Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed!

Wow, its great to hear from you guys, I am doing excellent.  It was a hard adjustment at first, but I am on my feet and doing great now.  I am slowly getting lost in the work.  My pday is today and yes, they let us go food shopping the day we got here. 

That is so awesome about the flowers!  You go girl! (I recently took on a steady, large volume floral client) and don't even worry about the phone call, it is fine now. The plane ride was only 35 minutes haha - it was crazy.  But the Singletons?  I have not met them yet.  I cannot go up to Rexburgh besides on pdays so they will have to come here but im only 10 mins away.  What a small world I saw Katie in Walmart! haha  It was so funny when I heard my name! 

There are a ton of farms out here it's crazy!  The Ferraris and Lamborghinis out here are the John Deere tractors. haha  They are very expensive!  I spoke on Sunday for 15 minutes about the purpose of mortality, and I didn't even use a paper!  I prepare, but don't bring the paper up with me, I listen to the Spirit to know what to say.  It was another boy's farewell, so I gave him a few pointers after the meeting.  I also spoke at a baptism up in Yellowstone - me and my companion, Elder Aiono were asked to go.  I taught about the restoration to the congregation, it went very well.  We have our first baptism on Thursday, her name is Brynn Berry.  Her family is just recently getting reactivated so its a very exciting moment!  A lot of our work is with less active families or converting people who were previously in jail. 

I feel greatly honored to be serving in this mission.  On my first day, a lot of Elders' luggage got lost so I offered to go back and pick it up with one of the APs (Assistants to the President - they are Elders in leadership positions and have usually been serving for a while) later that night.  When I came home, Sister Brinkerhoff (the Mission President's wife) told me she knew if anybody offered, it would be me.  President Brinkerhoff told me he expects me to be an extraordinary missionary.  I told him I will not let him down.  I told him he will never have to worry about me with obedience or working my hardest because I will not be a missionary that slacks.  He said he has been anticipating meeting me for a while now and he prayed Heavenly Father would send a strong missionary here.  That definitely helped get my spirits up and get me in the right direction.  

I went to Big Jud's (a popular hamburger place that is famous for it's large burgers - we have been there before) the other night and people were arguing over who got to pay for us.  People have been very generous.  It's like we are celebrities in certain parts of the mission, but in others we aren't very well liked. 

I was asked to speak in Zone Conference in front of like 80 missionaries!  I am excited for that opportunity. That is so funny that the Elders I was with in the MTC are now serving in our ward as their first area!!  I told them about you haha!  Tell them I say hello!  

We gave a very old woman a blessing the other day, and the lady who wanted us to give it to her told us that it was to be a blessing of easy passing to heaven.  It was really sad, but after the blessing she was very calm.  It is amazing that the Lord trusts a few 19 year old boys to do such important and noble work!  

Tell the Whites I have to see them!  That would make my day!  We watched their I'm A Mormon video at the MTC and I was boasting to people that I knew them haha.  My companion is really nice, he is Samoan, and is an outstanding athlete. He plans to play wide receiver for BYU.  He grew up in Long Beach, CA and was a member of the Bloods out there.  It's an amazing story how he turned around, but he is now a great priesthood holder and I feel very safe with him. haha  Our house is nice, we live in it alone but it belongs to a member.  It is 2 floors with 3 rooms and a bathroom and kitchen.  Our backyard is a farm with cows and horses haha and we live right next to a small river. 

We have taught a few families, one was to a guy named Rich and his wife Peggy.  We stopped at a skate park the other day to get to know the boys around here, they are all very lost and don't know that there is anything outside of this area.  Most of their dads have either been in jail or are now. So I hope I can help show them that there is more and be an example to them.   

The photo album you sent me was perfect, exactly what I needed! :)  There is smoke all over the place from all the forest fires out here.  They are just random outbursts. It is almost spud season, so I may get to help with picking the potatoes and everything. 

It's amazing how powerful you can be if you have the faith, words just come to you and it touches people's hearts that you didn't even think of or know.  I met so many new friends in the MTC, I plan to meet up with them after our missions.  Oh and some good news, on Christmas I can Skype with you!  

