Monday, December 30, 2013

Broken Transfer

Hey, Things are going good.

Yup the Tahitians go to the New Zealand MTC. They do the same 2 week program like in Provo; Pretty cool.

Today I go to the mission home and pick up an Elder who will not be [the Elder that was planned]. The transfer got broken, and even President isn't sure how things are gonna settle out, hahah. Im a bit nervous, but happy none the less. This has just been one good adventure :)

I will try and send a pic today, not sure if it'll make it.

I love you all, and was so happy to see you on Skype. Have a good week.

Sorry busy day, will email next Monday more :)


Elder Larsen

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Call!

We had the great privilege of speaking to our beloved missionary last night, for just over an hour via Skype!

Here are some nuggets from our conversation:

He doesn't know what he weighs, but he has lost a lot of weight, especially in his thighs and waist.  This is likely due to all of the bicycle activity.  He described his area in Faaa as very steep like parts of San Francisco.  On the third day he was there, he thought he would die from cycling up the hill, but now he is very used to it.  He said the thinner, tailor fit shirts would fit better now [but they would have been too slim when he left].  His pants and shirts are holding up well, but he needs some replacement garments.  He likes cotton/poly but the distribution center by the temple has only mesh and (Dri-Lux?).  

His shoes are fine but he wears mostly the Teva sandals.  They are holding up so far and are getting sun bleached.

The bike is holding up well but if he keeps riding at his current 9miles/day rate then he estimates his tires will last about 10 more months.  The slight upgrade on the bike, with 29-in. tires and disc brakes was a good idea based on the strenuous use in his current area.

His stomach was unsettled when he arrived back in October but now it is great.  He loves the local food and his favorite is raw tuna.  Breakfast and lunch are mostly bread and fruit, and lunch is very light.  A generous dinner is provided by members most every evening, with the staples being rice and meat.  He has "touched the stove once," to heat a can of ravioli.

He is keeping up on his knee therapy and they feel good.  The bike riding is probably helping them a lot.

He writes in his journal nightly and thinks he will fill his current journal x 3 by the time he is finished there.

Since Sister Taylor's accident, they are all getting new, more protective helmets with more coverage, like skater helmets.

All the missionaries on the island of Tahiti will be participating in the big celebration in May, commemorating 160 years of the church in French Polynesia.  This will likely be near the time that President Sinjoux is released.

He is one of the three "tall Elders,"  with Elder Hunsaker from the MTC and one other.  They are friends and think it would be a fun thing to work together someday.

They do laundry in a washing machine at home that "kind of works most of the time."  The clothing is hung to dry in a room there.

He will be training a new Elder starting on Monday.  The Elder is very local, coming from a neighboring ward that meets in the same building in Faaa.  The missionaries are about half local and half imported.  Most of the imports are from Utah.

He described how to find his apartment, and we shared some more personal moments.  This was a great Christmas present for all of us.


Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23 Snail Mail

This letter was received on March 3, 2014

Merry Christmas

Hi all! It's me again.

Things are going good. Still no news on transfer, but I will know by the skyping on Christmas. Skype is looking pretty cement for about 18h (six pm) here. Sorry its late, but I think it will work. Talked with the member today and its go. I will call moms skype address some time around six or six thirty I think. If that falls through, I will use the phone to call moms phone if skpe is bust.

Thank you for the mails. I love you guys, and I am doing good. I had a personal miracle yesterday, and I have been calm and happy since. In a hand letter I'm writing there's some more details, and I can tell you about it on Christmas :) I'm OK.

Oh, also thanks for the xmas gift Grandma and Grandpa! I will probably save it. I haven't used my debit card once here. I will email them too.

I love you all so much. Thanks for the support and the prayers. Have a good week and I will see you Wednesday, or at least hear you! :)

LOVE YOU! Merry Christmas,

Elder Larsen

PS attached should be a pic of me and the temple :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hi Family!

Hi family!

Hey! I got to email today instead of Monday, but I'll be on next Monday too.

Thanks for the emails. Mom, I can hear the grandmas Christmas party theme. I can't wait to hear it in person in two years.

Still a bit in the process of figuring out the Skype thing. If you can leave Skype on during the day just in case that'd be good. I am going to talk tonight or tomorrow with our dinner appointment to do it at their house on Christmas. Gotta coordinate it, but I expect it to happen around 5 or 7 pm here. know that's late but I will definitely find out by Monday. If not, the mission will pay for me to phone call plan B.

Mom, your letter made it from 24 Nov. Thank you!! It was super good!

Things are going OK. Transfers in ten days and President said a change is coming. Not sure exactly what.

These last few weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have never prayed like I have here, and I have never felt the Spirit like I have here. After going to the temple last Friday, I felt SO GOOD. I wish I could go everyday. It changed my perspective a bit, and REALLY helped me feel God's love.  I know He loves me and that you guys do too.

I Love you all so much. I miss you but I'll hopefully get to see you on Christmas. Gonna coordinate that before next Pday.

Again I LOVE YOU! Be happy and thank you!

Elder Larsen

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec 9 Letter

This letter was received on December 27.

Brief E-mail

Hi. Not a lot of email time today, in a Internet cafe, and got a meeting soon.

Things are going OK. Thanks for the email. Sad, but happy to hear Tommy passed. He is such a nice guy.

I cant send a pic today, sorry. Tried and tried last week, but wouldn't send. I will try next week too.

We got to watch the First Presidency thing last night! It was in French, but still good :)  Took our investigators to it and it was a success! Got our ami George to come and it was his first time in the chapel. Yay!!

Had a big miracle too. We fasted, and at the end of our fast we invited our ami to pray. She was reluctant, and refused the baptism, but after 30 min. of discussion she decided to pray. During her prayer, EP and I were praying for her that shed feel the Spirit. about halfway into her prayer she started to talk about baptism; and burst into tears. After she described how the Spirit acted on her, and she said shed never felt that before. SO COOL. We all felt it during her prayer. Hope she will decide to be baptized.

Thanks for the letters again. I love you. I miss you my patient family.

