Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015- First DC email

Hi all! 

Well here is the 1st week in DC!

So my first area is the White Plains 2nd Ward in the Suitland Zone. There is 4 zones out here in DC. The easiest way to describe the Washington DC North Mission is that we cover DC and the 4 surrounding counties of Maryland. So where I am at is in a town called Waldorf Maryland. It is a weird combination of small country living with tons of trees (I'll send a few pictures) and then there are some slightly sketchy areas.

So out here in DC like you saw with my socks, things are a little more layed back compared to other missions. So first off sleeping in is a real thing. On P-Days we are allowed to sleep in "as long as it doesn't interfere with our preparation". So I got up at around 7:45-8 today. SO nice! Music we can listen to anything that is positive and up lifting. A few other mission specific rules are if we are not in a lesson we have to be home by 8:30, just to make sure we are safe. 

So a run down of the week. We got off the plane and standing right off the plane was President Cooke, Sister Cooke and all the AP's and STL's. We got off the plane and the humidity just hit us. It is about 90's and humid so that kinda sucks. But since our area is huge we have a car. It is about 40ish minutes to drive from one end of the ward to the other. After the airport we took the metro up to the temple and took pictures with Pres/Sis Cooke. Then we went to the Mission home for the evening. It was a really nice night. Elder Mcdonald, Elder Jackson and I actually went and slept at a nearby members home because our group was too big to all sleep in the mission home. The next morning we had breakfast and went to the Stake Center next to the temple for transfers. I guess the new VC President doesn't allow the mission to do transfers in the VC. So that's kinda dumb. I also don't get my Ipad for a week or two so that really sucks.

I met my trainer Elder Coombs. He is from Paradise, UT and graduated from Mountain Crest. He is pretty great. We get along really good and we work hard. We talked the first day and said there was three things we wanted to do as a new trainer/trainee, be obedient, work hard, and have fun. So far we have been able to do all those. 

Sorry my email is all over the place it is hard to keep a good thought train with this all. So I have been fully immersed into DC here. In a half week I have had a prayer with a Mormon turned preacher who made us hold hands and did all the "MHMM PRAISE THE LORD" in the middle of Elder Coombs praying. And there is more subtle mhmms that happened in Sunday school yesterday. It is all super funny. Also I have been thrown right into the mission. I was a part of two blessings. More then a few hours of tracting. And lots of less active work. At the moment we do not have any solid investigators, but there is tons of recent converts and less actives that we do things with. We eat every night with members here so I am trying to be mindful haha. So the ward down here is called the Land of Milk and Honey, because we have the reputation of getting fed every night. For the most part people out here fall into two categories, religious people who already have a church but love us and say thanks for what we are doing or people who are not religious and don't want to hear anything. Black people are way nicer then white people too haha. We have a few people from tracting that want us to come back though, like this one guy we knocked on his door and he said no but took a pass along card but then when we came back downstairs he was standing there and asked us to come back.
 So we will see what happens with him.

So that picture from Brittani was from the Vance family. He was the previous bishop and they are awesome! They pretty much called us over and said they wanted to pray with us and they would have a family for us to teach in 3 weeks. Pretty awesome! Speaking of Bishops, so I have had a cold all week thats been pretty bad. But when I went over to the Cottles, Sister Cottle heard I was sick and gave me tons of Emergen-C and cough drops, so Mom I am well taken care of here. Don't worry:)

Love you all!! 

Two pictures of what I look at everyday! 

Elder Coombs and me.. We get told we look alike by lots of people. We don't see it. But out here we refer to our trainer as our "Dad" so all the missionaries think its funny we look alike

This is a picture that I got from my sister before we even got an email from Austin.  Her friend from high school is living in the area where Austin is assigned and the connection was made when he was visiting their home. (Austin mentions this in his email) She sent a picture on facebook to my sister and she then forwarded it to us. We were so excited to see that he was there and that all was well!

Austin sent some final pictures from his time at the MTC.  He flew out to DC on August 18 and we were able to talk to him while he was waiting for his flight at the airport.  He sounded so good and was really excited as well nervous to get to Washington DC.

So here is the one and only I got with Parker! Also one with Easton on my last night at the MTC! 

So the halls of the MTC are lined with paintings and I happened to find this one. Look familiar?:) 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 12, 2015- First...and last letter from the MTC!


So here is my first and last P-Day here in the MTC. Sorry that it was an entire week until we got to talk! I pretty much ran here to the computers so I could write!

Well as you could expect this past week was quite the whirlwind. So I will try my best to keep in in a cohesive letter.

So I guess lets start with my comp, his name is Elder Ronson and he is from Ceder Hills. He went to Maser and he is actually going to the Scottscdale AZ mission. Us English Elders kinda get thrown around since we are just here 12 days. Elder Ronson is a really nice guy but he is kinda quirky. But I have learned to love my comp. He is kinda reserved in lessons so I kinda have to dominate them, but its all good!

