Monday, December 10, 2012

My new address in Virginia


On Thanksgiving, last week Elder Holland came and spoke to us.  His wife spoke about the Book of Mormon and how her testimony of it developed.  He had his Grandchildren perform musical numbers or bear their testimonies.  He then got up and spoke about many things but the one that hit me the hardest was being grateful for the time we are born in and the work we get to be a part of.  He spoke about how we have better health, technology, everything now then ever before.  He talked about how we have no idea why were all so special to have been born in this time.  He talked about how we are the only dispensation that will not end in apostasy, every prophet of God before our time has worked and preached with the knowledge that eventually their work would die away and what they have set up will fall.  But none of them ever stopped.  It was hard and to some it may have been futile but they saw the bigger picture.  Peter, while being crucified upside down, John being beheaded, Abinadai being burned by fire, and Joseph Smith murdered by gunfire never gave up, never had a doubt.  Because they knew someone someday would win.  The good would overcome the bad.  They knew that this time, for the first time all of the work of the saints through every dispensation would pay off and many would come unto Christ.  And now they watch.  Watching all of their culminated work coming together to the ultimate victory.  Elder Holland spoke about how the strength and longevity of the Church is something they are all proud of.  They all look down in joy as we get closer to what they believed in and died for.  This applies to all Members of the church, not just those actively engaged in Missionary work.
   For everyone following this you may know that I have had major visa problems, I have been temporarily reassigned to the Richmond, Virginia mission.  I will arrive their in the following week.  My parents will post that address here as soon as I have it and can give it to them.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Love to all my friends and family,
Äldste Moe

Elder Jonathan Moe
Virginia Richmond Mission
9327 Midlothian Turnpike, Suite 1B
Richmond, VA 23235
USA

First week in Richmond, Virginia



 Last week I flew into Richmond Virginia where we were met by the Mission President and AP's.  The President, President Perry and his wife are some of the kindest most caring people I know.  Although, we are Visa Waiters and not called to this mission they accepted us like their own children.  They fed us, brought us in, and made sure we were doing all right.  After that my new companions picked me up, Elder McLellan and Elder Thueson.  They are both from Idaho and both way cool.  Elder Thueson was in my hall at the MTC... what seemed like a year ago.  Anyway, driving home that night we were stopped at a red light and an SUV flipped right in front of us in a giant wreck.  It was pretty crazy, if our light had been green a smaller car would have nailed us in the side.
    Tuesday we did a lot of service and raked leaves for a member who was going in for back surgery and was hurting pretty bad.  We also raked leaves for a couple a few missionaries met at a CVS.  Their faith in Christ and devotion to follow him are awe inspiring.  They tried to pay us for working for them but I told them that as long as we represent Christ we know he wouldn't take that money so we wont either.  They promised to read the Book of Mormon and I know that promise was made because they saw our devotion to Christ and respected us enough to read more on him.  On Tuesdays we teach Tea, a 14 year old girl who's hunger for the truth reminds me of Joseph Smith, her mother is very supportive of her listening to missionaries and she seems very intelligent.
    Wednesday we taught a few investigators like a 21 year old girl who takes the lessons alone and the rest of her family just pretend like we aren't there.  I went tracting for the first time and got two doors slammed in my face in a row.  I did however get a potential investigator by talking to a man on his doorstep.
     There's a man named Brother Bailey that we helped on Thursday and he's a woodworker that makes amazing things in his shed,  he's been working with wood all his life and can make almost anything.  He even made Cradles for most of his kids.  We visited with a family who are honestly so inspiring and ready for the gospel its amazing.  They see the good in it and have had the missionaries over many times.  I feel like there will be bumps along the way for them and there will be trials but they are good people and believe in Christ and because of their friends and what they have seen LDS people do they are interested.
     Friday was a Zone meeting and we received training from our Zone Leaders, Elder Seigmiller and Elder Swanson.  They were very good and I feel like I learned a lot.  We had our Ward Christmas party that night and it was Luau Hawaiian themed Christmas party.  Some of our investigators were there and that was the best feeling in the world is seeing our investigators go to that.  It was a lot of fun and there were quite a few Samoan and Tongan performers who used to work at the BYU Hawaii Polynesian Cultural Center so they even did a fire dance towards the end.
     Saturday I went Caroling for my first time.  Every single person home would listen to us then allow us to invite them to our Christmas musical devotional where most of these people would never have allowed us to speak with them.  It's cool thinking how music can reach some in ways words never can.  I love the ward here, on Sunday I felt so accepted and loved just being a missionary.  The people around here may not want to listen to us but even the non-members respect us for representing Christ.  A lot of people in Downtown Richmond call us they Jesus Boys.  Apparently, gangs aren't allowed to touch missionaries out of fear from other gangs and God.  There's a story around the mission about this elder that got his bike stolen and later that day a few gang members asked him why they weren't on bikes and he told them his got stolen.  Two days later his bike was back in front of their door sitting on its stand.  The people here are almost all believers in Christ and can hold some sort of respect for what we are doing and how we have given up our time.        
     This morning we played a game called Oompa Loompa.  You play it in a gym with the hoops down with a football.  After you catch the football you cant move more then three steps and you try to make passes down to score the football in the basket.  It plays alot like rugby in the middle with short fast passes but then like basketball near the hoops where you can use your three steps to lay up and even dunk.  A lot of the time it gets frantic in the middle so shooting is the best option but a football is not reliable when working with the backboard because of its odd shape.  There is a turnover whenever the ball drops so its like playing Ultimate Frisbee with three steps after stopping in a basketball court with a football.  It was actually alot of fun and we would play seven on seven.  There were a lot of fake lay ups then passes to people near the hoop who were open and could put it away.  Its non contact but you can try to hit the ball out of peoples hands while they're throwing or running.  It was an odd game but actually alot of fun, I actually really want to play it again. It felt really good to get out and exercise. P-days are good to mentally recharge, do laundry and touch base with loved ones.  Thanks for the letters and please keep writing.  The letters are great!!!   
   Thanks all,
          Elder Moe.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

