Monday, November 24, 2014

Here comes the BoM!‏  Nov 24, 2014

SUM UP:
-The BoM is so true it's nuts.
-Dreams on a mission either are really boring or they make you want to ski. There is no middle ground.

THE NOVEL:

I was reviewing past emails I sent at the beginning of my mission, and I am hoping that everyone understands that I was joking during a lot of it! I think I said something about getting stabbed once... Mum, that was a joke. It's all old people here anyway. There aren't many jobs in Tor Bay so most the kids move somewhere to find work. I read some stuff that I think probably sounded pretty negative and I promise, the British aren't going to ruin my optimism. That's here to stay. As well, I have absolutely loved all of my mission, the MTC, other missionaries, and the area. Glad we got that all sorted out.

This week we focused our study on the Book of Mormon. We studied chapter 5 in PMG, we studied the introduction, witness statements, and preface to the BoM, I continued my study through it, and we asked members how they gained their testimonies of it. I wanted to understand better why it is paramount in the conversion to the gospel because we aren't doing well enough at helping our investigators understand that.

I finally understand the importance of the Book of Mormon. We've always heard that it's the "keystone of our religion" but it has never sunk that deep. As we have studied about it I finally realised how, I cannot believe that it never hit me before! If the Book of Mormon is true than that means Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. If he is a prophet than the Restoration truly did happen, which means that the authority to direct Jesus Christ's church has been passed down through modern prophets who speak the word of God today. I have heard this logic but loads of times but each person has to learn for themselves that it is true. After we learn this every other concern can be put aside because we trust the Lord. We can't give investigator's their testimonies. "Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand." -Elder Andersen.

I think it is interesting that Preach My Gospel tells missionaries to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true often. It literally says to apply Moroni's promise regularly. Most people would assume that missionaries should already have a testimony of the book they are preaching about, but nevertheless, if we apply this promise regularly our testimony continues to grow. It will be built upon a firm foundation and no questions investigators or members ask us will shake our testimonies. Naturally, as a missionary, I will take this opportunity to challenge YOU, my dedicated support system, to renew your testimony of the keystone of our religion. I know it will bless your life and the lives of your family.

This is the same message that we were able to share with "C" this week. We weren't sure how she was progressing because she has been busy with a few friends and family members in the hotel so I doubted if she was even thinking about it. She comes to church every week but I wasn't sure if she was reading, and obviously I just learned how absolutely essential that is, so we have been concerned. Well when we finally taught this lesson we discovered that not only has she been reading pieces of it, but others in the hotel have been talking about it just a little. Now she understands why it is so important to find out if it's true and I gave her brother a BoM with my testimony in it when he went back to Singapore. He reported that he thinks she will be baptised eventually. Now we've heard it from her preacher friend, her brother, and guests so it has to come true!

We were blessed with some miracles this week! We finally made it into" Ca"'s (potential investigator) house. He has a massive German Shepherd that is the size of bear so we can't just pop in. After the first lesson he accepted a baptismal date but we still have to see him make it to church. There's always something.

Another guy we were able to teach was a referral from a ward missionary, who met him online (Did I hear you say dodgy?), and asked her questions about evolution. We approached the lesson slightly skeptical to find one of the most sincere, intelligent investigators I may ever meet. He has studied EVERY type of religion, and I'm not just talking about Christianity. Buddhism, Musslimism (is that a thing?), etc. When we were leaving I am pretty sure he promised to read the entire Book of Mormon in a week, but that may have been me hearing what I wanted to hear again.

One night out in the cold we both weren't feeling well and we wanted to go home and sleep, then we ran into a guy who said, "You seem like good company, would you like to come over to my flat?" Best question ever! Well I guess hearing someone ask "When can I be baptised?" would be pretty spectacular but you get the point. He was pretty cool except that in like twenty minutes he burned through three fags. That will be a little difficult if he progresses.

We do missionary work 24/7. Not only are my dreams typically about lessons now, but Elder Oleson talks in his sleep so last night we were able to plan our next lesson for Tabby. How's that for using your time effectively? I woke up wondering if it was even real life!

One month till Christmas Eve!!! Ski a lot for me!


Love, Elder Price

Monday, November 17, 2014

The cold found us.‏ 

SUM UP:  Nov 16, 2014
-There is power in prayer.
-It's starting to get cold.
THE NOVEL:

Time has gone by so fast I haven't even had the chance to think about what to report home! So my apologies if this is a little grandpa's eyebrows.

"A" is taking charge of YSA activities in our ward. It's really cool actually! He is really enthusiastic so he plans talks and spiritual thoughts and divides out assignments. He'd probably get it as a calling except that they're getting married in January. Either way I think they'll stay involved because the ward is mostly retired people. There's a pretty significant age gap.

