Monday, August 31, 2015

Week #10 - In the field

This week has been full of service! We did a lot of volunteer work
this week. It's so nice to do service. One, it gets you out of
proselyting clothes. Two, it just brings the spirit. As missionaries
we try to be as Christ like as possible and one way we do that is
through service. On Thursday we helped out a Spanish sister from the
Bella Vista Ward with her yard work. We were there for 4 hours!! Her
yard looked like it hadn't been taken care of in a long time but don't
worry we cleaned it all up. Thank goodness I had to mow the lawn while
we lived in Utah and was able to gain some gardening skills.

On Friday, we helped out at the local baptist church. We volunteer
there every Friday morning. They have a food pantry there and we help
them stock their shelves when they get shipments in. It's actually
pretty fun and we have made some good friends out of it. One of the
volunteers actually invited us over to her house for a BBQ on Saturday
night haha. It's was pretty crazy. 2 Mormon missionaries and a whole
bunch of active baptists eating dinner together. It was fun. We
answered a TON of questions which was really good. A lot of the
questions were centered around the Book of Mormon play hahaha. I'm
curious to see it because so many people ask us about it. All I've
heard is that it's blown way out of proportion. Who knows.

Then, Friday afternoon we helped a guy that we are pretty sure is a
hoarder. He got a huge tree cut down in his yard and we helped him
haul all the logs and branches off because he didn't want to pay the
tree trimmers to do it. But we actually didn't like throw the longs or
branches away. We stacked them all in his back yard, maybe he's
hoarding the tree also? Hahahaha who knows. He is a sure nice guy
though and we might be going back to help him this week.

Other than that, we had stake conference this weekend and it was
great. President and Sister Huntsman spoke at the Sunday morning
session and gave us some good council. A lot of the talks were
centered around change since we just got a new Ward in the stake and a
lot of the boundaries for switched around. So it was basically the
stake presidency consoling a lot of people in probably the most
effective manner; through Jesus Christ and service.

My mission has made me realize that there is a huge difference between
people on the west coast and people on the east coast. People on the
east coast and always super busy and running a million miles an hour
everywhere and never have any time to talk to you let alone say hi
back to you. People on the west coast are very relaxed and know how to
take time to just chill and still get things done. I wish everyone had
the west coast mentality. It's so much easier to talk to people that
way and it's easier to hold a conversation if someone isn't stressed
about where they need to be in 30 minutes or if talking to us will
make them late. Everyone just needs to take a chill pill hahahah. The
first part of my mission has also made me realize that the trunky
feeling never leaves. You will always have that pit in your stomach
that misses home but you just become so used to feeling like that,
that it becomes normal and you learn how to disguise it when it gets
really bad. One way I've learned to get through it is by reading.
Whether it's the Book of Mormon, the missionary reference library, or
just something in the gospel library. Anything that invites the spirit
is what helps me out.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past few weeks, it's
that I'm not on my mission for myself. Previously, my motivation on a
mission was for myself. To be that "Returned Missionary" that everyone
talks about and be put on that list of people that can say, "I served
a mission for 2 whole years." Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But
over the past little while, I've come to realize how selfish that is
for me to think like that. I'm not out here for myself. I'm out here
for everyone but myself. And that's been the hardest thing I've had to
over come these past couple days and I'm still trying to figure out
how I can change my mindset to not all about "me, me, me" but to "what
can I do to help the people around me." This is something that I feel
I won't need only on my mission. This is preparing me to have a wife
and kids. When I have kids it definitely cannot be about only me. I
have to put my priorities where they need to be. Our first priority
should always be, "how can I serve others today?" There is a quote by
C.S. Lewis that I want to finish off with (because I love quotes) it
says, "Don't shine so that others can see you, shine so that through
you, others can see HIM." I want to challenge all of you to do one
thing each day, that you wouldn't normally do to serve others. Find
something. It could be big or it could be small. But I promise as you
look for some way to serve some one, Heavenly Father will bless you!


