Elder Masulonis

Elder Masulonis

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nov 11, 2012

Dear Mom,
i got the pictures of you crazies all dressed up. those are some good costumes! elder Gillespie and i were having a hard time thinking of what we could do for halloween the would be missionary appropriateso we switched our name tags... pretty crazy right? at least we got bro henderson to let us wear those blow up suits for a picture home. im starting to think that since the age for a mission has gone down, im gonna get back and every one is going to be gone. thank goodness randy is much younger than me. that way, we can actually do stuff together. i hope that when i get back i wont be too boring for him. i bet im gonna be much more different than when i left. which is a good thing. im not sure if i mentioned this in last weeks letter, but i had a few dreams that i was a home and when i would go to talk to someone, it would be so awkward because im not trying to convert them or anything. its like home is the land of unlimited preperation days. which was another thing.yesterday was preparation day and we decided to play basketball. it was really fun, but i realized that if you dont work out very often, your body gets out of shape. i played way hard, and then got super exuasted from it. right now im getting over this dumb head cold/cough.
oh hey, i wanted to challenge you to something. our mission is doing this book of mormon thing where we read the book of mormon at a rapid rate and highlight a select few things. like how many times it references christ or when a prophet is speaking and stuff. and i will be starting tomorrow.and i was kinda hoping that you or dad or randy or someone would race me in reading the book of mormon. if anyone wants to race, then let me know and tell them to go ahead and start when ever they would like. i will try to let you know when i finish.
thats really neat that randy is into power tools.
its good to hear about the contacts, i hope the y come soon.
 i wonder what life is ggoing to be like. because i have always had the subconcious thought of once i go on my mission, life is over, thats the end of the story. when in reality, its only the begining. sounds like im going to be getting alot of mail soon:) that makes me really happy. i got grandmas letter the other day and she sounds like she is really busy. im glad that she cam fill her time with meaningfull activites. mom, im 13 months into this thing... thats carzy!!! its real wierd to think about it. i have to go soon, but i wanted to ask you this. and you dont have to respond in the way that people usually do, but i just was curious about this. so, other than an example, have you seen anything good happen in result to me going on a mission family wise? ive always wondered about that. anyway, i love you very much and am super excited to hear from you and everyone soon.:)


Oct 28, 2012

Well the disrtict in which i am serving in has finally started to blossom. i have a disrtict leader binder that has been in the raleigh 1st area for a year or two and the disrtict leaders in the past have written all of the disricts numbers for a while now. and it made me so happy that this week we broke the record for baptismal dates as a district. things are kinda looking like they were when i was with elder stauffer. things started really rough but now they are looking forward. now the trick is to get those people that have a baptismal date to progress and get excited about missionary work.

man, i really miss every one back there. tell everyone hi for me.

Oct 22, 2012

I got the package you sent me. and when i opened it up, it was kinda crazy. and let me tell ou, i am very excited to see the family when i get abck home. being a trainer has been an interesting experience. the person im trainings name is elder gillespie. so now there is elder masulonis, and gillespie serving under president berhisell. how much more crazy could it get with names?:) elder gillespie is a little unorthodox, but in a good way. he isnt like most elders. he is about 6"1 and alot bigger than me. he is a big fella. but thats not what makes him different. he has a way different out look on missionary work. he measures his success in a good way. and that way is by how happy he feels. there have been some experiences in his life that have molded him to be the person he is right now. the biggest one that he has told me about is some struggles with depression. he doesnt have those struggles now, but it has been interesting to see the end result of what he has gone though. before my mission, i admittedly measured success by baptisms related to how difficult the area is. its kinda silly, but that how i measured it. i thought that all those people that didnt get alot of baptisms were just people that werent very good missionaries. but i have found that that isnt the case. i have found that baptisms or any of the other numbers that we report on are gifts from our heavenly father. now there is a connection between diligence and obediance and faithfullness and the other principals of the gospel, but it is not a direct connection. meaning that even if you are the most diligent missionary, you might not even get 1 baptism. its hard to think about for me. something else that i have been thinking about, is what to focus on. my focus changes all the time. my focus is always besed on the doctrine of christ, but it often times switches around.