The MTC showed Josh Brown's helping hands video

Jonathan writes, that during his time at the MTC he was shown Josh Brown's helping hands video three times.  He loved it and was especially touched by the outpouring of love and help the ward members offered.

Here is the link if you want to view it; http://vimeo.com/53357089

Visa delayed traveling to Virginia for a week or so...

Jonathan called today to tell us that he's going to be stationed in Richmond, Virginia for a week or so until his visa arrives.  He traveled there today with about 9 other elders that are waiting for their Swedish visas as well.  He's excited to leave the MTC but wished it was to Sweden.  Everyone is hopeful he'll be traveling to Sweden within a week or two.

Jonathan loved his time at the MTC and is so appreciative of all the teachers and people that have taught him so much and trained him.

Happy Thanksgiving from the MTC


On this Tacksedelsedagen (The day of Thanksgiving) I am thankful for all of you, my family, who supports me and motivates me to go.  I am thankful for all those here who help me to be the best missionary I can be and continuously improve myself.  I am thankful for my friends and ward members from New York who have helped me to stay strong through my youth and all whom I have enjoyed time with along the way.  I am thankful for the Lord, Christ, and his Atonement, I do my best to use it.  I am thankful for my mission call and the people of Sweden.  I am thankful for my education and all those who worked to provide me with that.  I am so thankful for my Young Men's Leader's and Scouting leader's and all of the opportunity I have had in these areas.  I am so grateful for the Spirit and the hand of God that I see daily in my life.  I am thankful for the Priesthood, which I know I hold and which was restored through our Church and the Prophet Joseph Smith and his authority is kept today by a continuous line of Prophets, all of which I am thankful for.  Above all I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, I have seen these things bring happiness to my life and the lives of others and for that reason I have the opportunity to serve a mission and bring these things to others, I do this because all of mankind are God's children and deserve to know that they have the opportunity to live for all eternity with their families. This all possible through the Godhead, and our Heavenly Father who loves everyone on earth equally and whom I love so dearly.  I thank him for everything, because all good things are of Him.
       
love,
    Äldste Jonathan Nikolaisen Moe

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My teachers at the MTC

 I am leaving to go to Sweden in four days, I have loved my time at the MTC, it is so hard to believe its only been 2 months.  I have done more growing and improving here then I have done in the past five years.  It's inspiring seeing how many people come through the MTC. 

 I have come to realize the magnificent size and responsibility associated with my calling but at the same time I have learned as much and have tried to prepare myself.  I feel I'm ready and it's mostly through teachers and others whom I know that, like me, have been called by the Almighty God to help in his work. I'm humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve the Lord.  The above picture is of my awesome teachers here at the MTC and former missionaries that served in Sweden.

Thanks to everyone who's written to me.  Your letters keep me going.

11/8/12 I can't wait for Sweden!!!!


