Monday, June 12, 2017

Week #105 - "Virginia is for Lovers"

As my time winds down here in the Washington DC South mission I've been reflecting on what has happened over the past two years. Following the inspired pattern of one of my previous companions, I wanted to write just a thing or two about each of my companions for my final email. Since, in reality, they have been the ones by my side these past two years through the grit and grime. But don't get me wrong, each and everyone of you on this email, whether you were my companion or not, has had a personal impact on me over my mission. I'm thankful for all of you and your examples to me.

So let me take you back a whole two years and tell you the story from where it begins...

My first companion on my mission was Elder McInerny in Falls Church. I don't think I could have had a better trainer. He taught me so many great things, from how to work with members to being a personable missionary. He knew exactly how to answer all my "greenie" questions and was able to teach me how to be an effective instrument in the Lords hands. I'll never forget the impact that one experience with Elder McInerny had on me. We had an apartment complex that we were trying to Tract out and we pulled up and it was pouring rain. I remember we parked the car. Turn off the engine. We both just sat there for a second probably thinking in our minds, "are we actually going to do this right now?" After a second or two Elder McInerny said, "well, let's get to it" and we were off knocking away in the rain. I'm grateful that my trainer taught me how to be a hard working missionary. 

After I was done being trained, I had to opportunity to train Elder Havens. After the transfer meeting our first day together, I remember driving back to our area and just having this overwhelming feeling that I had no idea what the heck I was doing. Thank goodness Elder Havens was patient enough with me and we were both able to learn on the fly. He probably gained a lot of patience that transfer having to deal with me as a trainer. I'll always be thankful Elder Havens was willing to work with me. 

My second area was in Shirlington with Elder Hudson. It was tough to leave Falls Church but Elder Hudson made me feel right at home. We were like brothers for the transfer we were together. We would have disagreements and argue and even sometimes wrestle but within 10 minutes we would be back to normal. Elder Hudson and I spent that whole transfer finding new investigators. It finally paid off a year later when one of the investigators we found and taught, got baptized. I'll always be grateful for my time with Elder Hudson. 

My next stop was in Wakefield with Elder Merrill. I was blessed to spend two transfers with my buddy. One lesson I learned from him is to just be funny and work hard. He knew exactly when to switch to funny mode and then when I was time to switch to serious. He always kept me laughing and entertained. Elder Merrill also taught me, without words, what it means to he humble. His complete trust in the Lord was contagious and it helped us with the success of our area. 

Elder Burleson is a one-in-a-million missionary. He is one of the most dedicated missionaries I was blessed to serve with. From my first day with him, to my last, we were working as hard as we could while being as obedient as we could. Not only did we work super hard but we had so much fun. He was the best street ball teammate on the courts in Manassas. (He caught a sick lob when we were playing two on two with some homies. Don't worry, I didn't forget(; ) During my time with him, he helped me see the blessings that come from obedience. He pushed me to be the best missionary I can be and for that I am thankful. 

During my 2 transfers with Elder Burleson, we had Elder Flowers join us in a trio for one of the transfers. Elder Flowers brought a sense of humor to our companionship. He never failed to bring a smile to my face. He came in and picked up right where Elder Burleson and I were and ran with us. He was always willing to rise to the occasions handed to him. He helped our area tremendously. I'll always remember my buddy Elder Flowers.

After the trio, Elder Holdaway came down to Manassas to be my companion. I learned so many things during our time together. One of which was companionship unity. I can remember so many times when I would get jammed in a lesson and he would be there right behind me to pick up where I was stuck. He was one of most genuine, skilled missionaries I got to serve with. He also knew how to push me to become better. We were able to set goals that would push us and we would both be untied in our desires to accomplish them. We even broke some mission records during that time because of our goals. No three months on my mission have gone by faster than those three with Elder Holdaway. To this day, I think about those days cruising down the streets with "Scooter" and I can't help but smile. 