Oct. 1, 2012

Dear mom
Things are changing all around me. today is the day before transfers and elder balckwell is leaving. and a few days ago, i found out that i will be training a new missionary. so i will be a district leader and a trainer at the same time. this makes me nervous. i hope that my experience training will be different from the experience i had being trained. i just wrote a letter to my mission pres. and expressed to him that same thing and then i realized that all god wants me to do is my best. which can be something that is difficult, but its do-able.
someone else that was in my district was also called to be a zone leader and another is going home( because his 2 years is up) so the district is changing all over the place.

on another note, this week i went to a baptism in knightdale for one of the people elder stuffer and i taught. her name is lynn barker. we knocked on her door and began to help her change her life. she has a son that i really hope gets baptized. he is about 12 or 13 years old and is a really sharp kid. the problem is, the mom and dad are divorced and the dad isnt too into having his son be mormon or religious. ive noticed that when people turn to religion and things dont work out and things become hard, they give up and claim there isnt a god. thats the case with johnathan. i really want to just be bold with him and help him see what blessings come from living the gospel. it comes up in our companion studies alot because elder blackwell is from indiana and he has alot of non-member or less active family members. and let me tell you, being a missionary with less active or non-member family drives you crazy.

so to answer your question about inviting people to be baptized, we are really encouraged to invite them to be baptized during the very first lesson we have with them. when we do that, it does alot of things. it shows the people that we teach, we are not messing around and neither is god. he and we want them to be happy. so why would we wait? infact, i just got out of a meeting the other day that 2 members of the missionary department of the church talked to us. and the thing that stood out the most to me, was the doctrine of christ. namely, the atonement, faith in jesus christ, repentance, baptism and other covenants, recieving the holy ghost and enduring to the end. these things are what all of the rest of the gospel point to. everything points to jesus christ. even the name of the church. i have seen that my motivation and happiness as a missionary ( and probably a member of the church) comes from how grounded i am to the gospel of jesus christ.

Things are improving here in raleigh 1st. we actually have some people that we are working with. i would tell you all about them, but you would probably forget it all by the end anyway. hey, so this is going to make you kinda trunkie, but just as a reminder, i am going to be able to talk to you soon over the phone. christmas is coming up. has alex left on his mission yet? i feel like ive kinda blipped out of exsistance for a little while. as a missionary you have to wonder sometimes, "i wonder who actually remembers and thinks about me." thats pretty self centered though. and it doesnt really matter.

Sept 23, 2012

So this week, we FINALLY found someone to teach. ive learned that missionary work is different in different areas of the world. and the work in Raleigh 1st in particular has been a challenge. im going to be honest, there have been times of discouragement here, but i have also seen alot of growth in myself here too. which is great because usually you cant really see growth in yourself. but when you are able to see it in yourself you know that things are really going well. the lady we found seems to been really prepared to recieve the gospel. we have only me with her once, and everything has gone great! she has accepted to be baptized on october 27th. she has made me and Elder Blackwell very very happy. things are really looking up here. we have been finding new investigators, and other things are really going well too.
You asked, "what is the difference between a district and zone leader". So lets imagine the NCRM. it takes up most of the estern half of NC and within those boundries, you have zones. zones are pretty much the work for stakes. and within those zones are about 8-15 areas which usually compose of one or two wards. now a district is a group of about 3-5 areas. and the disrtict leader leads the missionaries in that district and relays messages from the zone leaders and mission pres. so i tell the missionaries what the zone leaders and mission pres. are saying, keep them accountable for what they are doing, and i conduct a district meeting once every week which composes a lesson, an accounting session for what the missionaries have done to help the work and other stuff like that. now a zone leader acts as a district leader for all of the district leaders in the zone or stake. so they will keep us accountable for what is happening in our districts, they will conduct a zone meeting once or twice a transfer, or month. and they will relay information from the mission president to the district leaders and sometimes, all of the missionaries. so you break down a mission into zones, then disrticts, then areas. i hope that all made sense.

Sept. 16, 2012

Well the bednars are a wonderfull young family that is blending really well with the ward. john and mandy bednar are their names. they have two little kids named amelia and peyton. their kids are still too young to be baptized, so they just watched. it was a really neat experience.

