The Book of Mormon, Conference and the Pig

From the editor (Tyson's dad): Thank you to all of those who have sent emails of encouragement and teaching to Elder Larson this past week.  He mentioned to me several times today that he loved getting them no matter how long or how short.  He is also very grateful for the prayers on his behalf and for those he teaches!

I am also still looking for any quick, easy and cheap meals/recipes to send to him.  Thank you to those who have helped thus far!

On with the update:

So to start off with, this week has been soooo exhausting.  We were given the challenge by President Wilson to read the whole Book of Mormon, cover to cover, during the week leading up to General Conference so that we can have a fresh and strong conviction of it coming into conference.  I personally think this is amazing and I made it a goal to finish it.  I think this was mostly because I had never actually read The Book of Mormon.  I know most of the stories, concepts, and teachings, I think, but in my entire 19 years of life I have never read through it personally and gained a whole testimony of it.  The time that I came the closest was on my church history senior trip, Origination.  I think I got to somewhere in the middle of Mosiah.  

But, anyway, reading it has consumed pretty much all of our week.  That might be a reason why my update this week is a little shorter, haha. So we were told that we could set up appointments, and that we could go to previously scheduled appointments and meetings, but besides that we were supposed to be reading, no prospecting for new investigators.  

So, I'll tell you what we did this week, and then, basically, just any other time we had, I was reading the Book of Mormon nonstop. 

Monday

Mondays are P-days . I was really excited to talk to my family and people back home.  I also learned that it's really hard to email all the people I want in that short of time, haha.  I'm really going to try hard to email back though, so if you email me it might take a while, but, you will hear back.  Also, I can get all the emails sent to me through the week, anytime, and read them, but, I can't respond back until I get online on Mondays. 

Ok, anyways, Monday we woke up and read the Book of Mormon for a while, cleaned up and did some stuff around the apartment.  Then we got to email.  It was so great to talk to people back home (ok well just Dad and Mom and Brooklyn) but, ya, I loved that! (editors note: by talk he means that we exchanged emails back and forth for a while)  When we finished our email time we read for a couple hours.  Later that night we had a lesson with Thom again. He's going out of the area for about a month, so this is the last lesson with him for a while.  He's really starting to get it I think.  It's really cool to see people grow like that.  Teaching is definitely my favorite part of the mission so far. 

Tuesday

Tuesday we only had one lesson, and that was at like 7pm, so we read all day haha!  It's sooooo hard to focus that long and by Tuesday evening my brain was already mush. 

Our appointment was with Kathryn. She is trying to come back to church and overcome some things in her life.  I am really inspired by her efforts in everything.  It's so important that we all know that God loves us.  I know for myself that I feel alone sometimes, but, that's the reason the first thing in the very first lesson in PMG is "God is our loving Heavenly Father". 

Wednesday

Our lessons got canceled on us today so we just had reading.  We did take a break and went to Walmart with the Spanish elders.  They're kinda stressful sometimes though, haha!  They are always late and get really distracted. but, it was nice to have a break from reading for a while.  We also had dinner and a lesson with a new couple in the ward, the Bernals.  They're younger and both served missions.  We showed them "After the Storm"

and I really liked talking to them. They committed to invite two investigators to watch conference with them and we planned to return to their house and talk with all of them on Sunday.  

ALSO, BE PROUD OF ME! I ATE SALAD! Not like a whole giant plate, but, I had a little and I didn't throw up.  I was proud of myself!  I am really working on my food skills, haha, but, the members that have fed us have been pretty good cooks so far... only a few things that have been kinda tough to stomach.  Kinda grateful I'm not in Chile eating cow brains and dog/cat (editors note: Chile is where I served my mission and he has heard the stories of me eating those things). So, I guess it could be much worse, lol.  Also, Brother Bernal gave us some ties he had because he received tons on his mission.  I got a pretty sweet black and red one. Day 3: reading is getting tougher. The Book of Mormon makes me really sleepy.

Thursday

Today was a little busier.  We woke up and read for about an hour.  Then at about 9:30 a member needed us to come move boxes and do "service".  It was great because we moved about 15 boxes of decorations from the attic and then they fed us a big breakfast.  My kind of service!!  After that we had more service time at a rehabilitation center playing bingo.  The Spanish missionaries drove us and our bikes (still have a hand me down crappy one) over to the place which is about 3 miles away.  We played bingo with them for about an hour and a half, then we had to bike home, in....the....rain!  It was tough because we didn't know exactly where we were going, it was pouring rain and my bike is a little on the rougher side.  I can't wait until I receive my own bike this week.  

Later, we had our weekly bible study class we teach out at Brother Maldonado's.  And, yes, I did get a picture with the big pig, even though it was raining haha.  

We had the class at his house.  There were 3 people there and it went pretty well.  Elder Bronson made me be the lead on teaching, though, which stressed me out before the lesson, but, once I started going it was like I've been out here for 2 years and had the chapters memorized (Mosiah 28-29).  I love that feeling and I am slowly learning to rely on the Lord a lot more.

