Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 4: 1st Full Week

Dear everybody,
Well I finally have the chance to add pictures because I'm in a library so I'll start with that and see how it goes. There are 3 pictures attached. One is of myself and a friend from home, Elder Miner. Another is of me and the guy who isn't dressed up because it was late at night(and he lived two doors down) the last night before I left, Elder Lucas. The one with the old guy that looks like a mountain man was taken in the MTC. The man, Arnold, played the part of an investigator so that we could practice teaching real people in the MTC. The balder missionary is Elder Olinger, and the other missionary with glasses is Elder Woodward. They were my companions in the MTC. The last is of me, my companion(Elder Jones), the mission president(President Cannon), and his wife(Sister Cannon).
I've been out of the MTC a week tomorrow. Coming out, I was expecting to be tracting with every second we weren't in a lesson with an investigator. It turns out that isn't the case. We also visit a lot of less actives and even active members with youth. There was an old guy, Brother Hatch, that we visited. He was awesome!(not to say that the others aren't, but he was especially so. Don't get me wrong. This is the best area in the world! Super strong members. One family is letting me borrow one of their bikes until I can find one for myself. It's almost like being back home.) He reminded me of an older version of Bro Richard Larsen from 1st ward. I could see him(Bro Larsen) ending up like Bro Hatch. Service is a big part too. So far I've mowed a lawn, taught a lesson for the young men and young women, spoke in a sacrament meeting, and painted the inside of a house. Coming soon: bucking hay! That should be exciting! I'm looking forward to it.
My companion is Elder Jones from Yuba City, CA. He says I don't feel like a greeny because I know scripture references, the lessons, and I can bike faster. I'm glad he doesn't think I'm a greeny. It makes everything a lot more natural if I'm not 'fresh out of the MTC' even if I really am. We stay at the home of a nice older sister, Sister Butler. We've got real beds and a nice place to stay.
That's about it. Nothing exciting is happening, yet. We're getting ready for a big week though.
Be smart. Be wise. Remember who you are.
Elder Mann

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Week 3: 1st few days in Boise!

Wow! These past few days have gone by really fast, and it has just been crazy! Obviously I am alive and well. Were I not, I could not send this.
The MTC feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It's hard to believe I was there just two days ago. I got 4 letters Monday afternoon, so I stayed up until 2am responding to them. I then got up at 4am to finish getting ready and leave for the airport and the real world. We left from Salt Lake Airport for Boise at 8:30 and touched down a little less than an hour later. We were greeted at the airport by President and Sister Cannon as well as the Assistants to the President: Elder Wright and Elder Cottam.
From there we went to the Mission Office for a nice lunch. The office is actually in the Stake Center right next to the Boise temple. Apparently they were completely redoing the interior of the temple. The Open House will begin in October, and President Monson will do the rededication in November.
We had a little bit of training and interviews with President Cannon after lunch. After that we were sent to downtown Boise to do some street contacting. We were paired up with random trainers and given copies of The Book of Mormon to hand out. I was able to give out one(I might have gotten a little help...but I probably could have done it on my own) in addition to another that my trainer gave out. While out doing the street contacting we met a Sister Bown from around Carlsbad, CA who happens to know Sister Chatfield from Redlands 1st Ward. My first day and I've already ran into somebody I shouldn't know(alright...technically I don't know her, but we have a mutual friend. We're 1000 miles from CA. That shouldn't happen.) We then had a nice dinner at the Mission Home before heading off to bed. The next morning we ate breakfast, did a little more training, and were finally paired off with our real companions.
I've been placed in the Meridian West Stake in Meridian, Idaho over the Peregrine, Cherry Lane, Ten Mile, and Autumn Fare wards with my companion Elder Jones. Half the area is farmland, and the other half is suburbs. It's really pretty funny. As soon as I figure out how, I'll send pictures. The area has very strong member presence. Despite this strong member presence, I get to give a talk on creation and teach a lesson for the Young Men and Young Women on my first Sunday out! Yay! Nobody has slammed a door in my face yet, which has been very nice. Lucky me, I get to be in a bike area! I am very grateful for this because...well...because I'm me, and I like biking!

I am finally starting to feel like a real missionary. At first there is a little shell shock coming out of the MTC, but after you knock your first door and teach your first lesson it goes away. You really have to remember that you are still you. Sometimes that is hard, but it is important to be a person(an obedient person). The only person I know how to be is myself, so I'm going to go with that and see how it works.
They like all mail to be sent to the mission office(my address on facebook) to prevent loss of mail during transfers. This will make the time it takes me to get any letters longer, but that's okay. I can only write back on Mondays anyways.
That's all from the field!
Be smart, be wise, remember who you are
Elder Mann

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mission Week #2: last week in MTC!