Have a good week. I'll have details on the calling thing by next Monday. maybe Skype. Sending a Skype name or hangout name would be good.



Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec 2 Letter

This letter was received on December 27.

Happy Thanksgiving, TAHITIAN Style!

Hey Mom and Dad!! Thanks for the emails. Dad, that was awesome to see the Tahiti weather forecast. Really good email, and I appreciated the story from pres Hinckley. Got to a Mac this week so typing is MUCH better, even if the keyboard is still rearranged, the keys FEEL right, hahah.

This week was great. Things are going awesome with Elder Petis, and we are getting along fine. We taught the LEAST lessons this week that I've been here. Had about 10 or more cancelled. CRAZY week of backup plans :P

Again, I want to thank you all for being so awesome. Every day I see more famillies with SO MANY PROBLEMS, and I know that the Gospel that Jesus gave us is TAILORED for the family. Its the perfect place to implement and live His teachings. I know that I have a family gospel centered. THANK YOU MOM and DAD!!

This week some funny stuff happened. I ATE SUSHI. Its weird, not bad, in fact I liked the one with carrots, and cucumbers with the fish. The crab sushi is the undoable thing. hahha, still time to love it :P After a lesson, one of our investigators daughters said Happy Thanksgiving! It was Thursday and she knew better that it was a thanksgiving than me! Cool, she learned all about it at school, and quizzed my pilgrim knowledge. Good that the schools here teach that the people came for religion. Thought that was cool.

Another funny thing was the McDonald's. Insert angelic voices here. Hahah. Our faatamaraa (a member family feeds the missionaries EVERY night, that's the DA [Dinner Appointment]) Sunday ran out of time to prep food so she bought us McD's. SOOOOO GOOOD. I had fasted for the whole day, and ended with a big mac and coke. Laughed as I remembered what Elder Vincent has been saying about McD's, how good it is in a foreign land. SO TRUE after the fast..... happy boy :P

This week I'm starting the BOM in French. Our stake is doing a thing for the youth and all the members too, to read it in 170 days. Using it as a chance to help my French and Tahitian. Excited to start.

Again, I LOVE YOU ALL!!! You are all so cool. Have a good week, and know I love you. Thanks for the prayers and mail. Dad, your letter marked the 28 Oct got here this week, and I think that it was perfect for this week. The things mentioned directly applied to how I was feeling, and it helped me. Tender mercy.


Elder Larsen

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov 25 Letter

This letter was received on December 27.

I Am Doing Good, I Promise

Hey Mom and Dad, Good to hear things are going good. I'll try to send a pic again, emails being odd today so maybe next week or today.

So, this week was good. Had some slow days and some fast ones too. We taught some really good lessons, and I got to have interviews with president. Felt good to talk to him, and to get specific instructions. Hope I can follow up all his suggestions by the next interview.

Mom! Heal up!! I love you tons, and hope you heal up quick!

I love you all family. Thanks for the letters (got one from Zeph, one from Dad and one from Mom) all dated Nov 5. Super good, and just what I needed.

Outta email time today, and will write more about other things next week :(   Sorry I didn't write a good email today. Just know that I am doing good. I am mostly over the sick stuff.  I LOVE YOU all and want you to know that.  I lean on you guys for support, and I LOVE YOU! Sorry to be breif; 

I am doing good, promise.



PS pic next week 

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18 Letter

This letter was received on December 3.

Things are Going Well

Hey Mom and Dad! Good to hear you got Keith into a deer! Got some letters this week. THANKS for the BYU news (not important, but fun :) )

Things are going well. Still not easy at all, but I'm learning to get better at it, and I am liking it. I had a few Bart moments (minor) and a ton of the opposite. The gift of tongues only works if you have the spirit with you before hand. Interesting how that clicked a while ago. Preparation is necessary even if you don't feel prepared for the language, you gotta be ready for the doctrine.

Dude, thats lots of travel, sorry bout that. That's not my favorite thing either. I hope work continues to go well, and everything else. Not my job to worry about that stuff, but I still pray for all of you. Hope
Cherise gets a ring, soooooon. If she does I'm sure I'll get a big email and pics too :P Mom, I hope you heal well!!! I love you and am so glad you are my mom!

I sent some letters this week, one should arrive pretty soon (sent via an Elder going to Provo MTC) hope they make it!

Well, this is most the emailing I'll get for today. I love you! Keep happy all of you, and have a good thanksgiving (next week or this week I don't know :P)



Monday, November 11, 2013

This Week Was Good. Not Easy But Good.

Hey!!! So good to hear from you!! Hope all goes well with mom and stiches.

I am sending two letters this week (didnt have stamps) so there wont be one from last week. Nearly 100 missionaries from our stake is SO COOL!!!! I am so excited to be one right now :) Tell Elder Turina Hi and that I met his cousin Sister Turina (at zone conf today)

Thanks Mom! Hope all is well with your hand. Pray for you, and try to be obedient for you. President says that is the best way to ensure blessings for your family.

This week was good. Not easy, but good. I am Learning more about the Spirit and more about myself.

How are things at home! I cant find the question mark so for now the ! will be both lol!

I read some cool things in Jesus the Christ this week. Jesus truly was and is the coolest teacher. Hope I can become more like him. I really need to get better at Tahitian too. Saw President today and he told me to focus on that. That's the second time he's given me specific counsel to study Tahitian more and more. Getting on that today.

Don't have lots of email time; just wanna say hi, and that I love you.  Have a good week; and take it easy!


Elder Larsen
Me, Elder Petis, and Baby Pineapples.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Things are Going Way Better, Q & A

Hey Dad and Mom. Thanks for the email. Things are actually going way better. It takes work, a lot of work, but I think things are going to be great for the next 7 weeks.

