Monday, August 18, 2014

Pictures from the MTC

 Eric at the MTC pointing to where his mission is.

 Eric and his MTC companion, Elder King

 Eric's MTC District - Eric, Elder King, Sister, Tucker, Sister Eddington, 
Sister Dastrup, Sister Harper, Elder Taylor, Elder Craig

The Elders in Eric's District -
Eric, Elder King, Elder Craig, Elder Taylor

Eric and the elders in his district at the airport

Halifax Week One

It was so great to be able to talk to you last Tuesday before I left for Halifax. It was so refreshing to be able to hear your voices again. To hear that you're all going good and that Chris & Julie had a good time at EFY. Even if Chris's group was sketchy haha. 

So yeah the reason why the flight to Halifax was delayed was because the flight crew was late. They didn't get there until 8:20 so we didn't leave until 8:35 (They were supposed to leave at 7:50). So by the time we left we didn't get to Halifax until 12:30 at night then we had to go through customs, get our bags, and the american missionaries had to go through immigration for their visas. After all of that at 2:00 a.m., we met President Leavitt and we were off to the Mission Home where all of us new missionaries stayed for two nights. When we got there they gave us a little midnight snack before we went to bed. President Leavitt decided to let us sleep in till 9 in the morning which was pretty nice. The next day we were all walking zombies as you could imagine. We had no energy at all to do anything at all. Pretty much what we did all day was orientation & street contacting. Elder Layton & I actually were in a group together for street contacting along with another new missionary. I was really nervous doing this for the first time. I only talked to a couple people since it was a first for me. It was funny how the people that you could easily judge were the ones who were the most open. During the day we went to the mission office for a bit for some more orientation. I met Elder & Sister Wiebe from Calgary. They recognized me and said they were very delighted to see me. 

The area in which I'm serving is the Halifax YSA branch. I am in a trio with the assistants to the president, Elder Torrie and Elder Jason who replaced Elder Layton. But because they are busy helping the President a lot, I go with the two Halifax Family Elders Elder Dupont and Elder Knowles when they are busy. So I've been switching back and forth a lot between the assistants and the family elders. Which I don't mind. But it is a little difficult at times because I can't focus on a particular area or the members. But I am learning how to deal with that. Elder Torrie is Eric Torrie's cousin in-case you were wondering. He is an AP for a reason. He has been a great mentor to me on how to do missionary work. Elder Jason is black and is from the Carribean. He has a strong accent and is kinda crazy but he he is very nice to me and is a huge help. I like them both. They are very mature and experienced. The family elders I really enjoy too. Elder Dupont is 26 and goes home in two weeks so i dunno what will happen then. He's from Edmonton, He's really funny and really experienced, he's bold with investigators and in lessons. One of the reasons the Lord has me with him sometimes is because he is bold and I'm conservative. So he shows me how to show poise & how to be direct when were teaching investigators. Elder Knowles is from Utah and is a little bit quiet but not as quiet as me haha. He acts a little bit younger than the rest of the Elders but is obedient in everything, He knows how to teach the gospel with clarity and meekness. All of the Elders talk to me quite a bit and make me feel like I'm important to them. They've taught and showed me what to do as a new missionary. All five of us live in one apartment so I think it's one of the bigger apartments.

Anyway, I had a hard time leaving the MTC. I learned so much there from the teachers, my district, devotionals, my branch presidency and all the missionaries at the MTC. There was such a powerful spirit there everyday. Everyone there was so loving towards everybody. I hardly ever have felt lonely ever since I went to the MTC. I loved every minute of the MTC. One of themes at the MTC was in order to convert people you have to convert yourself first. The last Sunday before we left for the mission field, we went to a film called "The Doctrine of Christ" by Elder Bednar given in a Christmas MTC Devotional years ago. One of the things he said was if you only have a testimony you will fall away from the Church. You must be converted to the Gospel in order to stay active in the Church. One of the things I learned from my teachers is to be more bold with investigators. That one investigator that I was talking about, we met with him three more times and he still wasn't willing to do the commitments. He wasn't convinced God loved him. That was a good learning experience. I wasn't too bold but I grew as we taught him. I felt power when I told him the Book of Mormon was true. I don't have time to describe everything that has happened or all the experiences I've had during these first three weeks in the mission. I am off to a good start in the mission field. I'm slowly learning day-by-day how to be a missionary.

Hope your all doing great! Hope Chris is recovering from his wisdom teeth. I'm sure that wasn't fun.


Elder O'Brien

Sunday, August 17, 2014


August 5, 2014
It has been one week tomorrow since you dropped me off at the MTC. The first day was probably the hardest day so far. Right after you dropped me off they didn't waste any time handing me everything I needed for the MTC. We weren't given any time to relax. My companion is Elder King, he is from Salt Lake and he just graduated. He is going to the same mission as I am. He said he is going on a mission because he wants to grow his testimony. Right now his testimony is small but his heart in the right place. There are two other Elders in my district and four sisters in my district as well so there are eight of us all together in one district. The two elders are Elder Taylor and Elder Craig. Elder Taylor is from BC and he is a like a teddy bear he is always so fun-loving, funny, and nice.  Elder Craig is from Gilbert, Airizona he is mature, polite, respectful and that is why he is our district leader. We are all going to the same mission. The food at the MTC is really good but sometimes we have the same thing twice. Every Friday they have what's called Pizza Friday. 
Yesterday night we met with our TCR investigator. We planned on taking about service but instead we talked about the Atonement. It's really interesting to see how that works. He said he grew up in gangs and was into smoking. So I felt the spirit telling me to tell Arles's story. So I did and still wasn't quite sure about the Atonement. So we told him to think about we said and get back to us on Wedensday. 
On Sunday, all the missionaries went into the gym for mission conference and it was cool to see that many missionaries in one gym. That night we had a devotional with the President of BYU. He talked about the authority and power of our calling. How we're given the authority of our calling but we have to earn our power through obedience. Anyway, I've only got a minutes left so I'll make it quick.
On Sunday I was called as a zone leader. So I get to watch over the districts and show the new missionaries around tomorrow. Next Tuesday our travel itinerary is: Salt Lake to Detroit at 11:03 and Detroit to Halifax at 7:50. I don't know when I'll be able to write you next but as soon as i do I'll let you know. Tell Julie, Chris to have fun at EFY! I wasn't given the chance to write them back so tell them I'm not ignoring them. Haha. Tell Grandpa that too.

P.S. Thank you for the letter and the Dear Elder package yesterday. Emily also send me cookies on Friday. They were good!

Love you all!

I wish I could write more but my time's up today. Going to the Provo Temple later on day. I'm pretty excited.

Elder O'Brien