Monday, June 29, 2015

In Field Week #1

So this crazy week actually started right after I sent my email last week!!! We got to go to the temple on our last pday in the MTC which was such a blessing. I was literally looking forward to it the whole time I was in the MTC. But right after we came out of our temple sessions, we were walking back and we got to the light right across the street and we were waiting for it to turn so we could walk and then some people came up to us and asked us where we are going on our missions. So we told him. (Totally thinking they are members just trying to find out where we are headed) Then one of them tells us "oh well you'll see a lot of evangelical Christians back there, how about we tell you a little about what we believe!" And at this time I just got this super strong feeling that we should head back to the MTC but before I could even say anything, one of the elders we were with said "yes, sure we would love too". So I was like oh gosh this is going to be interesting. So one of the guys starts off explaining what they believe. But it eventually turns into him just totally ripping on us and the church and just straight up wanting to bible bash. He kept saying how because we are "teachers" that we are going to be judged more harsh at the judgement day and then he said that we are going to burn in hell because all the things we teach are false and we are possessed by demons and stuff like that. So at this point, I'm getting pretty ticked off with what they are saying. And I hadn't said anything during the whole conversation up to this point but I was getting pretty fed up with everything they were saying and I don't take being called possessed lightly. So I finally piped up. And these were my exact words: "You know what, if you are right and I am possessed by a demon and everything I teach is false, I will gladly accept that punishment of burning in hell because I believe every word I say. But since everything I say isn't false, I won't be burning in hell. And you know what, say I am possessed by a demon, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will judge me based off the desires of my heart and off my knowledge. So technically I won't burn in hell because I don't know any better than what this demon is having me say." HAHAHA YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEM HIS FACE AFTER I SAID THAT!!!! He was just like "uhh....well...where is your historical evidence?" And I was like I am the historical evidence. Standing right in front of you. And then after I said that, I was just like "you know what, I would love to stay and chat but we have dinner waiting" and me and elder hunt just shook everyone's hand and peaced out. Thank goodness we did too because elder hunt and I were talking as we were walking back how we could just see ourselves beating those guys up and getting sent home LOL. Serves them right. Don't try to come at the Mormon missionaries like that, we have a higher power on our side. So that highlighted the end of my last pday lol. 

The rest of classes up until the day we left the MTC were pretty much the same as usual, long and boring. The last day in the MTC we got to take a lot of pictures with our teachers and stuff and got to listen to a member of the seventy speak to us. It was elder Marcus B. Nash. He talked to us about how on our missions, we just need to leave everything out there. Which i totally agree with. On our last day we taught one last lesson to our investigators and we showed a video. It was called Mountains to Climb. I highly suggest all of you watch it. So motivating and powerful. It's a Mormon message. 

We woke up at 1:15am to leave for our flight out to DC. We got to the airport at about 3am or so and the ticket counters didn't even open till 4:45am so we just had to wait down there for a little over an hour. Luckily I was able to call mom and dad and talk to them even though it was even earlier in Vegas. It was so nice to be able to hear their voices again. We talked for probably 30 minutes till I had to go through security. Security. Now that's another nightmare. I swear every TSA agent is working for the adversary. Literally I think EVERY missionary that was with us got stopped for some reason and they made a huge production out of everything. They yelled at some sisters who had never flown before and it was just all bad. I tried to help the best I could, but I could only do so much before I would yell back. (If you haven't noticed, my patience has been tested numerous times already) Luckily we were able to barely make it onto our flight to Minneapolis but we didn't get to eat breakfast. So as soon as we landed in Minneapolis I went and go some food. Literally right after I paid for my food, this man came up and offered to buy all the missionaries einsteins bagels. Just a tad too late. I got to call mom and dad again from Minneapolis. I think it was even hard that time because when we said goodbye, mom said "see you at Christmas" and then it really hit me lol. 

