Editor: This letter needs a little prefacing…bear with me. On Friday, September 30th, Ryan was scheduled to see a neurologist about his numb pinkie. My brother, Sam, who is an OT specializing in arm/hand therapy, offered to go with him. The long and the short of it is that Ryan was diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome and was being “transferred” to the Ogden Mission for 6-12 weeks to do missionary work AND to be treated by his Uncle Sam. His original mission call to the Philippines remains the same, this is just a little detour. Ok – now Ryan’s letter should make more sense.
With President & Sister Jaggi
first day in the mission field
Wow, it seems like it's been a while since I've talked to everyone. Let me tell ya, it has been a crazy week. So I'll get into what I loved about General Conference and everything later in the letter, but I just want to go through what has been going on. So on Tuesday morning, I was called into the District Presidents office in the MTC. It was about 9:30 and he pulled me in and said "OK you have about an hour and a half to pack all of your stuff, then you're taking a train to Ogden, and you will be there for one transfer, two if needed” (I don't think it will be two). So I got back to my room and threw all my stuff into my bags and hit the road. Had to say bye to all my new friends again haha so that was rough. But I got to the mission office in Ogden at about 2:00. They told me to drop all my stuff off and they put me with a trainer and we immediately went finding. The very first door I knocked on was a bit wild, and I probably unfortunately won't forget this experience haha. So we knocked and there wasn't an answer, so we knocked one more time. All of the sudden the door opens in a fury!! A large older woman was standing there only in a towel -__- this was not the sight I wanted to see from the first door being opened to me. She was sooooo angry and said "We didn't answer the first time, why would you keep ******* knocking!?!!" She then SLAMS the door in our faces and we walk away chuckling a little, yet a little distraught. We go to the house right next door, but before we knock, the lady's husband from the house before opens the side window and begins yelling at us "You are terrible representatives of Jesus!!! You kept knocking after we didn't answer the first time and that is horses***!!!!" When we walked back by their house to get to our car, they put a big sign on their door that said "NO MORMONS" haha. A couple houses down we knocked a door and a nice lady let us in. We started talking and it turns out she just moved to Ogden from Roseville (editor: a city close to home)!! So that was cool. We then taught her the restoration real quick, and she seemed to really like it. Sadly, she isn't in my area, so I don't get to teach her :( - but she has good potential.
So the next day I met my TWO companions: Elder Stoner from Virginia and Elder Hernandez from Ohio. They have both been out for about 7 months. Hernandez is visa waiting for Brazil. They are awesome, and we got a car, so I was happy:) However, our room is soooooo small haha. We have about 5 square feet of space to walk. So we are pretty packed in there. We live with a member, and share a bathroom with his 10 year old son Haha. The best part of this house was when I walked in and saw a guitar sitting there. Finding the time to play it is a little difficult though – so, so busy all the time. But yeah, I'm starting to get settled into life as a missionary out of the MTC.
On Friday we were knocking doors in an apartment complex. And one of the doors we knocked opened up, and before we could say anything this larger man in a thick Russian accent yells "Come in! Come in! Please!" They just moved to Utah from Portland and have been living in the U.S for 13 years. He has a wife, 2 daughters, and 1 son. They are very open about and love their Christian church, but really liked the restoration lesson. They are soooooo cultural. They refused to let us leave until they either fed us or had tea with us. He offered us some "stuffed papers". We were so confused until he brought the stuffed PEPPERS to us haha. They fed and fed us even though we really weren't hungry at all. They are extremely, nice and told us they want us to keep coming back. So I am looking forward to teaching them. We also have a baptismal date for a 9 year old girl named Lily for this Saturday. I have only taught here once, so I don't know her very well, but she is a very sweet girl.
Man, I thought back home that 3 hours of church was brutal - I hit 7 hours yesterday, but I surprisingly enjoyed it. We went to 3 different youth Sunday school classes to try to get to know the youth better.
So I am in the West Haven area in Ogden and am kind of starting to get familiar with this place. I am extremely happy that we have a car though. First, because it is starting to get frigid here. Also because my legs are sore all the time. We go to the gym every morning. And since I'm resting my elbow, all I can do is hit leg days hahaha. But yeah, I really enjoy the car.
OK so I loveddddd General Conference. I'll talk about a few talks I really enjoyed. So one thing I love about conference is that it seems like every talk is applied to you and your life. I loved Elder Nelsons (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/joy-and-spiritual-survival?lang=eng). I was reading his talk the other day and I counted 48 times he used the word "Joy". One part I liked that he said is:
"If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ."
Just being on my mission for a few months, I can see how this is so true. The main message of Elder Nelson's talk was to Find Joy in Your Journey. And that is exactly what I am trying to do through this journey. Another cool experience I had was during the Sunday afternoon session. For some reason ever since I walked into the building, I was really looking forward to Elder Rasband's talk (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/lest-thou-forget?lang=eng). I'm not sure why, but it was on my mind. When he stepped up to the pulpit, I felt like I needed to listen closely. And there were a few things he said that really caught my attention. One of the things he said that I really liked was:
"I encourage you to recall, especially in times of crisis, when you felt the Spirit and your testimony was strong; remember the spiritual foundations you have built."
After he said that I started to think back on times I have felt the spirit stronger than usual and times that I have felt my testimony grow. It is so important to remember these things when we are struggling or going through trials. These memories can lift you back up and encourage you to press on.
Sorry I don't really have any good picture to send you guys, I'll try to do better this week. Hopefully I'll have one with Lily in some baptismal clothes.
Love you all, have a great week :)