Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Call, Skype call around New Years ???

Hello to all-

We talked yesterday and it felt really fast. I will email you when we might skype or not. There was no snow here for Christmas but it was alright. I'm glad to hear that I'm moving all over the place and still am a presence in the house. But Christmas was fun here. We had pig leg for dinner (a lot better than turkey) and a fun evening with President and his family. We kind of did a small white elephant exchange with their family and four of us. That was fun and Elder Alo gave me a Lava-Lava. Its kind of like a skirt thing but Hawaiians wear it as shorts. Its pretty cool and i feel like I'm half Hawaiian now. I hope that Christmas was fun and that you guys have a great new year with goals that will last more than a couple weeks that will bless your life. I'm excited for this next year and cant wait to start it.

Elder Larson

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas plans for mission

Hello to all-

Next week i`ll write and Christmas will already have best. That's crazy to think about. So this week has been crazy with conferences for the coast and the tierra fria. And we've been at the mission home a lot more because the person who cooks and cleans and basically does everything there just had her baby. So basically Elder Alo and I do al ot over there. Have you ever heard of tomales? We just made a ton, over 200 i think last night. For me they're not the best thing in the world but i like them, but the people here love them. I don't feel like its Christmas. So i had the chance to go to Reu where they had the coast conference and lets just say its hot there right now. My thinking is if its hot like it was it doesn't feel like Christmas. Thanks for the letters and the package that i got this week. I'm glad that you liked the package and i hope you guys can find something to do with the picture of the temple. I'm not sure about the Christmas call but we will be in touch. And for Monday we are having a big lunch with the whole mission, doing skits, and President will talk for a little bit. I think its going to be really nice. It should be fun. I'm glad that Jesus is the Christ and that right now we can remember him a little bit more. I just hope i can remember him more and do the things that i know i need to do everyday. Thanks for everything. I hope that you guys have a great Christmas and that you guys can have the spirit of Christ with you these upcoming weeks.

Elder Larson

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lots of new missionaries, Elder Garcia's visit

Hey family-

Another crazy first week of changes. 18 missionaries just came in and this next change we will be getting around 23. Our mission will always be like a roller coaster. Receiving a lot of missionaries all at once and then for a little bit, not receiving any at all and then going back up again. President has opened up a lot of areas because of this and getting the houses what they need is just a full days worth with a flete (a small truck) to move all the stuff to different areas. The first week is always way busy because of that and the things we do for the new missionaries coming in.
So Ive been reading the Infinite Atonement lately and that is one amazing book. I love the way he explains everything and it just puts everything in proportion for me. I'm glad i can learn more about it this time right now because it makes Christs birth even more special. I read the story and I'm most impressed with Joseph and how he acted with everything. It says he was a just man and i just hope i can be half of a man who he was in his life because of the way he was and the way he responded to everything.
I'm glad that Elder Garcia could stop by and i knew i would get you this week. You can open it now and enjoy whatever is in there right now.

Elder Larson

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pictures of Erik in mission home

Christmas without Erik to take the lights down, lots of packages arriving at mission home

Hey family-

Its almost Christmas isn't? Is Santa coming to the house this year? Has soon as December started i began thinking that this is going to be the first time in a long time that you guys will have to do everything without me. That will take a lot more time and stress. I'm really sorry. But everything is going well down here. Changes are on Tuesday and its always busy around changes. We have 18 missionaries coming in. They just keep coming. Same with pouch. We have gotten so much and i bet it will not stop for a while. This week Elder Alo and I did a lot of things with Hermana Lorenzana, getting ready for changes, a stake president lunch that's going on today, and preparing for Christmas. Its been a long week with not that much sleep. But that's not a problem.

So i think that around Christmas time for everyone it is always packed with things to do. I'm glad changes are right now so around Christmas it`ll be a little bit more tranquilo (calm) here so i can try to take in the real spirit of Christmas. Things are going great down here and I'm glad they are up there as well. Tell dad to say hi to Elder Garcia for me when he sees him this week.

Elder Larson

PS- So right now i kind of want pictures of me and the family. And i don't know what we have taken in the past but i just want a couple nice ones so i can have them in my scriptures. Another one of the one at the temple when i left would be nice. regular or a smaller size would work best. Whatever you think would be nice. Thanks mom.

Pictures from Thanksgiving and trip to Guatemala City

Here are a few photos that we took during that week.

1) Our thanksgiving meal

2) Us at the Guatemala City Temple (Elder Alo, me, and Elder Maughan)

Elder Larson

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week in Guatemala City and time in the temple

Hey family-

So like i said i spent this whole week in Guatemala with Elder Alo and Maughan. Elder Maughan had to get an operation that was there in Guatemala City. Hermana Lorenzana also went to a doctor over there. So it was us and the Lorenzana family. They left Wednesday and we got back yesterday in the afternoon. Everything went really well with Hermana Lorenzana and Elder Maughan. After surgery he was in a lot of pain and we spent the night with him for those next 2 days. But he felt a lot better after he slept that night but still had some pain. But right now hes doing really well. We went in 3 so if he needed anything Elder Alo and i could go get it for him. We got out of the hospital on thanksgiving and we stayed right next to the CCM (MTC) in rooms that are reserved for people that come and visit. Elder Maughan rested a lot so Elder Alo and i went to the temple or to get food. Going to the temple was really amazing. I put a lot of names on the prayer roll and it was just a great experience to go during my mission. Never thought i would but this week presented itself and Elder Alo and i took an advantage of it. 7 sessions and we were witnesses for sealings that were taking place.

I really felt like the 3 nephites that are still alive and how they live. Probably always going to different locations. Not sharing a lot of personal information. And going around giving service to people who need it. That's how i kind of felt this past week.

We took pictures at the temple and of our small thanksgiving that we had.

Almost the whole week my thoughts were on how grateful i am that there are doctors all around the world and not just in the US. Its truly a blessing that him and Hermana Lorenzana were able to receive help like that in Guatemala City. That's what i was really grateful for but also i was really grateful that my family could have a nice big thanksgiving meal with other members of my family that could eat my thanksgiving food for me.

