Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Chicago

 
 

Dear everyone-
Well from the sounds of it, out west has had a pretty dry winter and
out here has had a record breaking winter. I found out that our
cumulative snow fall for this winter is about 60 inches so far!! I
would be more than happy to send some of our snow. If it's not
freezing cold, it's snowing. But such is the life of an Illinois
missionary. This week we went to to eat out and we saw these small
mountains in the parking lot of Walmart. It took us a while to realize
that they weren't really mountains at all but big giant piles of snow.
In the picture I am sending with this email that is a car compared to
these massive snow piles!! Who ever said there wasn't mountains in
Illinois has never seen these snow piles in the parking lot of
Walmart!
Well this week was extremely slow and easy going compared to last
week. I don't know how anything can top last week though. Leena had
her temple recommend interview yesterday and will be going to the
temple this weekend! She looks so different, she looks happy. She even
told us that since her baptism she feels so happy and has seen so many
miracles in her life. Her husband has been much nicer to her and she
can feel the Holy Ghost all the time. Such an awesome miracles! It was
worth every pitcher full of water. And since Leena was pretty much all
our teaching pool consisted of, we are really relying on the members
since it's impossible to find anyone outside to talk to and we can't
go tracting if it's below 0 so that's pretty much all the time. But
the Elders were teaching one lady named Carrol. Now Carrol is the
grouchiest 70 year old women you've ever met. Her son is a member and
that's how she knows the church. But before we got here she told the
elders to never come over again. But we have met with her twice and
she agreed to let us come over and read the Book of Mormon with her.
So we went over this week and the lesson did not go well at all.
Carrol was all over the place, she couldn't focus, her dog started
licking my face (ew!!!), but she had read some of the Book of Mormon
by herself. So we left this lesson really frustrated because we really
felt like Carrol could be baptized this month but with lessons like
that it's not going to happen. And so we had fasted for this lesson so
to break our fast we went and got ice cream. Because ice cream makes
everything better right?! Absolutely! So were sitting in the drive
thru and we get a call from Carrol. After we had left she went outside
to smoke her cigarette. She smoked half of it, and then realized that
she needed to change, so she put it out!! We were so thrilled because
smoking is the major thing holding her back and this was a big deal
for her! And she told us that she's ready to change and promised that
she'd be at church yesterday but she wasn't there. We'll have to go
smack some sense into her! But this just showed me that as we exercise
our faith, and fast and pray, The Lord will bless us. It may not be in
the way or the time we expected but he will help us.
Yesterday was our Ward conference and it went so well! I love how the
focus of most meetings is missionary work. Doesn't that tell us how
important it is? We have been coming up with this awesome lesson to
teach the members that helps them think of names, deadlines, and to
form a family mission plan. Hint: you should all do this for FHE!
First, kneel in prayer as a family and ask Heavenly Father who of your
friends, neighbors, or acquaintances are that are ready for the
gospel. Think of some specific names and write them down. And then
make a deadline for each different goal. If your goal is to invite
somebody to a mutual activity then set a deadline that by next
Wednesday you'll have invited this person. Or if your goal is to
invite your kids soccer coach over to your house for dinner with the
missionaries then set it for a month away. The reason we have to set
goals is not to scare us into doing it, but to motivate us and to make
us desperate. In Clayton Christensen's book he talks about how The
Lord can trust us when we show him that we are desperate to share the
gospel at any opportunity. And then DO IT!!! Don't be afraid,
missionary work is supposed to be uncomfortable. Members tell us all
the time that they just don't feel comfortable sharing the gospel. You
know what Sister Dias and I say? Good!!! It's a sacrifice to share the
gospel and it's not easy, but the reward and the feeling you have is
well worth it. You think we as missionaries are always comfortable? Of
course not! Do you think Alma and Amulek were ever comfortable as they
were being stoned and spit upon? I don't think so. So get over your
fears, pray for courage, and go invite someone to meet with the
missionaries. I can promise you from the bottom of my heart that you
will feel such joy you didn't even know existed. And having the
missionaries teach the discussion in your home brings the spirit more
than anything else. And if you get rejected, keep trying! The Lord has
a plan so never give up. And most importantly, act out of love. If you
remember those things you will be successful! Alright, well sorry I
ranted there but it's my favorite thing to talk about! So that's all
for my week! I love you all so very much!
Love always,
Sister Hauser

Words from Sister Amanda Greer in Chile

 



 " Well, this week has been crazy. Hermana Martinez is now at her house in Paraguay, and I have a new companion. Her name is Hermana Garcia and she is from El Salvador. She is great, and I am excited for this cambio with her. I love working with her because her companion right before me was Hermana Reese (and hermana Reese was my companion a while back in Punta Arenas) and Hermana Reese warned her that I like to talk to everyone, and so now she has the expectations that we are going to talk to everyone. And that is what we have been doing. We have met a lot of people that are great and that need this gospel in their lives.
        Something weird that doesn't happen to often in good old Arizona, is the ash. Two days ago it was hard to see because there was so much ash blowing in the air from the volcano. Isn`t that cool that I live next to a volcano? don't worry, I don`t think I am going to die, the members say that it isn`t that big of a deal. 
       Also, we are now in the season of the moras(I think they are black berries) and there are lots of them and plums too.
       I had a fun day waiting for my new companion to arrive in Osorno. First hermana Martinez and I dragged all of her heavy luggage through downtown Osorno to the mission home, it was good exercise. And then I found one of my friends from the MTC, hermana Clark! I was soo excited. I haven`t seen the people from my district in the MTC because I have been in the bottom of the world. But we spent the day together as companions waiting for our new companions. As we were walking down the streets of Osorno, talking in Spanish. (isn`t that so cool that we were talking in Spanish, the last time we saw eachother we could practically only say hola) and we talked about how our missions have been. And we laughed when I asked how the mission was compared to how she thought it would be, and she said. Missions are sooooo hard. haha, its true. But we also talked about the investigators we have had and the lives we have seen change and the spirit we have felt. We both agreed that yes it is hard, but most definitely it is worth it.
  Yesterday, we went to the house of a good contact we made in the street the week before, and she let us in. The beginning of the lesson was great. And then she said that she accepts all religions, all religions that is except for those Mormons. And then began to talk about how she doesn`t like Mormons for a while. My companion and I just looked at each other, then said. So we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints, but they call us Mormons. We`ll see if she lets us back in the next time.
      Guess what, tomorrow I get to see elder Ballard! And the next day too. I am going to sing in a choir tomorrow, it is for 3 stakes here close. and Monday is for all the missionaries(excepts those in Punta Arenas, they`lll have a transmision) The President asked me to play the hymns. I hope I don`t mess up.
I love you lots.
Hermana Greer
 
 p.s. I love being a missionary!"

