Friday, June 21, 2013

First Letter Home


Today is Friday, June 21st, my first P-day in the mission! The West Campus is awesome! Let me start from the beginning.

On Tuesday, Grandma, Grandpa and I went to the Salt Lake Temple. There was another missionary reporting on Wednesday in the session with us. He came up to us in the lobby afterwards and asked me if I was going into the MTC on Wednesday. I told him yes, I was going to Denver, Colorado. He said, "South?" and I said "Yeah..." He explained that he had a friend from high school who was going to the same mission and also reporting on Wednesday. He said his name is Jason Hawkes, and that if I see him, I should tell him Elder Jepsen says Hi. I thought, Oh, cool. I probably will meet this kid if we're going to the same mission. After that, we went to see the conference center. It's HUGE!

We had a great dessert at Dan and Steph's, where I met Sara and Daniel (they're so cool!). Andrew gave me two ties from his mission. I wore one of them to the MTC on Wednesday. We pulled up and some elders took my bags. I was directed to the multi-purpose building (a re-purposed chapel). I walked into a room that was kind of like a tall relief society room (hope that makes sense). One sister at a table waved me down and asked me my name. I said, "Elder Rogers." She flipped through a box of mini manila envelopes she had and said, "Jake?" Yup! Inside was. . . MY NAMETAGS! (among other things!!!)

Another sister took out one of the nametags and put it on my suit coat. It had a "dork dot" (a sticker) so people would know it was my first day. The sister asked to make sure I had been to the temple to recieve my own endowment, and that I had been set apart as a missionary by my Stake President. Then, I was given an MTC I.D. card. I looked at the envelope I had been given earlier and it had the name of my companion. Jason Hawkes. Whaaaat?!

I went outside where an elder helped me take my luggage to my residence. Then, all of the arriving missionaries met in the chapel for an orientation. We were directed to sit with our districts, and that's when we would meet our companions. Elder Hawkes is 6'5". One elder in our district just never showed up... We're still waiting for him, I guess. He's from Canada and it's my personal conclusion that he probably has visa problems or something. Who knows. Whatever the case, it's too bad... But his companion, Elder Rodgers (HA!) is a cool guy, and he's 6'2". Elder Hawkes is from Sugar City (Rexburg), Idaho, and Elder Rodgers is from Alpine, Utah.

Because Elder Goetz isn't here, we're a trio (or tripanionship or threesome). It actually works out pretty well, except that we all have to be together all the time. Three isn't as easy as two in that respect. Anyway, our district consists of us three elders, Sister Baker, Sister Bird, Sister Jones and Sister Remmington. There are four districts in our zone, and two of them have sisters. I'm glad we have sisters. They're awesome! They are really mature, but super cool to be around. Elder Rodgers (and his companion) and Sister Bird will be serving in the Florida Fort Lauterdale Mission, and the rest of us are in Colorado Denver South. 

At the orientation, the MTC presidency talked to us about a bunch of different things, and it turns out we WILL get to attend the "Work of Salvation" broadcast at the Marriott Center on Sunday!! Yay!! They have really strict guidelines for the sister missionaries' apparell. Elder Hawkes and I have the exact same suit from the missionary store (the striped one), very similar shoes, and he has two identical ties. So we're definitely twinning it up on Sunday for the broadcast. Go to it at the Stake Center and look for me in the croud of 3,000+ missionaries!

After going back to our residence to unpack, we went to "The Investigator Experience" at the chapel, where we had three experiences teaching three different "investigators" as a thirty-panionship. It was pretty rough. There's a lot to learn, and I already feel like my knowledge of how to be an effective missionary has multiplied a ton since I've been here. Our teacher for the experience was Elder (Brother) Christensen from The District (the missionary training videos)! I know you probably don't know this, but it's kind of a big deal. Like EVERY missionary since 2008 or so knows him, or of him, rather... That night, I saw Elder What's-his-bucket from our Stake, who's going to Winnipeg, Canada!

Yesterday was our first full day at the MTC. I had a tough time falling asleep, maybe some one-hour jetlag, maybe because I slept had slept in that morning, maybe because Elder Hawkes is the LOUDEST sleeper I've ever had to room with!! Poor Elder Rodgers had to pull a mattress in onto our floor to sleep. They have bedding here, in case you were wondering. We sleep at Wyview, and do everything everything else at Raintree. We get up at 6:30 (or earlier), get ready, and go do our personal study at Raintree with our district.

Our district is so awesome. Seriously. And Elder Hawkes is totally cool! He played basketball and has this sort of comedic mixed-feeling situation about the girl he left at home. Sometimes, he thinks she's way to sappy and says he'll break it off, and the next moment he's writing her a love poem. Elder Rodgers is also a cool guy, but a little more laid back. He played football. All three of us just graduated from high school and are 18. I feel sorry for Elder Hawkes, though, because whenever he says, "Elder Ro(d)gers!" we both turn around. We eat our food in the cafeteria at Raintree. I'm not sure if it was a cafeteria before the West Campus, but it is now! I think it used to be like a club house for the complex or something. The food is fatty, and we're all convinced they're trying to make us fat. But Elder Hawkes and I aren't giving in. We're not gaining weight! At least not at the MTC... At least not a lot... Hopefully... 

Today, we were walking into the cafeteria for lunch and I spotted Elder Hausenfluck!! small little desks attached to chairs. Our teachers are Sister Piton (Pea-tone), an awesome convert of four years who served a mission in Salt Lake, and Brother Cowan, who we haven't met much yet. Brother Cowan is cool, and he will be playing the role of our investigator, Mark, for the duration of our stay here at the MTC. We teach a single "investigator" twelve times before we hit the field.
Whaaaat?! He had just been transferred from the main campus on Tuesday, and he, along with every other missionary we've talked to who's been transferred, says that West Campus is WAY better! For classes, we meet in apartments, one district to a room, with small,

We have a ton of time to study throughout the day, and I'm loving it. They keep us so busy. I hope you're not offended to hear that I'm not homesick. Everyone tells me, "Don't worry, the first three days are the hardest..." And I'm thinking, Okay, so... What if they're not hard at all? So I'm hoping it doesn't just hit one day or something. I think I'm going to be just fine, and I'll do great emotionally! I have had a lot of revelation and guidance from the Spirit in study for my investigator, and for the talk all missionaries have been asked to prepare for for sacrament meeting. I have a color-code system going with the six scripture markers I have, and some of the pages in my Book of Mormon look like Christmas!! Time is running short, So I'm gonna close this email up.

I have a testimony of the Atonement, and of the Restoration of the true Church of Christ. It's growing every day. In the MTC, they don't teach you the lessons. In fact, they mostly spend time trying to get us to really soak in the idea that our whole purpose, everything, is to bring others closer to Jesus Christ. Invite others to come unto Christ. We study, we as children of God need to do that, and how we do it, but it's really interesting to me that no one has said, "Okay, let's turn in Preach My Gospel to lesson three!"

The Church is true. I love you all, and I miss you, but I love the work so much and I wouldn't rather be anywhere else! I love my Savior. I know He lives.

Elder Rogers


  1. Hahahaha dork dot.... That's funny. :) Glad he is doing great, I expected nothing less of him!

    1. You can tease him about that! I am so excited I feel like I need a "dork dot" for being a new missionary mom!