Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct 30, 2011


I must not have had time to read it, I don't think I even noticed it actually. Unless it was the one where you said you were on call but you would write back later in the week.

I talked a lot about Oscarson in my email to mom. He is a really good guy. We will never get into a fight, he is just too peaceful and laid back. He fits in well with the ward and with the investigators. He did some martial arts, and so did Ken, so they have some common ground. It just isn't the same with Elder Simmons gone. It is weird. I don't know if I mentioned this eariler, but I think I told you how Ken has been struggling with keeping the sabbath day holy because he has MMA training on sundays. Turns out last sunday he tore his meniscus while doing this so he is no longer going to be doing training on sundays. I obviously feel horrible that he hurt his knee, but I can't help but wonder if this happened to try to nudge him a little bit in the right direction.

I really hope I am here for Christmas! The next transfer day is Dec. 8, and I would hate to move like 2 weeks before Christmas. You would have to try to meet a bunch of new people, and the work would be going really slow, and I just think I would really enjoy Christmas a lot more here. But obviously I'll be where I need to be.

It is really cool for me to hear about your work as a ward missionary. We have to teach gospel principles every week, to be honest it isn't something I love doing. I'm sure you will do great at it. And I'm sure you will love going on splits with the Elders if you ever get the chance. Let me know how all that keeps going.

Okay, so I heard you sold the Jetta!? I am very sad about that... who did you sell it to? Why?

I think all together the stuff I bought was about 160 pounds. 100 pounds for the satnav, 10 for the case, and 50 for the razor. I hope thats alright.

Elder Oscarson can't drive. He had his liscence back home, but never did much driving. He can't drive standard either. I am going to try to talk to President to authorize him to start taking driving lessons though. I don't mind driving, but I really don't like driving all the time. He is really scared/hesitant to start though. Especially down here in Cornwall where the roads are super narrow. He has like 0 desire to learn how to drive. I think there are about 60-70 areas in the mission, and about 20 of them have cars. And about 3 are bike areas. The rest are either walk areas or bus areas. I am really glad we have a car area. But we have been doing a new thing where we just park the car in whatever town we are working in and walk everywhere. It allows us to speak to way more people.

Other than Lands End, I haven't been to many other historical areas. We were planning on going to a cool castle today with the Redruth Elders, but we changed our plans are we are going on this old tin mine tour somewhere by the coast. It is supposed to be pretty cool.

I think the appartment would be easier for a christmas package. The address is

155 Pendeen Park

Helston, Cornwall

TR13 0SL

I guess I should mention briefly what we have been up to this week. Yesterday we had stake conference up in Plymouth. It was really good, the stake president challenged the whole stake to read the whole BoM in the next 6 months. And President Shamo spoke as well. It was a great meeting, but sadly none of our investigators could make the 2 hour trip up there. Then last night, we had nothing to do so we just went knocking. We did this for like 3 hours, and it was the most rain I have ever seen in my life. It was just pouring, i had an umbrella and a raincoat but my slacks and shoes and socks just got soaked through. It was pretty miserable, although one guy named Rob invited us in, I think because he felt bad we were out in the freezing rain, and we got to chat with him for a while. He asked us if we wanted some tea or coffee to warm up, and we told him we don't drink that, and from there it turned into a good gospel discussion. He says he won't be converted, but he invited us back in a week to see him so we will see what we can do.
We also got to do a lot of service this week. We have been volunteering with a disaster relief charity organization called Shelterbox. We packed over 200 boxes of tents, blankets and other supplies to be sent over to Turkey to help the people there. I think there was like an earthquake or a flood or something. We had like 25 ward members there with us, and one investigator, and it was a lot of fun. I don't know why I never liked doing service back home, I love doing it here.

Ken and Toni are getting closer and closer. They are pretty much a part of the ward now. They went over to the Morris' last night, along with Jeff and Laura Bray, another young family in the ward, and they had dinner and watched a session of general conference and stuff. It is really cool to see how they don't really need us anymore. They have friends, and testimonies, and once you have those 2 things I think the rest just takes care of itself.

Thanks for writing, I can't wait for Christmas when I'm able to call you guys!

Love Elder Steed

Oct 30, 2011


Thanks for emailing Toni. I think she loves getting emails from you. And also from Elder Simmons' mom. She loved seeing those photos. She showed me them as well, I loved the one where I was playing hockey. I think I am really going to miss doing that this christmas. Don't worry, we aren't spending too much time there. We teach them about three times a week, and almost always have a member present. But part of the thing with baptismal dates is you have to make daily contact, so we will call them everyday or stop by if we are in Falmouth just to see how they are doing. To be fair, sometimes our teaches do go over and hour, especially if the member we bring and Ken start just chatting about stuff (Ken has a lot of really good friends in the ward now) and we don't want to be rude. But we try to keep things reasonable time. We both know that our main focus right now is finding, and that we need to find new people to teach. But they are going to get their marriage papers in this week! We have some members working with them to find out all the details, but we are pretty sure now that they will be able to do Nov. 20. I really don't want to push the date back again.

Just thinking about what you wrote last email, I am sorry if I was confusing. I was just in Newton Abbot for the day. And turns out Elder Oscarson is just too nice to play any pranks on. He doesn't have really that side to him. He is from a small farming town in Utah, pretty shy and maybe a little bit sheltered. He is really trying to go out of his comfort zone and talk to everyone and be friendly with everyone he sees, so he is doing his best. He has only been out 5 months, so we are both quite new. It is really hard to do everything with Elder Simmons gone! Because he doesn't know the area or the people, all of a sudden I am the one who has to be making the phone calls and creating the lesson plans and deciding what people we will stop by and all this stuff. Luckily he is the district leader, so I don't have to deal with those responsibilies as well. Elder Oscarson is the best guy ever though. He is really humble, and the most grateful person I know. He is literally looking for any possible chance to express gratitude or to praise something you do. It is really nice actually. We are pretty opposite personality, but we are both pretty laid back so we are getting along really well so far. I am working on trying to help him become more assertive and decisive, and he is helping me on becoming more loving and humble. So its a good companionship. But a lot different than it was with me and Simmons.

