Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Elder Forsyth is in the Twin Cities

Elder Hadlock (l) and Elder Forsyth (r) with a Hmong member.
Elder Forsyth was recently transferred from La Crosse, Wisconsin to St. Paul, MN. He is looking forward to celebrating the Hmong New Year in St. Paul. He and the other Hmong missionaries will set up a booth and have the opportunity to mingle with 100,000 Hmong potential converts! The field is ripe, and they are ready. Here are a few excerpts from a recent email that Elder Forsyth sent home. In case you don't get the message... He. Loves. His. Mission.

"We have a Branch here of 60-80 members and it's just amazing. These people are so amazing and so humble it's unbelievable. You can feel the love radiating from all of them as you meet them. The old ladies are the best. They are such angels. It's impossible to not fall in love with these Hmong people. Their traditions and culture are so wonderful and they are the friendliest people I've ever met.

It's amazing here mom. There's so much dark and gloom everywhere and yet nothing even competes to the brightness of The Gospel of Jesus Christ! We taught a lesson the other day to this teenage boy who's older brothers are gang members. His older 2 brothers were shot and killed and his other 2 are in gangs. Anyway, they had like 10 of their buddies over while we were teaching and in the middle of our lesson we turned on The Restoration movie about Joseph Smith. It was so awesome to see 8 gangsters sitting around sipping beer and watching a movie on the Restoration. The spirit was way strong and they respect us alot. They know what we're about and the fact that we learn their language makes them respect us all the more. They're really all just lost kids at heart. They've seen alot of bad stuff and honestly, they were just thrown into a completely different world than they knew before. Alot of kids go their path, but that's what we're all about saving as many of them as we can. :)

Everything is set up for the avalanche to just hit. I feel such an amazing spirit here. You don't truly know what it means to love someone until you serve them with every fiber of your being and yearn for their eternal salvation. I love these Hmong people so much. They are such an amazing people. It's such an amazing opportunity to serve them! The world is in turmoil, but the gospel is being spread to every nation, kindred, and tongue! What a huge blessing we have to be members of the church and to receive the blessings of the temple! :)

Elder Forsyth also reports that while he hasn't been able to attend the temple yet, it is next door to his stake center, so he's looking forward to attending soon. He also had the opportunity to eat squirrel last week at one of his dinner appointments, but assures me that turkey will be on the menu for Thanksgiving.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Pictures from the Mission Field

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Elder Forsyth ran into a few friends from back home...

The boys aren't "back in town", but they're all together again.
What I'd give to hear them sing!
(l-r: ?, Elder Mitch Westhoff, Elder Forsyth, Elder Sean Cardon
& the infamous Elder Kendall Monnett)
Elders Forsyth & Westhoff
If Mitch is this much taller than Adam, the Chinese
are going to break their necks looking up at him!

Wow! Lookc! Its (Elder) Goold!

cElder Taylor Manuele and Elder Forsyth

(where did all of Taylor's hair go???)

Monday, August 24, 2009

From the Mission Field...

Elder Forsyth's first area is in La Crosse, Wisconsin!
Adam lives on 6th Street, which is just 6 blocks away from this bridge that spans the great Mississippi River flowing out of Lake Onalaska. This pictures gives a good view of what winter will look like in a few months...

Elder Forsyth made it to the mission field in one piece, though barely. He writes of his travel...

"So today has been awesome/terrible. My attitude is great! I'm so excited to be here, but I'm sick. :-( I've had a head cold for two weeks, so waking up after three hours of sleep was no good. Also, I get sick on airplanes. No bueno! We had two separate flights. Honestly, its just a combination of being sick with the head cold. I had a headache, my stomach was going up and down, and I was dead tired. LOL! Oh, wait... I still am. Its all good. When we flew into Minneapolis it was raining hard core. Needless to say once the turbulence kicked in, I was a goner. I actually thought I was going to make it, but as soon as we touched ground, up came lots of fluids. Luckily, I didn't have breakfast. So the weather... WOW! Its downpouring! Seriously. Talk about a flood. Also, apparently, there are tornadoes in Southern Minneapolis, somewhere. Great stuff. Love it, though. :0) Its very muggy, but its also very good, temperature-wise.

The Mission President and his wife are awesome! What good people! I love the people involved in missionary work. :0) All of them are great!"