Just so you know there is no black Friday here in Guatemala. Not really a Thanksgiving either but there is a big rush for shopping right now but nothing like the day after thanksgiving.

I hope Thanksgiving was great and that you all ate a lot. All is well here. Changes are next week and soon we`ll be preparing for Christmas here in the mission.

Love you all and I'm grateful for the chance i have to be here.

Thanks for everything

Elder Larson

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In Guatemala City with Elder Maughn

Hey mom-

I can only check my email really this week. I have a lot to say but i really don't have the time. Lets just say i spent this whole week in Guatemala City. Elder Alo and i came down with Elder Maughan who was going to have an operation here and is recovering down here. Elder Alo and i went and did a session 7 times this week. I will write more when we get back Mon/Tues.

Elder Larson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Office tradition - birthday parties - pictures

So for birthday parties we always get the person a cake. And like you know with my birthday photo there is always a tradition to smash their head into the cake somehow. The first photo is of the cake. We knew he was going to be ready for us and we faked trying to get him several times. So we finished the cake and then he didn't think anything of it. So he received his birthday package 2-3 days before for his birthday which i decided to wrap up and give it to him after the cake. After one wanted him to open up the package so he did. We all basically got around him and watched him. Then Elder Cornia and Caal come out with a smaller cake that we bought and they got him right in the middle of his face. Classic. That photo says what we did that day and how much fun we had.

What we do for Hawaiian Parties (Erik really is on a mission!)

This was at Elder Alo`s birthday party that we had for him. We made shiskabobs and it was a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting cold in Xela, getting ready for Thanksgiving, Nancy & Ramon

Hey family-

Its coming up on thanksgiving and there are a lot of things I'm grateful for. We had conferences this week. It was fun seeing my old companions and the elders who came with me. President Lorenzana talked about what they were told in the mission president training meeting. He talked a lot about tithing. Its a thing of faith and your love of God and it has nothing to do with money. Its a thing where if you don't obey this commandment you cant go to the temple and are in the process of not receiving the blessings that you can receive. A lot of really cool, but simple things i learned from him this week.

Its getting pretty cold here in Xela. Well in the nights is where it gets cold but i heard its not until December or January where it gets really cold. I will probably be here for Christmas. With President Lorenzana in this mission, once you come to the office, you stay until you finish your mission. I heard other missions are not like that. I`ll go out before but i don't know when exactly. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving here. President is a big fan of the north Americans and i think we`ll have a nice Thanksgiving here.

So i don't really need anything for Christmas. I don't know if you already sent it but i am doing pretty good here. Maybe if you do send something, do the same kind of thing that you did for Elder Cedeños birthday for my companions I've had. In the box but separated like last time for Elder Savage, Cedeño, and Rico. They are 3 really great elders. I was thinking something like wool socks for them because they are all in the cold land. I think they would love it. But just let me know what you think mom.

So Nancy and Ramon want to come visit me. That would be really fun to see and spend time with them. I only met Ramon once and it would be fun to be with them. But i really don't think that would be allowed. I would love to see them but being a missionary i really cant. I hope that makes sense and that they wont be mad about it. But they can write me emails or send me letters. I would love to talk with them but i don't think seeing them would be allowed because of the rules i have being a missionary. Please tell them that.

Lauren seems to be doing really well. And it sounds like all is well back home. I'm really glad to see that.

The thing i would say i really finally grasped onto and learned this week was to not keep doing the same things over again. You can apply this for anything but i learned it with my studying. I studied in different ways this week and it seemed to catch my eye more when i studied and i really got something out of my studies it seemed. Just thought i would share that with you.

Espero que todo esta bien en la familia este semana

Elder Larson

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prayers are heard in the Larson/Lawson families

Erik sent a powerpoint of this when he heard his grandparents (my parents) had to returned to the temple after a bit of an absence.
The first slide represents when Larry and I went to the temple to be sealed. (Los Angeles)
He had it labeled "Prayers are heard and answered in the Lawson/Larson family."

The second slide represents when Erik's grandparents (Larry's parents) went to the temple to be sealed (Sacramento)
He had it labeled "Prayers are heard and answered in the Larson family."

The third slide represents when Erik's other grandparents (my parents) returned to the temple after their absence. (Louisville.)
He had it labeled "Prayers are heard and answered in the Lawson family."
Such a sweet son I have.


Mission office - picture

This is the office at this last change. The Latino with the suit, Elder Pérez just ended his mission. He was a great guy. The little time i knew him we formed a relationship that will go on for a while.

Opening up new zones, staying busy, Hawaiian party

Hey family-

Its almost Thanksgiving. Time sure goes by fast when holidays come around. This week has just been filled with work in the office. It takes a lot to open up a new zone and 5-6 new houses. This week for me seemed to be a lot better than the last week. I have received a lot of answers from my prayers and its always a nice boast to keep on going and know that you're not alone.

President is in a big conference for mission presidents in central America in Guatemala right now. I cant wait to hear what President learned and what they expect of our mission. It should be interesting.

Monday we had a big Hawaiian party for Elder Alo. It was a lot of fun. One picture that i will send will describe it all.

I don't have any exciting news for this week, but you did. I'm so happy for your parents mom. I sent an email a couple weeks ago but who knows if its right. I'm really glad for them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Description of the markets, Halloween, etc.

Hey mom-

Had a crazy fast week with changes and all. I never knew 25 missionaries would be a lot until you actually see them here in person. A few elders from my group are training right now. I heard that its fun and its a really good learning experience. I will train. I don't know when but i will.
So it sounds like everything back home is going to change with the stake and all. Talking about stakes we have something like 15 stakes in our mission. Normally missions have 5 or so i think. Kind of crazy but really cool at the same time.
So they do celebrate Halloween down here. I don't know how big its going to be but we`ll see how it goes. The market has been packed with people the past few days. It must be the prime time for all sorts of flowers or something. The market is just filled with tons of bright colors and people making a living. Very fun to watch and see what they do day-in and day-out. There are really really hard workers here that will hardly make enough for their family, but will make it day-in and day-out. And there are people that just beg and think that that is the way to get money. At almost all the stop lights there are people either begging, joggling, cleaning windshields, selling fruits, or anything to get a quet or 2. Its a very interesting life they live but there is a lot to learn from the ones that are true Guatemalans.

