WELCOME to Elder John-Gregory Sierra's mission blog! For the next two years Elder Sierra will be serving as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the California Sacramento Mission. We hope you will enjoy his experiences, shared through weekly letters. We will post his letters each week and any pictures he may send.

Write Elder Sierra


Missionaries love to get letters (and care packages)! If you'd like to write to Elder Sierra, please use the following addresses:

Elder John-Gregory Sierra
California Sacramento Mission
8267 Deseret Ave
Fair Oaks, CA 95628


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Joys of Being a Missionary

This is an excerpt from a letter to mom with lots of pics...Elder Sierra asked us to share some of his experiences to his blog.

Dear Mom,

Thank you...for supporting me always. Most importantly, thank you (and dad) for always telling me that I had a home to come back to...That always kept me going when I was by myself in college and in Orlando. Knowing that I had a home kept me going and it keeps me going even now. I do miss you (not enough to be homesick!) and I do think of you whenever I'm teaching. It reminds me that most people are a lot alike, they have a family that they care about, as well.  It helps me remember that my true goal is to bring families to the temple so that they can be sealed for all of eternity. To me, that is the greatest reward and blessing that anyone can receive and it fills my heart with joy. I truly do love this church. I enjoy the happiness it gives to people. I love the healing that it gives to the soul. I know this because this gospel brought me happiness, healing and hope when I [was struggling] in my youth. Now, I am on my mission and couldn't be prouder of myself and the progress I have made these past two years.

Here in the MTC, I have been having all this information stuffed into my head, and then they get about 10 tons more and start cramming that into my head as well. It gets real tiring, because I have something to do every hour and it's getting to the point where it becomes a constant routine. However, time goes by so fast. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was dropped off at this place, a.k.a., prison. LOL There truly is no escape!! I do love it, though. I learn something new every hour, whether it's Spanish, scriptures, or teaching investigators.

My companion and I are practically polar opposites. He is from a small town of about 3,000 people in Wyoming, and I'm from the suburbs of Miami, with 2 million people. He is literally the anti-me! We [may have differences] but we do what we can to get past it because we gotta love each other in order to teach. The other day, we were teaching one of our investigators, Francisco Trejo. He is a Chilean and is the only member of his family who isn't a member of the Church. He does want to learn more because his family has this light about them that he can't understand, but, he wants to be a part of it. That's where we come in.

He has been receiving the lessons well, but the other day, we went to teach him about the "Plan of Salvation". At first, when we were talking about the pre-mortal life, he was struggling to grasp it, but, as we went on to explain his purpose in life, he started tearing up because he has been desiring to know what his purpose in life is. The Spirit filled the room with such joy. He began to weep when we explained how families can be sealed for eternity. This is our work! Never have I seen anyone so excited about the gospel. We set a date for baptism already and I couldn't help but feel excited for him. He has committed to stop drinking, read the Book of Mormon with the family, his wife, and personally. He has already been going to church with his family. He is a wonderful person and a joy to teach.

I know this church is true! It can't possibly be a lie! There is too much that has been sacrificed [in order] for us to be doing a great and marvelous work. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. He helped restore the true gospel and died for it. I know my Savior lives! Love you all.

Your Son,
Elder Sierra

Elder Graf and I

Elder Cassity is in my district and is my zone leader. He's so funny. He wanted to make 'awkward faces'.
Sisters in my zone (ZONE 1) BEST ZONE

This is Queso, the magical man who writes Spanish rules that appear on a rock from nowhere. Whatever he says, goes. Now, whenever we mess up in Spanish we are, like, "Dang you, Queso!!" Translation of Spanish words: Now, Spanish has 22 types of verbs.

Elders from my zone, as well as my new friend, Elder Si'ilata, on the my left.

My roomie, Elder Ware. He's headed to San Antonio, Texas!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Elder Sierra's letter hasn't arrived yet this week, but we have a few pictures from the MTC.  Enjoy!
Elder Sierra and his MTC companion, Elder Crook.

He shares a room with 4-6 elders. Having had to inspect missionaries' apartments before, this is pretty neat! ;)
Elder Fuluvaka, on the left, is the younger brother of a Tongan elder we knew in Orlando. Small world! They're going to the same mission! [Looks like they all bought their raincoats at Mr. Mac =)]

In front of the Provo Temple

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Excerpts from Elder Sierra's email and a letter home March 11 and 14, 2013

Hey Mom! Thanks for keeping me up on what's going on at home! Tell Dad I expect a letter from him.  I don't have much time to email but I will write to you all tomorrow. So, I'm just gonna do a quick response! The MTC is still great, kinda wanna get out in the field though. I hate all the sitting and everyday I look forward to gym time just to be active. I am loving my companion, district and friends...
My companion, roommates, and I went to the temple to do sealings. I had a very special experience while there. My work is SO REAL! My mission is truly the greatest and I love the Lord. I will talk to you later and keep me posted!

Dear Dad,

Things here are going good. I am progressing in the language and the elders here in my zone are all great. I will miss them when they depart for their missions. A few of them I've gotten to know real well: Destry Wride,a ROTC guy who wants to become a Green Beret  or military intelligence; Elder Nelson, an old DJ pal from BYU-Idaho; and Elder Jenson, a crazy brother from Sacramento. They are all awesome and we will all be going to BYU in the future.
Mi español es mal pero [estoy aprendiendo] cada día. (My Spanish is bad but [I am] learning every day.) Yo he enseñado muchos lecciones a investigadores. (I have taught many lessons to investigators.) Todos [las] reuniones estuven muy bueno y espiritual. (All the meetings have been good and spiritual.) La experiencia [está] haciendome un mejor misionero. (The experience is making me a better missionary.) Yo [enseñe a] un investigador [que] se llama Fernando Rivas esta noche. (I taught an investigator named Fernando Rivas tonight) ¿Cómo estás? ¿Todo bien? (How are you? Is everything good?) 
Let me know how your exercising is going? Also, let me know how friends are doing. Do you mind giving me some news updates on the world? Just don't want to come home completely oblivious to current events! Te quiero y espero que tu [estés bien]. (I love you and hope that you are doing well.) 

