Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day AND a New Investigator!

Hi Everyone - 
There is so much to tell! First off let me tell everyone that the Lord will bless you as you keep his commandments and stay diligent to the assignments He gives you. Whether that is being commissioned as one of his missionaries or keeping your baptismal covenant with Him as it states in Mosiah 18. It is always good to read that chapter as much as possible so we can be reminded of the special name we took upon ourselves when we were baptized.
It took a lot of work, diligence and exact obedience to what the Lord has told us to do as missionaries. So Elder Culler and I have been teaching Chris Taylor, right? and one thing that I forgot to mention was that while we were teaching Chris, one of his co-workers (for the sake of not disclosing names his name will be Frank -- they work at a summer sales pest control business) was there during our lesson with Chris. As we bore our testimony of the divinity and power of The Book of Mormon, the Spirit was abundant and Frank's  eyes were  locked on whomever was testifying at any given moment. Let me just say again the spirit was strong and the truthfulness of our message pricked Frank's heart. The sad thing was that he had to take a call and leave the lesson but as soon as he left we all just looked at each other, Chris included, and all had the same prompting -- to give Frank a Book of Mormon with our testimony inside it. We invited Chris to carry that out since he was closest to Frank  and actually saw him everyday. Elder Culler, Twogood and I were brainstorming all week  how to continue to teach Chris but then transition into the discussions with our good friend, Frank. So Sunday rolls around and we see Chris at church and he informs us of the success of his extending to Frank the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. Man, I can't tell you how proud I was and the feelings of happiness that I had in Chris. He is a champion. champ...wait for it...ion. So we asked him how Frank received it and how he took this invitation to read and Chris told us it was good good but followed up with the bad news that Frank quit his job and flew back home to Idaho....I was devastated because we had planned for a lesson taught to an investigator with a member present and at plain sight it seemed that our plans had fallen through once again and it wouldn't happen.

Be that as it may, we were given a miracle! This is where the diligence and exact obedience comes into play. We drove home....oh yeah, drove, not on bikes but in a four-wheeled vehicle. We got a new 2013 Ford Fusion to cruise around in. I will explain later how we bargained this.
This is Juan.  Esteban's nephew.
Kudos to the Forsyth gene of getting things in times of need. Maybe it is just the Eric Model even though he denies his bartering skills. Anyway, we DRIVE home and notice Chris, Cameron (another member), and another fine looking fellow slacklining outside of our apartment. We hopped out of our car and started up a conversation with Chris and his friends and came to notice that this other fine fellow was a non-member that recently was given a sales job with Chris. We had a huge prompting to teach the lesson outside with Chris so that our new non-member friend could join in. We continued teaching the lesson to Chris -- we were on the discussion which includes the 10 commandments -- and we turned it into a testimony-based lesson so that everyone had the chance to voice their thoughts and testimony on the 10 commandments! It was fantastic and the spirit was very strong. I received the small feeling to pull out one of my several paperback copies of The Book of Mormon and immediately testify how it pertains to everyone's life and personal problems and struggles. 

Though our new friend didn't speak up too much, I know that the Lord placed him in our path because of our hard work the past week and our desire to spread the word to just one person who was ready. There is a reason our new friend came here and is now living with three other members of the Church who can show their light and good influence. The other cool thing is that he lives only 30 seconds away so we can see them whenever we want! The Lord blesses us when we strive daily to be the representatives that he knows and needs us to be. I have a testimony that Christ places trials in our life to overcome them as He did, and not to stop and fail. As we show faith in Him and our desire to succeed, we will  find that no matter what our struggles, we can overcome them with the help of our Savior Jesus Christ. I see it everyday and I know it to be true.