So we finally land in DC and President and Sister Riggs are there and it was the best feeling ever seeing them!! Literally like every feeling of homesickness or anxiety just left as soon as President gave me a hug! The assistants came and got us and the office elders took our luggage. We drove to the Lincoln memorial so we could take some pictures. It was really cool to see it all in person. We also walked to the Vietnam memorial which was awesome! It was super hot and humid outside so we kinda went back a little early because we were all sweaty. We went and ate dinner at fudruckers lol. Talk about a first meal in the mission. We went straight to our hotel after that because we were all exhausted. President and sister Riggs talked to us for a little bit and the assistants showed us a video while President was interviewing us all!! After that we just went back to the room and went to bed! We had to wake up pretty early the next morning so we could be to breakfast and so we could make it to the transfer meeting. We got to the chapel and we had a little orientation with the assistants and sister Riggs. We got our iPads and stuff like that. After this meeting we went into the relief society room where we would meet our trainers. President called us all up individually and announced who our trainer would be. Then our trainer would run up and give us a hug and we would go take a picture then from there on we had a new companion. My trainer/companions name is Elder McInerny (Mac-in-Ernie). He is from San Diego and he is a convert! He got baptized about a year and a half before he went on his mission. He has been out for 21 months!! He is a total stud. He has helped me out so much and has been teaching me the ropes and ins and outs of the mission life. He loves to workout so we wake up at 5:45 every morning to work out!! That's 2:45 Vegas time and 3:45 Utah time.... We live in apartment just us two. There is another set of missionaries for our ward though. They live in our complex but a couple buildings away! Our zone is pretty big! We are in the McLean Zone and in the Falls Church ward in Falls Church, Virginia! The members here are awesome! We have an awesome ward mission leader and a brand new bishopric ! They have had their bishopric as long as I've been out so we are all new to this stuff. 

President Riggs gave us some great council in his departing talk at the transfer meeting. We do this thing where we sing "onward Christian soldiers" for the closing hymn of every transfer/departing testimony meeting. And then we stand and sing the last verse. It was so sad to see all the missionaries crying as they were leaving and i was like yeah that's so far away. But then when president gave his talk I got this really big motivation to go out and do missionary work!! It was sad to see president leave even only knowing him for 2 days. He has blessed the lives of so many people and he will be missed. But president huntsman will be here this week which is going to be awesome! I'm looking forward to having him as my president for my whole mission! I can't wait! The first night in the mission we had 2 dinners!! But now this week we have nobody scheduled at all!!! One of the members of the relief society is sending out emails trying to get our dinner appointments filled. So hopefully we will!! 

Last week we did some service at a local baptist church and helped them with some of their food storage. We were able to stop by Bishop Johnsons house that day so I could meet him also! Most of the missionary work I'm doing isn't really anything new to me because I would go out with the elders in Vegas all the time so I kinda knew what I was getting myself into. But on the other end, actually living as a missionary 100% of the time is pretty tough. It all comes with time. I'm so happy for the opportunity I have to serve the lord for these two years and to share my testimony of the restored gospel with everyone I come in contact with. The lord is amazing in the way he works. He pushes us to our limits then right when we are about to break, he gives us the support we need. I've seen that numerous times in the past few weeks and I know I will one see it more as time goes on. I love you all and now that I'm out of the MTC I should be able to reply to a lot more stuff. I love hearing from everyone and seeing pictures so feel free to send anything my way. My address is: 

134 Chanel Terrace #203
Falls Church, Virginia 22046

I love you all and thank you for all the prayers and support!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Elder Leishman with Mark Jarman (neighbor from Provo) at the MTC

Elder King, Elder Leishman, Elder Hunt, and Del Williams (Played bball for gpa Leishman in Mallad, ID and he lived with their family in Provo for awhile)
A family in front of the missionaries sent pictures to each of the missionary's familys of them on their  flight to DC.  The sister by the window had never been on an airplane.
Elder Krambule and Elder Leishman

Friday, June 19, 2015

Week 2 - MTC

Hello guys!! First of all, happy Father's Day on Sunday dad!! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you guys. I will be in 2 years that's for sure! 

