Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Chicago Illinois

"I hardly know where to start for this week! I can't contain my
excitement because I am so happy!!! If I were in person with you all
I'd be jumping up and down, talking really really fast, and talking so
loud you would all look at me and say "Elese, calm down!" But we're
not, so just imagine that as I tell you the most amazing story if your
life! You might want to all sit down for this one because this is a
HUGE miracle!!! You won't believe your ears (or eyes) because it's so
fantastic!! Okay, are you ready.?
WE'RE HAVING A BAPTISM THIS FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!! I have mentioned Leena
before and she is from India and in an arranged marriage. She
requested a Bible online last July and the Elders have been teaching
her ever since. But she just wouldn't commit. She knew the Book of
Mormon was the word of God, and she loved the church but she didn't
want to be baptized. And the Elders had all but given up on her when
he most amazing Sisters arrived! Oh wait, that's me:) So we met her
exactly 2 weeks ago and we just loved her. We loved her before we even
met her and I think that's where the difference was. We could love her
and she finally felt understood and after the first lesson she told us
that she had gained 2 Sisters! She is is sweet and I have come to care
about her so much! So last Thursday in our Weekly planning session,
Sister Dias and I got the strongest impression that we needed to plan
Leena's baptism for soon or else she would never be baptized. We knew
that this was The Lords will and that we His servants doing His work.
So we made every plan to have her baptized in the month of January. We
fasted last Monday so that we could have the spirit with us and so we
would know what to say. So we went to dinner at the Charles home and
they had a son who just returned from his mission. He told us this
inspiring story about how when he had been on a mission his companion
and him had the same impression that they needed to plan for a baptism
the next Saturday and they didn't have any investigators. And that
Sunday someone moved into the Ward who had a 10 year old son that had
not been baptized so they had a baptism. So we are sitting here
listening to this story so blown away because that's what had happened
to us and we were headed to our appointment with Leena hoping to put
her on date!! So we go into Leena's lesson and I was so overcome with
the spirit. I started talking not knowing what I was even saying, but
knowing that the spirit would guide Sister Dias and I in whatever we
needed to say. We read from 3 Nephi 11 about tech doctrine of Christ
and the just boldly said "Leena, we think you need to be baptized in a
week" she just laughed and said oh no I'm not ready. Sister Dias just
smiled kindly but persistently back at her without saying a word. I
think she realized we were serious when we would not budge. She kept
saying No, that's okay and we would just sit there and smile without
saying anything. So finally we said Leena you should say a prayer and
ask Heavenly Father when He thinks you should be baptized. So she did
and we all sat there and pondered and finally Leena said, I think the
Saturday the 1st. And we felt good about that! So she was getting
baptized in 11 days. We could hardly believe it. I just knew that this
was The Lords will and as soon as we are willing to humble ourselves
and pray and seek His will, He made it known unto us. Well the next
day we hit our first hiccup. Leena's main fellow shipper would be gone
that Saturday. Wouldn't you know it! So Leena tried to push her
baptism back to the end of February. Nice try Leena, but you cannot
get past us! So we said how about the Friday before that? And it
worked for everybody! Now if know, by moving the baptism up one day we
moved it into January. Which, was our original goal. The Lord truly
knows what it best. And He has a plan for everything little thing that
we do, he has a plan. I have learned so much from this experience. The
Lord is in charge. And as we follow His will then I know that we will
see miracles we never dreamed of. So Leena will be baptized this
Friday. I could cry and probably will because I'm so happy!! It just
shows me that Sister Dias and I are meant to be here for a reason. And
one of those reasons is Leena. She says she's going to take us to
visit India someday and I'm so excited! So this week has been crazy.
Always right before a baptism the Adversary hits hard because Satan
does not want them to be baptized. And we've been feeling it too
because we are planning this all! But we will weather all the
temptation and evil that comes our way this week because it will all
be worth it. Since Leena is in an arranged marriage, usually we have
to get permission from the spouse. But we had to go to some petty high
up authorities to not have to get permission because he would mock her
and persecute her for her decision. So we've jumped through several
hoops this week and overcome all of them! I can hardly believe we just
opened up this area but 6 weeks ago and we as having a baptism. I'm
just to the brim with joy:) transfers are this week and i really
really hope Sister Dias and I can stay together! We moved into our
apartment this week and it's really nice. We have bunk beds! I have
the top bunk because heat rises and sod it's warmer up top! And even
more, we have beds. I slept so well the first night not being on a
deflated air mattress for the first time in a month. And if you don't
all stop complaining about the 40 degree weather in Arizona I just
might have to fly you all to Illinois and then see how much you like
that weather! It's back to -16 right now with a wind chill of -25. It
hurts to breath outside. It feels like I'm swallowing knives! And they
canceled the schools here today and tomorrow. I guess they're calling
it a freeze day. This is not global warming. Well that about sums up
my awesome week! I'll send you all pictures home next week of Leena's
baptism! Feel free to add her to your prayers:) I love you all so much
and appreciate all the encouragement! I hope you all have as good a
week as I will!"
P.S."So I sent my email and then I remembered that I still had some things
to tell you! This week we are teaching seminary!! And I'm pretty
nervous. I remember when the missionaries taught seminary and I
thought they were so cool and had so much knowledge. Now I know that
they are really just normal people who really don't have everything
figured out. Ha ha but we we teaching on Alma 33 and it's gonna be
awesome. Except it's early morning seminary. And by early I mean that
it starts at 5:40 in the AM. But I'm really excited to teach the
youth! And then yesterday we got asked to teach young women's next
Sunday on missionary work. And we have to come up with a member
missionary lesson that we have to present to the Mission Counsel next
Sunday for what we can use to teach and motivate members to do more
missionary work. The week of a baptism always seems to be the craziest
and everything happens at once! To answer Dads questions I'm doing
pretty good! This is so far the best and funniest part if my mission.
It has it's hard moments but every mission does and I appreciate all
your thoughts and prayers in my behalf. I'm excited to see where else
my mission takes me."

