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, November 11, 2013


Dear Mom,

This week has been interesting for me. I have been switched back into Spanish work and it is the opposite of English work and 6 weeks is more than enough time to lose your touch. However, the Lord has blessed me with another awesome companion, Elder Sempf, and I can't be more grateful (although, I will admit that I was a bit worried coming here.) All the Spanish missionaries I knew told me that the 7th Branch was hard to work with: the members aren't that helpful in the work, the branch president is very difficult to work with, and the people living in the area are very stubborn. After being here for almost 6 days, I want to [go back to] every elder that told me those things [and set them straight]. The people here are wonderful, I love the branch president and am excited to work with him, and the members and their families here are beautiful and have such joyful spirits. We meet in a humble building that is very old, but I have never seen a brighter and happier branch in all my life. They are all so humble and willing to serve everyone, especially us.

We have been doing great work here so far. We have already picked up 5 people/families and one in particular, Elena Leyva, has already accepted a date for this November. Yesterday was a special experience that I'd like to share. While we were tracting, we found a girl named Kylee (another English one) and she opened the door excitedly. She said that she always wanted to know why we knock on everyone's door. We began to teach her about the Restoration that soon transitioned into the Plan of Salvation after she asked several questions about the purpose of life and the life that awaited after this one. While we were explaining to her that, after this life, we are reunited with our bodies in a perfect, resurrected state, she began to cry (uncontrollably). We were stunned. We had no idea what to say. My companion asked her if everything was okay. She then explained that she has chronic meningitis and is in pain almost every day. She used to be a soccer player and can't play anymore because neither her nor her family can afford the medication that she needs. She passes kidney stones frequently and gets very fatigued very easily and she just wants to be normal again. It was hard for us to hold back our tears. A thought then reminded me of Kim and I explained to her how I knew of someone that was in the same struggle as her. I told her how Kim, even though she was feeling pain that has sent her to the hospital numerous times and has passed many kidney stones, as well, that through all of her trials I have never seen her get discouraged, ever. She always presses on, never giving up. Seeing that really inspired me to continue through some difficulties I was going through at the time, as well. Kylee asked me, "How is she always happy?" "I don't know actually. I don't know how she does it. I'm sure she has gone through quite a few rough patches, but I guess, maybe, she got tired of letting it affect her happiness. She's just always smiling, as if she never was sick. It's incredible. One day, maybe I'll ask."

We ended the lesson sharing a scripture from D&C 122: 7-9. (7. And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
 8. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 9. Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.)
Afterwards, she asked us, "Can I get baptized?" We laughed and said, "What a coincidence! We were just about to ask you the same." She is set for Dec. 7th. We are very excited for what more we can do in West Sacramento.

I love you, Mom. As far as the Christmas list you wanted me to send, I wouldn't mind some guitar/ukelele books. I don't know what else to ask, really. Love you Mom.

Elder Sierra   

(ties sound good, some vocal point cd's, $$ or gift cards, Spanish music that is uplifting is approved.)

Elder Sierra's letter from last week
Dear Mom,
My transfer call was this.
"Elder Sierra you have been called to go back into Spanish work. Your new assignment is West Sacramento. Your new companion will be Elder Sempf and you will be serving in the Sacramento 7th ward."- President Lewis
Me - "Alright, cool."
Pres. - "That's all you have to say?"-Pres.
"No yelling, no defying, nothing?"
"Well, Elder I am impressed. And you may not want to get too comfortable being in West Sacramento either. We may have plans for you."
So, yeah, I am back in Spanish work and from what President is telling me, I will probably only stay there for, like, a transfer (two if I get lucky). I am driving and from what Zone leaders are tellin me, they think I'll go train next transfer, or something like that... but all is well. I have done quite a bit here in Folsom and am excited to go back into Spanish work. My Spanish has been getting a bit rusty. So, my Thanksgiving will be in a Spanish ward and district. I am looking forward to it, though. Everyone says Sac 7th is the best Spanish ward. And, I know who my companion is and he is pretty awesome, so it will be fun. 
Unfortunately, I don't have too much to write about other than the fact that I had a little sparring match with a random guy I met on the street the other day (I was close to Ranch Cordova area). These guys were amateur boxing and my companion and I were on splits (it always happens on splits) and these guys were antagonizing us to box with them quick. My zone leader was looking at me cuz he knew I was not one to shy away from a challenge and was like, "Remember, fight the good fight elder. Don't give in." So I was gonna ignore it, then he commented about Joseph Smith. That was it for me. I told him alright, I'll take you on. If you beat me, I'll give you my wallet and my name tag, if you lose, you listen to the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, sure, and we can all kinda guess who won. So, we taught the restoration with a black eye that was oozing a bit (I did punch a little too hard in that little scuffle, but I thought he could handle it)) and he and his friend have a date for December. HAHAHAHA!!! Man, I love being a missionary. I love you Mom. Hope you ain't mad!
Elder Sierra "your wonderful, beautiful, angel son"
A follow-up to mom's concerned reply:

Everything is fine. That was the first time in a LONG time that I have had an incident like that. And you know what, maybe that was or wasn't the best way to do it, but in the end, it is what I was impressed to do. I did not turn to him to beat him up because I was angry that he insulted Joseph Smith. I could've done that without putting on gloves and taking time to set up a deal with him. Honestly, it's the way the Spirit works through me (no lie). I felt prompted to go and box with him. It is the truth. Afterwards, I got him ice, sat him down, hugged him, shared the wonderful message of Christ, and he was crying. I told him how much I loved him and he replied, "How? You don't even know me!" Me: "Of course I do! You're my long lost brother that I just found. I loved you before I even started talking with you." I should've included that because I realize it probably does sound more like a conquest when I didn't include that. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


Elder Sierra has transfers this week so his letter will come on Tuesday. Here are some thoughts from last week:
...I have been tirelessly trying to do everything I can to Find, Teach, and Baptize. I have reached my 8 month mark, so I am 1/3 of the way finished. It' s kinda sad because I truly do love my mission with all my heart and the time seems to go by faster and faster. [Here's] a little quote I thought of: "Take the mission day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, then your done." It's a little bittersweet, but it does ring true to how short a time we have here...

Dear Mom,
I can barely recognize that kid [Benjamin]!!  ....Well, thanks for sending the package. I'll call the office to make sure they have it. To confirm the claim that Benjamin made about me learning the ukelele, it is true, although I have been putting aside the uke so that I can learn to play guitar. I can play quite a few songs and some of the members want to get me a book so that I can keep teaching myself how to play. By the time I am off the mission I should know how to play guitar, the uke, the harmonica, and the piano decently. I [want to] perfect them when I return home, along with playing bass guitar and the actual BIG Bass (always wanted to play that). So, yeah, been trying to stay musical...
As far as the work here goes, Linda is doing great; we have another lesson with her tomorrow night. We also have a new referral by the name of Kevin. He referred himself to us from Mormon.org (those are usually the best). We also have Nick Nelson who now has a date for the 30th of November and Steve Grove who is progressing well, he just doesn't have a date yet (haven't felt impressed to push him to do that yet). That is all the updates on our investigators right now. We are doing good and are still going strong. It's a lot of fun out here in Folsom and I am hoping I stay for at least one more transfer. I really want to see this zone baptize. I love you Mom.

Elder Sierra

Hey Dad,
I just heard about Benjamin's last game. It sounds like he has really  been coming along. I can see him one day playing in college like I

I am happy to say that the Mission President and I are just fine. We have our differences and still view things differently, but we are
still of one purpose in bringing souls to Christ. I think in either the next transfer or the transfer after he is going to make me a leader
of some sort. I'd rather just go senior because, like you said, I just got the mechanics down and am working on improving certain areas. 1/3 of my mission is now officially complete. It's kinda sad. The time just keeps on slipping away. I can't believe Ralynne is about to go home from hers. 
Well Dad, I received your letter and thank you. I like the hand-written stuff you send me... Thanks for the sweet quotes. The work here is goin good. Talk to you next week. Christmas is almost here. I will be able to skype again then.

Elder Sierra