It's my last P-day in the MTC! Time is going by so fast! The days go by kind of slow, but when you look back at it, it doesn't feel like I've been here for just a little over two weeks! I'm loving the MTC so much, way more than I thought I would from everybody explaining to me that it sucked ha ha. Me and my district are really getting along well, I've made all of the elders in my district cry from laughing ha ha. We laugh so much and goof off a lot during our breaks, but we are serious and spiritual during the times of need and during study time and class.
Thanks everybody who sent me one of those notes for Thanksgiving! It was great to hear from everybody, and it really made me happy to get mail. I've never been so excited to get mail before I went on my mission, and now it's like Christmas going to the mail boxes! Thanks for the packages mom! Do you want me to get fat? Ha ha all of my district and branch enjoyed the cookies I couldn't have eaten all of them by myself!
So I think I mentioned something in my last letter about Matt (our teacher Brother Shumway playing an investigator) but things weren't going so hot, and he was being really hard with us. Over the Thanksgiving weekend we worked really hard and studied a lot, and now we work really well together as a trio me, Elder Escamilla, and Elder Browning. We started out bad with Matt, and from one lesson we committed him to be baptized. We use a really good method when we teach people to pray. We have something in a pamphlet and it tells you the importance of prayer and how they can be answered and it explains how the Holy Ghost will talk to them. There is a verse in the bible in like Galatians 5:22-23 I think? Don't take my word for it, but it describes the feelings you'll get, peace, joy, etc. After we have them pray we have them sit there for a bit probably about 15 seconds to let them ponder and just think about what they are feeling. And so far it hasn't failed, after each person we have done that they always say they are feeling some kind of feeling that is described in the verse and then we continue to tell them that it's Heavenly Father answering their prayers through the Holy Ghost, telling you the things you asked for, and that this is the true church.
I have a lot of stuff to write about so I might be jumping all over the place because I just made a list of things i have to write about. So me, Elder Browning and a couple elders from our district like to sing, so we decided in our free time we were going to mess around and make an a capella group for fun, we're terrible but its fun and its way funny. "Here comes Treble".
Mom you asked if I saw Jayne's Brother and I see him every once in a while, he teaches right down the hall from me!
Jayne! I heard your papers are in!!! Let me know where you get called, or somebody else let me know!!
I run into quite a bit of people I know here in the MTC but i'm not really close friends with them at all. We finally get to go to the Temple today! We have temple walks every Sunday where we just go walk around the temple, but we've never gotten to go in. It's weird from going from going everyday to not going in two weeks! We have gym everyday besides P-day and Sundays, I usually play basketball. I hurt my left knee, and my left shoulder, But i'm okay! they're just sore, my knee just feels like its twisted and its a little sore in the mornings but i'm fine.
So our branch and floor was really annoying at first when we got there, but we soon grew to love them. They were all so funny and we all cared about each other. It was sad this weekend when they were getting ready to leave, we all sang till we meet and it was a great experience with some great guys. I'm going to miss all of them! But the new kids came in yesterday and we were having a great time with them last night laughing and telling stories I know we'll get along.
I leave on Tuesday!!! I cannot wait! Mom, and rest of family, I'll be at the airport around 9 my flight leaves at like 11:50 so be expecting a call. Mom, KEEP YOUR PHONE OFF OF VIBRATE I know you forget, but I'll be calling on a payphone and you need to answer the first time because It costs money to make each call.
Thanks for sending the ties, everybody is jealous of my sweet bear tie!
I've been studying a lot lately, most of it is out of Preach My Gospel, but I'll still read a little bit of the Book of Mormon when I have extra time. I actually just finished it for the second time and so now i'm going to be starting over again.
We all came up as a district with spirit animals, and everybody's is something way cool, I chose house cat ha ha.
I heard I didn't miss much with the Utes, I'm disappointed on how bad they did!!
This week I think it was Tuesday, We had TRC and it was a less active member, Named Kylie, and she had her home teacher over Sue (This is all in the MTC we don't leave campus for this) we asked why she had stopped going to church and her dad had passed away when she was fourteen, and she thought God had abandoned her so she stopped going to church. We were telling her that God loves her and she wouldn't believe it, I got a feeling, and I acted upon it. She was saying how hard it was to lose a family member, and then I asked a her a question: "Kylie, do you think you'll see your dad again?" and she said she didn't know. Asking questions are amazing, it lets them think of the answer and let the Holy Ghost speak to them instead of just telling them and them not paying attention. So after that I explained to tell her how I lost my Dad, and it's not easy, But I know without a doubt in my heart that I will see him again. We continued with the lesson and as things got better, she asked me how I handled losing my dad, and I told her that, God has a plan for everybody and it was just his time to go, and because I know I will see him again, it doesn't make me sad, my dad has watched over me and protected me every day since he passed away, he is my guardian angel. Everybody was crying, the spirit was so strong and I know the spirit was telling her what I was saying was true, and she will be reunited with her dad. We explained that she had to go to church to take the sacrament, to be able to renew the covenants she had at baptism, we also got her praying again, and committing to read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask it it's true. It was such an incredible experience. We were struggling as a Trio but we finally had the success we were all craving. Real or fake investigator, it grew my testimony and gave me more experience. That was the first time I just opened my mouth and the Holy Ghost led me on what to say, and when to say it.
