Monday, February 29, 2016

Gean, Erule, John the Pastor, and The Baptist Missionaries

Okay so this week marks one month in the Mission field! 23 left! I still can't believe how quickly days go by out here!! I wake up and its already Sunday! Its unreal! This week was crazy!! I believe that our cover has officially been blown and people now know that we are not with the Landmark Baptist College. I'll explain more......

So when we left the computers last week Elder Heluo and I went down to the church and I found out that I am currently companions with the reincarnated Mozart! Seriously one of the greatest pianist that I have ever heard in person! We sat at the church for about two hours while we planned for the coming week and finished the last hours of our prep day which ends at 6 pm.

We left the church and went to our new favorite teaching spot! A lower income housing apartment complex located about half a mile from our apartment! We met a ton of great people, and just like last week we prayed with everyone we met! It was all going great until 8 pm rolled around and the last person that we made contact with for the night, a Hispanic woman sitting in the car with her two kids. We asked her if they would like to pray with us and her daughter says, "She can't speak English, but my Dad's a preacher and he will be down in a second." So at this moment I'm thinking "Alright Elder Street, let's go. This isn't going to turn out well. He isn't going to want to talk to us and most likely he will try to tell us that we are wrong." Well, we wait for him to come down (Elder Heluo is more diligent and brave than I), and we invite him to pray with us. Well he says a quick prayer in Spanish then begins his attack on the church. Knowing how this conversation would go ( "in revelations it says the bible is complete, oh well here's another thing, okay well here's another...." ) I decided to go on the offensive.

Knowing that any night in Haines city is dead after about 7:30, I decided that we had a minute or two to waste, so I quickly moved a crossed a few theological points (Trinity, History, Doctrine, Gnostics, Creeds, Schools of thought) and ended the discussion 30 minutes after it started with the pastor telling me that he has been a pastor for 36 years and I was wrong-just wrong. He couldn't explain why, but I was wrong. I just want to say that I stood my ground pretty well folks. Elder Heluo laughed and we ran home and made it in at 8:59 pm (curfew).

We tracted all day loooonnnnnngggggg. Seriously pretty much just a blur. The one great moment that we had was we met a young Haitian named Gean (aka the greatest person ever), and we talked to him for about an hour. He could have taught the lessons better than us and he wasn't LDS. He had feelings and thoughts about religion that were exactly on point! He told us when we got up to go that he felt like God had guided our paths to each other that evening. Gean was on fire! Seriously the smile that this 21 year old had, and how humble he was! It was unbelievable! We've gone back to see him twice now!  

John the Pastor -- So we were out knocking doors again, and what do you know -- we knock on a pastor's door. John came out, and let me tell you, he was the greatest ever! After our run in on Monday I was feeling like really not wasting time with people who weren't interested in the message. So I wasn't really wanting to spend too much time at his door step. Well John came out and said a quick prayer with us, then we proceeded to have an amazing discussion about Jesus Christ! Seriously a completely different feel from the previous encounter with a pastor. It wasn't a bashing contest; it wasn't who knows more; it was simply "This makes me happy and I share it with others." John is Pentecostal and we sat there for a good 45 minutes talking to him about our views on the need for a restoration, and for why we feel that God the Father is a separate being that Jesus Christ. It wasn't negative and he expressed his opinion on different topics! Seriously John was a great Christian!

By Friday we had visited our new Haitian friend Erule three times! He's really understanding a lot and his nephew June is growing a lot as well!