From a second page, written the following day...
"So my new companion is Elder Lauj. He's a native Hmong speaker, but he grew up in the U.S. so he knows both English and Hmong very well. I'm his first trainee so it'll be awesome. Best part? We're serving in La Crosse, Wisconsin! We're on the most eastern part of the mission boundaries. Elder Hill & Elder Hunter (his Hmong comps from the MTC) were sent to the big city (Minneapolis). There's just us, the two Hmong Elders, and four English Elders up here. Myself and Elder Lauj are with 2 Elders and we're in South La Crosse. The other 2 Elders are in Northern La Crosse. There's only 2 active families coming to church speaking Hmong, and then a few here and there. There's many less-actives, I guess. Can I just say that, honestly, I feel a great work to be done! I'm SO excited! So my new name is Elder Pab Zeb Xyoos. Zyooj is the last name of the woman who named me, so I take her name and become her "son" in a way here. Also, Pab Zeb means "rock" in English because she wants me to be steadfast and immovable in my diligence and commitments."

Elder Forsyth also writes...

"President Howell really has seen strong opposition from Satan in the Hmong area and says that it's because there is a such a great work to do. I agree with him! There is so much work to be done."
Elder Forsyth says that mail will get to him faster if you sent it to him directly...
Elder Adam Forsyth
1413 S. 6th Street #6
La Crosse, WI 54601
He also says not to send Fed Ex packages to the mission office, as they cannot forward them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Opportunities Abound

Wow! Elder Forsyth's time in the MTC has just flown by. He has been incredibly busy. I'll share just a few of the highlights since I last updated this blog...

Elder Forsyth has certainly learned that the more you serve the more you love. He has had a lot of opportunities to serve his district and to help teach the gospel already. As Elder Forsyth first served as District Leader and then helped to train the new Zone Leaders and District Leader he found that one of the best ways was to just step back and let them do their job, which isn't always easy when others are looking to you to lead. He wrote home about a cute story with his companions who were made the new Zone Leaders. Everyone, including himself, was used to Adam leading out in the discussions, prayers, study, leaving for class, etc., etc., so there was a transition period when the new leadership changed. The new Zone Leaders were hesitant to lead out, and would still wait for Adam to cue them, so he decided that he was going to just sit back and let them do it. He wrote of the day things finally changed for them all...

It was temple day, and as they sat in the Celestial Room, Elder Forsyth decided that he would wait for his comps to make motion that it was time to go. They usually stayed there for 10 - 15 minutes after each endowment session they attended, until Elder Forsyth would get up and they would follow. Well - after about 10 minutes, he could see his companions looking at each other and looking at him, wondering when they should leave. Elder Forsyth just waited for them to lead out. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, after looking at each other and looking at Elder Forsyth, they finally got up, so Elder Forsyth went to follow them out. As they went to exit the room, they stopped to let him lead the way out, so he stopped, and they just stood there until everyone made the connection that the leadership had changed and it was time for the new leaders to lead.
He also was given the special opportunity, along with his district (four other Hmong speaking Elders) to call and contact all the non-members who filled out referral/interest cards as they went through the Oquirrh Mountain Open House. He had some great experiences bearing his testimony to a lot of people from all over.

In addition, a new Laotian-speaking missionary, Elder Harper, entered the MTC about a month ago. Adam was chosen by the President to take him under his wing and be his trainer as there wasn't another Laotian Elder to put him with. So, this meant meant that Elder Forsyth would now spend half his time studying, speaking, and teaching in Hmong and half in Laotian. What a neat experience, and a true answer to the father's blessing he received about a year ago. In that blessing, his father pronounced that he would speak in different languages and dialects. Well - Hmong has two main dialects that he'll use, and now he's learned some Laotian as well. What a testimony to the power of the priesthood.

Elder Forsyth was heavily depended upon by his Branch Presidency and grew to love them so much. He expressed that there were tears and hugs all around as they said farewells, and one of the counselors told him he was like a son to him. What a blessing to know that there are such good priesthood holders out there that honor that priesthood and can so diligently love and serve their fellow brothers. As Adam left for the mission field, he sent all of his letters and reports home. It was wonderful to read the reports that he wrote about the goals he had been setting and achieving, how he was learning to work with his companions, and the wonderful positive things his Branch Presidency wrote back to him. Each week's report showed a pattern of growth that was manifest through setting and achieving goals.

