Two hour countdown…

Two hours ’til I’m on a bus, heading to the airport.  The MTC has been so fun.  Full of crazy mishaps, fun friends, tons of gospel learning, trusting in The Lord, and avoiding Sisters.  (They’re scary)

I’m excited.  Nervous, scared, knowing I’m not ready, but excited.  I’ve had a ton of fun here, mostly in study.  Speaking of Study, I lost my quad scriptures after helping in a new missionary meeting.  My companionship was chosen to help show how to begin teaching, and I accidentally left my quad in the room when we left.  Haven’t seen them since.
So what did my companions do?  They bought me a new quad today!  So nice!  So cool!  So chill!
Such yes!  Wow!
I’m grateful for all my teachers here that have changed the way I think about things.  They’ve taught me how to love people, and have patience, too.  The good examples of other missionaries have taught me so much.  I’ve learned the importance of relying on the Lord for help, and listening to the Spirit for guidance.  This Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, everything about it.  It all fist so closely together in a perfect sandwich of epic fiction novel worthy awesome.
Daily Scripture Study has become like a drug for me.  I NEEDS IT, MY PRECIUIOUSUOSUUS!  I learn so much every day from it!  And I’m understanding so much more!  even if no one in my district thinks I’m smart, I know what I know and no one can dissuade me otherwise.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches the fullness of the Gospel, the true Gospel, and the only Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ has become a close friend to me.  Someone who I love, and who loves me enough to die for me and take every one of my sins from me if I’m but willing to give them up.

The knowledge that there’s a Heavenly Father I can talk to at any time is one of the most comforting pieces of truth I’ve ever had.  Help is just a conversation away, and even though I receive answers through feelings or other people, it’s still the most important conversation all day.

I love the people of Thailand, and I don’t even know them yet.  I’m so excited to share this Gospel with them.  They’ve been prepared, and they’re ready to know the truth.  I’d be excited to share the Gospel with anyone, really.  IT’S JUST SO COOL!

So, no more music methinks.  We didn’t get to play the quartet for anything, but maybe President Senior (My mission president) will want us to play for something.  We hear something about a music proselyting group, but we don’t have any confirmation yet.  No more Dear Elders, either I think!  TIS A SAD DAY, ALL I CAN RECEIVE ARE EMAILS!  D’:  But no is K.  I’ve gotten used to reading and writing quickly.

I’m so happy to be leaving, but the MTC’s been a great experience.  I’m looking forward to sending my next email on Monday (which will be Sunday for all of you) next week IN THAILAND!
-Elder Mayo

One week left in the MTC!

We got to play our musical number with the string quartet in sacrament meeting.  I’m hoping we get to play for something a little bigger, because it brings the spirit SO HARD!  Joseph Smith’s First Prayer is such a beautiful hymn, in notes and lyrics.  

I will take a moment now to say something that I should have said a while ago.
Sisters are scary.
That is all.

The day we got our flight plans, everyone was too distracted to study.  We kind of just sat in our room during study time and talked about Thailand, and what we need to do before we get there.  To be completely honest, I don’t get along too well with my district, even though they’re all really good people.  I never really got along well with Mormons in the first place.  Not because I make dirty jokes or anything, but, I don’t know.  It’s just been a thing.

Tell sister Rose that I have a Utahn/almost Provo companion.
It’s all she said it would be!  😀

So I made a diagram of teaching a long while ago.  It has a circle with a little not matching up (y’know, like a quickly drawn circle!), on the inside it says “Investigator’s interest and lesson flow” and text everywhere around it.  At the niblet not matching up, I wrote: “Intro question” – Gets the conversation on the subject of the lesson.  Go a little farther into the actual circle, and you get the “What” Explains what the lesson is about and gives needed knowledge that will apply for the rest of the lesson.  Move a little further: As the “what” goes on, it starts to confuse the investigator about why it applies to them.  It drifts further from the beginning on the circle.  Then the “why” gets the investigator interested in learning the lesson by applying why the message is important to them.
“How” Gives the investigator the means to utilize the doctrine in the lesson, and brings the lesson back around to relate to the first/all other subjects and brings the lesson together to make a circle of understanding.

I… Hope that made sense.
It has to do a lot with the “What, why, and how” lesson that Stu showed in mission prep.  I finally understand it now, yo!  That circle of understanding can be used for just about anything I’ve found.  As long as your doctrine matches up with it, and the Spirit guides you, it makes sense to the learner.

So I thought of another analogy.  It’s a small one, but kind of cool I guess.  Think of the Gospel as jello.  If we immerse ourselves in the Gospel, it will “slop” over onto someone else when we’re close to them.  They’re “taste” just how good the Gospel is, and want to learn more from you.
Maybe that’s a gross analogy, but I totally thought of it myself, yo.