Enter the Baptist Missionaries--So our cover has officially been blown! Last week we were slipping by teaching a lot of people because they assumed that we were with the Landmark Baptist church. Well, our cover was blown Saturday morning/afternoon. It first started when me and Heluo were doing companionship study at about 11 on Saturday morning. We hear a knock at the door. "Who could that be?" We were all excited because we knock doors all day but no one ever comes by our place, so we hopped up and ran to the door! And what do you know, its two missionaries.... for the Landmark Baptist Church... Remembering the experience that we had had the other day with John the pastor I decided that we would open the door, great them, pray with them, and listen to a great message about Jesus Christ.... Well these two had other ideas. I open the door being 100% sincere I say "How's it going?"  We talked for all of twenty second's before they said they had to go. I invited them to say a quick prayer with us and share the message that they were going to share, when the younger more timid missionary goes, "We would prefer not to, in the book of Revelations it says that if any man add or subtract from that book, he will be accursed. So we think that you are going to go to Hell and we don't want to talk about your 'Jesus'." Well I don't know if any of you have ever heard how quickly I can go from "How's it going" to full on Theology rage!! I'm all for sharing messages nicely and improving others lifes, but when this kid jumped straight to the 'you're going to hell' line something snapped. This was the second time this week that Elder Heluo saw me go full-on theologian. These two young Baptists didn't have a chance. I was eight pages into the apocraphy and the doctrines of Creation ex Nihlo before they could even answer when John the Revelator finished HIS "book" of the bible compared to the rest of the apostles and why it says the same thing in Deuteronomy Chp. 4. I unleashed a theological wrath that left them dumbfounded. I was so annoyed it was unbelievable.  

Sunday was just a great day for spiritual recharging. nothing too crazy just a nice day to remember the Savior and relax. No more Bible bashing, and theological debates for me. I love you all! Have a wonderful week and stay awesomeeee!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jeremy's Address in Haines City Florida

Elder Jeremy Street,
963 E Main St
Haines City, Florida 33844

PS: Look up Lake Eva and the Landmark Baptist College. They are pretty cool.

Hello from Haines City Florida!

Okay, first and foremost, I am so sorry for not being able to call home from the airport. I bought a calling card and was ready to use a payphone - that is until I got to the airport and realized that there are no payphones left in existence. So I'm sorry momma, and papa. I was so upset.

Let me give you a quick rundown of the last few days here in Florida. I landed in Florida and was instantly hit with the humidity. We moved through the airport like a well-oiled machine and a group of kids walking the other way actually laughed and asked us if we were coming from "West Point." Well, not quite, but I was about to meet my new sergeant. 

President Cusick picked me out the second that I laid eyes on him. My hair, which was a little ratty from the attempted haircut my last night in the MTC that was provided by Brother Morris, mixed with the 4 hour plane ride, left me looking like a drowned rat. Well, he was not having that. He picked me out and told me to follow Elder Dance along with 5 other ratty-haired Elders (talk about bad first impressions). We drove to a barbershop in Tampa owned and operated by 4 Syrians,. I kid you not, it was the greatest haircut that I've ever received. If you were to see the speed that this Barber was capable of reaching with his scissors you would be terrified. He had been cutting hair for 36 years and was a professional.

I returned to the Mission home looking official with my new short top hair cut and we were fed lots of Queso and beef. The rest of the night was pretty much a blur because I was so exhausted. I do know that we ended up at a hotel in the middle of down town Tampa. The next morning I DO remember.

We woke up at 5:45 am and met in the lobby of the hotel at 5:55. For the next hour and a half we were the President Assistants' punching bags. Elder Dance and Elder Morris started us off with a nice jog around the parking lot for about twenty minutes. Then they proceeded to work us out until I literally threw up. It was awful. I have never thrown up so much in my life from working out! I was spent. I almost threw in the towel right then and said enough is enough.

The rest of the day went smoother. I met my companion Elder Heluo (pronounced HE - LOU) and we made our way out to the most beautiful place on EARTH. Haines City Florida!  The land of lakes, the middle of the sunshine state, the happiest place on earth.

Here's a little background of Haines City. There are two types of people here--friendly people, and even friendlier people. The city is home to the Landmark Baptist College and all of the housing associated with that. So we will see how that goes in a few weeks when we start to make our presence a little more known; but for now we will continue to slip by as we are mistaken as Baptist Missionaries.  

Elder Heluo and I did not spare a second getting to work. We met Erule Aldin; a Haitian who speaks half English, half Creole, on our first evening out. He basically walked up to us and told us that he had a dream that he needed to grow closer to Jesus and Heavenly father. He is the greatest person I have ever met. He moved here 5 years ago from Haiti, works at Disney World, is taking care of his nephew June; who speaks no English, and is honestly searching for something more. We have already taught him three lessons and have set a baptism date. The language barrier is hard. We gave him a Haitian Book of Mormon and we go back and forth reading from Creole to English. He has such a desire - its incredible.