I will share some parts of his letters in my next posts. I had a hard time believing that this wonderful son could in anyway become more amazing than he already was. His testimony and faith have always been iron clad, but he grown SO much, especially in doctrine and in patience as he has learned to wait on the Lord. I can't wait to hear from him in the mission field.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Pictures from Adam at the MTC

Adam's District in the MTC

(l-r) Elders Ramirez, Hill, Forsyth, Diaz, Hunter & Tuttle
(I did that all from memory. Am I amazing?)

Elder Ramirez and Adam had the Swine Flu together
Elder Ramirez was born in Chile, lived in Japan for 6 years, then went to college in Florida where he studied aerospace engineering and helped built a rocket ship for his internship this past semester. Elder Ramirez just converted to the church a year and a half ago, and is 23 years old. Adam has asked me to correspond with Elder Ramirez because he doesn't get much mail and his own mother died several years ago. In fact, Elder Ramirez came into Adam's room and remarked that he should "write to Adam's mom, because she always writes back." He seems like a remarkable young man, and I'm looking forward to writing him letters.

Adam with a few funnies from his care package from Mom

Elders Hunt, Hill & Forsyth (companionship)

They actually LOOK like missionaries in this picture!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adam & the Apostle

Adam gets to meet one of his idols... Apostle David Bednar

Here is the really good part of Adam's recent email... He's obviously out of quarantine, over the swine flu, and back to work! That all makes him one happy Elder. Here's part of his email letter dated June 16, 2009.

"So I had a VERY interesting week. You won't believe it haha. So I sent Elder Bednar a letter in regards to his CES broadcast that he gave back in May. Well last Tuesday night our guest speaker happened to be Elder Bednar. Anyway, I told him in my letter about mine and Brandon's experience and then I told him about my family and mission, etc. Anyway, so his wife spoke first and gave a great talk and then he stood up to speak to us 2,400+ missionaries and started it by saying, "Before I begin I have two matters of business to get to. First, is there an Elder Adam Forsyth here?" lol...yeah...I am being serious. I kinda waved my arm and stood up and he said, "So Elder Forsyth you're going to the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission, Hmong speaking correct?" I said yes and then he said, "Well I got your letter and I just wanted to tell you that you and your brother have got it down. I hope the rest of your siblings will follow your wonderful example."...then he went on to other stuff...but yeah, lol it was awesome. I was sitting in the choir and the kid next to me gave me a look like I was michael jordan lol. So in addition to getting swine flu and being one of 5 hmong speakers, I'm now "best buds" with Elder Bednar lol. I seriously have had so many random Elders/Sisters come up to me and start asking questions and stuff lol. It's pretty funny actually.
Anyway, so I was minding my own business and checked the mail on Thursday morning. The first letter was from Aunt Chris and then I checked the next one and in the top left hand corner is stamped
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
47 East South Temple Street
Needless to say I looked like a 7 year-old on Christmas morning lol. Anyway, I opened it up and it's addressed to me and it says:
"Dear Elder Forsyth:
Thank you for your recent letter. I was grateful to hear of your experience being "liberated" and the changes that have come into your life as you have been obedient to the commandments of the Lord. You are to be commended for having "ears to hear". I am glad that you were strengthened by the talk given in the recent CES Fireside for Young Adults. May the Lord bless you as you put into practice the things you learned from the message that was presented. As you are aware, there are souls waiting to receive the message of the restoration. You will be blessed as you serve with faith and diligence as a full-time missionary and in preparation for your "lifelong mission". I extend to you my warm regards and best wishes. May you serve the Lord with all you might and strength and build up the kingdom in the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission. The Lord will bless and strengthen you and expand your capacities as you reach out to others in faithful service.
David A Bednar"
Yeah and it totally had his signature...pretty awesome stuff haha. So that was awesome to get that letter. Haha definitely a keeper. So In the RC (referral center) I had an awesome experience!!! I was on the phones doing outbound calls (ok working for dad has helped me so much in doing RC) and it was pretty sweet. The first lady I talked to had requested a movie, "Finding Faith in Christ" and I was supposed to confirm it and offer her a BoM. So I asked her how she felt about the movie and she said she had only seen about half of it, but she really enjoyed it. I then just started bearing my testimony to her about Christ and His mortal ministry. I then went further and went into the restoration. I talked about Joseph Smith and I quoted James 1:5 (she actually looked it up!) and then I quoted the first vision to her. She then asked "Wait, I thought no one has seen God's face and lived." I was kinda flustered, but I remembered Moses so I told her about how he saw God face to face. (exodus 33:11). I couldn't remember that scripture at the time so I just bore testimony that she could find out if this was true for herself. I told her that this is done through the BoM and I related the BoM story and asked if she wanted one brought by the missionaries. she said she was very interested and that was that! It was so awesome! anyway I have 1 minute and 30 seconds left, but I want you to know I love this gospel and I know it is true! I love everything about this work!
Keep in touch (by letters) and keep it real! haha love you all!
Elder Adam Forsyth