Anyways so in my district there is 4 sisters (All going to Jacksonville FL) And then there is a companionship of Elders also going to Scottsdale. (Elder Bean and Elder White) They got called as the Zone Leaders so they are really good guys! (We arent suppose to say things like guys, dudes etc) Elder Bean looks like and reminds me of Gavin Mcclain. Hes from Shelly Idaho and is just a stud. Also in the district is Elder Mcdonald (the Elder Alyssa knew) and Elder Jackson who are coming with my to DC! Us three are the DC boys! I know I should get to know my comp and love him, but I obviously spend lots of time with my DC boys! Elder Mcdonald is my boy! Him and I really hit it off and you can tell from the pictures I will send haha

I know that seems crazy now to be with people I will serve with. But from multiple experiences I know this was the district I was suppose to start my mission with. Our travel itinerary has says our group is 13, but all we know about is a Spanish Elder, Spanish Sister, and 2 ASL sisters.. so who knows who the others are.

Speaking of pictures, I think I have taken more in a week then Garret has in a year. I have like 30 pictures but I think I can only send a few. So if there is ever a week in the next little while where I don't have new pictures I will try to send a few more!

Okay so heres a run down of the week. I have my journal with me so I can try to remember as much as I can as I write. So I walk away from you guys and its just like BAM Im getting ran through lines, having papers shoved in my hands all the while I dont think my brain was working. Then I get my badge put on for the first time and I was just at peace. Other then meeting the district, and my teachers Brother Griffiths and Sister Wolfe, I dont remember much. But I saw TONS of guys even on the first day. Over the week I think I have seen everyone. I see Elder Thompson.... or Parker haha I just automatically wrote Elder Thompson, at almost every meal. I've also seen Coleman, T-Swan, Easton, Grant Bakker. Nick Beard, Micheal Delew, Parker Jackson, Briggs Jensen and just lots of people!

Tuesday morning was probably my lowest point. I woke up and it was just the "is it seriously the first official day 1 of two years...  But we had a class called "People and your Purpose" which really helped. After a day of classes we got to meet our branch presidency. Which are AWESOME! They are soo nice to us and just like our little mission grandparents. I was also called as the district leader that night. Like Garret said.. Doesnt mean much. I just get the mail and conduct meetings.

 The MTC really is a place of miracles. The told us in our welcoming meeting that this campus is probably the spot in the world that the most prayers are offered on. That is 100% true, 24/7 I would say somewhere on the campus there is a prayer being offered. This is such a special place with such a special spirit. It has been amazing to feel that spirit for this week. 

Anyways I am getting long (and yes I know Mom no letter could be too long ;) ) But I think Monday was the day I fully clicked over. I am a missionary and I only get to serve one mission. I have 2 years to serve and a life to think about how I served is how Elder Grow of the Seventy who was our devotional last night put it. I am pretty much over my home sickness. Yes I miss all of you, especially you Mom:), but I am good. Because I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Yes are there times I wish I could be sitting on the couch at home eating Cheez-Its and watching Netflix, but I am here to work and glad to be here! 

Let me say that my favorite thing at the MTC is when we sing. The singing is SO powerful and the spirit is so strong! Especially when we sing songs like Called to Serve or Bring the World His Truth. And MTC choir should be a requirement for everyone. In our opening devotional the MTC presidency shared a picture of two people climbing a mountain. One person was helping and one was being helped. They told us that we need to all be faithful enough and be humble enough to be both people. Be humble enough to help. And be humble enough to BE helped. That is true and I have seen that over the past week. 

Something that helps me when it gets rough is I just take my badge off and look at it. Elder Carroll, and right below is Jesus Christ. I am his representative and I always cheer up when I see that. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!! Thanks for the package it was so great! Mom look up Dear Elder, I can get same day letters from you if you send the Dear Elder, cause I wont hear from you until I am in DC. So email me a response to this letter.  But Copy and Paste it into a Dear Elder Letter (Just Google Dear Elder) so I can read it before I leave the MTC. Today at the Temple was great, but I think I like my temple clothes a lot better than the rentals haha. Also the temple is awesmoe, but just not the same when I dont get to see you Mom when I get to the Celestial Room. And Dad thanks for teaching me quickly how to do your temple clothes, there was some Elders that struggled haha 

I fly out on the 18th. So this is my last P-day haha I have to be at the MTC travel office at 4:30AM and my flight leaves SLC at about 9:45. So I will get to Reagan at about 2 Utah time. As far as I know I get to call at some point on the 18th.



(Yes my name is still Austin even if I have only heard Austin a few times this past week. But Elder Carroll is starting to grow on me;) ) 

The DC boys

Me and my Comp Elder Ronson

Elder Swan and Elder Price!


Mine and Elder Mcdonalds bromance haha seriously I love that guy! He's awesome and we have connected way good!