Monday, August 31, 2015

WEEK #5 - Colorado Springs Fountain Stake

Hello family and friends! I hit my one month mark last Saturday and I turned 19 on Sunday!
So there is less to talk about this week for a few reasons. They reduced our mileage allotment on our car by 200 miles and so we had to do a lot of biking. One day, we biked over 12 miles and a lot of it was uphill. This just means that my thighs will be ripped after my mission haha.

Right outside our apartments

On Tuesday, a homeless man with a black eye and few teeth came us to us and started talking. It turns out that this man was a member of the church down in Pueblo and has a hard time finding a place to stay without getting thrown out, beat up, and robbed. However, what impressed me was that the first thing that he asked for was not for money, or for food, but for where the nearest church was so that he could find some help on his own. We gave him our number and are going to get him in touch with the Bishop, so that he can access the programs that the church offers that helps people in his situation. We are keeping him in our prayers and hope that he is able to get back on his feet.

rainbow while biking

As we would bike around, a couple summer thunderstorms would pass over us and get us all wet but it helped to cool us down. Elder Schilling needed it because lately when we have been biking, he has had to stop because he feels that he has no energy. I told him to drink some water and that if he died, then at least he died doing the Lord's work haha.
On Saturday, we helped a family in our ward move from an apartment into another home and as part of our reward, we were fed some authentic Filipino food which was absolutely delicious. After the service, Brother Chuck Smith found out that is was going to be my birthday that next day so he took me to Costco and bought me a huge 10 pound cake! I am going to gain lots of weight if I don't keep up my morning workouts and daily biking haha.
On Sunday, the day started normally, I did not get the traditional breakfast in bed but I got up and made scrambled eggs and toast with peanut butter! YUM! 

He may not of had breakfast in his comfy bed, but WE DID in honor of him! 

We went to church for both wards and met with Elder Reimer and Elder Liptrott so that they could conduct a baptismal interview for us. The interview is for a 11 year old girl named Taylor Smith who took the discussions before I got here and is scheduled to be baptized on Saturday the 5th! I am so excited for her and can't wait to see how the Gospel blesses her life. After the interview, Elder Reimer and Liptrott came with us to our apartment and had some Costco cake! we lit some candles and they sang happy birthday to me! The cake is really good and I don't know how we are going to get rid of it! 

(this pix was texted to mom's phone by a random number with the words, "Happy Birthday Elder LaRose". We loved it!).

On top of that, I received a package from home that had my church music, a new bluetooth speaker that is SWEET, and then random stuff like an inhaler and some bouncy balls haha It was great and i loved It.

Me with my package from home

 Also I want to thank everyone who has sent me gifts! I don't have everyone's emails to send them personally, but thanks for all the generosity. (some were a little too generous;)) For my "birthday dinner" I had salmon and baked potatoes and it was delicious! I got spoiled once again that night at our lesson with a member. They surprised me with some oreo cream pie in celebration of the occasion. 

Having cake with (L to R) Elder Reimer, Liptrott, and my vampire companion

fam and friends singing happy b-day and eating Kyler's Nutella cake back in Connecticut

When we got back to the apartment, I had my companion hold the pinata that was sent to me on the end of a book while I smacked it with a bat. Candy exploded everywhere and I think that I had to vacuum up more candy than I could keep! Even though it was my first b-day away from home, I felt so grateful and happy for the love I felt, whether it came from Colorado or the rest of the world. I love you all and love hearing about your lives in your emails!
Elder Kyler LaRose

