Thursday, 30 May 2013

First Week in the Field

Monday, April 15th 2013

Sams companion in the field is Elder Blanco who is Mexican but from Utah. He gets on really well with his companion and he thinks he is an excellent trainer. Sam's first area to serve in is the Highland Hills Zone which he loves! He will be in the same area for another 11 weeks (12 weeks total) He lives in Palmilla Apartments on Neuvo Leon Street. 

The weather is so nice, its in the 80's but should be going into the 90's soon! The evening is great because its warm and you can hear the crickets. 

The first day Sam arrived in his area he had to order a bike. Luckily one of the members who he had only met for a few minutes, trusted Sam enough to lend him one of his bikes, which he said he never does AND paid for his new bike online before he gave him the money. Sam didn't take his wallet to the members house as he wasn't expecting to be buying anything!

The bike is a steel, single speed road bike which he got cheaper than most missionaries paid for their mountain bikes! He says its a really nice ride and since it is so dry over there the bike doesn't even get dirty. The reason he chose single speed is because there is nothing to maintain apart from the brakes and oiling the chain. 

Sam was knocking on some doors and he got in on his first door!!! The guy answered and said "I'm not interested, come in" which was a little confusing but it turned out that there was somebody in whose parents were members of the Church who he thought might be interested. Sam isn't nervous when tracting and he managed to get his first return appointment with a guy named Devonta who is Pentacostal. The only thing he doesn't like about knocking on doors is that it takes up a lot of time and there isn't a load of success. He had an experience which would never happen in England, he was knocking doors and one of the houses turned out to be a members home who invited them in and then invited them back for dinner for subway sandwiches!

Sam and his companion get fed by a member family every single day so they only need to buy food for lunch and breakfast. After writing emails on a Monday morning they have to go food shopping. Sam gets the pasta sachets which are really nice and really filling, also he gets 'real' pasta and some different soups which he can mix in as a quick meal. The budget is $25 per week for food, but there is stuff left over from the week before so food isn't a problem!

Sam also got his first 'soft' baptismal commitment, this is to ask someone when they know what we are teaching is true, and ask if they would commit to be baptised. Sam was a bit nervous about asking since the lesson was going so well and he didn't want to make Sean feel uncomfortable, but he accepted and he seems really receptive to what they are teaching him.

The Elders spend a lot of time trying to contact less active and part member families, they also get given lists by Relief Society and Priesthood leaders of people to contact, so they don't really spend a lot of time tracting. This seems to be why the work has more success over there as plenty of people are already familiar with the Church.

They are also going to start teaching member families and give them a Book of Mormon to place with someone, then they will follow up with whoever they give it to. Sam is hoping to see some success by this method!

Sam wanted to let his family know not to worry about him as he is not homesick!

Saturday, 11 May 2013


Thursday, April 4th 2013

Sam arrived safely at the Provo MTC at 11pm due to getting lost on the way there. When he arrived at his dorm, Elder Nakatsuka from Japan started getting dressed really really quickly thinking he was late for class as he thought it was 11am not 11pm! 

Sam had to play 'musical dorms' as he got moved from a temporary dorm to another temporary dorm in a different building. Then at 4am he had to move dorms again since the people in his dorm were leaving, then when finally assigned to a permanent dorm he had to move AGAIN!! The good news is that the new dorm is designed for 4 missionaries but it is just Sam and his companion so they have loads of room for everything! 

His MTC companion is Elder Trent Whiting from Grantsville, Utah who is going to the Toronto, Canada mission. 

There was a meeting with around 300 people in the room, a list of countries was read out and people from that country had to stand up. Sam was the only person from England so he had to stand up on his own and tell everyone where in England he was from! 

Sam loves the gym at the MTC. He used some of the weight equipment, one of them was a squat machine and he managed to push 300lbs but one of the Elders in his district (Elder Karl) managed to push 400lbs as if it was nothing! They had exercise bikes and Sam managed to cycle 1 mile in under 2 minutes which he was happy about!

On a Wednesday and a Sunday they have ice cream days, so he had ice cream with hot fudge, caramel, crushed oreos and m&ms which was the nicest thing he has ate at the MTC!

Sam is looking forward to doing another endowment session at the temple.

Sam has had a lot of practise teaching so he is much more confident talking in front of people now, however he does have in-field orientation soon which means he will be tracting and street contacting.

Here is Sams group from the MTC and also the photo that every missionary does in the MTC which is pointing where you are serving your mission on the huge world map!