Erik’s First Week in the Missionary Training Center

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And now a letter from my very verbose boy, Erik, after his fist week the MTC. If you aren’t familiar with the MTC, here’s more info. on where he is and why he’s there before heading to Sweden : https://www.mtc.byu.edu/themtc.htm

Dear Family and Friends,

As expected, it was a crazy, exhausting but spiritually amazing first week at the MTC. The first day one walks into their language class, the teacher speaks zero English. This can be rather frightening and discouraging. You have no proper concept of what you got yourself into until you are flung into a class where the instructor is speaking a language you can’t speak that you are expected to speak fairly fluently in six weeks time. The first night I prayed hard. There was no way I could do it alone. Of course, I did not receive the gift of tongues in a bolt of lightning, for how would I grow if I did not have to work? What I did receive was overwhelming sense of love and comfort from the holy ghost and an assurance that if I work as hard as I can, the Lord will do the rest. Learning a language at the MTC is sort of a parallel to how Jesus Christ’s atonement works. You do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. We must work hard though for it to work, for faith requires action on your part to create blessings. I cannot just simply believe I’ll learn Swedish, I have to work at it. A week in, I still am nowhere near ready to be dropped down in the streets of Stockholm to speak, but I have progressed further than I would of thought I could have. Starting on Friday each companionship had to give discussions to a mock investigator in 100% Swedish. The first one of course went bad, with really only two days of Swedish, but as we have met with our mock investigator we have increasingly improved and yesterday we spent a full hour with him, talking the majority of the time of the topic just discussing prayer and recognizing the spirit. Our mock investigator is actually Swedish, he served a mission, is going to BYU, and is super nice and, as all Swedes are, fashionable. My Swedish I know will get there for as my branch president said, Thomas S. Monson told him when he called him to serve as mission president in the Czech Republic “when the Lord calls, he will make you qualify.”

The best part of the MTC experience is definitely the devotionals, which we have been super lucky on. On Sunday, we had a member of the seventy who helped write “Preach my Gospel” talking on being self-reliant physically and spiritually, and then last night we had Sister Oaks, and ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS!!!!!!!! I was third row, dead center, no more than fifteen feet from Elder Oaks. His wife was really cool and down the earth. She gave a list of five tips for all missionaries; 1. focus on our savior, Jesus Christ, and learn more about him every day. 2. Know you are never alone, never underestimate the comfort of the holy ghost. 3. Love you companion. (which she said of course is easier said then done) 4. Be humble. 5. and make the scriptures your best friend. Elder Oaks spoke on why do you serve? I got several quotes from him (and he quoted C.S. Lewis 🙂 ) It was largely focused on serving the Lord and not ourselves, or as he put it “we must remember we are on his mission, not our mission.” and he very sternly laid down two statements: “Don’t try to recreate your ward from Orem or Ogden when serving in Uganda or Bolivia.” and “Do not believe or say that there is no truth in other churches.” The word is on the street….well on the sidewalks at least…that Elder Bednar is speaking tomorrow for Thanksgiving so I am truly blessed.

I’m in a trio companionship, with just three of in a dorm room that normally is six elders so we’ve got plenty of space and we pushed together two of the bunk beds so we have king sized beds for two of us. One of the Elders, Aldste Linchencko is from Idaho, and is very much your good old product of Idaho, and he is going to Sweden with me. The other, Elder Ort, has lived everywhere including Tacoma but currently is from St. George, and he is going to Surinam, Dutch speaking, which only has 20 missionaries. You really can’t find two countries more opposite in weather, political situation, economic status and culture than Sweden and Surinam. Our zone consists of all the Scandinavians (or often referred to as Vikings) and the Dutchies going to the Dutch Indies and Netherlands/Belgium. Our zone leaders are pretty cool, one is from Denmark, and they’re going to Iceland. (only 8 missionaries there, and you’ve got to spend 12 weeks here because the language is insane) My Idaho companion, as one would assume, thinks I’m just a crazy Oregon hippy…doesn’t help that I’ve gone vegetarian. The first two days I tried meat and it made me sick, so I’ve been living off fruit, the salad bar, veggie wraps, oatmeal and soy milk because even the normal milk makes me sick. I’ll probably lose a few pounds but nothing serious. Thank you very much, Mom for the oatcakes and jam. They are lifesavers. You are the best! My Idaho companion of course, thinks it is weird but then again he is the one who is eating all of the bad food and mountains of junk food and thus having to spend the majority of his mission experience in the restroom, hahaha.