So golden investigator?? nope Golden City. We speak to everyone we see every time we leave our front door and have taught lessons to almost everyone. We have said well over a hundred prayers with individuals on the side of the road, in door ways, at the park, on a bench, or standing at a stop light. Everyone loves JESUS!

We've given out about 15 Books of Mormon and spoken with countless people who are genuinely interested in learning more about The Church. But honestly my favorite part is just bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. We run into people every single day who thank us tremendously or say " I've never had someone give such a sincere prayer for me." The South is incredible. Everyone is ready to listen and they all generally agree with what we say.

Our Ward is the GREATEST WARD EVER! We started hearing honks the first day. Everyone is so supportive of our work. We are fed well, we have rides each night, and we work hard. We have a goal to baptize 30 people before we leave this area in a couple of months. We are working extremely hard to reach that goal so we are teaching like crazy! We meet about 10-15 people a day that we set return appointments with. But everyone we talk to agrees with what we have to say. And who wouldn't with the message that we share. here's alittle snippet of that: God loves YOU! He sent His son here for YOU! YOU can grow closer to HIM if you pray! Would you like to pray with us? then we proceed to teach about how and why God loves us. what He wants from us and how He would like us to show our love to him and to others.

Here is a scripture that has really stuck out to me this week as I've been seeing miracles in this work.

Mark 9: (38-41)
 38 ¶And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us:and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do miracle in my namethat can lightly speakevil of me.
 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
 41 For whosoever shall give you cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily sayunto you, he shall not lose his reward. 
I KNOW that this scripture is TRUE! People do incredible things with Jesus Christ's help everyday. My mission is to help them do more, and feel more.  
We met this woman one of the first nights that we were here in Haines City Florida. We talked to her for about 5 Minutes then she grabbed our hands and said "lets pray together" it was so great to see how much we touched her life just by talking to her for 5 Minutes. She seriously felt the spirit so quickly as we were talking to her.

Everyone that I could not email this week I am sooo sorry. Pdays are hard when you move into a new area. We just moved into a new apartment and we need to clean the entire thing in 3 hours. Tell Josh Theron Maddy Sydney Ysabelle Makenzie Jake Jake Nic The Boys The kids The dogs The horses The neighbors that I love them and hope that they are doing wonderful! 


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Arrival in Tampa

Your missionary has arrived safely in Tampa at the Florida Tampa Mission.  You may also join us on Facebook. Search for Florida Tampa Mission Cusick to find our group.  We will post more photos tomorrow of the missionaries and their new companions.  See the photo below of all of the new missionaries arriving at Tampa International Airport.

Sister Tollerton
Florida Tampa Mission Secretary

Monday, February 15, 2016

My Last Night at the MTC

Hello! I'm getting all of my clothes washed and I'm getting ready for my 3:30 am flight to ATL, then to Tampa. I have no idea what's going to happen once I get there. I'm getting kinda nervous.

This week was interesting. An Elder who is a 20-year-old police officer from Georgia was here for like 36 hours before he decided that the mission was not for him. He was one of the most friendly people I have ever met and I'm not sure why he was in and out so quickly. It was honestly kinda hard. I felt like he was a great kid and really prepared for his mission, but it just wasn't for him, I guess. Its been kinda hard since he left on Friday because it kinda has made it dawn on me that this will be very difficult. And the amount of time I will be gone is starting to freak me out. 

Yesterday I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting and the MTC  Mission President( President Burgess) was randomly in our chapel and on the stand (HUGE NAME DOWN HERE). So, I had to give an 8 minute talk with one of the higher ups in the church sitting approximately 5 feet from me. I stood up and welcomed him and his wife and heard my branch leader (Brother Morris) lean over and tell President Burgess that I would be getting a hair cut that evening. I was actually super intimidated. So I cracked a joke and told the MTC Mission President that it wasn't my fault and my hair was very disobedient to the rules. 