I was blessed to stay in Manassas for 5 transfers. My last companion there was Elder Winn. Elder Winn was an excellent missionary. He knew how to teach effectively and listen to the spirit. He was great at answering questions that our investigators had. It was cool to see his ideas that he brought over from the Richmond mission come to play in helping our teaching pool. He taught me a valuable lesson on being completely present in our lessons. Always be listening and praying about what to say next. 

I left Manassas and traveled to Whitewash/Open Train in Quantico with Elder Arritt. Never once did I feel like I was the trainer in our companionship. Elder Arritt came into the mission well prepared to be a missionary. He knew he had goals and things he wanted to accomplish out here and he was determined to succeed. Our first transfer together he set the goal to improve his teaching ability and by the time we were done, he was an awesome teacher!  We spent one transfer in the Quantico Ward then we both whitewashed the Fair Oaks Ward right after. I couldn't think of anyone else I'd want to whitewash back-to-back transfers with. Little did Elder Arritt know that he was training me. 

My second companion in Fair Oaks was Elder Williams. There aren't enough good things I could say about my man, O. He is one of the most loving individuals I've ever met. Maybe it's because he's poly? Or maybe it's because he just absolutely cares about people and their well being. We didn't have a car in our area so we mostly walked around due to the cold weather and snow. Elder Williams would ask me, "so, how long of a walk is it?" And I'd say, "ah, not long. Probably 45 minutes to an hour." He wouldn't complain, we would get out there and just pound the pavement. He was always willing to get the job done and not take the easy way out. I really look up to my guy, Elder Williams aka Feki. 

For my last 2 transfers, I got moved to the Arlington 2nd ward. To be with Elder Nielsen. Let me tell you how awesome the A2 Ward was. We got so much support from the leadership of our ward and the ward members-- they fed us like crazy! Elder Nielsen and the prior missionaries built a solid relationship with the members which allowed us to flourish. I feel as if my time in A2 with Elder Nielsen really prepared me for the trial of returning home. Thanks for all the help and the two transfers, Elder Nielsen. 

Each of my companions has helped shape me into the person I am today. Times may have been tough, we may have argued and fought or we may have been the best of friends, but I'm thankful and eternally indebted to each of you. Your examples and personalities have been a blessing in my life. 

To the people of Virginia, I will deeply miss you. I am grateful for your love and support. You have helped me through the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. You will all have a special place in my heart. 

To my friends and family back home, I'll see you on Wednesday or shortly thereafter! 

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he LIVES!" (D&C 76:22) 
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that our sins can and will be forgiven on conditions of our repentance. I wish you could all see the change that had happened over these two years. To me, it's night and day. I truly have accessed the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that no matter who we are or what we have done, God is willing to turn our weaknesses into strengths. I have a testimony of the calling of the Prophet, Joseph Smith. I will take my testimony of him to the grave with me. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Heaven are not closed. He is still speaking to us today. This things I've come to know by the influencing power of the Holy Spirit. The testifier of truth. 
I LOVE being a Full-time Missionary. I wouldn't trade this last two years for the world. Because honestly, to me, they are absolutely priceless. The work of salvation is the most important and life-sustaining work we can ever be involved in. The beautiful thing is, as much as I have loved being a missionary, I know that the best is yet to be.  These things I leave with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. 

Please add me to your weekly email lists. I want to hear from you. Or if you just want to hit me up, that's fine too. I love you all! πŸ’™

Elder Tanner Leishman

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Week #104 - "Second to Last Email"

Hello, everyone. I hope you all had a great week. It's so weird that
pday is upon us again. Time really does fly...

