Monday, February 20, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas - Welcome to the Bible Belt



Elder Larsen and Elder Murdoch

Hey Family!
Everything has gone by so fast and I don't even know where to start. My last week at the MTC was really really good. 
On Sunday night last week we had a testimony meeting with the elders from my zone and the departing District bore their testimonies to the younger districts.  It was really amazing and I really think that it made a difference for some of the elders who were there.  I was able to give the closing prayer for that meeting and wow the spirit was amazing.  We then gave a blessing to a couple elders and said our goodbyes and went to bed

We had a really good testimony meeting with my classmates and my teacher Sister Platt.  The spirit was very strong there and it was so cool.  Sister Platt wanted us to write a letter to ourselves 2 years from now and I think that that was pretty interesting to write. I'm really going to miss my MTC district and my teachers.  They were the best.
  
The day that we left I was able to give departure blessings to 2 sisters and that was a really spiritual experience. I can tell that it made a difference for them. We then all said our goodbyes and got on board the bus for the airport. 

I loved having the chance to talk to my family before I got on the plane.  That was such a humbling experience and I want everyone to know that I love my family.  They are the best and I love them so much. 

I've never been on an airplane before so my anxiety was pretty high as I got on my flight.  I didn't know how I would react to it all when it happened.  I was pretty motion sick and I'm just happy to say that I made it to Arkansas.  I had a real nice conversation with a lady from Sri Lanka and it was nice.  I don't think she will convert but I think her sister will haha.  Her sister was sitting in the other aisle and my friends had a terrific experience with her and gave her a book of Mormon.  Way cool!

When we got off the plane and went to the loading area who would've guessed that My Mission President would have been there to greet me.  It was so amazing he reminds me a lot of Grandpa and he sounds like a Sean Connery from Fiji 😂😊.  It was awesome haha.  

I got some good training from President Wakolo that day and the next day and was able to bear my testimony again.  I love bearing my testimony to people it's the best.  I spent the night at a nice hotel and can I say after having almost no sleep for quite a while sleep is amazing.  Haha 

My trainer is Elder Murdock and he is pretty cool.  I've learned a lot from him and it's been a great week.  We have been humbled all week.   We haven't gotten in with anyone really so that's been hard but we have been doing the best that we can so I guess the Lord is teaching us patience,  humility and diligence.  

By the way the rumors are true the people down here are waaaaaaay Baptist.  I have seen more baptist churches in the last week then I think I have seen churches total in my life.  Seriously everyone and their dog are pastors in their own baptist congregation. 

Sunday was good,  I spoke in church and was all over the place but I think it went well.  I got a bishops blessing which was very comforting because I haven't known if what I've been doing has been enough, but I received a lot of peace from that.  

Mondays are my P days as you can guess and with every email home I want to extend an invitation to become more converted.  So this challenge is pretty simple read the book of Mormon for 10 minutes or more a day.  If you can do more then do it.  As you read slow down and ask yourself what does the Lord want me to gain from this passage of scripture?  And I promise you that as you do this you will feel a lot of peace come into your life.  I'm going to keep praying for all of you and I can definitely feel the strength that comes from all of your prayers for me.  Keep it up and keep me posted on what ya'll are doing.  

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Skyler's MTC District

Flat tire - first day on the job :)





















Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ready to Serve in Little Rock!

Skyler with President and Sister Wakolo




Skyler and his new companion Elder Murdoch!


New Missionaries arriving in Little Rock, Arkansas in February

It was such a fun thing to get this email from the mission office today!  After having the chance to talk to Skyler on Tuesday, and hearing his excitement and love for the experiences he is having - I am certain he will continue to thrive and he gets to work in Little Rock.  As a mom - I have been grateful for the connection I have with other missionary mama's in the ALRM group , as well as the local mama's that are watching out for our sons and daughters.  I can't wait for p-day on Monday to get a full report from Skyler about this transition, his new companion Elder Murdoch, and where he will be serving.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

MTC - Week 2



Hi Everyone!
I have had a really good second week here at the MTC. I have loved every minute of it here and I want to tell you about some of the fun stuff that has happened this week. 

So to start off I want to tell you more about my companion and the people in my district. My companion Elder Raish is really cool. He reminds me a lot of me. He is really chill, kinda shy but we are working on that. I think he is just a stellar guy.

I have really learned a lot this last week. We had fast and testimony meeting and I was able to fast for the 2 meals which in and of itself is a miracle from God because I didn't think that I could do it. I was also able to hear awesome testimonies and I was able to bear my own. 

Next awesome thing that happened this week was my district has been able to have good and hard teaching experiences with our investigators and our teachers. It has definitely been a learning experience and I have loved it. 

Elder Raish and I were able to teach a really cool guy named Sam and it was really amazing. Our first lesson was really tough but on the second one he was reading out of the book of Mormon and it was really cool to see how God was changing his life. 

I was feeling really discouraged yesterday after a difficult teaching appointment and my amazing teacher Sister Platt was able to see that I was struggling and she shared some amazing scriptures with me that made me feel better. It was D&C 33:8-10 and D&C 84: 85&88. I was afraid to open my mouth and teach but these scriptures taught me that If I have the 10 seconds of courage to open my mouth that the Lord will fill my mouth with words and that everything will work out how the Lord wants it to work out. 