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm from Angola

Hey fam!! whats up!!?? It was great to hear from you all! thanks for the emails!


"So everything is going pretty good here in good ol lubango!!! Still workin hard and havin fun!!

 Yesterday we had a cool lesson with Irmao Ricardo, adilsons dad. When we first talked to him about baptism a couple of weeks ago he was kind of wishy washy, but yesterday we talked with him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and more about baptism an he didn't even hesitate when we invited him to be baptised! He has a baptismal date for April 19th, so he still has got a ways, but he needs to get married first, but he is progressing really well and wants to do whats right for his family.

 On Saturday we did a little bit of service for ze. I don't remember if I mentioned anything about making cement blocks last week, but that what we did again this week. Ze has been working so hard on trying to make this new house for his family. for almost 3 months straight all he was doing was grabbing sand from the river and hauling it up bucket by bucket. And during these last two weeks he has been making a bunch of blocks so that he can start making his house. Most of his money has gone to buying cement so that he could build these blocks and food for his family. So on Saturday when we went to help him we finish making a the blocks that he needs!! afterwards he looked at us and asked if we knew how to lay the blocks to start making wall because he didn't know how to do it:) ha ha i just had to laugh a little a told him i didn't know how to do that. So He is going to find someone to teach him how to do it and we will assist him in his work little by little:) ha ha I think some a the church knows how to do it so I don't think i will be a problem. Ze is progressing very well though and really wants to get baptised, but first he needs to get married to his wife. So we set some goals with him and he said that he would talk to his wife about marriage.

 Other that that things are going pretty good and we are seeing the branch starting to get more organized and excited for the work!! Still loving Angola:)"

Words from Elder Austin Davis in Oregon

 
"This week has been crazy. We had zone meeting on Tuesday that went great.
I had an interview with Pres. Morby he is all excited,  and says "Elder this will be the fastest 6 months ofyour mission." That was a good meeting then we had MLC on Friday and that was a
good eight hour long meeting. It was a great training. Then I went
to a baptism in my old area her name was Jackie Kaplus. Pretty cool I
didn't think that she would get baptized this quick but it was good. I hope
everything is going well at home tell Garrett I'm so proud of him.
Love you all!"

Words from Elder Kade Garner in Peru


Hey everyone. So, this week was one filled with ups and downs. We had really good highs and some personal lows that I am working on overcoming.

This week we had a baptism. It was an elderly couple. Their names are hermana Francisca and hermano Alfredo. They have a son who is on the mission right now and never wanted anything to do with the missionaries. The hermana came to know that our message was true by just listening to us, but the hermano was not that easy. You see he is almost deaf and hears almost nothing. We had to teach him by giving him scriptures to read. Well, he started reading everyday and he would compare everything to the Bible. He still was telling us that he was not ready when his wife accepted her baptismal date. I felt the need to write a short testimony and baptismal invitation. I gave it to him and he accepted. As we got closer to the baptism he become more and more excited. They live far away and it costs 24 soles to go to and from church. That is money that they cannot just spend. However they made it a goal to save every week so that they can go to church every Sunday. And then something terrible happened. They had a 50 sole bill and as they went to use it they found out that it was fake. They no longer had money to travel to their baptism. Hermano Alfredo was heartbroken he just wanted he and his wife to get baptized. Then a miracle happened. As they were talking their situation over lunch they found 20 soles in a drawer, later hermano found 20 soles in his pocket, and even later they found 20 more soles in their house. This money was not there just a few hours earlier, but when we are determined to do the Lord´s will Heavenly Father will always bless us. On Saturday they were able to come and get baptized. At 11 that morning we went down to the river and Alfredo and Francisco were able to finally make that covenant with God that they have been waiting to do.
 
This week we were looking for the house of a drunk man that we contacted in the street. As we were doing so, I felt the need to contact the houses on one street and I did not know why. So, I started to knock. At the second house we met and old crippled man. His name is Antonio. Antonio has just recently started studying the Bible for the first time in his life. He asked us all the golden questions that every missionary wants to hear.I knew that this man would accept the Gospel right away and that he was ready to accept it. We did not have time to talk so we asked if we could come back the next day. He told us that he was only here visiting his kids and that after two months here he was going home the next day. We asked where he lived so we could send missionaries to him. He began to explain his home town and we came to learn that there are not missionaries in his tiny town. I in this moment felt the need to give him a Book of Mormon. He was so happy and told us that he was going to start reading it that day. As we left I was so sad. I knew that this man was ready to accept the Gospel, but that he couldn´t because of where he lived. I do not know if he will be able to accept the Gospel in this life, but if he reads that Book of Mormon we left him I know he will accept the Gospel in the spirit world. How great is the plan of salvation that all of our Heavenly Father´s children have the same chance to receive eternal life.

So this week was hard because I have started to but heads with my work partner. We just do not work the same. I am very time oriented and like to get to as many appointments that we possibly can. And when appointments fall I like to look for new people to teach or visit a less active member. Sadly, my ideas right now are not often allowed to be tested and tried out. We go and visit or I should say waste time in an active member´s house for hours at a time. It is so hard. I am just trying to be patient and serve my friend, but I am stating to run short on patience. we have just such a good area with a ton of potential. This potential however will not do anything is we do not work smart. I am just going to keep praying for help and keep doing all that I can to serve everyone around me.

So, that was my week. It was a pretty awesome one if I do say so. I hope that we can keep on having good weeks and that we can keep on finding people, especially families, that are ready to join the true Church of Jesus Christ.

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

 

"I'm in Salina KS. i love it I'm in a really big house! my new comp is so dang awesome! i am so glad i got to be with him he is way taller than me though! the people we stay with has a bunch of eggs from a chicken farm they have so i was super stoked about that! ha ha. this area is really good my comp only has 2 transfers left, I'm not sure if he is trunky yet but so far he hasn't showed any signs that he is. after being with my last comp I've learned so much how to work even harder and I've noticed after being with him he was right allot of missionary's are lazy. ha. we worked so hard together i never even got to really eat but it was okay cuz the work was going so well. so I'm excited to use what i learned and start applying it!!"

