"Where ere thou art, Act well thy part"

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 21, 2015

Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland

At the Titanic Museum in Belfast September 14, 2015
Elders Mickelsen, Blosil, Beckstrand, Penman, and Stanley

Hello All! This week has been really interesting for me.  I started off this week by going to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, which is where the Titanic was built.  It was a really cool experience and I really enjoyed taking a break from missionary life for a few hours even if we still have to wear a shirt and tie.

This week was not filled with a lot of finding.  Both Elder Blosil and I have been sick this week and we have needed the time to recuperate.  It was quite a boring week after Monday.  Tuesday, we had district meeting and Elder Lorimer (You know him at President Lorimer from Martin's Cove) helped us see the importance of family history in missionary work.  It is truly a great finding tool! We used that for a bit and then realized we don't really know anything about family history, se we had to wait until we could do some to use it in our finding efforts. 

Wednesday was ok.  We had all our appointments drop, which really depressed us, but we persevered and went out to knock doors. In the rain. So that was flippin' awesome.  You can always play the sympathy card when you are in the rain.  But we didn't find anyone.  We also taught a recent convert, name Serena, who is rock solid in the gospel.  She is a great lady.

Thursday, when the sickness hit Elder Blosil, we had weekly planning and then he needed to take a break to take a nap.  But hey, it happens to the best of us.

Friday was my birthday.  It was really fun.  Elder Blosil made me pancakes in the morning and we had all our lessons follow through.  We taught a less active name Alice Greer.  We chapped into her on one of my first days here and we have been teaching her ever since.  I actually recently found out that she was originally taught by a guy from my home ward, Tyrel Foster.  So that was really cool to see that link.

We then had dinner at the Bishop's house and they made Mexican food which was super yummy! We had a great time.  And my birthday was good!

Saturday, we stayed in all day.  Elder Blosil was hammered.  But he is ok now.

Sunday was normal.  We went to Church and then went finding.  We got 2 return appointments for this week and I hope they come through.  It's crazy here, but I love it.  That's all for this week!  Boring week, I know, but things are starting to look up!!

-Elder Mickelsen
Cody's in the back right with yellow camera

This is my favorite one! Haha  September 20, 2015

September 14, 2015

Hello All! This week has been full of every possible thing you could imagine! Exchanges, complications, Blitzing and everything else that constitutes the daily efforts of a missionary!

This week was hectic with everything! Starting on Monday, we had P-Day and then we went chapping! Woah! I know, big surprise, right? Anyway, the fruits of Monday were minimal and really put me off for the week.  I began to submit to the depressing feeling that I was wasting my time.  BUT! There's always a but! Upon returning to the flat and seeking inspiration on where we should of the following day, we had some good success.

Tuesday starts as it usually does with District meeting in Belfast.  To all who have no idea what Belfast is, it is the capital of Norther Ireland.  It is also where the Titanic was built.  But I digress.  Anyway, we wake up early and get on a train from Lisburn to head to district meeting.  It is always niche since we travel with the District Leader so we always are on time even if we are a bit late.  District meeting was good.  We were on the topic of personal revelation, which really helped to aid both Elder Blosil and I in the work.  We both needed to seek out ways where we could feel the Spirit more in our efforts to overcome the drought here in Lisburn.  After District Meeting, we went on exchanges.  Elder Blosil went with our District Leader, Elder Thayne, and me with one of my MTC, Elder Plewe.  So Elder Thayne and Elder Blosil headed to Portadown to go finding, leaving two greenies in the same area which was pretty brave.

We taught the family mission plan to a member family to really start getting the members involved in the work and to get them fired up about the Gospel and missionary work.

Wednesday was slow.  We exchanged back and went about our usual business tracting and street contacting.  Or as we say here: Chapping and GQ-ing.  And the rest of the week pretty much followed that pattern.  We had our only investigators inform us of the struggles they were going through and how things just got flipped upside down in their lives and I know this will be the thing that makes them see how the Gospel can help them.

We've also been talking a lot with the members to get them fired up so that is what consumes our evenings!

Saturday was AWESOME!!!  We had a Zone Blitz of Belfast!!  Where every missionary in the zone came to Belfast and we did some really cool finding activities.  I was one of the missionaries participating in whiteboarding, which is where we set up a white board on the street and ask people to write what makes them happy and then we share a gospel message and give them a card or a Book of Mormon.  It was a really great day! I talked to loads of people! Plus, Belfast is so cool.  It's pretty European.  Most of the buildings are older than the United States!

Well, that is my week! I hope you all are having a fantastic week as well! It has been good here and I know it is good at home as well!

Elder Mickelsen
Zone Blitz in Belfast September 12, 2015

September 7, 2015

It has been the longest and shortest month of my life! But it has been a good month.  It was here and gone in the blink of an eye! I look forward to the 23 I have left.  I have been playing the piano for district meetings and me and Elder Blosil have play offs the last hour of P-Day.  It's really quite fun.  I have been able to sight read the hymns quite well and haven't had too much trouble with them.  The ward is good! Our Bishop was just put in about a month ago and his name is Bishop Curran.  He is a nice guy and has some good ideas, so hopefully we will see some progression in the area soon!  