Hope all is well and that everyone has a great week

Elder Larson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Learning from the President, Favorite part of being a missionary

Hey mom-

This week has to have been my fastest week. I would say 6/7 days i was busy all day. Saturday night we had a meeting with President and he always puts any topic in an eternal perspective. Every small thing we are doing or learning right now will determine who we will become. He is really an inspired man. We had family home evening with them and that was good as well. Tuesday i worked with Elder Alo with organizing all the medicine and things. I really want to organize what i can while i am here so it'll be a lot easier for the person after me. We had a birthday this week and that is always fun here in the office. Changes are this Tuesday and President is opening up a new zone in Momostenango. Changes should just be fun in general.

I hope all is well and that your hospice patient enjoys your visits and that the cleaning goes over well.

Love ya
Elder Larson

My favorite part of being a missionary. That's an interesting question. I would have to say its a lot different here in the office then in the field. But when i was in the field, i always enjoyed watching someone click and the lights suddenly turn on. For some it was fast but some people it took months, but it doesn't matter, the light still came on. Knowing that you played some little part in the investigators, or less actives, or recent converts, or the members lives at a certain time is really interesting to think about. You are there for a little bit, try to help anyone you talk to come unto Christ, and then leave. It doesn't feel like a little bit but when you have a change and look back, it feels like a little bit.

But right now in the office, i think for everybody its playing soccer. Well just on Saturday. haha just kidding

Elder Larson

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Typical P-day

Hey mom-

Sounds like Dads birthday was fun and will be fun. Sorry i didn't drop down for a quick visit like Lauren. I think that would have cost too much for a quick weekend. This week felt like a long day with a few naps. Time is a weird thing. We have changes in almost a week. It seems like we just started. Our mission is going to get a lot of missionaries. President is going to open up a lot of area these next 2 changes. That should be fun to see. 25 new missionaries will be coming this next change. That's just a lot in my opinion. We are going to be down to 9 in the office. 8 of us are American and the one Latino knows no English. But surprising enough we talk a lot of Spanish in the office. You said you just went over Jacob 1-4. I really like those chapters. I think i`ll read them over again this week. Those notes that you have might be really interesting if you still have them. Ive enjoyed watching the conference talks when we have time here in the office. It gets me refocused on whats the most important thing i need to be doing in m life right now. Its been really good.

Hope you all have a great week.

Oh and if you can send me Elder Palmers address to me sometime this week. I wrote him a letter and i want to send it. Thanks

Elder Larson

P.S. So you wanted to know what a typical P-Day is. Saturdays we always play (soccer, volleyball, spend time and eat at the mission home, and or we will go paca shopping). In the office we have started to celebrate everyday to change it up a little bit. Saturday because its P-Day. Friday, because it´s P-day eve. On Thursdays we get a package with all of the letters that come from the states. It´s always a huge moment of suspense with us all waiting for the mail guy to show up. Nothing really happens on Wednesday, so we just named it Funky-Nasty Wednesday. For some reason we all get excited for Wednesdays now too, even though we don´t really do anything exciting. Tuesdays are cool because there is a bakery that we found called Bake-Shop that opens up and sells American doughnuts. Monday actually is a dreaded day because everyone of us seems to always get completely slammed with work. Sunday is always cool because we get to see who comes to church and who doesn´t. It´s completely un-predictable and always a surprise to see who comes to church and who doesn´t. Every single one of the millions of people that you talk to each week says that they´ll be there, so it´s always interesting to see who the 2 or 3 are who actually do.

It´s also worth mentioning that we absolutely dominated a soccer game this morning. I will have to say that we aren't that bad for Americans.

Happy Birthday Dad

How is the young-old man doing? Trying to keep it low key on your birthday while you're married to mom. She would not let it go low key for your birthday, that's for sure. That's pretty funny though. Lauren even came down. I hope your birthday and this week was good for you.
My eyes started to hurt because i took out my contacts after 25-30 days and i wanted to wear my glasses for a little bit. When i was wearing my glasses they seemed to hurt. But i have my contacts in right now and all is well.

Happy Birthday Dad.
Love ya more than you know.

Elder Larson

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Erik's birthday pictures & other pictures

1) We were at Elder Saureys birthday party. Elder Cornia, Elder Cannon, and I waiting for the cake to get cut

2) I was working in my area and I came a little late. They had food before I arrived and told me it was dog and gave me some. So I ate it. It wasnt dog but i forget what it was.

3) Elder Alo bringing out the cake with Hermana Lorenzana. (Elder Alo is Elder Avas friend from Hawaii)

4) The strawberry cake

5) Made my wish and blowing out the candle

6) They told me to get a strawberry out of the cake because it was a tradition. So i did. And i dont think i need to explain more.
7-8) Yes that is cake all over my face

General Conference

Hey family-

I had another fast, quick week. Always something to do. That's for sure. I really enjoyed conference. Priesthood session was probably my favorite. We have read and watched them over again. Its nice having computers here in the office. I'm really trying to balance out everything i do right now. Because everyday is different filled with different activities. I cant believe I'm 20. Ive really thought about it. I hope i can make this entire year of my life one to remember. Learning something that i can remember everyday.
Things are doing really good here. Just still trying to figure out why I'm here and what I'm trying to achieve. I believe I'm in the process of that right now but still it doesn't feel like it at times. So I've seen a couple of the Mormon messages. One by President Eyring was really good that caught my eye. He said something to the affect of, in the morning you don't know what you're really going to end up doing that day, but with the time you´ll have during that day to ask for help to serve and be a blessing in some small way so you can know that you used your time wisely.
I hope all is well and that you guys have a great week with the things you are doing

Elder Larson

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Conference Sunday, counsel from his Mission President


Probably just ending conference i assume. For some reason president told all of us that we couldn't watch the first 2 sessions of conference because they weren't too much mission related. But were going to priesthood soon so that should be fun. It was a pretty busy week. We had mission conferences and that was fun.

It was pretty cool that we talked last Sunday. I thought i would get you both and i think i did a pretty good job. I knew you would be sleeping and i called it. I cant wait to go to conference later tonight and tomorrow.

