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 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  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!
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  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.
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 . 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 '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