Have you learned any more about packages?  Do they only take 2-3 months with questionable arrival if you are in the middle of nowhere like E Rose 250 miles from Tahiti?  I think the package instructions are in the part of the missionary packet that you still have.  Maybe in the box?
No, have not learned more about packages. I think the problem was and is when your like Elder Rose, way far away. The home gets the package, has to send it on boat(s) and it goes through like 5 or more people to get it to you. So, I think here in Faaa is less of a concern.
Where do you use the Internet?
I use internet at members homes. Right now I'm at Elder Petis's aunts house... yeah, weird. President ok'd members houses because there's no Cafe here. Not good with the white bible, but good with Pres.
 Is your apartment open air?  Do you sleep in the bugs?
Appt is not open (its like the 2nd one I've seen that isn't) and there are geckos and cockroaches. Not too bad, but not the best thing to Wake up with on the walls or bed, lol. The geckos make barking noises, thats soooo random to me. Have slept well all 5 weeks so far :)  
Doing any better with the food?  Eat any cool or weird stuff?  Almost a month there.  Sounds like members feed missionaries a lot of food.
Food is ok. Actually sat down to asian carp the other day. Served whole with rice and some green stuff I didn't ask about lol. After the meal the host said I eat better than she does  :)! It was like fish on the fire, but tasted like bluegill. not bad, eat with hands but don't lick fingers. Fafaroo is the worst, but most food is good. Doing better in that regard :) the weird foods so far are fafaroo (smells like diapers) and clam lips. Bread fruit is weird but good :)  We have a few sister Cann's here. [Sister Cann provided a weekly dinner appointment for me when I served in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada 30 years ago.  -Steve] 
Are you working on your Tahitian with E. Petis?  Do you get any Tahitian practice?
Tahitian practice is few and far between. Teach once so far in it. Most language study time is spent teaching. When I have more study time and don't do the twelve week training, then Taitian will be primary study
I found 2 PMG in your box.  How do you get by without?  Also a handbook in there.  Extra?
The PMGs were extra weight, and I got both here from old elders and from the home. The bible was extra too, they gave me one
Have you met any of the missionaries whose blogs we read before?
Oh, yes, I've met two or three. Sister Bradshaw used to be in my zone.
Is this working to have a brief e-mail and longer physical letter? I can switch it up, but it sounds like computer time is still limited.
I like the email and letter thing. Good email. And good letters. Your letters are helping! Got two of them this week.  Thank you.

I Love you all so much. Thanks for the love, prayers and support.  LOVE YOU!

Sunset Pics of Moorea

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Missionaries At Airport

Hello Parents,

Here is a photo for the airport.  Sorry it has taken me so long to get to you.

Have a great day
Sr. Hemming

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week Was Crazy

Hey Dad! Sorry to hear Mom's in surgery again. Ugh. Hope all goes well. Haven't gotten your letter for this week yet, but the last one came early so I'm happy.

This week was crazy. Taught 33 lessons and had a baptism and confirmation. It was good. I spoke in sacrament meeting, and gave the confirmation too. That was a HUGE stretch for me, and it went OK. I am doing my best and that's what counts.

After one lesson this week I felt the spirit so strong. I felt a love for our investigator, and couldn't stop thinking and praying about her. It was cool. I think that type of concern should be there for all my amis [amis = investigators -Steve]. We teach a lot of people and as I get to know them, I learn to love them too.

Please keep praying for me. This is not easy. I feel alone once in a while, and my comp is frustrated with me. I KNOW that I'm doing what's right, so I am trying to trust the Lord that He'll take care of me.

Tell Grandma and Grandpa I say thanks for the birthday gift! And that I love them :)

Tell Mom to get better, and be safe and happy. I LOVE YOU!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oct 21 Physical Letter

Things are Going Well Here

DAD!!! Hi :)  

[Mom got a separate e-mail today. -Steve]

I love you! Thanks for the bday stuff :) feel silly having asked for it now. You provide for me out here, and I am so grateful for that.

I sent my first letter today (another one should arrive soon through an RM) so expect it in a few weeks.

Things are going well here. I love the people, and the culture is growing on me. The people here love Americans and like to joke with all the English they know. Its super funny.

Don't have lots of email time, its on a wacky keyboard too, so I'll be brief. You can transcribe the letters to the blog, or just write your thoughts on it or something, lol

This week we taught a bunch of people, and I actually participated more. My comp Elder Petis speaks a bit of English but wont admit it, so he bails me out after I'm totally lost by giving me some words. He is super nice and is like the Tahitian Keaton if that makes sense. He and I are getting along really well. we teach about 30 lessons a week which means like one per hour. It's hard but good

Dad, thank you for all the love and for having me as your son. I have seen wrecked families here, and am SO grateful for your love, and time in raising a good close family. I am so glad you are my dad. Thanks for the bday stuff again :) I will get some wacky fruit to try and maybe some cheese or Doritos. Again I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Please relay my love to Eulalia and Cherise. I miss and love all of you!

Elder Larsen

Monday, October 14, 2013

First Message from Tahiti

My parents. Hi. This has been a whirlwind. Struggling on the frch keyboard so some of this might not be typed right, lol


So, I am in Faaa, it is on the main land, next to Papeete, and the airport. We made it in and got a bit of sleep then headed out to have breakfast, orientation, and get assigned. It was super cool, and Pres and Sis Sinjoux are so nice. The mission home is so calm and clean, not like our appt, lol. Dad, your letters arrived from the 15th and the 22nd. Thanks. That was a pleasant surprise. I'm sending a letter today too.

This is NOT the language they taught at the MTC... but really, haha. It is so not french french, but I know that it will come. Teaching is hard, but talking with ward members is harder. They are all nice here though.

My body does not officially like the food here. Yup. What Molinari said on his blog might be true for me... at least for now. I had a fever yesterday, but think its mostly gone now. Got a blessing and drank water Hope that stops. Really need to be able to eat more so I can make it on the bike.

My bike made it! thanks for a bike that fits. We pedal more than most of the mission, and its super hilly here, so I'm glad its working. Can you send me some disc brake maintenance info?  That would help a lot. In an email or in a letter would be cool.

Things are good here. feeling a bit inadequate, but I know that God will watch out for me. My comp Elder Petis is from the Tuamotus and is super good at teaching. He will help me a lot. I think I'll send more stories in mail cuz this keyboard is wacky.