Words from Elder Austin Davis in Oregon

 
"Hey all I'm doing good how are you? This week is been crazy we got close
to 6 to 8 inches of snow!!! So it's been pretty crazy. It's all
slushy today. So crazy baseball starts today. wow. I hope it gets really
sunny fast. It's okay but the AIA probably put postponed it. That's
crazy I hope it doesn't ruin any body's ideas about what is going on. I
don't know if you had the opportunity to read my letter I sent the
wrestling team Uncle Brandon for a copy of it. That's crazy!!!
 This week was pretty slow. I hope you're doing good that's crazy that it
 was 66° there. The snow is just waiting to come down there ha ha. That's good
I hope hope continue to keep her attitude and do what does LOL well I hope the
ranch is good I hope it's sunny and bright down there I sure do miss
you son. We walked a lot this week from the snow was definitely neat
experience on my rear end a couple times. Ha ha I drifted in a 12
passenger van. It was super fun:) last night we were walking around in
the snow. And we walked by a potential investigators house and he was
out on his porch so we struck up a conversation with him we talked
about the atonement. And he knew a lot about it it was super cool to
see that you don't come across too many people here in Oregon to know
about the atonement. But we will try to teach them next week or the
next coming Tuesday or Thursday but it's been a really good week so
far we were around the McNeils house because they're the only members
in walking distance and we shoveled all their neighbors driveways and
built an igloo:) it was pretty legit to McNeil family might be one of
my favorite families on my mission. They definitely have made an
impact on my mission. I love this work and I love you guys."

Words from Elder Bo Mullenaux in Santa Rosa California

 
"Man, when it rains in California, it POURS!! I love the rain though, it has been fun. It has been raining non-stop since Wednesday! It gets to the point where you just don't care if you get wet anymore because you are already soaked all the way through... But its good though because when we knock on someones door we get pity points!!! Ha ha and we'll do whatever it takes to get in the door!
This week we found the most solid investigator! I am so happy and excited! her name is Macey. her husband is really nice and they have a really cute 2 year old daughter. She has almost no knowledge of who our Heavenly Father is or anything else that we are so blessed to know. I am full of faith that she is going to be baptized and I just couldn't imagine her not doing it!

We also had a VERY interesting dinner this week with a less active member. To start off, my companion asked what was in the "food" we were eating. He said it had lots and lots of different kinds of mushrooms, random muscles, tentacles, crab meat, other stuff... It was interesting to say the least. but I managed to get a plate of it down! And you could literally see tentacles and what not with the little suction cups and everything ha ha. Oh! and not to mention he was higher than a kite. Ha ha He told us that he has smoked more hash than normal people could walk on. and half way through dinner, he took some of his buddies "homemade pain killer." A LOT of it. By the time we left, I thought he was a ghost. It was a... different experience to say the least ha ha. A memory that I wont forget!"




Words from Elder Ryder Nielsen in the Phillippines

 "I am sad to hear your week didn't go very well with being sick in all but that was kind of my week as well i just had a bad sore throat and sinus infection. This made the week a little more difficult as you can imagine. I think i got sick because of lack of sleep, as we had to get up pretty dang early a couple of days. If you still have a sore throat i have an instant cure that i was given to me from my mission president's wife, Sister Stucki. Go to the store and buy some fresh ginger, peel it and cut 2 or 3 chunks of it and chew it up really good and then swallow. I did that and literally once the ginger hit the affected area it was instant relief. I will do that now on for the rest of my life, granted the taste is absolutely horrible. I am still little clogged in my sinus area but my throat is as good as new.
Our week was very busy we had a District meeting on Monday and also a kind of emergency transfer that happened in our zone which forced us to travel to Makati and then back to our area which pretty much took up our day of serving. Then on Tuesday we were given the opportunity to go to the temple which like always was a wonderful, amazing experience. But also my companion had a doctors app. because he had this huge wart that seemed to be growing bigger each day haha. After his app. we were scheduled to go to Saint Lukes Hospital in Makati to go see a specialist. So Wednesday we spent half our day in a hospital waiting for the doctor only to find out that we would have to come in again on Friday to do the procedure. Then Thursday we had what we call MLC which stands for Mission Leadership Counsel where all the Zone Leaders come to together with President Stucki and the Assitants and we counsel together on resolving problems and making plans and setting goals for the mission. Very inspiring meeting. The only problem was my companion and I were having a hard time focusing because we both were so very nervous through out the meeting. I will explain why, well Wednesday night before the meeting we recieved a text from President Stucki that said some thing like this "Hello Elders! Would it be okay if I joined you two this Thursday to work with you in your area after our Meeting." When i read the text message i almost fell over backwards hahaha. I told my companion and he did fall over backwards on his chair! hahaha We both counseled with one another and we both agreed that there was no way we could say no to our mission president hahaha my response was some thing like this "Hello President! We would love for you to join us!" So after the meeting me and my companion loaded up in President's car and drove out to our area which is about an hour away from the mission home depending on traffic and I say that because Manila traffic is horrible! My companion and I had a wonderful night planned for us and we made it to each appointment on time and we were able to teach good powerful lessons along with our mission President. It was great blessing to work with him. On the drive over to our Area in Las Pinas we really got to talk about his life and ask him more personal questions. He truly is an amazing man. A man called of God. One of the investigators we taught who is a die hard catholic actually committed to come to church and he stuck to that commitment. That was the first time I saw him come to Church the whole time I have been here. The Lord continues to bless us in our Area. Being a Zone Leader is really nothing special. I remember Dad wrote me an email when i became a district leader that basically said remember it is lonely at the top and thats what I have seen as a zone leader. This week we have a specializied training meeting. Last night we received a text from one of the Assitants that said President Stucki wants my companion and I to take 30 mins and share on how to build a model area. This time my companion had the phone and when he read it to me I fell back on my chair hahaha I guess President Stucki really liked our area. So we are nervous wrecks once again with having to prepare for that. I am grateful for all the blessings i have recieved i am grateful for this area that i am serving in and for the people that we are serving. I am so grateful for my companion Elder Washburn what a hell of a guy. I am so grateful for you mom and Dad and all of my siblings and all the extended family. I am so grateful for Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his Infinite Atonement, i have felt His Mercy in my life and i look to share that with others. I look to send His influence out to a world that is held down in bondage and captivity and by doing so my testimony has grown and begins to be unshaken. And the best part is i feel quiet Joy and Peace in my heart and Mind through selfless service to others. "The Further You Look For Truth Outside of Yourself, The Further You Will Get From It."- A quote given from Papa. I love serving others and i will continue to do so for the rest of my life. It is the only secret the Savior had and the one which he left the World!"

Words from Elder Kade Garner in Peru

 
"Okay I am super late writing this week but it is because we went to Punta Olímpica (Olimpic Peak) this morning with the zone and we had to leave super early in the morning. So do not worry I did not forget you and I am sending pictures as we speak. Sadly, my camera died so I did not get very many pictures, but I did get some great ones. I really am in the most beautiful place in the world. When you think of Peru you probably think of llamas, mountains, and natives in their funny little hats. Well, that is exactly where I am and I am in love with every bit of it.