Yesterday we had some awesome experiences too, We taught our teacher playing an investigator, and she was really stubborn the first time we met with her and that was like a week and a half ago and we hadn't taught her again until yesterday. We went it and started teaching her everything was going awesome, when it came to the time when we asked her to pray we did the thing I explained earlier with the pamphlet and having them pause after the prayer so they can think about their feelings. The Holy Ghost ripped that lesson right away from us and led it. It's awesome when the holy ghost teaches the lessons and you have the spirit of discernment to meet the investigators needs. After we finished the first word she said was "WOW! Where did that come from? You guys have learned so much this past week!" She said "you guys definitely have the spirit with you". She then said "After I said my prayer and looked up at you three folding your arms and with your eyes closed I thought to myself, These are servants of the Lord". It was such a great experience. I can't even explain how much importance it is to have the spirit, you just open your mouth and words come out. I don't remember anything about the lessons or what we taught about, I just know that the Spirit worked through us. You have to be humble about your success too, and don't gloat to other people in the district about how well you did. You just have to thank the Lord for letting the spirit be there with you, and teaching. One of the kids I met here, that we became really good friends with told me to never take the credit, always give the credit to the Lord. I just got back from a studying tutor and we read a verse in Alma 17:9-10 and it explains how the sons of Mosiah are just instruments in the Lord's hand. And we applied it to ourself, that we are just tools. We are tools and the Lord is using us with his work, We can't convert people without the Lord, As tools, we can't work or convert without somebody using us. Anyways, Sister Peets went on to tell us that she hasn't ever seen a trio work as well as we had all worked together.
Later yesterday we were in class talking about the law of chastity, and everybody paired up to role play or pretend like somebody is an investigator while the other teaches them. And role playing is awesome it helps so much, and sometimes it feels so real and can build your testimony. So everybody paired up and Brother Shumway asked to role play with me and I kind of sat there for a second trying to think of what to say, and I was really stumped. He said we should say a prayer to invite the spirit. As soon as he said Amen, I started out with a question, I don't remember what the question was, or what we even talked about, or what I said to explain to him it was bad and we need to follow that covenant. All I know is that the Holy Ghost took over again and I taught really well. Brother Shumway asked where that was when we role play with our investigator Matt and he didn't think I had that in me. After he was done evaluating me, he told the whole class "Elder Bell Balled it up!" Ha ha it was such a neat experience. The church is true!!!!!!!
Last night we had TRC with this guy named Eric a Bible-basher and those went bad because all he does is ask questions and he has one of those translated bibles that like explain everything so anything we try to teach he would just fight back. But that isn't what was important yesterday. After we taught Eric, Elder Browning saw a guy he had taught before his companion had left so we went into the room he was in and ended up just talking for an hour and a half, we talked to him about so many things, we would go from laughing, to teaching him, to crying because the spirit was so strong. He lost his son and felt like God has betrayed him too, just like Kylie the investigator I was talking about earlier. I didn't say anything about dad or jamie, but i bore my testimony on how he'll be able to see his son again and we explained baptisms for the dead to him. And we got him to pray and this was where it was neat. It was his first prayer in fifty seven years. It was so heart felt, and you could tell he was sincere and had real intent on finding out if what we were telling him was true. It was amazing. When he opened his eyes after the prayer we were all crying and then continuted talking about other stuff and laughed more. It was a great night! When we left he gave all three of us hugs and said he wants to fly out to California so he can get baptized, and then take us to Disney Land ha ha. Anyways I've gotta go!
I love letters! Anybody feel free to write me! :)
Elder Landon Bell
November 29, 2012
November 22, 2012
Elder Bell's Thanksgiving email:
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
I just finished my thanksgiving dinner at 11:45, we have sack lunches tonight so the workers can go eat with their families. Today we had a devotional, and Elder Holland came and talked to us, he is amazing and definitely my favorite! There were a couple quotes he had that really caught my attention about missionary work.
