Thursday, September 24, 2015

4 Weeks Down, 2 to go...ish

What a great week this was! So much has happened so I'm gonna get started right away! Last Friday, we went to the university again! Highlight of my day! First, we got called over by some girls like right off the bat. (surprise surprise) Unknowingly, we just walked on over there to say hey and whatnot. They asked us, "Who are you guys?" We explained to them we were missionaries of Jesus Christ. We asked if we could share a message with her and she said Yes! She said she didn't have a lot of time so she said to just speak in English so we could go as fast as possible. It went really good and we handed our a BoM and a pamphlet. We got her number and it was awesome! The next people we taught were just a big group of kids hanging out by some benches. (Older than us) They were looking at us from afar and were obviously talking about us probably like, "whats up with the gringos?" So I yelled, "Hey! Que pasa!?" and started to walk over there across the street. We started talking and joking around as we got to know them a little. And then we started our lesson. We passed out like 7-8 pamphlets and asked one of them to start reading the first paragraph. Surprisingly they just started to read paragraph after paragraph until we had read the whole pamphlet! We bore testimony and them passed out ALL of our copies of the BoM and bore testimony of that too! They were all super excited and receptive.

Sundays are again, the best! Me and Elder Francis gave a lesson about humility. We went for like an hour and people cried!! You know its a good lesson when people cry. MMMMHMMMM. Later we watched Elder Holland talk. He is the best speaker like ever. One quote, "I INSIST THAT YOU INSIST THAT YOU HAVE AT LEAST ONE CONVERT. AND THAT CONVERT IS YOU." I always feel stronger after he speaks. We also watched The Testaments. That movie is awesome.

This week the other Elders were going into the field so they were pulling pranks on us. Like. Every. Single. Night. They put alarm clocks somewhere in our room hidden and set them to 4:20 in the morning. ha. ha. ha. very funny. -_- They got into our room late at night because there are 3 keys to room 411. (our room) Its been passed down for like years so literally everyone who stays in room 411 gets messed with. We got them back though!. We put mattresses in the shower, and locked the door so they couldn't get in there to shower or to get the bed. We locked the bathroom door too and moved pictures and pillows and sheets around. It was really really funny. Elder Tarr was SOOOO mad. Also I used my pickpocket skills to lift the key from one guys pocket to room 420! We are gonna do the alarm clock thing too, along with one from Dad's playbook. Beef Bouillon Cubes in their shower-heads. They are gonna smell like beef ALL DAY.

On Tuesday I challenged my district to speak 100 percent in Spanish. Everyone agreed, it was even a district goal. But Every Single One gave up. I'm really disappointed but at least I did it.

OH! and I cut my own hair last night! It looks really good! I'm surprised because I've never done it before!

All I know is that the gospel is true. I know it with my whole being. I know I'm here for a reason I just have to find it. These people are really receptive to the gospel and that's a huge blessing. In fact, 40% of all people who just SEE the missionaries know that the church is true. And that's a worldwide statistic not just here. Love you guys! Some General Authority said, "Serving a full-time mission not only blesses you, but also EVERYONE who loves you." I don't know but that's pretty awesome!

Love y'all!
Elder Larkin

This pic was submitted by Elder Francis with the caption
"I don't think the barber here understood my broken Spanish"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Week 3 Down!

Exerpt from The Living Christ..."Such then is the need of a Redeemer, for without Him mankind would forever remain in a fallen state, and as to hope of eternal progression would be inevitably lost. The mortal probation is provided as an opportunity for advancement; but so great are the difficulties and the dangers, so strong is the influence of evil in the world, and so weak is man in resistance thereto, that without the aid of a power above that of humanity no soul would find its way back to God from whom it came. The need of a Redeemer lies in the inability of man to raise himself from the temporal to the spiritual plane, from the lower kingdom to the higher. In this conception we are not without analogies in the natural world. We recognize a fundamental distinction between inanimate and living matter, between the inorganic and the organic, between the lifeless mineral on the one hand and the living plant or animal on the other. Within the limitations of its order the dead mineral grows by accretion of substance, and may attain a relatively perfect condition of structure and form as is seen in the crystal. But mineral matter, though acted upon favorably by the forces of nature—light, heat, electric energy and others—can never become a living organism; nor can the dead elements, through any process of chemical combination dissociated from life, enter into the tissues of the plant as essential parts thereof. But the plant, which is of a higher order, sends its rootlets into the earth, spreads its leaves in the atmosphere, and through these organs absorbs the solutions of the soil, inspires the gases of the air, and from such lifeless materials weaves the tissue of its wondrous structure. No mineral particle, no dead chemical substance has ever been made a constituent of organic tissue except through the agency of life. We may, perhaps with profit, carry the analogy a step farther. The plant is unable to advance its own tissue to the animal plane. Though it be the recognized order of nature that the “animal kingdom” is dependent upon the “vegetable kingdom” for its sustenance, the substance of the plant may become part of the animal organism only as the latter reaches down from its higher plane and by its own vital action incorporates the vegetable compounds with itself. In turn, animal matter can never become, even transitorily, part of a human body, except as the living man assimilates it, and by the vital processes of his own existence lifts, for the time being, the substance of the animal that supplied him food to the higher plane of his own existence. The comparison herein employed is admittedly defective if carried beyond reasonable limits of application; for the raising of mineral matter to the plane of the plant, vegetable tissue to the level of the animal, and the elevation of either to the human plane, is but a temporary change; with the dissolution of the higher tissues the material thereof falls again to the level of the inanimate and the dead. But, as a means of illustration the analogy may not be wholly without value.

