Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving (a hamburger thing)

First off my Thanksgiving consisted of walking... to people that weren't home. Basically everybody. And then we went and played baseball with some kids we contacted and then we went home! It was a very rough day let me say that. And after that I ate a sandwich (a hamburger thing), a bag of Doritos, some french fries, and a coke. Yep! That kinda sucked! HAHA but its all okay! Sounds like Thanksgiving was very very fun! I wish I could have been there for Grandmas cooking!   

And thank you for the Christmas money! I was completely broke!  We had to do a lot of traveling and taking taxis and that is expensive. Oh and with the money!  We are gonna give money to a family so they (the mom and dad) can get married!  It's gonna be awesome because she can't get baptized without marriage, you know?  The Language is still hard for me! It really is coming along great, but I have a lot of time still before I will be completely comfortable. The words are coming easier and easier and I learn new words all the time!

We really need prayers for our investigators. They all have a date to be baptized on the 19th of December! We are going to have a "noche blanca" or "white night" and have all the Stakes baptisms moved to that date in December! We are probably going to have a big chunk of the baptisms all on our own! And if everyone gets baptized, I will have 14 in 4 months. And I'm still being trained!!

This is my 2nd transfer here and Empey will be transferred after this one. I'll stay here in Pedro Brand and he will go somewhere else! I will probably get a Spanish speaker and not an american so my Spanish will really improve! 

It has been pretty rainy here! The rainy season lasts from August till the spring, and then it just gets hot! And surprisingly it's pretty cold in the mornings! Well not cold, but when it's so hot you sleep with no sheets, and then it rains during the night, you get pretty cold when it's wet and there's a fan blowing on you full blast. haha.

Our apartment is pretty... okay! Now that we deep cleaned it anyways. I would send pictures but I have 0 time and we have a family home evening to go teach tonight so I didn't bring my camera! Plus its raining right now and the internet SUCKS.

I am very happy here! I feel the Holy Ghost with me all the time and we are working very hard! So hard I don't have much time to be homesick! That's pretty good! We have lots of fun on our way to our next lessons (mainly because we don't have time to do anything else haha) and we are just out here serving!

And I am so sorry I can't send pictures. Today the internet keeps going out and I am not able to send them! It sucks but that's life!  I promise when I have the chance I will send them!  I actually took pictures of everything! It's pretty good!
Anyways!  Love you!!! Hope you guys have an amazing break off school and everything!

Elder Bryson Larkin 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Counting My Blessings and Giving Thanks

Alma 26

27  Y cuando nuestros corazones se hallaban desanimados, y estábamos a punto de regresar, he aquí, el Señor nosconsoló, y nos dijo: Id entre vuestros hermanos los lamanitas, y sufrid con paciencia vuestras aflicciones, y os daré el éxito.
31  He aquí, ahora podemos extender la vista y ver los frutos de nuestra labor, y ¿son pocos? Os digo que no; sonmuchos. Sí, y podemos testificar de su sinceridad, por motivo de su amor por sus hermanos y por nosotros también.
35  Ahora bien, ¿no tenemos razón para regocijarnos? Sí, os digo que desde el principio del mundo no ha habido hombres que tuviesen tan grande razón para regocijarse como nosotros la tenemos; sí, y mi gozo se desborda, hasta el grado de gloriarme en mi Dios; porque él tiene todopoder, toda sabiduría y todo entendimiento; él comprendetodas las cosas, y es un Ser misericordioso, aun hasta la salvación, para con aquellos que quieran arrepentirse y creer en su nombre.
36  Ahora bien, si esto es jactancia, así me jactaré; porque esto es mi vida y mi luz, mi gozo y mi salvación, y mi redención de la angustia eterna. Sí, bendito sea el nombre de mi Dios que ha tenido presente a este pueblo, el cual es una rama del árbol de Israel, y se ha perdido de su tronco en una tierra extraña; sí, digo yo, bendito sea el nombre de mi Dios que ha velado por nosotros, peregrinos en una tierra extraña.
37  Ahora bien, hermanos míos, vemos que Dios se acuerda de todo pueblo, sea cual fuere la tierra en que se hallaren; sí, él tiene contado a su pueblo, y sus entrañas de misericordia cubren toda la tierra. Éste es mi gozo y mi gran agradecimiento; sí, y daré gracias a mi Dios para siempre. Amén.
Alma 26
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
 31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of everypeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
This week has been a pretty rough one. Let me tell you. Each day we had trouble keeping our teaching appointments with our investigators. I have no idea why! It's been weird. We have however, gotten some awesome lessons nevertheless. We have a few new investigators from references and they are AWESOME!!! They have really shot forward into the gospel and they've been reading, praying, and coming to church! Another kid that we taught yesterday, has been coming to church for the past 3 weeks and this week he kept asking us ¨when are you gonna come to my house and teach me?¨ When we finally had time and we were in the area, we went over to his house. One of the first things he said to us was, ¨Yo quiero ser Mormón¨ ¨I want to be Mormon.¨ He had already told his parents this and they are totally on board! His mother came out and said, ¨Oh you're the missionaries! He has been talking about your church nonstop for a week.¨ I told him that he is Bacano, (or awesome) and we are gonna get him what he needs. The gospel of course!  I'm so excited to teach him because he basically sought us out, and that doesn't happen very often!