 So a little bit about the week. Right now we are searching for nothing but families to teach. This Gospel really was made for the family and not the individual. We really need to understand that without the family we can never reach our potential to become like our heavenly Father. Without being sealed in the Lord´s temple we cannot receive all the blessing that He has for us. However, finding a complete family in Peru that is married is like finding a needle in a haystack. It almost does not exist, but it does and because of that we are looking. A few weeks ago we actually found a family that is great. The sad thing is they are not married. We taught them a few times and a miracle happened. The husband decided that he wanted to get married to keep the commandments. This almost never happens. We were so excited and then his wife dropped the bomb. She did not want to do it and did not care that she was sinning. We were heartbroken. Well, fast Sunday came and I decided to fast for her. We finished our fast and thought nothing of it. We went through our normal routine. On Friday we had an appointment with this family. Due to some traveling to a zone meeting we were two hours late to this appointment. They were waiting for us when we got there. We were going to go over the first lesson with them when I got the impression that we should talk about the sacrament. We used the Bible and the Book of Mormon to explain the importance of taking the sacrament every week as a family. The mother, Amelia, just sat there listening very closely. When we finished she stood up. She told us that she knew that her family was not happy and that all there problems are because she is not living like she could and is not keeping the commandments. She then told us that she would like to get married. We have a lot of work to help them get married and I really hope they do it. This is such a good and humble family. This miracle just reinforced my testimony in two ways. I know that the Spirit knows these people and their needs much better than we do. We have to listen to his direction. If we had not talked about the sacrament I know Amelia would not have received the revelation she did to get married. I also know that Heavenly Father blesses us when we fast with faith. Every time I have ever fasted I have been surprised by the miracles that happen. Heavenly Father really does bless us when we show our faith to Him.

 Okay, that was the part of the week. We are also working really hard with the leadership in the ward to help it get on its feet. This week we made some improvement as the Bishopric is now doing interviews every week for those who want to get temple recommends. It is sometimes hard to see a ward struggle so much and be so unorganized. At times it feels like we are not in the church of Jesus Christ. However, we just have to be patient and help the leaders in the best way that we can. I have high hopes for this ward. It really can be such a good strong ward, we just have a lot of work to do. And do not worry, we are going to do it.

 So about today. We went to the mountain Punta Olímpica. It is a mountain that is still covered with some snow. We went as a zone; we are 22 missionaries. It was so cool. For the first time for many of the Latinos they got to touch snow. We had a tour bus that is run by members take us up. It was a three hour trip up but it was so beautiful the entire way. It was just like we were driving in a post card or a painting. It was unreal. So this mountain has a spot where there are three cray pretty lagoons. They are very very very blue. It looks like someone put food coloring in them, but it is 100% natural. These lakes sit at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. It was pretty hard to breathe as most of us have been living at sea level for at least six months. We were all just taking so many pictures. We got there while it was cloudy and sadly just as it began to clear up my camera died, but it is okay because I got some terrific photos. I just cannot got over how in love I am with this place. I still have 11 moths left, but I am hoping that I will stay up in these areas for the rest of my time. I love the people, the ward, and the landscape. It does not get better than Caraz. "

 



Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

 
"Hello! So coolest news of this week is......I have an iPad! Yay!
The Tokyo and Tokyo south missions are the only international missions
to have iPads. As of right now we are not Facebook missionaries, but
that should happen in the near future. Mom, have you looked at
everything you can do with the gospel library app? It's amazing! And
better yet, because it's attached to my lds.org account, all the notes
and everything I do I will have after my mission! Sweetness!
Technology is amazing, and it helps so much with the work. Now I have
everything from preach my goes to general conference talks to videos
and pamphlets with me all the time. It makes teaching and finding
even better. The Lord truly is hastening his work, and it's so
exciting to be a part of it and be able to use one of the tools that
will help hasten the work.

Now, my week was fantastic! Why wouldn't it be? I'm a missionary so
everyday is great :)

Tuesday-we went to a town called kamo to contact a less active. She
wasn't interested in talking to us, so we went housing. The first
apartment building we went to, on the very top floor we had, no
success. So we went to the next section, went to the very top and
knocked. A lady answered the door, and said, oh I have met Mormon
missionaries before, come on in! What?! That NEVER happens!
Especially in japan. People do not invite you in unless you are a
friend or expected. Anyway, we went in and ended up staying for a
long time while she fed us and we talked about religion and what she
believes. She really likes talking to people and making friends. Not
much interest right now, but she wants us to visit again and I told
her if we did we would talk about god, because that's what we do. She
said ok! So, awesome potential. Her name is H San and she is 65
but because Japanese people are insanely young looking she looks about
45. Cool miracle, she even drove us back to Sanjo so we wouldn't have
to take the train.

Wednesday-went and visited a members mom in the hospital. She is kind
of an investigator, but not much desire, but H Shimai really
wants us to teach her, and she is almost progressing. Hopefully as we
continue to share the BoM with her the spirit will soften her heart.
Then we had eikaiwa which is always great!

Thursday- iPad conference! We went to Niigata and got our iPads and
got trained on how to use them. We even have our daily planners on
here. Everything is done by iPad now. A bit difficult to get use to,
but with more practice, we will get faster.

Friday-interviews, a Mogi lesson with a member traveling.n kind of
slow oh and ping pong night.

Saturday- weekly planning because we didn't have time on Thursday or
Friday. We also taught K San and her husband was home and
participated in the lesson. She isn't progressing right now, but we
have taught her whole family, and they have LOTS of potential!

Sunday- church, I gave a talk about hope. I use to be just fine
talking in front of people, but ask me to do it in a foreign language,
I turn red and stumble, and get super nervous! Why?! But it turned
out to be good, let's just say I'm not exactly eloquent in Japanese ;)
and we visited a lot of less actives and S Shimai. S
Shimai was the one who dropped us a while back, turns out she found
some anti Mormon material and that's why she took a step back. But we
invited her to come to music night tonight. Hopefully she comes and
we can build a relationship again.

Monday-p-day just normal, shopping cleaning, email, and we are doing
some valentine things for this week. Then music night.

It was a great week, and it sounds like you all had a great one too!
Thanks for the valentine package, it's perfect and I'm excited to give
out those valentines. The pics of Cody's baptism were adorable! And
the Gilbert temple looks amazing, I can't wait to see it! Love you
all! Thanks for everything! Keep being good missionaries, I'm so
proud of you for inviting all of those people to the open house, it's
just little things like that that prepare people to hear the gospel."

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola


Bom dia Bom dia!!! Obrigado for everything you guys and for the letters this week. It is way good to hear from all y'all!!!

This week went by in kind of a blure! ha ha i cant believe that i already get to talk to all you good people:) My week was great!! This week was fairly busy with just a bunch of random stuff that made it all go by super fast!

