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, December 31, 2012


Well, time for another weekly update.

First off, WE HAD A WHITE CHRISTMAS. We were so happy! It didn't snow until about 7 pm on Christmas Day, but it came, and we got about 4 inches of snow by the morning. Snowmen, snowballs and sore limbs happened. It truly was a winter wonderland for us Western gentlefolk.

Christmas was great, too. Christmas Eve and Christmas combined for two days packed with laughed and enjoyment. We got together Christmas Eve morning at the church (since it was P-Day). The 6 of us -- being the 6 Jonesboro missionaries -- played games, exchanged small gifts and sported a rousing game of chocolate milk pong. I made it to the top as the pong champion. It was great. Christmas Eve dinner was incredibly delicious. We had it with the Louis family, Bro. Louis being a former bishop in Jonesboro. The dinner consisted of many dishes I would have expected my own mom to make, so I was very happy.

Christmas morning we spent with the Rougeau family. We had a large breakfast with them and joined them in opening gifts. I received a GPS, Swedish Fish, a miniature Preach My Gospel and a spankin'-awesome tie. Oh, and in the evening, Elder Carter presented me with INCREDIBLY SOFT PAJAMA PANTS. They're marvelous.

Ok. Onto other things. We had an awesome referral sent to our phone this past week. His name is Emuobor Ighodaye. Yeah, we just sat there looking at the phone wondering if there was a glitch in the system. But it turns out that's his name. He's from Nigeria! He was taught by missionaries before, and even brought over the Book of Mormon he was given back home. He wants to be a more active Christian and wants to take this path to come closer to God. He's very fun-loving. He loves a good laugh.

We're still waiting for our other progressing investigators to return home or get better from sicknesses. I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately myself, but it's nothing that'll keep me down. It's going to be a good month, though. We're foreseeing at least 2 baptisms, possibly 3. Good things are happening in Jonesboro, and as missionaries we are glad that the holiday season is finally coming to a close. People will get back into their routines, and life will be less hectic. And the work goes on.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas! Keep safe in the cold and in the ice. Pray that our baptisms are good to go, and that more people will be interested in hearing the gospel. Love y'all!

-Elder Staib

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hey there, e'erbody!

Christmas. That thing. It's a-comin'. The weather's been really cloudy as of late, and I quite enjoy it. If it can't be white on the ground, at least it's white in the air. Plus, it'll be a white Christmas in another regard: Troy is getting baptized on Sunday! Yeah, we changed it to the next day since he was gonna able with some family on Saturday. He's the most prepared person I've ever seen. Every time we ask him if he knows something's true I feel just dumb even thinking to ask the question. he replies in the most direct manner.

"Yeah, I know it's all true. Joseph Smith was really called of God, and I'm working hard to make it to the Celestial Kingdom."

He's read through Gospel Principles TWICE. Pretty sure that teaches more than Preach My Gospel. No Word of Wisdom issues. Studies the Bible and Book of Mormon every day. He's even sending us a referral he met in the park. Magical missionary fairy? I think yes. HE'S SO RAD WE LOVE TROY.

We've got several awesome member referrals on the way as well. MAN, JONESBORO HAS BEEN GREAT, and it will continue to be great! I'm staying here for another 7 weeks, along with EVERYONE ELSE in my district. We're all ecstatic. This is a testimony to me that if we trudge through the lows, we'll eventually reach the highs. This is a mission high for me.

Ironically, this week I've been hit by some horrible anti-Mormon propaganda, and lots of it. Do I care? NOPE. I'm doing my thing because I know it's right. God told me so. It's as simple as that, and I'm sticking to it. I laughed at the information I received, really. Nothing in the world can defer me from feeling that my mission has brought me and other closer to God, and that the temple is the House of God on the Earth today.

Looking back on it, I've been blessed to go to the temple on my mission so frequently. Elder Carter hasn't been to the temple since the MTC. Temples are spiritual safe havens from the world. Because of my many trips to the temple, I know without a doubt that they are sacred places that were constructed by the inspiration from the Almighty. If anyone tries to say otherwise, they have either never been in a temple themselves or they blocked out the Holy Ghost as they entered. I know that I will always have a spiritual home in the temple. So that's your cue. Go to the temple as often as you can, people. Even if you don't have a specific reason, go to feel the Spirit of the Lord.

Well, lots of P-Day things to do to prepare for the upcoming transfer and the holiday season. I sent a ton of Christmas cards out, so I hope y'all enjoy those! Even though I'm enjoying the area now, I know the mission has its positives and negatives, and they come from every direction. Thank you for your prayers, and continue to pray that the work in Jonesboro will continue to progress as wonderfully as it has these past few weeks.

Merry Christmas!

-Elder Staib

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Investigators!

Ok, gotta type REALLY FAST.

This was an excellent week. Last Sunday we got a referral from Salt Lake, and we followed up on it on Tuesday. Michael is an ASU student who's home for the holidays in Marked Tree, about 30 minutes south of us. He's interested in the church because of a girl he met 3 years ago who lives in Colorado. She's been helping answer his questions about the church and he has decided to investigate. He's a really nice guy, grew up Baptist, and is open to new religious ideas.