So, this week in my reading I am in Helaman, I've been reading through the story of Nephi and Lehi, Reading the missionary stories of the ancient prophets is definitely inspiring.  When I read stories of them and Prophets like Ammon and how easily they look to the spirit for guidance it truly is inspiring.  This last week I was teaching a lesson to Leo (A Filipino who moved to Sweden played by one of my teachers).  My companion and I spent forever preparing the lesson and finding the perfect scriptures for him.  Right before we went in I was reading in Helaman about trusting in the spirit and his advice.  I am quick to turn to the spirit when I need help with things such as learning, or long term help.  But I realized in order to strengthen my faith and hope I have to become so confident in the Spirit that it is the first place I turn when spur of the moment decisions have to be made.  I've made a goal of listening to the spirit's guidance in high pressure situations.  If I continue to rely on myself and my own wits its only going to get me so far.  I may get to know my investigators but the Lord knows what they need and what they need to hear from me.  When we went into this lesson I talked to my companion about relying more on the Spirit and being more concerned with relaying what the spirit feels they should know then teaching them a lesson point to point we have laid out.  It was our greatest lesson by far.  The spirit is so strong when you trust it and bear witness of the words it delivers to your mouths.  As we learn to trust in the spirit it will trust us with more and more important tasks until we can truly become a servant of our God.  e didn't hit half of the points on our lesson plan but we got our goal for that lesson achieved and so much more.  Before the lesson Leo didn't see how the Book of Mormon applied to him and now he hasn't allowed himself to miss reading even one day of the week.  If you trust in the spirit, it will then trust in you, don't expect the blessings and guidance to flow in before you have done the work for them, and having faith is work, and sometimes its very hard to have that faith, but it is worth it. 
     This week I got to be a Host and welcome new missionaries to the MTC.  It was both a tragedy and a blessing be there.  I watched many families, fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents saying goodbye to someone they love and care about for 18-24 months.  One missionary I welcomed and showed around the MTC grounds was from South Virginia.  As he was done saying goodbye to his Mother and Sister the Mom looked at me and said "Thank you Elder, Seeing so many of you here willing to serve Christ and help others to do the same makes me know my son will be alright".  That statement and the fact that there were over 400 (a relatively low number for the average week) new missionaries that arrived here this Wednesday makes me think of the 60.000 strong work force that is currently serving the Lord.  Every week more come.  This is an inspiring work and the best and happiest a man could be a part of, I am so happy to be serving.
   So, I leave to Sweden in a week or so, the reality is already coming over me.  I am ready to go out and teach the word of Christ to anyone who has been prepared to listen.  I love the Gospel and I have seen how it has blessed me and how it helps in all I do.
    Love,.
           Äldste Moe

Hurricane Sandy back home in NY

So, being in the MTC during Hurricane Sandy was terrifying and really brought to light the nature of the MTC.  I have no idea what is going on in the outside world, and this is very good because it limits distractions but when we hear of something going on and don't know how events are unfolding its kind of nerve-wracking.  It was good hearing from my family every day and from the pictures I saw it looks like the city might take a while to recuperate.  I'm glad to hear that deaths caused from Sandy weren't a huge amount but I'm so sad for all those that lost loved ones.  I just can't believe the city is going through this terrible disaster and I feel so isolated from what's happening.  I understand the reason for this but I pray for all those people that are suffering.
    So, Halloween at the MTC was cool, not many people dressed up but the sisters in my district all wore the Avenger's color's.  It blew my mind and made me so happy.  They're all pretty cool.  I wore my Iron man light under my white shirt but just for breakfast and to take pictures with all the Sister Avengers.  
   This week I taught with a Norwegian teacher, it was cool being able to plan and study together in the language and understand what the other is saying.  I went in nervous because I would be speaking a language, I've only known for a month, with someone speaking a different language to someone who will speak only Swedish and no English.  It is crazy that we were able to bring our message across so clearly.  The spirit really does guide.  When you open your mouth not knowing what is coming out as long as you have faith it will be the right thing.  Not only that but it will be in the right language.  This last Tuesday we had Elder Clarke come and talk with us for devotional.  He talked about being a successful missionary.  He spoke a lot about building relationships and on how you cant bring sheep into the fold or even know they're missing unless you know them.  He talked about how its important to build trust between the Bishop and yourself because that is how you gain his trust when working with non-members.  
    I am so excited to be here right at the beginning of the wave of missionaries that is soon to come.  It's crazy once you realize the scope and importance of the work we're all a part of, it makes me wonder what my role could possibly be.  But I know that if I work hard and press on with faith the Lord can cause many great things to happen with my hands.  I am excited for that and strive daily for the Holy Ghost's presence and teaching ability.  Teaching and learning here is amazing but it only gets me more excited for the field.  I can't wait for Sweden.
Love,
Aldste Moe