We taught "T" the Ten Commandments and chastity. It actually turned out really well! She wants to wear a grey dress for her wedding because she likes the colour and she says that white is a symbol of purity. They want to get married so they can follow the commandments. "A" and "T"'s desire to do right is inspiring. They are completely surrounded with people of every age who treat premarital cohabitation like a completely normal thing. When I asked her if she'll be baptised after the wedding, her reply was, "probably", but I'm convinced that's only because she's strong-willed. English people tend to be slightly stubborn.

My favourite personal spiritual experience this week was about prayer. We studied the spirit and prayers to try and be more grateful and improve our relationship with Heavenly Father. We read that we should pray to have the spirit to guide our prayers. Pretty interesting especially if you read about prayer in the Bible Dictionary to find out that prayer is a process of not changing God's will, but trying to align our will with God's. If we remember that, then pray with the spirit, God will grant us blessings that we deserve. We just have to ask. If you pay attention in the story of Alma the Younger, who turned out to be the best missionary ever, he received a vision because of the faith and prayers of his father and the community. There is power in prayer!

This study session happened on Tuesday, which is pizza night at "C"'s because bogof. Before we headed to our dinner appointment I prayed that I would get the chance to share anything about the gospel with "C", or one of her friends there. Be careful what you ask for... This prayer was answered when they heard Elder Oleson on the phone talking about a "Romanian Investigator." The dinner party thought that these words were suspicious and their attention turned to me for an explanation. Someone mumbled that it sounds like a detective so I explained that detectives look for truth, and that what investigators do is look for truth. I told them that we call people investigators when they are learning about the church because they are learning about the truth. This wasn't the way I was hoping to be able to share a quick testimony but I guess that was God's sense of humour as a consequence of me eating an entire Hawaiian pizza.

Besides little thoughts we didn't share lessons with "C" but she continues to come to church with us. We look forward for when she takes the time to sincerely ask God if it's true.

We're working out a way to have Skype lessons with "D" and his family so that it can be in Romanian. I used to think he was golden but they don't seem to keep commitments. He loves his family and loves God though so he's almost there.
And Bob's your uncle.

Love,

Elder Price

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Personal Peace 11/10/14
SUM UP:

-My favourite chapter in the Book of Mormon happens to be the longest. It's Jacob 5.
-Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you. But for real though, they do.
-Following Christ brings lasting happiness and peace.
-The Pres told me I'd be staying in Paignton and Elder Oleson will leave in January.

THE NOVEL:

Jacob 5 is my favourite chapter in the Book of Mormon. It's the Allegory of the Olive Tree where the Master of the vineyard (Heavenly Father) is caring for the vineyard and he's working with his Servant (Jesus Christ). When the wild fruit overtakes the last of the good fruit God gets emotional. Verse 41: And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard? It clearly illustrates it here and in Preach My Gospel how much your Father in Heaven actually loves you. He is full of sorrow when we make wrong choices. After much discussion the Master tells the servant to cast the branches into the fire, but the servant replies, Spare it a little longer. We mess up. That's part of life. But the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite and is always there to lift us up. Our Saviour is patient and he will not give up so long as we try. I know this is true.

We had the chance to teach "C" the third lesson, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We fought multiple distractions but we were still able to feel the spirit and answer her questions. She has observed how friendly our church is compared to the Catholic church and she even expressed how she thinks that they are breaking one of the ten commandments by worshipping statues. I don't know if this is bad but I was thrilled when she told us that. At the end of the lesson I asked her if she got the answer that this is true if she would be baptised and she said she would! I was so excited when I asked her. Before this lesson I was concerned she wanted to know more about the church but only because she wants to know what we believe. Now I know that she will take the chance to find out for herself, and if she does take that chance she will get an answer (Moroni promised her so).

After loads of opposition, partly from the bishopbric, we were able to get things sorted so "A" and "T" could attend a YSA convention last weekend in Plymouth. We knew they needed a boost because they have been having a hard time and they really need some friends in the church who were born in the same decade. Our ward has a bit of an age gap so this weekend was paramount in our eyes. Oh and a couple weeks ago another YSA named Hannah moved here from the state of Washington for a couple of months. This was an answer to our prayers. Hannah came for Holiday but she feels like the Lord has a purpose for her being here so she's working on a visa and all that jazz. So at this weekend convention Hannah and "T" bonded, they all had fun, it was really spiritual, and "T" bore her testimony to everyone. While she was there the bell went off for 2 minutes of silence for Remembrance Sunday so she had to stand there in front of everyone for two minutes. As if bearing a testimony doesn't make you nervous enough!

