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


Friday, September 27, 2013


Lots of short notes to family this week. Sometimes it's fun to pull them all together:
Hey Mom,

Well transfer calls came in and I am leaving Manteca (really wanted to stay another transfer) and I am going into Folsom (all the missionaries want to go to Folsom) and to add to that, I'm going into ENGLISH WORK!!!! When I got the call I was like, ummm.....I think you mixed my call up with someone else's. The AP's were like, "No, Elder Sierra, your assignment is to go into Folsom. We really agree with President that you can do great work there. And, we have a companion there that we really want you to help out." I was pretty [upset]. I'll email details to you about that later Mom. But anyhow, I kinda accepted the assignment somewhat bitterly cuz I love the Spanish people and teaching them and felt that it was WAY too early to take me out of Spanish work. So, I'm pretty mad about it all, but after talking to [my President] about it, I calmed down and accepted the call. So, I don't like it, but I'm gonna do it. 

Anyhow, on a somewhat brighter note, we have 4 baptisms lined up and I may not see them (go figure) because Folsom is pretty far up north, from what I hear. So this seems to be the cycle of my mission: I go out, I find 'em, may see a few go down into the font, but usually leave, or they leave somewhere else, before I see it happen. A lot of frustration, but at least I am bringing more and more back into the fold. Anyhow, I love you Mom. I'll write to you quick before I log off.

Elder Sierra

Letter #2:
Okay mom I feel we are having bipolar conversations right now...so bear with me, haha. Remember that I am your beloved first born haha. Yeah, after the APs gave me the call I told them, "Umm, yeahh, where's Prez?" They told me he is very tired and just returned home. I told them "Well, I'm gonna call him.  This is stupid." *click* APs war again lol. I called President asking him, "I know you're tired, but I need to talk to you. Can you spare the time?" He, of course, said, "I always have time for you, Elder Sierra," and I told him my concerns about losing the Spanish I gained and going into English work so early. He told me, "I had a feeling you'd call me about that. Even I didn't want to give you that calling at first, but Elder Sierra, I am putting you there, actually, because many missionaries have told me the need to start a Spanish group in Folsom. So, I am sending you to actually do Spanish work there, but at the same time, I need you in Folsom because you need to teach your new companion how to baptize and to prepare yourself for leadership very soon. I know you don't want to do leadership but this is something I need you to do. Also, I know amazing things will happen in English work. Also, if you find any more crips, you can baptize them." With that, I calmed down and realized that it will be a change, but that it's necessary. So, I called the APs back, apologized and packed my bags.
p.s. [To answer mom's question], I dont wanna be a leader cuz I like just working, but I know I need to so I will anyways. Mom. it's time for me to go.  Love you SO much. Bye

Words of Wisdom From Elder Sierra's Letter to Benjamin:

I have calmed down a lot more. I made a goal this [past] transfer to be strictly obedient and to learn my Spanish to a point where I can teach smoothly without stumbling. I have achieved both....
We need to get back on instruments bro. I am learning piano and am playing the guitar and the ukelele out here so you need to get back on piano and pick up an instrument, as well. I promise, as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, it will strengthen our brotherhood, help us to be of better service to others, it will be fun, and it would make Mom VERY happy. Love you bro,
Elder JG

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Letter from 9/16/2013

Hey Mom,

This week has been tough! No new investigators and not many sit down lessons this week. Kinda depressing, but I was depressed about my first couple transfers because we had a hard time, and it did me no good, so I can't get mad and bog myself down. Instead, I take it out on soccer every week when we play on p-day. Pwning people really helps to get the stress out, haha.

Nick's father is coming along. He has been recognizing, little by little, how much the Church means to him and his family and we are SO CLOSE. He comes to church every week and has great insights on the Book of Mormon. His favorite story is about the testimony of Abinadai and how we all need to be exactly like him: ready to put your life on the line by following the example of Jesus Christ, to which I responded, "Pues hermano, usted es listo. ponga su vida in los manos de nuestro Salvador y sera bautizado?" (translation: Well brother, you are ready. Will you put your life in our Savior's hands and be baptized?) GOT HIM GOOD!! We have a date in October that we are working for. He wants us to help him finish preparing to take that final step. We are very excited for him.