Crazy Memorial Day -- 
Memorial day breakfast - 3 pancakes, I don't know how much bacon, 2 sausages, syrup, fruit, croissants  with nutella, and orange juice. Immediately afterward, we played  soccer with a bunch of ward members and since I am an elder I am immediately given the other mantle of "accident prone." It just goes with the job. I totally pulled my groin. That is my one sentence sob story. But since you all know me and how I love to sacrifice my body and kinda go overboard with sports, the fun didn't end there.
Eagle Scout Project - It was an awesome experience. Spencer Baumbach, a deacon in the Lewis Center ward had his eagle project at a memorial cemetery.  We cleaned off the heads of tombstones and placed flags. It was a very solemn experience to be on hallowed ground and remember those who have so faithfully served and died for our country.
Volleyball -- We were invited to play volleyball at 11:30 at the church after the eagle scout project by Brother Dannehl. He served in Salvador, Brazil and we have some hilarious conversations in Portuguese together. So we went home, changed into some workout stuff and headed off in our...car...and played some volleyball. To my tired bewilderment I was wearing mismatched Nike mid-calf socks, one white and one black, I was tired, and had my vans since my pumas were soaked from the cemetery. This wasn't just ordinary volleyball...some of these members played on some serious club teams. After a few games I got some pointers on how to spike the ball off a set and let me tell you a little bit of practice goes a long way...until your leg hurts from the soccer before and you need to sit down. I felt old. What is going on. To make a long story short I woke up this morning and couldn't move. But there's more.
After volleyball we went to a Memorial Day BBQ and had a feast which included the richest piece of cheesecake ever. I had to take a 5 minute power nap to fully recuperate. I then continued to play basketball with some members at the nearby elementary school.. Soreness. This time I was in church clothes. I must have looked psycho. Tie flying through the air in church pants and a white shirt making..well mostly missing.. lay-ups. I'm getting better, though.
Elder Twogood singing to Andrea Bocelli
I started a cool-thing-I-learn-everyday-book because of the inspiration in a letter from Eric telling me to not have a day go by where I am too busy to learn something cool. It is really tough to get everyday in because I am pretty tired by the end of each day,  but I am striving to have at least one small and super cool thing to add to my book.
I love you all. I keep praying for our Prophet and his family after the loss of his wife. I am so grateful for our prophet and the keys he holds. We are so lucky to have a prophet on the earth today:) I gain a new and greater appreciation everyday:)
Till next week.
Elder Forsyth
Are we in a musical??
p.s. stay sweet

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ohio

 In the words of the beloved Elder Twogood, "It feels like I am in the shower...all the time." Welcome to the place where it skips Spring completely and goes straight to what feels like 100% percent humidity and 95 degrees. Everytime I get back to the apartment I don't know if my white shirt will still be white. It is a scary thing to think about. Hopefully I didn't gross everyone out completely but let's just say riding bikes all day in this kind of weather feels like I am constantly in a sauna. Mother Nature is just giving me a taste of Brazil mixed with Bucks County. Whyy?! why would you do that to me? Other than the mood swings of nature, I have been loving The Ohio (everyone calls it the great ohio, i just stick with the ohio).
There are a couple of Portuguese speakers in the ward so we have been going over to their homes, teaching a lesson and then talking to them in Portuguese. It has been really helpful but I can tell that I am losing my vocab and speed when I speak it. Oh well, I guess. I understand you don't really know the language until you get to the actual country so I'm not too worried.
Chris Taylor
    The only people that we regularly teach are those that are recent converts and others that have been re-activated and never had really gone to church after they were baptized. I wanna talk to you all about the amazing Chris Taylor.  Chris falls under the category of one who was baptized but fell away because his parents stopped going to church. It is kind of a sad story but the good thing is that he is now fully active and wants to learn more about the gospel because he feels like he missed out on everything. The great part is that he has a great desire to grow and forsake his past life that lead him into misery and trouble. He radiates with the spirit and I get choked up everytime that we teach him. A couple of weeks ago we finished up lesson 3 of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now we have moved on to laws and ordinances. Last night we taught him about the Law of Chastity and he is extremely excited to follow it because he told us the spirit was so strong in his apartment that he couldn't say no... there was no way possible he wouldn't want the blessings from following this law. He is so pumped. I feel so much happiness when I know that the words coming out of my mouth are not mine but are the Spirit working through me to touch Chris' heart in a way that wouldn't be possible for me to understand. It just goes to show how perfectly our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost know us. Our conversation about the Law of Chastity led to how can we know if this is a true law or not, thus leading to the principle of prayer. But the amazing thing is that we were not expecting to testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It was interesting see how everything we would testify of led to the eternal truth of The Book of Mormon. Once you know that The Book of Mormon is true, you know that it was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, you know that Jesus is the Christ and everything that the Book teaches, prophesies, and warns of is true. As we laid this out to Chris, it just clicked for him and he was so excited to follow Christ even more closely than he was before. I got the feeling that Chris didn't have a copy of his own and gave him one of our hard backs. He told us that this was the best present that he had ever received because it reminded him of when he was given the same type of Book of Mormon from his sister when he was 10 years old but he had lost it. When we gave him a copy of ours he told us that it reminded him alot of when he was a child. He was without words while he was holding it. He started to cry tears of gratitude and was more thankful for a Book of Mormon than anyone I have ever seen. The Spirit of God was so strong last night and Elder Twogood, Elder Culler, Chris Taylor and I all received another divine witness that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love how precious it was to Chris and the way he held it really close to him for the rest of the night. It was a sight to see and a great testimony builder.
I love this work so much and I want everyone who is reading this to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ, he is there for us always, and is our brother. I love all of my brothers so much and to think that I have another one always there for me just like they are brings a happiness to my soul that I cannot describe. I cannot deny that the feelings of love that I receive when I speak of my simple testimony to others is the comfort of the Holy Ghost speaking to our soul by God our Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thank you Andrea, Jonathan, Will and Dallin for the letter.
Thank you Momma for all of the Cliff Bars.
Thank you Seguine Family for the letters full of Love. I miss you guys a ton!
And thank you Megan for the armada of Reeces...things. Reeces Puffs, cups, pieces. It was so awesome.
I love you all so much. I've been a little more patient as I try my best to be whatever God wants to me to be. So thank you so much for your prayers. It means the world to me.
Elder Forsyth
p.s. Stay Sweet