"From the time you wake up in the morning, to the time you go to sleep, your life is dedicated on saving peoples souls, and that's the most important thing on this universe.""Whatever you think this church is going to be, whatever you think the kingdom of god is going to be, you're underestimating it.""There is going to be the ones that finally win, and they are in the MTC this day, on Thanksgiving 2012.... They are destined to win, it's finally going to work, This is the day and you're the troops. Go out and win this for the last dispensation to ever be on earth."It really gives me a lot to think about! He is such an inspiration and just having him in the room was incredible. We start out every devotional fifteen minutes before it starts we all sing together, and that brings the spirit in, all of the missionaries in one big audience singing, it brings tears to my eyes every time. Music really does invite the spirit, and Elder Holland testified of that today too.
We are doing a humanitarian project today, making like 4200 kits and sending it somewhere, we haven't got that many detail, but i'm just glad even on thanksgiving, we can do service. Service has become one of my favorite things, helping others and seeing their reaction to the help, or just knowing how much you were able to help them makes me really happy!
So I wrote some stuff down I wanted to talk about in my email yesterday that I forgot, hopefully I remembered it all.. The first day we got into the MTC we had a devotional, and they announced that it was the biggest group of missionaries most of the workers have seen come in since they started working there. A bad thing about the MTC is our sleep schedule, going to bed around 10:30 (falling asleep around 11:00) and then waking up at six thirty. Its hard to go from having nine to ten hours of sleep to barely even eight. We try and help each other stay awake by throwing stuff at each other when we see somebody dozing off. Me and Elder Escamilla were able to help bless the sacrament on Sunday and that was really cool. Its amazing just having a room full of worthy elders and sisters and how strong the spirit can be. The food here is really good, and you can eat however much you want! There is dessert on every meal, and I can't pass it up. Don't worry ladies, I weighed myself last night and I weigh the same! ;) hahaha I was really surprised I hadn't gained any weight but i'm happy about it!
The Traditional Missionary Map photo
On Thursday night we met our branch president, President Gamette, he had us all in his office one at a time for interviews. He asked about my home life and family, I explained how my dad had passed away. He was really sorry about that and on to remind me that he would be definitely helping me out in the field, and is way proud of me. After our interview I went to shake his hand, and he gave me a big hug and said: "That's from your dad." The spirit was so strong and I could tell dad was in the room. Ever since then I have loved President Gamette, he's a way nice guy, and really sweet. You can tell he genuinely cares about each and everyone of us missionaries in the district.
A big thing that me and Elder Escamilla and Elder Browning have been struggling with, is teaching by the spirit. They always say "you don't teach lessons, the spirit does." and that is 100% true! We were struggling for a while with our investigators and we were sticking to the lesson plan too much. We weren't showing any care towards the investigators. Although we did care and love the investigators they couldn't tell it, they kind of felt like we were trying to convince them, and wasn't applying it to them, so why would they care about some guy who translated a book? We now have come to a better method, finally! We go in and ask a lot of questions showing we have an interest in them and get to know them better. When we ask how religion has played a role in their life we learn their religious background and come to find what they need help with. We have many other good questions we have learned to make it more personal for the investigator, so they want a reason to know for themselves, and not just because we are telling them. Last night our TRC guy wasn't here and there was this guy who filled in for him. (Some of the investigators are real, but most of them are fake and good actors) anyways, We had this guy named Sio Chung. He was asleep when we knocked on the door, I don't think he was faking because we knocked like five times, and then finally pounded on the window to the room to wake him up. We went to tell him how his heavenly father loves him and asked how religion has played a role in his life. He told us he was taking some Old Testament classes at BYU but didn't really believe, or know that God existed. He said I know people in Korea that get answers from their prayers, and that like 30-50 people would go out to a barn and do some ritual and commit suicide. He asked Why does god tell his children to kill themselves? We explained that, that was Satan telling them that and that God loves all of his children and would never want them to kill themselves. After going back and forth from answering his questions we taught him how to pray, we told him how it's done and I said a prayer before him to show him how it's done. I remember his prayer he said: "Dear Heavenly Father, Are you there? Please.. Um.. Let me know if you existing or not.. These missionaries are here and telling me to pray and you are real, So are you existing? In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." We asked him how he felt and he said really comforted and he was happy, and at peace. He asked if he could do it again, but we were out of time, so we told him he could do it as much as he wanted when he had left. It was just amazing how we got this guy to not believe in God, to knowing as soon as he said amen, that the spirit was there and god existed. My companions think he was a real investigator because some of them are real.. But i don't know, it was definitely an amazing experience and we learned a lot from it, whether or not he was real. I hope everybody has a great thanksgiving! Oh yeah, My new companion to come into our trio reminds me of Remick. His personality, and humor are almost exactly alike! I love all of you guys, and don't forget to write me a letter, or send me Dearelders!
