Week 2: Monday, November 25 2013; Rain!

Hello everyone!Thanks for all your emails you sent. I really appreciate them!

This week has been good for the most part, but there were definitely challenges later on.

On Wednesday, we were able to do some service for the Raia’s. Sister Raia’s daughter (less-active) was moving out of the house so we were helping packing all of her things from the house into the moving truck. It was really good that we were there because there was only Sister Raia, her daughter, and then the daughter’s mother-in-law (non-member) that were there and the guys were off doing something else so it was good that we were there to help with all the lifting and whatnot. They were very appreciative of the help and it was good because since the daughter is less-active and the mother is a nonmember, it gave the two of them a good picture of how missionaries are and gave a good image for the church.Saturday, we went out to help the Zimmerman’s. Sister Zimmerman is a member, but her husband isn’t (although you wouldn’t know it beforehand because he’s very “LDS-“like) and we were helping cleaning the tiles in all the house which took a good 5 hours.

This weekend has been very difficult because it rained for three straight days… What was bad was that one of the days, I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, so I was pretty cold riding the bike around. And then when we park our bikes, they had to be out in the rain so the helmets would get wet. So each time we’d put on the helmet, there’d be water that splashes down. And on Saturday, Elder Parsons and I were riding down a dirt path and I fell in the mud and got my slacks and shoes all muddy. That wasn’t fun. I was actually feeling pretty miserable at that time and felt very discouraged.Then came Sunday and the first ward we visited was the Val Vista ward. And the first talk felt like a response to how I was feeling Saturday night. It was a sister who was speaking on gratitude and one of the key points that stuck to me was being grateful for our adversities and struggles because they help us grow. I’ve known about this principle before… shoot, I’ve done a talk on it on multiple occassions in the past. But I haven’t really thought about it again until that talk. And then after that talk was a special musical number, “Count Your Many Blessings.” And the lyrics to that song felt like a confirmation that I wasn’t in the right spirit last night when I was stuck in the mud. So that was really good.

So far, we haven’t really taught any investigators at all, but what has been really cool about doing service is that doing service for the various families actually progresses in missionary work. Each time we’ve done service (except for Joe Zimmerman since he’s not a member) have immediately thought of various friends and neighbors they could share the Gospel to and invite to the Open-House. So far, we’ve been really pushing the members to inviting their friends to the Open-House since it is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Gilbert and really for Arizona in general.

For Thanksgiving and for the day after that, we are planning on spending the entirety of those days visting member’s homes and showing them a 10-15 minute presentation on the temple. Those days really seem to be the perfect days since everyone will be in their homes with a lot of family (or they’re out of town visiting family, but anyway) so hopefully that goes well. We’re also going to be having Thanksgiving dinner at 1:00 PM… kind of more of a lunch, but I’ll take it.

Anyway, that’s all the highlights from this week. I’m now uploading the photos I’ve taken of the Gilbert Temple and a picture of Elder Parsons’ and my room.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this last week, but from last Wednesday through Friday, we lived in a small apartment that the church rented out. But then that Friday, we moved to a house in Liberty Square that the church rented out. It kind of sucked because I had unpacked everything and then I immediately had to pack it all again, but the house we’re at right now is really nice. It’s a lot like a regular house with a garage and backyard and everything. It’s also nice because it’s a mile closer to our zone than the previous house was.

Anyway, glad to hear from you and I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love,
Elder Foxx
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Week 1- Monday, Nov. 18, 2013: Checking In

Just checking in saying how I’m doing. So far the mission has been pretty alright. The first couple days were a little discouraging because I felt super inadequate and there were a lot of things that they taught people who went to the MTC that I never got a chance to learn. So now I have several statements, scripture versus, etc. that I have to memorize as I’m on the field. So I haven’t felt the most prepared. I have also had a hard time with riding the bike. I felt really bad because in the first few days, I got me and Elder Parsons late for a few of our appointments. Although I can happily say I have at least improved on bike riding over the past week. I’m getting a little more confident in bike riding, but I still have more to learn.

Wednesday was Transfer meeting so that’s when we all got our companions. It was kind of funny because it was almost treated like a gameshow where President Nattress and Sister Nattress would say, “Elder so and so…” and a long dramatic pause… “With Elder so and so!” and the two Elders would run up excitingly and hug each other and sometimes depending on the companionship, there would be gasps or laughter from some of the members. There was lots of energy in the room, but it was kind of funny. So my companion, Elder Parsons, has been in the mission field for about 11 months and he comes from Kentucky (although you wouldn’t know it, he’s never picked up the accent or speaking pattern). He’s been really good and has been very patient with me, especially in my bike riding.

We haven’t had to worry about making dinner at all because we were always able to eat at members’ homes. So far, we’ve been eating mostly pasta (no lasagna yet), although we had this interesting (polynesian, I think?) dinner at the Harratucu’s (not sure if spelled the correct way) and that was really good. All the families we really visited have been very nice and appreciative of having the missionaries over.