So on Tuesday President marques, the branch president, wanted our help with an activity that the youth had. We were also able to get some of our investigators there as well so it was well worth it. At the beginning of the activity President talked a little about the importance of seminary and institute and we watched one of those really cheesy seminary videos that brother Greer used to show us:) It was talking about how the scripture can come ``alive`` as we read them:) ha ha it was pretty funny. Then after that we all divided up into groups and read a talk together with the youth and had to come up with a presentation. to end off the whole thing there were sack races, a game that they play here called garrafinha, and a relay race of sticking their faces in a bucket of water to get something the to put your face in a bucket of flower and find something, then they had to eat an apple on a string;) ha ha no one finish the race.

This past week our water pump went out so we had to wait for a repair man for like ever to come and fix it! We didn't have running water for quite a while:) it just brought really fond memories of the beginning of my mission.

On Saturday Elder Chatwin and I had a lot of appointments, so we decided to plan some splits with a few of the ward missionaries in the branch. I went with a young man named guilheirme who is preparing for a mission right now. Him and I went to go meet up with man that we found on the street, but it fell through. So an old ex investigator came to my mind that i have never taught. so we decided to go and see her, who happened to be guilhermes ante. So we got to neusas house, the ex investigator, and started talking to her about the life and tried to get to know her a little bit more. she told us a story of when she was younger during the war. She was riding on a train returning to lubango with her sister, brother and her mother. As they were about 2 hours out side of lubango Unita, a political party, had attacked the train derailing it and started shooting people as they were running away. As Her and her sister jumped out of the train, she landed on her hip and broke it, but she couldn't just sit there. So she got up and followed after her sister down the rail road tracks. They could hear gun fire until they finally reached lubango. When they got home on of her brother asked where her mother and brother was. she didnt know. latter they found out that they had been shot in the ambush. So for all of her life she has been dealing with a bum leg and a constant reminder of what happened to her, her mother, and brother. She was angry, full of hatred. When the missionaries finally found her she had had 3 different operations, but these only left her in more pain and the inability to do much more than get around the house. She goes on to explain that over time after sitting with the missionaries she has found so much comfort and love from the message that we carry. Her and her family have been attending church every Sunday also.

After we saw her Guilherme and I went to do a service project for an investigator named ze who is now constructing his house. Once before elder Wilson and I helped him bring sand up to in house by hand so that he could make blocks. This last time with guilherme we started to me some blocks with him! Ze is such a hard worker and wants the best for his family!!

anyways I love you all so much! I hope you all have a great week!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Words from Elder Alan Holden in Utah

" As the year 2013 came to a close it brought many good memories of the dedicated service of our
32 missionaries at the Utah Bishops Central Storehouse Mission of which Elder Holden is a part of. 
We enjoy his spirit, personality and dedication in his faithful service on his mission.  He was just recently released as a zone leader and he did a great service with that call. He now serves as a
picker in the shipping department at the Utah Bishops Central Storehouse.  His job is to pick orders
that are shipped throughout the United States, Canada and 165 countries throughout the world.
His department manager reports that he is very efficient and timely in all the orders he picks.

Elder Holden is well liked and respected by his fellow missionaries.  He participates well in
our devotionals and missionary training sessions and has given many spiritual lessons which
have touched the lives of his fellow missionaries.  I personally enjoy a personal relationship
with this fine Elder and I really respect him for who he is and what he stands for.

We thank you for your assistance in helping him in his progress while on his mission.  If there is
anything you need or questions concerning his mission service, please don't hesitate to call."

Elder  & Sister Palmer
UBCS Missionary Coordinators

Words from Sister Jessica Mireles in Gilbert Arizona

 

 
Sister Jessica Mireles serving at the new Gilbert Temple

 

 
 

Words from Elder & Sister Haws in Costa Rica

 
"Our mission is fabulous and today we had the opportunity to go with the counselor in the temple presidency with his speaking assignment and the drive there was absolutely breath taking. They spoke in church and then at Sunday school class he asked us to bear our testimony. Everyday we read a daily verse with the app that we have so I looked up one that impressed me and I read it in Spanish it was a very choice experience I read Spanish pretty well and is easier for me when I have something to read it is like my thoughts but are in writing. It was very humbling but choice. We couldn't have asked for a better mission.
I hope and pray that more senior couples will go. This will definitely be one of many for us. We are now one couple short here and are in need of another couple to replace the Flakes who left last month. We found out today that the other councilors daughter ( who lives in the valley ) was in an accident yesterday and they are trying to get things in order so they can go there to help out so we will be even shorter staffed but The Lord will provide a way that we will keep going. The Temple will be closed for 2weeks starting on Saturday so that will help. We plan on taking about 3days and going to see some sites and the countryside can hardly wait."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Words from Elder Bradley Lynch in Washington



                                     Elder Lynch is doing AWESOME in Washington!


 
Loves the prople and working hard!
 

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia


"I hope you guys are having an awesome week. We got a foot of snow, a literal foot of snow on Sunday night, so the library was shut down yesterday. Last week was great. We had a missionary booth on the campus where we passed out hot chocolate and copies of the Book of Mormon. On Saturday we held a game tournament for the college students and had eight non-members come. Even better was that all of them except for one is being taught now. On Sunday we helped decorate for the Chinese New Year Festival on campus. We got a box of Books of Mormon that were written in Mandarin to give out at the event. One of the sister missionaries translated her testimony into Mandarin and it was great to feel the Spirit when people read it, regardless of whether we understood it or not. A student here named Chen was helping us clean up after they had dinner and it turned out that he had been to Salt Lake with his family to see the temple and visit the family history center. We talked to him for a while and are going to help him do a family tree this week. We're hoping that he will want to learn more about the church and we're excited to meet up with him. On the sixth this week one of our investigators, Josh Morgan, is getting baptized. He's an doctoral candidate for engineering here at the university so we talked to the bishop about having him help teach the Gospel Principles class. After we told him about the church resources app he downloaded and read just about everything that was on there. The other three on date will get there as well, we had to move dates back so that they could come to church enough times. All in all it was a really productive finding week and now we're set up to teach a lot of lessons. The weather has been ridiculous so we're hoping it doesn't interfere too much. I hope you guys are doing well and I can't wait to hear from you again. In the meantime here's a fun activity that Elder Sorensen and I did today while we were walking. Pick any kid's movie and relate it to a principle of the gospel or a lesson from Preach My Gospel. Yes this is the kind of thing missionaries think is fun. Here's some of our responses; Radiator Springs from Cars is the spirit world, Monsters Inc. is about apostasy, and you can teach the plan of salvation using the movies Toy Story, Batman, or Sleeping Beauty. I love you guys so much and hope you are doing as awesome as I am right now. I love you!"