Elder Leishman

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week #9 - In the field

Last Monday we went to the Arlington Cemetery which was amazing. We
were able to walk around for a little and just see all the tombs and
graves of buried service men and women. It was such a peaceful place
and you could definitely feel the Spirit of our Father in Heaven
there. Especially when we were at the tomb of the unknown soldier. The
tomb of the unknown soldier ALWAYS has a guard there no matter what
time of day it is or the weather conditions. We were able to see the
changing of the guard which was pretty cool to watch. While I was
there I was reflecting on the fact that the side of the tomb says
"Here lies an American Soldier known but to God". I'm not sure if that
was the correct words or not but it was something close to that or
along those lines. But it made me realize that God loves us and he
knows us each personally. He knows all of us individually, he knows
our name, he knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our
struggles and our triumphs, and he is there along side us during both
of them. He weeps with is when we struggle and he rejoices with us
when we succeed. Gods ultimate plan is to have us return to live with
him and the only way we can do that is through our Savior Jesus
Christ. Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent his Son to atone
for our sins. That is the greatest form of love. Sacrificing for
another. I'm so grateful that I have a personal relationship with our
Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ and that through there marvelous
plan I can be with my family for eternity and return to live with
them. I would be so lost without the knowledge of the Plan of
Happiness that our Father in Heaven has for each of us.

This week has been good. I was able to find a new investigator while
we were shopping in the mall last Pday and we had a lesson with him on
Thursday. He is awesome. His name is Kenny and I was just walking
around the under armor store and he works there and he came up to me
and just started talking to me about religion and what not and we were
able to discuss some of society's views on specific things and what we
believe as members of the church. He is awesome. He just wants to
learn more and gain a greater knowledge which I think is awesome. He
plays basketball too so we can use him as an excuse to go play some
ball on a week night hahaha.

We are also teaching another man named Michael Jackson (yes that is
his name. He goes by mike though). And he lives off of Hollywood road
in falls church hahahaha. How crazy is that? It's pretty cool! He is
awesome. He is probably 6'5 330lbs. He used to play college
basketball. We are trying to get him to come out and play with us
sometime also. He is great. Just a guy that is trying to push through
the struggles of life and provide for his family. We are trying to
work with him as much as we can because he might be "temporarily
heading off" for a little while if you know what I mean. So yeah. I
was talking to him this week about AAU basketball and high school
basketball and what not and after we left the lesson I just felt the
greatest feeling ever. That I loved mike as a dear friend that I would
do anything to help him and his family. I feel like he's been my buddy
forever but I've only known him for a couple weeks.

On Thursday night we decided to drop by one of our recent converts
houses and check in on them and see how things are going. Well, we get
there and one thing leads to another and we end up being there for
like an hour and a half. We helped them put the spare tire to their
van back up under the car. Oh and they didn't have any tools so we did
it all by hand. Oh and did I mention that it was pouring rain? And we
were in proselyting clothes. So I think I ruined my first shirt of the
mission hahahaha. But we got it done and we're all soaking wet when we
went home and it felt good because I was able to provide service. I
don't mind the dirt and grease and soaking wet clothes if I'm serving

On Sunday night we had a Stake Fireside because they are creating a
new ward within our stake boundaries and it was going to affect our
ward. So they created a new Tysons Ward. They took part of our Ward
and we lost a lot of good members. We will no longer be able to teach
Neeta the new member lessons because her and her husband are in the
new Tysons Ward. But the Tysons Ward also doesn't have any
missionaries yet so they could assign us to cover that Ward as well
but we will see. It brought a lot of change and a lot of unhappy
members here in our stake but we will get through it. It was inspired
and that's all we need to worry about.

I hope everyone had a good week! Love you all!

Elder Leishman

Arlington Cemetary - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington Cemetary

My acai bowl - it was super good - but super small.  I need the ones from Hawaii

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week #8 - In the field

Hello everyone. I hope everyone is well and having fun as summer is
almost over! I can feel it starting to get a little cooler here which
is awesome. I'm excited for fall and winter. It's going to snow like
none other. I'm excited!

Well, this week has been a crazy slow week. Not a lot is happening
here in Falls Church. We really only have 4 solid investigators right
now and 2 of them leave for college this week. So we will be down to 2
investigators by the end of the week. Which means, let's starting
tracting and trying to find some new investigators. It's been pretty
hard lately with trying to find new people. I feel like everyone we
ever talk too is never interested and it's super discouraging a lot of
the time. There just comes a point where you feel like there is
nothing you can do to get the work moving fast or your teaching pool
bigger. That's how I felt this week. It's the struggle. It's crazy how
the adversary can work on us like that? Tell us we aren't good enough?
Or tell us that all the work we are doing is for nothing? You hear
people talk about how you need to turn those rejections and turn them
into positive moments. And let me tell you, that is a whole let easier
said than done.

