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Alma 29:9

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas

This week has had its ups and downs. Elder Roberts has been sick, so we been stuck in the apartment for several days now. We haven't gotten any new investigators yet from the open house, but other missionaries have.

On Christmas day we will be eating breakfast in the morning with the Missionaries in my district and with some Marines. Then we will be going to the Ward Mission Leader's house where we will Skype you sometime between 10 and 12 AM North Carolina time. And that night we will be eating dinner with the Elder Quorum President.

I hear that it been very cold for Utah this winter. It has been the exact opposite here in North Carolina. We have been running the AC at night and yesterday it got up to 82 degrees! I am not used to this weather for Christmas.

I am glad that it a lot of people are coming over for Christmas. It should be fun. Who is going to use the treadmill? I think Mom will love the picture! As far as the card put: Merry Christmas, love Elder Lakey I am also very thankful for all the mail I have been getting lately. Thank you!!

I love that thought! The only way we can give a gift to the Savior is by serving others.  Christmas is a waste if we do not try to become more Christ like, otherwise everything about Christmas is in vain.


I love you and I will talk to you on Christmas.Love, Elder Lakey


Thomas did indeed spend an hour chatting with us on Christmas.  He looks and sounds wonderful.  Still just as energetic about serving the lord as the day he left.  It was the best Christmas present.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Open House

This has been a good week, our open house was a big success.  A lot of people came to the open house, we had both members and nonmembers there.  We led the investigators through the church and we talked about our relationship with God, Baptism, the Restoration, the Sacrament and Temples. The other missionaries have found investigators from the open house that live in our area, and we may have found some ourselves, but we don't know yet.  A lot of the nonmembers that came were invited by their friends and family who were members.

I have received both packages. Thank you they were well welcomed gifts!  The music, the tree and candy were very nice.  We are trying to figure out our Christmas plans today. We want to go to a member's home that has Skype. We still teach the day of Christmas eve but not the night or Christmas at all.

The weather is still nice, we had some rain, but that was it.  Everyone was telling me how it gets really cold here, but it is clear that they never been to Utah. The coldest it ever gets is 40s at night and often times in the day it is in the 60s or 70s.

We haven't done anything out of the ordinary for the holiday season, but I did get to see the Atlantic ocean for the first time the other day. We went to a beach on base that had tanks doing drills on the side of the road. It was very cool to watch!

We have zone meetings every month, but zone conference is where President Bernhisel comes to the meeting, and that only happens once every three months. We are actually having a zone conference tomorrow.  I hope Matt likes being zone leader, because I would hate to be a zone leader. I like actually doing missionary work.

I am sure William and Jonathan are excited for Christmas break. I personally don't feel like being a missionary this time of the year is that bad.  People seem to be more open to the gospel this time of year.  Next week most of the military is going to be on leave and Jacksonville is going to be a ghost town, but I am sure we will find something to do.

I love you a lot and hope everything is great and I will email you next week.

Love, Elder Lakey


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pure Christmas Spirit

It has been a great week. We did get to watch the Christmas devotional yesterday. I really loved it. Because it has been so hot here it really did not feel like Christmas at all, and the devotional yesterday really gave me the Christmas spirit.  This week the weather was in 70s and sunny and it felt more like summer than the holiday season.  But now I am feeling the Christmas cheer and it also helps that the weather has cooled off a lot the last couple of days.

We found three new investigators, but there has been a lot of things lately that has set back a lot of our investigators, no one is going to be baptized in December. Tonight the church is doing an open house I really hope a lot of people will be there, it could really springboard the work here. We have been putting up signs and banners and have it advertised in the newspaper and on the radio, so hopefully we will get a good turn out.

I do not know what my Christmas plans are right now. Nor do I know if we will be calling or skypeing. But, I am very grateful for the Christmas package it is going to be great!

Hopefully, Jonathan gets used to his glasses. That is a bummer that RSL lost, but at least they should be in Concacaf, it also sounds like it was a crazy game.


I love that spiritual message given by President Monson at the Christmas devotional. The greatest things of being a missionary this time of year is the pure Christmas spirit I get to see. I do not see the advertisements nor the commercialism that is usually found at Christmas time, I just get to see the love people have towards each other. Christmas is vastly better when we view it in a Christ like way.

I love you and am thankful for the sacrifices you do for me and I will email you
again next week.
Love, Elder Lakey




Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner and Pictures


Elder Roberts and Elder Lakey celebrate Thanksgiving with the Ashe family.

This has been a great week. We had a great Thanksgiving.  We ate at the Ashe's house, they were the family who was baptized back in August.  They had so much food!  Thanksgiving on a mission is interesting. We cannot proselyte on that day. We played some football in the afternoon and ate with the Ashes in the afternoon and evening. There was a lot of food including mini sausages wrapped in bacon and cooked in BBQ sauce. It was very good.


We actually helped the Ashes put up their tree.  It is almost the exact same tree as ours.

Elder Roberts and I have a ton in common, he took 2 years of college, but is thinking about switching his degree.  We are getting along really well, we have very similar interests and humor. Right now the work is a little slow because we had Thanksgiving and also a meeting that took up a another whole day. Many people were gone this week as well, so there was not much teaching this week.   Hopefully, with the holidays people will be more willing to hear about Christ.

Cold here in North Carolina is weird because it is a wet cold.  The temperature is higher here than in Utah, but many people complain that it feels colder here than in Utah. The reason is that humidity penetrates through clothing, so layering does not work like it does in Utah. However, for me this weather is not that bad, I bought myself a jacket that neutralizes the humility. I stay very warm despite the fact my jacket is rather thin compared to what most people wear.

That is great that the Grandparents are almost ready to build their home. I love the holidays, and even being away from is not too bad for me. I am sorry to hear that Jonathan will need glasses, but it shouldn't be too bad.  It is good to hear from the Rosenlunds, did they say where their sister is living at? I did know about Bro. Call's daughter, she left on her mission before I did. 