 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Words from Elder Clay Overson & Sister Cookie Overson in Brazil

Thank you so much for your note, Brandee. I thought you were on my list so that your brother wouldn't have to forward our letter to you. I'll make sure you're on it for next time.

How's your missionary doing? He's about ready to come home, isn't he? And isn't it fun being a grandma! I think life just keeps getting better every year and with every person added to our families.

It is sooooooo hot here! Air conditioning is out of the question in our little apartment so we have fans in every room and we sit  or stand in front of them whenever we can. They're reporting that it's the hottest summer in 100 years. Fortunately the church office building has air conditioning so we're really grateful for that.

The people here are so good and we really love them. And we love being missionaries,though we miss our family and our friends. I hope you and Ray get to serve a mission together some day. It's the best.

Love,
Cookie

Words from Elder Bo Mullenaux in Santa Rosa California

 
"It has been a definite learning week here in Santa Rosa! Just when you feel like you're doing good and try to put yourself on coast mode, the Lord will quickly spiritually smack you upside the head and make you realize that you haven't scratched the surface of what He has in store for you. I love it though because it just shows that Heavenly Father truly does care about each and every one of us and wants us to become the best we can be.
We also saw miracles this week!! The Prophet asked all the members of California to fast and pray for rain yesterday. I guess California is in like a drought or something... I just thought it was normal haha :) But everyone did and yesterday morning the rains came. I heard that there was not a single report for rain storms on the news, but it poured all yesterday. And i think it is now supposed to rain for 6 out of the next 10 days! Heavenly Farther truly hears our pleading cries to Him!

It was a good week though. I hope it was for all of you as well! I love you all and pray for you daily. Thanks for all your love and support, Have a great week!!"

Words from Elder Kade Garner in Peru

 
"Well this week was something else. I do not even know where to start. I guess I will just with transfers on Tuesday and do some back tracking when necessary.

 On Tuesday I had transfers. Monday night was really sad. I had to say goodbye to everyone and the power went out in all Oquendo and it was too dangerous to walk without light so I did not get to visit a lot of people but hey that is the life of being a missionary. Anyway, Tuesday morning we got up and went to Lima for transfers. I met up with some of my old friends who had transfers too. Elder Hackleman told us that if the church was really true and if the president really did receive revelation he would be going to Huaraz. Huaraz is the newest addition to the mission. We got it from the Trujillo mission in July. It is the prettiest place in the mission and one of the prettiest most history filled places in the world. So everyone wants to go there even though it is also the hardest place to be a missionary because the people are kinda cold. We all just kind of laughed at Elder Hackleman for his dream to go to Huaraz.

 So, the transfer started. The very first zone the president does is Huaraz because it is the furthest away. And the very first name he called was Elder Hackleman. I could not believe I turned to tell everyone I was sitting by what he had said. I looked over at him and he was so happy. I was not paying attention because I was talking to another friend and I was sure that I would never be assigned to go up to Huaraz. An Elder behind me tapped my shoulder and told me to look at the screen. Sure enough my picture was up on the screen. I was going to Huaraz!
 

 After the meeting I talked to the president´s wife to see what we needed to do to go. She and I have become pretty good friends since she arrived in July. I know it may come off weird that I am friends with the president´s wife but hey she is such a neat lady. She told me that we were to wait in the offices and that we would be talking the bus at 11 that night. You see there are no planes to Huaraz and it is an eight hour bus ride so they have you go at night so you arrive in the morning ready to work. She was so excited for me to be going to Huaraz. Then the president came to talk to me. He was so excited too. He was all ready to show us YouTube videos about our new areas. Well, he told me that I was going to Caraz. It is an hour and a half north of Huaraz. Which means I am in the furthes area in the whole mission. I am nine and a half hours away from Lima and my last area. The president told me that there was a reason for me going to this area. At first I though about what that could mean. Maybe that I was such a bad missionary that he wanted me as far away as possible, but then another missionary who was in Huaraz told me that the bishop here does not like missionaries. In that moment I knew why the president sent me to Caraz.

 I am going to backtrack a little now. Three weeks ago we had all of the multi zone meetings. It is when the president meets with all the missionaries in large groups. In these meetings he read a letter that he received form the president of the area, Elder Uceda from the 70. It a letter that the 70 received from a stake president. He talked about a missionary who was changing a ward and working well with the members and leaders. He talked about how this missionary understood how the Prophet wants us to work now as missionaries. Well, that letter was from my stake president and he was talking about me. I had such a hard time in my last ward, but we really started to change the ward and work well together. The missionaries now work with the leaders in that ward and because of that the president sent me here. He wants us to work with the leaders in the ward and save this ward. I hope we can do it.

 Wednesday morning I arrived to my new area. It is a little rustic farming village in the mountains of Peru. The mountains in the US cannot hold a candlestick to these mountains. I am in one of the prettiest places in the world and I have just been walking around like I am in a dream the whole week.

 So I wanted to meet all the old, new, and current investigators. We went around meeting all of them and we decided to challenge all of them to baptism. We now have six baptismal dates for this month. We then met the bishop. I asked him all about the ward and what needed to be done. We are a ward of 90 that attend. We are not in a chapel either. We are in a house that the church rents. The church already owns land here, but the deal is that we have to have an average of 120 attending regularly and then they can build the chapel. The bishop and I set a goal to make this number. And I made it a goal that I cannot leave until this chapel is under construction. You know I was really doubting myself these last few months. I felt like I was not a good missionary and that I was not living up to the expectations of everyone including myself. However, I am a little more confident now. I am not a perfect missionary and will never be because that does not exist. However, I am obedient, I love the people and I try to improve every area that I am in. I think that makes me a good missionary. And I cannot wait to see the things I learn in this area so I can become an even better missionary.

 So my companion is named Elder Dorado. He is from Uruguay. He is 25 and this is his third transfer here, which means he is probable leaving this next transfer. He is a pretty cool guy and he is a convert of four years. I think we are going to be able to work very well together. Well, I am sorry I did not really talk about any spiritual experiences that I have had this week, but I really cannot think of just one. This whole week has been such a testimony builder and just so freaking sweet. I know there are going to be lots of hard times in this area it is harder to find people here to baptize and the ward has a lot of improving to do but I feel as though this area is going to be the most rewarding so far... and maybe in the mission. I cannot wait to see what these next few months bring and the testimony that they create... or strengthen I should say.