This week was exciting. There is a young couple in our ward that have
been hookin it up with teaching opportunities lately. They are house
parents to a conservative internship house. It's a pretty interesting
gig. Basically they get to live in the house for free but they have to
babysit a bunch of college-aged interns for 12 week periods. Bless
their hearts. But they mentioned to us before the interns showed up
that there are always a couple that have a lot of questions and that
we should come by sometime. So we went by this week and it was
awesome!! There are probably 12-14 interns there and we got to talk to
most of them. One in particular was asking some probing questions.
Hopefully we can get over there again thin week and teach her more.
The opportunity was so much fun. They all had 101 questions for us. I
enjoyed answering them. It was pretty funny being around people that
were my age and talking to them about the gospel. Also, with any
political intern there comes a sense of political fire haha. we
definitely saw a couple "discussions" break out. πŸ˜‚

We finally had some of our investigators come to church this week.
Kevin and his boys were able to attend and it was awesome! They all
enjoyed it very much. We talked to Benjamin's teacher afterward and he
said that Benjamin was going 'Buck Wild' for most of their class but
that he's a good kid. It was funny haha. Kevin enjoyed gospel
principles. Our lesson was on Exaltation 😳 I think he understood lol.
We are going to have a busy week helping them as well. Lots to do!

Recently, I've been pondering on the fact that missionaries are called
to SERVE. I feel like there's a lot of meaning behind the word serve.
I don't think the term "serve" has anything to do with ourselves.
Service is completely giving ones self to a certain task out of love.
That love could be for the person you are serving or simply the fact
you love God. It's funny when you're around missionaries 24/7 that
always talk about "climbing the totem pole" to their next leadership
responsibility. We aren't in some hierarchy that we are eventually
trying to work our way to the top. You don't move up and down in rank.
Absolutely not. We are SERVANTS of the Lord who have been called to
SERVE in capacities because we love the Lord. I'm grateful I had my
friend, Elder Jamison Jones, teach me a valuable lesson on this
towards the beginning of my mission. I'll always be grateful for that.
Shout out to my man Jonesy.

It's bittersweet knowing that this is my last full week as a
missionary. From they plans we have set, its going to be one busy
week. Talk to you all next week for my last pday! Have a fantastic
week πŸ’™ Mosiah 2:17

Elder Leishman

The first is with the Stewart Family. They are my cousins in the Falls
Church Ward. I'm glad I got to get one last pic with the whole fam.
They made me sit in the "chair of honor". I look like the grandpa in a
family picture haha. They have been an awesome support to me over my

The second is my friend, Bryce. Also in the Falls Church Ward. He was
one of the first members I got really close with on the mission. His
wife wasn't able to join us because they are about to have a baby.
They are awesome. I'm so glad I know I'll always have friends i can
count on in Bryce and Brooke.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week #103 - America the Beautiful πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ❤

I'm sorry for writing this email so late in the day. We have had one
of the coolest pdays of my mission. Well, let me start by saying Happy
Memorial Day! I'm so grateful for the men and women of this country
who have paid the biggest price for our freedom. We thought it would
be a good idea to respect the spirit of Memorial Day and pay tribute
to those armed forces members who have passed on by going to the
Arlington National Cemetery. We knew going into it that it was going
to be pretty packed but we decided to go anyways. Little did we know
that the President of the United States was going to be giving a
speech at the cemetery today. I was able to see President Donald Trump
in person. 😎 I'll send some pics. It was one of the best pday
experiences. I've joked my whole mission about seeing the POTUS and it
finally happened on one of my last pdays. Definitely an experience I
won't forget anytime soon. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

Now, nobody spoil the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie for me. I
LOVE those movies. All you can say was whether it was good or not.
πŸ‘πŸΌ or πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of going on exchanges to my
first area, Falls Church. It was so crazy being back where it all
started. I got to see a lot of the members that I got close with while
I served there and even one of the nonmembers who we would meet with a
lot. I tried to snap a pic with the members but I didn't get pictures
with everyone, just a few. I also got to have some Jardine cookies
again...heavenly. I will always be grateful for my time in the Falls
Church Ward.

We had some awesome dinners this week with members. A lot of them came
up to me at church and asked what I wanted for dinner. I basically had
a whole week of some of the best meals. I'm really excited for these
next two weeks.

