Friday, June 29, 2012

'that's the first time I have been homesick...I can't tell you how excited I am'

So, Elder Kearon had me called up to the front desk so that I could meet him. The security is pretty tight (because of the mission president's seminar), and they don't let missionaries up there. The lady almost wouldn't let us up, but she called the front desk, and they had us sent up. At that point, I still wasn't sure why, but then we met Elder Kearon. He just talked about how much he loves my parents, and he is very proud of me. It was a really great experience. It felt really cool to be called up to the front desk by a general authority. His accent was awesome. He asked us if there was anything he could do for us, and we quickly regretted saying no thinking maybe he could've gotten us some "mission president food," but it was good to meet him. We asked if there was anything we can do for him. He just told us to work hard, so that's what I plan on doing! I did remember you had spent the weekend with him, but he didn't say much about it. He just mentioned briefly that he had seen you. That was very nice of him to think of me. Make sure to thank him again for me. 

Well another week has past. I leave for Ogden in about ten days. I am sooo excited! I got to meet my mission president this week, which was great. President and Sister Hiers seemed very excited to serve with us. They are from Boston. Neither have served a mission, because he was convert at age 20 and married her pretty much right after, but he was just released as a stake president. He has started several different businesses and sold them. For the past few years, he has been travelling the world training CEO's and high-up executives in companies. He defnitely knows how to be a leader. There were about 40 missionaries headed to the Ogden mission there; which is a lot more than all the other missions. They are really packing up the Utah missions, because they want to have a lot more walking areas and focus a lot on reactivation now. Everyone in that room were people that are still staying in the Ogden mission since they will change our boundaries on July 1st before any of us get there. I am so excited to serve with him. We didn't talk to him for too long since there were so many of us, but I look forward to talking to him more in the future. 

So what you sad about our cafeteria was definitely true dad. They close half the cafeteria so the lines just to get in the cafeteria were about 45 minutes on a few days. You only get 30 minutes to eat on some days, so we missed a few meals since we have meetings before and after meals especially on Sunday. But they are gone now, so we can get into the cafeteria fine now, so that's great. 

Since the Provo temple will be closed for cleaning, today was the last day we will go before we leave. For the last cafeteria day I had an omlette, bacon, orange juice, and waffle with strawberries, whipped cream, and boysenberry syrup. That doesn't sound like a lot, but I challenge Tyson to go eat that much. It was a great day. 

My wallet is kind of big to put in my front pocket, so if could you by any chance send up a money clip? That would be awesome, thank you. Just send it up with those coulple of t-shirts if you get the chance. I have gotten the weekly packages mom, but if you sent a paisley tie I didn't get it but if you haven't sent it that's fine I'm just making sure it didn't get lost in the mail. (I haven't sent a paisley tie. I've looked at a couple of places and haven't found one. If anyone does, be my guest and send it.) 

My favorite package so far since being here though was Jessica and Tyson. I immediately ran to Phil's room and told him, and we had a Costco muffin to celebrate. I think that's the first time I have been homesick is laying there at night thinking that I won't get to see him (I assume it's a boy, I'm not sure why, that just feels right for you two, Landon Carter?) for about a year and half, but he will be there when I get home. I can't tell you how excited I am for Jess and Tyson. Thanks for letting me know. I can't wait to see pictures. 

So we saw a video of Elder Bednar's Sunday devotional here last year called the 'Character of Christ'. That's another one I would really recommend dad seeing if he can find. It was fantastic and made me think about the Savior in ways that I never have before. He did a cookie monster impression during the talk, which was really funny, saying that the natural man is like the cookie monster, "I want cookie NOW!" and banging his fist down as he said this in the cookie monster voice. It was funny to see him act like that. I think all the missionaries enjoyed it. The coolest thing that he talked about was relating the stones the Savior lit up to our investigators. He pointed out that it is important that he only lit up one at a time, and the brother of Jared did not see the finger of the Lord until after he had changed several stones. He explained it very well, study the wording and see if you can find some more connections that he made. It was really cool how much he found conncetions to missionary work with those. The process of Alma 34 is repeated with every stone if you think about it correctly. He also talked about how he dosn't really appreciate it when latter day saints talk about their ancestors and try to take credit. For example: when someone says, my great, great, grandmother crossed the plains as a single mother! His response to this in his own words is, "That's great, what have you done lately?" Anyways, it was a great talk. 

So, I had the weirdest dream ever. I had gotten home, and I couldn't remember any of my mission, just the MTC. I was so angry that I had been home for only a week and had already forgotten everything. Maybe that was a reminder to write things down and treasure these memories. 

Dad's letter this week was great, because he talked about teaching that boy that's about to go in the military about the importance of a mission. That day we had been working on asking better questions, and dad's story was an example of asking an effective question that helped him understand what he needed to do, and then he bore testimony and committed him to act on it. Thanks for that example. I'm trying to follow it as best as I can. 