Please keep praying for me. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you all. I miss you all. Miss the food, the cold, and the English, but I know I'm supposed to be here. thanks for loving me and supporting me. Talk to you in a week :D

Gonna try to send pics in a min. here goes! love you

Belida is the lady in the pic, super nice.  Baptism the 30th.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Message from the Mission Office

Hello Families,

Your missionaries have arrived in Tahiti.  All is well.  We have been a little busy with 27 arrivals.  You missionaries will be able to e-mail on Monday. I will send photos as soon as possible sorry for the delay.

Have a great day

Sister Hemming

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Am So Excited for TAHITI!!

Hi Mom and Dad!

This week has been crazy. I am packing like crazy. Sent a cheap box to Zeph filled with study stuff and heavy toiletries that won't fit in the 50 lbs limit. Thanks for the stuff you've sent. I think I should get it today, and if I don't they'll just forward it back to you probably. The mail system is kinda slow here, but they do call down elders to get packages if its the day before they leave. Hope they'll do that Sunday, but whatever.

I am so excited for TAHITI!! Can't believe that we are actually going, and that I am actually gonna be a real missionary.... in FRENCH, and TAHITIAN...... That concept still hasn't sunken in, that people actually speak that outside of Highschool and the MTC.

Thank you so much for you love and prayers. I heard they are televising the priesthood session this year because of the feminist group. Funny how they'll never televise the Relief Society broadcast because all the guys are like "Annother meeting?! Nobody's asking for that..." Thought that was funny.

This week has been full of tender mercies too. We went to INFIELD orientation. It's like a 8 hour meeting, or group of meetings, in which all the departing missionaries get taught by all the awesome teacher bosses (teacher zone and district coordinators I think). It was SO COOL. I felt so excited about half way through, and it wiped away my anxiety about travel, and packing, and culture, and and and. It was a cool excitement, and realization that I can do it. And that I don't have to do it alone because the Lord will be doing the teaching if I'm doing my best. I have to remind myself of that feeling and use it to chase the doubt away.

I am really close on weight, and I wont know for sure until the morning of. I have to throw some small items in right after I shower and get dressed on Monday. If I'm over i might leave my blanket here for an elder to send to Zeph through postmart. Hope i don't have to leave it though... I love my blanky.... :(  I was off on my estimate for when I'd do the ATM thing, and I only took 80 out did it yesterday. The ATM card didn't work but the debit did (charged 2 bucks). President wants us to have $100 on us for expenses the day we arrive in Tahiti, in cash, so now I do. I think the 600 (right?) that's still in there should be enough. 150-200 for the bike, 75 for checked bag number two, and the carry on and bag 1 are free. I am taking my timbuk2 bag as a personal item, and my camelbak as my carry on and hope they are good with that. Elder Randal who's flown to France, Hawaii, and all around the world since he was 2 says they will be because the timbuk2 fits under the seat in front of me. Really hope that it works, and thats the only place i see other funds being used, if they squabble at that. Or if I go over. It's like 75 bucks more if I'm over on a checked bag... Not gonna let that happen.

I have my reciept for the bike, and everything else I need. If the package makes it to me I will put whats in it in my carry on. It will work out. (can you tell I'm nervous... :P)

I love you SO MUCH! You are the best family ever. I really am so glad that I have parents who love each other and me, and who are supporting me on the whole mission thing. This has been the hardest thing I've done so far (yurt moment for Dad), but I have already come closer to the Savior, and I've learned a lot. I know it only gets harder from here, but I know you are praying for me. When I get discouraged I try to remember that I know this is true, and that I am doing my best. That's what counts, and that's what my teachers say will make all the difference.

Thanks again, and have a good week or two. I will probably be able to email next Monday (the one in 10 days) but if not I will do my best to let you know where I'm going. Internet is iffy, but I will try!


~Elder Brigham Larsen

Monday, September 30, 2013


So the last week pretty much flew by. Yup. It feels like I emailed you like yesterday, and that I got dropped off a week ago. Still getting used to the time here.

WEEK 11!!! So cool. We leave ON MONDAY!!! That's in 7 days... or 6, depending on how you count.

This week was full of spiritual moments. We had the coolest devotional last night. The Provo Temple president and his wife came and spoke about how the temple empowers me as a missionary. We went to the temple today, and having his comments fresh on my mind was wonderful. We did initiatories and had a really good time. I love the temple, and will miss getting to go so often. When I get back I want to find out how to be a worker during college too. An elder in our zone, elder Molinari did that at BYU, and he said it's awesome.

During the personal study this week, I studied the Christlike attribute of hope in PMG chapter six. I read from elder Holland's article in the sept. ensign too. It was so cool! It went right with my study, and helped me feel more confident. The blessings he promises at the end are sweet. Goes with Isaiah 41 really well. Super cool. You should read chapter six, and do the box activities too. It is really rewarding, or at least it has been for me.

During the devotional on Tuesday (last one at marriot :( ) we got to hear from a member of the seventy who was awesome. Forgot to bring my note book with his name, but It was good. He spoke of promises that God gives to missionaries, and had scriptures from D&C and the New Testament to back them all up. It was what I needed to hear (as usual) and we got to shake his hand afterwards.

So, this week we have some fun stuff to do. Culture class will be our last class with the teachers, on Friday Night. We LOVE THEM! I seriously had no idea that the MTC teachers would be so good, and that they'd give support in areas other than the language. I will miss these guys, and hope to see them again so I can talk Tahitian to 'em. I also decided I want to be a TRC volunteer when I get back. We had our last TRC visit last week, and we met a guy from Tahiti who came here just for Conference. Really nice man. We taught him for 40 min in Tahitian (super hard, but super cool!) This week instead of TRC we have in field training, which is like an all day devotional, plus some specific advice about health and safety, and teaching. Everyone says its the bomb. Also this week, we get to pack. Since they scheduled our packing time for the day AFTER we leave we will most likely pack on Saturday between conf sessions. Conference will BE THE BOMB! Sounds like we all get to watch it in the same building, and we get to see Music and Spoken word too. I am so excited. All my teachers said that Conf. at the MTC is so good because everyone is focused for all the talks, and the spirit is so strong.