Mom's 2 cents' worth...
Isn't his enthusiasm contagious?!! BTW, what Adam had written Elder Bednar about was that he and his brother, Brandon, had been so inspired by his words at the CES Fireside, they went home and deleted their computer game accounts and got rid of them completely. I almost couldn't believe it when they told me. I went downstairs when they got home to find out about the fireside, and they were both just giddy... seriously. They were so excited about making this choice. For a long time I had counselled with them about their game playing... real life vs. a false one, but I felt so strongly that as long as they weren't doing anything immoral... they needed that opportunity to make that choice.
Its so hard as a parent to stand by and watch children make choices that you would rather they not make (and yes, I understand I have VERY little experience in this as my kids are so good), but I have an even stronger testimony that if we have faith in our children and encourage them to be standing in holy places (like CES Firesides) they will hear the words of the Lord through His servants, the prophets and apostles, and that Spirit will work in their lives and move them to do a good that no begging, pleading, or forcing on our parts could ever accomplish. When we force, children may act as we wish, but only when they are within our reach. When we teach with love and let children make their own decisions, we allow the Spirit to work on their hearts and the child is changed forever. Being a parent takes tremendous faith... just ask Heavenly Father. I don't know how He does it. I don't mean that glibly. He truly lets us make our own decisions, and as parents we need to allow our children more opportunities to do this while they're young so they get that experience.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Elder Forsyth has the swine flu

Poor little piggy!

We received a second letter from Elder Forsyth this week, and as soon as we received it I knew we shouldn't be getting a second letter, and that "something was up". (My guess was that Adam had indeed contrated the swine flu. Opening his letter confirmed my suspicions. A mother always knows!) Adam had written in his previous letter that "On Saturday I prayed that my companions and myself would have the opportunity to exercise the priesthood. On Saturday I began to feel like I had a sore throat. It was very minor, but it persisted from Sunday to Monday. Monday morning I had a distinct feeling to ask for a blessing from my companions. I shrugged it off because I really feel like it wasn't that big an issue, but I still felt prompted to ask for a blessing. Sunday night at the fireside the speaker told a story which pretty much led to the principle to never ignore a feeling or impression from the Spirit. So, I said to myself that I would follow this counsel. So I asked for a blessing adn again it said "obey with exactness and the Lord will do the rest." This built my faith in following the Spirit and it also allowed my companions to exercise their priesthood. It was a faith building experience for me."

Adam has been quite ill with fevers, chills, congestions and discomfort that makes it hard to sleep, but he is grateful that he won't have to worry about getting the swine flu now! I, too, am grateful that he is being well cared for, and doesn't have to face this while in Minnesota with just a companion to help care for him. I wouldn't want him to be sent home for the world, as he is exactly where he wants to be and just loves it so much. Temporarily, he in isolation with 35 other missionaries, housed in a completely separate building. He says its giving him a chance to really study on his own, which he loves. He's reading his Hmong scriptures and studying Preach My Gospel. In his letter from Tuesday, there were 17 missionaries in quarantine, but as of writing the letter the next day, the numbers had doubled to 35. We'll definitely keep all those missionaries in our prayers and will fast for them.

Adam feels there is a purpose in this... in the missionaries getting sick now. Time will tell what that purpose is. The Lord DOES protect His missionaries. I just LOVE his letters. They are so full of the spirit of His work and Adam's love for his Savior and Heavenly Father. What a blessing his letters are to me, and what a joy to have such a son.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again

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Can YOU learn a language in ONE DAY?

Its amazing, but on the two different days I was feeling really melancholy and missing Adam, I received a letter and an email. Didn't get anything the other days... just when I needed it most. I'm just going to share an excerpt here...