So today we went to the temple again. this time it will be my 2nd time ive gone to the raleigh temple on my mission. it was a really neat experience. when we go to the temple, we are often encouraged to come with a question. whether that question is personal, or general, or about the area you serve in, it doesnt really matter. the point of coming to the temple is revelation. thought out honest questions invite revelation. in the endwoment i noticed that god asks a question frequently before speaking. the question i went with was a personal question, and in response to that question i learned from the spirit a good amount of things. i first and foremost learned and felt that heavenly father actually does care about our cares. he loves us and wants us to have joy and be happy. i loved that. my prayer was answered in a way that allowed me to ask god another specific question. and i am confident that he will answer me in a clear and powerful way. the thing about my question is, it was something that could seem silly in someone elses eyes. but because its important to me, he is willing to help me with it and direct me. as ive served, my will has slowly become closer to what the lords has been. and that slowness i can tell you can be hard. but the great thing is that i am always lead back to jesus christ and his love. its kinda funny that you mentioned my future wife, because that is what my question was kinda based from. i dont want to share too much about it, but i am excited to see what happens next.
im really grateful that you are my mom, mom. you have so much confidence in my even when i dont have confidence in myself. right now, the work has been a struggle for me. and to my supprise, being a district leader was harder than i thought. i always thought that you were just trying to be nice when you told me that i was a good leader, but before pres. cotterell left he siad the same thing. i dont know what people see in me that shows that, but hey, maybe i can refine those things while im a district leader. i love you mom.

Sept. 10, 2012

Dear mom,
this week has been pretty great. the first thing that was fantastic, was that i was able to see the bednar family get baptized. that was amazing. the second thing was that i have been able to meet with johnathan again. he still doesnt want to learn about the gospel, but i feel like we are becoming more and more comfortable with eachother. the first time that i met with him, i was super nervous. this time, i was able to be a little more relaxed and i was even joking around with him a little bit.

its kinda crazy out here right now. or at least for me. its weird because im starting to forget stuff about home. it seems like the only thing that i can think of is the work and how to improve the work. the work seems to be my only focus. which is good, but i miss the simple interaction from people. the closest thing to family to me right now is Elder Blackwell. i guess this is what its like when they say forget yourself and go to work. we are working really hard in Raleigh 1st. ive heard that stress+rest =growth. well, i am going through alot of growth. the reason i know that is because i have actually been able to see small changes in myself. and its usually pretty difficult for me to see change in myself.

in 2 more days i am 11 months old. almost half way. wow. its interesting to think about because i only have 13 months left, but on the other hand, i only have 13 months left. i hope you understand.

this week Elder Blackwell got in a bike accident. its sad, but i cant help but laugh inside. so we were bikeing down this road and as we were going across a road that came from a parking lot we found out that there was a 4-6 inch median in the middle that kinda directed traffic. it was no problem for me because i just bunny hopped on and off it. but elder blackwell hit it right on which caused him to loose control and when it was time to get back onto the curb, it was too late for him. so if you could imagine, im riding in front and i hear him yell, "OH NOO!" then i hear his bike hit the curb. i turn my head to look back and see him flying over his handle bars. he biffed it pretty hard but he's alright, he's a big boy. he ruined one of his pants, and got a bad case of road rash, but the funniest thing that happened was what happened after that, after i go and help him back up and see what happened, this lady pulls her car by us and asks if elder blackwell is alright. he says that he is fine but she cant hear him because of other cars that are pssing by so he decides to go up to her and talk to her. he told her that he was fine but she was even got even more shocked because after he told her that he was fine elder blackwell says, "can we give you a card?" he contacts her. her face was so funny. what a dedicated servant right? well, thats my companion. :)