I love that spiritual thought (All This and The Gospel Too and Alma 34:38). I was amazed that at 4 PM people were giving thanks on Thanksgiving day and  8 PM that same day people were attacking and trampling each other to get the early bird sales. I hate Black Friday, especially now that it starts Thanksgiving night. In this age of plenty it is ridiculously hard for many to figure out where this plenty comes from.

I am not worried or frustrated, all things are in the Lord's hands. I can not do much beyond inviting the spirit into the investigator's home. Trials are nothing new.

I am grateful for your email and all that you sacrifice and give to me.  I will email next week.

Love,
Elder Lakey



Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving in Jacksonville

It is almost Thanksgiving time!  Here in Jacksonville the military gets a longer a leave for Thanksgiving than for Christmas, which means this town is really going to die.  We are planning on having a Thanksgiving meal with the Ashes, the family we baptized back in August.

My new companion is Elder Roberts, he is Canadian and went to college there, but he grew up in Utah. He is also 5 years older than me!  Elder Roberts is great we are very similar, and we get a long very well.  He is also a lot like me, he is very interested in international affairs.  He is very knowledgeable and we talk to each other about things about the church, that even most missionaries don't know much about.  And also like me, he is very messy.  His previous areas either didn't have a good ward working with him or the branch was very small, so he hasn't been as busy as he has seen us here. 

Both sets of elders and both sets of senior missionaries live in the same apartment complex. We do things together a lot especially on preparation day.  The work is going great here.  Our investigators are doing well, they are slowly, but surely progressing towards baptism.  If our investigators keep their commitments we should have multiple baptisms in December.  We mostly find through our own efforts, but sometimes we get referrals, and when we do get referrals we are usually referred to less active members.

I really do not need anything for Christmas, bike works fine, clothes are holding up and everything else is working well.  I did receive the cookies you sent me they are very delicious, thank you! I am happy for any Christmas goodies that you will send me.

I have not had to dry clean my suits yet, but I want to do that soon. The weather has been good, for the most part it has been in the 70s.  But a big cold front hit us so it is now in the 30s for the last 2 days.  Kiley did email and it would be great to hear from Eve or Hayden. It sounds like it will be a small Thanksgiving this year, but it should still be good. 

That is a great spiritual thought from Elder Hale. (Stand Strong in Holy Places)  We either immerse ourselves in the gospel or we will become captive to the devil and there is no 3rd option. Many people try to find a 3rd option and those are the ones that are carefully led down to Hell, by the Devil.

Thanks for all that you do and I will email you again next week.

Love, Elder Lakey

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Companion

Tomorrow I will be getting a new companion and his name is Elder Roberts, he is from Canada and he will be the district leader and that is all I know about him.   I am rather excited to have a new companion.   I will stay in Jacksonville with the other set of Elders on Tuesday until my new companion gets to Jacksonville.

This week has had a lot of ups and downs. Many of our investigators have started reading the Book of Mormon now, but things from a car breaking down to sickness prevented any of our investigators from coming to church. 

The Jacksonville wards have a reputation of being a missionary focused ward.  But the reason why they are like that is because missionaries in the past spent a lot of effort building trust.  Many future zone leaders have served in Jacksonville.  Good missionaries create excited wards, bad missionaries make the ward ignore or even dislike missionaries.  There are some parts of my mission where the congregation will refuse to let missionaries serve there.

You can send packages and mail straight to my address now, but it causes mass confusion during transfers if everyone does it that way.  I would recommend that you keep sending packages the way you are now.

Golfing was fun there was a really nice golf course on base that we went to.  The ward mission leader provided  left handed clubs for me.  I love Golf because of the idea of self-improvement and for me there is a lot to improve.  Who knows I might end up serving in Pinehurst and maybe I will get to golf on the famous Pinehurst No.2.  

I do not know if I need warm clothes the weather is been very fickle.  On Wednesday I woke up to snow and it NEVER snows here especially in November!!  It was only a little bit of snow though. And today I woke up and it was already 70 degrees outside. Right now though I am fine.

Other than Rascal being a rascal it sounds like everything is going well back home.  How has William been? Has Kiley made up her mind on a degree yet?  Is Hayden or Josh planning on going on a mission?

That is an excellent thought!  (“Small and Simple Things”)  Too often we judge people because they are not coming to church, instead of helping them come to church. In the Jacksonville 3rd ward there are about 750 names on the ward roster! Rescuing is a big part of missionary work here and it often leads to part-member families to teach. There is always work to be done and we can all do something.

I love you and I will email you again next week.
Love, Elder Lakey





Monday, November 11, 2013

All a part of his plan

Thanks for the email and I am glad to hear that the lesson went well.  It is good that you liked that story I do not have many like it. Many of our investigators progress quietly. The person who got baptized, Sister Lord, was gone for many weeks at a time and she would just read The Book of Mormon and study and pray about it by herself with her husband. Her conversion story was simple but probably the best kind there is, because we did very little for her. Many converts are converted to the missionaries (rather than the gospel) and they will fall away when the missionaries are transferred.  Sister Lord is already helping make invitations for the Christmas party.

I do not have many other stories to tell but I can think of a miracle I can tell you about briefly. There is a member named Brother Case who just got out of the Marines last week and he is moving to Idaho soon.  We took him out with us to try to go find some new investigators. We knocked on the door of a man we talked to briefly before. When he open the door the man gave Bro. Case  a weird look. It turns out this man and his roommate worked with Bro.Case in the military and were in the same workshop.  However the CO of the workshop constantly made fun of our church and made it impossible to have a spiritually uplifting environment for Bro.Case to talk about the church. Now Bro.Case can share the gospel with the his two former coworkers in a spiritual environment.

Today is veterans day and most of the military has been given a 4 day weekend. We do not have any plans connected with the veterans day, but we are going golfing with our Ward Mission Leader who loves golfing.  As far as transfers go, I am staying, but Elder McHan is being transferred so I will have a new companion. So you can still send stuff to me.  I am good for any kind of cookie really.  I am just grateful for you sending more.  For Christmas, nothing really sticks out for things I need or want. As far as a CD player goes it is alright if it has radio, but the CD player must be able to be listened to without headphones.  