-Elder Mickelsen

August 31, 2015

Hello from Lisburn! Where the laborers are few and the field is white! I have been doing really well this week and have done many things that I thought I could never have done! So I guess I'll just start from the beginning!

This past Wednesday, we knocked into a less active named Alice.  She had totally disappeared from the church and she was under the impression that she had been ex-communicated.  We told her she hadn't been and we have been able to teach her and she is progressing.  I think we'll have her back in no time.  Also this week, we had the opportunity to teach a man named Andile and his family.  They are from South Africa and he is a PHD Candidate.  He is very hard to teach because he doesn't believe in blind faith but he is committed to read the Book of Mormon and he will get there, I believe.  

The rest of the week we have been chapping and it has brought basically zero success.  But we continue to work hard hoping that the Lord will provide.  We also ran into a man last night who talked to us for a while.  He wasn't a member, but he said that we were doing the right thing and that God was with us.  He said to keep our heads high.  He said that all the devil wants us to do is get discouraged, but that we needed to keep on going along.  He said that God would be with us all the days of our lives.  It was just the pep talk I needed.  I had been having a really hard weekend and broke down on Saturday when I couldn't remember any of the first discussion while role playing.  I had Elder Blossil give me a blessing and that helped tremendously!! Anyway, that's what's been happening!!

-Elder Mickelsen

August 24, 2015

Hello Everybody! It's a great day here in Lisburn! And judging from your emails, you found out where I was going before I did! But hey, it's all good.  I'll tell you a bit about how I got here and what you've missed in the past week.

First off, leaving the MTC was one mother of an effort.  For one, we had to get up at 4:00am to get ready and get everything done so we could get on the bus and arrive in Edinburg on time.  It really was a beautiful ride.  At least for the times when I was awake.  I was gonna take pictures, it was going by quick and the little yellow camera couldn't take it all in.  I did, however, get pictures from the top of Pratt's Hill in Edinburgh and the view was breathtaking.  You could see for miles. 

Elder Mickelsen and Elder West at the top of Pratt's Hill August 19, 2015


My journey to Lisburn was quite an adventure.  After we hiked Pratt's Hill, we went and stayed in Edinburgh for the night since we couldn't make it back to Ireland.  We woke up at 5:00am and then we got ready and left for the bus station.  We arrived at the bus station and it turns out our bus to Stranraer left early, and not with us on it.  So we boarded the bus to Glasgow and they said they would hold our bus once we got there so we could board with the other missionaries and make it to Stranraer. Well, that didn't happen so we had to walk across Glasgow to a train station and catch the train to Stranraer.  And when we finally arrived, we missed the ferry across the Irish Sea by 10 minutes so we had to wait 3 hours until the next ferry.  We ended up talking to people and street contacting in Stranraer until we could catch the next ride.  Finally, we boarded the ferry and we were off. It was about a 2 and 1/2 hour ride.  Once we arrived in Belfast, we boarded a train which was going to take us to our area but the train broke down! So we had to call our Zone Leaders to come rescue us and bring us to our flat.  Long story short, we were supposed to arrive in our area by 3:00pm and we ended up getting there around 8:45pm.  It was an absolutely crazy day!

Then the day following the real work began.  We went out and I'll you one guess on what I got to do all freaking day, you guessed it, TRACT!! Only here we call it chapping because we flick the mail slot to make a noise.  Don't ask me why, I don't know.  But it's effective.  But tracting sucks! This is a walking area so we walk everywhere.  I have the mother of all blisters on both my feet and it kills to walk.  We walk to where we are going and then we walk back.  It really is quite tiresome.  But that is all I have been doing.  All day. Every day.  We have been yelled at, called blasphemers, told we don't believe, had doors slammed in our faces and some people are just flat out rude.  But it's all in the spirit of the mission.

I've had some good experiences.  On my second day,  I invited a couple to baptism and they accepted.  And I have been able to find a lot of people who say they are interested but then never show up when we call back.  But I guess that's just the way it goes.

Now for the only maybe depressing part of this email.  The mission is hard.  I am scared out of my mind and there is an angry voice in my mind all the time telling me to go home, that I am not good enough, that I am wasting my time.  It yells at me and it doesn't stop.  I push it away and I focus on the work and that helps, and it has been receding but it's still just a little bit there.  But I can beat it, I know I can.  I need to go a little longer but I can beat it.

Now that I got that off my chest, it feels better.  Anyway, in conclusion, things are going great.  We tract and we have a lot of fun together.  Elder Blosil is a good guy and he trains well.  I am having fun and losing weight, too, haha! The food isn't bad.  It's really quite good.  But haggis is a Scottish thing so I've avoided that for the next twelve weeks, so that's pretty great.  But the food here is good.  I usually have yogurt and granola for breakfast, and then a BBQ chicken sandwich for lunch and leftover for dinner.  But life is good!

Talk to you all soon!