I'm glad you are fitting in well with the ward. Don't give up on your degree! I don't think getting that degree is ever something you will regret, but if you back out now I bet it will be something you regret for a long time. Kind of the same as a mission... I may have specific regrets of things I did or things that happened on my mission, but I don't think I will ever regret the choice I made to serve a mission. But if I didn't go, I'm sure I would have regretted it my whole life.

I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa, they sounded like they were doing pretty good. I hope they are not too lonely. Its good that you are spending some time with them. I was really grateful for the chance i had to spend that weekend with them and Ryan in June before I left doing their roof.
I hope Grandma Phillips is alright. That whole facial nerve thing she has going on is just a bad situation... if it is any consolation, the health care system here is way worse. Even longer waiting times, worse care, run down hospitals. I am starting to believe the socialist mentality is not the way to go at all, I think private buisness' is definitly the better choice. Like the government here pays a ton of money to anyone who doesn't have a job, who is a single parent, or a bunch of other things. And people just come to rely on this support. I know people who haven't had a job for like a decade because they can live comfortably on the money the government sends them. And there are people who will get pregnant outside of marriage just because they know the government will pay them a bunch of child support money if they do. I really don't like it, but whatever.

I bet Aunt Joan's party was a blast! I saw that pic of you guys all dressed up... thanks for sending all those pictures by the way. I love seeing photos of what is going on. But no, Halloween really isn't that big here. Actually a few weeks ago in a ward council meeting, we were brainstorming possible ward activites we could do and I suggested a ward Halloween party. One of the older members of the ward just got really upset and told me how he things the idea of Halloween is like evil and we should not support that at all. I wasn't too bothered, I was just like whatever man, but I guess the bishop thought I was going to be really offeneded by that, so he has helped plan like a 'secret' halloween party to try to make sure my feelings weren't hurt. We have Ken and Toni, and a bunch of the younger members of the ward coming, and the bishop, but we tried to make sure the older members of the ward didn't find out about it. It is really weird to tell you the truth. But it should be a lot of fun. I think I am going to dress up as Elder Oscarson.
Thanks for that inspirational message.

Just as a final note, I thought I would send you a Christmas wishlist. I do not want, or expect, you to get all these things for me, but it is just a list of a bunch of stuff i have thought of

2 new white shirts, one short sleeve on long sleeve, both wrinkle free

A nice leather belt (I wrecked mine trying to kill a fly on the ceiling)

Some more reactine extra strength

An iPod (any kind, I have found out that even iPod touches are allowed in this mission. A lot of missionaries have them, they just have to keep the wireless internet off)

A chocolate orange!

Joseph and the Amazing technicolor dreamcoat soundtrack (with Donny OSmond)

Some stick deodorant (they only have spray here... I like old spice or the dove man)

Thats pretty much all I can think of. I promise not to open it before Dec. 25. Thanks so much!

Love Elder Steed

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct 26, 2011

Hey, I have just a couple minutes today to email. I'm in Newton Abbot right now, we got the moves calls yesterday. Simmons is leaving. I was devastated when I found out. We had our fair share of fights and disagreements, but overall we got along really well and I loved serving with him. I just can't imagine what it is going to be like with someone new. The good news is though that he is just going to Plymouth, which is like 2 hours away. He is the new zone leader for this area, so I will still be seeing him a lot and whatever. And he will be able to come back for Ken and Toni's baptism and marriage! They both have strong testimonies. They fit in perfectly with the ward. We had a really emotional night last night with them as Elder Simmons said his goodbyes. They are just like family.
My new companion's name is Elder Oscarson. He is one transfer older than me, so he has been out like 5 months I think. He is the new district leader. Everyone else in the district is staying the same. It's pretty crazy, the two Elders in St. Austell have served together for 6 months already and they have another month and a half and maybe more after that. I think if I ever serve with the same person for 7 and a half months I would just go crazy. They are just about ready to kill each other I think, but the President said he had a really strong impression that they both needed to stay. They are both good missionaries and trying to make the best of it. In Redruth and St. Austell, the other areas in this district, the work is going really slow. They have struggling wards and no investigators. They just have to go finding all day. Things aren't that great overall in Cornwall right now, but here in Helston we have some hope, mostly because of Ken and Toni and the amazing ward we have here. Everyone says my new companion is like a really quiet, humble guy. I don't know how that is going to work out in this district and in this ward, everyone is pretty loud and opinionated. Me and the Elder's quorum president Paul Morris and his counsellor Brett Joliffe are going to try and think of some initiation thing we can do to him. I'm sure he will be a great guy though. Everyone has said he is a really good missionary.
I gotta wrap this up, but just wanted you to know about the moves. I'm doing great, thanks for all the prayers and emails.
Oh, and I'm just going to buy a sat nav right now, and a razor. Things here are really expensive... like something that would cost 100 dollars back home costs like 80-90 pounds here. So I apologize in advance for the VISA charge. I'll try not to use it much after this.
Love Elder Steed

Oct 23, 2011

I have to admit, I never did enjoy Sunday's all that much. But now, they are like my favourite day. I love going to church, and teaching gospel principles and just interacting with all the great ward members. I'm on like a first name basis with everyone in the ward (they don't call me Tanner though...) and just feel at home in this ward. The new weekend I have to look forward to is the Sunday/Monday weekend, church then p-day. Things are way different out here.

Thats good you are getting to know more people in the ward, I'm sure you will fit in there in no time. Especially with your guy's new callings. Actually I forgot to ask dad how is new calling as ward missionary is going. Has he done anything with that yet?

I was really interested to hear how the dinner went with the Elders this week. I'm glad it went well. Hopefully you can keep getting to know them. How is Riley doing? Keeping his grades up?

I'm sure you will do great with your talk. We actually both talked again this week in church, they let us know like Thursday morning so we had to scramble to prepare. We both mostly just winged it. We each were just asked to speak about one of the Saviours parables, so I talked about the Sower. It went alright, a little bit disjointed though.

