Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013 - Letter from the field

Dear Friends and Family!

I had finally written back to people, and then I just got two more letters!  Goodness.  Thanks to Mother and Grandmother Mary for writing.  Grandma sent me her letter on paper that looks like a fish tank!  I did not see that coming.

The work progresses!  We have been focusing more on finding and its been rather fruitful.  We'll see what comes of some of the people we've met about on the streets.  It feels like last Monday was yesterday, and yet it was a full enough week.  Anyway, as for the pictures, I just spent a good half hour trying to figure out how I can do them on the computer.  Limited to only e-mail, it's not going to happen.  I guess I'll go and make a disk later in the month then.  Phooey.

Sincerely, Elder North

He answered a few questions with as minimal detail as possible.  :)

The bike is fine.
Bike week starts now.  So, all day now.
I met the Teeter's the first week I believe.  Brother Teeter is big on history, he was in the Air Force for awhile.

So he sounds like he is doing ok, not much info so I am very thankful to Sister Teeter for her phone call, it give a connection I would have not known of otherwise.  Will be getting his greenie package together to send this week.  A greenie is what they call brand new missionaries so we celebrate that with a package of all green stuff.  So he was able to send two picture before deciding that wasn't going to work effectively.  
Brother Cowan - MTC teacher

Brother Griffiths - MTC teacher

Friday, July 26, 2013 - Super Fabulous Phone Call

These are words from Laura North.

I have been sick this weekend which is no fun at all but Friday evening I got an excellent boost.  My phone rang and it was an Arkansas number.  Which always give slight trepidation because what if something is wrong with my missionary.  I answer and am greeted by Sister T**** from West Memphis who called to tell me how much she loves my son and is so thankful we have allowed him to serve a mission in Arkansas.  She said she had just had Elder North over for dinner that night.  She told me that she is a convert of 12 years but her husband has never joined.  She said that her husband and Elder North have really hit it off, they have a lot in common and just have easy conversation.  Her husband has now set a date in August to be baptized. I got tears in my eyes and of course could not think straight other than to say thank you so much for calling and the pleasure is ours.  This was such an answer to my prayers to hear how Elder North is connecting with the people there.  We know that Heavenly Father calls these young people to where they are needed most and this is more evidence of that.  For me as a mom wondering how her son is faring in a new place and a new environment it is music to my ears to hear he is connecting with the people he is serving.  What a wonderful blessing to have Sister T**** call me.  I thank her with all my heart and soul that she would take the time to do that.  I am one happy mom right now.  :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013 Letter from Elder North

Dear Friends and Family,                                                                              July 22, 2013

How ya'll doin'? I've been out in the mission field for less than a week and I'm doing mighty fine, I say mighty fine. I am in the Memphis West Area, right on the border of the Mississippi. Church was great this Sunday, the branch here is wonderful.

I was able to get to the store and buy sheets and a blanket.  I went with purple sheets and large grey blanket.

My companions name is Elder Anderson and he’s fine.  The housing is comfortable and spacious.  President Peterson and his wife are good people and the mission home is big. 

I spend my days proselyting and praying.  Lots of praying.  My days have been full.

My first lesson on my very first day was with a guy named Aaron. He had a gun in a tire swing and in the course of the lesson pulled another gun from his pocket. He's a smart guy though, to be sure. Knows his Bible pretty well.

We have four Baptisms lined up as of now, I'm expecting at least two of them to go through.
My Companion is an agreeable fellow, Elder Anderson. He's got spiky blonde hair and thick glasses. When happy he gives an excited, elongated and high-pitched 'yeah!' When upset he gives a similar sounding 'dang it!' He has done a great deal of training throughout his mission.

Chiggers were built up a great deal before my mission...they really aren't a big deal. Ticks still sound pretty bad, but not THAT bad. I'm more scared of the wasps and bees. A large, skinny black wasp bit or stung Elder Anderson right on the cheek yesterday. He isn't dead yet, so we don't think it was poisonous.

