. We're going to teach the Word of Wisdom on Wednesday. They drink green tea, but there shouldn't be any other issues. Pray that goes well! Lavena (I don't know if I mentioned--she's West's mom, Ceyda's mother-in-law, that lives with them) made some REALLY good gravy and gave it to us. Lots of meat and flavor, etc. Elder Bowen ended up eating most of it while I was in the shower and writing things down, but I got some of it.

Christian, Josh, and Joselyne are moving on Saturday to San Marcos (next city southeast of Vista, between Vista and Escondido), and won't be able to meet with us anymore. They will go to a new ward down there. We and the Spanish elders helped them move a bunch of stuff to storage on Saturday, took lots of pictures, and they bought us pizza. We'll probably see them once or twice more before they move.

Sister Poe is also doing well. On Friday, she was still concerned that she had to get baptized again, seeing that she'd been baptized twice already. We explained authority once again, which she understands. We had a good talk about it, and concluded that she would need to continue to read the Book of Mormon and pray sincerely about it. She is not pulling away at all; she will be fine. She didn't make it to church this week, and will be gone this weekend too, visiting her granddaughter in juvy in San Diego. Hopefully she can be baptized before I leave Vista, but I don't know if that will happen.

Yesterday we had interviews with President Cook (as well as flu shots, so don't worry Mom!). He told me my task in training Elder Bowen he knew was a challenging one, but felt from the beginning I was the right person to do it. He had spoken with his stake president from Idaho a few days ago, and learned a lot of things about Elder Bowen's background, especially family, that made him the way he is. Elder Bowen has told me much of his background, so I understood. I won't say most of it because it's private and sensitive, but President Cook told me he appreciates the things I'm teaching him and is happy with the progress we are making, and to keep hanging in there. President also hinted that I may stay in Vista longer. We'll see. This is my 4th transfer in Vista (the same length of time I was in Esco), but hopefully I can be here 5 or 6.

Whoever has my SD card that I sent late April, send it back! I'm almost out of room on the one I have. There are over 500 pictures waiting for y'all to see them! I'll send it as soon as I get my other one back.

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks again for your support. There are a lot of prayers in my behalf, and I see that in my work out here. I love you all very much. Have a great week!

Elder Jon La Follette

GO UTES!

Maybe the Angels can pick it up next year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

20 September 2011

Hey family, I hope you all had a good week

My week was okay. We didn't teach very many lessons, but it was still a good week. We had a couple more people at church this week. Janet and her daughter Grace (aka Angel) came to church. Janet's fiance TJ (aka Carter) didn't show up, even though he promised he would. Janet was heavily thinking of joining the Jehovah's Witnesses church, but wanted to come to ours. She/they had a great time at church and the ward just jumped on them as soon as sacrament meeting was over. Some people are overwhelmed by that, but it was really good for Janet and Grace. We couldn't even talk to them for several minutes because there was literally a line of people waiting to meet them. Maybe it was because they don't see black people in church very much. We have a bunch of black investigators right now (TJ Janet and Grace, Julian, Leon, and Tony, and Mary Poe) so maybe we can get some more black members! They are doing very well, and we will meet with them again on Friday.

Ceyda and Lavena came to church again and loved it as usual. They are also getting a lot of friends in the ward. Tonight they're going to a Relief Society function, and hopefully they can go on Saturday to the RS broadcast.

We picked up another couple of guys last week as investigators, Joel and his friend Rudy. They are devout JWs and wanted to meet with us to talk about our religions. They are different than most JWs we run into, being that they are very civil and non-combative. I don't know how far we'll get to go with them, but at least they listen to us and our message. They did say no to a prayer after the lesson though.

That's about all for investigators updates right now. Everyone is doing well for the most part. If you have questions about anyone, let me know. I'm not sure what you might want to know about them.

Last Tuesday we had a district activity in our church building. The activities have been always the same-- basketball with the elders, and when the sisters arrive, we play a game called "signs". This week, one of the elders taught us all how to play rugby (he played rugby in SLC before his mission. Wants to play for the U of U). We are all really bad at it, but it was so fun. We did a scrum, which is the part where everyone interlinks arms, bends down, and fights for the ball. I don't have any pictures of it, but it was really, really fun.