Can you maybe send me a pair of sweat pants, it is so cold here at night. haha  It is 28 degrees when we wake up!  Man, winter is going to be so fun!  I can't believe this time is actually here!  The moment I've been worried about but so excited for my entire life.  It will fly by I already feel it!  Already a month out basically!  I have to hustle to finish all the work. haha  Man, there is so much to say. Tell Michael everybody likes my watch, I love it and tell them who got it for me.  

But anyways, I am doing excellent, no need to worry about me, I am tough as nails. haha jk.  I hope all is well and I love you all very much!  Being away and so cut off has made me realize how important it is that families are sealed in the temple because families are really the most important thing.  The only work that is more important than missionary work is the work you do within the walls of your home.  

We went to the fair, also.  At the fair we got so much free food it was crazy!  I rolled out of there basically!  But keep up the good work and keep reading the scriptures and apply them to your life, they work miracles if you let them. I will write to you on Monday!  Have a great week!  I love you and thank you so much for everything!  Tell everybody else I said hi!
Elder Fischetti xoxoxo

Tender Mercies

Thomas was ready to leave the MTC on August 21st, his flight was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. After a rocky start at the airport  - well, the worst is that we missed the one phone call he was able to make until Christmas.  We didn't realize he was going to call, and both Tom and I were in business meetings.  After some miscommunication and frantic calling to an unattended pay phone, and after many, many tears and sadness - both from Thomas and from us, we realized we would not be able to talk to our missionary until Christmas.  And it's OK.  Well, now it is.  It has taken a few days to be OK with it.  Until Thursday, when I woke up to a Facebook message from an old friend.  

Katie Sommer, who grew up in our ward as a Beckstrand and babysat Thomas as a baby, messaged me to tell me she saw our missionary!!!!!!!  It was such a surprise!  When she learned he would be serving his mission in Idaho, she told us she would look out for him.  We never, in a thousand years, thought it would be on his first day in the mission field!!!  He was at Walmart with his companion and another pair of missionaries shopping for essentials.  She saw him, treated the Elders to lunch and took their photo.  She was such an angel.  I believe this was a tender mercy from God, and I will be forever grateful that she was in the right place at the right time.  It was a balm that was soothing to our hearts and sustaining until the next letter, until Christmas.

We also look forward to the day when another one of our friends, Collin Singleton, visits Thomas in Rexburg on September 9th!  Collin served his mission in our area, and we loved having him in our home.  We are grateful he is looking out for our missionary, along with the wonderful White family! 
Elder Fischetti with his companion, Elder Aiono and other Elders

MTC Wrap-up - August 14-20

While we still received letters from Thomas during this past week, most of his writing was instruction before going out into the field.  He has remained extremely positive and happy with his time in the MTC.  He sent home some photos, enjoy!!!  

Goodbye at the MTC
Thomas and his buddy, Silas, from home!
He got his tags!
Elder Fischetti's District
There's going to be a lot of miles on these! 
Idaho missionaries
Elders are still boys at heart.
An exercise in teamwork? 
That's a lot of goodies, thank you! 
MTC Companions
Elders Fischetti and Gallagher
Thomas with another buddy from home, Elder Murphy!
Missionaries know how to roll.
  Learning goes on all day at the MTC, 
in groups and independently.  
    So does service, and work.
Missionaries getting ready to head out into the field.
Thomas goes to Idaho, Parker goes to Russia.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flashback Friday!

Does it count as a flashback if it has only been 3 weeks?  

It is hard to believe that Thomas has already finished his 3 week training in the MTC.  He left the MTC on Tuesday, August 21st, to fly up to Idaho to begin his mission service.  In many ways, though, it feels like an eternity.  I will post more on that tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are some parting words from our Missionary.  We sure miss this guy! 