That is great that Derek is excited to serve. I do not know what I am doing for thanksgiving, this town turns into a ghost town during holidays. Last Thanksgiving Elder McHan was fed 4 meals by members, all that same day! 

That is a great spiritual message, I often ponder why I am in Jacksonville. I know that I was sent by the Lord here, I just do not why. It it also interesting that many of my friends seem to be having a lot of challenges and are struggling with them. I have my own challenges, but sometimes I feel like other missionaries have to deal with a lot worse I do.  But no matter what happens it is all a part of his plan.

I love you so very much and all that you do for me and I will email you again next week.

Love, Elder Lakey




Monday, November 4, 2013

Missionary Work in the Digital Age

Hey Dad, I do write in my journal, but it is spotty, however I do write the big spiritual things in it, I just struggle on days that nothing seemingly important happens.  Right now we have about 15 investigators (that number has been changing a lot lately).  We should have at least 2 baptisms this month including one this Saturday!  She is a newlywed who married a member.  He has been field training a lot and we have had some of our lessons with her on Facebook. We actually set a baptismal date with her on Facebook.  She is definitely ready to be baptized.  I'll try to send home some baptism pictures of her next week.

This week has been a pretty good week.  For Halloween night we had dinner with the senior couple but afterwards we went to our apartment.  The weather here is weird the last week there has been days it has reached 80 degrees and other days like today there has been frost on the ground in the morning!

I have been doing pretty good I am staying really healthy there seems to be an unspoken blessing when it come to missionaries, Elder McHan has been on his mission 15 months and has yet to get sick and I haven't either, despite the fact many of our investigators and the members are sick right now.

It sounds like a bad sports year but that almost a good thing. It is hard to miss sports if all your favorite teams are not doing good.  With that being said I heard that Alex Smith is doing really well right now with Kansas City.

This email is going to be rather short because I spent a lot of my time sending you the story. I hope it will help you and I will email you again next week.
Love, Elder Lakey



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

General Authorities!

This week has been great.  We should still have some baptisms in November, how many is still up in the air.  We are supposed to have a baptismal interview for one of our investigators this week.

Our ward had a Halloween activity last Saturday. Also that same day two General Authorities Elder Zwick and Elder Pino and their wives came to our mission and we had a meeting with them in Fayetteville. It was a short meeting, but they talked about studying effectively, and praised us and the mission president a lot too. Elder Pino was from Venezuela so him and his wife had to have a translator, and Elder Pino is very funny. Elder Zwick is from Utah but has had a lot of church assignments down in South America. We have another General Authority vising our mission next month. General Authority visits are really rare and three visiting us in the space of 2 months is almost unheard of.

The weather is cooling down here too, on Saturday there was frost on the ground! Trees here are weird, some trees have normal leaves that change color and fall down, but many of them look like normal trees until you get close to them and realize they have pine needles instead of leaves. They look nothing like the pine trees back home. Pine needles are everywhere people, even make gardens with them. People will drop cigarettes into piles of pine needles without even caring!  One day this whole State will go up into flames!

I did not receive any more cookies lately, I am assuming you are sending more.  For Halloween the day will be normal, but will we be stuck inside our apartment at night unless with get some teaching appointments for that night. We will not be allowed to be outside talking to people or knocking on doors at that time. Sounds like things are going good back home. Tell Jonathan he needs to be a whoopee cushion instead this year, a kid in my ward dressed up as one for the ward Halloween party.

That's great the Connerleys got to have a baptism while they were on trek. There are some interesting conversions stories out there. I have not personally seen any conversions like that but I heard a lot of stories of interesting conversions since I have gotten here.


The Atonement is extremely important, to put it simply the official purpose of missionaries is to invite people to come unto Christ and use his Atonement. While many people in the South believe in the Atonement, none of them really know or understand how it works.  Elder Mickleson has a book that a preacher gave to him once with the New Testament and the book of Psalms in it and on the cover it says that if you signed this book you are saved and there is a place to sign your name on it. There is a talk by Elder Bednar called "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality" that  has help me understand the Atonement and grace much better. We cannot fully receive the Atonement for ourselves if we do not help others receive it.

Thanks for the email, I will try to email you some experiences next week for your lesson,and I hope you will have a good week.
Love,
Elder Lakey

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things are going great

Elder Mickelsen and Elder McHan being photo bombed by Elder Lakey


Jacksonville Missionaries


Things are going great here. We had 4 investigators come to church yesterday which is a lot for us! We should have some baptisms in November!  

As far as Facebook goes it is not all that good for finding people.  But, we have taught and even committed a person to be baptized on Facebook. It is also good for strengthening members.

Wards here are large it is about 30 minute drive from the eastern border to the ward from our apartment. That's why the sisters cover that area which is out in the countryside and live out there, while we live on the western border and the actual city of Jacksonville. The senior couple doesn't proselyte, they help the Marines that live on base who are LDS.  So no one really steps on each other's feet so to speak.

It sounds like it was a good stake conference. People overstepping their bounds is a problem everywhere in the church, same with teaching false doctrines and personal opinions. That's great to hear from Brother Call is he still teaching seminary at Syracuse High?

We did not do anything different for Columbus day, but it sure made shopping on preparation day a mess!  Thanks for keeping the bank account filled! 

"Every Member a Missionary" is a great topic to teach. We constantly are talking about this with members. Many members don't understand how few people are willing to listen to a faith they don't have any family or friends or any other personal connections to or in. For example I do not remember a single time growing up that you would listen to a salesman who knocked on our door, and that is similar to how most people see us. With that being said the ward keeps us busy, I can only think of one time I had to do actual door to door tracking.

I love that quote from Pres. Hinckley "Do your best, your very, very best.  Say your prayers and work hard and leave the harvest to The Lord."  It is a very famous quote for missionaries, because it says very simply what missionaries can do.  I am not sure where I heard this but something I often tell my self is: To do my best and the Lord will provide the rest.