Also on Saturday I will probably email home, because we wont on Monday in Tahiti. So I will plan on emailing between sessions while i'm doing laundry. I plan on calling in the airport like dad emailed me about too.

Also, the mail this week was AWESOME! Thank you all for the Dearelders, the letters, and the prayers. I needed them all, and its good to hear from you.

I LOVE YOU!!!! Have a good week. I'll send some more stuff on Saturday. ENJOY CONFERENCE!

~Elder Larsen

Monday, September 23, 2013

Worst Day Ever and Best Day Ever

Week nine is over! Week ten is here! (Only thirteen days till I'm in Tahiti!!)

This week has been great. Had the WORST day ever on Saturday, and the BEST day ever on Sunday. I lost about 3 hours of sleep and woke up with a fever on Saturday. It went away (mostly) on Sunday, and I felt the spirit very strongly that day too. That's most of what I remember from this week. Yeah, kinda funny how the days are just blurred. On Tuesday I saw Elder Bridger West! I was having a tired, slow day, and after I saw him I KNEW that heavenly Father made that happen just to make my day better. That was really nice, and fun to see someone from home.

I got to go to the temple today! I love the temple. Kendal emailed me pics of him at the Rexburg temple. SO COOL! I'm so happy for you Kendal! Those made my day. I only have one more visit to the Provo temple before I leave. Weird.

Tahitian is still coming along. We've had some good, and bad teaching experiences with Tahitian. The most important thing is still just to have the spirit. Language means SO little compared to the spirit's presence. The easiest way to invite it is to make sure the lesson is planned REALLY well, and that it's connected to their needs. Not easy to connect everything in Tahitian. Hard to ask stellar questions when you wont understand the responses. haha!

I know I wont be any sort of 'fluent' with it when I leave the MTC, but that's ok. For now keeping up French and learning how to do the simple things in Tahitian will be my best. Just gotta have faith, and the spirit, so that the Gift of tongues will work. The MTC's minimum goal is that you know 1000 words by the time you leave. Still got a LONG way to go toward that one. On the bright side, I can make my own words with the ones I know! haha, funny how that works. Haa or faa +any noun = verb (of the noun), and any verb+raa = the noun (of the verb...) yeah still  a little confusing. If you understand the little things like that though, you can get a lot more ideas across. Haamaitairaa = blessings (maitai = good, so to make good, noun) . Yeah

Elder Ganne-Soulary left this morning for Lyon France. He got reassigned because of health issues. Super sad. We all miss him, and wish him the best. He has had the MOST positive attitude about having to get reassigned, and has been an example for all of the Elders and sisters in our district. He will be an awesome missionary in France.

Our branch president (President Mangum) got released, and our 2nd counselor got called as President (now President Barker). I love president Barker. We have Brother Burnah now as 2nd counselor. He is so cool. We also lost our 1st counselor last week (brother Howes) and have Brother Carter who was the mission president in Mongolia just a while ago. Really good brothers all of them. We've had members of the MTC presidency in the past 2 sacrament meetings. that has been really cool. It's also been cool to get to know the new members of our presidency, and to hear from the MTC presidency too. I am so glad we get to have mission conference on Sunday too. We lucked out, we get 3 mission conferences (one per fast Sunday) and General Conf. here at the MTC. Awesome.

Anyway, thanks for the mail, and for all the support. I love you my family. Have a good week!


~Elder Larsen
Me With The Package Last Week (YAY!!)
Group at the Temple
Another Group Pic at the Temple
What Happens When You Give Your Camera to Your Zone Leader to Take a Picture of You

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Temple is So Cool

WEEK NINE!!!! Yay!

WEEK NINE!!!! Yay! After Tuesday, we will have been here at the MTC longer than anyone else. And will stay that way until the 7th. So funny to see elder's faces as we tell them, yeah this is like week nine. And we have three to go.

Some cool stuff happened this week. We got to direct traffic for the new missionaries! I was the first one inside the gate, so I waved about 1000 cars the right way. I got to see the Giggers! That was a surprise! So cool though. I've seen sister Gigger here a lot already too. The sisters in the zone know her, and she has meals the same time as we do I think. She's super nice, and will be a great missionary. I was super nervous to direct traffic, but it turned out to be the funnest thing we've done here. Got to use the radio, and tell others what was coming in. Saw some cool cars too.

Elder Palombo's dad says we'll have a guy come talk to us about our bikes, and what the deal is there, this week. I will share any info I get. Sounds like in the airport there is a huge pile of everyone's luggage, and the zone takes turns shuttling it to where it's gotta go, leaving people with the luggage on either end. I'll see how that goes. Also, we can call from the airport is what I have been told. They're saying to call from SLC not LAX, because we have no idea if we'll make or miss the LA flight. That means phone calls if any will be at like 3:00 AM. I will find out about that too. The book store knows whats up.

Went to the temple today! That is always such a relief. I am the most calm, and relaxed there. Also this week I have been trying to learn more about the Holy Ghost. I realized that I he's there 24/7. He doesn't whimp out on his end of the deal. If I can't tell he's there it's usually because I am not listening, or I'm distracted/nervous. That hit me about Thursday or Friday this week. Our lesson went SO GOOD. I came out of it kinda dazed though. It was the first time that the french has just flowed without any translation, and the first time where instead of 'how do I say that?' it was "What do I want/need to say?" The spirit helped us out, and it was so good. Going to shoot for that again. That day I felt him there 24/7. Super neat

Another cool thing happened in the TRC this week. Tahitian TRC is so much different. As in: I follow 2% instead of 97%. Yeah. I was supper worried, and prayed for help while we prepared our lesson. During the lesson my companions did GREAT, and I did OK. I asked a question about the volunteer's testimony, and when he bore it, I understood 2 words, but felt the spirit SO STRONG and I knew what he was talking about. It was sooo cool. I received another witness about the restoration, even though I personally, couldn't translate the words. The spirit is so cool. I think I already said that... It was neat too, when he (in French) told us that even though he was from Tahiti, he spoke only french before his Tahitian mission. That helped me feel more confident about my chances. He spoke SO well.