Elder Sierra 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Excerpts from Letters to Mom and Dad

Written Tuesday, March 5, 2013 

Dear Padre,

I am doing great and am loving the mission with all my heart.  Dad, your last letter touched me and I will do my best to write to you as often as I can. Before I leave the MTC, I will write you a letter en español to the best of my ability. You will be pleased to know that I am being obedient to all the rules and that I love my companion and all of my roommates and I'm also writing in my journal every day.

The Spirit is powerful here, Dad! I feel it multiple times a day. I am truly feeling the gift of tongues and I have a strong desire to learn other languages after my mission. Dad, I know my calling in life is to be a missionary of the Lord and bring them unto Christ and to fiercely protect them as a warrior of God and as a member of the United States Special Forces.

My testimony is growing by the day, and I think about all the trials and hardships it took for me to get here. I love the gospel, I love God, i love my Savior. This church is true! There is no possible way it can't be true. I am grateful for my family and your constant support and I love the awesome friends that I have. having friends that are practically like my second family are one of the greatest blessings in my life. I love you, Dad, and I always have and I always will, period. I testify that this church is true and the work I'm preparing to do is real.

Your son,

Elder Sierra

p.s. Remember our deal!

Dear Mom,

Thanks a lot for the cookies and the pictures. I have put them all in my photo album. Next week, I will try to email you photos of my mission. The MTC is doing well for me. I'll hit my first week tomorrow and I'm getting slightly stressed because I have only four weeks to learn Spanish until I'm outta here and out in the field. Tell Dad to remember our deal. even I am working out every day to stay in shape....Well mom. I am being obedient to the best of my abilities, even keeping rules that are complete "bull crap". And I am writing in my journal every day. I love you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

There are Angels in the Hallways

An excerpt from a letter to friends earlier this week....
Thank you and everyone else for your support. MTC is pretty neat. The food is beginning to taste the same all the time though haha. I'm eating like five plates of food in one meal and everybody including Elder Fuluvaka, my Polynesian roommate, is all like where do you put it all....  my companion is awesome. He is a pretty smart fellow and both of us are learning the language very fast because both of us had grown up around it since we were young. Language class is easy, but kinda annoying at times. Elder Crook, my compañero, and I can never get our lessons done in class because we are constantly getting asked questions like what does this mean and what not, lol. The spirit is real here and I am proud to be a part of what the MTC president says is the best Missionary Army this world has ever seen. There are angels in these halls that I walk by and their spirit is strong. I love this gospel, this church can't be anything, but true. I feel it in the very core of my being. I love all of you and I keep every last one of you in my prayers. Can you all do me a special favor and pray that my companion and I as well as my district can become fluent in the spanish language quickly. It can be frustrating when you can't bear your true testimony because you can't find the right words in spanish. Yo se que Jesucristo es El Salvador and El Redentor. Keep rooting for me guys. It truly does keep me going. Talk to you next week hopefully.
Su Hermano,
Elder Sierra

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SUP Familia!!

 (Translation has been added for those who don't speak Spanish)

Dear Sierra Family,
I am enjoying my mission very much. The MTC is awesome and the Lord has blessed me with a great compañero (companion). The meals here are bueno (good), pero (but) they are all beginning to taste the same. Aprendo español bueno, pero (I learn Spanish well, but) I can't bear mi testimonio (my testimony) as well as I'd like. But I believe in El don de lenguas y yo voy a continuar aprendo en español. (the gift of tongues and i am going to continue learning in Spanish). I miss you all very much, hopefully I will hear from you next week. The spirit is strong here Mom and I know that Angels are in these hallways. The MTC is a very happy place with amazing missionaries that all seem to get along with each other. I hope this will continue to last until I leave. Oh, and you will not believe this, but Elder Fuluvaka, the Tongan missionary back in Orlando, has a younger brother named Sione Fuluvaka and he is my roommate!! HAHAHA! What's even better is that he is serving in the same mission! How wild is that?! Small world, right? Everyone is getting along fine and in fact they have a boxing night in my building every Friday. Needless to say I enjoy being a part of that lol. My companion, Elder Crook, says no fighting in the MTC and since he is my senior companion for about two more weeks, kinda gotta do what he says so I have to put down my crown as Boxing King! (I liked being boxing king). Anyhow my companion and I have been learning the language at a pretty fast pace. I'd still be typing in spanglish, but I have about two minutes to finish this email so I gotta wrap this up quick. I love you Dad. I miss your guidance and patience and I pray to my Lord to have those characteristics while I am here because I lose my temper easy over some of the idiotic and stupid things that some of these guys do at times. I love you Mom, I miss your kindness and compassion and I try to remember how to tolerate and love others because some of these guys get homesick (sorry homesickness has not really hit me yet) and it kinda upsets me because we are here to serve the Lord and leaving family for two years is part of the deal. I will continue to work on that. Benjamin, you are my best friend and I miss your laughter and sense of humor and up beat attitude which I do my best to emulate while I am here. I love you all and yo se que Jesucristo es El Salvador.(I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior)
Hasta luego,
Elder Sierra