So, for the advancement of man from his present fallen and relatively degenerate state to the higher condition of spiritual life, a power above his own must cooperate. Through the operation of the laws obtaining in the higher kingdom man may be reached and lifted; himself he cannot save by his own unaided effort.  A Redeemer and Savior of mankind is beyond all question essential to the realization of the plan of the Eternal Father, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”; and that Redeemer and Savior is Jesus the Christ, beside whom there is and can be none other.


We need Christ in every aspect of our lives, this is without question.
Another awesome week! We went to the university last Friday and talked to the college kids there. First we met a guy named Oliver. He didn't believe in God or anything but he said we could talk to him anyway. We talked about families being together forever and he said he definitely would tell his friends and his mother because she would be really interested. Next we talked to a guy named Ito. He broke his leg being hit by a car and apparently both his parents are dead, he just wanted some food or something. I felt really bad that we couldn't help him with money or anything but I asked if he read the Bible or the BoM, and he said he would except he didn't have one because he was poor. I gave him one so fast it wasn't even funny. I knew and testified that it would help him in his life in every aspect. Another person we talked to was a woman named Haidee (Heidi.) She said she talked to the missionaries about 19 years ago - so i asked if she had read the BoM. She didn't have one anymore because she used to live on the other side of the island (Santiago) and didn't bring it with her. Another enthusiastic person and another BoM placed! She sounded really interested. The last guy we talked to was the best I thought. He actually spoke English so we got to fully communicate with him. He fully believes in God and Jesus and he said he used to attend church when he was 16. He said something I really liked. "In our daily lives we often forget why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing in our lives. When it comes down to it, Christ is the center of it all." We explained that it is for that exact reason for why we are here on a mission for 2 years in the D.R. To invite others to Christ. I feel like we were meant to meet him that day. I am so grateful for this gospel and everything in it.

So I sang in the Choir! Me and a bunch of others sang Come thou fount of every blessing and it was very spiritual and appropriate  for sacrament. We watched the testimony of Jeffery R. Holland on the Book of Mormon {HERE} and I still cant believe how strong the spirit was. Everyone should watch it if you get the chance. In priesthood we gave our most important scripture to them and I gave Alma 48:17 (Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men)...and how Mom told me to replace Moroni's name with mine. Hah! President Romney said that is probably one of the best compliments my future wife will say to me. To be her "Captain Moroni." 

Later we watched an MTC devotional with David A Bednar speaking. He talked about spiritual gifts and how my family can pray for me to help learn the language! That would be really great! One quote from that devotional was this. "I'll give you 100 years, unlimited resources, as many professors, editors, and scholars as you want and I promise you, you could not write a single page of the Book of Mormon". Wow. Later that night we watched Meet The Mormons. Mom and Dad I want to just thank you for all you have ever done and I am working so hard to show it. I cant wait to tell you everything in person.  I have been thinking and this is definitely the hardest, yet best thing I've ever done. Even harder than Rapport. But yeah! Thats been my week!

New photos on Dropbox! Loved all the pictures you guys have been sending! LOVE ALL OF YOU!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Second Week!

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I wont look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. Im finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on his presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I wont give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up to the cause of Christ. I must go till  He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear." -Henry B. Eyring