"Believe it or not, but yesterday we learned how to read and write in Hmong. In one day we learned how to read and write. Not even kidding I can now look at almost every one of the 56,000 Hmong words and pronounce it correctly. I only know the definition of about 100-200, but I could still say it! It's amazing what the Spirit can do! Haha it was funny because I was having a hard time in class yesterday pronouncing the letter C and R and I was getting kinda mad at myself and my teacher just laughed. He said, "Elder Forsyth you learned how to read and write an entire written alphabet system in one day and you are getting frustrated from your lack of knowledge in Hmong?!" We all had a pretty good laugh. Yeah, it was awesome though."

"We've had such marvelous experiences already here at the MTC. I love this place. My testimony of the gospel has grown so much. Even more so has my knowledge grown. I feel on fire right now, literally. I'll tell you about that in my letter though :) I love you family! I hope you enjoyed my "brief" lesson on Hmong. Love you all dearly! TTYL"

-Love Elder Adam Forsyth

Friday, May 29, 2009

Elder Forsyth's first letter home

We received Elder Forsyth's first letter. I will just say that it was addressed to "Steve Forsyth", but I will be correcting THAT error in address as Steve will probably read Adam's letter once, and I'll re-read it until the paper is worn! LOL

So here's his letter...

Dear Family!

So today was day one of the best days of my life! Its been absolutely amazing! Its been a long day, but way awesome! I met with another [Hmong] speaker in line named Elder Josh Hunter from Calgary, Canada. He ended up being one of my companions actually. I say 'one of' because Elder Hill was also called to be my companion, so we make a three-some. That's kind of nice because we only have 3 to a room instead of 4, so we have lots of room. There are 5 new Hmong speakers including myself in our district. We have 5 districts in our branch. It is an awesome branch, I'm going to love it here! I already do! The spirit has been extremely strong today throughout our meetings. I'm so blessed to have this opportunity! They called me as a District Leader (DL) over our 5 Hmong Elders, so I already have a great chance to serve in a leadership capacity. I emphasize serve because that is truly what I will be doing here.

Our zone leaders are awesome! They actually transfer out in a week, so a companionship was called to take over for them. Anyway, sorry that this is so short. I have a lot ot do and I need to get to bed. Obedience with exactness!... The church is true! Of this I have no doubt. I urge all of you to grow closer to Our Savior. Through Him and no one else can we be saved and raised up to receive eternal salvation. I love you all very much. Give Nathan a hug for me. To the children: love your parents. They're amazing and I love them so much! Hug them often. Thank you for your prayers and support! They are felt. :-) Love you all! Pray often! Or better yet, pray always!

Elder Forsyth

P.S. Mom, get my address to RaeAnn and others please. Thanks! :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Young Man Prepared

We LOVE our missionary!

He's got that look...

Elder Forsyth (and the rest is in Hmong)

So excited to walk through that door --- FINALLY!

The obligatory picture in front of the MTC sign.

Proud Papa!

Grateful Mom! I just love this young man!

Adam... trying to sneak into the SL temple. We had a wonderful time there on Tuesday. We first did baptisms & confirmations with Aubrey & Cody. Then, Steve, Adam & I went through a live endowment session while Aubrey & Cody explored Temple Square and the Visitor's Center.
There is no feeling better in the entire world than being in the temple with your family!

A wonderful day at the Salt Lake temple.

My Missionary Man!

This blog is being kept by Adam's mother, to share with friends, family, and the world, the testimony and missionary efforts of her eldest son, Elder Adam Prescott Forsyth, as he goes out into the world to share his great love for the Savior, as he serves a 2 year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Adam has been called to serve in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission (Hmong speaking). Adam entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) today, May 27, 2009. It was a bittersweet moment, mostly filled with joys and a few tears. What a blessing to have a son SO well prepared and eager to serve the Lord. The day we left for the MTC (Tuesday), Adam finished the Book of Mormon for the 10th time on his own! He is a great student of the gospel, and loves his Savior very much.

Adam has further prepared himself by attending 13 endowment sessions since being endowed on April 2nd. We spent Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning in the Salt Lake and Draper, UT temples, respectively. We did baptisms, confirmations and endowment sessions in Salt Lake, but only had time to do baptisms and confirmation in the Draper temple. Adam really enjoyed performing the ordinance of baptism in the Draper temple for Aubrey & Cody (who stood in as proxies for those deceased persons). I teased Adam that he'll be able to go into the MTC with 20 baptisms under his belt already!

Most future posts will be excerpts from Adam's letters, but we'll have to wait until Adam has time to write. Here are a few pictures of the past few days...