We had a meeting with president on Sunday night and he talked a lot about being number 1. Just being pro-active and doing things without being told. I really liked what he shared about it. He also talked about working with other people and companions. The one thing that i liked was that if you're in stake or bishop presidency there are 3 men. They are going to think, A, B, C and the Lords will is going to be X. That is really true if you think about it. And with talking about our companions he said your companion is NOT your companion but he is your teacher.

I hope all is well and that you all have a great conference and a great week.

Elder Larson

Saturday, September 26, 2009

President Lorenzana & Birthday

Presidente and Hermana Lorenzana are amazing. He was a stake president before he got his call i think. He is really funny and knows the scriptures really well. Elder Saurey told me one time that he said that everything he wanted in this life he has and everything he didn't want in this life he doesn't have. When we use our agency correctly and fight for what we want, we are blessed with the blessing to do it. When we don't use our agency wisely or to the best of our ability we cannot make all the decisions that we want to make. I just thought that was pretty cool to think about. He talks a lot about his mission and when he didn't have work for 7 years. Serving a full-time mission, always looking for new ways to find and teach people and other times when it was tough helped him out in those 7 years. I bet he didn't stop looking for a great job or didn't complain in those 7 years with his family. He knows there is always something better and that we will be blessed if we follow the prophets and follow our leaders in the times that we need it the most.
They´re both really funny and President just speaks it how it is and throws a little humor into it at times too. You know he means business but at the same time you know that he cares for you.

Hey family-

So its kind of weird to think about but i will not be a teenager anymore. Those years have passed. Now I'm off to bigger and better things in this huge world. We´ll see how it goes. This week was really good. We planned as a companionship and set goals for a lot of things we want to do and change. I think that will help us a lot with focusing why we´re here. We talked about if one doesn't set goals, then they´ll just go through the motions living in the present and if one sets goals they know what they want to do and what they want to become. One of our goals is to leave every night and work in our area. Lately our past 3 lessons have been at a members house with THEM inviting a friend over and sharing what we know. We taught this one girl, Sandra and she is 16 and she basically knew everything was true and she knows that we need to have a prophet lead us today. It was a great lesson. I don't think it was us but it was the missionaries who taught her almost 2 years ago and the members just inviting a friend over. They told us they had a FHE with her one Monday and then the second visit was with us. Elder Saurey and I just knew that she was getting it and she said she would go to church, but to also go and hear conference. We have 5 missionaries in our area and it seems to working our really good.
To be completely honest I'm more excited for conference than my birthday. Conference just has a new meaning for me because i think I'm in a different mind set doing different things than before. I really like it and it should be really good. I hope all is well and that you guys have a great week. Give my best to Dean and the family.

Elder Larson

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mission office

Hey mom/dad-

I hope this email can make it for you two for this week. Empty Nesters. Man o man. But I've had a good week. Been busy because of changes and things. My companions are Elder Saurey and Elder Cornia. Elder Saurey is the general secret. and Elder Cornia is the financial secret. But its really fun. They're great guys. I think i can really say that i enjoyed this week. Everyday is different but with the time i had i think i did pretty well. I usually study in the morning and then i`ll do anything the other Elders need. But lately with changes i get ready all the carnets in Spanish but its like their ID. And just some other random things with that. If there is a meeting or anything special i usually make sure everything is good with the set up or anything. But i like it so far. But at times there is al ot of time to study and when there's meetings it seems like there is no time to study. I'm trying to take advantage of the time that i do have to study and help serve the other elders. I'm really starting to like serving the other elders. Hope all is well and that you guys have a great week.

Elder Larson

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Erik is working on his "character"

Hey Mom and Dad-

I’m glad to hear that Lauren is alive and well. She is going there for a reason. I’m glad to hear that all is well with everybody right now.

I’m really starting to learn that everything happens for a reason. I’m here in Xela right now for a reason.

I still don’t know why but the Character of Christ talk by Elder Bednar was really, really good. It has really changed how I do things. Its just funny because Brother Myers and I always talk about our character and the talk was really good for me because there was a lot of ways for me to strengthen my character. Thanks for sending me that talk. Seriously.

I heard weeks in the office go by faster than in the field. I just hope I can learn my duties and do them and serve the other elders here in the office.

I read Mosiah 2 and that has changed how I look at things too. Mosiah 2 and the talk by Elder Bednar have really changed the way I act and try to serve.

My companion is Elder Saurey. When we have time we go to our area in the nights. Both of us don’t know it so we're just trying to work through the members. But other than the nights when we have time and Sundays we are all companions in the office at times. Days are really busy at times and it makes me feel that I'm doing things that are productive and worthwhile.

Thanks for everything that you’ve blessed me with mom and dad.

I’m still glad to hear that Lauren still has her 11 toes and that she is safe and sound in her apartment.

Hope everyone has a great, safe week.

Elder Larson

Note from Diane:
Here's the link to Elder Bednar's talk that Erik was talking about.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New job in the mission office, teaching English to the Mission President and driving for the first time!

Hey mom and dad

This has been a different week that I have had in a long time. That's for sure. Different but good.
There are a lot of different things we do here in the office. So right now I'm getting trained to do my job so in a week I can do it when changes come. I'm in charge of the pouch, ordering things missionaries need, doing a lot of things for when changes (transfers) come, setting up for all the conferences, and the other special assignment I have is to help President Lorenzana learn English. We've had a busy week and we haven't started yet but he really wants to work on it. He knows a bit but he just wants me to guide him.

For the most part I really like it here. We see President Lorenzana a lot more often and I know what's going on. You know how I always like to know what's going on. Everyday is different but everyday is a help to build up Zion here in this area of the world. Basically the whole office is new and out of the 9 that are in here right now, 6 are Americans, 3 Latinos, and out of the 9, 8 know English. Its fun and I've had an interesting, fun week. Oh and i drove for the first time this week in a long time. Just thought I would share.

So I was in the coast for 3 changes and now I'm in Xela which is in the cold area of this mission. First night was really cold but right now I'm good.