Also, on October 5th, we have a date for a member's (Angel) wife and son. The wife (Teresita) used to HATE the missionaries and now loves us coming over and always wants to feed us. We couldn't believe the change she went through. I love her son, Angelito. He and I are tight. I took some time with him to read about the 2,000 Stripling warriors and how he is likened unto them. I then asked, "Are you ready to join the ranks of those amazing young men and be baptized?" He was like, "Elder Chico (his nickname for me), I have been waiting for that forever. When can I get baptized?" This kid is a little ball of fire, so full of joy and of the Spirit.

Even through the hard times there are always little miracles to be had. I love you Mom, and good luck with everything back home. I do pray every night for you all... I can't think of how I miss Dad's advice to me and his sense of humor, the love I received from my mother giving me a hug and kiss before I walked out the door, or watching my brother grow up, becoming an amazing Man. If I do, I begin to miss home, but know that I think of you often and I love you all so much.
Elder Sierra
p.s. I have been singing for members and we have a music night for one of them.... I told them if we do that they have to send the videos to my mom cuz they want me to sing Phantom of the Opera and other things like that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Letter from 9/09/13
Hey Momma

Yes, Benjamin was telling to me about his (soccer) game. It'll be good to watch him when I come home. I wish I'd paid more attention to his martial arts and other stuff that he was doing while growing up. I miss them. Anyhow, I am feeling better now and I am trying to work at a better pace... It's hard to stay diligent and not collapse, but after talking to the zone leaders (cuz they were getting a little worried) they told me to take 20 minute naps every day. In fact, it's a rule! Didn't know that. 

Here's my spiritual moment of the week: We went by to see a less active family called the Castros. Very beautiful family. Five kids and they are all very nice. We were sitting with them and talking with them about life and a little about ourselves. They commented on my Spanish. They said it sounded different. Sister Castro said it sounded very clean, like from Spain. Her husband thought it was very fast, like it was from Cuba. Both were right on the mark haha. I told them how my Father is Cubano and my Mother served her mission in Barcelona. They thought it was awesome how I was apparently mixing the dialects while I was learning the language, especially since I am surrounded by a Mexican culture. I was proud (obviously). 

Later on, we talked about the gospel. They then asked me what was it that helped me gained my testimony. I told them a very short, summarized portion of how I humbled myself to pray to my Father in Heaven and how that lead to me opening my heart to want to learn more for myself. The spirit filled the room. I then went on to say that I wanted my testimony to be likened unto Moroni's. "For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ And I, Moroni, will not deny the CHRIST." 

In these days, we live in a world where we are constantly being tempted. Sin is right at our every doorstep and the snares of temptation are more cynical and lines between right and wrong are blurred. Families are under siege, the philosophies of man are preferred over scriptural doctrine, the adversary is very busy trying to remind us that we are sinners and that we have no chance of returning to our Father. People continue to bash the church with false impressions that we believe in something that is too incredible to ever happen to any man.

I just had the opportunity to bear my testimony to a man that was insulting us as we were walking by, and I could no longer take it. He said that Joseph Smith was a fraud and a liar. I ran up to him, before my companion could stop me, and testified to him. "SHUT your mouth and listen to what is TRUE!! This is the true church on the earth. It was restored by Joesph Smith, who saw God. He translated the Book of Mormon and testified that JESUS is the CHRIST! I can understand if people hated him if he said he WAS Christ. Or that someone else is Christ. Or that there is NO Christ (that part's from a talk). But, he merely testified to those that thought they knew Christ that he saw Him and spoke to Him. He is a modern living witness that Jesus is the Christ and our message is the greatest message on the Earth, ever since the angels testified that our glorious Savior, our King, the Holy one of Israel, was coming to redeem all mankind. This is my testimony to you." He was completely dumbfounded. I left a Book of Mormon on his step and walked back to my companion. Never be afraid to testify. It strengthens your testimony and it helps us to overcome the temptations of the world. Through Christ we can overcome all things, but it requires humility.  Love you Mom.