Tahitian is going better though. We've learned most of the grammar concepts (there are so few) and will learn vocab till the day we get back from Tahiti. They only have 2000 words (English has +30,000) so almost all Tahitian words have like 5 meanings. Context is the only way to stay afloat. The word for "to be able to" is the same as "beautiful". Nehenehe. yeah, that's a weird one. Another one is "maramarama." It means light, but it also means knowledge! WHAT! I had no idea I was learning the language of Adam here! All kidding aside, the language is so cool. The scriptures are described as pure, because with so few words, you can't twist meanings much at all. Neat. Brother Nash also told us there's a saying there that "the more you speak, the more you lie." They like the missionaries to be brief because of it. Interesting.

I met an elder going to Pocatello from Tahitit!! His name is elder Turina. He's like 6 feet tall, and pretty tough looking guy. He's super nice. I told him if he ever is in our stake you'd feed him, and if I'm in his stake I'll say hi to his parents. So watch out for him :D He is super nice, and his English is great. Kinda fun to meet someone who's EXACTLY switching you for 2 years! I'll take a picture with him some time.

I love you all. Thank you for your support, letters, love, and prayers. I am so excited to go to the field. Our whole residence just left today. Something like 90 elders just from our building I think. All elders going to France (Lyon and Paris) and some going to Brazil. Stays that way for the next 2 days, and then we get 26 more. Crazy. We try not to realize that they came in, and left while we were here. Can't wait to do 'real' missionary work. In TAHITI!!

Again, I Love you all!
~Elder Larsen

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Week Has Been Interesting But Fun

There's a Cat In My Throat

Hi family! How's it going? This is week 8... yikes. We just had our 7th Sunday here. Kinda odd to think about.

This week went pretty well for me. Our district has had an interesting one. One of the elders may be getting reassigned for medical reasons, and we've had some homesick elders too. It's not quite the week I'd recommend for 1st week as district leader, but I have learned a lot in training, and through loving these elders.

For devotional last Tuesday, we had some really cool people speak. An elder from the seventy and his wife, who both served as mission president couple in Japan. They shared some really neat experiences about faith, and prayer. I really liked hearing that.

So it turns our there's no MTC choir number for general conference (with elders, hint hint). Bummer. At least we get to do choir for devotionals still.

This week Tahitian has taken a turn for the better, ish. Ua maruuru vau i te Evanelia a Iesu Mesia. (I'm thankful for the gospel.) That's mostly what I can say, simple sentence, : Tense marker, verb, subject, i te, object. Sounds like caveman speak, and after doing it for an hour, your french and English gets all messed up. "Now to have I of the confusion."

Yup. At least if I ever learn Japanese I'll have a start on the structure (lol, not happening).

We did our Tahitian TRC for the first time last Thursday. That was crazy. I met Daniel (formerly elder) Gunderson, the guy who lives in Blackfoot. Talked to him about Idaho during our TRC visit. Think his dad works at ON. That was a tender mercy. He's a super nice man who speaks Tahitian and french very well. We actually had a lesson and conversation for the full 20 minuites after like 8 days in the language. So cool. Hope this one goes even better. We realized that we only have two more TRC visits after this one because the last week we do infield training on Thursdays

Sunday went GREAT! During sacrament meeting I took notes and listened actively for the spirit, and had a cool bunch of thoughts given during the lessons I needed. The devotional was boss too. Richard I Heaton, MTC executive spoke, all about prayer. It was so cool. I love his devotionals. He gives like one a month I think. Afterwards, we watched the Testaments movie. I LOVE THAT MOVIE! The last time I watched that was with Zeph at home a loooong time ago. Its so cheesey for about 1 hour and 10 min, but the last 8 minutes makes me ball. The spirit is SO strong. Just like when we teach about the restoration. Every time we get a new witness. That's something I never expected.

Mail! I got some sweet dear Elders last week. Uncle David, what you said was 100% what I needed. And Mom, and Dad, you're letters helped me a LOT. One elder was thinking about going home, and like 10 minutes earlier I had read your letters. I told him about how this mission thing has already brought some cool blessings that you pointed out. Then I gave him that D&C 31 that you printed out dad, and it was just what he needed (so can you mail me annother :P. I really liked it).

Today I got to go to the Temple. Wow. Just wow. I felt the savior's love SO strong as I was going through. I have only felt it like that a few times. I remembered a lot about the first time I went through, and how Mom and Dad helped me. I really am so glad we have a temple family. I want one too, when I am old. Going today resolved a lot of pent up stress, and concerns I had. Super cool.

On a silly note  before I leave:

In class elder Goutin (from France, he's awesome) and I were looking in our 300+ page Tahitian grammar and vocab book. In the back there is a list of idioms. In that list there are at least 10 idioms that we NEVER say. Lol. Some translate VERY poorly into french. We laughed so much. One was: It's as easy as falling off a log. French: C'est facille comme 'bonjour!'. Where did they get 'as falling off a log', from 'bonjour'? Another was: There is a frog in my throat (we say that one) but the french "I y a un chat dans la gorge" was soooo funny. It means there is a CAT in my throat. A CAT!?!?! So funny for the french elder to hear frog, and for me to hear cat. haha

There were some better ones, but I can't remember them off the top of my head. I'll mail some other funny ones.

Anyways, I love you all. Thanks for the support, and for the prayers. Some times when I'm having a rough day, I remember that you are praying for me, and all the other missionaries. Makes the day go easier.

~Elder Larsen

Silly Pictures

Got a new card! The old one got THRASHED in a vending machine haha. Also a pic of me. Awkward one, but its what I could do in the lab right now.

love you all

Monday, September 2, 2013

Wow, It's Already September!

Tahitian is Straight-Up Crazy


:D I love you!!

So, this week I found out I'm not moving to west campus. They cancelled it last week, not sure why but I will take it :D So my address will not change till I'm in tahiti.

Thank you so much for the CES talk from elder scott. I read it today durring Personal study time. Good to read that, and my pariachal blessing, and scriptures. Thats the type of stuff I like to read on P-Days.