Click on the video link below:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Missionary Training Center - Week 2

Dear Family,

It is so great to hear from you, I am so busy here i dont have time to do anything! My testimony has grown so much, i will write more in a letter that i will send out to you later today. I am leaving for the field Tuesday the 21st. Any more mail you have to send me just wait a few days and send it to my mission home office instead so i will get it out in the field. Please please please can you tell Vanessa for me right away that information and tell her that I got her letter today responding to my first letter and that I am sending her a letter tonight, tell her that I will send it to her school address.  There was a problem with the mail here for a day so all the departing mail got held up for a bit. I will send you my SD card in a week probably. 

My district is doing well, they are all going to my same mission so I will be flying with them. I am so excited to actually get there. My testimony is so strong and I am learning how to teach using the Holy Ghost very well, I dont have a shadow of doubt in myself being able to fulfill all of the work I am meant to do at this time of my life. 

Sounds like you guys are doing great! I watched the Joseph Smith movie with Parker yesterday, it was great to be with him and have a friend that I really connect well with. He got your package and was so excited, he said thank you so very much!  He is leaving the same day as me!  If you send any mail to me here after I leave, they will either send it back to you, or forward it to my mission. 

I love how much I have changed already.  I just got back from the temple, and while I was there I was praying that I would recieve comfort about my family and Vanessa, so I got the Book of Mormon and prayed for a scripture that would help. I dropped the book on my lap and decided that whatever page it opened to, I would read. It opened to D+C 31, Read it!!  It brought tears to my eyes because it has my name in it #1 and was exactly what I am going through. I know that I am doing the Lord's work and that he will bless you and I very much. I have learned to really take leaps of faith while teaching investigators.  I dont think about what to say when they are talking, i just strictly listen. Then after they are done, I listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost on what to say, it works really well!  

My companion is doing much better by the way. My Branch President here is super cool, I meet with him a few times a week and he is thankful for the work I have been doing with my district. I have learned so much patience and study skills already, haha.  I've never sat still for this long in my life!  I can't wait to get into the field!!!  I am nervous for my first companion.  I just feel so much strength with the Holy Ghost constantly in my life. 

I also have that quote that Camilla gave me by the way, I read it once a day to keep me motivated and my eye on my goals. I love you all so much and wish you could all experience this! OH OH OH Jared or Elder Murphy lives right next to me!!! What a small world!?!? We hangout every night for the 30 mins of relaxing time that we have. 

I am becoming a scriptorian, I can think of scriptures quickly and they are now color coded with notes all over the margins. This time will fly by! I feel like i just got here and I'm already leaving so soon! So little time but so much to do! Its ok, I can do it. I will write you a letter today and send it soon.  I love you all very much!  Be safe and CTR (Choose The Right).  Expect a letter soon with my new address in it also, in case you dont have it. Have a great week! 

PS my Pdays (preparation days) in the field are on Monday. So just a heads up. Can't believe I am actually a missionary!!!  It's so crazyyyy! Oh and the food is getting worse, I now weigh 190 lbs and dominate in four square each day. haha  I workout also for 30 mins so I stay in shape and get some energy out. 

LOVE YOU ALL VERY MUCH!!! Oh and tell her that I sent her a small letter yesterday so have her family mail it to her if she is already at school when it gets to her home in CT. Love you all. Oh and good luck super mom! You will be fine! You are amazing, just do work! Don't forget to slow down and enjoy it also.
Elder Fischetti

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Only One Week in the MTC?

Hey Family!
I am doing excellent, I am learning so much and my testimony is growing every minute. It's amazing here, you feel the spirit all day!! The food is good, I eat 4 entrees every day. I see Parker and Silas all the time, it's so comforting seeing them. My district has become my family, my companion is still so quiet, but my district says its really cute because i am like his older brother helping him break out of his cage. It's funny, he doesn't walk next to me, he walks directly behind me stepping in my exact foot steps haha. He is shy and sometimes will not answer you when you talk to him because he is too nervous to talk. He is 95lbs, so I am stuffing him full of food all the time and am teaching him how to lift weights in our gym time. 

