Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Testimony

August 24 (Very late evening)

After being set apart as a full-time missionary, I returned home and was anxious to get started. But it was quite late. I logged onto facebook and realized that I needed to let all my friends know that I would be gone, and then it occurred to me that I had a chance to bear my testimony, so I did. I only sent this to my non-member friends, but I'll share it here, too. This is what I said:

"I will be logging out of facebook for two years and I just wanted to say a few things:

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the earth. I have prayed about it, and have been given a special witness to confirm that statement. I know it is a bold statement, but if I wasn't sure about it, then I wouldn't be giving up two of the most critical years of my life to go tell everyone I meet in Brazil that it is... if I wasn't sure, I would be pursuing a professional cycling career amongst other things. But since I am sure, giving up everything is a piece of cake. Why would I fly across the world to spend my precious time telling a lie. If you don't believe in spiritual confirmation, then another way to find out is to read the Book of Mormon. Just like the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, it is another Testament of Jesus Christ, a record of the early American people, translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. Plain and simple, when you read it you will find out that it is not a hoax, that Joseph Smith didn't "write" it, and that it is true scripture, not craziness. But it takes reading it to find out. Pray about, with real intent to know if it's true, and I promise that you will be given an answer. Some people have a hard time with understanding that answer. Most come in the form of feelings that you get: if it's wrong you will feel negative/darkness, if it's true you will feel calm, peaceful, at ease, with a sense of happiness and enlightenment. These are the feelings I have received. And if that doesn't work, just by reading it, you will find out that a modern man with 5th grade education could not have written it.That is a sliver of what I will be doing down there. Finally, thank you for your kindness and friendship, and I look forward to seeing you all in two years!
Elder Titus"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Set Apart as a Full-Time Missionary

August 24th (Evening)

Went to the Kent Stake Center at 9 PM to be set apart as a full-time missionary. President Maucotel had previously been down in Salt Lake City, and had just arrived back home. When he arrived, he realized he had left his keys at home, so he did not have access to his office. He set me apart in the Relief Society room instead. He said it was a good thing Gaylord (my stepdad) had keys to the building, or we'd be doing the setting apart out in the parking lot. He gave me a wonderful blessing, and I feel ready to leave tomorrow morning. I am excited to begin this journey.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Packing for the Journey

August 24, 2009 (Morning)

Mom took over the packing. She's OCD, but in a good way. Initially, we had 3 suitcases to hold all my stuff, but after everything was packed (8 short sleeved shirts, 2 long sleeved shirts, 8 ties, 8 pairs of pants, toiletries to last two years, 3 pairs of shoes, two sets of sheets, shoe shine kit, sewing kit, rain coat, 12 pairs of socks, shaving kit, hangers, well -- you get the idea), and the suitcases were weighed, it was clear that we could get rid of the smallest one and distribute it's contents between the two larger ones and still be below the allowable weight (50# per case). So, we did that -- and then added a few more last minute items. At the airport, the largest suitcase weighed in at EXACTLY 50#! **Whew**

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Passport and Official Name Tag Arrive

August 14, 2009
It's here! My official name tag that declares me to be "Elder Titus," arrived today from Church Travel Services, along with my Passport, and airline ticket. I'm currently down in Murrieta, California visiting my sister, Danielle and holding my new little niece, Avenly. I can't wait to get home and try it on.

The Call Comes In!

May 22, 2009
After much anticipation and a huge amount of patience, I received the call at work, from mom letting me know the letter from the First Presidency had arrived! We hurried home, and the family gathered around as I opened it up. I thought it would be funny if I teased them a bit, so initially, I announced, "You are hereby called to serve," (I paused here for better effect) "in the Utah, Salt Lake City Mission!" There was a collective gasp from everyone present and then my Aunt Sue said, "They wouldn't send you there!" I laughed and told them I was kidding, and then proceeded with the real announcement, "You are hereby called to serve in the Brazil, Londrina Mission." Danielle, who was listening via the cell phone, was very pleased that her guess of Brazil was correct.