Monday, May 31, 2010

Ahhh, I go to Taiwan tomorrow!

Well, the MTC has been good.
The temple was closed this morning, so we were taking a zone picture instead of going to the temple. I got my violin and started playing with elder Wilson in a different room, and our entire zone came in and started listening. We just pick a random hymn and arrange it as we play, and improv and sometimes it turns out really cool. He's good at it. So, like 40 awesome missionaries were just there listening to us play, and we started playing the spirit of god, and on the last chorus I yelled at them to all start singing, and we all started singing "We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven!" It was a really powerful moment. Our districts here have been really good examples to the younger districts. they'll all be awesome missionaries. Next mandarin bunch to come in there are about 40 new missionaries. crazy.
So, did you know Elder D. Todd Christofferson used to play violin? The tuesday when I played a musical number in the devotional Elder Christofferson came and gave such an amazing devotional. I messed up because I closed my eyes and lost my spot on the page and was just playing memorized, but it was only one note and the rest was awesome. Then when Elder Christofferson got up he said "Like Elder Vernon, I used to play violin. well, I shouldn't say like Elder Vernon because i didn't know it could be played like that!" It made me feel real good. So my violin will be my carry-on and I'll say prayers and try to take good care of him.
One of my favorite things that Elder Christofferson said was that "I'm surprised the Lord lets us touch anything within this church! We're handling his crystal and fine china here." It's true, and that makes me a little nervous sometimes. When I talk to somebody it is maybe the most important couple minutes of their existence! It's like I would need help, amazing godlike help. Oh! The spirit! Duh. It's sad that we sometimes don't realize something so obvious as that, that we really need help like that all the time. He also made me realize how special the calling of a missionary is, he said it was an 'apostolic calling' because Christ gave the apostles the great commission to preach and baptize, but there were too many people so they called the seventy, and they still aren't enough, so they called the missionaries. He said that we were helping him, working shoulder to shoulder with the apostles helping them in their calling and thus have power and authority given to us to make it possible to have success.
Well, I've been glad I've been able to write letters to you all. Sorry I don't write all of you a whole bunch. Elizabeth especially. She writes me such good letters and I don't really have time to reply. And Enoch too, tell him hi for me. I'm also glad Ann liked the letter I wrote. She's such great cousin!
The MTC has been really really good. My branch President Pres. Baker is a really amazing man. My teachers were so so great. It was weird because saying goodbye to my teachers was harder than saying goodbye to my family! Not really, but it was hard. It was Bro. Chamberlin's last district, he's moving to California, and brother Richens was so diligent in trying to help us reach our potential. Using good scriptures. I would definitely choose those two if I had come in and had while to look around and take my pick. All the mandarin teachers here are so awesome. In fact, the mandarin missionaries and teachers and part of the MTC is just the best. Really. Oh, well, I shouldn't say that because I'm giving a thought today in zone meeting about overcoming pride. I guess all the missionaries think I'm a good example of starting out really prideful and developing humility in the MTC. hahaha.
Well, I'm starting to realize now some of the reasons why it has been so good for me to be in the MTC. One of those has been playing violin. It's been a good experience.
I love you all! goodbye!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

