Friday, 24 January 2014

California - Here I Come!!!

It is great to be able to get on here and to read the emails everyone sent!
Here are some photos from the MTC. 
In the group picture is everyone who was in my MTC district. The two women in the front of the picture are teachers. Sister Drew in green. Sister Spencer is next to her. Sister Hatch is in the Yellow and Sister Guthrie is behind her. Then Elder Fa'Alavelave is in the middle. Elder Pua is next to me. Elder Arp is in the back. Those three elders are from Polynesia. Elder Pullen is behind me.
Here am I with my two companions. Elder Arp is the bigger one and Elder Pullen is the one who looks white. 
It has been good being a zone leader. I was released on Sunday January 12th after being in the calling for 11 days. We also went over to the temple and it was a nice experience. The spirit is as strong in the MTC as it is in the temple.
Despite all of the food I ate in the MTC I have stayed the exact same weight as when I left home. We also had real investigators at the MTC, rather than just role playing all of the time. Throughout my mission I will be emailing the investigator we had.
While I was at the MTC I didn’t feel homesick and I was doing great but I was looking forward to working in Oakland. All of the elders in my district (i.e. dorm room) were going to my mission too. 
Two sisters left on Monday morning, Jan 13th, and it was upsetting because we were all so close. Two other sisters left the next morning and with all the sisters we sang songs to say bye. We all gave them all blessings and I was able to say it for one of the sisters.
This picture is me with one of the teachers at the MTC.
On Wednesday January 15th I arrived here in California. The weather over here is super nice! My 72 hour Emergency Kit that we had ordered (the Mission President had asked us to do so – maybe because it’s San Francisco and there is earthquake threat) had arrived. The first day was busy - we had training and also the next day mostly about cars and stuff. 
I was feeling homesick all day that day but when I met Elder Brown my trainer most of the homesickness went away. He looks English lol. Elder Brown is great! He's been out for a year and one month but we are both brand new to the area. This is a picture of us with President and Sister Meredith.
The area is full of rich people who like to feed us. This place is called San Ramon and is over the mountains, inland, from Alameda to the east of San Francisco and Oakland. I kinda feel homesick in the mornings so it has sucked. And we have NO investigators!! But the homesickness goes away pretty fast after the mornings and then I get excited about the work. They gave us a book called adjusting to missionary life which helps and in it is says that it takes about 6 weeks. So I think I will feel good in a few more weeks. Things are getting easier, though when we don't do much it sucks so it's good to be kept busy.

This is a hard area, but it doesn’t stop me because I just want to find people to tell about the gospel. My trainer is a district leader so we have a lot of meetings to attend. We got a few referrals last Sunday Jan 19th  that we are going to visit today (Monday 20th Jan).

We have been visiting the members to build trust and so that we can get rides when we need them. J  We are in a bike mission and I was blessed because the last missionary left a super nice bike! We bike a lot, but the church is pretty far away on a hill (a 25 min bike ride) so we try to get rides for Sundays and meetings. I seem to be more healthy now than I was a few weeks ago. There are more hills so everywhere we go we will be on a hill. But it is nice on the way down.

We have had a lot of meetings taking up our time. We do 30 minutes exercise in the morning - 3 times a week we run. Then from 7-8 we get ready and from 8-9 we study then from 9-11 we study as companionship for the first 12 weeks as part of training. Then we eat lunch. But we have had meetings everyday apart from p-day on Monday. We have other plans to meet a few more members. We haven’t been tracting yet as my companion thinks it’s pretty inaffective. We just go on the street and talk to people. But we will hold up a sign sometime this week probably.

People here are super nice! Everyone is willing to help and they all like to talk. Most people say my name right after a few tries. I tell them its like Close The Door and some people like that. And one of the sisters likes to call me that.  The sisters have a car. Right now there are just three sisters and me and my companion in the district. We are over one ward and the sisters over another. I think that is the whole district.

We actually live outside our area in our own apartment and it looks very good and nice! Luckily we got a dishwasher and a washer and dryer! We have one bedroom and one kitchen and one living room and one bathroom, but is is all very nice. But it’s expensive here - it cost like 5 bucks for a tiny box of cereal! The store we go to is just outside our place like a 2 minute walk.