Last Wednesday we were walking down a street at night next to a place called Boomers, which is similar to Trafalga. We walked towards the place, and we heard a bunch of girls singing Called to Serve as we got closer. As we walked up, they sang really loud and cheered. It was a young womens group from San Marcos that was doing their Mutual activity, and they were happy to see elders walking by.

On Friday Elder Bowen and I had Christmas, just for fun. I have a Glade Cinnamon spray (to combat Elder Bowen) so it smelled really good in our apartment, and then we made gingerbread cookies while we were doing our weekly planning, listened to Christmas music, and wore green and red ties. To make it better, it was overcast and very cool outside. I was hoping Santa would even come, but he didn't.

Sunday mornings I always play the organ in the chapel long before sacrament meeting starts, and one of the bishopric heard me play and now is trying to get us missionaries to do a musical number in sacrament meeting. I'm not sure if I want to! I'm not very very good, and the other elders sing...ahem..very well. I'll let you know if that happens.

Last night we had dinner at the Guymons house, with several other families in the ward joining us. Elder Barlow (one of the elders in our ward) was dared for $1 to eat a Jabanero (spelling?) pepper. He did it, and for the next 30 minutes had pink eyes, a snotty nose, and tears constantly rolling down his face. One of the kids was assigned to bring him soda and cornbread to counter the heat. He got his dollar!

I was told the good news about the Utes!!! GO UTES!!!!! There's a family in our ward, the McKeons, that have a son at U of U, and are now all Utah fans. Sister McKeon wore a Utah polo shirt to church even. They always update me on college football scores. Wish I could have seen the game! But it's okay, it'll happen next year too. I figured that Utah might have won (before I found out the score) because no one was wearing their blue BYU ties to church. Hehe

General Conference is coming up. I strongly encourage you (BoM terms--exhort!) all to think of someone you can invite to watch Conference with you, maybe just 1 session. It's really a great opportunity to hear the Apostles and prophet speak. Even those not of our faith know very quickly that they are men of God. I hope you will all invite someone to hear conference. Let me know how it goes!

Well that's all for this week. I hope you are all doing well. Have a great week!

Love

Elder La Follette

Monday, September 19, 2011

13 September 2011

We had some computer trouble here so my time is really short. I had a lot to say, but my time is really short.

It's been a good week. Ceyda's mother in law went to church and had a great time. They fed us BBQ on Saturday and Lavena (Ceyda's M-in-L) made some really yummy apple cinnamon pie and sent us home with the leftovers. Ceyda's been doing a lot of missionary work--and will bring one of her co-workers to church next week probably. It's interesting how much true conversion will make someone want to share the Gospel as much as they can. It makes me think if members of the church are truly converted, and do we have a "lasting conversion"?

You may or may not have heard of the blackout that happened in So Cal, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Tijuana. We had our power go out Thursday afternoon until early Friday morning. It was nothing new for me, since power goes oout in Utah all the time, but the Californians had a really rough time. They are still talking about it! There was a ton of traffic on the highway and throughout the city--large and small streets, more than I've ever seen in my life! That was fun. We had neighbors below us take out a candle and roast marshmallows over it.

That's all the time I have, sorry. I hope you all have a great week. I love you all so much! The Church is true

Elder La Follette

Friday, September 9, 2011

6 September 2011

Hi family!

It's been a really productive week this week. We picked up 5 new investigators (a family of 3, a spouse of another, and West's mother that lives with Ceyda.) It's been nice to be busy! We never really had time for tracting or contacting because we were either in a lesson or on our way to one most of each day. It was really good to be busy. Julian, his brother Leon, and Julian's girlfriend Tony all accepted to be baptized on October 8th! They seem really solid, and we had a great dinner/lesson on the Restoration at a new ward family's house. Tony reminds me very, very much of Daniell, it's really funny! Unfortunately, Julian and Leon will be moving soon to another place in Oceanside, so we will probably have to pass them off to other missionaries. Should have expected it though! Since I've been in Vista, we have passed off 5 people that either got baptized, or will be baptized in coming weeks, all because of boundary rules.