It was pretty cool to have the Swedes that left of Monday here, because I made some pretty good friends with my potential future companions and also got a lot of help from them. I got along pretty well with Aldste Falkner from London and Aldste Jones from Cedar City.

I know this is the best place to be, and though I might go a little bit anxious being here for seven weeks, wanting to just go out and do the work, I know I need this time to learn my language. I am so very thankful I grew up in a home that taught me the gospel, and gave me my own personal testimony of it. I love you all and miss you,

Love,

Aldste Scott, or Erik, because I miss hearing my first name.

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Ian’s last few weeks in Iowa City

Dear Mum,

I am a little bit over Iowa City, by now. Nearly six  months is a long time for me to be in an area. The ward has some helpful individuals and I have met some people that I really love, but most of them have moved out by now or are gone  ( Iowa City is a college town) for the holidays. I do love Miss Minny, who has a solid testimony. She just needs to quit those darned cigarettes! She left for Chicago for the holidays along with everyone else we have been teaching, so now there is no reason to be here anymore. Transfers are the 4th so I may be moving back to the real, rural, “pork for dinner every night” kind of Iowa that I love. So, since I am pretty sure I am getting the boot, I decided to go hard on the paint this week even though I have been sick in the stomach since Tuesday. I don’t know what it is, but I’m getting though it by drinking pepto bismol like a smoothie       ( it’s really good).

We have seen some miracles and taught more lessons this week then my entire mission, so that boosts morale! That’s about all I have to say about that. Read Jeremiah 20:99 , it says, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”. It sums up how I feel sometimes.. It can be so hard sometimes being a missionary  but this testimony keeps me going because I know it, and that’s my passion and I have to say I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and I don’t have to walk this life alone!

I really gained a testimony of this more after a die hard of another religion shoved his religion down our throats trying to get us to deny Jesus Christ as a the Son of God and our Savior for salvation. Without that fact, we are alone and there is no salvation and no point to anything, so that’s my thanksgiving “what I’m thankful as we go around the table statement”.  Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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An older photo of Ian with his niece, Elanor about 8 months before leaving on his mission.

Love,                                                                                                                                                    Elder Scott

God Speed Elder Erik Scott!

photo.

…And he’s off to the Missionary Training Center for two months before heading to Sweden in January.  He will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for two years. To learn more about our church, go here: http://www.mormon.org.

Until January 3rd, Erik can be reached via email or snail mail.  He might not have time to write tons of letters but will try. I know he’d love getting letters though.

email: erik.scott@myldsmail.net

Regular mail:  

Elder Erik Scott: 

Jan06 SWE-STO

2009 N 900 E Unit 163

Provo, Utah  84602

Ian in Iowa City:

Dear Mum,

 This week has been a bit better and I’m getting along  with my companion,and he has become more understanding of me and I have been more understanding of him. We have found common interest in the quotations of  independent quirky films. It’s ridiculous but fun. 

Miss Minny has been progressing along with Brother James who the ward has been helping a lot. We had a  ward pie competition and the missionaries were in charge of judging, so you can just imagine  Elder Zabriski, my companion and myself  turned into the  judges from  the show “Chopped” and we unintentionally offended some in the ward( some of the pies were not so good , especially after you have eaten 20 pieces of pie!) To our surprise, we also gained trust with the other half the ward  who are hipsters and they liked our sarcastic commentary.

 On exchanges this week,  Elder Zabriki(the wanna be Utah hipster, who is still pretty cool) and myself went looking for Africans. He claimed he had a sixth sense for finding west Africans( of which he is having so much success with in his area), so logically he thought if we could find some in our neigborhood, we would have success. Door after door of who we thought were west Africans, invited us in were actually north Sudanese Muslims who are very nice and hospitable but they aren’t quite ready to convert to Christianity, if you know what I am saying. After way too much Islamic cookies and blre   (a cultural drink),  we came to the conclusion that everyone was from Sudan is a Muslim and  they are very nice, good people and are very eager to learn about the Book of Mormon, but it is not their time yet to receive the restored gospel with the way things are in the world right now. I will say we blew a guys mind when we told him that Jesus Christ is our Savior and  will forgive us of our sins so we don’t have to do it all on our own!  
I  am so grateful to have faith in Christ. We really take him for granted as Christians. Where would we be with out him? You might be wondering why there are so many Sudanese in Iowa City. It’s because Iowa is a refugee state. I feel like I live in Sudan ( which is a rough place to be a missionary).  
We had a referral out in the country to contact, but they said they couldn’t meet then because  NASCAR was on and that made me really happy to be reminded that I was still in Iowa.That’s about it..two hoots for my brother, Elder Scott the 3rd, who goes on his mission to Sweden this week!Love,
 Elder Scott the second