Friday we had interviews with President Huntsman. I've said it once
and I'll say it again, I love having interviews with our president. He
always finds a way to have me walking away super motivated and happy
for what lies ahead. Our interview was a little shorter because I'm
going to be having a departing interview with him next week where we
will talk more about the future but it was still great.

I got my flight itinerary in the mail this week 😳. Looks like I'll be
landing in Vegas on July 14th at 11:09am. Hope to see you all there.

Sadly we are learning about more hiccups and struggles with the people
we are teaching than we are actually resolving. I'm still confident
and faithful that things will get worked out soon. Just keep praying
for us and these investigators that we will get our stuff figured out.

Turns out I've started to get another cold! Talk about bummer. I feel
like I was just sick yesterday. It was almost 6 weeks ago when I was
bedridden. Hopefully I don't get that bad again. I started feeling it
coming Friday night. Let's get this under control, I don't have
time to be sick. I've only got 2 more weeks to labor with all my
might... πŸ’ͺ🏼

I realized after I sent my weekly email last week that I had sent a
typo. I said that I only had 2 more pdays last week. Well, really, I
had 3. NOW i only have 2 more pdays left. Crazy crazy stuff. I don't
think I'm ready to leave Virginia yet, i love it so much.

Happy Memorial Day! Remember, if you see someone dressed in a military
uniform, stop, shake their hand, and thank them for their service. I
hope you all have a great week. I love and miss you all😘

Arlington Cemetary with my boi, Big Z

President Trump's speech at the cemetary

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week #102 - πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ✌🏼Go

"What do you think of the Jets new football stadium.....? Let me
guess, disgusting?"
Quick, someone name that movie 😌

Just FYI, I'm still a huge fan of pday naps 😎😴

This week we did some service at the local Episcopal Church. They have
a food pantry there that is open often. We try to sign up for days
each week. I always love serving there. We talk to some of the most
humble people that come through. Also some of the people know a little
bit about the 'Mormons' so we have some funny conversations. Most of
it is clearing up misconceptions. A few weeks ago we had another woman
there helping with us. Her name is Kelsey. She's so sweet. This week,
we got to volunteer with her again. She knows a little bit about the
church and had a friend join in high school. I tried to invite her out
to one of our services but she kindly denied haha. Don't worry though,
she's too nice not to accept one of these next couple invites lol.
Hopefully we run into her again soon.

This week got super hot out of nowhere. It was almost a 180 degree
turn around. It had been cold and wet lately but then this week
someone lit a match on hades head he poured out his wrath on the D.C.
area. πŸ”₯ Lucky for my comp and I, we don't have a car so we got to
spend the days sweating bullets. πŸ˜… I enjoyed it to be honest. Got to
get a nice farmers to tan before a go home.

We got a call from a member of our bishopric on Friday  afternoon asked
us if we would give talks in Sacrament meeting on sunday. I gladly
accepted. My topic was on 'The Work of Salvation' which is basically a
free pass to motivate the members of the ward to do missionary work.
Haha. I wasn't really phased by the late notice and I am definitely
not a fan of when people announce to the congregation that they were
given late notice to talk and to "bear with them" because they just
threw something together. So I didn't say anything about it. That's
definitely something I learned from my dad, you could be in the
toughest situation imaginable but don't show it. You could have gotten
a call Sunday  morning to speak that afternoon, no need to announce
it to everyone. I don't know. Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine.
What do you all think? Anyways, I enjoyed being able to speak to the
members are share experiences with them. I told stories about the
Bercian Family and the ward council in Fair Oaks. I had planned to
talk about the "government" of a ward mission (Bishopric, WML, Ward
Council, Members, etc.) but I only had time to hit Ward Council and
Members. Hopefully someone took something motivating away.