We do emails in their teeny tiny library. It's...not very big.

There are trees everywhere, it's cool. Interesting that you actually get less horizon than when there are actual mountains around.

-Elder North

I asked him how many people he freaked out on his travels by staring at their babies or trying to play with them.  He said all of them.  J  He hasn’t told us about his bike yet. 
They have provided us with his direct address if you would like to send him mail I am sure he would appreciate it.

Elder Bryen Nielsen North
606 Rainer #10
West Memphis, AR 72301

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We got our first letter from the field today.  Typical Bubba short and sweet but it is so nice that his mission president sent out a picture and a map showing his location.  I feel that President Petersen has been wonderful about keeping us informed on stuff.  First the e-mail and now a snail mail map, picture, and letter from our son.  Makes a mommy happy.  Elder North will get to e-mail us on Mondays when he has his P-day (Preparation Day).  This is the day of the week where they have a few hours to run errands, do laundry, and write letters. 

 So he is in the Frayser Zone and the West Memphis Branch. 

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), a ward is the larger of two types of local congregations (the smaller being a branch). A ward is presided over by a bishop, the equivalent of a pastor in many other Christian denominations.  As with all church leadership, the bishop is considered lay clergy and as such is not paid. Two counselors serve with the bishop to help with administrative and spiritual duties of the ward and to preside in the absence of the bishop. Together, these three men constitute the bishopric. A branch is presided over by a branch president who may or may not have one or two counselors, depending on the size of the branch.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Arrived in Little Rock on July 16, 2013

So they left the MTC at 2:30am on July 16th and took front runner to the Salt Lake City airport.  Apparently my mommy radar was in high gear because I woke the first time at 2am then every half an hour thereafter until I finally just got up.  No phone call from the airport came in that time.  I was sad and wondering if he didn't get the calling card that I forgot to send in his package and therefore hastily sent on Saturday.  Finally at 10:15 my phone rings with a Texas number.  I answered excitedly and it was indeed him.  We talked to him for a good half an hour from the Texas airport encouraging him to go find some food.  Elder North had plenty of cash on him but is rather a tight wad and didn't want to spend anything.  He had been traveling since 2:30am so I really hope he broke down and bought something somewhere.  It was great to talk to him.  He asked again how his room is.  His sisters moved into his room and were talking about painting it and he was not too happy with that.  I told him we got them talked into keeping it purple and he breathed a sigh of relief but still keeps checking to make sure.

We got a an e-mail from President Petersen saying your son has arrived safely and some pictures.  Of course Bryen had to take a picture making a face for my benefit.  He always makes faces in the pictures I try and take.  One time I was looking at pictures his dad took at a camp or something and see that he is smiling in them all.  I ask him what's up with that you save the face making for me huh and he just laughs. 

24 new missionaries arrived.  With 15 being sister missionaries.  It is just amazing what the age change has done for these young women!  We will not know where Elder North is serving until Monday when he writes home.  Can't wait to get his letter.  Monday's are quite the special day for missionary moms.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Elder North's second week I asked him lots of questions and he responded.  We had some back and forths through e-mail also.  Haven't received the second letter via snail mail yet so I will just report what he said in our back and forths.

He asked what his old room is looking like.  Taryn and Taylynne had taken it over and talked about painting it.  He did not like the idea of them paining over his purple at all.  So I sent him a picture with their stuff in it and it still purple.  That appeased him.  He said he has taken some pictures but left the camera in the apartment so I don't get any this week.  At least he is taking them.

Bryen is at the Provo West MTC.  They took over some nearby apartments because of the influx in missionaries with the mission age change.  We thought they might still go to the main campus for stuff.  

We are pretty much their own MTC at Wyview.  We have better apartments but the food isn't quite as good.  But that's ok because they have better apartments and beds.

