This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Final Day in the MTC

Thank you for the birthday presents everyone! I'll write more detailed letters on the plane. Today, though, is packing day, so I gotta get this email out there. They said we could email today since we're traveling tomorrow. Anyway, love you guys.


It's been almost 3 weeks since I entered the MTC. It seems like a blur. I hope I'm ready to serve the people of Little Rock in a way that is best for them. Our branch president, President Connors, gave us some pass-along cards yesterday. I took 15. It's our job to give them all away in 24 hours (from when we enter the SLC airport, I'm guessing). I'm extremely nervous. I can approach people that I know I'll have to be buddy-buddy with for a bit, but complete strangers are a different story. We'll see what happens, I guess.

I would love to begin uploading pictures, but the computers here in the MTC don't allow file browsing. So pictures will have to wait until I get out of here and use another computer.

My last few lessons ended pretty well. Birgitta was an inactive member that saw everyone in the church as a hypocrite. After just 2 lessons, we got her to go back to church. She was probably the best investigator we had, even though we didn't see her much. She had built up a huge wall against any reason to go to church, but through unexplainable amounts of Spirit bombs, we broke through. That was the most emotional lesson I had ever taught, seeing her for the first time.

The Maeser Journal that Jordan Bingham left with me (an MTC journal for Maeser graduates) will soon be passed on to Hyrum Decker, and after that is Nate Andersen. The legacy is moving onward.

I'll report back my work from my first week in Arkansas next P-Day (don't know when that is yet), and I'll be sure to put some pictures on there as well. After tomorrow, Dear Elders will have to be directed to the Little Rock Mission Office, so please do that.

Well, my laundry is done, and it'll be wrinkled if I don't hurry. Talk to y'all later! (Gotta start using that slang.)

-Elder Staib

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week Two in the MTC

Thanks for the thoughts. They only give us 30 minutes to use the computers here, and don't have printers, so I'll try to get through all my emails and make a good blog post. Thankfully, this is my last week in the MTC, so I'll get an hour's time after this, I hope? We'll see.

Hello, everyone! Expect this post to be short. I got a bunch of long emails to read, and I only have 30 minutes total to use the can I put an entire week in 30 minutes!?

I taught a real investigator yesterday. Her name is Pam. She came into the TRC, and she was the REAL DEAL. It was amazing. I can only describe the experience as: I felt God's love for her. Truly. I wanted to baptize her so bad.

My roommates moved out yesterday. They're off to South Dakota. I'll put a picture of them up here once I get SD Card reader privileges.

So far, people I have recognized here are Hyrum Decker, Nate Anderson and Blake Hogge. His twin, Dilan, will be in the MTC next week. Blake was called to Florida Haitian speaking, and Dilan is going to New Zealand, English speaking. Pretty funny. That one was for you, Alex ;3

One of my roommates, before they left, was mailed a pumpkin. A HUGE PUMPKIN. We carved it Sunday night. I'll send pictures of that too.

On Sunday we also heard from Elder Richard G. Scott. He was fun. I wrote notes of what he talked about in my journals, so I'll update on that later when I have time, or just show you guys later.

My birthday is this week. I'll be 20. No longer a teenager. What the heck. I don't feel like I'm that old at all. I still feel 16. Maybe because my looks haven't changed AT ALL since then.

I guess I was typing so fast that I got a nosebleed. Dang it.

Oh, shout out to Levi Stannard and Micah Schow! Thanks for the Dear Elders, guys! They made my day!

Well, this time next week, I'll be an Arkansas. I hope I can even type up something next week. I've got a lot to talk about, as you can tell. But I honestly don't have enough time here, and it stresses me out. Bad. I tried to plan this post out better, but several things are cutting my time. I'll also have more stories to tell once I get out into the field.

Thank you, everyone, for all the support you've given me. I'm keeping my mail and journals very well-organized. Love you all!

-Elder Staib

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Week in the MTC

Hello, everyone! Elder Staib here. The first week at the MTC has been extremely different from the lazy life I had before. I'm actually put on something called a SCHEDULE now. What is this? Anyway, I'm tired all day, I'm always preparing to teach, and my roommates sure keep things interesting. Alright, from the top.

I'm currently bunking with 5 other missionaries. A couple of residency halls are being renovated, so we kinda have to cram in. All of our branch is living on the same floor, though, which is cool. My roommates consist of the following: Elder Pinchak (my companion) and me, Elders Jensen and Cline, and Elders Ensign and Ostrom. We have great times in this place, mostly when we're all done with the day and unbearably tired. Jensen and Cline don't get along too well, and recently Pinchak has been harsh towards Jensen as well, but I've calmed a couple storms, and everyone's back to loving each other. We're making a big effort to spread some love around our room, and it's showing. We'll be ok, I think.

My district, from the beginning, was comprised of 10 missionaries: Me and Elder Pinchak, Elders McMurtrey and Keller, Elders Davis and [his companion], Sisters Edwards and Russell, and Sisters Jensen and Gladden. Sadly, [Elder Davis' companion] was picked up by his parents earlier today. He's from a small Utah town, and he hadn't been on his own until now. he couldn't take it. Davis saw him go through some horrible scenes. [Elder Davis' companion] plans to come back out to the field later.