Words from Sister Heather Patterson in South Carolina

"I have had a wonderful week :) More and more I am so grateful I came on a mission :) I love teaching and helping people. These are pictures of my district and Demon and Elijah my favorite investigators!"

Words from Elder Kade Garner inn Peru

"Okay, well I just received a phone call. Tomorrow are transfers. I am leaving. I do not know how to feel about it. I mean I have been here for almost five months. I am ready to go but I am a little sad too. This area has been the hardest so far to love the people. I just learned to love them and for that I think I am leaving. My area and the ward are just starting to make some real progress so I am a little sad that I will not be able to see the final outcome. But I am grateful for the time I had in this area. For the people I met and for the families we were able to reactivate. I am grateful for learning how to work with leaders and for a stake president that was so willing to work with me. I just hope all the new leaders in the ward can continue working with the missionaries.

 So that is all I have to say this week. I know the church is true. I am fully sure of it. I know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour. I know that he leads the church. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He was not a perfect man and he had many faults, but I believe that that is why he was called to be a prophet. I love being a missionary and I love the people of Perú. Thanks for letting and helping me be able to serve. I love you all a ton. Until next week."



Words from Elder Austin Davis in Beaverton Oregon

Hey family him everything is going really well in the Beaverton West
zone. Everything is going really well he just got done playing some
basketball not those fun Hunsaker and winitana my old companion.
"Everything is going really good the Lord is awesome truly am truly
focused on their young young men's which is really sweet better than
being in Ysa. This week we had the opportunity to go to the
temple.Then Saturday we had elder D Todd Kristofferson come and give
to our question-and-answer session. You didn't talk to us as
missionaries to talk to us personally just our struggles and the
things we go through and he promised us that we are all worthy to be
missionaries that we're Allworthy vessels of the Lord is really cool
promise. And he also promised us that we can teach with more power and
we can testify with more persuasiveness was really cool to hear that
from an apostle of the Lord. It's kind of funny how you struggle with
things and then somebody is there to answer all your questions when
you don't let anybody know that you have those kind of questions. It
was a great experience to have as a missionary to be promised that you
were worthy vessel as we all struggle to become on the path of
righteousness. Another thing he said is it's nice to be in the quorum
of the 12 apostles because you feel young at 70. He said it doesn't
matter where you are on the path of righteousness as long as you're on
it that's all it matters. I know that Toleman this changes everybody's
lives as we continue to look to the Lord for strength and as long as
we rely on him you'll give us that. I hope that everybody's doing good
I'll pray for Penelope hope she gets over that cough. Well I hope
everybody's doing good I am growing a greater love for the Scriptures
as I dig myself down to try to understand what their thoughts are as
they're writing the Scriptures. Just know that this week is been
really good I'm we had family call us last night and they said they
will be inviting a family weekly to hear the missionary discussions
that's a family. I want to be like when I get home and return and have
a house of kids set the the example of true missionary. Makes me
laugh sister Mcnell goes on walks around the block to find other moms
are out and about and she Street contacts them and invite them over to
dinner and talks to them about the gospel . My companion and I are
sharing an iPad for now but I will be getting an iPad on February 4.
Well I better take off I love you hope you guys have a wonderful

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola

"hey hey everyone!!! Thanks for the letters this week:) it was fun hearing from all of you! you all rock. It good to hear that everything back at home are still in full swing and that the grand babies are getting so big! It don't think that i am going to recognize any of them by the time that i get back!! haha

 This week was way sick for us!!! When Chatwin and I became companions we decided that we wanted to focus on strengthening the branch, and boy has the Lord opened up some doors for us to do so. We have been helping members with their callings, passing by their houses, helped update the database of the branch records and just a huge array of things! In return we have receive a lot of trust from the branch president and he is actually asking for our suggestions on how we can all work together to strengthen the branch. It has really been a miracle to see all of these changes within the branch! And for the first time in like 2 months we got a member referral because we decided to visit the members and help them with their callings!

 The focus on the branch does not mean that we are not working with investigators though. Whenever we get free time we are out trying to find people and teaching families. We finally we able to sit with Adilsons dad and share a message with him and his whole family. After we were done Ricardo, adilsons dad, said 'you guys ought to pass by everyday so we can study the bible.' ha ha he is a very nice man along with the rest of the family members! Adilson this past week received the aronic priesthood and was passing the sacrament:) he had a grin from ear to ear as he was passing!

 Marcos is doing really good! every time we go over there he just has so many questions for us on the gospel and is like a sponge and soaks it all in! Our last visit with him was a very neat experience as we talked about the plan of salvation. Near the end he asked us how it is that he could be baptised. So we explained it all to him and also explained the law of chastity. after he learned that he said he would do anything to get baptised and said that he would get married so that he could do so!"


Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia

"I hope you guys are doing well and enjoying less snow than we have here. The whole town has been shut down for the last couple of days so we weren't able to email on Monday.  This week we are helping with the Chinese New Year Party and planning a big game tournament at the institute for all of the university students. One of the guys we are working with for the New Years party wants us to have a booth there so that we can tell people about our faith and dispel misconceptions people may have about the church. I have learned that missionary work is more than tracting and teaching, its also establishing the fact that the church of Jesus Christ helps everyone from missionaries to international students to every member in every ward. Hyrum Smith said to teach the most basic principles of the gospel over and over because each time we will learn exactly what our Father in Heaven wants us to know. I have faith that this is true and a testimony that this is the restored gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you guys and I can't wait to talk to you again on Monday."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola

Hey hey!! IT was so great to hear from all of y'all today:) Thanks for your letters and such!

 Well this week has been we cool! This morning At like 6 Elder Wilson left for the airport and went up to luanda, on Monday he will be headed back to the states. I am going to miss him a ton!! I really enjoyed my time working with him!

 This past week was kind of a rush and just was really busy with elder wilson going home. We also had several meetings with the elders up in luanda via video conference, and the baptisms and just teaching. it was a pretty full week, but i really enjoyed it:)

 We had 5 baptism this week from irmao rocks family. They were all his kids in that one picture! ha ha I was looking at his baptismal record and he has at least 17 children! ya holy cow!!! but the service went very well and it was a good experience for all of them, including rock and baptising for the first time. There were also like 30 people watching the baptisms! It was so good to see the members coming out to support these converts!!!

So Now we are teaching this really cool guy named Marcos. We didn't find marcos, he found us. two weeks ago marcos showed up to the step of the church with his member brother from the congo wanting to know more about the church. His brother was way inactive, but likes the church, but i am not seen him since. Marcos has been so open to our message and has been coming to every activity that he can at the church! The only thing that is going to hold him from getting baptised soon is that he needs to get married first, but he has such a strong desire that i think he will do all he can to get married! haha not every day that people come and contact us:) haha

 Well i love you all so much!!! thank you for everything that y'all do for me!! have a great week!!!

Words From Elder Lamar & Sister Sarah Jean Gray in the Domican Republic

As I mentioned before, we serve in a small branch 45 miles away. We now have four new, enthusiastic missionaries serving in the Los Llanos branch with us. Two of them are very musical and are helping with the keyboard class. I tell them every time I see them that they are an answer to my prayers. Now the young people are really improving! It definitely helps to have someone speaking the same language. J It is our hope and prayer that the members in the branch will be able to choose, play and direct the music when we leave.

 We recently had a change in the Santo Domingo Temple. Garry Flake is the new president. He grew up in Snowflake.  For the first time, the two counselors are Dominican. The first counselor, Juan Almonte, was our mission president when we served here in the West Mission office. The second counselor is Pedro Abreu.

 We had a wonderful experience two weeks ago.  I was asked to be the guide for a young woman going through the temple for the first time. It happened to be the wife of one of our missionaries (previous mission.) Then Elder Gray

and I were able to attend their sealing. A few years ago we were able to attend when he was sealed to his parents!

To quote Sister Elaine Dalton: “The temple is the reason for everything we do in the church. The temple was the reason our pioneer ancestors left their established homes and came west. It was the reason they suffered privation and even death… Some lost everything but came into the valley with everything, really---temple ordinances, sacred covenants, and the promise of eternal life together as families.”

With 80,000 missionaries out now, just think how many people are soon going to be able to enter the temple!

 May God bless you all,


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas



"thanks so much im doing the best i can to grow its getting harder though. i really liked what you had to say, we have a lil sheet were passing around to the members to write down who they fill inspired to see and to write down something to do or a goal that they have to go and do for that person. i really hope it works i feel like well have to go and follow up with them alot cuz i know they will forget or will soon lack the motivation. this is such hard work i dont know what i would do without my planner. its been so difficult to follow up with everyone we have when they are not home. the work is deffinatly hastining though we recently had a member from the 70 come down and promise us a blessing and he said "righteousness and truthfullness will sweep this mission as a flood" it was so sweet to be given that promise this mission is going to have so many baptisms. we are going to thrash this mission im so pumped to see this work and to be apart of it. i know that as i am exactly obediant and help the zone in thier efforts we will proggress so much. its such a blessing to be called as a repersentative of jesus christ..... tj and i were talking about the family and how we can help build eachother and we talked about alyssa and what we can do for her to keep her as close to the gospel as we can i want to help the family as much as i can so if thier is anything you need me to do or talk to me about ill do my best to help! i love you dad and i know that christ lives and he is thier to help our family ill do what i can. let me know how i can help!:)"

Words from Elder Tyler Crosby in Tonga


"The last couple weeks here in Tonga have been pretty awesome. Christmas and New Years have seriously been a memory that I will never forget. Even though it wasn't spent with my family I had some really cool experiences.


Christmas morning, We woke up really early and opened my box sent from MOM. It was really fun sharing all of my stuff and opening the presents was a cool experience. I gave my stocking to a kid that had been staying with us for a while I just wanted him to feel the way I get to feel every year with the great parents I have. He really enjoyed and was very thankful. My companion's stocking we gave to our neighbors and they were really excited to get it. Our neighbors have really been the most Christlike people I know. They seriously take such good care of us. My companion got to call his family and even had some family on the island so they came and visited and brought us all types of food! I have learned a great deal of what it means of giving. Also our ward had a huge barbecue so we got to eat again. We seriously ate so much and had such a good day. I really had times where the spirit really reminded me of Christ and of the happiness of the gospel and it made me so very thankful for all that I have. December 26 I got up like normal and was getting ready to call you guys when out of no where we had a teaching. Knowing I couldn't miss this opportunity I went and that's why I called late. It was so good to hear from you guys and to talk to you each individually. Mom and Dad really said things that I needed to hear and being able to talk to dad about my struggles and to open my heart and express my struggles and hardships to him really made me so grateful for a dad who supports me in all I do and so grateful for Parents who I can talk to about anything.