We live with the assistants and its a pretty nice house. We have a cook for breakfast and lunch. Hopefully I won't gain too much weight here. But I guess we´ll see. A great bunch of elders in the office right now. We had a meeting with President Lorenzana on Monday and he talked about unity. Unity in the office and unity with the heavens. I really enjoyed it. We can have unity with love and sacrifice. We sacrifice but in the end it´ll be like a blessing because you helped others in time of need. And he talked about if we want to win then we need to lose sometimes, meaning that we need to sometimes give up our time and efforts for the benefit for others. I don't know what this next week has in store for me but hopefully i can do it my best and enjoy this time I have to serve the Lord in this calling.

Elder Larson

Monday, August 31, 2009

Surprise! Transfer to the office!

So this week was a great week. I feel that we are doing work here. Marabel and her son have a baptism date for the 12 of September. I'm really excited for her.

So we had interviews with President Lorenzana on Tuesday. He wanted to know if I could teach English. I said I am OK and that I could if he wanted me to. We also talked about the office and stuff. So I thought that I would have changes in 2 weeks.

Well I received a call last night and I'm here in the office right now. I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing but we will see I guess. I really don't know what to think or what to do right now, but I know that everything happens for a reason. For some reason I'm here and I hope I can be a blessing to president and the missionaries here.

But I think my p-days are on Saturdays. I really feel like a freshmen going into high school for the first day. Not knowing what to expect but that this is going to be a new and really cool experience if I give it time and try to hit the ground running. We will see, I guess. I don't know if you guys will be shocked but I am just a little bit.

But on Thursday I did baptismal interviews for Pamelita. They had 5 baptisms. One big family. It was my first time interviewing but i think it went really well. Usually the interviews are pretty fast but i tried to make it more like a conversation. The parents seemed to know everything and the kids were sharp too. I really liked getting to know them and doing the interviews for them. They seemed to enjoy it and I was glad to do it for them.

Hope all is well and that you have a great week.

Elder Larson

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dionicia and children's baptism

Hey mom-

I think I've had one of my favorite weeks this week.

We had the baptisms for Dionicia, mom, and two of her kids, Keni 11, Pedro 9 on Saturday. She has two others but one is 6 and the other has 16 but she works on Sundays. We're working with her and were going to talk to her boss i think this week about it. But we had the baptism in the stake center because they were going to have a big stake activity at the same time. We had a nice baptism and after everyone that was at the baptism went and stayed at the activity.

We had two other of our investigators go as well. Marabel and her son Juan 9. They really liked it and she made us lunch on Sunday and because she is very grateful for the things we have helped her with. She didn't go to church but were looking at the 5th of Sept with her and her son.

Dionicia and her family look so happy. She works at this tortilla place just off the street and we have passed by everyday to talk with her and eat tortillas. I think it makes her day when we pass by. We can see a difference in the family and we are very grateful to be here with all of them. I hope Elder Rico and i can help more people see the light this week. It's going to be a great week.

Elder Larson

Monday, August 17, 2009

Elder Falabella's visit, getting family ready for baptism

I wrote my letter to you and then i tried to attach photos and it was all in Spanish and the computer restarted. That's what happens when you don't understand Spanish all the way. I'm trying to send photos but you'll get them soon. But thanks for the recipes and the email.

Elder Falabella came to the mission and he talked a lot about how we can become a better person and missionary. It was really good. We have been trying to focus and teach more families.

We have this mom, Dionicia and her two kids with a baptism date this Saturday. I'm excited for them and i hope they can do it.

Sorry for making this short but I'm doing well and Elder Rico and I are doing great. My house is nicer than in Coatepeque but the weather is just about the same. I'm on the edge of downtown Reu but still kind of in downtown. We have a cook for dinner and she said she'll make anything and she was asking for choc chip cookies and some other things.

Thanks mom.

Hope you have a great week mom.

Elder Larson

Hey dad-

After Elder Savage left I was senior companion and my companion was the district leader and right now I'm both. I don't think it means a whole lot because my companion knows the area more than I do and I like working together.

We have a baptism date with this mom and 2 of her kids for this Saturday. They are ready but were explaining tithing today and money is pretty low for them so we´ll see how it goes.

Elder Falabella came on Thursday and we learned a lot about how to contact, how to avoid Satan and how to use our time wisely. We learned a lot of different but really interesting and useful things that we can apply in our lives right now.

I'm doing good and trying to figure what is best to do with my time here in Guatemala. The Spanish in Chile is a little different in my opinion but I can hear the difference. Chile is the farthest country that a Latino missionary has come to our mission right now I think. It's pretty far. But I like talking to people about where I'm from and where he is from. It leads right in to what we want to talk about.

Hope all is well and you have a great week.

Elder Larson

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catching up with Erik's emails............

(Be sure to go down a few emails. I added some pictures we got in the mail this week..... Diane)

August 10, 2009

Hey dad-
I'm in Reu right now. President Lorenzana has me as district leader right now. I'm with Elder Rico and I really like working with him. We're having a lot of fun together. It's still taking some time to communicate with other people but with time I'll be able to.

I'm starting to realize that this will go by fast. I think that's why I really enjoyed this week because I can never get this week back so we tried to figure out what the best thing to do was with Elder Rico and tried to enjoy it at the same time.

People are a lot different here than in Coatepeque. People are a lot more open and we have been able to teach more.

Hope all is well.
Elder Larson

We have a cook for dinner and she was talking about chocolate chip cookies and rice krispy treats. She was just wondering how to make them. If she could make them for us that would be AMAZING but I need a good recipe for them. And Ii know you have some good recipes because you make the best stuff.
Thanks mom

I haven't got the package and there is no more pouch I think. We can't send anything out through pouch and I haven't gotten anything through pouch. Sad day but life goes on.

Hey mom-

I got changed last Tuesday and I'm in Retalhuleu (Reu). I'm in Reu 1 and I'm the district leader here. It is so much different than Coatepeque. I really like it here.

My companion is Elder Rico and he's from Chile. He knows a lot and I really like teaching with him. We're having a lot of fun and its only been a week. Reu isn't too far from Coatepeque. I'm still in the coast but i like it.

We have taught a lot of lessons and we have 4-5 progressing investigators but the only thing they lack is a witness of what we've taught through prayer. I hope Elder Rico and i can really make a difference here in Reu.