I thought you guys never stopped for hitchhikers... that is kind of a crazy story though.

Ya Toni showed me the email like an hour ago when we were at their place. Thanks so much for writing her back and sharing your testimony with her. They are such a great family. Actually it was really funny on Sunday, Jessica came up and wanted to give me and Elder Simmons a hug before she left church, so she did but then quickly kissed me on the cheek and then ran away all embarrassed. Its an English thing I guess. Actually another funny story about her, we were at their house earlier this week, and Ken had brought out these like 4 samurai swords he had upstairs for us to look at. They were pretty cool, and we had them out of the sheaths and stuff. It was Jessicas 4th bday recently as well, so she still had some balloons lying around the house. Ken tossed one of the balloons up in the air and I sliced it with the Samurai sword and popped it. Jessica just burst out into tears and was crying for like the next ten minutes. I felt so bad. And then when we were there next, Elder Simmons was making her laugh a lot, I forget what he was doing, but then all of a sudden she just like stopped and got all serious faced, and said 'I pee myself' and then started crying and ran to the bathroom. She is so funny.

Otherwise, It has been a good and bad week. I'll just get the bad out of the way. Josh and Stephanie texted us and told us with the pregnancy and everything else, they are just too busy and don't want to have the discussions anymore. It was pretty gutting. We hope in a few months we can see them again though. And then on Friday we stopped by two of our investigators in Falmouth, both of whom we were really hopeful about, but both of them pretty much dropped us. Phil said he wanted to read the whole new testament, then the whole BoM, and that we should call him in 2 months. And then Sheena told us that she spoke with a church of Englad vicar and he told her that she doesn't need to have a specific religion, just as long as she has a belief and lives a good life. So she said she was no longer interested in joining our church, whereas like 2 weeks ago she said she would join as soon as she knew the BoM was true. And I had a really rough day earlier in the week... but it is kind of a funny story. We had a dinner appointment at 6 with a family in the ward and a service project at 3 with a member. Turns out that the member who we were helping in the garden thought she was supposed to feed us as well... so we ate a huge meal with her at 5. She figured after all our hard work we needed a huge meal, so she made us each 2 hamburgers, we split an entire pizza, and we had a bunch of salad. And desert. Then we travelled directly to the next dinner appointment, where we were a bit late so we sat down to eat immediatly. And I was stuffed going into this. She put down a bowl of vegetable soup in front of us, and I'm like 'Yes! I can do this.' So i barely get the soup down, and I was really excited that I did it. But then she comes back out with a heaping plate full of shepards pie and potatoes and carrots. Like a massive amount of food. I was so sick. I was like a zombie, I couldn't speak or think about anything other than getting the food into my stomach. Then she brought out this huge dish of fruit salad which I had to get down. I was a mess. I immediately asked to go to the bathroom, where for the first time on my mission I just destroyed someone's bathroom. I won't even say how many times I had to go to the bathroom in the next 48 hours. And then as we were sharing a spiritual thought after dinner, I was just layed back, completely sprawled on the sofa on the verge of puking, just in agony. Elder Simmons wasn't in much better shape, but gave a quick spiritual thought and then we got out of there. We had to climb a big hill to our car but I didn't think I would make it up so I made Elder Simmons go up and then come pick me up. I can't even describe how much pain my stomach was in. I still don't know If i have completely recovered from it.

Well actually, I am out of time. I got to wrap this up, and I haven't even got to the good parts of my week yet. Anyways, I am doing great out here. I am enjoying myself, and we are finding lots of good things to do here to both strengthen the ward and find new people to bring into the church. We have been doing lots of service as well, which I really love. We have been helping this father and son split wood for their business, which I really enjoy and I am getting much better with an axe.

I love you guys, thanks for everything,

Elder Steed

Oct 23, 2011

I guess President decided that we are allowed to email today, which is really nice. We get our transfer calls tommorow! I'm really nervous for this one, I think there is a good chance either me or Elder Simmons could be leaving. Ken and Toni are pretty distraught with the thought of one of us leaving. But ya that was really cool that she emailed you guys. We were just over at their house and gave Ken a blessing, because he tore his meniscus doing MMA and is in pretty rough shape. They are seriously the coolest people ever though. Even if one of us moves before there baptism, we are pretty sure we will be able to get permission to travel back for their baptism. I wouldn't want to miss it.

Thanks for your email earlier in the week. I will check out those verses in Kings for sure. I really did like the BoM reading I did last week, I hope I didn't sound to bummed out about it. My testimony of this gospel really has increased so much in these last 3 months.

156 dollars this month? That seems like a lot... I didn't know about the 5 dollar fee. Ill be more careful. I just realized that some of the things I have used my VISA for haven't even been worth 5 dollars. I have used it for some dry cleaning, buying food occasionally, I bought some new socks and a new belt because I wrecked mine, but what really took it up was me and Elder Simmons both withdrew 40 pounds to help pay for Ken and Toni's wedding. Sorry I didn't get a chance to ask, but they are really struggling financially and can't afford the wedding costs. They are planning on doing a really small wedding, with probably just silver bands and only inviting like 5-10 people there (they aren't even inviting their parents) but they really just can't afford it. Me and Elder Simmons are trying to figure out the best way to give them the money, whether just discreetly in an unmarked envelope so they don't know it was us, or just giving it to them as a gift. We are just worried they wouldn't accept it. So I do have enough money each month for essential things, but different things keep coming up. Ill stop using it to buy food and just use it for clothes and other big expenses. Sorry about that.
I don't mind sending you and Mom both emails. I don't really have a lot of people to email anymore, a lot have already stopped.

It has been a pretty tough week, but i'll talk more about that in the letter to mom.

Good luck with the upcoming race. Let me know how it goes. I'll probably be emailing again on thursday or wednesday, but it might not be until next monday. I don't really know at this point.

