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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

16 August 2011

Hello family!

It's been a good week this week. Things are looking up. We finally found a new investigator on Sunday, and then another one last night. Sunday was a man named TJ. Older black gentleman from Rochester, NY (ha!). He has spent much of his adult life (now in his 60s) trying to find a church that fits what he reads in the Bible. So far he has found that the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and 7th Day Adventists are the closest. He said the Mormons are probably the religion that follows the Bible most closely, including building temples and "the order of Melchizedek." He is very religiously smart and so far is fascinated with the LDS Church, especially the principle of the pre-mortal world. He will be a very interesting person to teach!
Last Saturday I was on an exchange with Elder Davis, one of the zone leaders (not related, as far as we can tell). Among all the people we talked to was an older black lady in her 70s, name Mary Poe. She grew up Lutheran and Baptist and loves the Lord. We taught her last night for the first time and got to know her better and gave her a Book of Mormon. We arranged to get her a ride to church on Sunday and she is very excited. She told us that last week, she was on her knees praying in her room that somehow she could go back to church, since she hadn't been in the 5 years she's lived here. Her back hurts too much to walk to the church down the road. Just a few days later we found her on the street and she was happy to let us come by. She was very happy to accept the invitation to come to church with us.
Fonzie Vavao got baptized this last Wednesday! I didn't tell y'all because he called me after I was done emailing and asked me to come to the baptism and baptize him. I was definitely happy to, and the baptism was held last Wednesday. It was in the 10th ward, the ward to our east. Other than their ward mission leader, and a counselor in the bishopric, there was only one family that came to the baptism (beside Fonzie's). The Riddles decided to come, so I got a chance to see them for the first time since last spring when I came to Vista! Karisa, her brother Joe, and their dad (Uncle Craig) were there and after the baptism I got a bunch of time to talk to them. It was good to see them again! Their good friends in the 3rd ward, the Isas, feed us sometimes, so they said the next time we eat at the Isas, they would come too. I'm so happy for Fonzie! It was really cool too see him and his family again, and be able to be there for his baptism. He will be a solid member of the church.
We had a meeting last Thursday for all the trainers and their companions that were in their first 6 weeks, so we went. There is a new program introduced by the Church that sets up a curriculum for trainers to teach their new companions by the time their first 12 weeks are over in the mission. In the packets we got, it said the goal is to prepare our companions so well, that by the end of their first 12 weeks in the field, they will be ready to successfully train a new missionary! Elder Bowen is making some good strides and learning a lot about the work. He has a good drive when we're out working and loves the work. He still smells but he's a nice kid.
Next Tuesday we have another General Authority coming to our mission. Elder Gibbons of the 2nd quorum of the Seventy is coming to visit and teach us. Because he's coming to our area of the mission on Tuesday, our PDay will be on Thursday next week instead of Tuesday. The next week it'll go back to normal.
I hope you are all doing well! I appreciate your love and support. Have a great week everyone

Elder Jon La Follette

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

9 August 2011

Hello family!

It's been a good week. 1-year mark has come and gone, and I don't feel much different. Time sure does go quick though. I've grown a lot in the past year. I have learned so many lessons so rapidly. I've learned to love people I've never met. I've learned further the effect that God has on people, and the effect the Gospel has on people. I've learned further God's love for every single person, and for me. I have felt His presence in my life so much more than at any other time in my life. My testimony has grown significantly. The Church is true. The Priesthood is real. The Book of Mormon is true. Everything that goes along with that is true. If you have found yourself struggling in a testimony, I would encourage you to go and and hunt for one. Getting and keeping a testimony is not a cheap experience, and neither is being a disciple of Christ. But nothing else brings true happiness. We have been blessed with so much. I hope we all can recognize that.
This week has been good for me. It's been a week of frustrations, a lot of patience testing, a lot of hard work, and a lot of learning lessons. We have been able to teach Ceyda and Christian some more. They are both doing well, except that Christian has been struggling to come to church the past month. Ceyda is growing in the gospel really quickly. The church is becoming a part of her life.
We had our quarterly temple trip this morning. It was good to go there and be soaked in the Spirit. I was able to listen to the Spirit and learn what God wants me to do in the near future. I learned many things. The temple is a beautiful place, physically as well as spiritually.
I can't remember any stories from this week, sorry.
Not a lot of interesting things happened.

I hope you are all well. Love you all, have a great week
Elder La Follette

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2 August 2011

Hello family!
I don't have much time today, so this will be a little short.
First of all, thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a good birthday on Sunday. Somehow all the youth in our ward found out as well as some adults and a lot of people wished me a happy birthday at church! I can't believe I'm 20 already, but I don't feel much older than I did a couple days ago! My 1 year mark is this week as well. Man life goes fast!
My new companion is Elder James Bowen, from Grace, Idaho. Ever heard of it? Me neither. Town of 900 people, graduating class of 23. He's a convert to the church; he was baptized at 9 years old. His family growing up was extremely anti-LDS and his family did not support him at all joining the church, but he did anyway. A couple years later his brother was also baptized. Now his whole family are temple-worthy and very proud of him for coming on a mission. It's really nice to meet people and have my companion able to say he hasn't been in the church his whole life. People are a little more willing to listen to converts. He smells like he's from Idaho but it's all good. He reminds me of Brad and Dwain with his humor (very much so), speech, mannerisms, etc. He too is losing his hair, but not as fast as me. He's 20 years old. That's about all. He's doing very well so far and has a great love for missionary work and is teaching me a lot of things. It's always good to be around a new missionary, with the fire they bring being fresh from the MTC.
West is deployed now, as of Thursday. He texted me Wednesday night a really nice message, basically saying he was very grateful for all we have done and he'd never forget the impact we and the Church has had on him in such a short time. He wants to be baptized when he gets back. Ceyda has met with us once, went to church, and went to FHE with the Geeves family and us last night. She is progressing really well. She and West want to be baptized when he gets back from deployment. We will have a lesson on the blessings of baptism tomorrow, and then let her and West decide if she still wants to wait. He has Skype out there and can talk to her every few days. West took his scriptures we gave him and Ceyda said he had a goal of reading the whole Book of Mormon, then the New Testament by the time he gets home.
Couple fun stories from the week--
We tracted into a Presbyterian minister and he was really nice. He explained very thoroughly the doctrine of the trinity for about 40 minutes. I understood all the things he was saying, but the trinity doesn't make much more sense now than it ever has. There's a way to know it's not true! Besides, who would want to worship an unknowable God with multiple personalities who talks to Himself? I'm sure glad we have the truth! He also told us in the nicest way he could that if we didn't accept the trinity and reject our false belief then we were surely going to hell. Man I love California!
Also later that day we street contacted an old lady about to go to her car. We started talking and she interrupted and said "No thank you, no thank you! I have my own church already! Thank you for calling, bye bye." and got in her car.
That's really all for this week. It's warming up and staying just as humid so it's gonna be a fun month! Thank you everyone for your lov and support. I hope you have a great week.
Love Elder Jon La Follette