On Thursday we were able to go with a family we have been working with
to the temple visitors center. We were scheduled to leave their house
at 12pm. We showed up and knocked on their door and their daughter
answered and said that her parents were still in bed asleep lol. So
she goes and wakes them up and the dad comes out and says that they
totally forgot but to give them 20 minutes and they will be ready to
go. So we said ok and said we would just be waiting in the parking
lot. Well, needless to say 1:45pm rolls around and we finally leave
their apartment. Definition of missionary work. But we were able to
have the sisters at the temple visitors center share a message with
them about eternal families and the spirit was so strong there and
really touched the heart of the family we brought. We were able to
discuss and explain how those "castles" that Mormons have are there to
seal our family together for all eternity. It was such a great day.
There were a lot of mini miracles that happened that day.

Other than that, on Sunday night we were able to go to a fireside that
just so happened to be at the temple visitors center. Technically it
was for the Washigton DC North mission but we saw a flier for it when
we were there Thursday so we decided to have neetas husband take us
out there and it would be really good for him to hear the message too.
It was a "why I believe" fireside and there were testimonies of recent
converts and the speaker there was a man named Jason Hinds who is
sprinter from Jamaica. He went to BYU and was on the track team and
served a mission in the New York New York North mission. It was
awesome to hear is story of how he decided to go on a mission and some
of the amazing things that happened to him on his mission. He said a
mission really shaped him for his life and he actually tired to major
in "missionary work" at BYU hahaha. But I can already see my mission
shaping me. A lot of it is gospel oriented but there are also many
other ways it is shaping me. To eat healthy, to exercise and workout
everyday, to make sure I'm completely obedient, to live on my own, and
many other things. It's hands down the hardest thing I've ever done
and 90% of the time I have no idea what I'm doing but I just have this
super strong testimony that I want to share with everyone. God loves
us and he looks after missionaries especially the young and
inexperienced ones. It's crazy to me that entrusts pretty much the
face of his entire church with some 18-20 year old kids. This has to
be the true church or some of this kids would have run this church
into the ground by now. You can definitely tell we have a higher power
on our side that is testifying with us and leading us as we attempt to
share the gospel with everyone!

I hope you all have a good week! Be good!

Elder Leishman

At the Washington DC temple vistors center withh Anjalie and her family.

Neeta's husband came  to lunch with us.
Travis Goldrup served in our ward in Las Vegas. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week #7 - In the Field

So this week was a super weird week, totally nothing like a normal
missionary week. But it was pretty fun! It was good to kind of change
it up for a few days. But this week was transfer week and both elder
mcinerny and I are staying here in falls church. It's elder mcinernys
last transfer of his mission so I'll definitely get a new companion in
6 weeks!

On Tuesday we had dinner at a members house. The cutchens. They are
from St. George!! And their daughter went to desert hills middle!! We
knew a lot of the same people and that made for a really good
conversation at dinner! It was like reuniting with family that I had
never met before. They are living out here for a year while brother
cutchen works for the government then they are going to move back to
St. George! They are a super sweet family with great spirits and they
are excited to be out here which is good!! Little slice of home is
always nice hahaha.

On Wednesday, elder mcinerny and I had absolutely nothing to do. So
after studies we decided we were going to ditch the car for the day
and we were going to walk to the farthest spot in our area, eat lunch
there and talk to people there, then walk back. We left the house at
about 11 or so and didn't get back till around 4 or 5. It was a dang
long day!!! It felt like we walked forever. But it was still pretty
cool. I got a lot of steps in on my Fitbit hahaha. But I could barely
walk the next day because my feet were so sore!! Welcome to missionary
life lol.