November 10th Letter from Elder Scott

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So this is my week;

Minny, our investigator came to church and gave her testimony so now the ward knows her! A less active who just started coming back, who we have been working with a lot  came to church as well.  He was assaulted by his son who is a drug dealer and he now is homeless and badly injured, but a member of the ward is taking care of him. He fears for our safety when we work in the neighborhood he used to live in because of our close connection and knowledge of the situation. His son is on the run and it’s a terrible situation,but I am not worried. The Lord will protect us.  Don’t worry about it though, is not that bad. It is definitely a story and life has been getting real.

We also found a bunch of investigators this week and dropped even more but that’s life. “The Book of Mormon buddies” (Remember, the puppets) has been providing member referrals which are much more solid and safe individuals. So, give member referrals! It’s what the prophets wants us to do. Don’t allow the missionaries to find on the street a bunch of crazy people and deal with all the stuff that cannot be sorted out in this life.  It has been a crazy week! I cannot tell you half of it but that was just a sample. I got your letter it was helpful as always.

Thanks for all your help.

Love,

Elder Scott

And then his added testimony :

I don’t have time to write a testimony of great power or flowery language but all you need to know is- I know God is real, Christ is my Savior.  Joseph Smith saw them and was called as a prophet. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and The Bible are the word of God. I have come to know that there is prophet today named Thomas S. Monson as well as all the prophets and apostles called by the authority of God. His church has been restored after a period of time where the world was in apostasy. Angels still minister to men, and Satan is very real and I have visually seen evidence of his power, but I am strengthened to know that God’s power is greater because I have felt it though the Spirit. The Holy Spirit that witnessed of all truth and these things I know by that power, and I have suffered much for this testimony, but I know that it is true and no earthly power can convince otherwise!

Elder Scott is Still in the Game

Ian and his companion doing service this past week.
Ian and his companion doing service this past week

Hi,

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Life has been a little rough lately but that’s OK because God loves me and Jesus is my Savior and that is all I need.

Started out this week with some mountain biking at Sugar Bottom trails. The missionaries I took up there couldn’t believe we where still in Iowa.  Believe it or not,  Iowa has some hidden treasures. Pictured is Elder Jackson shedding up some late fall leaves!

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We’re teaching more people, which is good. One is a crazy old guy that wants to infuse doctrines and ordinances of the church with all these other churches that he claims membership and that is not good! So, we  avoid him and I get bad vibes every time  I see him on the street. Who knows how this will turn out?  We found another cool guy who has been looking for answers. We are still seeing the sweet old lady, and we are both going though some mental challenges and I have gotten to know her a alot more this week and how the gospel can heal us from those problems. We dropped a bunch of people this week or they dropped us, which is never fun. We came to the realization that we can find people on the streets all day but with out  church members help, it is all going to be in vain.

At the beginning of the week, we felt that we where not trusted very much by the members and then I had an idea that revolutionized our relationships with members and ultimately my attitude towards the ward. And it sounds crazy but, we started putting on a puppet shows to engage the kids and teach gospel principles though the Book of Mormon. Doing so has really brought to life the power and characters of this amazing book!  and made the kids actually like us ( if the kids like you the parents will and now people want to feed us)  We call them  ” Book of Mormon Buddies”  Here is a sample picture of the cast:

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All puppets made by Elder Scott . He said there is Laman, Lemuel, Laban, Nephi, Lehi and Sarah. :::)

It’s getting better and I’m feeling better. Thanks for all your prayers and love.

Elder Scott

NOTE FROM SUSAN (Elder Scott’s mom)- Ian and his brother were so into puppets and puppet shows when they were little and put on shows all the time, especially with Blake and Noelle Forkey, So, this is awesome that’s he”s doing this and it’s a good way gets kids interested and members to feed the missionaries. 🙂