My P days (preparation days) are Wednesday and I can only email for 30 mins. I went to the temple today and loved it as usual, my teacher and district all came along. Being district leader is awesome, it is a whole new level of leadership, learning to lead by Christlike attributes such as patience, love, and charity. I am learning so much about everything! My district president is super cool, we get along really well. There are 8 Elders and 4 Sisters in my district and I am in charge of all of them, whether it be homesickness, companionship problems or anything. They all come out of our meetings either crying with comfort or from the spirit. They all say I am the best leader and was meant to be the district leader, which was very nice.  At first, I felt way over my head but now I am getting more traction and am starting to take off. 

The MTC is really amazing, I have taught 4 investigators and I write specific lines for Elder Neilson to say, but he is too shy to say them so I am basically teaching the investigator myself. They could be real investigators or fake, they dont tell us.  But either way, we prepare like it was real, say prayers, having study times and what not. Class is great! Our teacher is amazing! He really loves us all. He is a great example to all of us Elders. 

Our schedule is quite hectic, we wake up at 6:30 then its breakfast, then 3 hour class time, then teaching, then zone meetings, then I teach a district class, then another 3 hour class, add personal study time and companionship study plus meals and that brings us to about 9:30, then its prayer time and bed! They make sure you have no rest time at all! 

That is crazy about the dogs! Make sure they get an electric fence before they really dissapear. All the Elders in my district all room together, I give the cleaning check guy cookies or candy in the mornings so he gives us really good ratings. I got your package and thank you so incredibly much!!! I love getting mail! I get so excited! Can you guys send me out my black yo yo, Michael knows which one. I love toys! and I need a few more of my t shirts, they can have logos just as long as they aren't crude. I love you all very much! I feel that the Lord is helping me with my homesickness. I already feel the blessings of being a missionary! I will send an SD card within the week so you can see pictures, be sure to show them to Vanessa. But don't worry about me, i am just fine. I have tons of friends, and alot of people here come to me for help, its weird to think that I've only been here a week. But I am running out of time! What do I do with those postcards in my package?? (I sent him index cards with the date on each one so that he could write something special that happened to him that day so that when it comes time to write his letters, he can remember.) and I will send letters whenever I can with how I am doing. I will talk to you soon! Thank you so much for the mail, boxes and email! Share this letter with whoever you want. I love you and thanks for being amazing!
God Speed,
Elder Fischetti

Monday, August 6, 2012

Our First Letter Came Today!

August 1st-2nd, 2012

Dear Family,

Today was so awesome, I got my name tags and went right into classes!  I saw Parker!  Everybody was  staring at us when we ran at each other and hugged.  They really keep you busy here.  I have very little free time.  While at the MTC, I can email on Wednesdays.  Mom, Michael and Caitlin thank you so much for the surprise letters!  They made me tear up.  I love all of you very very much.  Michael, so many people have commented on how awesome the watch that you gave me is!  I love it so much!  Thank you, Dad, people love my compass/sundial and people are talking about your awesome accent from when you dropped me off.  

We have been learning so much!  My district is really cool, my companion is like a friend you know, it takes a lot of work to get him to talk, but when you do, it's like a chatter box.  His name is Elder Nielson.  

Mom, let Michael know you got this, maybe read it to him when you get it.  I can't send a letter to him in Boise because I am worried he may not get it in time.  But he Dear Eldered me.  All the guys here are super fun and cool.  Oh and I got called to be the District Leader!!  But I love you guys so much!  I will write you soon!  PS: my address here is: 

Elder Thomas Gary Fischetti
MTC Mailbox #120
ID-POC 0821
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT 84604-1703

Love you all very much, thanks for all the support and love.

Elder Fischetti

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ready to Report - August 1, 2012

Wow.  It seems surreal that this day has actually come.  We have spent many years - a childhood, a lifetime - raising, teaching and hoping that Thomas would choose to serve a mission for the LDS church.  We are elated this day has come, but are also sad to see him go.  We love him so much and look forward to hearing all about his adventures - both the successes and trials that will shape and mold him during the next two years as he serves others and the Lord.

After flying out from JFK with his dad and brother, Thomas was very excited (and a little nervous too) to enter the MTC.  His time to report could not come soon enough.  They enjoyed breakfast together, a couple of last minute errands, photos in front of the Provo Temple, then off to the MTC.  What a day! We can hardly wait to hear from him!