I gave a talk that wrote itself while I was giving it. I received some compliments and it seemed that everyone had forgotten about my hair. Everyone, that is, except Brother Morris. Brother Morris showed up last night at 9:30 with clippers. Brother Morris is ex-military and knows exactly one haircut. So I am now nicknamed jar-head and I got plenty of laughs from my zone this afternoon.

Its unreal how much I've learned in the days that I've been here. I basically led a class yesterday on the new testament and old testament. It's becoming one of my strong suites and I plan on teaching from it as much, if not more, than from the Book of Mormon.

I seriously have loved my district so much! All of the Sisters and Elders have had a serious impact on my life, and I can already tell that this will be one of the pivotal moments in my life!  

I miss all of you so much and I teared up when I got the Valentines present from the boys. It meant so much! Also I read Mom's letter in the front of the Carpe Diem book almost daily when I'm feeling down and losing site of my purpose. I think about all of you on Sundays when I'm in meetings until literally 9pm. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! 

I need emails from people! I have no one's email and would love to write personal letters back to people who have sent me mail! Please send me email addresses for all our friends and family! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Currahee - Three Miles Up and Three Miles Down

Wednesday 2/9/2016 ( D DAY)
AKA The worst day of my life. I compared myself to members of 101st Easy Company who missed the drop site and were lost in country with absolutely no idea what they are doing! Also anything that could go wrong did. I tried to sneak Red Bull in to help ween off of my caffeine addiction, I felt prepared in the car (plane) but when the drop zone came everything went out the window. My suitcase tipped over at some point during that day and one of cans exploded. Luckily it was just in the suit case with all of my scriptures/paperback books/ Journals/ Preach my Gospels/ notebooks/ and basically anything that could be ruined by fluids. This is where I first started to know the spiritual power of being a missionary. I started walking to my apartment/ find my platoon, and I noticed a steady stream of liquid dripping from my bag. I was mortified! So I said a quick prayer in my heart and realized there was nothing I could do. When I got to my apartment I ripped into my suitcase and pulled everything out. One by one things came out without a drop on a page. I did this until the suitcase was empty and realized that the only thing that sustained any damage at all was one of my note books and only the front page was wet. Don't ask me how this happened because I'm still shocked. I think these are referred to as Tender Mercies of the Lord. Once I made it back with Easy(branch 43) I was just relieved and ready for the day to be over. 

D DAY + 1 
D Day was awful so D DAY + 1 had to go better right? Wrong.. Woke up sicker than I have ever been(exaggeration? Maybe) but seriously I was sicker than I wanted to be. I started to throw up around 7 and by 9 I had a Fever of 102. I ended up in Sick bay Bed 1 while my companion Elder Swapp, went with Elder Smith and Elder Cason. The next five hours are a blur, but let’s just say that I did not know where I was and if I was going to live. I left Sick Bay Bed 1 at approximately 6 pm. I went to branch meetings with our branch presidency and it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I was sick like really sick and our presidency came in and I was just overwhelmed with all that was going on. I wanted to be in my safe spot back in Sick Bay Bed 1. Well here's Elder Street in the corner with his face pressed against the wall wishing for peace and quiet. And the spirit of the Lord came over me. I started crying and I don't remember what set it off but I started bawling. Everyone was going around the room and talking about why they are on a mission and were asked to share their testimonies. Well somewhere between the 1st and 3rd person to speak the waterworks just broke and I started to flood the room. Everyone was looking at me like I was homesick/regular sick and they felt bad but I'm pretty sure that they were pretty much annoyed. I think they were shocked. I don't think they had ever seen a 21 year old hysterically crying with a smile on his face. Well this went on for about an hour. Until it was my time to stand up and introduce myself I can’t recreate the testimony and the happiness that I shared with these 10 fresh faced kids but it brought people to tears. So here is Elder Street crying for the last hour, then he gets up and talks about how this has been the greatest day of his entire life and that he has never felt so happy/sure/right where he was. I told them that I had longed for that feeling and had never known where I would find it. And here Jeremy is fresh out of Sick Bay 1 fever of 102 barley conscious and I find that joy. I was coughing. I was hot. I was miserable. But I can say that that moment was one of the happiest spiritual moments of my entire life. 