Friday

Friday we had 2 lessons planned, but they both got canceled.  So, we were inside reading the whole day again.  Honestly (I'm writing this on Sunday) I don't remember anything that happened Friday.  My brain is sooo dead from all of this reading.   I have a constant headache and my eyes are like falling out of my head haha.  The days are kinda blurring together because we are just sitting around the apartment. So, ya, that was Friday I guess, haha.  Sorry!SaturdaySaturday we had General Conference all day.  We woke up and immediately started reading the Book of Mormon from like 7:45 until 11:30 because we knew we wouldn't have any time through the day.  We got to the stake center at 12:00 and sat down.  I expected to see a few more people there, but, instead it was pretty much just the missionaries from our zone and we had the chapel to ourselves.  I've been really excited for conference, so I got all set up with my iPad and keyboard ready to take notes and learn some things.  

First of all I loved the pictures of home they showed right before.  The Salt Lake valley, the mountains and the temple. But, also, because of that and just the whole feel of conference, it was so hard and weird for me to not be watching conference with my family, in my basketball shorts, while eating waffles or whatever.  So the whole missionary feel about wanting to get all the knowledge and spirit I could out of it was great, but, it also made me a little homesick at the same time. 

Anyway, the very first talk was meant for me and only me!  

The Lord knew exactly what I needed to hear.  Personally, I always try and complicate everything.  I think too much and as my MTC branch president, President Laney, would say, "I get paralysis by analysis".  So, President Uchtdorf's talk was perfect for me, explaining how simple the teachings of the gospel are and how sometimes we let ourselves overcomplicate it which gets in the way of the spirit.  I don't remember everything obviously, and I can't wait to reread or hear the message again when it comes out. 

The other talk that hit me you can all probably guess; it was Elder Holland's talk.  

Everything he was saying was just sinking deeper and deeper into my heart and it was all so amazing.  The whole time I was moments away from running out in the hall to just call my mom at home.  I didn't care if it was against the rules or not!  I didn't of course, but I wanted to!  He did an amazing job talking about "the two most messianic figures in our lives, the Savior, and our mothers".   Theeennn when he told the story about the girl at the end, that is what broke me.  I've always had a tender heart for Ally, and that story was just really close to home so I was just a mess!  Anyway, those two talks were amazing. 

Also, I forgot to mention, it was really cool to see the three new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sustained today.  Because of my girlfriend, Brooklyn, I have been able to meet and talk with Elder Rasband a few times. (editors note: Elder Ronald Rasband is Brooklyn's grandfather) and I know he is called of God.  He and his family are really amazing and it was very cool to see that happen. 

Ok, so then, that night was the Priesthood Session.  I had been looking forward to the Priesthood Session just like the other sessions, but I knew the whole time that it was probably one of the times homesickness would hit me.  It has been a tradition since I was 12 for me and my dad, and sometimes a couple of our friends, to go and get dinner after or before the session.  I remember my very first time going and getting steaks with Ken and Michael McDonald and my dad.  After that I remember coming down to a session at the Conference Center and going to Wingers after.  So, after the second session we ate at a members house.  It was great, and they were really nice, but it wasn't tradition.  Long story, but the point is that it was really weird to be "alone" for the priesthood session.

I really loved Elder Anderson's talk about missions and faith.  

He said that "using our minds without our heart will bring no answers" and that faith is a choice not chance. I also thought it was funny when he asked when the last time we read the Book of Mormon was!  At that point i was in about 3 Nephi I think haha. Also, President Eyring's talk was awesome on how if we do our part the Lord will more than match it.  Those are just two, but i really liked the whole session. 

Sunday

Same thing as Saturday. Woke up and started reading for about 3 hours straight or so then had to head out the door.  We actually had an appointment that morning at the Bernals, who we ate dinner with earlier in the week.  They had invited two of his coworkers, who have been investigating the church, over to watch conference.  Then we headed over to the church to watch the sessions.  I have talked to Elder Rasband before, but, I really loved his testimony, especially the part about giving your all to the gospel and leaving a legacy for your posterity to follow.  I also loved the part about the unchanging love of the Savior.  I know he is called of God like all the general authorities and will be an instrument in the Lord's hands.  All of the talks were good and I learned a lot this conference.  I don't really remember what I wanted to say about Sunday's sessions so, haha, sorry.  Sunday night i finished the Book of Mormon.  Reading it this week was one of the most exhausting things I have ever done.  Reading that long took so much effort and will. But, I am so glad I did it and it was a great way to start my mission. 

So thats my week. I'm running out of things to say so I guess I'm done, haha.  I know the Lord is here for me and if I put my faith in him I can do all things.  This is helping my homesickness a little and the work takes my mind off of it.  I really miss the mountains and I hate the rain!  The ward is great and my trainer is awesome!  Sorry, I kinda lost my train of thought this last little bit but you get the idea.  I love you all and I'll have another one next week, without the reading.