I’m actually curious what language learning techniques you all used on your missions.  What plans did you use?  I’m having trouble using a plan I make because it usually doesn’t have the things I need in it and I can’t think of what I need to do.  >.<

Anyhoo, pictures next week!  Getting more and more tired as the days go on!  (I’ve had a constant headache for the past week)  I’ll try not to lose any more fillings!  Thank you so much for the moolah and lurv!  I love you all!

-Elder Elliot Mayo

The Crimson Chin

It was a summer night, and the sun brimmed the top of the mountains.  The wind picked up orange leaves, carrying them softly across the cement paving.  A lone Elder stood at the head of the pathway, his companion draped over the cement siding.  A sister screamed, “There he is!  Get the Mayo!”
Elder Mayo shook his head slowly as the ground shook from the sisters speeding across the pavement.  His head raised in the dim light, and his eyelids shot open, revealing a red light.  “CHIN SWORD, ON!”  He roared, while his arm swung majestically across his finely crafted jaw-end.
A flash of white light screamed as his hand brushed the end of his face.  A long, sharp point three feet long appeared under his mouth, his chin had activated.

Swing after swing, he took the sisters down.  They all wanted the power of the Chin, but he knew it would be too much for them.  Better they rest now than have the Chin take them over.

Elder Mayo tripped, his clumsiness was too much for him, and he knew it.  His body slammed the ground, the Chin Blade shattered in a fine mist.  The sisters were almost upon him.  He had to move, but he couldn’t.  It was too embarrassing.  

“Onyahasao!”  Elder Mayo knew those words.  He had the power of the Chin, but there was one greater than he.  The Korean teacher, who’s name escaped Elder Mayo, launched over the poor boy.  His chin sliced, diced, and gave no quarter to the Sisters.  For he wielded the Ultimate Chin.  He was, The Brother across the hall.

A Korean teacher across the hall from us has the most glorious chin.  It’s… enormous.  I love it.

In other, more serious news, I have a really cool analogy me and another elder made.  

Elder Howard was down in the vending machine room, where two microwaves are located, too.  There, he witnessed something absolutely amazing, and awful at the same time.  And elder bought an Alfredo Dinner from one of the vending machines, and was just about done with its 5 minute cook time.  When it was finished, he excitedly opened the microwave and reached in to grab the alfredo.  He wasn’t expecting it to be too hot, so he immediately pulled the alfredo out of the microwave oven and yelped loudly.  He let go of the Alfredo, and it plopped directly up-side down in the trash.
So it is with our lives.  We must prepare carefully for the moments when our testimonies are tested, because if we aren’t prepared, our moment goes in the trash just like the alfredo.  If we aren’t worthy to perform our priesthood duties as Elders, we miss out on many opportunities (mission included) to exercise our testimony and show our faith.  We must be worthy at all times to act, and work for the Lord.
How do we become worthy?  I’ll explain in another analogy.
Bananas contain the mineral Potassium, which helps the body to stretch with less pain and cramps afterwards.  It also helps the body to keep its muscles stretched after practice.
If a man has the goal to do the splits after two years, and does nothing but eat bananas during that two year period, will he be able to do the splits?  No!  Why?  Because he hadn’t practiced stretching each day so his muscles could pull farther.  He just received the gift of the banana, and did nothing with it.  
We must constantly stretch our spiritual muscles every day.  If we merely hear the word of the Apostles, or read the scriptures every day without applying what we learn in our lives, we are like the man who didn’t stretch.  Everything we learn must be applied to our lives and followed if it’s to be of any use to us.  
Read the scriptures every day, pray for inspiration and revelation, listen to the words of the Apostles and Prophet, but more than that, apply the words you receive, and act on them.  This is how we become better members, and better people.

I love this Gospel, and this church.  No matter what there’s always an answer for me whether it be through prayer, the Holy Ghost, the Prophet’s words, or through the other Elders here.  
I still don’t feel too ready to go to Thailand.  I imagine I’ll feel like that the entire time I’m out here, so I’m not too worried about it.  This is the greatest work I’ve ever known, so the Lord wouldn’t have me out here to do it unless I had a purpose.  

I’ve learned that we are merely conduits of the Holy Ghost who teaches through us.  A while back, we really needed to prepare a lesson for one of our practice investigators, but we couldn’t think of anything.  We didn’t know what she needed.  So we prayed about what to teach, and we got the idea to change the topic we had to Faith.  We prepared a glorious lesson, and we knew what he had done was by the Spirit.  
The next day we go to class before we teach, and we had a substitute teacher, Brother Sanchez.  The teacher we had initially planned to teach wasn’t there, but Brother Sanchez was going to play a less-active member (Phuusai), so we decided out lesson would fit him too.  It was perfect, the points fit his questions fantastically, the spirit was present the entire time, he committed to go back to church, and everything was great.
The Spirit guides us in ways we don’t even know about until they come up.  We were prepared for a lesson we didn’t know we were going to teach and it was just what Phusai needed.  