I love you so much. I am so glad you're my mom, and that you care about, love and support me.

Running out of time. Had to email Kendal some CONGRATS!!! I'm so glad he got baptised. They I got baptised he gave me a card that said he wanted to be too, and was happy for me. I still have that. I am so glad he got to be. So cool.

Again, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! I am doing great here. I will write you a snail letter in a few min!

Brigham (elder your son)

Week seven here we go!

Week six went well, but felt just like the first week again. Long classes, fasting was rough, and a whole bunch of changes. Our new teacher Brother Nash is sweet. He got home last year, and is pretty cool.

MAIL!!! I got a bunch of mail this week. Thank you all so much!! The soap made it, as did my bag, and shoes (another email has details about those...) and that little package you (dad) send. Thank you so much!

So, the move is off. Yay! I'm so glad there's one less thing to worry about!

We got 3 new elders this week, all from France. Elder Ganne-Solary, Elder Doit, and Elder Gouttin. All from the same stake in the north of France. They speak pretty good english, and they speak faster french than I'll have to in Tahiti. They came in as a trio, and the branch pres decided to keep it intact, along with our trio, so we don't have to get split up (that was nice of them). Now we have 11 in our classroom, and it's super crowded, and loud. Sometimes we study in another class to get things done. Hard to get 11 people to all be focused at the exact same time, in 3 languages.

I had a great time at devotional this week! Elder Neil Anderson (yeah, of the 12!) came and he and his wife told sweet mission stories, and taught about the fact that we are doing good, and when we get discouraged to be obedient, and remember that we're doing all we can, and God knows that. It was so good. After his devotional, we had to stay in the Marriott for an extra 30 min while thunder and lightning was outside the building. Elder Anderson got up and shook a whole bunch of missionaries hands. Didn't get to, but wasn't bummed; I feel lucky to have been there. While he shook hands we sang hymns, and had a super cool spirit there. I really enjoyed that, and felt like it was a tender mercy just for me.

After the devotional let us out, it was still pouring (but the lightning stopped). We had so much fun walking back in our suits, getting drenched lol! I let mine dry well (don't worry mom!) and will get it dry-cleaned in a bit.

Saturday was rough for me. Had a bad night's sleep and had no confidence. That night I started my fast and asked for better self esteem and reassurance. Sunday morning I got called to be the District leader... Not quite what I had in mind, hahah! Thought that was super funny. I will do my best, and am still a little shocked. The meetings to go to are a nice break from class though :D.

Tahitian is crazy. Straight up Crazy. I feel exactly what elder Palombo felt during French. He's a champ at tahitian. Sounds like the Hawaiian he knew has really helped. The grammar is stupid simple, but the vocab is killer. Still trying to figure out how to pronounce like 2 vowels next to each other, after each consonant. Also the T, K, S, D, Z, Q, G(sometimes), & C ALL MAKE THE SAME SOUND..... Kinda hard to spell when you have know idea which letter that t sound is represented by. I know I can do it, but still get worried now and then. On the bright side, saying stuff in french seems 100 times easier! and we still get to teach an investigator in French so we don't loose it. yay!

Again, thank you all for the mail, and thanks for supporting me. Thanks for the prayers too. So far at the MTC I have had soo many tender mercies and prayers answered. Its crazy. I can't wait for October 7 to go and do REAL work (not that the MTC isn't good or anything).

Love you and have a good week! :D

~Elder Larsen

PS We decided my name would sound like elder Tartan in Tahitian. The L turns into the rolled r like in 'daddy' (no r in daddy.... odd, but that's how they teach English speakers to say it), and the s to a t. Kinda funny. Love you !

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's All A Blur

One Month Feels Like a Week


Hey, this is your son checking in. Uncle rick told me that that's the most important part of p day. True.
I love you so much. Every time I wake up from  dreaming I'm at home, I think, dang, I can't hug mom. That hug in 23 months is gonna be the best thing ever.

I like writing you a physical letter the best, so I will do that during laundry. I love you so much, and just wanna let you know I'm doing well here. I'm happy, and I'm alive. :)

Love you (for the last time I promise :P)


So Saturday was officially one month! Yay :) Can't belive that. It really feels like I've been here for 1 week. The first 3 days felt like a week, and the last 4 weeks felt like a day. Crazy, but good.

SO, some cool stuff happened this week! I saw Jesse at choir last tuesday again, and I saw Ethan at choir and dinner last night!! I will send a pic. Looks like he got a companion he'll get along with just fine. Can't wait to meet up with both of them at Tuesday choir. Choir is the Bomb. I love Brother Eggot, the director. Choir is the time I laugh the most, and calm down. Lucky me  I got companions who like it too!

The official date I will be moving will be the 16th of September.... ish. Thing is, they haven't told us anything but, they did tell our Branch Presidency that on the 16th, they have meetings on West campus. I will do my best to get the new address for snail mail, but so far Nobody is in the loop on this thing. They have never moved districts in progress is my guess. Hmmph. Also, my companions might change. We are getting three French Elders into our district (learning Tahitian), and they might split the Trio's. Hope not, but we shall see.

One neat thing that happened this week was a lesson with my teacher Frere Asay. He's from Boise, and has been SO good. He's leaving the MTC though, because he is super smart and his major will take like all of his time (BYU classes are starting wow). Bummer. Anyways, we were teaching about keeping the Sabbath day holy and the prophets. It wasn't an earth shattering lesson, but the spirit was SO strong. It was amazing when Elder Palombo gave his commitment in Tahitian too! He surprised us with that. We start Tahitian either today or tomorrow (YIKES). Frere Asay said afterward that it was a super solid lesson, and that he'd planned on refusing the commitments, but because the spirit was super solid he went with it. Really happy the Lord helped us there. It's such a good feeling (even during role play) when you know that the person is comming closer to Jesus. Can't wait to do it in real life (out side of the TRC, which is still awesome).

Things are going well. Last night I realized that I am happy here. And that it's a opportunity that might never come again to be surrounded by 2000+ missionaries. Even though I have tough days, and need to improve, I know this is the right thing to do. The tender mercies here pile up so fast.