Elder Larson

August 3, 2009

I just first want to say thanks for writing me. Its nice to hear from you and dad every week. Some elders don't get a email every week so that's why i say that.

Today is changes and I think I might get changed but we find out in about a hour, so who knows.

I'm starting to feel comfortable talking in Spanish. I still lack a ton but i feel comfortable talking which I really like. So we now have a new rule in the mission. The greengos or the North Americans need to speak Spanish when giving dates or at conferences because they said this is a Spanish speaking mission. You know what that means? In about a year and a half I will not be able to speak English. OK maybe a little but not a lot. No I don't know but I just thought i would share that.

Things are busy here. We haven't found a whole lot of people we can teach but were getting there. We think that if we keep on using the Book of Mormon and the spirit that we will find the people that are ready in this time.

We had a conference with Presidente Lorenzana Wednesday and he talked about CREER=HACER. To believe = To do. If one believes something then he will do it because he has the faith that he can do it. I really liked that and I'm just trying to do my part so I can increase the faith that i have through my actions.

Hope all is well and that you all enjoy this week.

Elder Larson

We cannot go to the temple. I think we can go if were a branch president and its the time for the branch to go or if one of our converts is getting sealed in the temple and invites us. I think we can go but probably not for these two years.Maria Fernanda went to the temple and i think she really enjoyed it.Last Mona Vie I'll use is tomorrow.I'm taking my vitamins and doing good.
Love you Mom.
Elder Larson

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maria Fernanda's baptism

(Elder Larson and Elder Ledeno. Elder Ledeno is from Ecuador)

This week was the baptism for Maria Fernanda.

We've been teaching her for 8-10 weeks. She was ready for this gospel and we just needed to find her, which we did. She got everything we taught her but the only problem was that she is 16 and needed to get permission from her mom that lives in Texas. With that and a lot of problems with her family here in Magnolia it was a long process. But she knew it was true and she has made a lot of friends. She goes to all the activities. She went to 2-3 activities before attending church for the first time. This Saturday I believe she is going to the temple with the youth. I'm glad we found her and that she is doing the things she needs to do in her life. She doesn't have any family support but she has made a lot of friends in the church and I hope that will help out. She is the type of person we are looking for here. I'm happy for her.

Elder Larson

Saturday it rained A LOT for a good 2- 2 1/2 hours. At the time we were with our leader misional and right now he's selling basically french fries on a corner by his house. So he had a big tarp and we waited out the rain with him and ate some fries and sang a few hymns at the top of our lungs. It was pretty fun. That was fun.

Mucho lluvia una noche (Magnolia)

A lot of rain at night!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Erik's first mis-translation :) (July 20, 2009)

Hey mom-

Hope all is well and you guys are staying busy.

This week has been a great week. Sandra got married on Monday and we had a baptism for her on Saturday. It was great. We have another one set for this Friday and maybe another the day after. We had a good Sunday.

Bautismo por Sandra Lopez (18/7/09)

Look how dog gone cute she is! Erik is 5'11. She must be about 4'8"......

I'm so happy for her. And it's fun to see the picture of the Quetzeltenango Temple in the background. I bet the people are so excited! (Diane)

Talked with the president here and were on the same page right now. Its always nice to know whats going on. Was another fast week. We had two elders work in our area this week. They re in a group called the elite team and they travel all throughout the mission to help the other missionaries. It was fun working with him. His companion goes home in 2 weeks. I cant imagine that!

But i sent a letter through pouch but who knows if it got to you.

Elder Cedeño is from Ecuador and his birthday was on Thursday. We bought him a cake and had birthday candles, but the thing was the candles lite up again after you blow them out. You think you got them all and then they lite back up again. Pretty funny.

Oh and i have a funny story. I wanted to have my pants shortened and we knew a guy who did that so we gave my pants to him. It was the husband of Sandra and he said it was going to be free. But i really wanted to pay him so i said, yo quero pegar usted, which means i want to hit you. If you want to say i want to pay you, you say yo quero pagar usted. One letter off and it means something entirely different. Kind of funny.

Just wanted to share that and that were off to Xela today. Don't know what exactly were doing but i might see a doctor. But who knows.

Hope you all have a great week and that all is well.

Elder Larson

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Erik's investigator got married (July 13, 2009)

Hey mom-

This morning our investigator Sandra got married and we were the witnesses and most likely she´ll get baptized this Saturday. They both seemed really excited and happy and maybe in the next week we can teach her husband.

So Tristan is getting married? Is it that one girl from college? If so I met her once but it seems like you guys are going all over the place in the next week.

So at times I get so frustrated because I can't understand whats going on when my companion is trying to explain things to me. Especially when its about our investigators. But I'm doing good. Another week trying to understand my purpose in this life.

I love the members here but its really hard to find new people to teach here. We're getting better but we're doing good.

Elder Cedeño´s birthday is Thursday. I don't know what but he would like anything. You always have good surprises.

Thanks for the info about Pres Wood. Oh and The Wares sent me a small little package. If you can tell them thanks for me like 10 times that would be great. thanks.

But I hope you all have a good week.

Elder Larson

Dad-Hope all is well with your work. You're like a trainer in the mission. haha. So Elder Savage trained after his 3rd change and I don't know what I would do if I'm training after this change. It's so hard to understand people but it's getting a little better. Hope you have a great week. Oh and who was Mike Gerow again? I think I know him but I'm not sure.
Elder Larson

Monday, July 6, 2009

News from Erik July 6, 2009

We received several short emails from Erik today...........

Hey mom-

Thanks for the package. I loved everything in it. I already read the President Monson packet. That was really interesting. OK so it’s my companion's birthday. If you could send him a letter and use Spanish or really really simple English that would be cool. Elder Cedeño and its on the 16th of this month. I think he would like it. Thanks.

Elder Larson

Hey mom-

So it was the 4th of July here and I didn't even realize it. I'm loosing track of days, mom. I took dates that night and another North American elder said Happy 4th of July and I was like What!? That day we were the most full we have ever been with set appointments and all of our appointments dropped. All you can do is laugh and go on I guess because it was a long day.

