Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 16

Having a temple in your mission is amazing. Having a temple open while you are on your mission is even more amazing. The Boise Temple had been closed for renovations, but it is currently in the Open House phase. The temple is beautiful inside, and I have enjoyed both times I have been able to take investigators inside. Let me tell you, the work is booming. As my companion so nicely put it for you videogamers, It's kind of like the beginning of the open house was like turning on God Mode. Nothing can go wrong, and we are pretty much invincible right now. These past week we found 4 new people to teach(2 because of the temple and 2 because of move-ins).
We had a fun service project this week that started out with us cleaning a garage and ended with me felling a tree. You can see part of the tree and the four of us elders that knocked it down in the one, but I like the other picture more. I'm standing on the stump so you can see how big the tree was a little better. I also don't like the other picture because I'm holding the power tool. In truth, the power tool did nothing. The battery was dead, but we brought it in for the picture so that I could be holding something. We used the hand saws to get through the tree which made it really fun. My companion(on the far right), Elder Barnes, is holding the chain we used to try and pull the tree over after we got most of the way through. Pulling didn't work, but I could see the tree was shaking really bad. I decided to give it one more go with the hand saw, and 5 seconds later I had the tree on the ground!

That's all the exciting stuff from up here this week! Y'all have a good time wherever you are!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 15: "A new transfer, A renewed opportunit​y to work"

Since my last email, I've received a request to include more "missionary stuff" in my emails, so I'm going to try and do that this time. I have to admit, things feel very routine on a mission. It feels like we are doing the same things each day, and I don't feel like most of them would be exciting for you outsiders. As such, I've tried to include the bright and fun spots of the week. We are doing missionary work. We teach lessons. We knock doors. We get rejected. All that fun jazz. For me, none of that seemed very exciting being on the outside before my mission, so I didn't think to include it here reporting to y'all on the outside.
Today is the official transfer day. Most people are moving around. I got to do all of this a week early though. We got the call a week early saying that Elder Jones would be leaving, and that I would be getting a new companion Tuesday morning. We still spent our P-Day in the mountains because it's the mountains. Monday night was spent feverishly packing and saying goodbye to some members and investigators. Tuesday morning arrived along with Elder Barnes from Maryland. I've kind of been in charge, mostly because he has no idea where he is going. He is a fun guy that loves fungi(but not really(He kind of despises vegetables(even though fungi aren't vegetables...) and potatoes(ha! He's in Idaho..))) He enjoys the finer things in life like knocking doors and teaching lessons.
This last week we went 5 for 5 Tuesday to Saturday! We had a service project each day of the week! We started out stacking and cutting wood on Tuesday. Wednesday we were clearing out a yard for a member which included helping in tree removal. Thursday we got down and dirty in the dirt trying to remove some apple tree stumps from someone's backyard(for Steve and Sandy: This is Bro Simmons in your ward.) Note that I say "tried". It turns out apple tree roots grow strong and deep. We were at it for about 4 hours and only managed to get about a foot deep of roots cut, and the stumps still had no inclination of moving. I've still got a little bit of dirt under my fingernails from this project. Plus,the roots had to have gone down another 3 or 4 feet at the very least. Friday was easier. We were moving a member from one house to another. It was pretty easy because they didn't have too much stuff, only about a trailer(that you hitch onto the back of a truck) full. Saturday we got to help that member's dad with taking stuff to the dump because he wanted to do some fall cleaning with his kid moved out.
Suit coat season started here in the IBM. That means we get to where our suit coats full time(yes, even while we are sleeping). For those who might not know what IBM stands for: It stands for I'm in the Best Mission(or at least that is what I decided it means). Some of the other people think it stands for Idaho Boise Mission, but the two things are basically the same.
You know, once I have my act together, I'm going to become the next John Bytheway. We both have awesome last names that you can play with(You all know that "I'm the Mann". 87% of you have told me so.) I've even come up with my first big break/fireside shindig thing: "Missionaries: The Greatest Superheroes of Them All" I'd tell you some of my ideas, but then you'd steal them and claim them for yourself. There are all sorts of similarities between missionaries and superheroes from tripped out rides to utility belts to lightsab-I mean-to tools. You name it! If a superhero has it, a missionary has something similar/better than that thing the superhero has.
In one of my less bright moments, I got to teach at District Meeting where us missionaries get together and learn how to be missionaries. I wasn't quite as inspired with my training as I was with my fireside idea. I got up to talk about "Finding when you teach and teaching when you find" or vice versa. One of the key ideas in teaching and talking to people is being natural. If you aren't yourself, people aren't going to want to talk to you! Sometimes people don't want to talk to you even when you are being you! If you are going to be denied, you might as well be denied as yourself and not someone else. I went to end my training talking about being natural by saying "Don't deny yourself!" I immediately realized I was talking to 19 and 20 year old guys who have read scriptures that all talk about "deny[ing] yourself"(of all ungodliness) and they break out laughing at my error. Me too. I fixed it though! I went on to say: "Scratch that. 'Deny yourself, but don't deny being yourself.'" That was my big breakthrough. Don't do those things which aren't good, but don't do those things that don't make you yourself either. We are all individuals with individual value and worth. Each of us is great because we are ourselves. So, these are my words of wisdom to you all today: Deny yourself, but don't deny being yourself.

