We finally heard from Tyson on Monday, September 30th. It was great to hear how his first week in the mission field had gone. Here is the email we got from him for the whole family. Then we each got another one from him. He told us all to be grateful for all we have. Be grateful for our Utah church experience. He said we are so blessed to have so many member around us.
Hey Mom! (and family)
Ok where do I begin! This week has been the craziest week of my life. I arrived in Tennessee around 3. They had about 35 missionaries going to the Tennessee, Nashville Mission. The biggest group ever!! They even had more Sister Missionaries than Elders! President Anderson and Sister Anderson are the greatest! They made us feel welcome and they were so loving! I love them already. They had the assistants teach us in separate groups, while they did interviews with the President and his wife. They are such great people. Well that took all day. We had to make sure that the luggage got to the house. They made sure everyone was fed. Then we went to bed around !! haha The mission home was huge! I loved spending the first night in there. The next day we went to a stake center. The stake center was right by the Tennessee Temple! It is a tiny temple! haha I can't wait to go in it! So we went to the stake center and we had a devotional. Then they were talking to us about our Trainers. Then we gathered in the gym and they introduced the new 35 missionaries and they introduced the Trainer Companions. Then they gave us a letter and we went up to the pulpit / stage area and read where we were assigned to labor and who our trainer was. I was assigned to the Marion, Kentucky Mission! My Trainer is Elder Fisher! I'll try to get a picture to you guys. He is awesome. I've learned so much from him! He is very obedient and very nice. We get along really well! So we get done with out meeting and start heading off to our area. The only problem is.... We are opening up Marion!!! They haven't had Missionaries in Marion for about 5-10 years. So we have to start off fresh! Opening a new area is pretty difficult. They also didn't have an apartment ready for us.... Crazy stuff. haha So we've been staying in Princeton with some members. We barley moved into our apartment today! It's actually a small little house. It's very nice. So we have been traveling back and forth between Princeton and Marion. (about 24 miles one way! about 30 minutes to get there) We have been looking for less actives in both areas. We only found a couple. Either bad addresses, No answer, or the address doesn't make sense. Luckily Elder Fisher bought an awesome GPS to help us out. If we didn't have the GPS, it would've been really hard. The other fun fact about Marion and Princeton, is we only have 1 church / stake center for the area around it. The boundaries of the "stake" is about 100 miles across. Having the church in the middle. So about 50 miles in each direction! CRAZY! These people have barley anyone in the zone. There are too many Baptist and other churches. haha They have a church every 5 seconds. haha They are nice people though. VERY HUMBLE! They go to our church because they know it's true and they have no one forcing them to go. Sacrament meeting was incredible. These people have nothing, but they truly have EVERYTHING. They will do anything to help us out. Our first night in Princeton, we stayed with the Wrights. They are very nice. Then we had to move to the Baird's house because the Wrights daughter came home early from the school break. The Baird's have been letting us live with them most of the week. I love them! They are so nice and they fed us food and made sure we had everything we needed. It was hard to get ready for the day and still stay packed. They have barely any apartments up in Marion, so it took awhile to get something. Elder Fisher and I are just grateful to finally be in a place now.
Missionary work is different than I thought it would be, but it's getting better! The first couple of nights I was having a hard time getting used to the area, but each day gets better and better! Elder Fisher an I have already taught 23 Lessons, we have found about 10 new investigators, talked to 5 less-active members, and taught 2 members. Elder Fisher says that is a lot for a start! Especially opening up a new area! We don't have a lot of info about this area. Elder Fisher has been out for more than a year and he has never been to Marion. We are doing our best to make this area awesome and we are going through this new experience together! The computers only let us get on for an hour at the library, but I'll see what I can do to get more time. That is why I'm just telling you as much as I can. I want to tell you more!!!
-Elder Fisher is from Idaho, Idaho Falls
-He is 23
-Active Members in my area, about 40- 50 (we can fix that! haha)
-Am I glad that I'm serving? YES!!!
-Temperature? Humid, but we have a car and right now, we haven't been in the sun very much cause we have been trying to contact less-active members. Still pretty hot.
-Water taste? UGH! we got a filter and hopefully it will work haha. It's not too bad :)
-Will I come back with an accent? NOPE! People speak a little different, but you don't stay with their accent. I've seen a TON of missionaries that have been here for a long time and they sound normal! haha
-There are about 250 missionaries in my mission right now. By the end of the year, we should have more Sisters than Elders! crazy!
-We have a huge mission!
Got to go for a second. I'll see what I can do! I love you guys! I miss you!
This is the address that you use to send me letters! It won't change throughout my mission. It is the Mission Home. They tell us to have you send it through them. They know our apartment so they will just send it to us. Make sure to write my name before the address as it is shown below. My P-Day is are .
(Use Post Office)
Elder Tyson T. Cottam
105 Westpark Drive Suite 190
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027