I love so very much.  The work is going great here and I love all the support everyone back home has given me and I will email again next week.
Love,

Elder Lakey


Monday, October 14, 2013

A Great Week

This week has been a great week.  At first it didn't seem like it though.  We didn't have many appointments this week, so we went and visited many potential and former investigators. We burned through names in the area book and miles in the car, but our efforts were rewarded with 5 new investigators which is a lot. We currently have 13 investigators! Some of them are starting to keep their commitments and the members are starting to trust us and work with us more now too.

Chilly is a comparative word. Chilly for North Carolina yes. Chilly for Utah no. I only wear a jacket because we are required to by mission rules. It has been raining a lot though.  The leaves are starting to change though. 

Our district is very compact. There is only 2 wards in it and each ward has a set of Elders, Sisters and a senior couple. That's three set of missionaries in each ward!

We eat breakfast and lunch by ourselves. I usually don't cook things, I try to keep things simple and fast. Dinners are sometimes with members, but usually not. But, when they feed us it is amazing food.
Just last week I had Hawaiian barbeque and Philippian food.

I did receive the package, thanks for the food and music it was exactly what I wanted. Don't worry about the clothes I bought myself a jacket that should work with my personal debit card.  

That's nice to hear about your break. Today is Columbus day here and I guess it's a pretty big holiday in North Carolina. That is great to hear that stake conference is coming up and that President Reed is still the Stake President. You will have to tell me how Stake Conference goes.  It is good to hear about home.  

I love that quote, something that I study a lot on since I got here is trying to understand people. They have something in the mission called OLDS. Observe, listen, discern and speak. It says in Preach My Gospel that listening is more important than speaking. We cannot help people if we don't listen to the spirit to know how to help them.

I love you so much, even if I don't express it sometimes and I will email you next week.
Love, Elder Lakey






Monday, October 7, 2013

Technically not a greenie anymore

It is nice to hear from you.  Thanks for all that you do for me it is great!

I am technically not a greenie anymore, but basically I'm still am because I am staying with my trainer another transfer. I will probably stay in Jacksonville till Christmas, but you never know what will happen at the next transfer, which is near Thanksgiving.  Everyone that is being transferred goes to the transfer meeting. I am glad I am not training anyone yet, not only do I lack patience, but I still don't know what I am doing.

We had a goal for two baptisms this month, but they probably are not going to happen. One got offended the week he was suppose to be interviewed.  And the other person has not really kept any commitments. Most members just stay at home to watch conference. There were only about a dozen people that would show up at the church including us. We did get some investigators out to the church to watch it though.

I have not received your package yet, most likely because they freeze mail during transfer or else it would create a big mess because no one knows where anyone is going yet.  But, I did receive the package from Grandma.  I am sorry, but I can't seem to get pictures to download onto the computer, so no pictures for the moment. 

That is great to hear you ran into Shaeley Lewis.  I'm glad Grandma and Grandpa found a place to live, is it by where Jason lives? Kiley really does have bad luck with cars!  Members buying lunch for missionaries is universal, it's just that, only in Utah are there enough members for that to happen very often.

We attended all the sessions of General Conference at the church it was very spiritual. I learned more from this General Conference than I have at any other one. I took twelve pages of notes at this one!

As a missionary, I loved the Saturday afternoon session. Because, it was mostly about Missionary work.   I liked Brother McConkie's talk he even said himself that many of the things he talked about he got from Preach My Gospel. There is one whole chapter in it dedicated on how to teach lessons. And, another one on lessons investigators must be taught before they can be baptized. I also loved Elder Dube, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder M. Russel Ballard's talk. Elder Ballard's promise is powerful.  I hope people pay attention to Elder Neilson's talk and his promise, that if everyone in the church talked to one person by Christmas that millions of people's lives will be blessed.

I love it out here, it really is the best two years and I will email you again next week.

Love, Elder Lakey


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Last week of training

Things have been going great here.  We currently have 3 investigators who committed to being baptized.  It  is crazy to think that this is my last week being trained and come transfers next week I have no idea what if anything will happen or not happen. 

The week after we met the man from Honduras we knocked on his door again and a different Hispanic man opened the door and he told us that the other person moved away a long time and he didn't know where to. A lot of weird puzzling stuff like that happens on missions.  Despite the productivity of this week the Facebook referrals have stopped.

It is feeling very nice during the day now, but during the morning is is starting to get cold. I don't know how cold it gets here or what I really need.  What I probably need for now is some warm-up clothes and something that is jacket like but looks good when wearing missionary clothes, but not something all expensive like a suit coat. And thanks for the package. I will try to send some photos next week.

That is great to hear about Sarah and Daniel I am sure they will be great missionaries. Thanks for adding them to the contact list. And yea there are a lot of missionaries coming out.  There were 30 last transfer and 17 this upcoming transfer. Mike Russell said he has been nonstop training since he has been trained and Tom Hill is being trained by someone only one transfer older than him. 

Did Grandma and Grandpa ever find a new place to live? And that is good to see that Jonathan wants to try an instrument, especially the cello, since I did the cello too. Hopefully he will stick with it better than I did.

We are extremely excited for General Conference, my companion, Elder McHan took 26 pages of notes last Conference. We will watch it in the ward building the stake building is way to far to go.  In fact, most members here in Jacksonville will watch it at their house. 

That is great spiritual message there will always be a need for prophets and revelations. Mosiah 8:18 says that prophets are for our benefit here on earth. Many people don't understand the need for revelation from God and are satisfied with their current relationship with him. It is interesting to note that they are damned when they do this, but they damned themselves because they stop progressing towards God, God does not damn people.

Keeping your covenants is a great theme. Many people get hung up on the fact that they already have been baptized. But, outside of our faith few if anyone views baptisms as a covenant with God and that partly is why they have to be properly baptized.

It has been a good week and I hope you are all doing well and I will email you next week.