Well, with a new transfer comes a new picture of my 'smiling face' to show that I am alive and well! I kind of mentioned lightsabers earlier...Well, Here's your proof! haha That's right. Missionaries are now issued lightsabers! If that isn't enough to get you out on a mission when you are a young man, I don't know what is! Have a great week!
Also, I forgot to mention my address is still the same! I am still in Meridian and it is fantastic! Mail can be sent to the mission office or directly to
Elder Soren Mann
3145 N Valam Ave
Meridian, ID 83646
Bye now!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 13: "Food, Glorious Food."

As a missionary, it is really hard to say 'no' when people offer to give you food. Our normal home diet consists of cereal and peanut butter(or at least that is my diet). This week it changed a little bit. We were given a lot of "food" from members. Just because of how crazy it is/was, I'm going to list it all out. This last week we were given 4 cantalope, 1 watermelon, 6 giant cinnamon rolls, 2 huge pieces of red velvet cake, 2 cases of Capri Suns, french toast sticks, a jar of Raspberry-Peach jam, several bags of chocolate chip cookies, a bag of no-bake cookies(at home we always called these fudgy oatmeal cookies, but apparently everyone else calls them no-bake cookies), and 2 bags of 'candy'(a big bag of Skittles and a bag of chocolate covered pretzels). It was ridiculous! What's even more ridiculous is that it is almost all gone! Luckily, we were able to enlist the help of some other missionaries in eating all of this. We've still got 2 cantalopes and the jam, but everything else is gone.
I don't know how many of you noticed, but the title is a quote from Ice Age 2. I only bring that up because it is a cartoon. Cartoons are similar to story books. I only bring up story books because I used one is a lesson this week! I got to teach using the story of "The Star-Bellied Sneetches". After a dinner, I got to share a spiritual thought, and I used the story of "The Star-Bellied Sneetches" In the story, everybody was changing to become something else that they thought was better than what they previously were. In the end they were kind of forced to reconcile there differences because they realized how petty a difference it was(and they couldn't remember who had been different for what reasons). It was kind of a "the grass is greener on the other side" story, but I'm here to tell you that even if the grass is greener on the other side, the grass on your side of the field is more comfortable and it is all yours. Sometimes the greener grass isn't better. It's more trouble and it's not what you need. I don't know about you guys, but I like my grass soft! I don't care how green it is, as long as it is soft. You can have all of the green grass you want, but I am going to love the grass that I have been given because it is my own special grass.
A few weeks ago I brought up having several flats. Don't worry, I didn't get anymore flats. I'm here to talk about the 'bike graveyard'. I will make a disclaimer, that all I've added to the graveyard is dead tubes. Apparently there was an elder here just before me who ruined whole bikes and not just tubes. I'm attaching a picture with a list of things to see if you can find them all.
Can you find:
5 dead tubes
1 bike frame without tires
1 unused/bent rim
3 tires
Our 2 good bikes are sitting there too, but all of that other stuff is also kind of just hanging out.
Last night at dinner, the brother providing dinner showed us a video. It's a devotional from summer 2011 at BYU, and I am now going to give it a thumbs up. The devotional is called "His Grace is Sufficient" and it was given by Brad Wilcox. If you find yourself with another spare half hour after reading this, I strongly suggest watching or reading this. It is a great talk, and I would not do it any justice by trying to describe it. My description would ruin it, so I'm just going to tell all of you to watch it and take in it's amazing message on your own time.
This has been Elder Mann reporting in from the Meridian Public Library. Y'all have a good week!
p.s. I told you all about my Meridian address a few weeks back(3145 Valam). Well, if you send a letter this week, you can still use it; however, if you send a letter next week, use the old address(1111 S Cole Road) because I could end up moving to a new area next week. We'll find out. TTFN Tah Tah for Now!