So far, most of what Elder Parsons and I have been doing was visiting families from the two wards we cover (Val Vista ward and Saratoga ward) and showing them presentations about the temple to try and get them to encourage their nonmember/less active friends to come to the Gilbert Temple open-house. This has gone pretty well so far. Everyone’s excited for the Gilbert Temple.

Speaking of the Gilbert Temple, I got to see the outside Tuesday afternoon and it looks really cool. It’s pretty big and I hope I get the opportunity to visit there again. I took some pictures and I tried to upload them, but when I tried to sign on to my flickr account, yahoo said that my yahoo email address has been deactivated. And now it’s telling me to create a brand new yahoo email address which requires a phone number. Kind of weird, not sure what’s going on there.

So far, the best day this week has been Saturday because Elder Parsons and I went over to the Hyatt family (a young family in one of the wards we cover) and did service for them from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM by helping them replace their floors. It felt good helping them out and they really appreciated it. It was actually kind of funny because Friday night we had dinner with them, which is how we found out about what they were doing Saturday and offered to help. So then Saturday morning, they fed us breakfast and then fed us lunch. So we essentially had breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at that home within that timeframe which was kind of funny. There’s still a lot more to do, so we may end up going back and helping out some more if they need it. But helping out this family I think was the highlight of the week because it made all the bad stuff I was thinking and feeling not matter anymore.

Oh yeah, and guess what? My very first Sunday out in the field… and I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting.Luckily Elder Parsons was kind enough to speak for 20 minutes instead of 15, so that gave me a little leeway since I felt a little unprepared for the talk (we weren’t notified we’d be speaking until Friday and we didn’t get our topics until Saturday) I think the talk went okay, but I felt very unprepared especially since I have grown so used to being able to use the Internet if I ever needed to look up resources or anything.

There should be some pictures at the Gilbert Mission blog with me as well as with me and Elder Parsons together, so hopefully that’s enough since I can’t upload pictures at the moment.

Anyway, things are going good so far.

Oh, and thanks for the popcorn, the letter, and the photo of the family. I really appreciate it.

Thanks!

-Elder Foxx

foxxskyler@gmail.com

President and Sister Nattress

Elder Foxx with the mission President and his wife…

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Late last night we received this email from his host family for the night…

I don’t know if you got an email earlier  but just wanted to let you know your sons stayed at our home last night after a big day  arriving in Gilbert Az.   It was fun to see the new missionaries come .
They were doing great- so excited to be here but apprehensive too.
Our ward put on a dinner for them then we took them home.   They slept good last night.  They had breakfast and then we took them back to the chapel.  I think they were excited to get their assignment where they would be serving.  What great young men!!!!
What great missionaries they will be.
 
The Skousens

Reporting to Gilbert

Because Elder Foxx is beginning his mission in Gilbert, we had the unique opportunity to drop him off at the mission office. I learned quickly this was a big benefit of beginning with a mini mission because we were able to spend time meeting the senior missionaries serving in the office (he is in good hands), taking pictures, giving really good hugs and my favorite- Mom having the honor to put on his missionary name badge for the first time!

Getting out of the car…

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Mom putting on Elder Foxx’s name badge…

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Happy and proud family…

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Elder Foxx…

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Elder Foxx’s schedule for the first 2 days…

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We learned that the Gilbert mission covers a little bit of Mesa, all of Gilbert, Queen Creek and Florence.

After we said our goodbye’s we drove by the new Gilbert temple that is going to open real soon. Wow!!!

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Farewell Sunday

Yesterday was a big day with family and friends coming to support Skyler before he leaves on his mission. The morning started with Skyler sharing a wonderful message in Sacrament meeting about the importance of Self-Reliance and how it helps prepare you for a mission. Elizabeth sang a beautiful musical number, “I Need Thee Every Hour”. Skyler’s friend, Daniel Wing is also leaving on his mission this week and gave a talk as well. Afton Jennings  sang “A Poor Wayfaring Man”. Bishop Thelin and President Hayes also shared a short message. The spirit was strong in this meeting.

After sacrament meeting, I asked a friend in the ward, who is also a talented photographer, Danielle Bright if she would take some pictures of family and friends who came to support Skyler before he left.

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After the 3 hour block was over, family headed over to the house for lunch.

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Keeping with our monthly tradition, we celebrated Teya’s 14th birthday! Happy Birthday Teya!

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After everyone left we had a few hours to relax and then get ready for an open house for friends to come over and say goodbye before Skyler leaves.

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At the end of the night, I asked Skyler how he was feeling and he said, “I am ready to go now.”

Today we have one last day to spend with Skyler as a family, he then gets set apart as a missionary tonight and then we take him to Gilbert in the morning. The day couldn’t have been any more perfect. We love you Skyler and have no doubt you are ready and will be an awesome missionary!