Sunday, October 21, 2012

MTC & listening to the spirit


Ok, so the longer I stay here at the MTC the faster the days start going by, Less significant stuff seems to happen only because we become conditioned to overpowering spiritual moments, the gift of tongues in action, and missionary life.  I don't have much for this last week but a few highlights.
       Being a Zone Leader is hard, it is very challenging and stressful at times.  This last week has been very vexing, we've had a few missionaries go home and a few weeks ago an ER trip for an Elder.  But I know that the Lord qualifies those whom he calls. 
    Since I teach in a trio the teachers have had our companionship splitting up for our lessons so only two of us teach a lesson, the third acts as a second investigator or as a member helping the missionaries.  Four days ago I was sitting out and we had our worst lesson yet (the two don't necessarily coincide).  The teacher could tell they were frustrated and gave us a great talk on improving.  They really are inspired when teaching us.  Two days after we taught Leo (the progressive investigator our teacher plays) again.  We went in and rocked that lesson, the spirit was so powerful and overwhelming. 
   Elder Bowen came in this Tuesday and spoke more of the announcement.  He said that come February even missionaries who have been out for just 3 months could be trainers for newbies.  I am so excited to go to Sweden and teach.  I love the people already and I don't even know them. 
In Sweden the word for vegetables is grönsaker, translating to "green things".  This is apparently due to their lack of favor towards vegetables. I thought dad would appreciate that!

President Monson's GC announcement


 So as far as news goes for this last week I think the biggest is General Conference.  When President Monson stood up and made the announcement regarding age changes the entire MTC exploded, I have never seen people cheer so loud in a religious setting.  There is no place I would have rather been when that announcement was made.  But it was made for a reason.  As Bednar later said we cant guess the reason, "The Lord can do his own work, and will hasten his pace in his time".  The Lord has seen fit to hasten his pace.  If the Lord needs to hasten his pace we need to double our own and extend our full commitment.  Its important to not only look at this as a means to make a mission more convenient for missionaries but as a call to serve.  In my last entry I talked about how the work in Sweden has been exploding and Europe has seen unbelievable baptism rates, No-one here finds this to be a coincidence, not only are we the last wave of preparatory missionaries but we are the first wave of the Second Harvest around the world.  It's true that if this had been enacted even at last general conference my school times would be a lot more convenient but the lord sent me at this time to this place for a reason.  All of the MTC has been rejuvenated as if a second wind has hit us.  Everyone is working their hardest to be the best we can be.  "The Lord has prepared a harvest for us, the amount we reap is up to us".
   The rest of the conference talks were amazing especially Holland's although that put a lot of pressure on us missionaries.  The Tuesday after Conference Bednar spoke at the MTC.  Having an Apostle there was amazing and while here I have watched multiple of his talks, he gave talks entitled "Is it the Spirit, or is it me" and "Character of Christ" both are life changing and amazing.  His talk on Tuesday was on Listening to the Apostles of God correctly.  He told us of how he studies their talks.  He talked about how every time a General Authority is speaking he looks for what Doctrinal Pieces they mention.  What Invitations they extend, and, what blessing are promised.  Doing this creates a nice condensed list of what we should do, how we go about doing it, and what we get from it.  It is an amazing system to practice that I will definitely be trying to implement into my notes from future talks and conferences.  The MTC is a factory for missionaries and self improvement.  It is amazing here.
     Not a lot else has been happening.  The English elders that came in with us are now gone.  Its crazy to think we've made it a third of the way and they're in the field.  I am also leading orientation for new missionaries today entering our zone. 
Thanks for the letters. I love to hear from family and friends!!!!
 Aldste Moe