New Years:

New years was a little crazy things happened that I never thought could happen in a church but it was seriously so cool. So new years eve we had another huge barbecue and ate so much as a branch. Then later at 9 at night we had a fireside which lasted until 11! That was one thing I have never even heard of before, but it was a really good fireside. The speakers talked about missionary work and the spirit was really there. The coolest thing was seeing one of the ladies we baptized speak on missionary work. It really made me thankful for missionary work and being able to know we helped her reach the church really touched my heart. She spoke with such power and such a strong testimony she seemed like she has been a member her whole life. She really has influenced so many people especially me. She is going to speak at stake-conference on Sunday and I am so excited:) After the fireside we ate ice cream and rolls and waited for new years. Some members lit off fireworks and almost had a bad accident because he put the firework in upside down. lol After News years happened I learned a new Tongan tradition and that is all everyone does this cheek to cheek thing. The ladies (older ones) kissed me on the cheek when they did it, but it was really cool to see how everyone has a general love for each other and it was really awesome. Being away from my family and spending Holidays in Tonga was not easy, but The things I learned and have experienced are things that really have impacted me in so many ways. I know its late but I hope all of you had a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS and the best NEW YEAR!! I sure am grateful for the gospel and for the happiness it brings. I know this church is God's true church and nothing will change that. I am eternally grateful for my family and for the opportunity to be on a mission. I LOVE you guys:)"

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola

"The first two pictures are when we went exploring with the huambo elders on pday at a huge waterfall and the last picture are the first ward missionaries ever here in lubango!!!!"

Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

So, this week was a pretty great week! Let me tell ya about it...

 Tuesday: Zone Conference! It was awesome! I loved it and I learned SO much! Pres. and Sister Budge are amazing, and the missionaries in my mission are amazing! Super spiritually uplifting day! Plus I learned some more about goals and making it happen, which is even better!

 Wednesday: Normal day, tracting, trying to locate less-actives and what not. But the other day, we did a "blitz" after zone training and Asada Shimai found a lady that knew the missionaries 10 years ago. She is super nice, so we set up an appointment with her. It went super well! We are going to help with her English class on thursday this week. She is super strong in her buddhist faith, like the strongest I've seen, she goes to the temple twice a week in Niigata City, which is over an hour away. Anywho, when we taught her, we asked if she had interest, and she said she wanted to learn more about Christ, and she was super interested in the purpose of life. SO excited to see her again! We gave her an English and Japanese Book of Mormon. She speaks great english and has been reading the bible to learn more english. One of her questions was why did Adam and Eve and all the old testament prophets live so long? She said she couldn't believe it! Haha

 Thursday: We visited T San, her dog finally died! But, now I think it's an even bigger problem now that he is dead, because she has made a shrine for him and now prays to him...We really need to help her understand the there is only one God and He is her Father in Heaven, and she can pray to Him for Rako Chan and for her ancestors, but she shouldn't pray exactly to her ancestors and dead dog. It was a cool shrine though, cute pictures, complete with dog food and everything. Oh I love Japan. :) We also taught K San, she is great! She is just having a hard time applying gospel principles to her life. But this week we are doing a family home evening with her and a stellar family in our ward, and it's gonna be great I think!

 Friday: We visited S Shimai and invited her to an activity that was suppose to be today, but she couldn't come :( We are trying to keep a relationship with her in hopes that someday she will again have a desire to change. But, ya for right now, she is done. I really hope she notices a difference. Before she dropped us she came to church every week and we met with her twice a week for a lesson. So when you take away all of those opportunites that she had to feel the spirit, I hope she recognizes the difference.

 Saturday: Visited T San again, with a gift to express our sorrow at her passing dog. She is crazy! Love her, but when we visited she said that there was no way she could ever be a mormon because she loves sake and smoking to much. I told her she could stop :) We will continue helping her. She is awesome, I hope we can help her understand her relationship with God. I think just recognizing that she is a daughter of God, will help her loads and loads.

Sunday: Love our branch! After church we had a little get together called shoukujikai where we ate mochi in stew and mochi with anko. Yummy! I really like mochi, especially when it's with strawberries or whipped cream! Yum! It's even good with peanut butter, but that's not japanese, that's very Sister Herring :)

We also visited a less-active, who I absolutely love. I have met her twice, and she is struggling, but I don't know with what. But everytime we visit she is close to tears, bears her testimony and hugs us. I want to help her! She is amazing! O Shimai! :)

 And today is normal p-day, did some shopping and tonight is music night. We also want to do some more area book work. It's been snowing, so we can't ride our bikes and getting everywhere takes FOREVER! So we are trying to figure out how we can use time wisely. I have decieded that as a missionary I prefer summer to winter. As Kortlynn I love all of this snow, and think it's great, but as sister herring it sure makes dendo hard. But we will find a way!


Words from Elder Austin Davis in the Portland Oregon Mission

"good morning family :) how is everybody so i got transferred to the only other place in beaverton hahah looks like im suppose to be in the beaverton area im emailing from the same place i emailed when i was in hillsboro! hahha makes me laugh my new comp is elder treharne ! he is from japan but he is a white boy really cool really obedient i was his district leader back in tigard! im doing really good one of my good friends got his visa and is going to brazil now! im feeling good healthy got a new apartment bigger nicer cleaner so thats good:) mamma:) im doing allright i think this will be a good transfer ha he has been here for 7 1/2 months so next transfer ill be getting anew comp :) ha makes me laugh im on my tenth comp. haha
Well I saw Kylie Udall yesterday at transfers that was pretty cool. We were in the same EFYgroup so it was nice to see a familiar face. i'm excited about serving in Beaverton again I met a lot of really great people here."