Love, Elder Lakey





Monday, September 23, 2013

Bogoroditse Devo

Things have been going pretty good, we are now starting to get new investigators.  I did get on Facebook this week and it has been pretty successful we got a lot of referrals through it.  This week we finally got to talk to an investigator who works 16 hours a day.  She is really excited about The Book of Mormon. It goes to show that persistence and diligence pays off. I also talked to a person from Honduras who didn't know much English and I am trying to read a Spanish pamphlet  to try to prepare to teach him the Restoration, that was pretty interesting. Yesterday was also stake conference.

It has cooled down a lot now, it is kinda weird but it feels like being up in the mountains because it cool about in the 70s it rains a lot and there are trees everywhere( roads here are just green tunnels).

The family is allowed to like and comment on it and even encouraged so that way others can see it. It has cooled down a lot now, it is kinda weird but it feels like being up in the mountains because it cool about in the 70s it rains a lot and there are trees everywhere( roads here are just green tunnels). This week we finally got to talk to a woman who works 16 hours a day. She is really excited about The Book of Mormon. It goes to show that persistence and diligence pays off. I also had to talk to person from Honduras who didn't know much English and I am trying to read a Spanish pamphlet  to try to prepare to teach him the Restoration, that was pretty interesting.

I hope I can clarify the stance on Facebook. If I post some spiritual message on Facebook you and all my family and friends are allowed to like it and post about it in fact  you are encouraged to. However I cannot talk or message you unless it is strictly about missionary business, like for example if one of my non-member friends wanted to talk about the gospel or you have some people who are interested in the gospel who you want to refer them to me to through Facebook. We also have our companions proof-read everything we type before we send it on Facebook.

We do have a CD player.  Elder McHan and I like to listen to spiritual music a lot. I wouldn't mind if you sent me some spiritual music like Mormon Tabernacle Choir especially Called to Serve and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing(that CD has some nice gospel music on it) I also wouldn't mind some Rachmaninoff music. Especially a song called Bogoroditse Devo.  It is Russian but it is beautiful and invites the Spirit in. A care package would be nice and I don't really care what is in it I will be grateful with whatever.

Thanks for the sports update. It is kinda funny because many members love BYU and so do missionaries so every Sunday members will approach us and start talking about BYU football until yesterday.
There was a lot of talk about the Holy War until yesterday... I did not know the score nor what happen at the game but I knew without anyone telling me that Utah won.

It is amazing how often missionaries will come at just the right time. There is a member in our ward that tells everyone his conversion story that he was going to commit suicide later that night just before the missionaries found him. We are told in in the Book of Mormon several times that all good things comes from God, and good things no matter how small can be the answer we are looking for.
This should be a great week out in the Mission field and I will email next week.
Love, Elder Lakey


Monday, September 16, 2013

Doing the Lord's work

It is going good out here, doing the Lord's work.  No new investigators yet, and the referral from HQ led us to a part member family, it is still unknown if the non-member wife wants to take lessons or not.  We had some interesting encounters with people but nothing has come of it yet.  I also did have a few opportunities to use the priesthood this week. The temple was great and all the missionaries in my zone came with me.

I have zone meeting on Wednesday about Facebook. I watched my zone leader the other day get about 3 referrals in about 30 minutes on Facebook.  To put that in perspective I have only gotten 4 referrals this entire month. have no idea how General Conference is suppose to work.  We are also having a General Authority coming to us in November this year it is a member of the seventy but last year it was Elder Holland.

I did receive the cookies you sent and they are in good condition.  I have yet to try any strange food although I have recently fallen in love with pot stickers. Other than Camp Lejeune, I can't say I have been anywhere interesting although Camp Lejeune is huge and I haven't been to a lot of it.

I am glad about everything the pioneers did for us. And similar to how the Lord helped the pioneers he help us missionaries. If you think 20 year old men can convince people to join a whole other religion using just words, than your crazy. It is the Lord that does the converting and I seen missionaries withstand any and all false doctrine even from those who went to religious schools for years.  That power and knowledge only comes from the Lord. If that power knowledge were stay with us after our missions getting a degree in Theology would be easy.

Raleigh, North Carolina is a baptizing mission it is not a Noah or Mormon mission where we are to cry repentance in vain. It will come in time I just have to do everything I can do and everything will work out fine.  It is true that it is obedience is what increases our faith because then we are experimenting on the words of the Lord.
Thanks for your prayers and I will talk to you next week.
Love, Elder Lakey



Monday, September 9, 2013

Hard but fulfilling


It is going alright down here. The weather has cooled off a little bit but not as much as I would like.  Things have been slow, we honestly do not have anyone who is willing to do more than just hear the word. We are trying to find more investigators through members, because finding them through our own efforts only seems to find flaky investigators. I hate writing stuff that sounds negative especially for the the last couple weeks. But I cannot lie and sugar coat missionary work. It is hard but fulfilling, frustrating and peaceful at the same time I truly do enjoy bring on a mission but it is agonizing to see people fall short of their potential.

I haven't been on Camp Lejuene much since the baptisms. We try to have exchanges (where the member comes with both of us as oppose to us separating) to every lesson but it doesn't always work that way, but we get exchanges to most lessons. I have yet to speak in the church except for the primary once but we missionaries are teaching 3rd hour on the 5th Sunday of the month. We are going to the temple on Friday. 

Thanks for cleaning up my facebook account.  Thanks for the cookies and I would just keep sending stuff to the Mission Office. I have figured out the GPS, it was rather easy, but I am not sure I will ever enjoy bike riding.

It sounds like everything is going smoothly back home. I hope Jonathan sticks with an instrument, because I never could. 

Thanks for the message as usual, faith in the basic doctrine is all that is needed to do great things and to have the testimony of the church. That part of history(leaving Nauvoo) is sad but it needs to be remembered.  I feel gratitude for the pioneers and what they did especially since I don't think I would have the physical strength needed to be a pioneer back then. 