We finally caught "D" at home! I think I mentioned him before because he basically contacted us on the street a couple weeks ago and explained how he'd lost contact with the missionaries when he had to go back to Romania for a while. We happened to have a Romanian BOM in the flat so we gave that to him and challenged him to read it with his family and pray about it. "D" loves his family so much and he has so much faith that God will bless them as they turn to him. He would be golden if he didn't smoke. It's always the word of wisdom.

At church we came out of a meeting with the bishopric during priesthood (1st hour) to discover a Uni student on Holiday in the lounge reading the introduction in the BOM. He explained he hasn't found the right church for him and he wants to know more about ours. Elder Oleson and I were like, "We can help you with that!" Haha So we discussed the BOM with him and he came to Gospel Principles and Sacrament. He'd be stellar to teach but we have to pass him to the Plymouth elders. Best referral ever!

I wonder at times if why the Lord is blessing us with these opportunities. I know we are trying hard, but we have a lot to improve on and sometimes it surprises me how much trust he has in us. Think about it, in the same way that missionaries need to gain the trust of members in order for the members to be willing to trust them with the referrals of their family members and friends, we need to gain the trust of Heavenly Father in order to teach his children. If we put these children of God off they may develop raw feelings towards him. So I pray everyday that I can be the kind of missionary my parents think I am. ;)

The Bishop finally had me speak in sacrament meeting. The first week I was here I bore a short testimony but this was supposed to be an official talk. I was the first of three speakers and when it was coming to my time I knew that I wouldn't have a full ten minutes due to our chorister insisting we sing all seven verses of How Firm a Foundation and two long intermediate hymns. There's never enough time but what can you do? I could've talked for a lot longer but then again, it's not hard to talk about myself. I was asked to speak on my conversion so I decided to guide them on a tour of my spiritual journey. I explained how my baptism, testimony, and conversion happened at different points in my life. Investigators often expect those three to happen all with a dunk in the font but it doesn't happen that way. I tried to explain how conversion is an ongoing process that takes continuing trust in the Lord. It happens one step at a time but nothing can bring the same peace and happiness.

I read a talk this morning titled Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness by Elder Quinten L. Cook. Elder Cook, Elder Holland, and Elder Ballard served in this mission so they automatically become even more respected. They say other missions make good missionaries, but England makes good leaders. Fingers crossed that's true.

So in this talk he said:

We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Saviour knows who we are and knows that we have faith in him, love him, and keep his commandments, even and especially amid life's devastating trials and tragedies.

Later he explained:

Many search for peace in worldly ways, which never have and never will succeed. Peace is not found by attaining great wealth, power, or prominence. Peace is not found in the pursuit of pleasure, entertainment or leisure. None of these can, even when attained in abundance, create any lasting happiness or peace.

I know this is true because the happiest moments in my life have been with people I love, when I make others happy. That's why I am out here giving up time I could be earning money or working on a degree. It's probably why I'm not too homesick either. This week we had interviews with President Millar and I think I shocked him when he asked if I was homesick and I told him I was for about 5 minutes, on the night of my birthday when I was going to bed, and then I got over it. No matter how far away, I know my family loves me and will support me through anything. I know my family and friends will be there when I get home and that my family is eternal. So yeah, I miss you guys but it's nothing to get sick over. ;) Love you loads!

-Elder Price
 PS Besides you guys I also miss Cafe Rio, music, and the temple.

Fat tie swag (proud to be an American)

Monday, November 3, 2014


This one really is a novel.  11-3-14

-Ether 12:27
-I'm spoiled.
-'Merica.

INTRODUCTION

The truth is, I am having loads of fun over here in the Motherland. It doesn't rain nearly as much as everyone said it would, there are plenty people to teach even if there are plenty of people who reject us, and my companion and I are getting really tight. We're like Stockton and Malone, peanut butter and jelly, or the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Haha! Maybe we're not really to that point yet but we are learning how to be unified in teaching and it is making a big difference.

I feel like I am catching on pretty quick for being a new missionary but I have also been frustrated at times because I'm not where I want to be yet. Missionary work is hard. That is one idea that didn't get over-exaggerated before I left home. I have had moments where I get down on myself because either I didn't contact everyone we saw, we were late for an appointment, or we forgot an assignment that we were supposed to do. There are a lot of new things to learn and staying on top of it all proves to be difficult. I still don't like that I have to depend on Elder Oleson to know how to get around, to tell me who is who, or to explain a witty joke that doesn't penetrate the average American skull.