The teaching has been rough, but good. We grow a bit lesson after lesson. It's hard knowing exactly what each investigator needs, but Pinchak and I do our best. I'm excited for when I get to change the life of someone that actually needs it instead of using all of my emotional efforts for the sake of role play. We can all agree here that by the end of the day, we are physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. One of the sister missionaries said it best when she described Sundays here as nothing very different from the rest of the week since it's all so spiritually blending. My favorite part about this past Sunday, though, was the fireside. Branch Pres. and Sister Hacking gave lessons on accepting others no matter your ethnicity and proper table etiquette, respectively. Sister Hacking's lesson was very entertaining, and Pres. Hacking's talk (which included a war story and two love stories) was a nice look into his personal past and made me excited to live my own life.

I apologize for the lack of pictures this week. I don't have an SD card-reader to use to upload pictures from my camera onto the computer, but I'll try and get one next week. The new camera that I got from my uncle (which I love. If you're reading this, Uncle Chris, thank you so much for this incredible technology!) is working superbly, and I really enjoy taking pictures. Of course, it's earned me a pretty bad reputation here, but the other Elders just don't realize how important taking a lot of photos is yet. And so I keep taking pictures.

Thanks for all the letters and packages so far! There's a system called "Dear Elder" online that my family has been taking advantage of. [Go to and click on the "Write a Letter" tab and follow the instructions. The mailing address can be found by clicking the tab "Contact Elder Staib" at the top of this blog]. Just set up a quick account, and you can send me emails free of charge that are printed out and sent to me the very next day. Once I get to Arkansas, though, it'll be $0.44 a pop, which is about the price for standard postage anyway. Not too bad of a system. But until I leave on November 1, sending me a quick Dear Elder is free of charge, and it'd really make my day!

The MTC has opened something for me that I hadn't really registered before. The Spirit. I know now what it certainly feels like, and it's definitely strong here. I'm excited to bring the same feeling to the people of Arkansas. At this point, I want to just fly over there right now and make someone happy by telling them about the Gospel. Reading the Book of Mormon has been better for me, too. Before, they were just words with some little message in them. But once I started reading from the beginning on my own, a real story unfolded. It's an amazing, inspiring true story. It's definitely another testament of the Bible and Jesus Christ, and it leads to the truth of all things, such as Joseph Smith being a prophet, and Christ's church on the Earth today. I know that the work I'm doing will make many people happy. I'm so excited to see their smiling faces when they know that God loves them and has a plan for them.

Well, time is about up. I love you all. Thank you for the support. Go to the top tab to find out how to contact me, and I'll talk to you guys next week!

-Elder Staib

October 12, 2011
Elder Staib (on the right) entered the MTC on Wednesday, October 12

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Called to Serve

Good morning, Brothers and Sisters. I have been asked to choose my own topic that I would speak on. With general conference last weekend, I found several potential topics through the lessons of the speakers. Between the exciting announcement of the Provo tabernacle temple and the parenting tips given out to newly weds that were forced to be married from Spring conference, I found a message that I felt strongly enough about to speak to you today.
As members of the church, we are invited on many occasions to help those in need. This could be towards a friend, to a stranger, in a group or by yourself. Christ, during his ministry on Earth, helped anyone in need that would come to him. As members of His church, we must strive to become Christ-like and follow his example. Service is a great act of love that helps the person in need as well as spiritually strengthens the one giving the service.
         Sister Allred, First Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency, shared this story with us. “Rosa suffers from debilitating diabetes and other ailments. She joined the Church a few years ago. She is a single mother with an adolescent son. She frequently has to be hospitalized for a few days at a time. Her kind visiting teachers not only take her to the hospital, but they visit and comfort her at the hospital while also watching over her son at home and school. Her visiting teachers serve as her friends and family.”
         For me, doing service for someone else in need always makes me happy, no matter how big or small the task. I can only imagine the visiting teachers’ joy as they aided Rosa with her everyday life.
A few months ago, my family moved from Cedar Hills to Highland. This would be our second move within a year’s time, and none of us were looking forward to it. We had been to the Highland ward a couple of times, and families were shaking our hands left and right. When it came time to move, my dad asked if we could have a few people help move us from Cedar Hills to Highland. On the morning of moving day, more than a dozen fathers and sons were parked in front of our house wearing gloves and jeans. Everything was swiftly carried onto trailers and taken to our new home, where it was all neatly placed into its proper place. The service and caring nature of the new ward had blessed our lives from the day we walked into theirs.
King Benjamin is coined with the famous phrase, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.” King Benjamin not only taught this law; he lived it. He says, “And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should be nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne ­– and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day. Yet, my brethren, I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day. Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.”
President Thomas S. Monson is our latter-day King Benjamin. He is well known for his wonderful gospel stories, and is endlessly serving others. Elder Eyring shared his own experience with President Monson. “President Thomas S. Monson, at the end of almost every meeting, asks the secretary to the First Presidency, ‘Am I up to date on my work?’ And he always smiles when the answer comes back: ‘Oh, yes, President, you are.’ President Monson’s pleased smile sends me a message. It makes me think, ‘Is there something more I could do on my assignments?’ And then I go back to my office to work.”
President Monson taught, “We will discover that those whom we serve, who have felt through our labors the touch of the Master’s hand, somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives. There is a desire to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to live more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight, who said, ‘One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
As a missionary, I understand that service will be one of the ways to open the hearts of those that would be interested in the church. I’ve heard many experiences from both of my older sisters who have served missions. Many of the people they baptized would not have taken that first step if it weren’t for their love of service. I am leaving to serve a mission. I am giving up my time, my talents and myself to God, and I know I will be in His safe and caring hands.