Thursday was also really fun! Bishop leavitt (my bishop from Vegas)
was able to come and see me while he was in town for his sons wedding!
He met us at sweet frog and we went and got some dinner and we were
able to catch up on how things at home are going! It was so nice to
see someone from home but it was also kind of weird because I haven't
seen someone I know since I was in the mtc. I'm glad I got to see him
though and we were able to talk and take so,e pictures! It was

On Friday, elder mcinerny had his departing temple trip. Usually they
would do it like the week before you go home but the temple will be
closed when he goes home in September. It closed today and is closed
till October 10th. And so I'm not going home anytime soon, I wasn't
able to go. So I went on an exchange with two other elders and we
worked in Arlington. I was with elder Johnson (who is a greenie) and
elder tapasoa (from Nephi,Utah). It was pretty fun. We basically just
walked around the city of Arlington because it was elder johnsons area
and he was brand new and didn't know any of the investigators because
he just got here on Thursday. But I spent most of the day with them.
Probably till like 4:30. It was weird being with a companion that
wasn't my trainer lol. I don't know what I'm going to do next transfer
when elder mcinerny goes home. Weird stuff.....

Saturday was SO much fun! We got to go to the Nationals baseball game!
We didn't really get to do a lot of missionary work because we had
meetings in the morning then we had to leave for the game around 3
even though it didn't start till 7. We had to take the metro to the
game because missions cars aren't allowed outside of the mission. And
it just so happened that the metro line we needed had broken down so
that was a problem all in itself. Gotta love it. But the game was so
much fun. We snuck down to the front row before the game started and
were waiting for Bryce Harper to come out. And he came out and we
yelled at him and pointed to us and gave us the little "I got you"
head nod. One of the proudest moments of my life. Lol jk but it was
cool. The Nationals won which was fun and everyone played good. It was
weird being at a baseball game in missionary attire. I couldn't help
but think about all the people who though all the 600+ missionaries
that were there, were crazy lol. But the game didn't end till around
10 and so we then started our way back to our car via the metro. Let's
just say, we didn't get home till around midnight. Oh and don't forget
we had to wake up at 5:45 for ward council. BRUTAL. it was worth it

All in all, it was a really good/weird week. It went by super slow in
the moment but now that I look back I feel like just yesterday was
Pday. But we were talking about a pretty cool topic in elders quorum
this week and I thought I would share my thoughts on it with you guys.
It's in the teaching of the presidents book. The Ezra Taft Benson one
and it's in chapter 15 titled: The Sacred Calling of Fathers and
Mothers. And in this chapter it gives 10 spiritual ways that fathers
can give spiritual leadership to their children. The one I want to
talk about is number 6. It says, "6. Have regular one-on-one visits
with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach
them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love
them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his
priorities." And as I was reading this I remember all the times where
dad and I had sat down and just talked (whether I was in trouble or
not lol). And even though I may not have been a fan of them at that
time, I'm so grateful that I had a loving father who cared for me
enough to give me that spiritual guidance. As I look back, I realize
that some of the best lessons I learned were taught in those
one-on-one meetings. I may not have used the advice given to me but it
was always the best advice and if I would have taken heed to those
things dad taught me, I would have saved myself from a lot of trouble.
I'm so grateful I was raised in the church and blessed with amazing
parents like mine. I hope that one day I can be half the dad my dad

I'll talk to you all next week! Oh, and my mission is an online
proselyting mission so add me on Facebook : Elder Tanner Leishman.

Love you all,
Elder Leishman
With Trey Tanner from St. George at the Nationals game.

I got permission to meet Bishop Leavitt (from Vegas) while he was in town for his son's wedding.

With Neeta's husband

His most prized possession.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week #6 - In the field

This week felt like it took forever! But it was pretty good to say the
least. We were able to start teaching a new investigator and have a
couple other lessons with just a lot of potential investigators. I
think missionaries are the ones who invented the struggle. Whether
it's someone not showing up to a lesson, not being home for a set
appointment, canceling right before the lessons, or not showing up to
church. Literally the struggle. And it seems to happen more often than
not which is horrible. It makes you super frustrated. Like I find
myself not even worrying about whats happening but rather trying to
get people to come to church.

On Monday night we were able to teach a lesson to one of our new
investigators named Emma. She just graduated from high school and is
going off to college soon. She works at the frozen yogurt store by our
apartment so we go in there while she's working and teach her a lesson
when she's not busy. She is awesome. She just has a genuine desire to
learn more about what we believe and what not. She has been all around
the world because her parents work for the foreign service which is
cool. I think they just moved back from Chile. And something cool
happened when we were in there teaching her on Monday night. So we
were talking to her and a customer came up to pay for their stuff and
then when they were done paying, they started asking me questions
about the Book of Mormon. So he sat down and I was able to teach him
all about the church and the Book of Mormon and what not. At the same
time, elder McInerny was teaching Emma her lesson. It was super cool.
Almost like killing two birds with one stone. The only down part is
that the kid I was teaching lives in Northeast DC. So we will have to
pass him off to the DC North missionaries.