Elder Landon Bell
P.S. If anybody has any crazy, wacky, ugly ties... you should send them to me! I have this butterfly one I just traded for, it's awesome. This guy told me he'd trade me like 8 ties for it haha.
The "sweet" Butterfly Tie
Elder Bell's Thanksgiving letter:
So I'm sure you'll get this at the same time you get my other letter, but even though I wrote you yesterday and today is technically my P-day I wanted to thank you for everything you have done. You are an amazing mom, and I'm really thankful for you! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.
It was really hard spending my first holiday away from home, but being in the MTC and having companions and districts that love me really helps, along with the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Well it's bedtime so I've got to go. I just wanted to wish you a happy Thanksgiving!
Elder Landon Bell
November 21, 2012
Thank you so much for the cookies and the candy! It made me way happy to see you didn't forget about me, ha ha just kidding. Me and my companions will really enjoy them. I don't know if you saw in my email I sent today, but I got put into a trio after one of the elders left early. Don't worry, I'm sticking strong!
I've already learned so much, yet I feel like I haven't even learned a lot if that makes sense? I made it through week one and I'm loving it! Feeling the spirit all day is amazing. Thanks for the letter you sent in the mail. I liked your stickers, and I hope you liked them on the one I sent you last week! By the way, just about everybody loved my polka-dot tie! People were complimenting me left and right!
I fly out on Decmber 4th at 11:30AM, so be expecting a call from me on that day earlier!
Thanks for the letter you snuck into my suitcase, it was really good to read something from Momma Bell the first day I was in the MTC. Remember if you ever get down, Heavenly Father loves you and he will comfort you with the Holy Ghost. Mosiah 24:14.
I love you mom, and I love this gospel. Being a missionary is just amazing. I can't put in words the joy I feel.
I love you mom, thanks for letting your "Wittle Wandon" to go out and serve the Lord!
Elder Landon Bell
P.S. My P-Day in the MTC is Thursday. We got permission to write today since tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
How is everything going for you guys? Things here in the MTC are awesome! Hard, but awesome, I'm loving it here! I started out after saying bye to Mom and Amanda, to come into the MTC, after going through a maze of paperwork and getting information I finally got out and took my luggage to my room. The first day seemed like it took FOREVER it actually feels like one continuous day because it feels like you just take a five minute nap at night and wake up, so i'm super tired all day.
Missionary Tag and MTC ID Badge
My Companion is Elder Escamilla (double L in Spanish is pronounced with a Y) From Monroe Georgia, an hour out from Atlanta. He's awesome, me and him get along really well and have a lot of fun and are laughing a lot, but also spiritual at the same time and when it is needed.
Elder Escamilla & Elder Bell
The MTC is incredible, you feel the spirit all day and it's just amazing I can't really put it into words. The first day after orientation I thought I saw Matt Evans, a kid who I went to elementary with, and he was going in the MTC the same day as me, I hit some random kid in the shoulder and said whats up dude? I then realized that it wasn't him and got super embarrassed, now that kid gives me a weird look every time we cross each other. But soon after that happened was dinner, and it was beef steak, I decided it would be a good idea to hurry and eat as fast as i could and not chew my food.. I started choking on a piece of steak after it got stuck in my throat, i started coughing and trying to swallow it so i wouldn't choke anymore i kept coughing up spit but no meat.. I felt really bad because i was doing this in front of everybody while they were trying to eat. Me and elder Escamilla ran to the bathroom as i continued coughing up spit into my hand trying to hold it all in my hands and not get on my suit. We could not find the bathroom, I don't know why they decided to put like one bathroom in the biggest building that is impossible to find, so i was running from trash can to trash can coughing up spit/Throwing up. I thought I was going to die haha. I finally spit up two giant chunks of meat. After a bit of coughing after that I was fine, but it sure scared me! Me and elder Escamilla joke about how i almost died the first day at the MTC and every once in a while he'll tease me when we're about to eat he'll make sure to remind me to chew my food.