24 May 2010
I loved seeing the snow today! It'll be two more years before I see snow again. I also had a real good temple trip this morning! :)
Well, things are about exactly the same, but way different, because now it seems like almost a reality that I'll be leaving. I got my flight plans, I'll be leaving Tuesday June 1st. at about eight in the morning. Elder Herlin from my district already left this morning. So, one more e-mail after this one from the MTC, and then I'll be gone to Taaaaaiiiiiiiwan. So, how is everybody? Y'all doin okay without Willi? I heard Logee turned one, and that Julia made Jason go to the party rather than go golfing with Scott. hahaha. It makes me laugh every time I hear the word golf in chinese. It's gouerfu. I think. I don't really know. Well, hopefully I can not get complacent, but strive and endure to the end and accomplish all my good goals. Missions are real fun. I think we should all be better missionaries. Don't all you out there get complacent either!
I'm going to be playing violin for a musical number in the devotional this Tuesday. Hopefully another general authority comes, that would be cool. It is my last devotional! Well, I don't really know what else to say. Thank you so much for your letters and packages. I plan on eating my tiny watermelon named Bob today. That should be fun. I don't look forward to packing all my stuff up, but I do look forward to my flight out to Taiwan. It'll be crazy. I'm excited to do missionary work on the way over. And also I'll be able to call from the Los Angeles airport. I have a big honk layover there.
So, since I have some time left, maybe I'll share something I've learned from the Book of Mormon lately. Me and my Companion gave the lesson to our district in District meeting yesterday. Our topic was prophets, and it was so much fun preparing for it. We had the idea of instead of just teaching about prophets, all we would do is share the testimonies of the prophets and see if that could bring the spirit. So I went through the scriptures and found as many testimonies as I could in an hour. It was amazing. Paul, Peter, Isaiah, but mostly from the Book of Mormon. Nephi, Lehi, Jacob, Enos I looove verse 26-27, Amaleki, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma, Alma, Amulek, and it goes on, Nephi and Lehi's shook the ground. Angels, Christ himself, Mormon, Moroni I loooove Ether 12:41, Samuel the Lamanite. It was so cool, and they became some of my favorite scriptures I have ever read. These testimonies of the prophets, saying that they knew Christ and his atonement were real caused me to feel the spirit so strongly, and feel once again a witness that the Book of Mormon was true and testified of Christ so powerfully that if any man truly searches it they cannot deny that "these are the words of Christ." Then after that we shared the testimonies of each of the modern Presidents of the Church. They are soooo powerful. I love it. Anyways, I encourage you to fall in love again with the Book of Mormon. Remember Ezra Taft Benson and his exhortations to read the Book of Mormon. Let's not fall under condemnation as an entire people for treating lightly the Book of Mormon. Neal A. Maxwell has told us that we have only scratched the surface of the power that is in it. It's unexplainable. But the Book of Mormon does not just give knowledge, or even just testify of Christ. When one reads the Book of Mormon a real power flows into your life. All I want to do sometimes is read the Book of Mormon. If I have a piece of paper out when I read, and plan on writing down insights for every single verse, then from every single verse something will come to you that you can apply to your life, or for your investigator, or help somebody else with. I think we need to remember to do all we can to move this work forward.
Elder Vernon

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Pictures

This was from William in May. He said "Well I guess I can't go, the mission field is closed."


Here are some pictures of William at the MTC sent in April:

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

Thanks Lois! i love hearing her support and love! It's all because of Mom and Lois that I can play violin. I see Elder Brodie quite often, and it's really fun to say hi to him. He'll make one great missionary! Seems like he's doing well, don't worry i encouraged him to use his talents and play an organ solo sometime for a devotional.
Don't worry that you didn't send a whole bunch of packages, I got the best package from Sister Prina, oh it was so wonderful! It had fresh raspberries. That was so nice. If I don't manage to send a thank you note, please thank her. Also the Henley's sent me a nice package a while ago too, and I forgot to thank them and now I've lost the address, tell them thanks too! My two favorite packages ever have been the watermelon, and the shuiguo (fruit) package. it had the biggest honk strawberries I ever saw! And the yummiest blueberries and it was awesome!
I hope Jason's toe feels better. That's weird that Julia has a honey. And good for Marilyn! Kevin was a really nice guy. elder. guy (haha, that's really weird to say guy and have it be okay). Even better than packages is just some dearelders from everybody that say I'm the best missionary ever and give me some spiritual advice and tell me about what's going on. Haha, one day I just really wanted a letter, and no letter. Finally at dinner my district leader elder van noy gave me one and I was all excited, and save it all day, then back at the residence hall open it. It's from Parley, and all it says is PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! one word. I couldn't help laughing really hard. but it wasn't funny. but it was. Especially when my companion read it, and said "" I died. When people that don't know peeboo say peeboo it is soooooo funny. I'm glad Parley is having a fun summer.
Well, anyways, thanks for telling me what's going on. I'm still convinced that the MTC is under some sort of Narnia time and if I went back nothing would have changed. It doesn't seem like i've been here for very long, but I'm about to leave! All my crazy chinese goals of memorizing lots of chinese scriptures for each lesson, and all lessons vocab, grammar, outlines, reading Book of Mormon chapters in characters and memorizing the tall book are becoming just that. Crazy. I only have two weeks left! only two more temple trips! I have come far though. I was sitting there with my companion the other day and I realized that I love him. And that I would actually miss him when we had new companions in a couple weeks. I can't really see my progress, but I think I can speak chinese okay. I still can't understand native people. Our district had this favorite missionary ever, his name is Elder Ding, from china who is going to Sydney. When he talks it doesn't even sound like a language. They just mumble and I don't understand how they are saying either tones or words. Oh well, that's a problem for a couple weeks from now i guess.
Y'all should be really jealous because Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke this tuesday in devotional! It was really super amazing! He said some of the same stuff he said in his talk the Miracle of a Mission. which is the best talk you'll ever hear. But to hear him in person say how much his mission meant to him, it was a powerful experience. Some of my favorite things he said were
he talked about why preach my gospel was created- to convert the missionary first. President hinckley said there was a problem in the missionary program if a missionary could serve a mission and then come home a fall away. Elder holland said "don't come up to me in three years with a long beard or a tattoo or dredlocks and talk about the good old times on the mission! I'll punch you in the nose! Well, that didn't sound very apostolic, but I'd be very angry!"
He also said some amazing things about how "f you aren't doing the work God's way you aren't his missionary, section 50, you can't have it your way, this isn't burger king!"
Also I played in sacrament meeting with Elder Wilson last sunday and it was a wonderful experience. We switched songs that day, and for some reason played a poor warffaring man of grief. It's a really pretty arrangement from the Jenny Oaks' baker book. I think all the missionaries in our zone were touched and it brought the spirite.
I love you all! remember the members are the full time finders, missionaries are the full time teachers! Follow Elizabeths's good example!
Bye bye elder Vernon

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

William Preston Vernon

to me
show details 5:26 PM (25 minutes ago)

Waaaaaaaaaa! No young packages? No silver coin?
Well, happy mother's day Mom! wo ai ni!
Sorry i haven't recorded anything on your big honk tape recorder yet. I really ain't a big fan of the trade here. Mom has Wally and Charles, unless she sent them to Sarah or something terrible like that already. And then just to rub it in she sends a big honk tape recorder with half the buttons broke and covered with duct tape. haha just kidding. I'll be fine. I'll record stuff sometime, the problem is there is a rule I guess against singing in the dorms now. So I have no presents to send my mommy for mother's day. Waah. I feel bad. Just know I'm trying to be a good boy.
Some really exciting things happened this week!
1. I got a watermelon! The best package I've ever received. I'm so excited to eat it. It made me so happy when i saw a watermelon in there.
2. I went to the temple again today, and i'm honking through all those names. It's so fun to do family names and hand them out to my zone and district.
3. This is the best one- one of the new missionaries, Elder Abraham Wilson is so awesome! Turns out that he was a piano performance major at BYU, don't ask me how we didn't see each other in the HFAC, but we knew a lot of the same people. So I asked him to accompany me, and he was really good! So now every Sunday and P-day we practice playing together! This sunday we'll play in sacrament meeting. And maybe we'll play in something else together before we go. It's so fun, we've played through the Wieniawski concerto, and all of the Jenny Oak's Baker songs I have, and it's just been great. I was going to record me playing violin on my camera today and send it home as a mother's day present, but It's against the rules. so I chose to be obedient. Good thing I did! We have to play in 1M, and we always sneak into this really nice conference room, with a big nice table and black leather chairs where all the MTC presidency meets with apostles and things. Today while we were playing The second counselor of the Presidency, President Clegg came in, and we were scared he would kick us out. But he said we were fine to practice in there, and also told us lots of cool things. He said last july They had a meeting in there with the First Presidency, the quorum of the twelve (except for 1-Elder Packer) the Presiding Bishopric, and the Presidency of the Seventy too! We also asked him questions about church history, and temples, and He told us some really cool things, talked for like twenty minutes!
Anyways, it can't be coincidence that a wonderful pianist just showed up in the mandarin zone. Wow, it's so much fun! Elder Wilson's companion is amazing too, elder Balkman, who has a prosthetic leg! It's awesome!
4. I coerced my district into singing in sacrament meeting last sunday! It was very good, and fun to sing hymns in chinese! Everybody can sing decently well in my district!
Well, I love all of you. This is the true gospel! I hope everybody is being good and being blessed! Everybody recovered from the wedding yet? life goes on! Elder Vernon!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010