Monday, May 13, 2013

Greetings from the Library. And the Zoo, too.

Elder Twogood, Elder Forsyth, Elder Culler

Dear the whole fam damily and friends,

Happy Mothers' Day! It was so great to call home and conference call my mom, brothers, and all my little nephews. I love all of guys so much and I can really feel the love out here. I really appreciate everyone who is praying for me and and sending love my way. It really does make a difference. :)
Well here I am at the Delaware County/ District Library writing home. This place looks like it belongs in Boulder, Colorado. It has that cabin-like feel and there are many strange hipsters in addition to the very kind elderly librarians. Gotta love 'em. It's funny to try and account for the bike ride to certain places. It cuts alot of time out of our day since our area is pretty big for biking. It has been super cold today and the bike ride was a struggle but the library is nice and cozy so I can snuggle up to my monitor and focus on writing home.

I really wish I could tell you that we have a regular weather pattern here. Two to three days ago it was HUMID and hot and now it is around 50 with a wind chill that makes it feel like it's freezing. It is so unpredictable. I guess since we are in the middle of the country it picks up all of the wind patterns from everywhere and it doesn't know what to do with them all. The Humidity on the other hand is alot like PA and makes me feel extremely close to home. There are just no Wawa hoagies to be found. Bummer. My companions are from Utah and have been here much longer than I but they still say the humidity is killer. I don't blame them.

The New Door Approach
I talked about this a little bit with my family on the phone but I left out some things so I can describe it again. Last week at Zone Conference we had Brother Flanders come speak to us. He started a door to door sales/ pest control company and he spoke to the whole zone on how to improve what we are "selling".  It all starts off with standing at least 5 feet away from the door so that the residents in the house have to show more than an eyeball from the 2-inch ajar door. So that causes them to a least open the door and say something along the lines of, "what the heck do you want?" I love that one. And in response we say something like, "we just love you and want to help you out." That seriously confuses them and causes them to open the door even more. Once they have fully opened the door, they generally give us an excuse which is our cue to step back to show that we aren't aggressive and ask "what's for dinner?" or "yeah, i'm hungry too" or "hey, we will come back in an hour."  We have started to always have a Book of Mormon in our hand so that they can actually touch it and feel it and witness how great it is. So far I have only had this happen once but when you ask for the Book of Mormon back they are reluctant and basically are begging for it. That's when you say hey, this is my last copy but there are some members of the church just two doors down that would love to give it to you. And then we talk to the members and that initiates a conversation with the neighbor and the member creating a bond. It is cool. Speaking of touching. As in Touching the Book of Mormon. We try to touch them as much as possible. Now I know that sounds so creepy but it breaks down so many barriers. Like the barrier of them thinking the white shirt and tie is glued to my body and I am a robot. One of the most successful ones was when we knocked on the door of a "brotha" who was Baptist. He told us that he had to get his kids ready for soccer but once I started to talk about The Book of Mormon and shake his shoulder a little bit (like bros do) he completely lightened up and listend to what we had to say. I think I should his hand twice and grabbed his shoulder once or twice also. It was so funny he started to laugh and I really feel like it showed him how normal we are.