It isn't a matter of if we will find people who are willing to repent and be baptized it is a matter of when.  You never know, the referral we just got from church HQ as I was emailing you may be that person who will bring himself and others onto Christ.  Just work hard, be obedient and have faith and everything will work out find.
Love, Elder Lakey

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Laboring in the Lord's vineyard

It going alright out here. We did get new missionaries, Elder Gallagher from Kanab, Utah and Sister Bush from North Ogden, Utah. It has been a little slow on the investigator front, it seems like for one reason or another appointments keep on falling through.  But, these things always happens to missionaries and are to be used as a learning opportunity. But, the recent converts are doing well, which is a really good thing because some recent converts in this ward that were baptized before I came, end up falling away from the church and going inactive, and we still teach them about once a week.

We are not doing anything special for Labor day other than laboring in the Lord's vineyard which is special enough for me. And if a public event happens during the day on preparation day we can attend. Elder McHan has gone to some minor league baseball games in his last area.

I will start using facebook around September 18th. Because Elder McHan is a District Leader he gets to test facebook and he is already on. We will not be receiving ipads for a long time.  One of the things you could really help me out on is preparing my facebook account. Due to facebook policy, I will be using my old facebook account, because we are not allowed to have 2 accounts.  It could be a big help if you were to delete all game and apps, unlike all things that don't relate to the gospel and post on my facebook warning my friends that I will have to unfriend them if they try distract me or try to talk to me about non-missionary things. There are other things I will need to modify but I will do it myself, but just doing these things alone will be a big help to me.

The bike riding has not hindered the work, but it is a very obvious weakness that I have. I did receive my kickstand several week ago and my butt is now used to my bike.  That is great about Derek I am sure he is happy. I do remember Mrs. Neese, although I would be very surprised if she remembers me all that well though. That is great you are liking elementary school, there is a certain innocence in elementary schools that don't exist in Jr. highs. Yeah, we have ward council meetings dedicated to missionary work. We try to work with them, but as you could imagine certain organizations do a lot more missionary work than others.

Thanks for the spiritual message there is a lot opposition out here, but it comes mostly in the form of contentment and apathy. Many people are content with their understanding of the gospel because they believe they have already been "saved". Many people can give you the date on when they were "saved", and thus reject the Book Of Mormon and the church because they feel like there is no need for it. It is very critical that we get people to pray about the Book of Mormon. If they find out it is true, then they learn that there must be more out there.

Thanks for the prayers and I pray for you back home too.

Love, Elder Lakey


Monday, August 26, 2013

Baptisms




The mission is going well the baptisms were great and we got a lot of people out to them. There were two separate baptisms, because of work schedules, but everything worked out great and were well attended.

This week is transfer week and we have about 30 new missionaries coming in, which is the most in this mission's history! Elder Mickleson will be training one of the new missionaries. Jacksonville is turning into greenieville. Elder McHan is a great trainer I am lucky to have him. 

When it comes to investigators, they are often like a revolving door. For example this week we had to stop teaching 3 investigators, but found 5 more. As for any that is close, we  have two baptismal dates right now. The first Sister just got married on July 4th and shortly after that moved here to Jacksonville.  She is scheduled for September 14th. Her new husband has been an inactive member who is serving in the Marines Corp.  Despite his inactivity, he has actually held true to church standards like Word of Wisdom. His wife is currently in West Virginia for the last couple weeks and as a result we do not know how she is doing and feeling right now. But, the lessons in the past went really well. One of the new investigators committed to a baptism for October 5th, however we will probably have to move that because of General Conference. He already believes in almost everything we do, he has met with missionaries in the past. The biggest hurdle with him is chewing tobacco and getting him to church.

Thanks for the GPS it will come very handy around here.  I did receive the gps and I do love your cookies.  That is great that you will be helping another student. I have been talking to a lot of immigrants myself. I have talked to people from Poland, Palau, Venezuela, Columbia, Burma, Eastern Africa and Chile. That is crazy that William is driving now. Don't let him scratch that car, I want it back when I come off my mission. 

Speaking of facebook there is a meeting on Friday for all the mission leaders to learn how to properly use it.
Rumor has it that President Bernhisel is trying to get an ipad for every single missionary not just companionship!

That is great that you are talking about how Jesus is the rock of our faith.  Everything I teach MUST come back to Jesus Christ or else nothing can happen.

Thanks for the advice it can be frustrating when people reject you.
Not only is there anti-Mormon literature everywhere, but many people in the South identify missionaries as Jehovah's Witnesses. And some Jehovah's Witness missionaries like to argue and debate and try tear down other people's faith and belittle them. I got nothing against their beliefs but those few members of their faith that do that really create a lot of harm. As a result many people are very wary when they see us. But God is merciful and he will give more opportunities to learn the gospel to those who reject us.
I love you all and will email you next week.

Love Elder Lakey

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I think it's still worth sending cookies.

On Wednesday we were told we were moving on my Birthday! Last week was so crazy packing, planning, and teaching. The apartment we moved to is nicer, bigger and closer to the other Elders, the Church and most of our investigators. It was a nice birthday gift. This week was not the best week, because we had to take time away from proselyting  to pack and move and didn't get to talk to as many people as we had hoped. But, we should still have 2 maybe 3 baptisms on Saturday.

Transfer day is the 27th normally missionaries do not know if they are being transferred until the week before. However, there is a 2 transfer training program for new missionaries, so it is almost certain that neither me nor my companion is being transferred this transfer.

It's good to know that things back home are doing good.  I had a good birthday and I got to move on my birthday to a better apartment ( just by coincidence.) I did receive my card and packages, I got them the day before my birthday. Thanks for the cookies they were delicious. Yours were not broken but grandma's were. I think it's still worth sending cookies.

I like that quote from Mom because faith is action, and we must exercise our faith. I love that scripture (Moroni 7:46-47).  The other day it occurred to me, that in order to gain our salvation we must try to help others achieve theirs before we can worry about our own.