2328 Washo Circle
Colorado Springs, CO

4090 Center Park Drive Ste 4
Colorado Springs, CO 80916

Monday, August 24, 2015

WEEK #4 Colorado Springs Fountain Stake, 1st AREA

Hey guys! Its been a pretty unusual and eventful week!
So Monday after emails, we went and played basketball at the stake center (which we call the Aero plaza building) and I got to see Elder Tallman there my MTC companion! We talked about each others lives so far in the mission and shared our first week experiences. After dinner that night, we went to visit Mitch, who is a retired college professor. When I met him, he had already taken most of the missionary lessons and really wants to be baptized. So now, we are just working on setting a baptismal date with him in our next lesson.
On Tuesday, we got a call at around 8 in the morning from a less active member offering to take us to his favorite Mexican restaurant for breakfast! So we met him at the place and had some great burritos. As missionaries, some ways that we can do service is finding out where local programs and businesses call for volunteers. Elder Schilling and I went to a place called Care and Share to help them sort meat into piles of good and bad. With the good meat we would package it into boxes that would be donated to different people in need. Other than that, nothing happened until Thursday.

Cool Air Force plane

On Thursday, the morning started off slow with our 3 hours of studies and weekly planning session. About halfway between our planning session, we got a call from Sister Teeples, the Bishop's wife of the Sand Creek Ward. She was concerned about one of the women she visits occasionally because she was feeling very sick and wasn't acting as herself, so she asked if we would be able to give her a Priesthood blessing to help her with her sickness. Immediately, we drove to the house and arrived at the same time that Sister Teeples did. She explained to us that the woman we were visiting (Lori) has not been acting herself and seems out of it. Her husband and her daughter were frantically trying to calm her down when we arrived. We suspect that she had been taking mixed prescription medications, and because this altered her state of mind, she would take more pills, thinking that she hadn't taken any yet, causing her to overdose. Lori was attempting to get in her car and drive somewhere, but she was in no condition to drive for fear that she would most likely get into a wreck. She got into her car and started it, but her daughter hurried and parked her own car directly behind her mother's so that she couldn't get out. After Sister Teeples had calmed her down somewhat and had helped her inside, we were able to see that she was unstable on her feet and had an angry/confused look in her eye. After about 10 minutes of letting things wind down, we were asked to administer a blessing for the sick. Despite her comprehension level being fried, the blessing seemed to calm her down and help her to relax. The police showed up to the house as well as the EMTs and other emergency people and were able to assess her and take her with them to a treatment center or something. If she had still been agitated and confused, we are not sure that the police situation would have gone as smoothly as it did. This experience was scary and we were freaking out the whole time, but helped me realize that as we blessed her, that God truly knows what she is going through and will help her if she turns to Him. 
So our Mission President has asked the missionaries to meet with all of the kids who are going to get baptized in the upcoming months. That night, we met with little John Taylor and taught him a couple of things. I have really only met the Taylors once briefly before. Sister Taylor is a soon-to-be single mother who is raising four children on her own, with one of them physically challenged. At the end of the Lesson, Sister Taylor asked me if I could give her a Priesthood blessing! Two in one day!! Of course I said yes, but knowing slim to none about her or her situation, I let the Spirit of the Lord guide me on what to say. Still today I can only remember pieces of what I said to her. Overcome with the Lords love for her, I could only put my emotions into the blessing and let the Lord take care of the words. After we left the house, Elder Schilling, who knows much more of Sister Taylor and her situation, turned to me and told me that I had said exactly what she needed to hear at that time. I was then overcome with sheer joy, and a feeling of affirmation washed over me, testifying of the complete truthfulness of this Gospel and my role in helping others to come unto Christ. What a great experience this entire day was.
Sunset right after giving Sister Taylor a blessing