So our investigators mom lives in the US and she THOUGHT she had a problem with our church. Come to find out, she thought we were the FLDS church, and yeah! That would be a problem! They are a whole bunch of messed up! So tonight we are going over to their house to hopefully call their mother and explain to her that we are just the regular, awesome Mormons, not the Devil Church (LOL). With all luck, we will be able to baptize them this Saturday!!

This week was hard yes, but it just brought me to my knees to pray to my Father, to humble me. We do have challenges, but God always provides. I prayed every day that some way we would have success. It was hard, but in the end, our fruits? ¨they are many.¨ In this I am like Alma and The Sons of Mosiah. I boast in my God. This is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. This Thanksgiving I am away from my home in a strange land, but I know God is watching over me. I know that God watches over all his children. And I know that I have been sent here to teach this people in their own tongue.

Alma 29
For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.

At this time of the year you know I'd much rather be eating turkey and watching football and being with family but I'm over here in the middle of the ocean! What a great time in my life! haha. I really do love this opporotunity I have to serve my Lord and Redeemer. This definitely is the best 2 years! I love it here so so much. I am so blessed to be here. You know, the last few days my time at Rapport have popped into my head. And that was so amazing and I am so glad I did that. It has really helped on my mission! I don't even think about not talking to people and I know that it might seem hard but in reality it isn't. Also the ¨Story of the Pigs¨ comes to mind. Why bother complaining when in just a short time I'll be in my bed sleeping, or in just 2 years I'll be back at home. I might as well just work my hardest and do what I can now so I feel good about it and have 0 regrets. 

I am so thankful to be a missionary, and I am so thankful for every blessing I have including my amazing family, friends, companion, and God. I hope all of you have an amazing Thanksgiving!   I'm not really sure if they even celebrate it here!!

Love you all! And remember to send me pictures! I miss all you guys!
Elder Larkin

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sickness, Puppies, and a sad turn {Week 11}

Wow. Can't believe I've been here for 3 Months! It's been so long yet so short I don't get it! It is though, absolutely the best time of my life and I love every second of it!

Elder Empey got sick the week after I did! He was puking his guts up after everything he ate. Even water and Gatorade! So you know how if you're throwing up in the US its like yellow (bile) if you don't have food in your body? Well here its like lime green. Don't ask why I don't know. Its pretty weird.  We are all better now though! Sometimes the DR just gets you! Oh well! And this week I watched a puppy get run over by a motorcycle. Probably one of the saddest things I've ever seen here. We tried to grab it before it ran in front of it, but that just made it run faster. Super depressing. I feel so bad for the dogs here. I mean it would have lived a crappy and sad life here in the DR anyways but still...