I saw my blog (I printed a copy and mailed it to Erik so he could see it....Diane) and I just want to say hi to everyone that is reading it right now and to my future self and tell them that I'm doing good right now. My companion is Elder Cedeño. He just came from a Quiche speaking area and he knows some phrases and words. I want to learn but I think I need to learn more Spanish first. But we will see.

You cannot predict the weather here. It rains off and on here and when its not raining it is really hot. We have Maria and she is 17 and she has wanted to get baptized but her mom has told her that she should wait a little bit, but her mom is now giving her permission and were hoping that this Saturday she can get baptized. She understands everything we teach her and she has been to all the activities for the young women and I think she’s in the choir.

Hope all is well. I know it is.

Elder Larson

Hey mom-

So I’ve always liked the way you teach because its interactive, fun and I remember what we do or what we learned because of the activity or the paper or something we could keep. I want to kind of do the same here but I just don't know how exactly I want or know how to do it. Because I think that if we leave something with them that it would be helpful for them. Any ideas for prophets, studying the scriptures, praying, families? I'm just curious because I think something like this can help

I'm wearing my shoes but when it rains I wear my boots. They're doing OK. My ankles still hurt from the arches I had. I think it was that and the whole lot of rocks we have here that caused it but who knows? I'm not a doctor. I'm trying to take care of my body and I talked to my zone leaders and I think I’ll see a doctor soon.

But I'm doing good.

My Spanish is better than 5 months ago. But it still has a long ways to go. I can get around but its still really hard to understand people. With time, I keep telling myself that. With time. haha

Hey dad-

That's really cool to hear about Sister Vance. Had another long, fast week. We've done too much contacting. I feel like we have covered all of Magnolia. But it still needs to be done so we will do it. Trying to get balanced all things. Always a work in progress.

So I'm just curious, what was the best experience you had on your mission or that you learned the most from while you were in Japan.

Hope you have a great week dad.

Elder Larson

New Companion (6/29/09)

Hey mom-

We had changes on Tuesday. Elder Savage went to Xela and I have a new companion. Elder Cedeño. Knows very little Spanish. Surprising there is not a lot of quiet time. I can understand a little bit and its fun and really hard at the same time.

Sounds like you guys are busy like always. Sounds like you're doing great and you have a new perspective about life. I do too. I'm slowing changing into a different person and i really like the change.

We have had a good week and were hoping this week will be better. After your email last week I was reading my scriptures and i came across 1 Nephi 13:37 and I thought of Sister Wood. Kind of cool.

My emotions go up and down several times throughout the day.

It's still a little new to me that my companion and I are the ones that are asking people to change their lives and come unto Christ. A big responsibility. But I like it when people choose to follow Christ because you can see the light come on.

Love you all.

Elder Larson

Another email 6/29/09
Hey mom-

And I also I was listening to a EFY song and I think it was called What will I do with the time thats left? It's pretty good. I like it.

And Sister Wood was a shock for everybody. I believe that. It was a huge shock for me. I also believe that it should be a BIG eye opener for other people to prepare now because we don't know when our last breathe is going to be.

1 Nephi 13:37
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Erik responds to the news about Sister Wood..... (6/22/09)

I love my son. His email brought me a lot of peace during a very difficult time.
Love, Diane

Hey mom-Sister Wood was a great friend, teacher, mom, disciple of Jesus Christ, and a great example to everyone. Especially to me. She ALWAYS had a smile on wherever I saw her and I don't know how she did it but she always lifted spirits. She was an amazing person mom. You knew her better than me but from the time that I had to know her she seemed to always have the pure love and light of Christ in her. I don't know what to think but that everything happens for a reason. I know Sister Wood is where she is supposed to be.

She had the same love for everyone in our seminary class. She always had the spirit with her and everyone knew that she loved them. She taught by example and she knew how to give service the right way. It probably wasn't even service to her. I can't think of one specific time that sticks out to me because to me. But I always knew she cared for me, I always knew she loved me, and I always knew she wanted the best for me.

We taught a lesson yesterday about when Lehi and his family left all their property, riches, and things that they loved of this world, to not be killed in the destruction of that great city. They only brought the things that they needed to survive in the wilderness. We talked about that after this life we won't take all of our worldly things with us. Only our knowledge, relationships with our family, and our actions we did on this earth with us. Laman and Lamuel liked the worldly things and didn't think that great city could get destroyed. We didn't think Sister Wood would pass away. She did, BUT she was prepared. She knew what she needed to bring and what was important in this life and she enjoyed every second of it! She was truly a great example to all who came in contact with her.

One thing I keep on learning.
Can we change the past? NO
Can we change the future? YES

We can always learn something from the past and we can take what Sister Wood did in her life and apply those things in our lives so we can be more ready for when that time comes when we are called to the other side. :)

I love you mom and I just want to tell you that she is where she is supposed to be. She was a true friend.

The Wood Family are in my prayers.

We have changes later today. :)

Elder Larson

Happy Father's Day (6/15/09)

Hey Dad-

First i just want to say HAPPY FATHERS DAY on Wednesday i think it is. So when you wake up Wednesday morning you can just remember that i wished you a GREAT Fathers Day on Monday. But back to business.

I don't know if you ever felt like this but i feel the weeks go by really fast, but the days feel long and that i can get a lot done. Kind of weird but i really like it. We have changes a week from tomorrow and i think ill be getting a new companion. Hopefully a Latino.

So we didn't have the baptism because the girls mom wouldn't let her get baptized but were working with her and she has a great testimony already. And Sandra didn't get married this work. They needed to get their birth certificates or something like that from Xela. Maybe this week were hoping.

Right now we don't have a whole lot of investigators. President Lorenzana said we are looking for the people that are ready to get baptized. President had a idea this week that if we go to a members house and challenge them to give a Book of Mormon to a friend in 5 days that we could have help in finding those people that are ready. No references right now but were hoping. We do a lot of contacting but we teach as well. It's fun teaching.

I'm talking a little bit more but its still hard to understand people. But it'll come with time. So Elder Savage and I have noticed that if we don't set time out to do something that it won't happen. Its just something cool to think about because we always seem to have busy days.