On Friday, we met with the Zone leaders, Elder Reimer and Liptrott, for our district meeting, where we had arranged to go on exchanges. Normally, and exchange lasts for 24 hours and is where you switch companions with the other set for the rest of the day. Our exchange, however lasted around 4 hours in total. I went with Elder Reimer to the his area and Elder Liptrott replaced me and went with Elder Schilling. Elder Reimer is from Spokane Valley, Washington and loves everything hunting, fishing, camouflage, and country. Elder Liptrott is from Manchester, England and was a Semi-professional soccer player for England and has hopes to make it pro when he returns from his mission. Elder Reimer and i started off by helping some people move an old dryer out of their basement and install a new one in there. These people were hoarders, so it took us a little struggle to muscle the machines all the way down to the basement. After that, we went to this trailer park village and walked around the thing trying to find some people we needed to contact. At one point, there was an old drunk man sitting in a tattered hammock who started screaming profanity at us, just because we were Mormon. We just kept on walking and tried not to laugh. This however, led us to run into a different man who was working on his car outside and felt compassionate toward us. We started talking with him and eventually, we left him a pass along card that had our church website on it and the missionaries' phone number if he needed help with anything. For dinner, we met back up with Elder Liptrott and Elder Schilling and went to a Chinese buffet where a member family paid for our meals. There were all kinds of good stuff, and I even tried some new things I haven't before. One of them was crab legs, which are actually really good and don't taste very fishy or stuff like that. The other thing was Sushi.... and it tasted exactly as I would expect it to. Like raw fish and rice.
Our Saturday was wide open and so we picked 24 less active members of the church to visit and try to share a message with. We actually managed to stop by 27 houses at the end of the day, but only FIVE we had small conversations with. It was a little disappointing because it felt like we just drove around not accomplishing anything. It was alright though, things were just going slow.
On Sunday, we were at the church from 9:00am to 5:00pm. We began by going to ward council meetings for both wards, and listening to the situation of the people in the ward. At 4:15, we went to choir practice... yay... For dinner, we went to the Teeples house and they had cooked Elder Schilling and I a "birthday dinner". Elder Schilling's birthday was last week and my birthday is this next week! 

Elder Schilling and I at our "Birthday Dinner".... yep:)

We had yummy Mexican rice, re-fried beans, homemade enchiladas, and spicy homemade salsa that makes Mom's taste like V8. Then they brought us out cake and lit candles for us to blow out. They sent a picture to our families and then sang happy birthday to us. We were definitely spoiled that night and it made me feel even more welcome in beautiful Colorado. Love you all and the next time you hear from me I will be 19!!

Love, Elder Kyler LaRose.

4090 Center Park Drive Ste 4
Colorado Springs, CO 80916

2328 Washo Circle
Colorado Springs, CO

Monday, August 17, 2015

WEEK #3 MTC to Colorado!

Hello from Colorado everyone! A lot has happened since I last wrote because of our trip from Utah to Colorado, but ill be sure to fill you in completely. It may be a little long, just saying:)
The address for my apartment is below if you want to talk with me through snail mail

2328 Washo Circle
Colorado Springs, CO

First, we met with Miranda that night and felt that telling her of the importance of the blessings that come from being baptized and from making that covenant with God. These blessings help us to not be scared and give us comfort when things seem to go wrong. She has such a strong desire to follow Christ and is 100% willing to be baptized, she is just really scared at what her family may think and what they may do because of her decision. We then asked her that if her family was out of the equation, and she didn't have to worry about what they think, if she would still get baptized. Immediately, she said "Oh yeah for sure!" we then paused and then told her to think about the answer she just gave us. We testified that as she continued to read and study the Book of Mormon as she was, that her fears would subside and that her faith in the Lord would be strengthened. She was so appreciative of our advice, and knows that given a little time, she will have the courage to tell her family and move on with this so very important decision in her life. What a blessing it was for Elder Tallman and I to have taught her. This is only within the first week of the MTC too! We are sad that we wont be able to teach her anymore, but are making sure that we stay in contact with her.
On Friday the 7th, our zone was able to go through the Provo Temple. I was able to participate in an endowment and a sealing, which was a cool experience for us. On Sunday the 9th, we had our last walk around the temple and our last church meeting at the MTC. The presidency gave all of the departing missionaries some advice before we left and wished us luck in our areas. While eating lunch in the MTC cafeteria, this Elder came up to me and said "Hey! my name is Elder LaRose!!" Sure enough, he has the same last name with the same spelling and everything! I cant remember where he is serving, but his first name is Logan and has been a member of this church his whole life! I need to do some family history now because I had no idea about him and it was crazy to see someone with my last name because it isn't all that common. 