-Elder Mickelsen
Meeting the Mission President, his wife and his trainer, Elder Blosil

Elders Mickelsen and Blosil August 31, 2015 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland

August 12, 2015

The MTC is good and things are really better than I thought.  The first day we got here, we got our name tags and we were able to get oriented with the MTC and everything.  Then that night, we got our companions.  My companion's name is Elder West and he is from London.  We are going to the same mission and I am one of the only missionaries in the MTC with a British companion.  So I really have an advantage.  Hearing the British accent constantly is causing me to kind of do it myself.  I hear myself accenting different parts of sentences and saying words different.  He has also been helping me refine my British accent  in our down time, but I think I'll have a kind of Scottish accent when I speak to you on Christmas. Haha.

There aren't many missionaries here, only about 80, but they have said that we are the largest group to come through the England MTC ever.  So we have that going for us.  But everyday we get up at 6:30, which was hard the first few days getting over jet lag and things, but it has become habit now.

We have some sunny days and England is so beautiful!! Everything is so green and there are these ancient stone walls everywhere and moss and cathedrals and everything!! 

We get up at 6:30 and are in class until 9:00pm.  It's crazy.  And all of it is church related.  We are headed to the Temple at 1:00 and I'm pretty excited.  It should be really good.  My companion is my really good friend and I have made friends with almost everybody here.  We all sit together at every meal and we talk and have a lot of fun.  In our lessons, we talk a lot about how we are not teachers and we are inviters.  The Spirit is the teach and we invite them to listen to the teacher.  And I have had a week solid of just those lessons.  We have practiced with our teachers and companions in doing role play and I think it goes well in role play, but it still makes me wonder if the teachers are being merciful to us because we have never really done this before.  I did have one teacher tell me that I was a fantastic teacher and that I do a very good job of making the gospel simple and easy.  That boosted my morale a lot!

About the food though, it is really good! In the past week, I have eaten a full serving of steak, shepherd's pie and other things.  I even tried potatoes but it still might take me a while to get used to them.

I live in a dorm with five other guys and I'll you about them: Us along with one other companionship make up the Jacob District of the MTC.  There is Elder Pederson who is our district leader.  He is from Norway and he is a total viking.  He is more built that any other guy I have ever seen and he is super tough and athletic.  Last night actually, my companion was feeling scared and he asked Elder Pederson to give him a blessing.  He did and it was in Norwegian.  None of us could understand it, but you could feel it! Pederson speaks really good english, but he asked if he could give the blessing in Norwegian.  And it was really good.  Even my companion who was receiving the blessing felt it and we all felt it, too.

Then there is Elder Winterton.  He is from Roosevelt, Utah and he is Elder Pederson's companion.  He is a funny guy and likes to laugh and have a lot of fun.  Everybody in my district is like that.  There there is Elder Plewe.  He is from Utah and he is really quiet but likes music and playing the piano and things.  He also enjoys a good laugh.  There is Elder Ward.  He is from Pocatello, and is really cool.  All of us like to have fun but also work hard.  And that is what Elder Ward does.

Then we have Elder West, who is my companion and he is from London.  He is really cool and we became quick friends.  He teaches my Bristish words for things and I teach him American words.  It is really cool because me and him went through the same Temple in Rexburg, only he went a week before me when he was visiting his brother at BYU-I.  So we have that in common.  We really enjoy each other company and I'm really glad he is going to my mission.  I want him as a companion in the future.

I thought coming here would be weird and awkward, but I decided I'm not going to get anywhere by being scared of what others think about me, so I swallowed that and I try to be outgoing and I have made many friends here.  There is probably a group of about 20 or more of us that are really good friends and lads.  That's another thing.  Friends are called lads and there's lots of other things they say here.  Like, a bin is a trash can, or you say, "How'd you find that?" meaning, "How did you like that?"

England MTC August 6, 2015

Anyway, those are the kinds of things that I have been learning! And also, we are going into Manchester tomorrow to do street contacting and to test our skills and things with real people so I'm excited to have a companion that know the lingo for that.  Anyway, it's really awesome here and it's one of the best experiences I've every had in my life.  I'm excited to leave for Scotland a week from today and to teach the people. 

Love you all, and I'll talk to you soon!!

-Elder Mickelsen

Elders Mickelsen and West at the MTC

Preston Temple August 12, 2015
Recycled old Phone Booth!

August 6, 2015

I got here safely.  It was a very long flight!! But everything here is so beautiful and green!! When we came to land in Manchester, we did not break through the clouds until we were about 1200 feet off the ground! And the captain says there were calling the forecast a mostly sunny forecast!! It is really awesome here and the England MTC is so nice!! I'll take pictures and send them to you when I can! But it's awesome! Love you guys and talk to you soon!!

Later that night…

I am doing well.  I got unpacked and most everybody seems to be very nice.  Things are going good and we will get our companions tonight at 6:00.  It is really nice here and the climate is perfect!! Driving on the other side of the road in the bus was weird, but it all worked out.  The cars and semis here are way different too! I've only been in England a few hours and it feels perfect! Talk to you all soon! Love ya!

-Elder Mickelsen

At the SLC Airport August 5, 2015 bound for England