Last Monday I was little in one of those moods, which is probably why the group email I sent was about ten sentences. It's unfortunate that we email during preparation day and not right after an inspirational lesson because I am sure you would get dramatically contrasting expressions of the missionary work here. My letter might even reach the enthusiasm level of a dedicated sister missionary, but I doubt it. All week we focus on these investigators and then on preparation day we get a chance to improve the condition of our flats and we have to divert our attention to giving you a weekly report. Emailing is typically done between cleaning and shopping, so I'm usually focused on getting things done. I have to admit, it has felt a little like a box to tick off on my weekly chore list to type up this big report but I decided I have received too much love and support from home over the years to be selfish and not give you a proper report. So here it goes, and hopefully this message will uplift you in some way instead of being similar to the progress report we prepare for the ward council. That's done on Thursdays anyway.

THE GOODS

After emailing last Monday we carved pumpkins with our district at "C"'s hotel. We had to make our pumpkins look pretty good because they cost £3.50 each and we had to carry them all the way from the corner vegetable store about a mile away. I dedicated mine to "C" (best Singaporean ever!) I'll send a picture of that one.

I can't remember how much I have told you about each of our investigators so I'll give you a quick sum up. "T" and "A" are a young engaged couple. They're the ones that threw me a birthday party and spend 55 quid on fireworks. "A" is returning back to the church and he has the Aaronic Priesthood. "T" is going to be baptised after they get married or get separate flats. She wants to know EVERYTHING about the gospel. She is super inquisitive and they both get really distracted. We wanted to have family home evening with "T" and "A" at Sister Hancox's because she'll keep them in line. Sister H is my favourite ward missionary, but not just because she arranges our dinners with the ward or because she made rice pudding on my birthday. I have a lot of respect for her and her love for the Gospel.

Sister H prepared a lesson about King David's faith in defeating Goliath. She gave us each a slip of paper and suggested we have 5 stones or bullet points to list things to strengthen our faith and 5 goals that faith will help us accomplish. We shared the ways we want to strengthen our faith and had solid discussions.

While we were concluding Brother H asked "T" if she had anything else to say. She wanted to go around the circle and share one thing we admire about each person. She thanked me for wearing the jumper and tie they bought me three days earlier. Elder Oleson told everyone how he teases me all the time about it but he loves that I am really clean and it invites the Spirit. "A" told me his favourite thing about me is that I am not the elder I replaced. They tease me because he was really popular around here so when people met me they were disappointed he was gone. "A" expressed his gratitude for my friendship and illustrated that if the rest of my mission is a disappointment, then I should still consider it worth it because I made a difference in his life.

Sister H expressed how my countenance influences everyone around. She told me that I don't seem like a new missionary and that I should compliment my parents for raising me well. Brother H complimented my posture and how I present myself respectfully. He compared me to one of the palace guards.

I don't mean to share this with each of you to brag about the compliments that I'm proud of but to let you know how the Lord blessed me last week. I wrote in my journal, "This FHE was the Lord's way of blessing me. I think I needed to be reminded of my strengths because I was focusing on my weaknesses and it was wearing me down." I am still sticking with my motto that there is always room for improvement. As we continually try to become better at whatever we are working towards, recognize areas that you can improve in but never lose sight of your strengths. The Lord makes weak things become strong (Ether 12:27) and he prepares a way to accomplish what we've been commanded (1 Nephi 3:7).

Let's do a science experiment called, Can Price Boy's Gain Weight? I get spoiled so much in Paignton (but what else is new). The ward brings fruit and snacks to church and places it in a basket for us to take home. We get fed a couple times a week by the members, and even more by "C". She gives us loads of baked goods and all of her leftovers because she's just throwing them out anyway. She asks us to eat with her every day and I wish we could sometimes because she's so fun. We love "C"! We're hoping to see more progression with her but so far one of her guests is anti and she's making it really difficult for us. She's supposed to be moving out soon but when she moved in last May she was only going to stay for two weeks. I'm not good at maths but your guess is as good as mine.

Thank you for all your love and support! Shout out to the Parents, Grandparents, Kim, and Jill for the birthday cards last week. I love you all!

Te amo mucho, Elder Price

ENGLAND vs. AMERICA: Elder Price's Questions of the Soul
-What does it mean to be a local? I talked to a guy who insisted he was not a local, he had only lived here for 23 years. "You're not a local unless two generations have died here." Looks like most of America has absolutely no locals.
-Why do the build the flats so weird here and why are they called flats when most the ones I've seen have stairs? In America it's just as bad because they're called apartments when they're stuck together.
-Why do we refrigerate eggs in America?
-What is a lorry?
-And why are English people racist against other types of English people? The people in Cornwall don't even want to be English. They're Cornish. I suppose that it's like us making fun of Texans or... Kentuckyians?... or Indianaians?

PS

Elder Oleson just screamed and hugged me. I have to embarrass him by telling everybody he got asked out on a date to a wedding in 6 months by some fit bird from Arizona.... Haha