Thanks for your love and support and I will email you next week.
Love, Thomas

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

After the trial of our faith comes the success of the faithful

It's going pretty good out here, we still plan on having a family baptized on the 24th we were also going to baptize a marine but he is moving soon and his family is interested in the gospel in Southern California, so we won't be baptizing him but someone else will. Our investigators are progressing slowly but surely. Anti-mormon stuff is everywhere here, so we often have to spend significant parts of lessons correcting garbage they have found online or a "friend" told them about. But I have yet to lose anyone because of it and we got 7 people out to church and taught 13 lessons with investigators this week ( which is a ton) !!

While I have found some people I have yet to find anyone the traditional way. One investigator talked to some missionaries in the Chesapeake mission and he waved us down when we were biking by past him. Another we received a referral to a man and when we knocked on his door his girlfriend answers it and informs us that he up and left her randomly that same day while she was at work and this is after they have been living together for years and had a child but she is willing to listen to our message. We find stuff like this all the time. The person with one of the strongest testimony I have ever seen is a felon who is not allowed to be baptized yet because of his felony (we hope to be able to baptize him when his parole is up in October).  

The weather here is ultra unpredictable it may start sunny without a cloud in the sky in the morning and rain like crazy in the afternoon.  However those are the only types of weather they get here.  I am doing well there is nothing I really need expect for a GPS .The companionship has a cell phone that we are always using. The GPS we have dies really quickly and none of the roads are straight run, nor run north/south east/west and the road names are random and there are trees everywhere!! And they cause everywhere to look the same. 

I did get the package on Saturday it was pretty beat up, I'm guessing that they lost it for a couple of days, but the food was still good. I didn't get anything for my birthday, although I did my buy me a small discounted cake.

Elder McHan knows a Tyler Egbert who may or may not be related to the Egberts I know. And speaking of Egberts do you know where Andrew is serving right now? We have a Marine who is ready and willing to be baptized and he has been writing to his family and they want to hear about the gospel. The Marine is moving to a different base in September and when he does, the Marines may allow him to spend some time with his family or if he is station in Camp Pendleton he may be able to live with his family who live in Downey in Southern California and about half the city is in Andrew Egbert's mission.

Duck Creek sounds like it was really fun I have been in an ice cave before but never a lava tube. It is weird to think school is starting soon it seems like graduation was yesterday. 

I like that quote too (“After the trial of our faith comes the success of the faithful”).  I heard a talk yesterday where I learned that gratitude precedes a miracle. 

Here in the South you have soooo many different views of god, every church is different. One thing that really surprised me about the South is how many Jehovah's Witnesses there are they are everywhere!!! Many of my investigators have friends or family in that faith but none of them belong to it. In fact many people think we are Jehovah's witnesses missionaries.

Thanks for the birthday wishes I'm sure the packages will show up soon. And I will email you next week again.

Love, 
Elder Lakey

Monday, August 5, 2013

Man, through faith, might work mighty miracles

Thanks for the email. This week has been a lot more encouraging. We found some eager investigators this week. We committed one of the investigators to baptism on the first lesson for the 14th of September. The other one is eager to learn the gospel but he has some Word of Wisdom problems.  Another family is actually being baptized on the 24th of August. I think they will be ready by then. There are miracles that happen everyday, everywhere we just don't recognized them, we were not trying to contact either of our new investigators when we did. 

The temperature has been the same and the humidity has not changed, but I'm actually getting used to it.  The package has not yet come, but I'm sure it will come soon. I have been praying for Grandma and Grandpa and I'm sure that they will find a home soon. 

Have you read in this month Ensign the article about teaching. I found it very helpful. That's a great spiritual thought. The power of teaching depends on how meek and humble the teacher is, those are the people who have mighty miracles like it says in Mosiah 8:18  "Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings."

I love that scripture (D&C 6:36) and the longer you are on a mission the more dependent you are on the Lord. If I'm sounding more confident then it means that the promise in the last chapter in 1 John is coming true. ( I'll let you read that) I love you and I'll email you next week.

Love

Elder Lakey

Monday, July 29, 2013

Teach People not Lessons

The mission field is great, and the investigators are coming along fine. I'm still getting along with Elder McHan well. The bike is holding up, but we bike a lot and my butt is often sore. I actually didn't eat fried chicken this week. That's great about Ryan I actually never even heard of Roseville.  

We are currently teaching one family who wants to be baptized really, really, really badly. However they still needed to learn more about the restoration before we could baptize them. Telling them that we have to postpone their baptism was the hardest thing I had to do, we thought that they would get upset and stop investigating the church, but this is the Lord's work and he calmed them and we decided to set the Baptism date for the 17th of August. But we only did this after they had a talk with the Bishop and had the seeds of their testimony of prophets be planted ( hopefully permanently).
     
We also are teaching a newlywed family with husband inactive and wife is nonmember. They have no furniture in their apartment ( not even an actual bed) and today a random neighbor knocked on our door and said he was moving and had a spare bed and other things that I think they could use. We could have as many as 5 baptisms this month which is super rare to have that many in one month if everything goes well.

The ward is smaller than in Utah, and it's very fluid because the ward always has Marines and their families coming and going. I would hate to be the Bishop in this ward trying to make callings. Our Sundays are busy in the morning we actually have to wake up even earlier than usual ( ugh) but  we have no meetings in the afternoon, so that's usually when we do our studies and the evening is just normal proselyting. 

Other than the Military base there are not a lot of interesting places. Despite the fact we are so close to the ocean I have yet to actually see it. The military owns most of the coastline around here and unlike California, people don't tend live next to the beach anyways. I have yet to take that many pictures there has not been much worth taking pictures of. Don't misunderstand me I love Jacksonville its just not a tourist place, it's almost the exact opposite of it. I did hear about the alligator but I have no idea where it was at.

All the wards celebrate Pioneer Day with a multi-ward BBQ. I didn't go to it, we had some lessons and appointments during that time. Thanks for this week's message, it's told a lot because it so important. We often say "Teach People not Lessons". Thanks for the updates I'll talk next week.
Love

Thomas Lakey


Monday, July 22, 2013

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also (D&C 84:88)

More emails from Elder Lakey he is doing well and would love to hear from more of you.