Elder Johnson is on the main campus, and thus I cannot get in contact with him.  Elder Johnson is a close family friend of ours that went into the MTC just before Bryen.

I am gone by 2:30am Tuesday morning with a layover in Texas.  I asked where in Texas is your layover and this is the reply I received.  It's pretty irrelevant.  That was the end of that conversation.  :)

GOOD GRAVY SO MANY QUESTIONS  (In my letter to him)
It's a letter, there isn't a place for putting the date. (Told him when we got his letter in the mail and read it Amber was annoyed because her biggest pet peeve is people who don't put the date on their letters)
The cookies arrived intact. SO MANY COOKIES. I try and give them to everyone. (Sent him a package at the MTC with fresh baked cookies.  Here in Utah there are several places you can mail things to the MTC and get same day delivery.)
Maybe? You have much more access to information like that than me to be honest! All I've got is some teachers and fellow Elders to communicate with.  (I asked if it is a large group at the Wyview MTC) and also asked him about the kitchen area.
It's sort of a club house. I forgot my camera at the apartment, so I won't be sending pictures this week. There are four Elders per apartment.
What is a typical day in the life of Elder North? Study. 
Best part of the MTC...The teachers we have are great, Brother Cowan and Brother Griffiths. I really like my District too.
We had the same deal for the fireworks. A chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar but my companion and I absconded to our room and watched from the window.  They were allowed to stay up and watch the fireworks (Stadium of Fire is a big show right by the MTC) and had a late bedtime the night of the 4th of July.  Usually they have to be in bed by 10:30pm.
One guy I vaguely knew. Elder Gorringe. His Aunt was an Elementary School Teacher. I still had one of the books from her classroom. I never had her as a teacher though.  (Mrs. Gorringe is an elementary teacher at Bluffdale Elementary and lives just a couple blocks away from us.)
Now onto things asked in the letters then for my 'letter'.  We never got the my letter so not sure when that will show up, maybe he snail mailed it.
Amber asked "How are you? (excess of question marks not included)"
I am well.
"How is the MTC? (Seriously, so many question marks.)"
"How is the food and everything. (SO MANY UNNECESSARY PUNCTUATION!)"
"Any advice you would like to give your big sis? (Besides cutting back on the exclaimation/punctuation marks?)"
Advice...hmm. None. I know you'll do better here than I will, for sure.

So as you can see he is still our Bryen.  We enjoy anything we get from him but always want more details.  :)

Bryen is now gone for the next two years.  We miss him but know that this mission will teach him a lot about himself and help him grown.  Missionaries cannot call home except for two days a year, (Mother's Day and Christmas) so they depend on getting letters from people to keep them in touch with everything back home.  If you choose to send him a package please make sure to send it through regular mail because they go to the mission home and then get forwarded to the missionaries since they change location up to every six weeks.  Bryen leaves the MTC on July 16th so his address out in the field is below.  A lot of people have heard that the missionaries are now aloud to e-mail everyone.  Although this is true for many it is still a mission by mission thing and with Bryen having a lot of siblings his e-mail time is not that much so please we encourage you to still write him by snail mail.

Thank you for your love and support.

Elder Bryen Nielsen North
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Drive
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Letter from the MTC!!!

Dear Everyone,                                                                                                       7/8/2013

   So far so good! I am having a great time getting to know my district. The first Elder I met was Agent Mulvey. He speaks French & math. My companion is Elder Durrant, from Texas. We get along swimmingly. First night we participated in those group lesson things to some "investigators". One of them, Junich, was the ideal investigator. Pray that I get a Junich in the field!

   I got a great district, to be sure. MTC is too long! I want to be in the field now! But I am loving the MTC more & more. Our first assignment is to teach a 'Role Play' investigator. It is an intense spiritual preperation. 

   The food isn't as good as at the main MTC but that is okay. We have better beds & apartments, plus more room in general.

 Loving it, Bryen North