I’ve also learned that the Spirit is heavily present through music.  Reverent music invites the Spirit so strongly.
Me and Elder Reid played “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” on Sunday.  Some of the notes weren’t hit right, but the Spirit was present anyway.  I’m so glad I have this opportunity in the MTC to play music for people and allow them to feel the Spirit and receive guidance.  We have a quartet set up with our branch.  Three violins and a cello (me).  We’re playing Joseph Smith’s First Prayer in such a beautiful way.  Elder Reid really is a musical genius.  Even during practices, I get teary sometimes because the spirit is so present.

2 weeks to go until I’m out to Thailand!  We get our Flight plans this Friday!  I’m so excited!  Thank you all so much for all the letters and love!  
I’ll talk to you all later!
-Elder Elliot Mayo

Knowing vs. Believing

Alright, so, I learned something amazing this week.  I was reading Preach my Gospel in the “Feeling the Spirit” section when I learned about knowing the Gospel is true, versus believing the Gospel is true.  
For investigators, you’d have to be one Golden investigator to know that the Gospel is true right off the bat.  That means full conversion, and even most members don’t have that yet.  Knowing the Gospel is true requires people to act based on Faith, then having the Faith that their Faith will be strengthened to a true knowledge.
So when an investigator “doesn’t know” if the Gospel is true or not, that’s good enough. We have to tell them that we must act on our Faith, be Baptized (because that’s just the beginning), and keep on learning to have a true knowledge of the Gospel and become better people.  If they don’t accept that, it’s their own free will to choose.  I’m not sure if that’s the correct way to go about it, but I suspect that I’ll learn.
 I’ve decided to keep a scripture journal of a bunch of scriptures I find that are useful to me.  I’ll share some of the ones I find here, too.

Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us and wants to give us blessings: 3 Nephi 14: 9-11
Who is the Holy Ghost? John 14: 26
What are the blessings of receiving the Holy Ghost?  2 Nephi 32: 5
Why should we be baptized?  3 Nephi 7:25

Until next time, today’s crazy!  I’ll email you all next Monday!  WOOHOO!  
-Elder Mayo

A story of WOOOOAH!

Hello everyone!  Elder Mayo here from bright n’ sunny Provo Utah, learning how to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  WOOOO!
I’ve finally gotten used to the MTC life, and it’s become enjoyable.  My companions are legit, and I’m meeting so many cool missionaries!  

My district decided to have all of us share our conversion story with everyone in our weekly letters, so I helped spread the word, and here I am now, typing furiously to share my story before my computer time is up!  

I was born in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I loved it as a kid.  I had friends at church, and I had fun in primary and Sunday school.  When I was about fourteen, I had almost completely fallen away in spirit.  I didn’t like going to church, I didn’t like most church members, I had no testimony of my own, and I had become what we call “apostate.”  I didn’t like the church, nor the “rules” one bit.  This was my “rebellious” stage of life.  

Members all have waves of activity in some form or another, and boy was I low.  I acted like I was an active member at church, pretending to be the good boy, but I had an emptiness that I couldn’t fill with video games, friends, or other various worldly things.  I fell in with a dark crowd, and picked up habits that weren’t good spiritually, or socially.  Life kept getting darker, so much so that I declared to an acquaintance at school that I didn’t plan on staying in the church when I could move out.

I knew something had to be done.  So I knelt down next to my bed where I read and prayed.  At first it was a usual “speed prayer,” but after the first two “lines” of prayer, it became honest.  I prayed to know about what to do, how to come back.  Almost instantly thoughts about my parents teaching me key principles popped into my head.  Repentance being one that I lingered on.  

I had to repent, I had to come back to both my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father.  There was no where else I could have turned to to go up in life.  So I tried, I tried so hard that I would break down and cry over something stupid I’d done.  In my room, of course.  Nobody likes to see that.  

Repentance brought me back, I wanted to learn more about the gospel, and more about what I could do to be better.  My brother would help me see light in the world through letter, and I tried to write him about positive things as much as possible.  I could see a spark returning.  That same spark that was there after I was baptized when I was eight.  That was there when I was a little kid.  That was there when I felt the spirit at EFY.  I could feel it regularly.

I tried to do my best to get rid of the habits I’d obtained when I was younger.  I read my scripture regularly, I prayed regularly, I could feel the love Heavenly Father has for me, and I could see the love he has for others as well.  I found myself.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Any answer to any question is contained within this church and its teachings.  Everything can be solved by close, fervent prayer with Heavenly Father and repentance through his son, Jesus Christ.  The question, “What is the meaning of life?” Is answered so deeply by the Plan of Happiness.  I’m so happy to be a missionary in the Lord’s church, and to bring people who were like me out of that pit of misery and woe.