I was also able to leave the campus and go get x-Rays done. I have been having a pain in my side when I breath and so I went to go get it checked out and they wanted me to get an x-ray just in case so I went and was able to get that done. First time I have ever seen my heart and lungs on an x-ray. It was really cool. I still have the pain in my side but the doctor thinks that it is just some intercostial muscles that are not happy so we will see and I will keep you updated. I also think that I am allergic to something because I keep breaking out into bumps on my arms. Really strange but I haven't had any for about 2 days so I'm not quite sure what that all means but you know....

I was able to receive a blessing from the elders in my district for my side and I feel comforted that the Lord will take away the affliction after it has run its course and taught me the lessons that I need. It was really comforting.

I have also been able to participate in a couple blessings while I have been here at the MTC and it has been the coolest experience. I think it is amazing that the Lord trusts 19 year olds to hold the holy priesthood. Its amazing how much the Lord trusts and loves his children. 

I went to the temple last week and I will be going again today at 2 and I am really excited for it. I love going to the temple and I know that it is the holy house of the Lord. 

I also got my travel itinerary for my airplane. I have 2 flights one leaves at 7 in the morning Tuesday and then I fly to Atlanta. After Atlanta I will fly to little rock and I should be there at about 3. If I can I will make sure that someone gets word that I made it there. 
  
We had 2 devotionals this week one was from Matthew O. Richardson from BYU and he shared on how we must be mighty missionaries and the crazy awesome symbolism of the stone that David O. McKay loved. It was really interesting and cool. The other devotional was when Gerritt W. Gong came and he spoke on having dreams for the mission and not letting them die and how we can help our companions keep their dreams alive. It was so amazing. I was also able to shake his hand. 

Thanks mom the for care package it really brightened my spirits when I really needed it and it made me feel way loved. I have had some hard days this week but I know that I can make it if I make a MAP or a massive action plan and that "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me"  A cool example of how Christ was able to strengthen me this week was I was running for exercise and I wanted to run one mile. I just kept a steady pace and I was able to run 4.5 miles with the help from the savior. I made a goal and he helped me accomplish my goals. Remember that Christ loves you and that we can all become more converted to the Lord ever day. I challenge you to turn out to help someone today instead of turning in to satisfy our own desires and that if we do that then we will be super blessed. Also read the Book of Mormon. It will answer every question that you have if you really look for it. I have found that if you really analyze the scriptures and pray then you can get so much out of it. 
--

Elder Skyler G. Larsen

Travel Plans in Hand!!!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

MTC Week 1



Hello all!
I have really missed all of you but I've been doing really good. So much has happened in this first week that it feels like a month or 2 have actually passed. The highlights from the week are, I have a really awesome companion. His name is Elder Raish. I really  think that the Lord was watching out for me when I got my companion, because we get along pretty well. 

I have learned a lot while I have been here, the highlights of that are that we as disciples of Jesus Christ need to turn out and reach out and help others and not reach inward towards ourselves. When we reach out to help others we can do a lot more then what we can do while reaching inward. I learned this while we watched the video Character of Christ. Turns out you can only see it at the MTC. It was amazing. We also learned that the best example of the natural man is the Cookie monster - haha.   Elder Bednar has the best interpretation of the Cookie Monster. It was the so awesome!

I have also learned a lot about the truth of the scripture "If ye have not the spirit ye shall not teach". Elder Raish and I has an interesting experience when we went in for our first TRC or first real investigator. I was so nervous that it made it hard for me to feel the spirit and we were kinda left out to dry. It was a really good learning experience though and we killed it on our second TRC. 

My District here at the MTC is amazing! Not to be boastful but I think they are all amazing people. They all have the spirit and they want to be here at the MTC so it makes it pretty awesome. 

I have learned that exact obedience to the mission rules will bring blessings and that the opposite is also true. I have seen a few different examples of both of these so save yourself some heartache and just be obedient.  

I love the spirit here at the MTC and I can tell that I have already grown a lot here and I can barely wait for the growth that will happen the rest of the time that I am here and on the mission. 

There was some changes made at a recent missionary broadcast. The church changed their policy on the missionary schedule and so now we have more flexability and agency to use out time how we feel it can be best utilized. They also changed the key indicators on what each missionary reports on. I love the changes that they made and I feel like they will help us as missionaries not get so discouraged in the missionary work. The schedule changes will also allow us to get more sleep if we are in need of it and wow I don't know how I could be so tired in my whole life - haha. Our church leaders are really inspired and I know that the Lord wanted this changes to be made. 

I want to let you all know that I know that this Gospel is the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he knows all of us individually and that he wants to help us become better then who we are right now. I challenge all of you to read the Book of Mormon today and everyday. Even if it is just for a few minutes but I promise you that as you read it you will grow closer to your Savior. My Love for him has grown a lot while I have been here at the MTC and I will do everything that I can to keep it growing while I am on my mission. 

This is a crazy amazing experience and I love every minute of it. 

I love you all and God be with you til we meet again! 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen


P.S. I love getting pictures from everyone. Here are some pictures from my adventures. 


I have my district, my companion and I at the temple, and the picture in front of the map is the elders in my district and the MTC president and his wife President and Sister Martino. 

   

See ya in two Elder Larsen - January 25, 2017

Dropping missionaries at the MTC is such an emotional and tender experience.  Below are some of the pics from that day.  Even though it is so hard to say goodbye - we know that blessings and opportunities for service will be abundant compensation for the sadness of separation.