Holy cow the advice "get to Sunday" was easily the best advice that I got!! So right after my last email, my companion went home. It was so sad to see him go. He was like a brother to me and I know he's going to use the atonement to come back out into the field!! But for  the first few days at the MTC everyday feels like a week. Like you'll finally get back to your residence at night and you'll think about the stuff you did in the morning and it feels like a week has passed. But at the same time it's been a week and a half and I feel like I just got here. It seems like the homesickness feelings always are the worst in the morning. I remember when I was younger and mom and dad would go on trips and I would always get a ton of anxiety at night but nothing in the morning. It's so weird how those things have changed. They usually subside after breakfast though. After breakfast we go to classes and literally sit in classes for the rest of the day!! But sometimes we get to go play basketball during our gym time and most of the elders here aren't that good lol!!! One of the elders in our district calls me Pau Gasol. It's so funny lol. My team has never lost. It's always nice to do something other than sit in a classroom though.  

So let me tell you, Sunday's in the MTC are the best ever. It started out with us waking up early to head to a meeting with my branch president. He made me a zone leader!!! So me, elder hunt, and elder King are the trio zone leaders. It was nice to be asked to be a zone leader and it was cool to discuss the struggles and triumphs of our little branch. There are 2 sets of elders in our district. My trio-ship and elder hamblin and elder krambule. Other than that there are 2 sets of sisters in our district. Sister squires and sister Walton (she is from st. george) and sister Corey and sister frei!! We have an awesome district. So along with being asked to be zone leader I was asked to bless the sacrament in sacrament meeting on Sunday and the elders in our district did a musical number in front of the whole zone. Talk about breaking down barriers hahahaha. After sacrament we go and have some more leadership meetings with the branch president and his counselors. His counselors are brother monson and brother howden. After the meetings we had priesthood meeting and just another devotional meeting. After that we got to go on a walk to the temple and take a lot of pictures it made me so excited to get to go to the temple today. I got some quality pics. Sunday night was so awesome!! The speaker was President Heaton who is like in the MTC board of presidents or something like that. After his devotional we watched a video of the talk president Bednar gave to the MTC a couple years ago. He talked to us about how we need to be our best convert and we need to have more Christ-like attributes. It was probably the most life changing talk I've ever heard. Sunday's are the best!! 

I'd have to say that the worst thing about the MTC is the food. Literally so bad for you and makes you feel so gross. There's kids in my room that have had whole things of pepto already. If I had to be here for 9 weeks I would be so fat. Luckily I'm not here long enough to gain too much weight. 

On Monday night we got to teach our investigator in the TRC which is the teaching resource center. Our investigator is named theo and he is actually from Vegas. He wasn't to happy when I told him I went to Bishop Gorman lol! But the lesson we taught him was so awesome. I got to bear testimony about eternal families and I told him about grandma passing away a few years ago and how I know I will see her again and that she is watching over me during my mission. It was such a powerful lesson and I felt the spirit so strong!! It's crazy how much I've grown spiritually. I feel like I could go home right now and I would be a 10x stronger member than I was a week and a half ago. I can't wait to see what these two years has in store. 

Well we leave the MTC on Wednesday morning at 2:30 am to get to the airport. Our flight from SLC is at 5:50am and we have a layover in Minneapolis. So we land in MN at 9:19 local time. Then our flight from MN to Washington DC is at 10:32am and we land in DC at 2:01pm. So if I can call when we get to Minneapolis I will try my best but I don't know if I'll have time to call and then catch my connecting flight. So we will see. There are 15 of us going to the DC South mission. 7 elders and 7 sisters. I'm actually pretty sad to leave the MTC. The MTC has been so hard but so fun at the same time. It's been hard just sitting and studying all day but it's fun to be with my awesome companions. It's going to be weird living in an apartment with only one other elder. I hope I get a good trainer that will get the work started for us and then I can continue it! 

And thank you so much to all the people who have sent me snacks and letters. I'm so sorry I can't reply back to all of you, I just don't have enough time! I love all the support you guys give me though. It makes me feel so loved whenever I get a package or mail. I hands down get the most mail and packages out of everyone in our zone and I love it!! It seems like whenever I'm feeling sad or depressed I get a letter or package and it literally makes my day and pushes me through the tough times. 