In the same day, I ran into Elder McLane Keenan, who is a good friend of mine who I mat at EFY nearly 4 years ago. He is serving in the Kobe Japan mission and has been in the MTC for 9 weeks learning Japanese. We exchanged emails and took a few pictures:)
On Monday the 10th, we got our room all cleaned and packed up. Elder Bowler, Schoenfeld, and Gurnsey left at about 4 in the morning for their flight to Modesto, CA. Elder Tallman, Hagman, and I had some time to get breakfast and say goodbye to the sisters in our District. We loaded up on to a bus and drove to a train station that would take us to the Salt Lake Airport. There were around 14 missionaries in total leaving for Colorado Springs, and each of us had two to three suitcases to cram into the train and carry with us! It was fun to hurry and load and unload all of the luggage before the train left, and at one point, I got separated into a different car than most of the other missionaries. It was all good fun though. 

When we got to the airport, we had time to make a call home and get some lunch. I saw a Cafe Rio and knew exactly where I was going for lunch. I ate there right before entering the MTC and again right after i left. The call home was a little disjointed and crazy because most of the time was spent listening to numbers beep and attempts to connect the entire world on the same phone call. I ended up just talking to Mom for a little bit, and then calling Dad, who was with Keldon and McKayd. I only got a couple of words with Londyn, and wish I had more time to just talk. We got on to a tiny airplane that had 2 seats on each side of the rows. The flight lasted only about 55 minutes, but after we landed, the pilot and the flight attendant had us missionaries stay and take a picture so that they could show their families too. They then told us to write our parents phone numbers down so that they could send it to each of them as well. I'm not sure if they actually made it though. Waiting for us at the airport was President Dennis Rehm and his APs. We still had to wait a couple more minutes for an elder who was flying in from the Mexico MTC. We loaded up in a couple of vans and went to the church, where we had dinner and were briefed on some medical stuff. The mission home was pretty cool and all of the Elders slept downstairs and had a good time.

On Tuesday, we found out who our first companion is and which area we would first be put in. Once all of the other missionaries who were there for transfers showed up, we got down to business. I was the second to last person to be announced where they were going, the last being my MTC companion Elder Tallman. I was chosen to go to the Fountain Zone, which is a part of Colorado Springs, and my companion would be Elder Schilling, the District Leader. 
The church boundaries we cover are the Colorado Springs 3rd Ward and the Sand Creek Ward. Elder Schilling is a pretty cool person, he is from South Carolina, just turned 20 on the 15th, and definitely knows a lot about computers and likes to have things clean, I learned. He is very knowledgeable in his planning and has about 11 months left on his mission. I am going to miss Elder Tallman, but know that I will learn and grow with Elder Schilling. Because we cover two wards, we get fed dinner by a member every night, which is really nice, because I only have to worry about breakfast and lunch. After the meeting, we went to Walmart and bought groceries for the week. Having no idea what I was doing, I just bought a gallon of milk, a box of Apple Jacks, a loaf of bread, and some peanut butter and jelly. I seem to have survived so far haha.
Just some fun facts about Colorado Springs, it is one of the cities that sees the most lightning, which is true because it has rained nearly every day since I've been here. Pikes Peak, is over 14,000 ft in elevation and our apartment is at like 6600ft. Colorado Springs is also one of the least obese cities too haha.