Words from Elder Garrett Anderson in Brazil

"So i was looking at our area from the map, and it is west of Brasília, in a part called Ceilândia. The area we cover is called "P. Norte." As you zoom in, you can see different sectors. My companion cover Sectors M, N, P, and a part called "sol nascente." This is our new area and it is really big. We do a lot of walking so i am staying in shape still and my companion just bought a basketball today so we will go and play.

On Tuesday morning i got a phone call at 7 from the assistants. I was a little nervous because they never call unless it is something pretty important. I was informed that there was a missionary arriving that afternoon from the United States and that i would be training him! So i went from being a step-father for two days to a new dad! I am so happy and now my son is one week old! I have been laughing a lot at his Portuguese and now i understand why the Brazilians laugh at Americans when they try to speak, it sounds pretty funny.

Other than that, we have been pretty lost in our new area which is gigantic! I had 1 day in the area before my new companion got here and i knew nothing. We have been running around trying to figure out who are the investigators that the other missionaries were teaching, the leadership of the ward and the whole shabang.

Fortunately we have been able to teach a few people this week. We taught a family on Friday and it was a very spiritual experience. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted. My companion had no idea what was happening and i explained to him after and he was pretty pumped. We also had the opportunity to give a blessing to this girl who has some pretty bad chicken pox.

This mission has been one of the best things i have ever done in my life. I am so grateful to be here working in the Lord's vineyard to help others come unto Christ. Here (in the service of the Lord) we can feel more peace and pure love of Christ than anything else. I invite you all to experience this work as well by being member missionaries each and every day, helping others to feel the same joy that we feel. I know that Christ lives and loves us more than we can or will be able to realize in this life. Have a great week."

Words from Elder Ryder Nielsen in the Philippines Manila Mission

"Well this week was awesome! We had the baptism of Sister Josefine Bo! She was so so happy. I love the feeling of knowing you helped some one start on the path of happiness. She has been one of my favorite people to teach. Actually i can't say that because i love everyone i teach but my experiences with her have been very unique. This coming Saturday we will be having the baptism of Sister Merilyn Vasquez! She is such an awesome Lady we have nicked named her Super Mom because it literally is mind blowing to me how she can take care of 5 kids the oldest being 8 years old in the circumstances that they are living in. Her husband is constantly working to provide for them so it is only her to manage the rest. My companion and I always prepare our selves for war when we enter her home because we know that when we walk through that door 5 little kids start to pull on our ties pull our hair punch us where ever they can and some times they aim pretty low (if you know what i mean) and it doesn't help that i told them i was a wrestler back home so they all want to wrestle! So we have come up with strategies to be able to keep the kids preoccupied while we teach Sister Merilyn. We usually bring some candy or treats but the most effective way is one of us will just focus the attention on the kids and take all the blows while the other teaches a part of the lesson. It has been such a great experience especially to develop Christ like attributes. I think the Lord is paying me back for all the times i pounced on Rainey- man. It has taught me alot about the importance of having Christ-like love when you are teaching His truths to others. His influence and example has the most powerful effect on any human heart. It has taught me that each day when we plan for the day we should think to ourselves how much love can i show this day, how much patience can i show this day, or how submissive and humble can i be. I am so grateful to be able to serve the Lord our Savior and truly seek to send his influence out to others. I know in this way only, Hearts are changed and converted to His Gospel."

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia Charleston Mission

"Things are going great here in the Morgantown area. As of this week we have three baptismal dates set for February sixth and seventh and we anticipate more during this coming week. On Friday our district drove down to Charleston and got to hear Elder S. Gifford Nielson speak. (They had bottled water for all of us so we were taken care of) It was incredible and everyone in the mission learned a ton. I feel very blessed to have heard the testimonies of so many of God's servants while I have been out here. One of our investigators is a chemical engineer named Josh and he's extremely quiet until he talks about sports so we got the breakdown of the Bronco's game. Haha. Elder Sorensen is a Chargers fan so he's doing the dishes for the week since they lost the game. It's awesome to hear about member missionary work in St. Johns, I didn't realize how big it was until I got here. Referrals and members being present for lessons are the two biggest differences in mission success. Yesterday we watched a CES Devotional by Elder Tad R. Callister of the Seventy. He broke down the blueprint of Christ's church in the New Testament and compared it line for line to the restored church. If you have a chance I would definitely recommend watching it. As a member it would have given me a lot of confidence in telling others about the gospel and it helps reinforce and strengthen testimonies. I can't wait to hear from you guys again and hope you have a great week. I love you all so much."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Words from Sister Heather Patterson in South Carolina

"Also we are teaching the most ADORABLE black family. Her name is Roshonda and his name is willie. They are neighbors to a member, Brother Greene, and he actually just took us over there one day and introduced us to them. She said she had never let missionaries into her house before. MEMBERS WORK MIRACLES! :) They have two sons, Demond(5) and Elijah(2), and Demond is obsessed with me :) lol! I need to get a picture and send it home because he is literally the cutest. Roshonda said that Demond only like white girls with blond hair :) hahahahahahaha! He is so funny :) And Elijah is literally the fastest 2 year old I have ever seen. He has pigeon feet and he runs so fast! You can just tell when people are being taught by the spirit because they just get everything. Roshonda just understood everything, and she was very worried about how much her and her husband needed to be baptised by someone with the priesthood. The spirit did all the explaining and Sister Dougherty and I just sat there. It was great :)"

Words from Elder Austin Davis in Oregon

"This week the Missionary Department will release the names of the new mission presidents for the year 2014. Sister Morby and I are in that mix. Brother Craig Ballard and his companion Melissa will preside over the Oregon Portland Mission beginning July 1st 2014. Brother Ballard is the son of Elder M. Russell Ballard. This mission will be blessed to have an amazing legacy of missionary work continue on in the Northwest. Brother Ballard’s great grandfather, Melvin T. Ballard, presided over the Northwest States mission from 1909 to 1919. What a great future for the OPM! The Ballard’s have six children, 4 of which will be coming with them to mission field."