Sept. 2, 2012

You have probably already figured this out, but nearly every time i get an email from you i i just have to think wow. life actually does happen while your gone haha. i i got a letter from taybree a few days ago and she mentioned tomato picking also. i guess thats the sign that the tomato season for our family is over. maybe im wrong though because gary always a trick up his sleeve so he is probably doing something like making some kind of super healthy tomato, pepper, exotic spice milk shake haha. im glad though that you have been able to stay busy. that might sound like its a rude comment, but i think that when we are busy especially with our goals, good things happen. take for instance ben and Jeff. they are impressive young men. im sure that they are role models for many people.
when you mentioned the things about bro. hills son moving in next door, i thought, i bet randy is excited about that. are they still friends? thats amazing that their family has recieved those blessings in their lives. i also couldnt help but think about my experience in knightdale. i remember that i talked about the bednars progressing and being fellowshipped like crazy. i think that a lot of the conversion they have experienced has actually come because of others helping them. the last thing that happened with them when i left knightdale was that they refussed to pay tithing. that day was a devastating day. because they were progressing so much and they were already practicaly members of the church and they had already recieved so many blessings in their lives. when i left that night we taught them about tithing i felt like dirt. i wished so badly that they would have greater faith so that they could have more blessings. this week however, i got a call and elder stauffer said that out of the blue they decided that their desire to be baptized was greater than the price of faith. mom, i am so happy for them. i am so happy that they are getting baptized! they are getting baptized this weekend. going back to the fellowshipping idea though, the reason why they had such a change of heart was that they were exposed to pure testimony of many ward members about the truthfullness of the restored gospel. our testimonies really can have a great influence on others.
oh wonderfull! you got the pictures. the member said that the first time he tried to send them you didnt get them. but im glad you got them. its still hot here, but i do think i am adapting to the heat. because even when i go to bed i get cold from the vent blowing into the room. the reason why we were wearing suit jackets though was that we just got out from a baptism and we need to wear suits when ever we go to any kind of meetings. getting back home will be somewhat of a stuggle i think because i will be used to north carolina weather and then i will be going into the bitter cold of idaho. yikes! oh well. home is home.

August 26, 2012

Dear mom,
man, new stuff is happening all over isnt it? things are changing with me, and at home. randy just got a very nice looking bike, the bathroom just got done ( and looks amazing.) and you even got your new computer. wow. so this week has deffinately been a crazy week. it has been really interesting. when i came into the area i found out that i will be rebuilding the work here. right now we have no investigators, referrals, and many of our less actives will be going into the sisters hands. so, we are really building from the ground up. we are meeting with members alot and trying to help them with missionary work. like i said earlier, it has been a really interesting week. but not for the reasons you might be thinking. so far on my mission, it has been difficult for me to make real connections with ward members. which is a little unusual because that is somehting that seems comes natural in missionary work. but within my few days here i am starting to really love the members on a new level. there is on member in particular that i am really coming to love. his name is bro. henderson. (kind of ironic i know since back at home bro henderson was some one i wasnt too fond of.) one of the characteristics that i like the most about him is his boldness. he is VERY bold. and it has been fun and interesting to be bold back. he likes it and i like it. there are also 2 other things that have been of significance. one of the first days here, elder blackwell and i had a talk tht was filled with the spirit. let me just first say that even though elder Blackwell has a mild mental disorder, he is one of the most spiritualy intune people i know. he is directed by the spirit so much. it has been a faith trying experience that has brought much fruit being with him. he taught me about the atonement in a very personal way that was filled with the spirit. he has helped me so much. he later gave me a blessing and the blessing he gave me was one of the strongest times i have ever felt the spirit on my mission. i felt like i was walking into a warm bright room from a cold dark one. it was incredible! then, either one or two days later we met with this less active family and for one reason or another it was VERY awkward. and he felt the spirit strongly tell him that after our visit, we needed to come back. i didnt have the same impression, and i didnt want to make things anymore awkward, but i trusted him and we eventually went back. when we went back, we found out that there was a strong spiritual need that needed to be met. and the situation that we came back into, was perfect! with both of these experiences, i have been awe struck. going back to the blessing he gave me, elder blackwell said things that made me question if he could actually read my mind. there was no way he would know to say the things that he did unless he was completely inspired of god. from that experience my testimony of priesthood power was significantly increased. in both instances that ive talked about, the only reaction that i have initially had is " WHAT!?!?!?!" "HOW COULD THIS HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED!?!?!?" it was amazing! i feel like god is truely trying to humble me. that is something that i am confident about. i know that god lives. he knows us. he loves us. we are his children. he wants the best for us. this is my testimony.