Love Elder Steed

Oct 16, 2011

Sorry, I don't have long to write this week. Elder Simmons keeps distracting me. Thanks for sending your talk, Ill make sure to read it.
Sounds like things are still going well at home. Thanks so much for those photos! I loved seeing all you guys! Oh, and is that Logan Draycott alyssa is sitting with in that one like couples photo at fish creek park you sent me?

I can't believe Jackson is learning the french horn... that is ridiculous. Didn't dad used to play that as well?

Thats a funny calling you got. Should be easy though, but im sure once the leadership of the ward gets to know you they will keep calling you to bigger and better things. Not that any calling is small or less important though, of course.

Haha how do you make the Elders like it at our house? I don't know... I think you always will have the whole where are you from discussion. I think I like it most when we go to members houses and they just feel casual, like not having to worry about what they think or trying to hard to make us feel welcome. And of course it just gets better each time you go, and you start talking with them at church and then just really get to know them and become friends and just build a good relationship. Hopefully they aren't wasters or just really awkward. I'm really interested to hear how it goes and what you think, let me know for next week.

I haven't really grown that much. I think it is mostly just my whole life I have coasted through putting in very little effort and still being very successful in a lot of things. That doesn't work out here, so I think I'm just finally having to learn how to work hard or whatever. It's different, but I really do enjoy this life most days.

This week wasn't too exciting. I did the three day BoM study, I talked about that in Dad's letter. Then we had zone training on Friday, and so we really only had a couple of days to do real missionary work. So we didn't teach a lot of lessons this week, and we didn't find any new people, but It was still a good week and I think it was an important week in terms of my personal development. We had this one girl we were trying to teach out in Penzance this week, but she bailed on the teach last minute like three times so we are done with her. She kept coming up with really lame excuses. Josh and Stephanie have been too busy to see this week, havent been to church the last two weeks, and haven't answered our calls, so we are a little concerned about them. Josh actually just texted us like ten minutes ago, so hopefully we can get things back on track with them. Ken and Toni are doing amazing still. They are having some friends from their old church over tonight for a movie night, and are planning on telling their friends about their choice to get baptized. They are really worried it won't go well, so please include them in your prayers especially today!!

I got the package you sent over, thanks so much for that. That one gray long sleeved t-shirt is like the coolest t-shirt you have ever bought me. I really like it. And I loved getting all the sweets and stuff. Oh, and yes I am allowed to listen to Disney. We can listen to a lot of stuff I didn't think we were allowed to. And we are allowed to have iPod touches in this mission. And we all have portable DVD players. So it is a pretty up-to-date mission in terms of technology.

I'll have Elder Simmons keep sending the photos. Transfer date is coming up on Oct. 27, so we could only have about a week left together. I would like to stay here, but at the same time I wouldn't mind going somewhere else. Either way, we both have a feeling that we are going to be split up this time.

Also, I asked dad last week about what he thinks of me getting an electric razor, a sat-nav, and also about you guys sending me the thing from southland registries saying that I passed my test in a standard car. Can you remind him please?

Thanks so much for everything, I hope you guys have another great week,

Love Elder Steed

Oct 16, 2011

Hey Dad,

I think Ive only heard you speak like once. I remember it being really good though, so I'm sure it went really well on sunday. Oh, and by speak I mean give a talk. I have heard you speak more than once. Mom said it went really good.

So you're the newest ward missionary? I was ward missionary in my ysa ward, but I didn't really do anything. However, hopefully you will be able to get out on some teaches with the missionaries because I think members always enjoy it and it also really helps the investigators. Even if it does seem really inconvenient to make time for it. I'm sure you will love it, and hopefully you have some good missionary stories to share with me these next few weeks!

Sounds like alyssa did great. You gotta get Riley to teach her some of the finer points of running strategy though. Or actually you could probably teach her yourself.

I haven't got an email from sean in a few weeks now, hopefully he is still doing good. Texting him is a good idea I think. And I am very upset to hear about the flames doing so poorly. It would feel wrong including them in my prayers but I might have to. Although the last thing I want is for them to win a cup with me not there.

My Book of Mormon reading was not really what I expected. I ended up only fasting the third day of it, I just didn't think I could actually fast 3 days back to back. And the white handbook says only to fast on fast Sunday, so I didn't want to overdo it. But in terms of my actual reading of it, I think my problem was I went into it expecting a huge spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. I didn't get one. As I read there were times when I felt the spirit, and I gained insight from the spirit I had never thought of before. But there was nothing incredible. I was a little bit upset by this, and I know I shouldn't be. We're always telling investigators not to expect a 'first vision' experience, just to listen for a quiet confirmation. I guess I had just felt like I did everything right, and I followed Moroni 10:1-5 exactly. I think I was praying for well over an hour after I finished it on the Thursday.I didn't understand why I didn't have some experience where I just knew the Book of Mormon was true. Luckily on Friday we had zone training, and President Shamo came down and we had a day where he helped our zone with various things, and then we all had interviews with him. In mine mostly all we talked about was the 3 day Book of Mormon study I had done. He mostly just told me not to worry, and that my testimony will continue to grow with time. I realized that I have had past experiences that have helped me to know that it is true. He helped me to realize just how much the study actually had helped me. It was the first time I had truly read the Book of Mormon, and it all just makes so much more sense now. Its like all the pieces just fit together and I can see it as a whole book, not just a collection of different stories.

So to be honest I was a little disappointed by this study. I think it is mostly due to unrealistic expectations though. At the same time, it really did help to strengthen my understanding of the Book of Mormon, which must be something that I needed.

I just thought of a question for you, how did you come to know the Book of Mormon was true?

I realized the other day I have been out for over three months now, and we still haven't baptized anyone. We need to do so much better, and we already work really hard so I think it will come from working more effectively and more through inspiration. I can't wait to get the advice all of you wrote for me that night I was set apart.

This will be the last time I write until next Wednesday, which is transfer day. I can't believe my second transfer is almost over. Time is so much different as a missionary.

Thanks for the prayers, and congrats to the newest ward missionary of the Sundance ward

Love Elder Steed

Oct 9, 2011

Thats great Riles made it home this weekend. How is he doing in school so far?