On Friday we set a baptismal date with Troy, the older man with a limp. His date is set for December 22. He knows Joesph Smith is a prophet, believes in the plan of salvation, and reads the Bible and the Book of Mormon every day. If that's not golden I dunno what is. Looks like a white Christmas here in Jonesboro!

On Saturday we had a ward Christmas party. The theme was to come dressed as if you were to go to Bethlehem. I used my pillowcase as a hat and tied a tie around it to keep it up. Elder Carter did likewise with some bed sheets. I toted around a stuffed camel and we were the life of the party. The camel's name is Li'l Abraham. Story behind that one later. Li'l Abe will accompany me for the rest of the mission.

Sunday was a good service. Didn't really have any investigators come, but they'll be there next week.

After church Elder Carter and I went to see a man who says he has researched Mormonism for 3 years. When I say research, I mean books and books and hours and hours of comparing and contrasting and looking into deep histories and all sorts of ridiculousness. We sat with him for two and a half hours while he went through page after page of "imperfections" with our religion. Elder Carter and I stood our ground, unshaken and firm. It was an intense meeting. Respect for each other on both sides grew, but it just goes to show that too much "knowledge" can overshadow faith and the Spirit.

We have a new investigator that recently moved from WEST MEMPHIS, so I'm excited to teach her and her family. Life is dandy and awesome.

I gotta get going, but I love y'all, and I'm grateful for your prayers and all that you do to encourage me to keep on keepin' on. Have a Happy Holidays!

-Elder Staib

Monday, December 3, 2012

Of Holidays & Inspiration

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone. We've run headlong into December, and it's time again to break out the scented candles and strings of Christmas lights. Well, we've got the candles part, anyway.

I'm not expecting this update to be too long. Elder Carter and I have been getting some new investigators and invitations to return to homes for blessings and such, but whenever we call or go to the home, no one answers. It's been a very frustrating week of being avoided.

On Tuesday, we had a Zone conference of sorts down in Searcy (pronounced SUR-sea), which is about a 2-hour drive. On the way to the meeting, Sis. Petersen called and asked Elder Carter to go to the meeting grumpy and all sorts of ill-mannered, which was totally opposite of how he usually is. At the meeting, several people walked up to him in a cheerful mood to say hello to their good friend, but Elder Carter blew them off. It was hard for me not to laugh at first, but as it kept going, I felt like this was really affecting our experience at the conference. Everyone around us was hurt by Elder Carter's unusually uncaring demeanor, and they came to me about it.  I just had to tell them it had been a long week.

Thankfully, about an hour into the conference, Sis. Petersen relinquished him of his sulking duties and he apologized to a lot of people. I suppose Sis. Petersen made her point, but it was just incredible how one person's attitude can affect the people around them, especially their companion. I was starting to get angry myself. Life is so much better when you're a positive thinker, that's all I'll say.

Ok, spiritual thought, and then I'll wrap up. It's incredible how God wants to enlighten you. Yes, he wants to. In this case, he wanted me to learn how to teach a doctrine that I hadn't completely understood before, that is, how Christ can be the Father and the Son. This is a very good thing to know about in the South since most churches think Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the same person. I will preface this story, though, by saying I was not actively seeking an answer to my conundrum this particular morning.

As I opened my scriptures to study, I wondered what I wanted to study about. It dawned on me that through my reading of the Book of Mormon, I had skipped Abinadi's story. Something pushed me to decide otherwise, though, and I kept on with where I left off in 3 Nephi. As I was reading 3 Nephi, it said something about how the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite and Abinadi had been fulfilled. I began to wonder what prophecy Abinadi had made that fulfilled what I was reading about, so I eventually turned over to the book of Mosiah and began to read.

Noah, son of Zeniff, became wicked, everyone became wicked, Abinadi stands prophesying that the city would be in bondage -- good deal. I then read what Abinadi said in front of Noah and his priests about their wickedness.

Suddenly, as I read a verse, I was hit by a ton of Spirit bricks.

I read over the verse again. And again. The Spirit bore witness to me and helped me understand the answer to this difficult question I had in the back of my mind, and it was answered in Mosiah 15: 2-3. The line that stuck out to me was this: "The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God;"
 As I understood what the scripture was saying, I wrote underneath the scripture the following notes: "Chuck Staib ---> Matt Staib" I am a part of my father in blood and in title. So also is Christ a part of His Father in flesh as well as in title. It not only answered my question on how to explain the doctrine, but it gave me a strong sense of duty and responsibility I have to carry two names on my nametag: "Jesus Christ" and "Staib".

My family has been a grand influence on each other as well as the whole world. I have a duty to uphold a name as wonderful as my own. I am proud to be a member of my family. That's what I came away with.

Well, that was longer than I thought1 I hope ya'll have a wonderful holiday! Be safe if it snows, and I'll talk to you guys next week. Love ya'll!

-Elder Staib