We just found a shorter way to get on a trail near our apartment and so we use this to get to members homes faster. It is fun to cycle and controls stress more. In the day you can wear short sleeved shirts, but in the night and in the morning it is cold so I have been wearing warmer stuff then.

We don’t have any iPads yet but other missions do. And we have a phone for each companionship. My license to teach finishes on the 30th of December 2015. So I should be going home there abouts. I have made it a goal to write in my journal each day and I am doing well. The only day I missed was the day we had to leave for the airport.

Being a missionary you have so much to do, we have a goal to talk to at least 10 people a day about the gospel and commit them to something. So far this has been a lot of fun for me but finding people would make it more fun. 
My companion is a nerd. But he just came out of Pittsburg where people are more poor. The members are great here and the youth are amazing! Well here we go on a 2 year adventure! Send me an email :-)

Oh yea - phew - we get to watch one movie, on New Year’s Eve!

I know this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I also know for a surety now that God loves His children.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

One Week in the MTC Already and not Homesick!

Sorry folks, no photos this week but here is a link to where I am

This week has been amazing! When I got out of the car last week Wednesday I just could not stop smiling! I felt so happy to be here at the MTC.  When I first got here I was actually supposed to go to a different district (a small group of people) because I never told the MTC that I spoke English well. So we were able to make a few changes and because of that I have the opportunity to be in a companionship of 3.  It is so nice having three massive meals a day. I take about two plates for each meal and always drink Chocolate milk! Unfortunately none of our photos taken can connect to the computers so pictures will come in a few weeks. Also here at the MTC, never drink orange juice, unless you want to end up like one of the elders in my district! (Sick!) 

In my companionship there is Elder Arp and Elder Pullen. Elder Arp is from Samoa and Elder Pullen is from Nebraska. I can't believe that we have all been here a week already as it feels like we know each other very well. I would write more, but do not have time to do so. We have been given 60 minutes to write emails instead of just 30. I have learned a lot about a companionship in just a week. In our room is also Elder Pua and Elder Fa'afalelave they are both Polynesian and so is my companion, Elder Arp. They are so amazing! We always walk around together so really this is a 5 man companionship! It is so much fun! The first night we talked and every night actually we have talked so we got about 5-6 hours of sleep each night!! We made some goals yesterday so that we will get about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. 

There is so much that has happened and I wish I could tell it all, but I can't. The sisters in our district are amazing! They are a great example to me and we have all been able to bond super strong. We are like a family here! I feel such love for each district member! 

Also I am a Zone Leader and so I was able to welcome the new missionaries yesterday along with Elder Pua and Sister Drew and Sister Spencer. We broke the ice for a lot of them which is what you do all the time and need to get used to. We also did a few other things and showed them around the MTC. We invited all the new elders to come and eat lots of food that we have, we have lots of food here! In fact the sisters in our district have a bed full of snacks!  There are four sisters in our district they are, Sister Drew, Sister Spencer, Sister Hatch and Sister Guthrie. They have great testimonies and have taught me a lot. When I first got here I was always lost, for the first two days.

It is funny because in my companionship  I am Zone leader, Elder Arp is the District leader and Elder Pullen is our senior companion, it is fun. 

We have learned so much in classes and we have also been teaching a real investigator. The spirit is so strong when we visit him. The investigator's name is Christian. It has been so much fun teaching with the spirit. 

I am flying out on the 15th. I think the airline is Delta. 

It is so nice to be trained here at the MTC. The spirit here is strong. I know this church is true, I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father above and I know that this work is the Lord's work. 

I love you all! Please continue to send me emails everyone!  

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year, New Challenges - Entering the MTC in Provo, Utah

The start of a new year and the start of an adventure.
 Daniel is now in the MTC in Provo, Utah. Everything packed and it all fit in his 'golden plates' suitcases - even his duvet (in a vacuum sealed bag)! 

A nice sunny day and some nice elders to greet him and take him inside.