August , 2012

Well, i will first tell you about what is really on my mind the most. transfers. ringht now i am with elder stauffer who is a super missionary. he is my favorite next to elder johnson. if you even remember me talking about him. but anyway, transfers. so elder stuffer and i got a call a few nights ago that brought new experiences for both of us. he is going to be training in knightdale.(hopefully with elder bagley. i went to highschool with him and he is a really neat kid. his dad was also my acutain doctor.) and i will be serving in the raleigh 1st area in the raleigh 1st district as district leader. this is big news for me even though im just being transfered less than 100 miles away and into an area that i have gone to during exchanges. so basically im taking my district leaders spot. there are some things that im slightly worried about but i think i can do well with the lords help. this morning i had to really look at myself and prioritize my goals and desires and put it onto paper. i kinda made a debt-elimination chart thing for my priorities. but some of the things that i see as potential challenges are; sister missionaries are coming into the district for the first time, disobediant missionaries, district meetings, my next companion will have a very slight mental disability, i represent a district and my area instead of just my area, and just being a missionary in general. it might sound like alot, but im not sure on how things will go. hopfully well. but, that is just a little about what is happening in the life of elder masulonis. but to be honest, im more concerned about you right now. one of the members this sunday told me to tell you about a website and some other web stuff she thought you might like. so there is a web site called something like, "missionarymoms.net" and it is a site where all the missionary moms can go on and post pictures, stories they have heard and all sorts of great stuff. she thought you might like that. she also said that there is a facebook group for the families of north carolina missionaries. just a thought you might like to check. i bet you will be pretty busy though. it sounds like there is alot going on at home. the bathroom is being tricked out, my moms head is exploding with knowledge, my dad is a singer, my brother is still my little bro... which is saying alot. ;) and, he is growing up to be even more epic he already is, anyway, i hope there is room enough for me when i get back. ;) i hope to hear from you soon andi love you.

July 29, 2012

This week there was one of the days that elder stauffer worked especially hard. we went out on our bikes and worked hard all day. after the day was over, i felt exausted. i might keep on saying this about other days, but im not sure if i have ever sweated as much as i did that day than any other day. my clothes were drentched with sweat. infact, we were so wet, that i had to completely change and get dry before our dinner appointment came to pick us up. but even though we were working super hard, i found something that i really enjoy as a missionary. one of the feelings that i love the most is the feeling of going out the door and and to contact everybody i see and testify my brains out... even if they dont accept the message we share. the spirit is so strong and it motivates me a ton. it reminds me of a scripture that i am memorizing right now lets see if i can get it right. "for the natural man is an enemy to god and has been from the fall of adam and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the holy spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of christ and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." how did i do? the reason why i felt like that this week is, doing missionary work is hard. when your body aches for rest, and when you only want to be passive, when you are tired and you see the difficulties ahead of you, its hard to press on in the work of the lord. But... " and moreover i would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of god, for they are blessed in all things, both temporally and spiritually, and if they hold faithful they are recived into heaven that thereby they may dwell with god in a state of never ending happiness. oh remember remember that these things are true, for the lord god hath spoken it." (im not sure if that is word for word, but its according to my memory. i would type it right if i had my scriptures on me, but i usually dont bring my scriptures to the library for emailing.) anyway, its hard, but so was the road that jesus walked. and it was for the best and for the greatest joy.

Things are still gong great for the lamont and his family, and for the bednar family. although ,we had to push back the baptismal date for lamont and his sister because of an unexpected family trp to his dads.but we will hope to see him this week and get him and her to their baptismal interviews. while im talkng about them, we finally got to meet their mom. and it was actually really interesting. she said that if she wasnt seeing the changes in lamont and the rest of the kids' lives, she would have booted us out pretty early, so she has seen the changes for the better in their lives and also is excited for them to be baptized even though she doesnt know what that all entitles. we will also be meeting with her this week for her first lesson. that family makes me really happy. and i really hope that things will continue to go well.
I know that God has heard me on more occasions than one. it is a miracle that God HEARS AND, ANSWERS prayers. especially those which have broken and sincere hearts for collateral.