Elder Sierra

Friday, September 6, 2013

 Letters from Tuesday, 9/3/2013

Hey Dad, 

I'm happy that you saw my area and that you all loved the package I sent home. I also appreciate my package, Dad. My companion, Elder Lee, and I were thrilled to see the snacks in there and especially, the Red Robin's gift card that we are HITTING UP TODAY after our shopping trip to Bass Pro Shop haha. The members are hookin' us UP!! 
So, you guys were all in my area!!! (Mom and Dad had a business trip which took them to Elder Sierra's mission. Afterwards, we sent pictures of where we went!)  Ripon is part of my area!! You actually were VERY close to where I was serving. Definitely walking distance. Stockton is not my area. 
The mission is good. I'll explain more about it in Mom's letter but yeah, we are finding small miracles everywhere we go. I hope you felt the Lord pouring out His Spirit throughout Sacramento, cuz He is. I love the work that's going on and I have been trying my hardest to love my ward and the members with all my heart. This is the work of the Lord and it can't be stopped by any man. I continue to try and be as Bold as a LION and love everyone. 
Father, you are my example and no one compares to you. I love you and I will talk to you next week. Thanks for honoring my work and not seeing me, as much as I am sure you wanted to. However, if you did, it would've destroyed the sweet reunion that we will have in about 18 months. Time flies fast Dad. Before you know it, I'll hit a year. Then it'll be 6 months, then one week left. Then I will be home. And I will scream this when I come off the plane. "I'm BACK SUCKAS!!!" And you will know it's me. 

Love you,

Elder Sierra

Hey Mom,

Entonces, You had a lot to write this time. Which makes me have to write more. Don't like that haha, but I loved every bit of your letter....  
I finished the Book of Mormon today in personal study and the last 30 minutes of my study I was praying to God, asking Him again if the Book of Mormon was true. And he answered me with a burning bosom in my soul,  to which I responded in humble and loud praise, an everlasting prayer of gratitude for blessing me to be born of goodly parents, for my parents taught me to walk uprightly before God. For behold, I am a SON of GOD, a latter-day stripling warrior. MY MOTHER taught me to have faith in Jesus Christ, to pray always, and to praise God. Yea, it was my MOTHER who turned me into a Faithful young man. And I watched and learned from my righteous Father, daily, striving to be a righteous and worthy PRIESTHOOD HOLDER... You taught me the truth of God. I know my purpose. It is to save souls, love them, cherish them, and FIERCELY, WITH ALL OF MY BEING, PROTECT THEM! 
I am happy you saw my mission. My home away from home. The members here are wonderful. Oh, how I wish you could meet them. Many came from very humble backgrounds, but are so loving. They have enlisted me and my companion in their choir. My companion and I look forward to choir practice. It is a lot of fun. We look forward to serving these people every day and we are constantly exhausted. 
This transfer has been hard. I have not gotten any sleep.  I'm struggling to stay awake in lessons, at times, and especially, in Sacrament meeting on Sundays. I fall asleep without even realizing it, even when I think I am paying attention. It does bother me. My companion has been great about being patient with me. He knows I'm trying to work hard every minute and he even said, "Elder Sierra, I cannot possibly ask anymore of you because I am afraid that you will push even harder than you are now and drop dead." Sadly, I pushed too much and fainted yesterday. Luckily, it was after our last lesson and my companion placed me in the car, drove us home, and threw me into bed. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing companion. He is [very much] a brother in my eyes. 
Mom, the work is going very well. Our baptism that we had with little Nick was amazing. We are working with his father, and are continuing to help our other investigators come closer to Christ. I have never loved more, I have never cried more, and I have never prayed more in my life. The gospel is true. I love you Mom.

Your Stripling Warrior,

Elder Sierra