Today is transfers in the mission, but Elder Bowen and I will be staying here in the Vista 3rd Ward. I will probably be here 6 more weeks, and then will be transferred. But, you never know!

Also, Josh and Amanda Adkins-Setty moved back to Oceanside today. We helped them move this morning. You don't know them, but they are good friends of mine (the other 3 missionaries in the ward don't know them at all or as well), the same ones whose computers I skyped on for Mothers Day.

We had rain yesterday for the first time in several months, it was really nice! Today is very hot and very humid. We are now entering the hottest part of the year for San Diego area (I don't know about other parts of Southern Cal).

Well that's really all for this week!

I hope you are all well.

Love, Elder La Follette

GO UTES!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 August 2011

Hi family!
The day after tomorrow is September. Man the year is going by quick!
I hope all of you in Northern Utah are alive after that storm! Sounds like it was another 4th of July. We've been getting a lot of hot and humid down here.
It hasn't been very eventful the past few days, since Thursday. Saturday my back was better in the morning. We helped a lady in her yard, and afterwards came back for a shower. Shortly after my shower I bent down and up wrong and my back popped again. So, I was laying on the ground all day with severe back pain. Sister Cook told me to lay on the ground for a few hours with ice under my back and taking medicine. Bro Voigtlander (ward mission leader) brought some ibuprofen for me since I was out of it, and it helped a lot! My back is doing better today. It has healed a lot.
Friday night we had a really good movie night. We only had about 25 people show up, but it was good. One of our invesgators, Andy [edit], and his family showed up.
Sunday, Mary [edit] came to church and had a great time. She said while she was talking to the members, she'd never had such a warm feeling and welcoming feeling in her life. It was really good for her. She participated a lot in class too. We will teach her tonight and hopefully she will accept a baptism date.
We met with Paul on Sunday with Bro Coleman. He has a baptism date for Oct 1, but we are probably going to drop him this week. He won't do anything but more importantly, he can never remember anything we teach him. On Sunday we taught him a lesson about the Restoration for a good while. At the end, the only thing he remembered learning was "I remember a.. uh.. uh a pillar? Pillar of light! But I like to think of the blue sky." and goes off talking about how animals should be treated better. Yeah... It's been like that, so we probably won't continue to teach him much longer.
We have another new investigator, his name is Julian. He is 22 from Florida and got recruited to play football for several universities (including UF). Instead, he joined the Marines. A few months ago he finished his 4 years in the Marines and now wants to get closer to God.
Well that's all the time I have and really all i wanted to say anyway. I hope you are all doing well!
Have a good week
Elder Jon La Follette