July16, 2012

Yea! the cake was amazing! Elder Stauffer is gaining some weight, so he let me eat just about the whole thing the. The balloons are still sitting in the apartment. By the way, I'm not sure if I mentioned this last email, but it is pretty relieving that I have gotten to stay in Knightdale. I think it is an answer to one of my prayers. Actuallly several prayers if I think what is going to happen happens. Right now we are teaching a handfull of pretty solid people. 4 of them have solid dates to be baptized. Their names are Lamont, Lance, Jasmine, and Michael. They are all african american and younger than me. But if you looked at Michael, you would think he was much older than me because he looks like an ex-wwf wrestler. He is pretty big. The other two oddly enough have the last name of bednar. ( no relation known yet) the prayer that i think will be answered is, i have prayed often that i would be able to witness somebody be found taught and baptized. things seem to be going in that direction which is making me pretty happy.

again, thank you for sending that birthday present! i loved it so much.

that makes me smile to hear that the bathroom is getting redone. it needed it pretty badly. it seems like though, you are makeing the preperations needed to move. is the family moving?

man, the church is pretty weird when it comes to boundries and church buildings. i mean that is pretty weird that you will be going all the way out to the stonebridge ward when the stake center is right there. its kinda like my friends jacob and taylor bryner. they live right next to a church building, but the have to go to one that is a few blocks away from them. its the same here in knightdale though. the individual boundries dont really make sense. take for instance the ward i am in. there is a ward that takes a random chunk out of our area and on top of that, out area is long and skinny. it almost takes an hour to get from the top of our area to the bottom. if we wanted to make a trip from our house to the top to the bottom and back, it would probably take 2 hours.

as for the Book of Mormon, i totally agree. infact, i was just recently reading about the alligory of the olive tree and i found so much personal relivence to my life. it was really amazing how much i was able to learn from it.

it feels weird to think that i will be one of those weird guys when i get back home, but its awesome to think that i will be one of those awesome guys when i get home.

i love you very much and hope to hear more about home and what is going on soon.


July 22,2012

The lord says to increase our talents. Something that i have discovered on my own from a mission is this. When we put God first, he blesses us in our talents and abilities  even the ones that arent gospel centered. For instance, I have been playing basketball at least once a week since I was a youth and I got alot better from that. But now I feel even more confident in my basketball skills even though I play less. I am sure that this is because of the service I give in the lords work. My friend Taylor told me a little bit about this before my mission too. We were actually playing video games when he told me this. he said the same concept I just told you and then said that he was better at video games after his mission than before. The increase of abillities and talents is increased through the lord. Even the ones that would seem that the Lord doesnt really care about. Its a very interesting concept to me. Speaking of which, we hope to be playing basketball with Lamont and his younger brother Lance. ( these are some of the people that are close to being baptized.) we have seen icredible changes in Lamonts life. he told us that right before we met him, he wasnt doing good things. we later found out that those not so good things involved gang involvement. to show how recent their activity in gangs has been, lance cannot be baptized untill he is off probation. They also have an older brother that is in jail right now and they dont have alot of contact with him. Their dad is in Arkansas and they dont have very much contact with him either. there mom works two medical jobs to take care of the kids and we have only seen her once. Lamont has been looking for a job for two years and things around the house are not great. Lamont has said that the day that we started meeting with him, his life and home and family started to change. he has been offered a lanscaping job by his uncle. his brother has made dramatic improvements to get off on probation and into the water. They have humbled themselves before the Lord and have seen his miracles. Lamonts younger sister Jasmine first laughed at us when in the first lesson we told them that the book of mormon was an ancient record of the ancestors of the native americans but now she reads the book of mormon nearly everyday and has identified the spirit in her heart change her. lamont and lance have also done and felt the same things. lamont has a strong desire to just follow god and choose the right. He has identified by himself that when we keep the commandment and choose the right, we are blessed temporally and spirituall just like king Benjamin says in mosiah 2 44... i think. that family is truely a miracle and a miracle in progress.

In your email, you said your glad that im not melting into a pile of tiger butter. what on earth is tiger butter???