Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week Sixteen - New Companion

Elder Lovgren is doing really well. The second transfer just ended and with the beginning of the third transfer he got a new companion. Here's what he said this week:
  • What's up fam - it's Elder Lovgren! I'm here on my balcony and it's the end of week one transfer three. I've been out here a little over three months now and it just so happens to be that I'm a daddy! (I'm gonna train someone!) Pretty big news! This week was the week of trials, growth, and so much joy! I really feel like a missionary now - kinda funny to say that because I've been living it for three months - but having the opportunity to train someone else is a completely different experience. This week was tough but it was also so good.

  • He's 19 - a young guy - but I truly believe we were meant to be companions because he's grown in so many ways this past week. Maybe right now he's new, but I guarantee that by the end of our training he's gonna be a completely different person. He's gonna completely step out of his shell. I know he has the potential to become something great!

  • This was the heaviest transfer so far. One of the AP's finished his mission as did so many missionaries that I know. This was the group of missionaries I've gotten closest too and it wasn't emotional but like, "Dang! I know every single one of them!" That's a first. Usually the ones going home have been missionaries that are old and I don't really know them, but they were missionaries I knew well and invested time with. It was crazy to see them go.  

  • I have a strong belief that the spirit truly doesn't dwell in unholy temples. I also believe it pertains to us - our bodies - because our body is a temple. That's why we eat foods that are healthy. That's why we don't partake in doing drugs or doing other things to harm ourselves. I also believe it pertains to the environments where we live. The spirit can't dwell in a home that's super cluttered and messy. You can tell an entire difference when you go in someone's home that's super dirty, dingy (and you can tell they struggle), or when you go into a home which is clean and they take the time to have an environment where you can feel the spirit.

  • I took having a clean environment to heart and was like "I want my 'greenie' to be able to feel the spirit and grow this transfer, so I'm starting with cleaning this house from top to bottom." When he walks in the door I want him to know it's where he should be. Walking into a clean home is so refreshing! This apartment is a home where I actually feel it's mine. This is a big moment for me. This is the first home where I'm in charge. I'm not paying the bills (probably different) but the fact that it's "my space" and I have to take responsibility to clean it is really cool - I love it! I'm planning on hanging up photos and making it a place where when we come in and do our personal and companionship studies - what we do in the morning - it will push the work even more. 
Elder Lovgren at the MTC

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Week Fifteen - Facts

An audio letter didn't come this week but here are some facts about LDS missionaries. This list is only about Elder (young boy) missionaries and doesn't include information about Sister, couple, ward, or service missionaries. Needless to say, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a missionary church. Every member can be a missionary in some way, but the following facts are about dedicated, full-time LDS missionary work. Enjoy:
  • An LDS Elder missionary serves for 104 weeks (two years).
  • LDS missionary qualifications include: at least 18, graduated from high school, and unmarried.
  • There are 85,147 LDS missionaries around the world.
  • LDS missionaries speak in various languages and could be called to any land to speak any language, even American Sign Language (ASL). Currently, missionaries speak one of at least 50 languages.
  • Each LDS mission has a Mission President and his wife who serve full-time for three years.
  • Every LDS mission has two AP's (Assistants to the President) who help the Mission President with many things including transfers.
  • Transfers occur every six weeks. LDS missionaries could be transferred to any area in the mission and if they're transferred they get a new companion. 
  • LDS missionaries follow a schedule of times to wake up, study, do missionary work, and go to bed, as well as what day to have preparation day (p-day).
  • On p-day LDS missionaries prepare for the week (get hair cuts, do laundry, go grocery shopping), as well as play sports, write letters, rest, send emails ... and basically anything fun. They wear regular (not missionary) clothes but always their name tags because they're missionaries even on p-days :).
  • LDS missionaries receive training before they go to their mission. The length of time a missionary is in the Mission Training Center (MTC) varies. Missionaries could be in the MTC anywhere from two weeks to four months depending on how well they know their mission language. However no matter how long they're at the MTC, the main focus is learning to testify of Jesus Christ. There are 15 Mission Training Centers around the world.
Elder Lovgren is called to serve in the California Irvine Mission, English speaking. He will serve until 2017.

For more information about missionaries click here.
For more information about Mission Training Centers click here.

Elder Cannon, Elder Lovgren, and Elder Cedeńo

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week Fourteen - Fun Times

I want to start right of the bat by posting what anyone who knows Elder Lovgren will understand:
  • Guess what?! I'm going skateboarding tomorrow (Monday, p-day) at the skate park! Wooohooo! Oh man!! Elder Cedeńo has a skateboard and some other Elders out here have one laying around (it's actually a good skateboard!) We're going out skating with a member tomorrow! (Don't worry, we're wearing helmets and not doing anything gnarly!) I can't tell you how good it feels to go skate out here. I'm in California and I'm going to skate!! P-day tomorrow is gonna be amazing - I'll send some photos.
He's working hard but is also having some fun :) Another investigator got baptized last week and it was a great experience for him to attend. This week he talked about the heart and peace of mind. Here's what he said:
  • God isn't there with a checklist (like I said last week) waiting for good things to happen, but are we doing good things for people? Are our works good? Are they of Christ? Are they of His will? Are we obedient? Okay, sure, we're good people but do we hate doing it, or are we truly happy to do it? 
  • I'm a firm believer that Mom, you going through MS is so the Lord can see the desire of the Lovgren hearts. Regarding our hearts, what are we turning to? Are we turning to something temporal that will only give us happiness in this life or are we turning to something eternal that will give us everlasting joy? 
  • The gospel is not here to hold you down, control you, or make you not fun. The gospel is for you to have more freedom. It comes down to having peace of mind. In this day and age there's a lot going on in people's heads. There's a lot of confusion, despair, anger, and anguish. Those things just take energy.  When thinking sad things - stirring them up in the head - instead of thinking about God it takes away our energy and also takes away our energy to care for family, to care for other people, and to care about Jesus Christ. 
tbt - pic submitted to SLC with Elder Lovgren's missionary application