My companions are so awesome! I feel like we have such a strong bond and we can talk to each other about everything. After elder liddiard left I was able to kinda pick my next companion so I chose to be in a trio with elder hunt and elder king. Elder hunt is committed to play football at Michigan State when he gets home. He's 6'6 also!! Elder King went to lone peak and is a total stud. We are probably the tallest companionship in the whole MTC. We blend so well together and we really help each other out when one of us is struggling. It would be so awesome if we could be companions later on in our mission. That would be so cool!! 

I remember before basketball games dad would send me some motivational quotes. So I just have a few quotes I want to share with you guys!!! 

"It is not possible to over serve the master" - M. Russell Ballard

"We preach and teach in order to baptize the children of God so they can be saved in a higher kingdom rather than a lesser kingdom and be damned." -I can't remember 

It's so weird not talking to everyone during the week but I love Pdays so much and I love emailing you all! It's so awesome! Thank you for the love and support. I love you guys!! 

Elder Leishman
Temple trip with my district
With my new companions
With Sister Simmons.  We worked at Swig together.
This Elder is going to Cambodia.  He's been in the MTC so long that he's created a hoodie out of Doritos bags.

Elders at the MTC just before Elder Liddiard went home.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Week 1 - MTC

Well guys, I'm going to be honest, the two days in the MTC were BRUTAL!! I swear I've had a pit in my stomach ever since I got here. But I also love being here. The spirit here is so strong and I'm happy I made the decision to serve. I know that right now in the moment these next 24 months are going to be so long but once I'm done it will have gone in a blink of an eye. My teachers here in the MTC are awesome! Brother Shumway and Brother Okleberry. One served in Portugal and one served in Boston! They have taught me so much and I've barely been with them. The people in the MTC are so nice. Literally everyone says hi to everyone and every shakes each other's hand. I guess it's just practice for when we get out into the real mission field. 

Let me tell you about my companion. The kid is a stud. His name is elder liddiard. He was the kid I met at the temple before I went into the MTC. Totally awesome kid!! He is from rexburg, idaho. He is 20 years old and he went to a few years of byu Idaho for a couple years before his mission. He had to work really hard to get out in the mission field just like I did. He had a pretty rough path out here and I'm so proud of him for his desire to serve. But he is struggling so much. He suffers from anxiety and OCD. it kills me to see him have to keep meeting with these counsellors because I know how strong of a kid he is and I know that he wants to serve a mission so bad. It's hard for me to see him like this because then it kind of rubs off on me. Like when I have to sit outside a branch or district presidents office and wait for him to finish, it reminds me of home and how much I wish I could be there. He told me he is probably going home either today or tomorrow and that made me so sad but I know he will be able to go home and get some things figured out and come back out into the mission field. He is such a stud and love him to death, I want what is best for him. Please keep him in your prayers.

Last night, all the elders in my district were in our room and most of us gave each other blessings. It's such a comfort knowing that we are able to talk directly to God and get all that inspiration from him that will be exactly what us as elders need to hear. The elders in my district are elder king, elder hunt, elder krambule, and elder Hamblin. They are all studs I love them all so much. I don't think I could have picked a better district to serve in. There are two sets of sister missionaries in our district they are sister frei, sister Corey, sister Walton, and sister squires. They are awesome!! Sister Walton is also from st. George! The sisters bring such a happy spirit to the MTC and I love it. 

All in all the MTC is hands down the best/worst place I've ever been too. It's always tough in the mornings and at night because I start to think about life at home and it makes for a real struggle, but I have the stamina to push through these tough times. 

I wrote down some scriptures that I know will definitely help mom and many others who will read this letter. It is in 1 Nephi 5:6-8. If you get a chance please read it. It brought me a lot of comfort and I know it will help you. It talks about lehi and his wife sariah and how happy she was when her sons returned from getting the plates from king Laban. I like to relate that to the mission that although it's super hard while we are gone that our mothers will be so happy when we return and they will give thanks to the lord because of it. 

I love you all! I'll talk to you next Friday which is my next Pday. Today is only a half Pday because we only got here 2 days ago so we don't have too much laundry and stuff to do, but next week we will have afoul Pday and a temple trip too! Much love! 

Elder Leishman

My MTC District

My Roomates
Feeling loved from family and friends