Letter to Dad
It's nice here in Jacksonville and me and Elder McHan get along well. Elder Mickelson is in the 2nd ward and I'm in the 3rd ward. We actually have to share a car between the two companionships, so I see him a lot. I have talked to him about our dads but neither of us know how you two are friends.  (Elder Mickelson's dad and Thomas' dad are fraternity brothers)

I spend my whole morning studying each day and then in the afternoon and evening we go out and teach. Camp Lejeune is in my ward and we go into it fairly often but just like Hill AFB we just have a military member drive us in. We have 5 baptismal dates right now but I'm not sure if it's to happen. We are teaching a family with a baptismal date who just yesterday found Anti-Mormon stuff and are struggling with their faith and 2 marines with a baptismal date who can only teach on Sundays and are being deployed in late August.  Humidity is bad but overrated. 

 I'm nothing with out the spirit that's rule #1 of missionaries I think. We always examine and read My Purpose as a  Missionary (from Preach My Gospel), and  no where in it does it say to teach or convert. Thanks for the prayers I have been praying for you guys too.
Love, Thomas

Letter to Mom
The weather is not cooler it's all the same throughout the state same with the humidity. Me and Elder McHan are getting along well. We usually eat dinner with someone but Lunch and Breakfast by ourselves, there has been a lot of fried chicken that been served to us. I'm in the Jacksonville 3rd ward and Elder McHan has been in this area for one more transfer than me. There has been a lot of baptisms before I got here but I think we might have some difficulties with getting current investigators baptized. That's awesome about Cheyna (mission call) and that is a little scary about Darien (earthquakes in New Zealand). Thanks for all the news it sounds like things are going well back home.
Love Thomas

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jacksonville, NC!


No emails this week due to P Day being on the same day the new missionaries were traveling to Raleigh from the MTC.  But we did get a few pictures sent to us.  Looks like he will be teaching the gospel to lots of Marines.  Camp Lejeune is right next door.



Arriving in Raleigh after a long day of travel.

Group shot of the new Elders.


President Bernhisel and Elder Lakey at the airport.


Elder McHan from Gooding, Idaho is his first companion. 
They have been assigned to the Jacksonville, NC area.




Friday, July 12, 2013

They shall go forth for a little season (D&C 42:5-6)

Here is some of the latest news we have received from Thomas.

I got the cookies they sent me, and I'm grateful Valerie is sending something too, it's a big deal when someone gets a package at the MTC. I am leaving early monday morning ( ugh) if I recall right I will leave SLC at about 7:30 in the morning I'll try to call if I can, but please forgive me if I don't , I'll have a 45 minute layover in Detroit and then fly to Raleigh. 
We are told that everyone is either a non-LDS actor a convert using his/her actually story, or and actual inactive member, and they won't tell us either way who we are teaching are. I'm glad everything about my bike is taken care of when you stress there is no spirit.

In a separate letter he talks about his first week in the MTC

The MTC is busy and intense because we only have 12 days to learn everything.  I feel bad because there not that much time to even take picture, I think I have taken a grand total of 2 pictures. The food is OK, but gets old because they always serve the same stuff. We did not get to welcome greenies that's for the foreign language missionaries today because they have alot more time at the MTC, but I did see the other Greenhaulgh twin when he came in, just by chance.  
My comp. Elder Wilkenson is going to Raleigh with me and that's normal for most companions to be heading to the same mission at the same time with the same language. Elder Lynch is going with most of the district to the Mesa mission.  It says there are 17 missionaries traveling with us but I'm not sure what that exactly means because there are only about 8 or so missionaries going to the Raleigh mission at the MTC. I think the group include missionaries that are going to other missions but will travel with us as part of the same group. For example, I layover in Detroit so I might be traveling with missionaries called to the Detroit or Lansing missions.

The temple is closed for remodeling for the next couple months so, no Provo temple for me but I did walk around the grounds of it.  Thanks on the baggage reminder I willl keep it in mind.  I will send home pictures once there's enough photos worth sending home, and thanks for the more money I have been getting conflicting reports on whether I can bring both my backpack and carry on onto the plane.  
Give Rascal some meat for me and don't let William scratch up the car too much, I want it back when I'm home. And thanks for checking my AP score it was a really easy test. 
Thanks for the scriptures we are told that if we forget ourselves and our concerns and not stress that not only we will have the spirit when we teach, but that we won't even have to worry about if the thoughts my head are from me or the spirit because the only thoughts in our heads are the spirits. And also that everything will work out ( D&C 31 ).






Friday, July 5, 2013

First MTC Email

Hey this is my first chance to email you guys back. My companion is Elder Wilkenson from Mesa, Arizona. All the elders and sisters in my district are either going to Raleigh, NC or going to Mesa, Az. Me and my companion are getting along very well he was named district leader but yet I'm been called the senior companion because my last name is higher in the alphabet than his which is a little weird. I also met Elder Lynch he used to live in West Point, Ut. And while we never knew each other we had alot of the same friends I had in Junior High and High school but he moved after 6th grade so we never actually met till now,  we even had a crush on the same girl but at different times!

 It's very busy in the MTC and it seems crazy that I only been here 2 days it feels a lot longer than that, I'm glad I have P-day today. Yesterday we had a fourth of July meeting and watched 17 miracles and then we went outside and watched the stadium of Fire. We weren't able to see much because giant trees were in our way but it was still nice. I also got to see Elder Hill and Elder Boyle I'm kinda of jealous because those two were put in the same district. On the day you guys dropped me off I saw alot of people I knew from back home and every single one of them asked where Elder Hill is which I found funny.

I also have a basketball player from Davis High who has some basketball scholarships and a BYU Track and Field Thrower in my district. The average height in the district among Elders  is about 6'1 I have been feeling rather short. There are three sisters in my district because one of them did not show up for some strange reason.

 Next week on Monday we will start teaching people some of the people we will teach are either actors, real investigators or very inactive people which means me and my companion must always try our best and always have the spirit to be with us.

Overall I have been doing good, I'm taking care of myself and not regretting my decision to come here


Love, Elder Lakey

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And so it begins