I love you all and all I ask is that you go to church, read the scriptures, and pray that we can find some families that are waiting for us. Hasta la próxima"

Words from Elder Austin Davis in Oregon

 
"This week is been really good I'm going by really fast we had two
dinners three dinners with investigators there was The McNeal family had
two families over for us to teach.  The mom was from the foursquare
Church and the other was had a Christian background. This week is
going good though it went by really fast. we're going play basketball
at the Hillsboro stake center.  We did a lot
of fun things and trying to excite the zone. Last night we had to take
an elder to the Mission home. I was proud of him for humbling himself
and going home and return will return worthy. He was one of my
favorite Elder in the zone and kind of sad but good for him. Everything has been
going really good try to study the Scriptures trying to understand them more. Everything has
been going well though oh yeah West night I was giving myself a
haircut and I messed up so I had to go one on the side and the three
on top. Hopefully I don't get rebuked ha ha I doubt it though it's
okay How I will repent is all grow back out. Me and my comp got
got iPads and I'm talking to Siri right now. It's been fun the
last couple days we have been driving around a 12 passenger van pretty
swagging. Thug life you know. We talk at a dinner appointment brother
Hancox house. And they invited their neighbors over. It was pretty
good and getting to know them and I started talking to them about
their Christian background. And I asked if I could share something I
was with Elder Smith a new missionary. So I asked if we could share a
little message. It went really well I showed how the earthly father and  Heavenly
Father the Mormon message. And related that to how we are looked upon or
they look upon their kids. Then I pulled out helaman 5:12 and
compared it to the world today. It was super good the spirit was
super strong and they wanted to ask questions but we had to take off to
another appointment.
This past Sunday brother Hancock. He testified that we have the spirit with
us just like the e day missionaries do... A member testifying that they
have the spirit. It was good though super strong spirit. I love you
guys I hope you doing well."

Words from Elder Spencer Wilhelm in Angola

Hey thanks for the letters this week!! It sounds like the sj stake is in full swing witht their missionary work! wow i love president it sounds like he is helping a lot of people to get a wider vision on misisonary work! Good luck with the challenge!


Our week here seemed to just fly by so fast!! but it was a really good week with a lot of traveling and work.

On Tuesday Elder Chatwin and I traveled up to visit the huambo elders and have a zone conference with them. On our way up our bus broke down! ya what my luck:) but after sitting there for three hours or a replacement bus was sent to rescue us!!! In totally the trip to huambo took about 10 hours. It was way sick to see all of those guys again. In huambo there is Elder tilley, fontain, tingey, and whiticker. We only stayed for one full day and then it was back on the bus. While we were there we got to do divisions and we decided to just walk in 3s. so i walked with elder tingey and whiticker for the day!! we had a good time as we were walking around in their area. on that same day we also had a zone meeting. I will be honest i truly felt like I was preaching to the choir there. The missionaries are doing a marvelous job with the branch and their area! Luckily the trip back to lubango was eventful and no breakdowns.


When we got back we tried to just sit with as many people as we could before the end of the week so we stayed pretty busy when we got back. We had a really cool lesson with our investigator Marcos. So we have been sitting with marco for about three weeks now and he has just progressed amazingly. during our last lesson at the start I asked him how his reading was going. and he didn't say it at first, but he read the whole book of Mormon. cover to cover. He even read the guide to the scripture that is at the end of the book of Mormon in porto! we were so amazed!!! he started telling us stories that he like out of the book of Mormon and had a ton of question.


Ya we were so excited for marcos!! he is progressing great! The only problem that he has is that he needs to get married, but he has a big desire to be baptized and said he will start preparing!!