Be good, my friends.  Stay strong, and don’t eat MTC food.  
-Elder Elliot Mayo

“What is the opposite of humility?”

Brother Shipley asked.
I sat there for a second, thinking, then responded in Thai, “Pride!”
“What is pride?”
A few seconds passed, “Dang it.”

Brother Shipley is honestly one of the best teachers I could think of.  Mostly just because of his teaching through love and trust.  
I was having trouble with being a conduit of the Spirit in lessons, and I honestly had no idea how to invite the spirit to teach through me.  I voiced that aloud to my companions, and Brother Shipley had just sat down to help us.  He had me read in Ether 12:25, 27.  We have weaknesses so we may become humble.  I had never heard that before, I just remembered the “become strong” part.  
Then he asked me what humility was, and that quote happened.  :3  We read another verse (can’t remember where, have it marked back at the dorms) that said that being humble was as to being like a child.  Submissive, meek, humble, and in essence, teachable.  We must be teachable and have our hearts open to Christ to have the Spirit teach through us.  I’ve been feeling better ever since, and I haven’t had many problems, really.
I wrote in my journal, “You actually don’t teach anyone.  The Lord does through you.  Be worth yto be a conduit, and trust in Christ to help you.  Be humble, be teachable, and you will find it easy to trust in The Lord.  Success in the mission field is a gift from Heavenly Father.

I’m so excited to get out there and find! 😀

Another quote (one Stu might understand).
Elder Paxton, “Why would you drink two cups of orange juice, and eat three bowls of chili right before sacrament meeting?”
Elder Pratt, “Because I want to make sure every sister in there knows that I’m not available!”

The sun is bright, all ready to be covered

For the past two weeks there’s been nothing but bright sunlight penetrating my defenses.  It’s been hot, uncomfortable, and a little humid here in Utah.  But last night we had a glorious rain storm, and this morning it was fresh and overcast.  Made me think of Portland for a second.  Me and an Elder from Washington reveled in the rain outside.  I think we may have had a bonding moment over water falling from the sky.  

I do miss the “temperate” weather in California.  The cold that could freeze lava, and the heat that could melt a glacier in ten seconds flat.

I’ve come to love the MTC I think.  Learning a language is actually fun, and I’m getting closer to all the Elders in my district.  I’m so glad to have good examples to follow, including the Phii-Thais (older Thai districts) that are leaving soon.  Soon being in about three hours.  Last night we had quite the time of writing in each other’s journals and hugging (the Elders, mind you), telling stories and binge-eating.  The MTC itself is a bit droning, but it’s good for preparing for what we have to do in the field.  I’m excited to get out there, find, and teach!

From what I’ve heard so far, the people of Thailand are so prepared, that you can just walk up to one, share pleasantries, and ask them if they want to be forgiven of their sins, they say yes, and bam, new investigator.  Of course I’m thinking not everyone will be like that, but according to the teachers AND the missionaries in the field right now, the people are extremely ready to hear the gospel.  I’m so PUMPED UP!

Thank you, everyone for your letters and encouragement!  I’m sure I’ll have more to write about once I get into the field.

The first principle of the Gospel is…

So me and my two companions are teaching one first investigator, and we get on what the Gospel of Christ is.  He thinks for a second, then says in broken Thai, “The first principle of the gospel is Satan.” (The difference between the words Samtaan (Satan) and Sadtaa (faith))  The investigator gets this look like she just saw a ghost and Elder Paxton doesn’t know what’s wrong.  She says, “Sadtaa?” And he cocks his head to one side for a bit.  Then it hits him.  After some “uuhs” and “aaahs” and turning super red, he quickly corrected himself.  Hurr hurr.
Then in the last lesson, Elder Paxton made the mistake of saying that everyone was evil, instead of everyone believed.  (Chua (evil) and Chxa (X makes a grinning sound, it means to believe))

She got a little offended.  Hoho!
So now that investigator turned into our teacher, and we’re teaching our last teacher who is now Oat.  A man who teaches Thai, is learning English, and learned about the church through the English classes we put on there.  I’m excited, but I’m still really baby-like in the language.  It’s a fun language, definitely!  It’s a lot like English in the way words work, and definitely in how the letters work.  Consonants and Vowels, woohoo!

I’ve learned in these last few days that Elder Bednar is a spiritual genius.  We watched a talk of his last night called “The Character of Christ.”  I’ve seen it before, but I didn’t internalize it.
What he talks about is that the Character of Christ is turning outward at all times rather than turning inward.  Which means that at all times, think of other people rather than yourself and you’ll find that you’ll be a much better conduit to the spirit and more loving than before.

Sorry for the short letter, I’m running super short on time, and I left my notes book in my room when I went to the computer lab!  Talk to you all next week!

-Elder Mayo

A 2 year LDS Mission Blog