"how are you i don't know if you got my email about the my new mission president in July but its m Russel ballards son! ha that sweet huh? little scary :) ah sounds like your crazy busy !! yeah i got goals set ha then i found a quote" if people aren't laughing at your goals they aren't big enough :)" pretty sweet ! wow that's ridiculous that's alot of sports going on this week for you guys! this week was pretty boring ha nothing really besides one huge miracle we had a girl walk in sacrament and was like hey i looked up the church online and then i started reading the book of Mormon and now im in Alma ! ha sweet huh?:)

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola

"Hey everybody!!! whats up!!! New Years sounds like it was a blast back home. ha ha I cant wait to hear what i wrote about seven years ago:) be sure to let me know! ha ha It sounds like y'all had a ton of fun!!

My new year so great!!! President actually changed up our schedule a little bit so that our pday was on Wednesday. Partly because of all the drinking that would be going on. On new years day We decided to hike up to cristo rei, the big Christ statue that they have down here. It is located on top of a small mountain. So it took us a little bit till we made it up to the top. On our way up i took so many pictures and video of the area. It was so pretty! On the trail up we actually found a camilion, kind of like the one on the movie tangled:) we held it and took some pictures with it. When we got up to the top we walk right up to the statue and luckily it was open so we were able to go inside and go up till the feet of the statue. It is so beautiful up there. From the to you can see to whole city of lubango! it was just an awesome experience. To get home we felt a little lazy, so we bumbed a ride off of some Chinese men that drove up to see it also.

The rest of our week was way good though! Adlison had his interview on Saturday and passed it with flying colors, so he will be baptised this sat!! Adilson is so excited, and also all his family said that they would come and watch. We are hoping to be able to teach adilsons brothers and sisters after his baptism, and hopefully his parents to!

Another family that is doing great is Rocks kids. Rock is a recent convert who is serving as 1st councilor in the elders quorum presidency. We started talking to his kids like a month and a half ago and they have been progressing really well and will be baptised next week. there are 6 of them."

Words from Elder Kade Garner in the Peru Lima West Mission

"Well, sorry I am a little late and sorry, but this email will be a little short as I do not have time. I sat in the post office for five hours today. They were having some problems. But I would like to thank the Young Women in the ward for their package. It was great! And also all the cards from the ward and from the seminary. This week was so great. And it was not great just because I heard a lot from home. It was just a great week. I would just like to share some of the experiences we had this week.

 So we have been working a lot with members lately. We were not having very much success and I was a little frustrated with God. I decided that I had to repent of my attitude and search for some revelation. One day as we were planning the word ¨members¨ came to mind. So, I took it to prayer. I felt as though we should be visiting every member that we know in the area every week. Both the actives and less actives. When I recieved this affirmation I committed myself to doing it. I told my new companions that that is how we would be working for a while to see if there was a difference. After three weeks, we finally saw the difference.

 As we visisted the members they started introducing us to their family members who were not members and who did not listen to the missionaries in the past but who are more willing do do so now. We also started finding less actives that do not exist in the ward directory. This lead us to more people to reactivate and more people to challenge to baptism. And we now see some progress.

 Yesterday the son of one of the families that we almost fully reacivated (we still do not have the dad fully reactivated) came up to me in sacrament meeting and asked if I would baptize him. He told me it was his 8th birthday and that he wanted to bet baptized. I told him to talk to the bishop, so he did just that in that very moment. The bishop got up in sacrament meeting and intouduced the ward to little Hugo. He told us that Hugo asked to be baptized and then asked if his father was in the chapel. In the moment Hugo´s dad walked in the door. For the first time in three months that we have been teaching this family he came to church. The bishop then announced that Hugo would be baptized and that his dad would do it. The bishop interviewed Hugo´s dad and found him worthy to baptize his son. After the ordinance hermana Blanco, Hugo´s dad, promised to be a better example to his family and be fully active in the church. I could not help but be so happy. I may have cried, but hey only real men cry.

 We also had something cool happen with our investigator Mery Vilela. She is 52 and is going to be baptized this Saturday. She usually works Sundays but we worked out a deal. She cooks on Sundays and has a contract that she cannot break. However, she decided that on Saturday she would buy all the groceries so that she could go to church on Sunday morning. Well, she was robbed in the market and she lost everything. She was feeling as though God did not want her to go to church, but then she reminded herself that it was just a trial of her faith. She went to church and was so happy in all the meetings. She left and ended up being late to her job. Her clients were not very happy and basically fired her for the day. She was feeling upset with God so she decided to overcome these feelings by reading the scriptures.. the Book of Mormon. When we got to her house she was just so calm and had such a relaxed sense of being. She told us that she knows God is allowing her to be tried right now to see if she will be true to what she knows. She is 100% determined to be baptized and Saturday and I am 100% sure that she is 100% prepared. I do not know if I will ever meet someone with the amount of faith in Jesus Christ that this sweet woman does every again.