So our teacher made us a challenge to write a letter to our future selves and write down every characteristic we want to have after the mission, be very specific, then seal it up, and don't read it until the ariplane ride home. He promised that if we work hard, we will find that as we read the letter, every single thing will be true about us. The Lord will have transformed us into the men we want to become. I thought it was a great idea and would even work if they boys did one now and opened it when they left on their mission. 

I had a good experience counseling a missionary this week. A couple letters ago mom taught me about ministering. I followed her advice throughout the week and tried to take care of this specific situation with love. He decided he was sick of his companions and just took off to another building. He was only gone an hour, but it still isn't acceptable to do that. We talked to him the next day. He had a bad attitude; he wouldn't participate in the prayer; he told us to "make it quick" and kept making sarcastic comments, but somehow, by some miracle, I didn't lose my temper. I showed him D&C 130:20-21 and said, "We have specific rules given to us that are just as much commandments as are the things in the Book of Mormon. The white handbook is a result of revelation given to the prophet." We had earlier talked about his goals. I said the blessing attached to the rules we have as missionaries will not come unless we are obedient. Nephi was asked to cut someone's head off; he thought was a pretty crazy thing to be asked to do, but he remembered as long as you keep the commandments of God you will prosper in the land. So we just taught about obedience and that he won't be happy as a missionary unless he decides to be obedient. Anyways, his attitude didn't improve; he acted like he didn't care, but I know what I said still got through to him. So hopefully his bad attitude will change. He complains to us that he is stuck with a companion and has to sacrifice everything he likes to do and has to do be in the MTC for so long. I don't think he realizes all of us are doing the exact same thing; he's not the only one here. Anyways that's nothing new. He is the one who always wants to sleep in and lies about pretty much everything and actually admitted to lying about having the flu a couple weeks ago so he could take a nap. 

The missionary that really doesn't like me this week decided he was angry at everyone and wanted to go home. We talked to him and basically he just complained about what everyone else was doing wrong; he wants them to change. He said the reason he was coming on a mission was hopefully for the first time in his life things would go his way. I tried to lovingly correct this and teach him that the opposite should be happening; that things should go the Lord's way, and his will should change to agree with the Lords like Nephi in Helaman 10. I told him, just like mom always taught me, that you can't control others, you can only decide to control yourself and your perspective. It was a little harder to be loving with him, because for about 10 minutes he talked about how much me hates me but likes Elder Wilkey. Apparently, I'm an alpha male and think I am better than everyone else, and as a zone leader, that's not how I should be. Also, I walk too fast which makes him hate me. He said whenever I talk, he can't feel the spirit, so I shouldn't talk anymore. So, Elder Wilkey sat me down afterwards to figure out what he can do. I was pretty frustrated and unwilling to change or discuss it since his complaints about me were irrational. As I thought about it, I got a little less frustrated and reailzed I needed to apply the same lesson and not try to change him but change myself. Not that I can change my personality or how he hates me, but I can love him regardless and hopefully he will recognize that and hate me less. Also, we decided that even if it is ridiculous, I will walk slower so he won't be mad anymore, and hopefully, if he sees that I am trying to change, he will have a desire to change as well. That's been kind of tough, even if he's only one person. It's a little discouraging having somebody say that about you. Hopefully it will make me remember to talk to others with more respect, because what I say can affect others. 

This morning we haven't been able to get people to turn in mission president's letters on time (this is a problem every week). Elder Plowman, as usual, is the only district leader who does his interviews and turns his district's letters in on time. He is still pretty new, so he is a stud. I'm glad we have him in our zone to stay on top of things. This week we started to be investigators, too. My name is Alex, and I'm a UCLA student. I am being taught be Elder Adam and Elder Crane. It's a cool perspective to be pretending to be an investigator. Getting to teach other missionaries like the real thing is great, because now we have have more investigators.  

I got a letter from Elder Scott and it was good to hear that he is doing well. I don't know if I have told you ever, but just so you know my departure date is July 10th. Anyways, time to run. I hope all is well. Praying for Jessica everyday. I hope the next few months aren't too tough for her. I can't tell you how happy I am about her and Tyson.  Sorry for the typos, I kind of rushed through this. 
Love you all,
Elder Bassett

PS Just a couple things that I forgot. Mom and grandma's dear elders are still going to mailbox number 239 not 230, so it takes a couple days for me to get them, because they have to be redirected. That's fine, because I still got them, but I'm just letting you know. Also, you can tell Jeffrey that I guess we are a lot alike, because I am very angry about the raccoons, too. Reading it from everybody that told me about it made me mad. I wish I could be home to go find a few of them out there. And of course, it's not your fault mom. I can't believe that they decided to come out during the day. Also, I forgot about a Book of Mormon challenge that we got from Elder Bednar. He said to buy a paperback Book of Mormon, write a specific question and read the whole thing just trying to answer that question and making marks all over it just for that question and finishing with a summary. Then at the end of your life you will have a few hundred Book of Mormon's marking your progress as you have developed your gospel knowledge throughout the years. My first question is, "How can I develop Christlike charity?" Anyways, that should be fun hopefully I will have a few done before I get home. 
Love you all,
Elder Bassett

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