Also, I am so happy to hear that Kendal is getting baptized! I will try to write him. SO GOOD TO HEAR! Wish I could see the service, but hey, this is the only other place I'd be. I AM SOOO happy for you Kendal!

Love you guys and thanks for the mail. Mail, even at the MTC, is SO valuable to missionaries.

-Elder Larsen


Is anyone writing you too much e-mail?  I can encourage them to snail mail.

Nobody has written too much email. I've been sending short replies and directing them to the blog (Thanks for doing that)

How is your knee?  Are you keeping up with therapy during exercise time?

My knees are ok. My ankle has caused the most grief... The trainer here thought I might have sprained it at therapy that one time. Ugg. It's been the most sore, but is getting better. I do therapy at least 4 times a week during gym, and I've actually been running on it a bit too. Happy about that. Just hope and pray othopedics remain as they are right now.

How did you survive fast Sunday? I hear it can be long there. Another one coming.

The first Fast Sunday was GREAT, but that's cuz I was still 'Not throwing up'... so not eating was easy (Heavenly father, I'm going to fast not to puke...) Not that bad, but I have been nervous the mornings here. I'm nervous for next sunday fasting. If I can't make it, theres a billion vending machines here. I'll be fine.

Does your snail mail address change when you move?

 [From above] I will do my best to get the new address for snail mail, but so far Nobody is in the loop on this thing.

Did everyone catch up to you and Elder Randal on their French?  Are you still most fluent?

Not most fluent (that's always been elder Randal, the one in the blue shirt with Palombo).

I am doing good at the french,  I'm not "FLUENT"... that was supposed to be in air quotes as to suggest ''yeah right''.... umm yeah. I hope I didn't sound that cocky...... Elder Randal thinks I'm better than him at grammar (maybe...) but I know he's the best at speaking. Hes the guy who lived in Paris.  Also Elder Hunsaker neglected to tell us that hes amazing at french too. He took 5 years (High school and middle school). Just don't want everone to think I'm the best here. I am not :)

Sounds like Jesse was sick.  Wash your hands!

I wash my hands obsessively. Will keep it up.

I love you SOOO MUCH!!! Thanks for the mail too. Love the pictures you send to fishing. Also I loved the postcard, and map, and letters.

Be well, my family. I love you, and also, if you could Dear Elder me the responses to:

GMT, Lat and long for Tahiti (watch settings)

[Other requests edited out -Steve]

Sorry email here is PAINFuly slow. Sorry bout that.

Gotta run now. Thanks for the mail, and dear elders and email. I'll write you some snail mail today.
Sorry for shotgunning your inbox lol. 

Elders Franco and Palombo
With Sister [Cousin Jocelyn] Larsen
"Elder Lewis from McCall, going to the West Indies"
"Elder Lewis' awesome comp, Elder Call.
These guys have been sweet friends"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mom's Letters are the Best

Best District Ever

This week has been so amazing. It flew by, and plenty of tender mercies happened.

TRC this week was great. We met a guy from France, who's Parisian french was SO FAST! Some how I actually kept up though. Only missed a few sentences in the 20 min. We got to see the same sister as we did last week too. She's so nice, and showed us a sweet picture of her driving a Lamborghini Galadaro at the Tooele Larry H. Miller place. Awesome. The spirit helped Elder Franco and I, but it would have been better with Elder Palombo. He taught with our instructor, so he'd get more time to talk. Good thing for him, bad for us. He brings such a good spirit.

Also, Sunday was the BOMB as usual. I got to go on a temple walk after sacrament, and I met a guy named David who got back from his mission like 10 days ago. He was so nice, and told me to just look at everything thing through a positive light, and it will be great. He lives in Georgia, but is going to go to BYU in a few weeks.

Also on Sunday, we had the lesson for district meeting. Elder Palombo and Franco taught it with me, and our branch president sat in. We all felt the spirit so strong there. I love my companions, and am so glad that they love the gospel. After district meeting and temple walk, I got to go to choir and Devotional. GUESS WHAT!?!?! Vai Sikahema was the speaker! It was so cool to hear him. He told us about a convert on his mission and how they've stayed close for 30 years. His family and the converts family are still best friends, and Via also spoke about how EVERY good thing in his life has been tied to his mission. Super cool to hear one of my BYU football legends talk about missionary work.

On Tuesday, I saw Richard G Scott!! Double awesome! He spoke on the power of prayer. I fell asleep for like 7 min, and wish I hadn't have. I guess his voice puts me out when hes there, and not just on Saturday general conference haha. He brought such a tangible spirit, and when he left, EVERYBODY stood up and waved. Nobody moved after the closing prayer until he got up and chuckled. It was such a cool thing.

So, in short, I have the best district ever. They are all super nice to me, and serve me when ever they get a chance. Elder Randal is awesome too. I probably sounded cocky in my first letter about his french. But no, he is the real deal when it comes to speaking it. I thought he was kidding, but it turns out he lived there. I am no good at spoken french, but hope I will be in the field. Elder Hunsaker is nice too. Last night I came home to 10 snack bags of doritos, hidden in my bed, my laundry, and my desk. He and elder Du Pre know I like them, so they brought a bunch back from the Cafeteria. Nice guys
I love it here. It's so different than what I'm used to, but in a good way. Home seems like a dream still, but the Spirit makes all the preparing to teach, and studying worth it.

Thanks for the mail everyone, and God bless.

~Elder Larsen
Elder Martin from Meridian
Also, SD's is the BEST way to go. [I.e., take small SD cards to the MTC and mail them home with pictures. -Steve]  I've been struggling to get ones out, and get noreply emails 30 min after I'm off telling me the message didn't send. Attached SHOULD be pics of my shoes, I'm a bit worried about one of the heels. The sole is sepparating from the shoe, but not flapping or anything yet. Have any advice on that? Mail shoe goo or send them to you to get fixed, or not a problem or whatever?

Also, I think a smaller bag would be the way to go. I'll take you up on the pictures thing. I still have 7 weeks here to figure that out.