All is well down here. Hope you have a great week Dad

Elder Larson

Hey mom-

I know you're not going to read this for a while but thanks for putting together that package. And I don't know what finca means. I'll get back to you on that but Magnolia and Coatepeque are fine right now for the most part. We go to Central Coatepeque a couple times a week. Keep up the good work Mom.
Love ya,
Elder Larson

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hey mom

Nothing crazy happened this week. But it was just an all around good week. We have a fecha for this Saturday and probably 2-3 in 3 weeks. Sorry fecha means date or a baptism date. So we've been working with this lady and her name is Sandra. We've been teaching her for a long time and I've really enjoyed watching the light come on. Its been a long process but we found out a few weeks ago that she wasn't married and that the husband didn't want to get married or have her get baptized. And maybe a week ago we had her talk to her husband about it and they set a date for sometime in August to have a big reception after the wedding. But yesterday we talked with the president of the branch here and talked with them about getting married a lot sooner to not live in sin anymore and to have the reception in august. And as of right now they're going to get married this Wednesday. We've come along ways with her and we still have a ways to go but she likes us and she likes what we say.

So we've been working a lot more with the members now and i think that's been helping out a lot. We try to teach with them a lot and try to get them involved with the positive investigators more. I can really see a difference when we think about what we want to do or see happen before we do it. What a concept right?

Elder Savage, the hot sun at times, the mosquitoes, the members of the branch, and I are having a great time down here. Elder Savage and I are trying to be more balanced in everything we do now. Not just balanced with contacting and teaching but in everything we do throughout the day whether it be with food, sleep, personal study, or exercise. I think that's one thing that if I learn how to do while out here then it'll be a success. I mean there's obviously more to learn but being balanced is a good thing to do as well.

All is well down here. I'm doing good. Looking forward to this upcoming week.

Elder Larson

Hey dad

Sounds like you're living good. Golf, chili, ice cream. That sounds like fun. We have bread down here that's pretty good. There's sweet bread and that's pretty good sometimes too. It's pretty nice down here.

It's so nice when you teach people and the light comes on or you watch a person change their lives over a period of time. It's pretty cool. We had a pretty good week and I can't wait for this next one.

Elder Larson

PS Get good use out of the pool for me

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Erik sent some photos this week! This one (above) is the Guatemala Temple.
The one above is Erik's bedroom in Magnolia.
This is their kitchen in Magnolia. (Click to make it bigger.)
This is from the MTC in Guatemala City back in March. Erik's companion was Elder Judd, the second from the right.

I found this image at the website for the Guatemala MTC (CCM) and I that my son playing basketball????!!!! And then I was so excited when I realized it was. (Click on the picture to make it bigger.) I recognized the walk, the clothes and the brace he was wearing on his left wrist. (He hurt his wrist before he left before for Guatemala.) This would have been taken in March sometime, I'm guessing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Erik's first baptism and first flood! June 1, 2009

Hey mom-This week has been a crazy week. On Thursday night our house flooded and we came back around 9 and it was shoe sole deep in all the house. Half an inch or so. It's a lot better now and it won't flood again because all the leaves clogged it up and we're doing a massive clean today of the inside. It was kind of funny but it's all better right now.

But on Saturday we had the baptisms. It went really well. Elder Savage baptized the younger one, Valentine and I baptized the older one, Fernanda. I did pretty good but I was just mainly excited for their family. I see a lot of support and potential in that family. A lot of people showed up and I'm sending pictures in the mail hopefully today of it.

(I got this email from Erik on June 8 - "Hey so i sent photos of the baptism and you guys will receive it soon. I forgot to put names and dates on them. It was on this past May 30 and the mom is Judit. The husband/boyfriend is Menor. The older girl is Fernanda. The other girl is Valentina. and the other small girl, their sister is Estrella. The other girl in the blue i think is Menor's sister. Just thought I'd tell you everybody")

All is well here. Its just about raining everyday now. I'm switching the shoes that I wear everyday so I'm good with that. It was just a good week watching this family get ready for their daughter's baptisms. They invited us over for dinner afterwards and we had tamales. Tamales are like everyone's favorite here. I think its a big deal when they eat them but I'm not that positive on that one. Right now we're just trying our best to get them involved with the church so they don't slowly go inactive like a lot of other people here. Getting them a calling possibly and a friend in the church.

Oh and I'm at 17 pounds I've lost since the CCM in Guatamala City. Just thought I'd let you know. But I'm healthy and doing good and I can't wait for this next week.

Elder Larson

I asked Erik about the earthquake. This was his response:
Some people felt it, some people didn't. I didn't. I think it was at 1 in the morning.

Erik's email to Dad

Hey dad-Sounds like all is well back home. I'm glad to hear that. The baptisms went great and I had it all memorized and once I started I was like.....what exactly are the words again? I didn't mess up and it went good. I baptized Fernanda and E Savage baptized Valentine. I'm hopefully sending pictures in the mail today of it. We've been trying to stay busy. Elder Savage keeps us doing the right things. It's been a really good fast two months.

Elder Larson

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our Mother's Day talk with Erik

Here are some things we learned when we talked with Erik on Mother's Day:

He sleeps under a mosquito net.
He has a cook, a member of the church who lives nearby, who makes him and his companion lunch everyday. We asked what she makes and he said he's not sure. He said his companion says it's something to do with "pig fat." He said it's OK and it's not beans but that he didn't know what it was. She also does their laundry.
He and his companion do their own breakfast and dinner. I asked what they make for dinner and he said they cook a lot of pasta. He said that one night they even made the kind of spaghetti I make at home. Woo hoo! The training paid off!
They take showers using water out of a bucket.
On P-day they go into Coatepeque and play soccer with the older elders in their zone.
He and his companion are the only Americans in his district right now.
Erik's companion is the District leader right now.
They do a lot of walking and they also travel by bus. They are small buses, more like big vans. He likes the buses.
He said the weather is pretty hot and when we talked to him it was just the beginning of the rainy season. They had an earthquake about a week before we talked. They were in Sacrament meeting when they felt it.
He said they study the gospel and the language a lot.
He really likes his companion. His companion is from Dallas.
While we were talking we could hear his companion in the background talking to a neighbor.
If I think of more I'll add it later.............