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Week Thirteen - Miracles

It's been almost three months since Elder Lovgren began serving his mission and I miss my 'little buddy' but am happy for him to have this life changing experience. His message this week said a miracle and how the timing of everything happened so perfectly. He said:

     Miracles
  • I think I'm starting to understand what a miracle is. I think a miracle is seeing the Lord's hand in our lives. Jesus Christ is a miracle - the fact that he chose to come to earth, sacrifice, and perform the Atonement is a miracle. 
     Miracle Experience
  • An experience I had this week showed me the Lord's hand. We were on exchanges with one of the AP's (Assistant to the Mission President) - so it was me, Elder Cedeńo, and Elder Corcus.  On that day, Elder Cedeńo and Elder Corcus decided to fast. They had been fasting all day - showing the Lord they were willing to give up food to let Him fill them instead. 
     Miracle Experience, continued - take two
  • Elder Cedeńo and Elder Corcus were doing a baptismal interview at the building. I went to go get something from the car. As I was walking to go outside I passed this lady and this girl inside the church. The lady goes, "Hi Elder! This is great! Talk to this young sweet lady here, she got lost looking for the Catholic church." The the lady kind of pushed the girl out and the girl was holding a Book of Mormon.

  • I was like, "Sweet!" and asked her, "What's your name? Where are you from? Did you find the church? and other questions. She said her name, that she just moved here two days prior from Canada, and that she was going to UCI for computer science. What happened was she was in Irvine (about 15 minutes from her school) looking for the Catholic church - which really is right down the street - but she came to our church instead, ran into this lady who gave her a Book of Mormon, then she ran into me.
     Miracle Experience, continued - take three
  • As I'm talking to her, Elder Cedeńo met us, introduced himself, and we continued talking. She asked, "So what do Mormons believe?" and we were like, "That's a great question!" We had a Restoration pamphlet and so taught her the first lesson.

  • We shared that God's our loving Heavenly Father. That the gospel blesses families. That families are central to His plan. That Heavenly Father reveals His gospel in every dispensation (period of time). That He calls Prophets and Apostles to preach and speak in the name of God through the Priesthood. That Christ established his church on earth but his church was lost after many years - after the Prophet and Apostles were killed and He was crucified. That time's were twisted and there were the dark ages. That in this dispensation (the time we live in now) God revealed His gospel again to Joseph Smith who had an experience as a 14 year old boy where he saw God and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees -he was praying about what church he should join. He had read in the Bible (in James 1:5) "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God" so he knelt in a grove of trees and saw God, the Father and Jesus Christ.

  • In the vision he saw he said, "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other - This is my beloved son. Hear him!" They instructed Joseph that he need not join any church but that Jesus Christ's church was going to be restored on the earth. Later, Joseph received the same Priesthood that Jesus Christ gave to his apostles. He was led to the Book of Mormon - ancient scripture from two civilizations in the Americas that had encounters with the Lord. 
     Miracle Experience, continued - take four
  • The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ is real. Jesus Christ lives now. His Priesthood is on earth. Christ walks with us on our journey - He knows us individually. The Book of Mormon has a promise from God (we can pray to know if it's true and He'll tell us in our hearts.) Why would we want to know if the Book of Mormon is true? Because we want to return to Heavenly Father. Because we want to have peace of mind. We have the amazing opportunity of choosing for ourselves to know what is true.
     Reward of the Miracle Experience
  • We taught her right there and seeing the look on her face and the smile in her eyes was great! She said, "Thank you, I really appreciate that." We asked her if she'd ever prayed before and she said she had. We said, "Do you believe Heavenly Father answers your prayers? Do you think He hears you?" She said, "I don't really know. I've never felt that." We told her that the Holy Ghost is how we're taught - that he speaks our language.

  • We asked her if she'd ever had the spirit in her life and she said, "No, I don't think I've ever felt the Holy Ghost in my life. To be honest, when I attend the Catholic church I fall asleep." (I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I fall asleep in church, too.) We said, "We don't want to keep you from the rest of your night but could we get your number and maybe meet up and continue to discuss more? We have a message we want to share with you about faith, families, and Jesus Christ." She said, "Of course. I would love that." We got her number and said goodbye and I was thinking "What a miracle - that was out of the blue!"
     Precisely the Miracle
  • The miracle part of that experience was the lady who introduced me to her lives far away from the Stake Center but happened to be there because her son was doing something with one of the Stake Presidents. To pass the time, she looked for a Book or Mormon to read. She found a Book of Mormon and it just so happened that the girl asked her, "Is this the Catholic church?" She said, "No, this is the LDS church" and "Oh, here's a Book of Mormon" - giving her the book in her hand. She was just doing that when I walked by. 
Elder Cedeńo, Elder Lovgren, Investigator, and Elder Cannon on their investigator's baptism day