 So, those were only some on the many miracles we had this week. We had so many. I just layed in my bed last night and thought about how blessed we are. I know that we can recieve revelation and when we do I know we have to act in it. At times we may not be fully confident that it is what God wants, but that is to see if we are fully confident in Him. If we will learn to listen to what the Spirit tells us and then will act on what he tells us, I know God will bless us more than we can imagine. I really do love being a missionary. I really do love my Saviour Jesus Christ. I really do love the chruch. I really do love my family. I really do love the people of my home town. And I know that I have a love for these things because they are blessings of my loving Heavenly Father."

Words from Elder Bo Mullenaux in the California Santa Rosa Mission

"I cant believe how insanely fast these past two transfers have flown by! It seems like i blink and another week has come and gone! The work has been a little slow during these Holiday Seasons, but it is starting to pick up! We are hoping to set set a couple of baptismal dates this week so i am very excited! I think we should be getting our transfer doctrine this Friday so that should be fun! Things are going to be crazy! My companion got his visa is for sure going to Brazil and i think most of the companionships in the zone are being rearranged. It will be interesting to see what happens.
This week is going to be great and full of so many miracles! I am so grateful for this gospel and for the real joy that it brings into my life. Heavenly Father loves us more than we could ever know and he knows where and when we need help. I am so thankful for the atonement and how much peace and comfort it has brought me. I love Jesus Christ and cant imagine how much he most love us to willingly give himself to perform the atonement.

I hope everyone has a great week! I love you all and couldnt imagine where i'd be without all of you and your examples! Talk to you soon!"

Words from Elder Shad Lindsey in the Ukraine


"This was another incredible week here in Ukraine. It really is so crazy how fast time flies over here, because it seems like just a couple days ago I last wrote you. I hope all of you are doing great back home or wherever you are. This week was a pretty challenging week for Elder Kerr and I. We had a lot of our appointments fall through, so we ended up doing quite a bit of contacting. It wasn't bad, it's just a little frustrating because we know that there are way more effective things we could be doing.

On Thursday I had a pretty cool experience though. I was on exchanges with an elder who just got in the country a few weeks ago named Elder Stradling. He is seriously the funniest guy I know. He is a big cowboy from Mesa, Arizona. All he talks about is his horse and his dog Hank. Well anyways, we were together and we felt prompted to go tract a big apartment complex. It was a miracle we even got in because it was a pretty nice apartment and they don't usually let people that don't live there go in, but for some reason this lady let us in. So we went all the way to the top floor and just started knocking on doors. After a couple floors of not having any success, we knocked on this one door and this like 25 year old woman stepped out and started talking to us. She said her name was Tatyana and she was the nicest person. She seemed kinda ad, so we asked her what was wrong, and she said that all of her friends were drunk, and that they were making fun of her because she didn't wanna drink with them. We basically just told her that it is better do the right thing and stand alone, then to do the wrong thing just because you want to fit in. I started talking to her about our purpose as missionaries and about the Restoration. I shared her Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5, and after I finished reading it she said, "I absolutely know, 100% that that is true!" We didn't even know what to say at first, but the Spirit was so strong and we were able to get her number and now the other Elders (Elder Stradling and Elder Ball) are teaching her. A few floors down that same apartment building, we knocked on another door, and this lady and her daughter were there and we asked if we could share a message about Jesus Christ. She was just like, "ya of course come on in!" Elder Stradling and I were so shocked, because that really doesn't happen very often. The lady let us into their living room and let us teach them the whole Restoration. They were so incredibly nice, and they all said that they were looking for a church because the one they were attending wasn't satisfying their spiritual needs. We prayed with them and left.

It was just incredible, and I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for those little tender mercies. I know that He loves me so much. And because of that, I know that He loves everyone.(1 Nephi 11:17). I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be serving where I am. Even though it is hard at times, I know that the Lord needs me to be here. I love you all and I hope to hear from ya soon!"

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"thanks for those quotes dad:) so i got a new comp today and his name is elder stopper the mission president came up to me before he came in this area and said elder Johnson the new companion your going to have is a very hard worker he needs your help i don't know what to do with him he is so bold and the zone that he is in right now they cant handle him cuz he runs things like a machine/business he makes sure the missionary's hit what they tell them to hit. he is a good worker one of the best but he has no love or Charity,the zone cant handle him anymore they are burnt out. Out of every missionary in this mission you have the most love and charity and it shows i need your help to help this missionary create this attribute. the mission pres said elder stopper is aware and he is willing to work on charity it is his goal to achieve charity and love.
i have been with elder stopper for a week and i love him to death he is so awesome and such a good worker i feel im learning more from him than he is from me! im so excited to see how it goes with him!"

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in the West Virgina Charleston Mission