Hello all,
Another week has come and gone. Our branch president said the week would fly by, but the days would drag on. He was right. It's hard to believe I've only got one more week left in here. Time is flying by and I'm sure it will keep on flying until my life is over. This time next week I'll be in Boise, Idaho! I wouldn't say that I'm tired of the MTC, but I'd say I'm ready to not be sitting in a classroom for 9-11 hours out of the day.
In memory of the missionaries that are out, I will once again list the missionaries I have ran into that I know to show that there are those who are willing to do good in the world despite all the bad: Elders Chandler(now in Salt Lake City), Lucas, Stephenson(now in Cincinatti), Doxey, Williams, Bradley, Witt, Wasden, Shreeve, Johnson, Chambers(now in Guatemala), Ahlstrom(soon to be in San Antonio), Sanderson, Mills, Ricks, Christiansen, Sotas, Segard, Gordon, Tasso, Miner, Newton, Van Slooten, and Sister (Sarah) Rowley: the faithful food server.
Our district has had a lot of ups and downs this past week. The minute somebody thought we had a bad lesson the mood for the entire companionship would just drop. The opposite was just as true though. A good lesson would put us on top of a mountain.There have been plenty of both.
We have one person we are teaching named Arnold. He's about as mountainman as you can get in the city. He's got hunting knives, fire starting kits, his wooden spoons that he carves, and a 12 guage(He brings all of these to the lessons, minus the shotgun). He says he has to be ready for when everything goes bad. I can tell you; he's ready. He is probably our best(farthest along) investigator. We've made a lot of progress with him through talking about the Plan of Salvation.
It is really important to remember that you can't teach them. You can only provide the opportunity for them to learn(by the Spirit).
You must remember to recognize that each person is an individual. You shouldn't judge them by their parentage or status in life. This last Sunday we had Sister Jenny Oaks Baker play violin and speak at our fireside. Apparently she is Elder Oaks' daughter. Did that change my opinion of her? No. It's just a nice tidbit that helps me know how she came to be who she is, but I didn't think any differently because of it.She was a great violinist though. Lots of prestigious stuff apparently. That one school in New York, part of some symphony thing, mother, teacher. All great stuff.
Knowledge of the scriptures becomes quite useful. It helps you feel like you aren't repeating yourself every lesson if you know more scriptures. I've found that I've got about 120ish scriptures at my disposal, and that is nowhere near enough. I haven't used half of them yet, but I've still got two years to use them and the rest that I plan on learning.
It might seem a little cliche but
Be smart, be wise, remember who you are
Elder Mann

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reporting in: Day 5

Howdy all!

Well I've been in the MissionaryTrainingCenter a whopping 5 days now. I've 'taught' 3 lessons already and acted as investigator twice. The food isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. It is cafeteria style like the Cannon Center at BYU for those who have been there. After getting less than 3 hours of sleep each night for the last 3 nights before the MTC, it felt good being forced to sleep from 10:30 to 6:30. My companion is one Elder Olinger from Missouri, and he happened to become the district leader(the guy in charge of the 3 sets of elders and 2 sets of sisters). Our district is split in half with 3 elders and 2 sisters each going to either the Canada Halifax Mission or the Idaho Boise Mission.
Elder Lucas(someone from my ward/building at BYU) happens to live 2 doors down from me. It has been great seeing him and having the chance to have an experienced elder there to help me know how things run. He is of course not the only elder I've seen. I've actually ran into a lot of people, and I'm sure only half of the names will make sense to any one person. I'll list them all anyways: Elder Chambers(who left today for Guatemala), Elder Doxey, Elder Williams, Elder Chandler(who leaves soon for Salt Lake), Elder Witt, Elder Wasden, Elder Bradley, Elder Shreeve, Elder Mills, Elder Miner, Elder Van Slooten, and Elder Newton. Everybody seems to be alive and well.
3 days in I already lost track of what day it is. Once you're in here, the only way days you can tell apart from any other days are Sunday because of church and Tuesday because it is my preparation day.
Yesterday in class we talked about stress relief. We of course started this lesson by going for a run(in our suits), doing push ups(in our suits), and then doing wall sits(in our suits). That was the most fun part of the day aside from our mountainman investigator and playing frisbee with Elder Lucas.
On the more spiritual side:
Teaching is a very important and powerful force, especially when it is done right. You must be sure to teach an individual, not a lesson. You have to interact with the person you are teaching. It isn't a lecture. As much as you lecture and tell others you care about them, they cannot truly learn until you let them speak and have the chance to feel and to express what they are feeling. Each day we learn more about how to be a better teacher. This is where we're at right now.
How blessed we are. While watching The Testaments after devotional on Sunday, I re-realized some very important things. God loves us more than we can ever know. We are His imperfect children. Some of us hate Him. Some of us love Him. Some of us ignore Him. Some of us don't even know who He is. He gave up His one perfect son, who happens to be the First Begotten, so that the rest of us have a chance at life and happiness beyond this life. Jesus Christ suffered so much pain, so much agony, so much despair all because He loves us. How happy and proud we must have been when he had completed his work. I can only imagine the angel choirs, us, singing out that He had doen what no one else could do all for the sake of everyone else. The joy...the joy beyond any joy we will feel when we will be able to meet our Savior in the flesh. He who knows us, knows our trials, knows our pains, knows our experiences, and knows our names. I know that my redeemer lives and that he suffered for us. In the end we will be able to meet Him again, and I hope be able to thank him for everything he has done for us.