Before my mission I wasn't exactly scared to share the gospel, but it wasn't top priority on my mind. I wish it had been. I really do. Just because I wasn't wearing a tag with Christ's name bolded on it doesn't mean that I wasn't a representative, constantly. In high school I tried, in everything that I did, to share the gospel. But now that I look back on it.... it wasn't enough. Sometimes it is scary. I am still getting used to it here in the mission field and sometimes I get scared of what people think of me when I start to talk about Joseph Smith being the prophet of the restoration or anything else. But really, I just realized that when all else fails no one can take my testimony that Christ lives, this is His Restored Church, Joseph Smith was a prophet that restrored the authority back to the earth, and the Book of Mormon is another testament or witness of Jesus Christ. Nothing can remove those things from me because I know in my heart they are true. And it all starts with a desire to know. Without a desire and the action of prayer we cannot know whether the things I have just testified of are true. It is impossible. I find myself constantly praying, more often than ever before, to know for myself if the teachings in The Book of Mormon are true. I used to think that it was showing little faith to ask over and over again. But that's not true. It is showing our faith by confiding in the Lord and pouring everything out to Him and relying on Him to provide the knowledge of the truth through the Holy Ghost. Try and read Moroni chapter 10 again specifically verses 3-5 and pray if The Book of Mormon is true, even if you already know. I know for me my testimony grew when I read the whole Book of Mormon while in the MTC and prayed about it. :) Jesus Christ loves us and he wants all of His children to return to him again. Deus enviou Seu Filho amado Jesus Cristo ao mundo para que todos os filhos de deus tivessem um possibilidade a voltar e vivi en Sua Presenca depois de murrerem. I think that's right hahaha. Studying Portuguese with Elder Twogood is hilarious because he doesn't speak a lick of it but he tries his best to put on the most ridiculous accent in order to sound somewhat Brazilian.

Revelation 3:20
I love this scripture. Elder Clement (who is serving in the Scotland/Ireland Mission) showed it to me just because of the word "sup". Thank you Mom for sharing it with me again in your last email. Revalation 3:20 -- "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This will be one of my Missionary scripture mottos because no matter whom I come in contact with I need to try and see them as Christ sees them with their potential filled all the way to the top. If I bear His name and speak His word I sure need to act pretty Christ-like and sup with everyone. :)

I love you all so so so much and I hope your Mothers' day was fantastic. I am so grateful for my Mother because without her stellar example I wouldn't be on a mission right now. It is because of her and my Dad that I am the man I am today. There aren't any words to describe how grateful I am for you momma. ;) Thank you for everything.
Stay Sweet Everyone.

Elder Forsyth
p.s. I know this may seem selfish but I really need to improve my patience since not many people here are open to the Gospel and it can become frustrating. Hahaha, it is frustrating. This is something I would ask you guys to pray for. It would be great. Thank you so much. :)

Columbus North Zone at the Columbus Zoo

What animal am I?  (hint: short arms)

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Field of Lewis Center

Dear Friends and Family that are either 21/2 hours away or 8 or further,
Well hello everyone. It has been quite the ride leaving the bubble of the MTC to arrive in the Lewis Center area of the Columbus Ohio Mission. Let me first state that my Mission President is a man that gets things done. He really is an inspired man of God who loves everyone of his missionaries. I've only had the chance to chat with him for a little bit with the initial Mission home barbeque and then an interview at 12:30 at night...I thought I was breaking mission rules but since I was with President I figured it could slide.
By the way this is my new address:

Elder Ian Forsyth
8855 Lake Ridge Drive
Lewis Center, OH 43035

Send me anything. food. care packages. letters would be the best. pictures of what is happenin' in the good ol' 215. teddy bears. really anything.
My trainer is Elder Twogood...yeah that is his last name. He is a stud. He plays guitar, piano, hilarious (he is hilarious he doesn't play it), was in professional marching bands across the USA playing tuba and is from Kaysville Utah but doesn't know the Watts. I just had to ask him that. My other companion is Elder Culler. He is a quiet guy and pretty reserved but he has been in the area for 4 1/2 months now so he knows all of the members and where they live. That has been a really big help. It's a fun bunch to be around and share the Lord's gospel.
Random Thought. Ohio looks alot like Bucks County without the deer breeding problem, crazy Philadelphia sports fans, streets and middle schools named after indian tribes, and also with a little bit less trees. This one is for Francesca. Remember the people at the Toledo Zoo? What they looked like. That is everyone in Lewis Center. You know what I mean. I don't need to explain. You can use your imagination so I don't say something rude.
Door Approaches.
It was nerve wracking at first. Everyone who thought it would be easy for me to just talk to random strangers with ease was wrong. It is so much harder when you feel like you have people's salvation at stake. I got over that though after the first two days and realized it is just so much better to stay  good ol' Ian. I have found that staying who you are, keeping that normal personality and loving who ever it is you talk to, gets you into the house. They really do feel the Savior's love when you try and show as much love possible as soon as you ring that doorbell. Seriously, it works...sometimes:) Though we have only been in 4 houses so far, you can tell the ones that do let you in really have a need for us to be there. Sometimes they just don't know it yet. Sometimes I just want to sing and dance at their front door...would that be too much? Of course not! Well, maybe. I am slowly becoming a little bit better as time goes on and I know it has only been 6 days so there is only room for improvement.
2 sentence sob story. This past week has been really difficult because no one is really open to what we have to say. It is soo hard sometimes to get rejected over and over when all we want to do is share with them a message of love. okay it's over.
I have been thinking of ways to always be able to manage that happiness. Sometimes it is hard to muster up even the littlest bit. So I have created a plan. A paradigm shift. It is inevitable that I will fail almost everyday. There is no way that I will be able to teach the gospel to everyone we try to contact and I won't always present it in the best way for them through the spirit. So, in my planner I write down some extra goals along with the default ones like lessons with members present, referrals and such. I figure that in order to get that one golden person waiting for the light of Christ to be re-insterted back into their life, I will have a lot of doors slammed in my face. So, like for every 12 doors that get slammed I get one person who wants to talk to us. It gets kinda funny because when they close the door I'm just like, Ha, I still win. I planned for this to happen. It  isn't the greatest of plans but it really helps the happiness meter inside of Elder Forsyth to be close to the top at all times.
Food. I need it.
I don't want to lose weight. I am riding a bike almost all day.. yeah we rode for 13-14 miles the other day and by the end of it I am usually starving. Really starving. I pray for the food that I do eat to hold me over but sometimes it is still tough. I would love care packages. It would seriously help me out. I gained weight in the MTC which I was pumped about and I am trying to keep that chub on. This sounds funny but it is kinda what I think about alot. The Lord being first of course.  
I didn't take any pictures. I am so sorry. So Mom, next week you will have what Elder Twogood and Culler look like. We can take some with our nerdy helmets and backpacks on. We look sweet...super sweet.
Pray for that Visa. But not too soon because Mo-tab is performing  in Columbus and our President got all of the missionaries in the mission tickets. It is a perfect missionary opportunity. It is June 12. I really cannot wait for some seriously good music. Alex Boye better be there so I can see his awesome dance moves and soulful  voice that makes my heart cry. Once again I say, I cannot wait.
Elder "Ian" Forsyth, the new greenie trainee
p.s. stay sweet. And mama! I need some more Chanticleer, por favor. You have no idea how many times I will be listening to Shenandoah. I need the Ave Maria Franz Biebel arrangement. For my spiritual well being. Joe will know what I mean. He feels me on this one.
Kyle, my man. you stud, congrats on winning Mr. East. I knew you had it in you. I love you.
Seguines and Francesca and Daniel -- prepare for a letter sometime in the next week. I am so sorry I have been super busy.