Speaking of learning things from my dad. I feel like I've learned so
many great things from him. One of which is to not care what people
think about you. I could be biking through downtown Arlington, wearing
a white shirt and tie, a name tag, and a goofy looking helmet and not
care what any of the people i ride past think of me. I mean we stick
out like a sore thumb, I see the people staring at us or giving us the
"I'm hardcore judging you" look. I don't mind though. if anything, I
enjoy it. I like to be different. I like to be the odd man out. So
thanks to my pops for teaching me that valuable lesson. Love ya big

We weren't able to meet with our buddy Eric this week. There have been
a couple members in the ward following up with him on his smoking. May
25th is the quit Day. Keep him in your prayers. Kevin and his family
are still solid. Just need to get this dang paperwork figured out.
Once we do that, baptism is a-go. Pray for Kevin's paper work to get
worked out please! πŸ™πŸΌ

Saturday our zone participated in what's called McLean Day. It's
similar to a county fair or a carnival. The missionaries were asked to
help volunteer at the event. We spent time unloading and loading cars
as well as walking around and asking people to take a survey about
their experience. Hmm.. who would have thought to send the
missionaries out to talk to all the people? You'd think they thought
we never do that or something... it was a fun event. There was
probably 6,000-8,000 people that came to the event. We were there from 6:30am- 7:30pm
 Let's just say I got a good nights sleep that
night... 😴

Also, anyone that is in Vegas, go to Fiiz! The grand opening was this
past week. I know the owners and they are awesome. Someone get a 32oz.
Dr. Pepper with vanilla cream and drink it just for me πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Over all, it was a great week. I loved being about to get out and
serve in different capacities this week. It made it interesting! I
can't believe I only have two more pdays after today... so crazy!
Someone pray for me that I can get everything done that I need to
before I go home. Thanks for the love and support! Have a great week!

Elder Leishman πŸ’™

Week #101 - "Happy Mother's Day"

First off, Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome mothers out there,
especially my momma. I'm so glad I got to talk to her yesterday. Don't
get me wrong, I love talking to dad and the boys, but it's always no
nice talking to Momma Leish. She definitely brightens my day.
 "All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." - Abraham Lincoln

Talking to the family was much needed yesterday. It was so good to see
them again! I can't believe that was my last time Skyping with them as
a missionary. The next time I'll see them will be face-to-face! So
many exciting things are going on in the Leishman Fam. If any of you
are in Vegas this weekend and want to get a nice, cool drink. Stop by
Fiiz Drinks. My parents store is opening up on May 19th, this week!!
Everyone go check it out!

Last pday, I found a hidden gem.πŸ’Ž I don't know why I never found this
earlier in my mission. So much unused potential. It's called "pday
naps." πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Holy cow. I can't tell you how amazing it really was. If
you can think of your most favorite hobby, times it by 10, and you
have what it feels like to take a pday nap. Such a blessing. We took a
two hour nap last week. You best believe I'm making that happen again
this week. 😌

We played some more street ball this week. I wasn't as on fire as I
was last week but I still had all the guys wanting me on their team.
It was super fun. And it's a great time filler for the 8:30pm - 9:30pm 
time frame. Usually nobody wants you knocking on their door at that
time, so why not go play some ball. I got talking to a couple of the
guys afterwards and they knew a lot about Mormons. Hopefully we can
see some success.

Pretty cool experience this week. My uncle that lives in Tucson, AZ
sent me an email last week about one of his buddies that lives in my
area. He knew him from school at Michigan State. He set it up and we
were able to grab dinner with his nonmember buddy, Andrew. He was a
great guy. Knew a lot about the church and even played on my uncles
church ball team. Small world!!