So our investigators, cannot be baptised on the 28th of Nov. like we planned. Their mother needs to give consent for them to be baptized. She lives in the US and for some reason she has an issue with the Church. It is very sad but we have not given up hope! We've asked their grandmother (whom they live with) to speak to their mother and try to get permission. Also Elder Empey and I have been fasting for them. Fasting so that their mother will have her heart softened. 

D&C 105:27 And will soften the hearts of the people, as did the heart of Pharaohfrom time to time, until my servant Joseph Smith, 
Jun., and mine elders, whom have appointed, shall have time to 
gather up the strength of my house

I have a good feeling about the rest of this month and the month of December! Its gonna be awesome!! I've heard that the work picks up in this time of the year, so I'm excited!

I hope all of you have an awesome week and a good holiday! Love you all!

Elder Bryson Larkin

Monday, November 9, 2015

Got Dengue? {Week 10}

No? Well I do! And let me tell ya, it SUCKS hardcore. 2 days ago I woke up and I just wanted to die. You get it from mosquito's and the symptoms are: Massive headaches, whole body aches, and a very high fever. I got up to 102! Oh well! I am slowly getting better now! I just hope I don't get any worse or ever get it again!!

This week we baptized our investigator! She has been waiting for 3 ish years to get baptized and she finally got to! We had to go to her house, we built a door and a floor, and then move all her stuff over to her new house! It was kind of crazy but I loved every second of it :) She finally could do the thing she's been waiting for. One thing we found out is that she has lost 3 out of 5 children. It was so sad hearing that. I could only think of how beautiful the gospel is because we can return to live with our whole family forever! I can't stress how important that is to the gospel. It's one of the main things I want to share while I'm here. I love that fact and I know that if everyone knew of that truth, this world would be a different place.

This week was really hard to be honest. It rained EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and it rained hard. It started every day at like 2 o'clock (the time we are supposed to leave) and it rained like that for 3 hours straight. We couldn't do much in that time. So by the time we left, at like 5, we missed a bunch of appointments, and since it was raining a lot, we got fired (a word we use for couldn't teach them) a whole lot. I think we only ended up with 20 lessons this week. And that is pretty bad. It was a little discouraging but this next week it'll be better!!

Thank you guys for your support! It makes a big difference knowing that there are people on my side at all times when I'm out here battling the things of the world. :) All of you are awesome!

New pictures of my area! Pretty cool!

Con Amor,
Elder Larkin

Monday, November 2, 2015

¿Christmas in October? {Week 9}

This country is a little weird sometimes! Always crazy.. but not always weird. The Dominicans celebrate Christmas for like 3 1/2 MONTHS. This week Elder Empey and I have helped put up 5 Christmas trees. It starts in October and goes till like January or something! Now that I think about it we Americans kind of do that too... but it's really bad here haha.

So we are helping our invetigator move out of her house today! She has 2 houses here and she was renting out the other one. The other one is pretty close to the first one. Yesterday we went past and her floor had caved in! Today we are going over and filling the floor in with dirt. (cause that's basically what floors are here) It's gonna be some work, but it will be worth it! Before we actually knew that the people living in her house were gone for sure and she could move in, she said - If i have to I will only move the bed so I can get out of this house and be baptized! That is truly amazing to me. The man that was living with her (she told us) wasn't very smart and probably wouldn't make it very long without a home... so she just GAVE him her old house! She is really smart and actually owns a lot of land here we found out. On the property of her new house she has probably 25 avocado trees, 5 mango trees, and a bunch of yucca plants as well. Her baptism is on Saturday and we are all super excited for her!

One thing I want to state is that the power of prayer is absolutely real and is very powerful. As a missionary I don't know how many times I've prayed for our investigators, my companions, my friends, my family, and that we would be able to find the people ready for the gospel. I've seen the difference it makes for our teaching ability, our efforts for our investigators, and just to have a better day in the work of the Lord. Through prayer we can ask for strength to get through the stress of our daily lives. As a representative of Jesus Christ I testify and promise that through daily prayer and keeping commandments we will have more success in our efforts at school, at work, at home, at everything. We will have more peace, happiness, and love in our lives by simply talking to our Father in Heaven.

Another great week! 
Love you all! 

(Sorry, no pictures this week)