i figured it out! I finally cracked the code, outpuzzled the puzzle, discovered the secret, and this is my theory- The MTC is like Narnia! It makes all the sense in the world once you've been here a while. It seems as if time here is slow, and different than the outside world. I somehow feel that if I went home things would be the exact same. It also explains why when I step out of the MTC to play soccer, time goes by really quickly!
Anyways, I just went to the temple and did an endowment session for Roy Tinsley Griggs. I felt the spirit really strong. Life is good. Things are happy today. The bees are buzzin in the trees a makin honey just for me
The biggest thing now, is that I've reached the point where i realize that I won't be in the MTC forever. In fact I only have four weeks left! I know that still sounds like a long time, but it really isn't that long if you think about it like, I only have three more temple trips here, or in about two weeks I'll get my flight plans. I started seeing Jordan Barton all the time now because he's a TE teacher now. He's cool.
So, tell me 'bout the weddy wed wedding! Did Julia burp after she got out of the temple? Was Jason just super super super happy-smiley? Did it rain? was the reception fun? Did Daddy cry when his little bump got married? That's funny that Parley got stuck tending lots of little chilluns for a long time. Hahahaha. I can just see him and Alaya getting in big arguments, and then Enoch getting involved. Truth is I think little Julia's the boss of them all. haha. I want Sarah and Rod and all of their kids at my wedding too! Can you imagine how many children there will be when I get married?! Good honk!
Anywhays, guess what? L. Tom Perry came and spoke to us last Tuesday Devotional. It was a really fun experience to have been practicing teaching about the restoration for six weeks, about prophets, apostles, and how essential they are, and then have one walk in the room. More than what he said, the feeling in the room was the best part. I somehow kifed some front and center seats, and it was a really fun experience. He testified to us of the Book of Mormon. He told how important it is in missionary work. He told us of how he first got a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. As a fifteen year old His father took his quorum on an excursion down to some town in Utah that I've forgotten the name of, to Martin Harris's gravesite. There they heard the story of an old man name William Pilkington. (This part made me laugh, because Parley would always quote this story to me, because it's on a church history video or something, and Martin Harris has a really ugly neck-beard, and He says to the boy, "What is your name boy? William Pilkington sir..... "Then I shall call you Willi." ) Anyways, it was a really powerful story of how he heard one of the three witnesses bear testimony that he actually had seen an angel and handled the plates. And L. Tom Perry heard it from Willi Pilkington, and I heard it from L. Tom Perry.
some of my favorite things he said were hearing about church organization from an apostle. It was really cool. He told us that if a question of doctrine or anything else comes to them and they can't answer it from the scriptures or a handbook (which probably isn't very often) they refer it to Thomas S. Monson. He has the keys to the interpretation of scripture. He takes it to the Lord and gets an answer, thus all our truth comes from one pure source, and we are built upon a solid foundation.
I enjoy helping new missionaries learn chinese. I have learned quite a bit since I've been here. I have a goal of being able to teach all five lessons powerfully in chinese by the time I leave the MTC.
Set Goals! Goals are amazing! I studied chapter 8 of preach my gospel, and then set lots of goals for my MTC stay. Long term goals, broken down into short term goals, broken down into even shorter ones, make the impossible possible. It's amazing!
Zhu ni hao yun!
Zai Jian!