MTC learning is really hard, they kind of push you off the cliff and tell you how to fly, its effective learning, but its just hard sometimes because you get in situations which you don't know what to do. The second day we were here we were already teaching fake investigators about the first lesson. We have been teaching Matt (Bro. Shumway our teacher) and he's a Christian that is super stubborn and anything you say about the Book of Mormon he'll fight and say well the bible has that too, why do i need both? We've bared testimony to him we've taught him why and explained but he just isn't understanding. Its super frustrating too, because he accepted the Book of Mormon and why we needed it with the other elders and sisters in my district. And it's hard to stay positive when they are in there talking about how good it went, and how successful they are being when me and elder Escamilla are working so hard and not getting any success with it. Some of the sisters said maybe it's the potential they see in you so they make it harder.
Jeez I only have ten minutes left of email time we're timed here we get thirty minutes of email so i couldn't even read KC's email, or the two Bro Gramse sent me. So PLEASE if you want to contact or write me in the MTC, DON'T USE EMAIL we barely have any time Please write to my mtc mailbox, or use DearElder.com they print those out every day and we get them with our mail. So our Preparation or P-day in the MTC is on Thursdays but since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, we kind of get skipped so that's why i'm able to write today, i might be able to a little tomorrow, we'll see how busy I am. We also have to wake up at 5:20 AM tomorrow to do our laundry because we get skipped on our P-day.
I'll just go through an average day here at the MTC we'll wake up at 6:30 and prepare, study at 7, breakfast at 7:30, additional or personal study time from 8 to 9:30 then we'll have class until 12:15 after is lunch, then we'll do TRC (Training Resource Center), where we teach actors that portray investigators, then we'll have study time, classroom, gym (Best part of a day), and then another class, zone teaching, workshop, or study. You average about 3 hours of study time a day which is great because you can feel the spirit super strong, but its frustrating with my district, they are slackers and will be quiet for about an hour of the three hours that we study, so it's really hard to remain focused and concentrated. My district is Me, Elder Escamilla, Elder Browning (A part of our three-some companionship after his companion left home due to some personal and mental issues) Elder Langi (related to Harvi Langi - a running back for the Utes) Elder Hutchinson our district leader, Sisters: Whiting, Miller, Henry, and Zeneger. We are all really close and have grown to love each other and become closer to each other. There is a strong spirit in the room when they aren't being loud. I have actually gotten mad at them after many times of asking nicely to stop talking, and i've also emailed my branch president and he has talked to them so it has gotten a little better.
MTC District (Left to Right): Sister Whiting, Elder Browning (new companion), Elder Vincent (left early), Elder Langi, Elder Bell, Sister Miller, Elder Escamilla, Elder Hutchinson (Zone Leader), Sister Zenger, and Sister Miller
I hope everybody is doing great, and i'll try my best to email tomorrow if i get time, i'll have more time to write letters then email, so if anybody wants to write me, please do it via mail, or DearElder.com and i didn't get anybody's address, so everybody please email me your address and i'll write you guys when I have time! Thanks to those who have written me it means a lot, It's hard sometimes sitting in class and everybody else gets mail everyday or multiple things a day and i sit there with nothing a lot of the time so please write it would be greatly appreciated! I really am grateful for those who have written me, I love all of you guys, i'm already past my time, so I've really gotta go sorry i couldn't bear my testimony or anything right now i'll try to do it tomorrow and give you guys more information and send pictures! Happy Thanksgiving, can't wait to hear from you guys!
Elder Landon Bell
November 14, 2012
Here is Elder Bell's first letter home:
I'm just letting you know I got in safely, and am doing great! The mission president said we could write a quick letter home to let our parents know everything is well, and my preperation day is on Thursday. So be expecting an email from me soon!
I already have great experiences, stories, and two embarrassing moments! I have a great companion, Elder Escimilla! Everybody told me the first couple of days would be hard in the MTC, but so far I love it! I love feeling the spirit all day long, and knowing I'll be bringing that same spirit, the Holy Ghost, into others in just weeks away.
I love you so much mom! Thank you for all of the time and money you have put into my mission. Never forget that the Lord will always be there to comfort you in time of need.
Elder Landon Bell
We're excited to hear more about Elder Bell's experiences in the MTC, his companion Elder Escimilla, and his two embarrassing moments!
Elder Bell is now in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT. For the next few weeks he will be among 1,800 to 2,500 other missionaries in an atmosphere of peace, love, trust, confidence, and respect while he prepares to serve the Lord. If you want to learn more about the MTC, visit www.mtc.byu.edu.
From this point onward, Elder Bell can only be reached by letter or email at the addresses posted on the sidebar of this blog. Note: It is likely that Elder Bell will reply to all correspondence via written letters.
November 13, 2012
November 9, 2012
November 7, 2012
November 6, 2012
On August 8th, 2012 Landon was called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the California San Bernardino mission. He reports to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT on November 14th, 2012.
Thanks to Remick Johnson for the video!