D DAY + 2
More sick day--less spirituality. Feeling unproductive and discouraged with my knowledge. More time in Sick Bay Bed 1 (aka my second home)

D Day + 3
The following days went like this. Study, then we studied, and studied, and then finally we studied. I have never had this much time to poor of the scriptures like this. I am finding gems that are unbelievable. If you have a second and a Bible and Book of Mormon present I would invite you to turn to 1 Nephi Ch 8 and read verse 2 then flip to chapter 11 in Nephi and read the heading (and chapter if you'd like)  pay special attention to the words used here in both Ch 8 and Ch 11, then I would like you to flip to ACTs chapter Ch 2 and read verse 17. 

I found this last night while studying and shared it with my district and their minds were literally blown. It made me smile. It was kinda like a little wink from the Lord to me. It made me smile. I'm finding so many great thing not only in the scriptures but in myself. I CAN DO HARD THINGS! Studying is actually the easiest thing for me. I love study time! I can’t get enough of it!

Teaching is a different story. You could have a lesson planned out perfectly and bring it to your investigator and the conversation literally goes the other way! So now you're scrambling to figure out what life is. And trying to flip from page to page and find the verse that you read earlier that day that answered that exact question and to try and be guided. I find myself needing to tell myself to STOP! I'll start freaking out and realize that I look like I'm losing it and then I realize that there is nothing to be worried about. I need to calm down and listen instead of try to rush and find the answer. That is really hard for me! I'm usually so quick to just try to flip and find the answer. So I'm slowing down. I'm listening and I'm seeing results!

So D DAY + 5 came around and I felt like I had made it through the thick of it. I was reunited with Easy and we were accomplishing objectives. That is until I met Stephen. I walked in to teach Stephen feeling confident and assured. When I sat down I realized that I was sitting FACE TO FACE with myself. This kid said sentences that I have literally said. He had the exact life philosophy that I used to live. He was young, easy going, confident and SMART! He is pretty much an atheist or as agnostic as you can get and sees religion for all of the problems and not the good. He tried to become a better person than those around him who were "religious" because he feels like he doesn't need organized religion to be a good person. I literally could not fathom this experience. I was sitting down with myself. And the questions that he was asking, and the comments he made I could literally not say anything bad about. I agreed with him. So the lesson went awful. I lost my head. I couldn't teach. I could say anything. I didn't know what to say. I was seriously so shocked. I didn't expect it. So I tanked it. I think I've got a good idea of how to go about this. Because, like me he agreed to have the missionaries come back.

Well I love all of you so much! I hope that you have a Great week and the next time that you hear from me I’ll be in Tampa!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jeremy's First Letter from the MTC

Thursday, February 4th
Hello Everyone!
I am alive and well! Well, I'm alive.......
I picked up Holden's flu, and dads cough. I spent today in the sick bay studying the scriptures! They took good care of me.
My Companion, Elder Swapp, went on a split with elder Cason and Elder Smith. Elder Swapp is from Cedar City and a great kid! Elder Smith is from Alaska and literally Gibson's exact twin. Elder Cason is from Everette, Washington and a stud! 

Today was awful! I was so sick! But seriously - I cried for an hour while talking to my Branch Presidency. I was so touched because even though I was sick and feeling awful I felt this glow about me and seriously could not stop smiling! The MTC is HARD!! But I'm fitting in well.

Elder Jeremy Street Enters the MTC

With a proud mom!
On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Elder Jeremy Street entered the MTC-Provo to begin a two year Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He will be serving in the Florida-Tampa Mission. We will be posting his weekly letters here for friends and family to follow. If you'd like to keep in touch with Jeremy, you can email him at:

From February 3rd to February 15th, you can send letters/packages to:
Elder Jeremy Street
Provo MTC - Florida Tampa Mission
2005 North 900 East Unit 75
Provo, UT 84602

After February 16, 2016, his address will be:
Elder Jeremy Street
One Last Hug!
Florida Tampa Mission
13510 North 42nd Street
 Tampa, FL 33613

With Kenzie, Jake, William, and Ledger!