 This week, we have done a lot of visiting less active members of the church and just addressing their concerns. In our little open time, we visit active members and practice the missionary lessons with them. We had a district meeting on the 14th and the only other people in our district are the Zone Leaders, Elder Reimer, and Elder Liptrott. On the 15th, we went to a retirement home and talked with a member... or at least tried to fit a couple of words in. He would go off on all these tangents, telling us story after story and it was a little difficult to understand because he had no teeth! I'll admit, i was getting pretty sleepy, so every 3 minutes or so, I would slip a mint into my mouth in an attempt to keep my eyes open. This tactic worked, because I managed to stay mostly awake throughout the hypnotic experience. I was laughing about it afterwards. Again, because we cover two wards, we missionaries go to church from 10:30 to 4:30. The Sand Creek ward had me stand and they introduced me. Even on the little program they handed out had a little welcome message:)
Sorry for the incredibly long email, and to those who have made it this far, I congratulate you and apologize again:) All of the craziness is somewhat settling down, but I am going to keep on going as best I can:) I love you all and hope you each have a great week! Also I am secretly competing with Elder Barnes (He doesn't know) for the longest email. For those who read both, tell me if I win ok?

Elder Kyler LaRose


4090 Center Park Drive Ste 4
Colorado Springs, CO 80916

2328 Washo Circle
Colorado Springs, CO

Friday, August 7, 2015

MTC Week #2

​Hey everyone! Pictures are still down so there wont be any again for this week from my camera. But this one is of my absolute favorite people ever; my District: Right to left (Tallman, LaRose, Celis, Price, Siania, Hagman, Gurnsey, Schoenfeld, and Bowler) :( Thanks for all the letters!! and especially the package from the Marshalls!!! best thing so far. A typical day in the MTC goes as follows: 6:00 wake up, shower, get dressed. 7:10 breakfast 7:40 Personal study time 9:00 classroom instruction 12:10 lunch 1:00 gym 2:15 classroom instruction 5:15 Dinner 6:00 daily planning and companionship study 7:45 teach investigators 9:00 personal study time 10:15 Quiet time 10:30 lights out. It was really exhausting the first couple of days, but now time seems to fly by!!