Sunday, October 7, 2012

2nd week at MTC



Jonathan writes, Last Wednesday I trained an incoming batch of new elders.  I did the same thing yesterday and I'm giving further orientation information today.  Being a Zone leader is fun but it's a lot of meetings and work and extra things I have to do.  So the investigator I told you about has actually turned out to be our third teacher.  His name is brother Jorgensen, my other two teachers are brother Harris and brother Bush.  All three are spiritual giants and are inspired in their teachings.  We are learning Swedish and the doctrine faster then most others would believe possible. 
  There has been a cold going around since we got here.  For me it was just a runny nose but other elders and sisters have gotten it really bad.  Last night we had to get an elder from my zone to the ER really fast (nothing related to the cold).  As zone leaders we helped coordinate it.  It ended up being a clogged system and a build up of gas, nothing too serious.  Speaking of injuries there is another elder here named elder Poppenfaus.  He was injured playing basketball and got his stay here pushed up to 12 weeks total.  He's going to Sweden as well but is still here from the group that went before us.  This story makes me feel bad because an Elder who was coming to hit against me in volleyball tore his miniscus and he was in his 2nd of 3 weeks and will now be staying for at least 5 more weeks.  Then two days later his companion tried to block one of my sets (illegall by the way, so this isn't my fault). and he got into the net landed on my foot and rolled his ankle.  They now travel around the MTC together in crutches.  I feel bad but I think they're both getting transferred to a spanish speaking mission in the same area.  So maybe a blessing in disguise? Don't worry mom, I'm being careful and have been doing my best to avoid injury.
     This Friday we are teaching Swedish speaking members in the community.  It's crazy to think that two weeks ago I could only say a few things in Swedish and now I'[m going to be teaching lessons in the language.  We are all way pumped for General Conference.  It's crazy to see how much the Prophets and Apostles really tailor their messages for missionaries.  Elder Bednar's talks are legendary and we go to them as often as possible. I found out Elder Eyring gave a talk in the Stockholm Stake a few years back and relayed revelation given concerning the missionary work in Sweden.  He talked about the second harvest and how the country of Swewden will see it's membership rise at unusual rates.  Last year the membership went from 5000-6000.  The numbers are supposed to be even higher at the end of this year.  It's cool thinking we've been called specifically to our mission and president.  In the MTC we've all had our own confirmaiton of this.  Another thing that is very cool is that our title, that of "elder" is only shared by those who lead our church.  Elder Oaks talked about how they have an apostolic calling and we have an apostolic calling.
    I have appreciated the letters I have been receiving from people they really do help with morale at the MTC.  I am practically out of time now so must go.
Love you all.
Jonathan

Sunday, September 30, 2012

MTC Goodbye

Parents put me in a taxi in NYC.  President Buckner (my stake President) coincidentally was on my flight JFK to SLC.  My uncle Rob
picked me up at SLC airport and dropped me at the MTC.

1st week at the MTC


Eldste Moe's 1st week at the MTC Provo with his Swedish District

Jonathan reports: I'd like to say the level of stress has been lifting, or we're just getting used to it.  We've taught three lessons in Swedish on the church, the apostasy, the restoration, and the plan of salvation.  It's crazy how much Swedish I have learned.  I'm able to understand our teacher when he speaks now.  On Sunday Elder Hitch and I were made Zone leaders.  We've been here for four days and I'm a zone leader.  I'm responsible for four districts, which include thirty elders and nine sister.  On Wednesday I have to give an orientation all though I've only been here a week.

Sunday night we watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave a few years ago.  The man is a rock star.  The talk was on feeling the spirit and it hit home.  He taught that when we're concerned whether the spirit is prompting or its just us we're already in the wrong.  If we're thinking , we aren't acting.  If we live right and try our hardest to be good every thought and action of ours will be directed by the spirit.  While teaching in Swedish I have felt this and know it to be true.
I'm doing awesome and the only things I need at this point are letters, and a nap.

Dearelder.com is the best way to write to me because they print it out and I can reread it. The information you'll need for dear elder is my MTC box number #221 and my mission code which is SWE-SKO.  Please tell everyone hi and that I'm praying for them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Provo bound

Tonight I was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints to the Stockholm, Sweden mission.  I am taking the 7am flight to Salt Lake City International to enter the Missionary Training center in Provo.  I am proud to serve and am excited to send my adventures home for all of ya'll to read.  I am going to miss everyone.  I love you all.  Sunday morning my family took our last family photo for two years.  That day in church I gave my farewell talk and said goodbye to the members of the Morningside Heights ward.  I am leaving behind the life I love because I know that out there are people who deserve the same kindness, love, and happiness that I have been blessed with.  My family, ward, and friends, both old and new, have given me these things.


“Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.  A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”-Joseph Smith  (Favorite quote used from farewell talk).

Mosiah 8:18; Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.





  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog Setup

Hello all, My name is Jonathan Nikolaisen Moe, on May 3 2012 I was called to serve the Lord as a full time missionary in the Stockholm, Sweden Mission.  On September 19 2012 I am entering the Missionary Training Center to prepare lingually and spiritually for His work abroad.  While I am gone I have limited communication and so am setting up a blog so everyone may be caught up with my adventures.  This blog is run by my Mother and Father, whom I love very much, I will send them weekly updates and hopefully photos.  This blog and my facebook will be updated with my mailing address, I will enjoy receiving letters from everyone and will respond when possible.