"How is everybody doing? I'm sorry I missed you guys when I flew out. They had us get calling cards for the airport and I forgot you guys weren't home. Each card only has about two calls but one of the elders in my mission forgot his. Thankfully I bought a spare but there wasn't enough left on there to call the cell phone afterwards. Yesterday Sister Pitt called us and told us about Sister Tuckett and relayed the message, she also said that President Pitt had a hug from you guys waiting for me next time I saw him. I'm glad you got back safely, how was Christmas and New Years? On my second day here I saw Sister Herring, she's awesome. On Thursday I met my new companion and trainer, Elder Sorensen. He's from Draper, Utah and is the best person in the world. He's kind of quiet but he's really patient and is good at explaining everything. I am currently assigned to the West Virginia University area in Morgantown, WV. It's one of the best party schools in the states so we aren't allowed to tract in dorms. Haha. I'm excited to be here, President Pitt said it was the big league of the mission but that he had confidence in me so we'll hope I do well. We flew in on the thirty-first from Fort Worth, TX to Charleston where President and Sister Pitt met us. They fed us dinner that night and told us about themselves. The next day we went through the orientation and went to appointments with members and taught a couple of lessons. The next day we were assigned our areas and headed to our mission homes. The apartment is nice and warm and I got all settled in. From what I can tell West Virginia has a lot of hills and trees. I say that because from where you are standing you are only able to see trees and hills around you and nothing behind it. On my first day they said it was all uphill from here, and it was. I'm in one of the walking missions which is fun because now I can say I walked in a foot of snow uphill both ways. Haha. The weather here is kind of temperamental and goes from really nice to really cruddy. The majority of the people we teach are students and they are all really polite and fun to talk to. The new semester starts on Wednesday so we'll have a lot of people to teach. There is one guy that we are teaching named Josh, his baptismal date is set for the sixth of February. Our other main focus is a girl named Laken, we feel like if we can teach her it'll be easy but the adversary knows that and has thrown up obstacles for her. I am excited to be here and feel very blessed and enthusiastic for the amount of work that can be done. On Saturday this week we have a class to help the international students practice speaking English and we're hoping it'll roll into teaching them the gospel. The new semester starts on Wednesday and we'll have lots of people to teach. I love you guys and miss everyone terribly and will testify that only the true gospel and doctrine of Christ is worth sacrificing for. Often times we lay things on the alter for the world, or for our convenience, but God rewards us for the things we give up for Him. He knows us and knows how and when to bless us. I can't wait to hear from you guys again and will write letters this week. I love you guys and pray for you continuously, thank you for the scriptures. I love you so very much."

*****UPDATED misssionary addresses:)

Elder Clay & Sister Cookie Overson
Assoc. Brasil I.J.C.S.U.D
Fundo Perpetuo de Educacao
Av. Francisco Morato 2430
05512-0300 San Paulo,

Elder John & Sister Terry Haws

Apartado Postal 92-4005
Belen, Heredia
Costa Rica

Elder Lamar & Sister Sarah Jean Gray
SDQ 4102
2250 NW 114th Ave. Unit 1A
Miami, FL 33172

Elder Kent Bloomfield
New York Utica Mission
PO Box 149
Whitesboro, NY 13492-0149

Elder Tyler Johnson
7011 E. 13th N
Wichita, KS 67206

Sister Eevanna Brown
South Carolina, Columbia Mission
110 Oak Park Drive, Suite B
Irmo, SC 29063-6110

Elder Ammon Fulton
Mexico Torreon Mission
Calle Ernesto Breede
Col. Ampliacion Los Angeles #301
27146 Torreon, Coahula Mexico

Elder Ryder Nielsen
Philippines, Manila Mission
PO Box 1997
Makati Central P.O. Makati City
1200 Metro Manila, Phillippines

Elder Bradley Lynch
Washington Federal Way Mission
23175 224thPl. Ste. E
Maple Valley, Washington 98038

Sister Jessica Mireles
Arizona, Gilbert Mission
65 E Olive Avenue #102
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Sister Heather Patterson
South Carolina Columbia Mission
110 Oak Park Dr. Suite B
Irmo, SC 29063-6110

Elder Shad Lindsey
2009 N 900 E. Unit 128
Provo, UT 84602

Elder Reymond Patterson
Idaho Boise Mission Office
111 S. Cole Road
Boise, Idaho 83709

Elder Kent Waters
Italy Rome Mission
Piazza Carnaro 20
00141 Rome

Elder Kade Garner
Peru Lima West Mission
Carlos Salaverry 3664
Los Olivos
Casillo do Corres 39-054
Lima 39

Sister Anna Herring
West Virginia Charleston Mission
888 Oakwood Rd. Ste. 310
Charleston, WV 25314-2071

Sister Elese Hauser
Illinois Chicago West Mission
1319 Butterfield Rd. Ste. 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Elder Spencer Wilhelm
Igreja De Jesus Cristo Dos U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda Angola

Hermana Amanda Greer
Chile Osorno Mission
Camilla 7-0
Regions X

Elder Allan Holden
665 North 200 West
Clearfield, Utah 84015

Elder Austin Davis
1400 N. W Compton Suite 250
Beaverton, Oregon 97006

Elder Riley Pulsipher
Oficinas de Mission
Mexico Xalapa
Av. Arco Vial Sur No. 738
Col. Lomas Verdes
Xalapa, Veracruz, C.P.

Elder Spencer Lee
New York, New York North Mission
700 White Plains Rd. Ste. 315
Scarsdale, NY 10583

Elder Garrett Anderson
Brazil Brasilia Mission
Shin CA 05 LOTE B1 SALAS 304/307
71503-505 BRASILIA-DF

Elder Jared Anderson
Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission
Rua Deputado Jose' Mariz, 515
58042-020 Joao Pessoa-PB

Elder Tyler Crosby
Tonga Nuku Alofa Mission
Box 58
Nuku Alofa

Elder Konner Lee
906 South Logan Blvd.
Building 2 Apt. 101
Holidaysburg, PA  16648

Elder Bo Mullenaux
California Santa Rosa Mission
5301 Badger Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95409

Sister Kortlynn Pearl Herring
4-25-12 Nishi-Ochiai
Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo-To
161-0031, JAPAN

Elder Garrett Hollembeak
West Virginia Charleston Mission
888 Oakwood Rd. Ste. 310
Charleston WV
United States

Elder Rick Bloomfield
Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission
7951 S W 6th St, Suite 110
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324-3211