This is my goal for going out of my way to come all the way here to the Dominican Republic. To come spend 2 years of my life in service. I know what I have to do and because of what I know I have the fervor and zeal to go out and change lives. This is the right thing.
Now to the fun stuff! ;)
We have been so blessed to have our "Investigators." They totally are preparing us for the field because they are so so so so hard to teach! Well, that might be because I'm still learning Español. It is coming along a TON though! Every day I pray to God and thank him for the opportunity to be in this beautiful country to teach this people and to have the gift of tongues. I dont even know how to explain it but its just amazing. We got some new ones to teach and their names are Ramón and Silvio. Let me tell ya about them! Ramón thinks we are apart of the C.I.A. WHAT?? He thinks The Book of Mormon brainwashes people and whatnot. We had to convince him that we arent and we gave him a Book of Mormon to show him it wouldn't brainwash him. haha! Silvio is interesting too. He doesn't go to church because he thinks all churches are businesses. We had to explain to him as well. When he prays? Its crazy. He gets really into it and starts waving his hands around and putting them on our heads and saying stuff like HALLELUJAH and GLORIA and stuff like that. We're gonna have to teach him about reverence. Its all super fun though!
Sometimes we go to the Temple (across the parking lot) and read on the steps. It really is a blessing to have the scriptures and the temple to go to. Just lets me know that the work is being done and by who else than myself?! Its awesome :)
So there's been something going around the MTC and EVERYONE is getting sick, including myself but I'll get to the details in a sec. Ive had the great opportunity of giving a few blessings to people here that were sick and the signs of improvement are I swear almost  immediate. I gave one to a Sister in my district and another to an Elder. We are all getting better now! haha!
So when I got it I thought it was going to be like usual, I dont actually get sick I just get a few cold sores (thanks grandpa Mackley! get better!) but NOOOOOOOOOO. I got the worst cold I have ever had in my life. I was in bed for like 3 days!! I only ate like 2 ½ pieces of bread and my temperature was 102.5 or something close to that and it was absolutely miserable. I got a blessing though from Elder Tarr and I have been recovering. I still have a killer sore throat that makes it hurt to swallow still but its getting better!

We went to the store the other day and let me tell you, THIS COUNTRY IS B-E-A-UTIFUL. Its so vibrant and full of life. And okay, the parks here are like 1000x cooler than american parks. The actual store was crazy cause we were all running around trying to find stuff (snacks) and the people were like, where did all these white kids come from?!?! We saw some missionaries in the field and they told us if we were fun and chill with the people that it would be the funnest, best, spiritual 2 years of our lives and that made me really excited.

MOM thank you for the clippers!!!!! They have come in handy! Haha I'm basically the MTC barber now because I cut some hair! Everyones been asking me and I think I should start charging them!! I dont really know what I'm doing but ive pretty much got it from you cutting my hair all the time!

Well this is all I have for now!


Elder Bryson Larkin


Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Week!

Hey everyone! This first week at the MTC has been very interesting. First off it feels like I've been here for a month. Its super weird but I know its good. We are really being prepared for the field. The days are so so so long and we all kinda want to get out but there's a problem, none of us know Spanish!! We learn every day down stairs in a room we call "the cave." We have 2 teachers named Hermano Ramirez and Hermano Rogrigez. One teaches in the morning and one teaches at night. They are totally awesome and inspiring and we progress every day. At night we have this thing called "prayer reunion." We get announcements and then we say goodnight and go to bed. "Buenas noches, bon wei, good night, buen dormir, hasta mañana!"
We have a bunch of Hatians here as well and they speak French/Creol or whatever. They are awesome and I love them. We don't really understand each other that well but its getting better! The other day at gymtime we were playing soccer during a tropical storm. It was raining like crazy and the wind almost blew you over but that didn't even matter it was so much fun. The Hatians are really really good and all the white kids (everyone else) are not. haha! The weather here is absolutely amazing. ALWAYS WARM. Ummmm yes.
Every night we have a thing called "story time" after prayer that everyone goes to. Me and Elder Francis started it so yeah its pretty awesome. We tell a bunch of stories about various topics. Muy bien. In our room we have Me, Elder Francis, Elder Olds, and Elder Stoeltzing. They are all awesome and we have a lot of fun. During gymtime  we all go out and play basketball or inside to play fooseball. The food here is really really good, like seriously freakin awesome. Apparently we're all gonna gain like 20 pounds while we're here. The thing is I've already gained 12, so I'm going for like 35. Haha idk. There's this thing we make called Pan Dulces and you can literally feel yourself getting fatter as you eat it. You grab yourself some bread, slather on a bunch of nutella, peanut butter, and like 5 oreos. Once you have that you smash it, and fry it. Yep. Everyone should try it.
The spirit is so strong here you don't even know. I've cried like 10 times while I've been here, and as you might know. I don't cry. I'm in the choir here and its going good! I forget what song we are singing but it sounds really good and it invites the spirit. Today we went to the Temple which is like 30 seconds (literally) away. I cant even explain to everyone how wonderful it was. Crying was everywhere. Cant wait to go when I get married.
One thing I have to say is that this gospel is so very true and that the gift of tongues is real. If you don't know what it is, look it up! I've been helped to speak this crazy language when I woulda thought it to be impossible. Every night we teach this fake investigator in Spanish and it is so hard sometimes. Richard, is one of our teachers dressed up in a gigantic afro pretending to be a 16 year old punk. HAHA We cant seem to get him to do the things we commit him to do and its frustrating but I know its just preparing me for later. I love all of you guys! Send this to everyone and send me pictures of what you guys are doing!!!
Elder Bryson Larkin