How did thanksgiving go for you guys? We had dinner at a members house last night, and they somehow knew it was Canadian thanksgiving so they had all these thanksgiving decorations out and although they didn't make a turkey (they made enchiladas) they did make an apple pie and it was really nice.

I can't believe Dad stole your topic. What a guy. But I have to be honest, I like your new one better. I really am still just starting out on my journey to build a testimony of the Book of Mormon. In my personal study for the past probably 5 weeks, I have done nothing except read from the Book of Mormon, and really study it. I'm now in the second chaper of 2 Nephi. I think so far I have had my testimony grow in tiny increments. I haven't had a huge spiritual witness that it is true, but I just know it is. I think I really realized that I did this week as we taught Ken. He had heard some things and read some things about Joseph Smith that he was questioning, and as I told him of my testimony of the BoM, which proves Joseph Smith was called of God, I realized I wasn't just saying it but that I really meant it.

In terms of my 3 day study, that starts tommorow. I am also fasting for three days in row while I do it. I really want it to be meaningful, and if only your talk was in 2 Sundays so that I could tell you of my experiences. I know it will be a really great thing and will help me a lot.

I can't remember if you mentioned the scripture 2 Tim 3:7 the other week, but I feel like you did. That is a great scripture. As members of the church, myself included, we often look at physical proofs of the BoM. Like different scrolls that were uncovered in the middle east with many BoM names, or remains of horses and steel found in America pre-Columbus, and all these other things you hear that people say prove the BoM. There is nothing wrong with learning about these things, but it really should be so much simpler to gain a testimony of this book. Anyone who reads it and prays about it with an open heart will know that it's true. And this physical testimony will never hold up under any sort of pressure.

There is so much in the Book of Mormon. I think so far my favourite chapter is 1 Nephi 16. There is just so much in that chapter, I have read it multiple times. If you are ever at a time when you need guidance or direction, I would recommend reading that chapter.

I don't know it that helps at all, but there isn't much more I can say about it. Thats really too bad about Chad. Tyler has been keeping me updated on that whole situation a little bit as well the last couple of weeks. He will be in my prayers, and I would love to email him. I'm sure sis. Hardy is really struggling. There just isn't much you can do about that, he has to make that choice to come back or to keep moving away. And how are things going with Sean these days? He hasn't emailed in a couple of weeks.

Have fun today at Thanksgiving. Give the Skinner clan my love. Eat a drumstick for me. Keep a close eye on Alyssa. I think she is a lot like me. Probably too much like me for her own good.

Good luck with the talk. You'll be in my prayers.

Love Elder Steed

Oct 9, 2011


Were you guys playing that game where you write a question on one side of the paper than an answer on the other? I remember when we played that one time and you just started laughing hysterically about something someone said about the initials B.M. and you were just thinking of bowel movement and cracked up for like an hour. Anyways, I think I know how you feel about wanting to get to bed after a hard call shift. I went to bed at 10 last night instead of 1030, I was just exhausted. I have adjusted somewhat and have no problem waking up early anymore, but Im still just constantly tired.

Ya other than golf there really isn't much to do in Arizona. Speaking of shopping though, I'm considering making a few larger purchases. I kind of want to get a nice electric razor, and a gps (sat-nav as they call it here) for the car. Let me know what you think, I realize they are quite expensive.

Also, I forgot to mention last week that I got the package you guys sent! Thanks so much for that, I'm using that little book of object lessons to teach a lesson tonight and I ate one of the eat-mores which was delicious. I asked for jello because I thought they didn't have it here, but turns out they do they just call it jelly, so now I really don't have any use for it. I really just wanted some American food/things that they dont have here to give to people. Everyone loves the Kool-aid we give them though. And the cheezies. You actually didn't send me a letter in that package, but everyone else did. The thing is, by the time I got the letters, they were like 3 weeks past and I had already heard about all that stuff on emails. Did you guys get the package with chocolate I sent over yet?

I like to try and stay positive in my emails, but I just thought I would mention that Tuesday this week was the worst/longest day of my mission. We had nothing planned, so we just did finding all day. We knocked doors, stopped by people who said we could come back, and tried to see a less active lady. We had literally no success though. It was one of those really tough days where we really didn't accomplish anything. And the less active lady cancelled on us. I think it might have partly been it was just really dreary weather as well, but I was pretty down that day. The week got better from there though. We had a zone meeting in Plymouth on Wednesday where the zone leaders and stake president talked to us, which was really good and spiritually rebuked me for a couple of small things I'm not doing or should be doing better at. We also stopped by this lady Sheena, who is in the navy. She was really cool, she has looked into a bunch of churches but has always just been confused about why there are so many and why they don't seem to get along. We taught her about the restoration, and left her a BoM and a challenge to read it and pray about it. She left to go to Birmingham for a week, but we are seeing her next Friday. She was very sincere about reading it, and told us if she gets an answer she will be knocking our door down to let her join our church. This was really good, because we went and taught her like literally 2 minutes after one of our investigators Zoe texted us and told us she didn't want to see us anymore. So it helped pick us back up. The Lord seems to always be working like that.

We also have seen Ken and Toni a bunch this week. Things with them are still going good, they are still trying to sort of wedding arrangements and figure out when they are going to tell their friends. We had to push their baptism date back quite a bit. Ken also always has really deep questions do we have had to go into deeper doctrine then you usually would before baptism, but we are going to go back to square one and re-teach the first 3 lessons. We are actually going in a couple of hours to this gym he works at and he is going to do some MMA training with us. He says he will show us how to defend ourselves if we get mugged our whatever. He is like an insane martial artist so I'm pretty excited for that.

We also finally taught Josh and Stephanie again, brought along a member of the bishopric with us. They are doing great still, we just tried to emphasize the importance of the BoM and building their testimonies. It is always really powerful to have a member with us to share their testimony so they can hear it from another witness. However Stephanies family from Norway is at their house, so they weren't able to make it to church.

