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, January 13, 2014


Well Mom, 

As far as missionary work is going out here, it's not getting much better. We dropped Marcos and Miguel and it's been going down-hill with all of our investigators, except for Maria Orozco. She has been doing very well and understands the promptings from the Spirit. We invited her to church and we are keeping our fingers crossed. Maria is a single mother of three beautiful girls, aged 12, 7, and 5 and is very in tune to the Spirit. She recognizes the difference when we visit with her. She is struggling a lot, but she has understood the restoration and the plan of salvation well, and has accepted a baptismal invite. We are very excited for her and we will issue her a date soon. She's a very wonderful person. 
 I will admit that I was feeling down and I was wondering why I was having no success as a missionary right now. I felt like I wasn't getting much help and that I was just going through the motions. I then rekindled my fire last Monday and went to WORK!! Got about 26 lessons (never happens) and we just blew up our area by just talking to literally EVERYONE!! But, despite our efforts, nothing was happening. I was kinda giving up hope and then my companion got really sick. He had an accident when he was about 13 and has a crack in his head that causes severe migraines and the one he had last Sunday was very bad. He couldn't even see straight. I kinda lost it after that.  While I was thinking about all the failures I was having yesterday, Christian called and asked me if we had plans for our p-day. We told him that we had no plans and he wanted us to hang with him at his place for a bit. We went over and enjoyed watching Ephraim's Rescue, eating sandwiches his mom provided, played cards (not poker or anything like that!) and just had a real good time. 
While we had fun, I recognized that I did have success. We reactivated Christian and his family. Christian submitted his papers and is in the works of preparing for a mission. We did much better than gain a baptism, we added another future missionary to our ranks. I then recalled how we have also been bringing back families to the ward, helping them to understand that we go to church to better ourselves and if other people try to tear you down, stick with the people that love you. You will feel the Spirit strongly and you will not feel alone. Mom, you should see how the chapel has been filling up since when I first got here. We have reactivated about 5-7 families. The work is truly amazing and the Lord always blesses us,  just not always in the way we think or want. I love you Mom. Talk to you later.

Elder Sierra

January 6, 2014
Hey Mom,

Thank you very much for your prayers and for the updates on current events at home. Things, unfortunately, have been spiraling down a bit. We have been tracting like crazy and, one by one, we have been losing our investigators. Practically all appointments have been dropped this week and we have been sorta going on a reactivation mission. To top it all off, the branch has been [struggling with internal strife that has made getting referrals from difficult.] I can't tell you Mom how devastated I am right now. A branch that has members that [don't love and support each other] is bound for failure. I kinda feel like I am not doing anything to help the branch much...

On the upside, we helped re-activate a young man, Christian, and he wants to serve a mission now. We are very excited for him and we have taken him out with us and he has seen the difficulty of the mission through us. He is still excited. We are hoping for a miracle to happen right now and we are going to focus more on the members right now... I am talking with President Lewis soon and we are going to figure out a plan of attack. Hopefully, things will look up. I love you Mom.

Elder Sierra

Jan 1, 2014
Dear Mom,

It was really a relief to be able to talk to you all again. Like I said before, it's hard to get homesick, but you kinda forget about family and what they look like, what their interests are, and how you used to act with them. Things change and it was just nice to know that you're still the same family that I knew and still know. The Skype session refreshed me with the knowledge that, when I come back, the world may be different and my friends may have moved on in life, as well, but my family will still be as awesome as they were when I left. I miss you all, but not enough to come home just yet.

As far as the work goes, things have been slowing down. We have people to teach, but we need to go find people that have an actual desire to act. So I have been changing my approach on how I have been teaching. I emphasis 'faith' a lot more and how faith is a work. It is action. If you have faith, you must act, otherwise (as James beautifully put it) it is dead. So, we are weeding out our teaching pool and that may unfortunately include Marcos and Miguel. It pains my heart that we may have to drop them, but when we do that, we don't abandon them, we merely drop them in the Lord's hands. He will know when they are ready.

Mom, I love you so MUCH. I love you all so much. I love all the people that have been rooting me on and giving me support, ESPECIALLY Betty Boga and what she did for me. I could not stop crying when she sent me all that. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of my childhood back in South Florida. It is always a beautiful part of my life that I remember fondly the families that we knew from there. The mission has done much more than help me grow. It has reconnected us with old friends. One of the first people I will visit, after family of course, is probably my cub scout leader, Sister Boga. I have a lot to thank her for. I love you Mom. Talk to you Monday :).

Elder Sierra


Christmas 2013
We didn't get a letter from Elder Sierra for Christmas, but we did get to speak to him on Christmas Eve (lucky us!), due to a Fed-ex snafu with his Christmas pkg that finally arrived in time for Christmas. We also spoke with him on Christmas Day via Skype. =) Here are a few pics and our favorite quote from our conversations:

Somebody was talking and didn't notice how short the barber was cutting his hair until it was too late! LOL.At least hair grows back...
 Elder Sierra took a few minutes to show his brother how to juggle!

Here's our favorite quote from our Christmas conversation: When Elder Sierra's dad asked him what his favorite part of the mission was he replied, "I love all the opportunities to sing and share my testimony through music, but that's not my favorite part. My knowledge of the gospel has grown exponentially, but that's not my favorite part either." After listing a few other things, he said, "After sacrament meeting, I'll be standing in the back of the chapel and I'll look across the room at my investigators, members, and families I know, all going about their business. A feeling comes over me and whispers to me as I watch them and I think to myself, 'These are MY people. These are my flock and I need to serve them and protect them and I LOVE them. These are MY people.' I have had that feeling and felt the Spirit in every area I have served in and I have loved the people there. These are MY people and I love serving and teaching them. That feeling I get is my favorite part of the mission."
Awesome, Elder Sierra. Awesome.

 Oh, look! Hair!
Merry Christmas!