There were so many exciting things that happened this week with our
investigators. I'll give you the condensed version.
We had a referral from some Spanish elders that we went to check up
on. Turns out the guy is super solid but his girlfriend
is...interesting. When we first calls him, she was freaking out and
cussing us out. By the time we showed up to her house, she had calmed
down and was in love with us... I think she might have been a tad
intoxicated. We went back a couple days later for our follow up
appointment and she opened the door with nothing but a blanket draped
over her. I was like, "Uh.... yeah we are going to come back later,
much later." Luckily her boyfriend closed the door and let her throw
some clothes on and we had a good lesson with them afterwards. Thank
Kevin is still doing awesome! We met with him almost everyday this
week. We are struggling to get him to church though. Every weekend
something new comes up. It's either one of his kids are sick, he has
to work, his wife has to work, etc. etc... we are also still trying to
locate some paperwork so we can get them married!! So much to do and
only 4 weeks to do it!!
Our buddy, Eric, is still on date for June 10th. (My last weekend in
the mission) He has been making leaps and bounds trying to kick
smoking. He's down to about 1 cigarette a day which is fabulous.
Hopefully we can get him over this last hump.

It was a crazy busy week. I loved every minute of it. Even the hard
ones. I hope you all had a great weekend and have an even better week!
I love and miss you all!

Elder Leishman

Skyping with the fam on Mother's Day

Dinner with Uncle Ryan's friend from Michigan State, Andrew

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Week #100 - "No Car, No Problem"

Holy. Cow. What a week it has been. I feel like I have accomplished so
much this week. It feels great. Transfer weeks are always very busy.

Quick, someone give me an update on the NBA playoffs....

Elder Nielsen and I got a call from the Assistants last Monday night
informing us that we would have to give up our car for the next
transfer since they had to open up some new sister areas. No worries
though. That gives me a good opportunity to bust out the 10-speed for
this last transfer. And boy, let me tell you, it's been a blessing. I
FINALLY PLAYED SOME STREET BALL AGAIN. So we were walking home one
night (our bikes hadn't been dropped off yet) and we came across this
park that had a basketball court with some homies playing. And of
course, by this time my spidy senses were tingling. Anyways, we decide
we were going to go watch for a minute or two since we had a couple
extra minutes before we had to be home. Well, as we are siting there,
they end up needing one more guy and one of the homies on the court
yells up to me to come down and jump in. So in my head I'm thinking,
"oh yeah baby, here's my chance. Don't mess it up." Well, I get down
there and all the guys were laughing and asking if I was really going
to play in dress shoes, slack, and a white shirt and tie. I humbly
told them yes and the game got started. There's nothing I love more
than when you make a sick move on someone dressed in missionary
clothes and everyone watching starts to freak out and yell. It is so
cool. By the time we were done playing, a small crowd had come to
watch the games. It was so cool. We played two games and my team won
one and lost one. After we finished, all the guys came up to me and
told me to come back and play again. My favorite comment of the night
though went as follows, "thanks for hoopin man, surprisingly you were
pretty good. Come back again and bring some sneakers. I don't even
know what you will do then." Its times like this that I will miss so
much when my mission is over.

We had some great lessons with our investigators. Still working on
getting Kevin and his family baptized. I feel like it's just one
hiccup after another. But it will all workout. We also found two new
investigators this week. Another Mongolian family!! They are awesome.
I'd tell you their name but I can't even pronounce it, let alone spell
it. It looks like our efforts to find are starting to pay off. This
new family was a referral from another Mongolian member family. Turn

We have been doing a lot of missionary work with the members lately.
Gotta get them to help us find some new investigators. The members in
the Arlington 2nd Ward are awesome. Now they just need to show their
friends how awesome they are at church haha. Hopefully we can get some
new people to work with form it.

Elder Simpsons mom took my companion and i out to dinner this week. It
was crazy how it happened. It was super last minute, I'm glad i got to
meet Momma Simpson though. She was awesome and she brought her son,
McKay. That's my brothers name too! 😎 no need to fear though, we kept
our dinner pretty short because we had an appointment so I'll be
excited to get to know the Simpson fam more after the mission.  I'm
super excited for Mothers Day next week. Can't wait to talk to my Fam.
It's one of the two best days of the year!

All in all, it was a great week. I love being a full-time missionary.
There's nothing better. I hope you all have a swell week. I love and
miss you allπŸ’™

Elder Leishman

With Elder Simpson's Mom

Playing a little street ball

Shout out to McKay