We taught the Mitchells again last night, just dropped by because she always says she is busy when we text her. So we stopped by and for the first time had a really good chat with the dad, John. He is a really funny guy, and we are going back over to see them again tonight.

After church yesterday we went into Penzance to teach this girl Naomi at her grandma's house, but apparently Naomi forgot so we had to reschedule to Tuesday night. We went and taught Chris instead, so it wasn't a total waste of time. It's like a 30 minute drive to get out there.

We also did another exchange this week. I was in Redruth for the day with Elder Palmer. Me and him are like best friends and worked really hard but also had a really fun time together. I would love to serve with him at some point, but he only has like 6 months left so we probably wont.

We did my favourite service project so far with this organization called Shelterbox on Saturday. They are like a disaster relief charity, and we went over to this airbase and helped them set up these big tents they use in areas after like tsunamis and earthquakes or whatever. The calibre of people that are working for Shelterbox is just amazing. They were all just like the coolest people and most genuinely nice, good people I think I have met. The only down side was that the BBQ they promised us afterwards was just a sardine with some chutney on top, and the sardine had its spine and all the bones still attached. So it was nasty, but I ate it anyways.

Thats pretty much my week. We've been having a lot of fun today trying to get a hard-boiled egg into a glass bottle. It's part of the object lesson we are teaching to the Mitchells tonight. It works by throwing a match into the bottle and then putting the egg on the mouth of the bottle and having it get sucked in. We weren't having enough suction, so we pried the top of one of Elder Simmons' cologne bottles and dumped a bunch of cologne into the bottle, and then tossed the match it and the egg on top. I think this was too much suction and too small of an opening, because the egg just exploded. So we are still trying to fine-tune things.

Good luck with the talk. Sounds like you have some really good ideas. I still don't even know if I'm feeling the spirit of not most of the time, unless it is really obvious. And its true, I really can't describe the feeling I get when I feel the spirit, although I often try to explain it to investigators. Its different for everyone I guess. If you end up writing a copy of your talk out, you should send it to me, I would love to read it. Also, I could still use something from Southland registries saying that I passed my driving test in a manual if you can get it.

Thanks for your prayers,
Love Elder Steed

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oct 2, 2011


I didn't know Mike and Paula had a place there. Sounds pretty fun though. Tell all my aunts and uncles and cousins I love em.

Conference was amazing. I think it was not only my first conference as a missionary but also my first conference in general. Usually I would be eating or trying to sleep or totally zoned out or just not watching them at all. I don't know if I have ever really got much out of conference before this weekend. But this general conference was just such a spiritual boost. I think my favourite talk would have to be Elder Uchdorfs about the Paradox of Man. I was actually quite disapointed with Elder Bednars though. But I also really loved the Japanese guys talk, and Elder Scotts talk, and Elder Tad someone's talk about the Book of Mormon. One thing I tried to do this conference is not just learn from the words they said but try and recognize personal revelation that I was receiving. I went into conference with a couple questions and looking for the answers. One of my questions was 'What is my greatest weakness as a missionary?' This question was answered but not really through a specific talk just through how I felt. I realized my greatest weakness is that I am relying far too much on myself as I teach and find and do pretty much everything, and that I need to allow the Holy Ghost to work through me far more often. The other question I had was 'Should I take three days next week to read the BoM cover to cover?' Actually that question needs a little bit of background info.

This week on Friday we had zone conference. I went on an exchange with the zone leaders on Wednesday night, and so all day Thursday I was serving with Elder Hotchkiss in Plymouth. I always enjoy exchanges, and we had a pretty good day finding and doing service for a less active lady picking apples off a bunch of her apple trees. Then on Friday morning we all travelled up to Poole where like the three western zones all met up for zone conference. A bunch of my MTC brothers were there, and we got to hear amazing talks by Pres. Shamo and Sis. Shamo, and also from his counselors and the ap's and a couple other people. President Shamo had this big powerpoint all made up about what he wanted to teach us, but like 2 minutes into his talk he scrapped the whole thing and just took us on this crazy journey all through D&C where we learned all about the role of the holy ghost. It was really cool to see how he was inspired at the last minute about what he really needed to teach us. But in this talk, he talked about an experience he had on his mission. He had a companion who was struggling to get motivated, and he couldn't seem to do anything to help him. So one day he called his mission president and asked for permission for an idea he had. For the next three days, they didn't leave the flat. He had his companion read the BoM cover to cover, really studying and praying about it. His companion in doing so gained an incredible testimony of the BoM and never struggled with teaching or working hard again. President Shamo told everyone at the zone conference that if anyone feels like they should do this same three day BoM reading, they had his permission. I have really been pondering this idea. I went into conference with a question of if I should actually do it, because three days out of your week is quite a lot. There was a huge emphasis but on the BoM, and some of the things the general authorities were talking about were almost tailor made for what I needed to hear. Elder Simmons also really wants to do this. As you hear other missionaries teach people, you can see a hug difference in their teaching based on how strong their testimony is. Someone with a strong testimony just teaches with so much conviction and power. And although mine has really strengthened in the past two and half months, I still have a long way to go.

Im glad you also got so much out of conference. I can't really think of any awesome stories I have about receiving revelation and having some miracle happen. I'll try to pay attention to any that happen this week and tell you in the next email. But ya Pres. Monson was on his A-game this weekend. He was so funny, and telling the best stories. That one about the talk at the temple dedication was really cool. I can't believe that was Brads mission president, that was like the best story.

Sounds like you did great in the marathon. I'm glad dad is pushing you. I think you're faster than you think you are, you just gotta push yourself. I'm just thinking, I think there has only been like one week my whole mission where you guys have written me emails from home. You guys are on a constant holiday it seems!

That talk uncle mike gave at lawnees funeral was incredible. You should ask him if he still has a copy of it he can send me. Or even just to email me. I would love to hear from him.

You might no believe this, but it was almost as hot here this week as it was in arizona. Oct. 1 and 2 were like 29 and 30 degrees outside. It was roasting, and we were out knocking doors and street contacting. I think it like broke records for the hottest Oct. 2 here ever or something. But now I am afraid winter has really started. Its getting colder and always drizzling.