Thursday, August 25, 2011

25 August 2011

Hi family! I'm low on time so I'll share the best stuff from this week.
Elder Bowen finally got a bike last Saturday from a lady we've been doing yard work for. It was a piece of junk but I fixed it up for him. He claimed he knows how to fix stuff really well but we eager to sit back and watch me do it. It's all good. I finally got his brakes fixed yesterday so we started riding bikes for the first time since he's been in the mission. I was really excited because I'm tired of walking all the time. We got about 10 min into the day, then I hit a bump and my bike tire went flat in about 3 seconds. We walked our bikes back to the apartment. En route, we talked to a lady that was walking by. We asked how her day was, and she said it was good, and asked how our day was. I said we were doing well, until my bike tire went flat and I showed her. She looked at it and said "Oh my. Well I hope it stays that way!" and walked off. It was a great start to the day!
On Tuesday Elder Gibbons of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission. We had 3 zones meet in Carlsbad for the conference I went to. I was asked to play piano by the APs a few days before. They had two songs picked out, one of which I could play. I asked if we could play a different one, and they asked if I could just learn it. I said I could, and they were happy. They also mentioned that President wanted it to be "General Authority perfect!" No pressure! I got it learned though, and it went okay.
The computer just asked me if I wanted 30 more minutes of time! Yay! I won't use it all though.
Elder Gibbons talked a lot about member missionary work with us, and how it is done. He first started with the doctrine of it and why members do missionary work. The First Presidency said that missionary work is centered in the ward, not in the missions. The bishop and stake presidents hold the priesthood keys to find investigators. The mission president holds the keys to teaching and baptizing investigators, and the missionaries primarily do the teaching. The missionaries will have their own efforts finding investigators, but the primary responsibility lies with the members of the Church. As a missionary, I have noticed how much more effective "member referrals" are than us tracting and talking to people on the street. In our mission, 63% of baptisms in the last year came from member referrals or part-member families. Only 11% came from tracting and 15% from street contacts. So "logically", missionaries will see results like this, and then spend most of their time knocking on doors and talking to people on the street. Really, missionary work should be focused more on the members of the Church. In our mission and other missions in the world, we are trying to start a major change and instead of focusing on finding people on our own, and then asking for a referral from members here and there (and 99% of the time, no one has a referral), we will focus on helping members in their missionary efforts. Elder Gibbons asked us to not ask for referrals at dinner anymore, but rather to focus our conversation on helping the members in their efforts. We'll see how this goes! President Cook and really all of us feel really strongly that this is the right thing to do. President Hinckley said something to the effect of "many look at missionary work as simply tracting. Those who are familiar with this work know that there is a much better way, and that way is through the members of the Church." If we are to do the Lord's work, we need to join together the Missionary Church and the Member Church and make it the Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Gibbons said that members need to realize that 1- Missionary work is NOT hard 2- Missionary work is NOT complicated and 3- You will NOT lose your friends in inviting them. It was a really good zone conference. I wish I had time to tell you all I learned from Elder and Sister Gibbons and President and Sister Cook, but I don't have time. But that was the biggest thing he talked about.
We had a really powerful lesson with Ceyda on Tuesday night. She had an experience where she clearly heard the voice of the Holy Ghost telling her something she needed to know. She said for sure she wants to be baptized into the Church. When she talked to West, she asked him if it was really important to him that they get baptized together. Otherwise, she'd go for it right now. West said it was definitely important to him and that they should wait. He said "I was the one who got you into it in the first place!" It was pretty funny. West and Ceyda are looking at February for baptism, since he'll have a 2- week leave from his deployment. I hope I will be in a place that I can go to it. They are probably my favorite investigators of my whole mission, maybe combined with Patrick from Mira Mesa. I've felt a really strong connection with both of them. They have grown so much since I first went over with Elder Farley. Ceyda told us that every time they go to church on Sunday (Saturday for West in Afghanistan) they will talk to each other for a good length of time about the things they each learned in church. They are so cool!
Sister Poe wasn't able to make it to church this week. Her daughter from Chula Vista (about two hours south of Vista) was going to pick her up to take her to see her grandaughter in Juvy, and that was during church. Sister Poe's daughter never showed up, so she called her later and was mad at her for not showing up, and that she had to miss church for nothing. She is planning to go this Sunday.
There is a young couple in the ward we're working with, Amanda and Mario [edit]. They have been working with their neighbors Jerica and Junior, and next week we should begin to teach them. We had a BBQ at the [edit] on Sunday that they went to and had a great time! Junior is a BUFF Tongan. He laughed when I called him Junior Seau. He used to play linebacker. I would NOT want to get hit by him.
About a month ago I had an idea of having a movie night with the ward at the church. The ward liked the idea, and tomorrow night we're having the Missionary Movie Night. The ward is excited, and a lot of people are bringing their friends, and some of our investigators are going to come. We're going to play Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It's the really good Joseph Smith movie that played at Legacy Theater in Salt Lake for a long time. Elder Child gave me a copy of it last November so we're going to watch it. We're going to have popcorn and pink lemonade, and people are going to come in PJs and bring blankets and beanbags and such. Pretty much like the Timpview Pillow Concert but for a movie. It's going to be awesome!
Well I've ended up taking a lot longer than I thought! Good thing I got extra time today. Sounds like football season is going to start soon. Go UTES!!! It won't be a big distraction here, because no one cares about college football in San Diego, since San Diego State hasn't been good for a while and they're in a dumb conference now. Sunday nights are always funny because the streets are lined house after house with a bunch of guys in every garage sitting on a couch watching the Chargers games together and holding beers. We've learned that generally guys aren't interested when the Chargers are on. I wouldn't be either though, if my team was playing!
I hope you all have a great week! I love you all
Elder Jon La Follette