Tuesday, July 21, 2015

June 25th—June 29th: First week in the Field

       Well, so much has happened in the last two days and I haven’t had a chance to write it all down, so here it goes.  Yesterday we left the MTC at 6:30, so I was up at 5:15, which was a killer for the rest of the day, especially after I was up til after 12.  Five hours of sleep just wasn’t enough haha.  So we got picked up by the assistants and put on a coach (bus) and taken to the mission home where we met with President and Sister Ulrich who are two of the nicest people I have ever met.  They are wonderful.  We spoke to them briefly before President Ulrich started interviews, then the assistants did some training which was quite helpful.  They made it fun though because we were all exhausted; we were so out of it.  
I didn’t get to be interviewed by him, but I met with him in a small group.  He is a genius.  He knows soo much about the scriptures.  I asked him how I can better feel the spirit and become more in tune with His will.  He told me (us) that the best thing we can do is to read the Book of Mormon, then we read Preach My Gospel and then we pray, and pray, and pray.  He was also telling us that the Book of Mormon talks about Christ and the Atonement more than even the Testaments. 2.6 times a verse in the Book of Mormon compared to 1.7 in the bible, how crazy is that!  Anyways, we went to the church to have a big mission conference and to meet our trainers, I was the last to get mine and I was terrified—never been so nervous over something so dumb.  But my trainer is Elder Fernandez from Sparks, Nevada.
We are white-washing (which means we are both being transferred into the area together) the Blackpool area which is really hard since neither of us knows the area.  We eventually got to our flat and then immediately went and knocked few doors down the street.  That was about it for my first in-field day. 
My trainer is phenomenal!  Such a great guy, he kinda beats to his own drum, but really who doesn’t.  His name is Elder Fernandez and he has been out four transfers.  Well, actually this is his fourth.  He is an amazing guy who is one of the most happy-go-lucky and optimistic people I have ever met.  He was a beach bum in Reno area (Lake Tahoe) before he came out here. Much of our area had been red-zoned (no go) for years and was reopened to use, which could be great when it comes to finding since it is the town center where the vast majority of the people are.  The plan is to try and set up a street display with the whole district because they have started them in Liverpool, where my companion was, and they are unbelievably effective, they had forty lessons in about six hours.  This area has hope and I hope I get to see the great things that become of it
  I got to speak to Elder Jolly today which was phenomenal!  It was so great to hear from someone back home.  I think he is a very good missionary judging from his reputation.  It was good to hear a voice from back home.  
I taught my first official lesson and it went really well, at least I think it did.  We went and just talked with him (our investigator).  He has a very strong belief in God and that God cares about us.  He will be a little bit of a challenge because he has such a strong personality and talks a lot.  We didn’t get to teach him much but we were able to get to know him and leave him with the commitment to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon.  We also invited him to pray for his daughter who has a lot of problems, but I promised him that if he would pray to ask Heavenly Father to let his daughter feel of his love and of Heavenly Father’s love, God would answer his prayer.  After that that we went hunting at St. John’s Square which is where we hope to be able to set up a street display in order to get more investigators.  I can totally understand having been in that area why it is that the area was red-zoned.  Some of the streets in that place felt, for lack of a better term, evil.  I have never felt more uncomfortable with a place I have stood in my whole life.  I shudder just thinking about it and it makes my skin crawl. 
The week ended with a fireside for a young man that leaves on his mission tomorrow and is a convert to the church.  While we were there, after, I had the opportunity to talk to both AJ and Avatar (friends of the convert) and to share with them a little bit about the gospel.  The one thing that they said that really stood out to me was “He (the convert) hasn’t always been this way.”  They had seen the change in him from before he was a member until now, that was what had intrigued them enough to come and talk to us.  I taught them about prayer and about how the things that we know can be confirmed through prayer.  I bore unto AJ in particular my testimony and how it is that God has changed my life and answered my prayers.  I gave him a Book of Mormon (I am so happy I grabbed one) and had him read Moroni 10:3–5 and then we talked about it.  We also talked about Alma 34:17–26 and I left him my email and my testimony that God is our loving Father who wants to hear from us.  He committed to read over the Book of Mormon and the Restoration pamphlet I gave him and most importantly to pray about it.  He never would have let any of that happen if it hadn’t been for the example of Jason (the convert).  Even if nothing more comes of our chat, Jason has touched lives before he ever became a missionary.  We are the city on a hill.  Our light cannot be hid from the people around us.  We can never know the lives that we will touch just by being ourselves and by living the gospel.  Jason hadn’t told his friends about the gospel, but they already know that it was good before they talked to me because he had let his light shine before the world.

                Elder Tarbet

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