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Chicago Illinois

"To say that this week was crazy in an understatement. Last night
Sister Dias said "Let's have a moment of silence for the loss of our
sanity." Another quote that is very fitting is "Of all the things I've
lost I miss my mind the most." This was definitely the most
adventurous week of my life! From teaching Young Women's, Gospel
Principles, Seminary, Ward Council, and MCM, to broken shower heads,
and 6 inches of snow. From baptisms and confirmations, to fonts not
filling up in time and baptism interviews. Add in an all day Sisters
conference, District meeting, exchanges, and Zone Activities. All on
top of the week before transfers and not knowing if there will be
changes made (don't worry, neither of us are leaving Oswego). This
will be the craziest email you ever read!! I hope you can survive
until the end! Well I'll start with the most exciting news first:
Leena was baptized on Friday January 31st at 7:00 pm!!!! It was a long
road to get to her baptism. I just can't believe that we only knew
here for 2 weeks! But she'd been investigating for several months.
After her baptism she told Sister Dias and I that she decided to be
baptized because of the love that she felt from us. And that love
comes directly from her Father in Heaven. She bore a beautiful
testimony and it brought tears to my eyes. She is so elect and I hope
that you all get to meet her one day. Well now that I've told you all
about the good things that happened with her baptism I will enlighten
you upon the not so warm and fluffy details. We arrived at the baptism
about an hour and thirty minute before it started because we were
going to practice the song were singing with the Elders. Well we
decided to open the curtain and see how the font was filling. Don't
worry, the water was on and it was filling alright, but the plug was
not in all the way!!! *Gasp! (It's okay to freak out while reading
this because I can assure you, it was a moment of pure panic and
horror). So it had been on for 2 hours and there was only a couple of
inches of water in the bottom. We all just stood there and stared at
it. My heart dropped into the bottom of my shoes, this is not
happening i thought! But then i reminded myself that I'm a missionary
and nothing ever goes as planned. So after a few moments of utter
terror we all jump into action. We plug up the tub, Sister Dias and I
run into the kitchen and turn on the faucets and find anything to put
water in, and the elders go outside looking for a hose. I'm not sure
what their logic was in that but it's probably a good thing they
didn't find one or Leena would be getting baptized with ice floating
around. So anyways, I just want you to picture this scene: Sister Dias
and I in our Sunday best, running back and forth and back and forth
from the kitchen to the font, with little half gallon pitchers of
water, trying to stay calm, practicing our musical number and singing
as we go, with the Elders filling up a 50 gallon pot from the
bathroom, all the while the relief society room is a mess, we haven't
practiced our musical number that we're singing with the Elders, and
the tic tock of the clock just keeps getting louder and louder as it
approaches 7:00. Finally after what seemed like 100 trips back and
forth the water crests the third step. It was 6:45. But that wasn't
all. Programs still had to be printed and folded, chairs set up, Leena
had to change, and pictures had to be taken! But the coolest thing of
it all was that so many members showed up that we had to move to the
chapel because there wasn't enough room in the relief society room!
And then the program started. An Elder who served here previously came
and baptized her. We sang the Baptism song, and the program went
beautifully. It wasn't until the refreshments afterwards that I
realized how hungry I was and that we had hardly eaten all day. But it
was an amazing baptism and Leena felt so happy and I've never been so
happy I my life as well! If you remember back to my last email I
mentioned that the first impression we got from the Holy Ghost was
that she needed to be baptized in January. Well we did it. She did it!
And it was so incredible! I have learned so much about doing The Lords
will. His plan is ALWAYS better. Well this next story I tell will have
you rolling off your seat because your laughing so hard! As I
mentioned before we were asked to teach seminary this week on Tuesday.
Well school was canceled because it was so cold, I guess they call
that a freeze day. So we were asked to teach on Wednesday. We prepared
all day Tuesday and felt so excited to teach Alma 33! We even bought
donuts because I remember the way to a teenagers heart. Oh wait, I
still am a teenager:) So anyways, we are going to bed that night and
something tells me to ask if Sister Dias set the alarm. She assured me
that she had and we went to bed. But something told me, which I now
realize is the Holy Ghost, to ask if she had set it for 4:00. But I
brushed that aside assuming that my companion remembered we had been
preparing all week for this lesson and had just planned to get up at
4:00 am. I was wrong. We woke up at 5:45 to a text from the seminary
teacher asking "Are you guys coming?" Sister Dias jumps out of bed and
starts yelling "Sister Hauser get up, get up, get up, it's 5:45!!!!!
We slept in." To which I quickly sit up and exclaim "It's okay, the
donuts will freeze!!" Don't ask me why the first thought in my head is
the donuts but I got my priorities straight:) after a puzzled look
from Sister Dias we call to apologize. We felt so horrible!! Obviously
neither of us had to take early morning seminary and get up at 4:00
every morning! But they were so sweet and rescheduled us for Friday.
So went beck to bed:) The sad thing is that Sister Dias woke up at
4:00 and thought to herself, oh i still have 2 and a half hours of
sleep. Hahaha! So we ended up teaching on Friday morning and we set 3
alarms! The clock, the phone, and our iPads. The teacher even texted
us to make sure but we made it and we were even early! And yes, the
donuts were still good! And it ended up being an awesome lesson even
if getting them to answer is like pulling teeth. And so Sister Dias
and I counted and we taught 4 lessons this week. Not like missionary
lessons, but like 30 minute class discussions. We taught seminary,
young women's, gospel principles, and did a presentation in MCM. My
favorite lesson was young women's! I though of Kirsten the whole time
I was preparing it. It was only 2 years ago that I myself was a young
women yet it seems like so long ago. Our theme of the lesson was
Missionary work is not as hard as it seems, but it is as important as
it seems. We gave them tons of ideas and helped them to see that less
active work and non member work require the same things. Everyone said
it was a great lesson and I hope i get the opportunity to teach the
youth for the rest of my life! As for the Gospel principles lesson,
the teacher left right after sacrament meeting so we didn't know that
we'd be teaching it until we started teaching. And we bore our
testimonies in sacrament meeting as well so we taught or spoke in all
3 hours of church! I don't ever want to hear a complaint about having
to speak in sacrament meeting ever again. That would have been easy!
And so other adventures we encountered this week were that Sister Dias
broke our shower head and we had water all over our bathroom. And so I
had to kind of bathe from the kitchen sink. See what I mean how
sometimes I feel like I am in South America? But then maintenance came
and fixed it that night. We were expected to get about 9 inches if
snow this week and we definitely got about that! I've never lived in
this much snow before, it's crazy! I'm thinking we'll have to make t
shirts that say I survived the winter of 2014 in Chicago. But the
winters not over yet so maybe I shouldn't jinx myself. We also went on
exchanges and I was with Sister Hamilton who is from Ireland! Yeah,
she's pretty cool. And Sister Dias and I survived this transfer and so
we'll be here for at least 6 more weeks. We had an all Sister
missionaries conference this week and it was the best! We also got a
phone call from the assistants to the president saying how impressed
they were that we just opened up this area and were already having a
baptism. Trust me, I'm just as impressed as anyone else! Well I think
that about sums up my week! I am so happy that Savannah is going to
China!! I was not expecting that but she will do so great! Well that
about sums it all up. I love being a missionary so much! It's not easy
by any stretch of the matter, but it's so great. I have learned so
much and changed so much. It's going by so quickly and I wish it would
slow down. But I know that the reason I love it and the reason I'm so
happy is because this gospel is true. It's because we have the most
true and purest doctrine. Because it comes directly from Jesus Christ.
I know that true and lasting happiness is only found in the gospel. I
am so grateful for all of your support and prayers. I love you all so
much!!!!"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Words from Elder Tyler Crosby in Tonga


"Well, This week was a pretty great week. I really thought it was going to be hard being away from my family on my birthday, but the Lord and many great family and friends changed that for me. On the day of my birthday I was surprised by cake and ice cream from the sisters in our district. It was way to nice of them they really take care of us elders. Then on Friday I received a package from Sister Estella Udall. Talk about some surprises for my birthday. It was very thoughtful of them. One other really cool thing that happened was I got to do companionship exchange with our zone leader. He is from New Zealand and about to finish his mission. He taught me so much about this mission and even though its rough that I can still be a great missionary. He reminded me what it is really supposed to be like a missionary. I am so thankful for that opportunity I had and am thankful for his example to me. Oh I forgot out of nowhere we also had a zone baptism this week and the sisters asked me if I would baptize their investigator so I did. I got the name right and everything went good. The cool thing was that when I led this little girl into the baptismal water, She was pretty scared and struggling to talk to her all of a sudden I was talking to her and explaining what was going to happen. The lord was looking after me and he always is. The things I have seen and done on my mission are things I will never forget. I am too blessed. Thanks for the birthday wishes and all you do. I hope the kids are doing great I just sent letters so they should come soon. I love you more than ever and am just grateful for you."

Words from Elder Garrett Anderson in Brazil

"Well this week was actually pretty good. We have been keeping so busy just trying to get to all of the investigators of the other missionaries that we are finally starting to get things taken care of. The hardest part of the week has to be the disappointment when people say they will be at church, that they will read the book of Mormon, and that they will pray. We can have a lesson super spiritual with the spirit so strong that there is no way to deny what we are teaching is true and when they don't follow through, then it is seriously a heart breaker.
Yesterday we had one of the more interesting experiences on my mission. As my companion and i were walking down the street, we heard and gun go off and saw this drunk guy about fifty feet away pointing the guy in the air. I got a little nervous and my companion took off running. I told him not to run because then that guy might point the gun at us! So he kept swinging the gun around in the air then walked over and put the gun in a trash can. That was probably the most intense 30 seconds of my mission. Anyways we were protected and nothing happened so its all good.

We also talked a lot about opposition in church yesterday. Opposition is necessary for growth and God lets us experience opposition, not because he doesn't care about us, but because he loves us and wants us to be and do better. I know this is true. May we all grow and learn to love opposition. I know it is very hard and can at times seem impossible, but as it says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might haveapeace. In the bworld ye shall have ctribulation: but be of gooddcheer; I have eovercome the world."