We were able to see our investigator Stephanny a couple times this
week which was really good. She was supposed to get baptized this past
Saturday but things didn't really work out with that so we are trying
to find another date for her to be prepared to be baptized. She is
chugging along. Pushing through the trials of everyday life. She is
starting to realize that the gospel will help her through all the hard
times she is going through which is super good. We couldn't get her
out to church which was a bummer but we will try again next week.

On Tuesday we had to give our car to another set of missionaries that
needed it for the day on Wednesday. So we were put on bike. Which, I'm
not going to lie is super fun! So we gave them the car Tuesday night
and Wednesday morning we said we were going to bike to the furthest
part of our area and finish tracting a set of apartment complexes that
we have been working on. So as soon as we step out the door, bike and
side bag at the ready, it starts to pour. Just raining cats and dogs.
So, being the adventurous missionaries we are, we decided to follow
through with our plans and biked all the way to the apartments in the
rain. It was so much fun. But it was so freaking humid once the rain
stopped and the sun came up. You could see the humidity just steaming
off the road. It was fogging up my sunglasses lol. But yeah, we got
all sweaty and gross just to go knock on people's doors and ask them
to let us in and teach them a lesson. I could see why some people
would say no lol.

On Sunday we were able to attend a New and Returning Member Fireside.
It's a meeting where a whole bunch of people who just joined the
church or who are returning to activity tell their conversion stories!
It's super sweet and I felt the spirit so strong in that meeting! One
of the recent convert from our ward was speaking and it was so cool to
hear her tell her side of the conversion story. I was also able to see
a few of my other missionary friends that are going home this week and
I got to say goodbye to them just in case I don't see them again.

Oh, this week is transfer week! I'm pretty sure elder McInerny and I
are both staying together in Falls Church but who knows. We will have
to see on Tuesday. Tuesday is the day that all the assistants will
call and tell us whether or not we are getting transferred. Then on
Thursday is the transfer meeting. So usually you only go to the
transfer meeting if you are being transferred. The only time all the
missionaries will go is if President calls a whole mission conference.
So if I'm not getting transferred I won't go to the meeting but you
never know what can happen.

This week I was studying in the book of Enos. Even though it's only
one chapter long, I think it's one of the best books in the Book of
Mormon. The chapter starts out with Enos talking about the "wrestle"
he had before God to receive the remission of his sins. I can totally
relate to Enos because I feel like there have been so many times in my
life and on my mission where I have felt that I have had to "wrestle"
before God to receive the forgiveness that everyone yearns for. But I
like in the verse that he says he did not wrestle with God, but he
"wrestled before God". He was basically trying to say that he was
struggling to find the words to express the desires of his heart under
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This means that he was bypassing
all the repetitive or repetitious things in his prays and sincerest
pouring out the desires of his heart. I have seen this on my mission
where I've been so lost and confused where I just throw my everything
at Heavenly Father in prayer. It's almost like you aren't even saying
the words of the prayer but you are just listening as the Holy Ghost
speaks through you.

My favorite verse of the chapter is verse 8, it's the Lord talking to
Enos. He says, "And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ,
whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away
before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy
faith hath made thee whole." What I really like about this is that his
faith did not come quickly. He had to wrestle before God before he
could have a witness for himself.

The rest of the chapter basically talks about Enos and his astonishing
faith. In verse 15 the Lord says to Enos, "Whatsoever thing ye shall
ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ,
ye shall receive it." This comes right after Enos has asked the Lord
to preserve the record of his people. It's amazing to see the amount
of faith that Enos has in the Lord. I strive everyday to have the most
faith I possibly can, but some days when you're going through a rough
time, it always seems like we question our faith or our faith begins
to shake. We need to be like Enos in verse 11, "And after I, Enos, had
heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord," we need
to gain that sure foundation on our faith so when times get tough, we
have solid ground to stand on.

Elder Leishman

A member in my ward created this for me.

A member made pancakes - I could only eat one! lol!!