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 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.


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 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 to watch it, and also led them to the pictures of the temples, which they were fascinated with, and then to 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!