SO, on Friday night we got news that we were going to be teaching an actual new investigator! Miranda is 22 and from Florida, who was raised as a baptist, but followed a Mormon boy to BYU and wants to learn more! We have taught three lessons with her so far and have our last one tonight. She said that she was introduced to the Book of Mormon through her classes at BYU but only really read it for the exams. She is in her Junior year at BYU and the boy she followed is on a mission right now. The missionary stopped writing her because he wanted to have a marriage and relationship with women who had the same beliefs as he did. Heartbroken by this, she didn't reject Mormons immediately, but had the desire to know what we believe and to know if it really is true. We were her first lesson and we began by teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith. We taught her that Christ brought his gospel to earth and set up a church. This church, which taught the fullness of His Gospel, was taken from the Earth because of its wickedness. She then asked "Is that church still gone today?" we then explained to her that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him power to bring Christ's FULL gospel back to earth. Having just the bible doesn't give us the full access to the teachings of the Savior. This is why the Book of Mormon is so important in our religion. The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, offer us the complete restored truth of God's plan for each of us. We read her Moroni 10:3-5 and asked her if she was willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know of the teachings. Miranda, with a determination bound to gain her favor with the Lord, said yes and thanked us for our teachings. This first lesson, I immediately felt the Savior's love for her and felt her sting desire to know. She put her complete trust in us which is crucial when meeting someone new. Our conversations flowed really naturally and it felt like a conversation instead of a lesson. For her second lesson, we asked if she had read anything from the B.o.M. and she told us that she had read the entire chapter of Moroni 10. She got really excited and shared with us verse 32 where it talks of Christ's grace and that through it, we are saved and then said she though that the bible teaches things just like that. So, through her willingness to read even 30 verses of scripture, she already has seen that connection between the Bible and BoM. As Elder Tallman and I prepare to teach Miranda, we have been taught to really look at her through God's eyes and to focus on what we feel she really needs to know of. Wholly relying on Him, We taught her about God's Plan of Salvation for each of us. Because of her strong belief about the Atonement of Christ, we wanted to focus on how the Atonement is the only way in which we could live with God again. But, since she was raised baptist, she had no idea at all of what life was like before we came to earth. Our lesson time was spent with her asking questions and expressing concerns about the life before and after this life. In the life before, we know that we lived with God and knew our families, when we came to Earth, we forgot of him and his teachings and were to find a way back to him. But because of sin and death, we could never do this. That is why God sent his son Jesus Christ to pay for our sins and to overcome death. And it is only through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and following his commandments to the end that we can access the power of the Atonement and live with God again. Miranda said that a lot of what we taught her put to ease some of the concerns that she had with what she was taught in the baptist church. We invited her to write down any questions about God's plan and to continue to read the BoM, and that she would receive answers to her questions. As we taught her, she said that she had just gotten the chills (aka FELT THE SPIRIT) and we told her that what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost confirming the truth of our message to her. We always go a little overtime in our lesson and the Sister Missionaries who teach her after us really get mad that we take time out of their lesson, but we know that she is so so ready to accept. Our third lesson with her was planned to emphasize how we can access the Atonement and what it does for us. We started the lesson by having her pray, which was a bigger step than we then realized, because she said that she doesn't even pray in front of people if her professor asks her to. We then asked her if she had any questions about the Plan of Salvation and she said no! It was a small miracle for Miranda to accept new and deep information and revelation so quickly! We then dove right into the Atonement and really made it personal to her. As she told us how the Lord has helped her, the spirit in the room just grew stronger and stronger. She expressed concern about how sometimes she feels that she's saved and other times she gets scared that she's not saved. She wanted to know how you can know that you are saved. We taught her that by exercising faith in Christ and His Atonement, Repenting and giving up our sins, being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we know that the full blessings of the atonement would be available, which includes Christ taking your sins upon Himself. She said that she really liked how it was simple enough to understand and follow but she wondered if she needed to be baptized again. We told her that yes, she did. Her previous baptism was not wrong, or evil, there was just no power to connect it to the atonement, which is what baptism by priesthood power and authority does. This is the power that was given to Joseph Smith by angles of God. I quietly asked her if she was willing to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized by priesthood authority. Then, without any other questions about her previous baptism, she said that she needed some time to sincerely and completely think about it. She told us that the only thing she was scared of was her family. She knows that her family will not be pleased with her decision, but she knows that its right. She felt afraid and scared of change. Elder Tallman and I then expressed our love and support that we felt for her. We testified that as she comes closer to Christ, her sorrows and pains will be taken from her and she will feel a whole, complete, 100% hapiness and support from all of her friends, us, the church, and then asked her to sincerely pray and think about this change. She confidently told us that she has a strong desire to know and that she will ask God to know for herself. Our answer comes tonight at about7:45!! I cannot wait to hear from her.

On Sunday, we gathered as missionaries and were privileged to hear from Sister Sheri Dew, who is a big name with Deseret Book or something. One thing that I learner from her advice to us was that seen or unseen, angels surround and support us in our cause. We then had the opportunity to watch an address given to the missionaries by Elder Bednar that is apparently only shown in the MTC called Characteristics of Christ. He taught us that the times that  the natural man tends to worry or feel bad about himself are the times that the Savior shows unyielding love for others. As representatives of Jesus Christ, we missionaries must forget ourselves in the service of others to truly become converted to Christ and His teachings. On Tuesdays here in the MTC, there is a General Authority who comes to speak to the missionaries, and everyone has an opportunity to join the MTC choir and sing for this person. I showed up and the song we were going to sing was "Be Still My Soul" After rehearsing the song, we found out that we were going to be privileged to hear from the new President of the Twelve, President Russel M. Nelson!!!! It was so cool to sing to him and to hear what he had to sat. My favorite part of what he told us was that we are here to prepare the world for the second coming. I have a testimony that the modern prophets and apostles of this day speak divine truth to us and I love my experiences at the MTC so far. Love and miss all of you! please Write!