Not too much new has happened this week. We picked up a couple of new people to teach, both former investigators. One of them is this big, loud, irish lady who has been investigating for the past 34 years. We just thought we might as well give her a shot, because its been like 6 months since any missionaries have seen her. We taught her and brought along one of the less active ladies we helped to reactivate, and it was quite a good teach and she said she is going to really ponder and pray about being baptized. We also are starting to teach the grand-daughter of a less active lady in the ward. She is like 17 and has investigated the church a couple times before and we heard it was just because she had a crush on the missionary. So were gonna see how things go and make sure she is investigating for the right reasons.

This p-day we spent like the whole day cleaning the flat. It had gotten pretty disgusting. We threw away the shower curtain, chipped all the ice out of the freezer, cleaned the stove-top, the bathroom and everything else. We did a huge deep-clean. The house seriously feels so much better. You can really feel the spirit better when you live in a clean environment. It was such a noticeable change I was just blown away. The reason I emailing today is because the computers were down in the family history center yesterday. So we had to come back today to email.
Things with our investigators are still going really good. We haven't seen Josh and Stephanie in a while still, but I think we are going over there for dinner later this week. Ken and Toni made it out to conference this weekend, and we had a really good teach with them last night. We are re-teaching everything, and we retaught the plan of salvation. Ken had some really insightful questions that led to some quite deep doctrine about the spirit world. But afterwards Ken said it was his favourite teach and exactly what he needed. This was good to hear, because we have really been trying to teach by the spirit and discern the needs of people more often. Other than that, a lot of the week has just been taken up by the zone conference and general conference. We had all 6 elders in our district down here for the two days of conference which is always fun.

Love Elder Steed

Sept 25, 2011

Thanks for your great insight into exaltation and and faith/works. Very interesting, I had never thought about those things either. One thing it made me think of is in Mosiah 3:19, and how we often think of putting of the natural man, but we often overlook the next line, which is to become a saint. Putting off the natural man is stopping doing bad things, but becoming a saint is all about doing those 'good works' you are mentioning. I think it was David O McKay who said the purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good and good men better. And like you are talking about, this process of becoming better or perfecting ourselves and eventually becoming exalted can only be done through the savior. Before my mission I had never understood the two parts of the atonement--the redeeming power (governed by the aaronic priesthood) and the enabling power (governed by the Melchizedek priesthood). I had only ever though of the redeeming power. But I've come to know through the enabling power of the atonement is how we can become better, and become more than naturally we could have ever been, and become perfect.

One of my biggest challenges so far has been to resist the temptation to read outside of the mission library. I'm learning more about the gospel here in the last 2 and a half months than I ever have before. And consequentially, I am wanting to learn more and more. I have so many questions about some of the deeper points of the doctrine of this church, and I know the answers are out there in books by Joseph F. Smith and Bruce R. McKonkie (i don't know how to spell that) but I guess I'll just have to wait until I get home to read about that stuff. For now I just have to suffice with finding answers in the standard works and Jesus the Christ and trying to draw some of my own conclusions that make sense based on what I find. It does make sense though, I could get so lost in the deeper doctrine and totally neglect my studies for my investigators.

One thing I have been doing is really getting into the book of Mormon. I have never really studied it, nor taken the time to really build up my testimony of it. I decided that it would be a good place for me to start. About three weeks ago I started using my hour of personal study to study just the Book of Mormon from the beginning. I also use a Book of Mormon study guide. In the last three weeks, I have so far made it to page 32. I find it completely fascinating and totally engrossing, my personal study time is what I look forward to more than any other part of my day. I decided that as I try to strengthen my testimony, the Book of Mormon would be a good place to start. If you have a testimony of the book of Mormon, by association you have a testimony of Joseph Smith and modern revelation and just about everything else. So as I have constantly prayed about what I read and what I hear from other people about the Book of Mormon, I have received answers and I have really started to love this Book, I know that it was written by prophets starting in 600 B.C., and I know that it is a true book. As missionaries we come into contact with the occasional anti material, and this is really the first time in my life I have been exposed to many of these things and questions. My testimony of the Book of Mormon is what helps me overcome these concerns brief moments of doubt and also helps me to help others overcome these same concerns. I forget who said it, but great advice I have learned is to believe your beliefs and to doubt your doubts.

I might have spent a little bit too much time on all that. I don't have much time left. Sounds like you guys had a great week... Im glad to hear Jack and Noah are fitting in well in the new ward. I have changed but I don't know if the emails make it harder to gauge but I really don't feel like I have changed drastically at this point.

Tell Jack and Noah I say hi also, and I'm always thinking of you guys. I'm glad life is simpler, and I'm sure Mom is having a great time in California.

In terms of the work, it has been a great week again. Josh and Stephanie made it out to church, but Ken and Toni didn't. Ken has had a couple of tough nights at work, in which he had to save some guy from getting strangled and had to break up like 5 fights, so he didn't sleep well and didn't feel comfortable driving. Josh and Stephaine are doing great. We are talking with them a lot about baptism, and will probably extend a date to them tommorow and try to have a joint bapism with them and Ken and Toni all on the same day. It would be such a boost to this ward. We've been working with quite a few less actives, and more and more of them are starting to come back to church. Last night we taught a lesson to the Mitchell family about samuel the Lamanite, and had the kids throwing coins at eggs we had set up on a fence trying to knock them off. It was quite a bit of fun. Josh and Stephaine are getting to be really good friends of ours. We went over to their house this week and made them American pancakes and bacon, and had a really great time. They keep inviting us to go like bowling and go play their new wii games with them at their house, but we always have to decline. I wish we could though, we get along so well with them. We would totally be friends if we were in the same ward at home.

Thats all I can really think of right now. Im sure im forgetting something important... but I gotta wrap this up.
Let me know how things are going with everyone this week,

Love Elder Steed

Sept 18, 2011

It was a great week. This week has been pretty good also. Except Friday. Friday we went into Penzance and just visited a bunch of struggling less-active members who the bishop asked us to see. That is literally all we did from like noon until eight. It was just draining to have to be chatting with these really negative old people all day. We tried to give them a boost spiritually, but they just dont have the greatest outlook on life.

Anyways, besides that it has been great still. We taught Ken and Toni tithing saturday afternoon, and brought the bishops first counselor, Jeff Bray, and his wife and they brought their two kids along as well. Ken and Toni have 4 year-old Jessica, and Jeff and Laura have a 4 year old daughter Lilly, so those two are like best friends now. It was kind of a hectic and really long teach, but overall it went great. I try to put myself in their shoes, and I think it would be incredibly hard to commit to giving 10% of my income up especially during hard times, but they commited to pay tithing and I'm just always amazed with their testimonies and the faith that they show. We really hope they stick with their commitment as well. Things really do look good at the moment, they just need to get married now which does take some time. They are facing opposition, but they are overcoming it.

Actually our bishop talked to President Shamo, and President Shamo told him that he was planning on moving Elder Simmons until like the last minute, and he decided to let him stay right at the end of the transfer process. I know that was the right choice. The investigators here need Elder Simmons. He really is a great missionary and a great trainer.

But I can relate to Riley and his friends being annoyed at times with each other. There are some things he does that irritate me, but I think that inevitable in any companionship and its probably a lot just due to the fact that I'm living with him 24/7. But we get along really well. Ive met a lot of missionaries who I can tell I would not get along with very well at all. Im sure I'll have to serve with some of them eventually, and that will be a real test.
Those tapes sound awesome. I can't wait to watch those, getting them digitalized is a good idea. I miss Vinny and that riverbend cul-de-sac gang we used to have.

Im sure Riley and his friends will game and mess around for a few weeks, but luckily the first few weeks of school are really easy and I bet after they adjust they will crack down and really work hard.

Whats the house like with me and Riley gone? Is it a lot different?

Ya i've been talking to alyssa about her athletics. Sounds like she is doing great. With me and riley gone I guess its up to Jackson to protect her from any joker guys that like her.

That is tough for Jack. I remember when I played soccer how when I joined a new team even though I was good enough at tryouts to make a higher team they just placed me on the middle team because no one knew who I was. But Im sure he will be fine after his first season.

Mom told me about Noah. Thats crazy he is skipping a grade.

It hasn't been too long since I last wrote, and not too much has happend. We did find a new investigator, this Jamaican lady named Tasha. Cornwall is like the whitest place on earth. I have seen like 5 people that aren't white here. But we met Tasha knocking doors a few weeks ago and she invited us in yesterday and we got to teach her about the restoration. We're going golfing with Ken again today. He loved it last time. We invited josh to come as well but he is working. Were going over to their place at 6 though to make them american pancakes. And they invited us to go bowling with them this week...

Well thanks for the emails as always. I love hearing how things are going back home. Keep Cornwall in your prayers

Love Elder Steed

Sept 14, 2011

You did a great job teaching me and helping me, I just didn't do a great job listening.

It really has been an amazing experience so far. My faith and testimony have increased exponentially, but are still are not anywhere near where they should be. Its something I pray for and work on everyday.

Ken and Toni are the best.Saturday night Ken was working as doorman at a club in Falmouth pretty late. I guess some guy who was high on cocaine and drunk came up and got in his face and was being really aggresive. Eventually he took a swing at Ken, and hit him in the head. He punched him again in the head, and then Ken (who is like a black belt in Muay Thai kickboxing and MMA) does some crazy clinch to headlock maneuver and then body slams this guy into the pavement. The point is, Ken finds it really hard to sleep after really eventful nights like that, and because he can't sleep he isn't comfortable driving his family the 30 mins from Falmouth to Helston early Sunday morning. So in past experiences, when he has had a tough Saturday night like that he doesn't make it out to church. But after the cops hauled this guy off, he said he remembered about a month ago when we were teaching him about oppostion. And he said he realized that this was all just Satan trying his hardest to oppose Ken and his family making it out to church. So he resolved not to let that stand in his way, he went home and watched some Mormon messages, fell asleep, and made it out to church yesterday!

Josh and Stephanie also made it. We introduced them to each other, and were really happy because we have been trying forever to get them both to church the same week. Both of these families are starting to build friendships within the ward. There aren't many young families, but the ones that are here are doing a great job at fellowshipping these investigators. It has been years here since a baptism, and decades since a young family was baptized (its usually old people or young single people). So the ward is getting really excited about doing missionary work, because they are finally seeing that it can have an affect.

During this time of great excitement and progress for the ward, there is also a lot of oppostion. We have been working closely with the bishop with some members who are struggling. There are also some concerns with the old bishop who appostasized here making contact with some of the members. He actually even tried to come into church yesterday, which wouldn't have been good because of all the investigators we had there.

Good luck on your talk. Let me know the topic and Ill try to send you some good scriptures. I know you two will both do great though.

That is really funny about Noah. Why not just move him all the way up to grade 5? One thing I have learned is to never doubt a spiritual prompting you had because of its outcome. Theres always a reason for it.

I think Alyssa is in the same boat i was. I was so bored in all my classes. I was in a lot of classes with this azn kid kyle skelly, and he would always just load up his ipod with sweet movies and we would sit in the back of the class watching movies. or taking naps or gaming or whatever. Those were the days.

Are you asking me for confirmation that you are old? Yes mother. You are getting old. But its okay. Im still a teenager and there is no way I could ever run 18 km.

That trip with you and alyssa sounds really fun. Our trip was awesome, the hockey games and disneyland and all that. We will have to do another guys trip when me and riles are back.

Is Escape from Alcatraz even a real triatholon? That just sounds reckless. I think there is a reason it was considered like the best prison ever. It's like impossible to escape. Tell dad I want to see him alive again in this life.

Good luck with your homework. Sorry im not there to help with math. And I havent even gotten that newsletter yet...

Anyways thanks for the letter. Keep praying for Ken and Toni and Josh and Stephaine.

Love Elder Steed