Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Words from Elder Stephen Garrett Davis at the MTC

"week 5
wow well this week was something else it was all a blur i am not really sure i can pick about the days but alot has happened this week. We got to host on wednesday which was pretty amazing for a couple of reasons! well hosting one missionary should take about 15 minutes pretty quick and so i got lucky enough to be part of a group who got to do internationals and as i was walking in i see this big dude just chilling in the corner and i lean over watch me get this guy and of course five minutes go by and i get stuck with the guy in the corner. turns out his last name is Kulu and he is from tonga! of course i immediately asked if he knew a elder crosby and and and ..... he said no. but he did say the lord only sends true heroes to Tonga because of the people and language and of course while i am talking to him i am just loving his tongon accent and i got to hangout with him for about an hour doing some simple things like helping him mail his packages and finding his room but i see him around occasionally and he always smiling he loves it here and hes excited hes going to the Mississippi Jackson mission! so after i am done with Kulu i got back and pick up another kid guess where this guy is going Mississippi Jackson mission as well! he is also friends with someone in my district so i tract Elder Paxton and let him take over. so i got back for a third time and i am waiting this girl walks by and she is also going the mississippi jackson misssion and i tell her about Kulu and Price the other missionary and she was so pumped! so as i am waiting there this family pulls up and the family gets out of the car and the oldest brother gets out and he is going to argentina and we are like sweet and i guess his little brother comes in in two weeks and he is going to be one of our new thais that come in i was pretty pumped!
so another thing is that the language is coming along great i am trying to memorize the thai script and man its something else:) i am loving it though i hope i can have it memorized by next week! and then i can work on reading and writing it! another big thing that happened is our cantoes left this morning so the includes sister brown and so far i am now the only sj missionary left in the mtc which kinda sucks not to lie. also yesterday i got called to be zone leader with my Khuu (companion) so we are going to have our hands full with this positon for a while:) so busy weeks ahead!!
Phom rag khun!!"

Words from Elder Bo Mullenaux in Santa Rosa California

"What a crazy week! Transfers are on Tuesday. My companion is
getting transferred and my new companions name is Elder Stoddard. This
morning the AP's sent out another email with revised transfers. They
made changes last night and so it has just been a little crazy around
here! Haha I am so glad I am staying though. I am crossing my fingered
that I will be here for 6 months. That usually doesn't happen though.
I guess we will see!
We have been teaching a girl named Rhea. She was planning on
getting baptized on the 23, but decided to get baptized where she is
going to school in Berkeley. It's ok, as long as she stays strong and
and is numbered among the righteous through baptism! We have found
some really awesome people this week! The Spanish sisters referred us
a kid named Jacob. We stopped by his house last night. He is so cool!
He used to be a Jehovah's Witness but some stuff happened and now he
just wants to learn what we believe. I am really excited to teach him.
Also, school is starting on the 25th so a ton of people are moving in!
It is exciting. A lot of old investigators are coming back too. It is
going to be the best transfer ever!
New beginnings always help me refocus and set new goals to better
myself. We had a really cool experience the other night. Every Sunday
night we get all the district leaders together where they report
numbers and we just go over things. At the end, we try to have a
little lesson to boost them up. This specific topic was the sacrifice
of leadership. We talked about what Jesus Christ sacrificed and what
we have sacrificed. We discussed Matthew 10:39 and how we could loose
ourselves in the work for these short 18-24 months. Then we had
everyone, including ourselves, write down everything that they loved
back home. Of course mine was hunting, fishing... Etc. haha :) and
then, after everyone had made their big lists, we challenged them to
take them back to their apartments and burn the papers. The spirit was
really strong and we all set goals on how we would all put EVERYTHING
on the altar of sacrifice and loose our life in His service.
I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who does care about
us, our struggles, our weaknesses, and our progression. I know that
our prayers are heard and answered. Faith and obedience are also huge
parts in that. I know that Jesus Christ has suffered for you and me
and everyone in this world. Even if it was just YOU alone though, He
still would have given His life. I love you all so much. Thanks for
all the love and support! I couldn't be doing better! Have a great

Words from Elder Tyler Crosby in Tonga

"Hello family and friends,
I know it has been a couple weeks since I have emailed. The internet and computer just decided they didnt want to work so we have had no luck with email. Things are going good here in Tonga. Transfers just happened I stayed in the same area, but got a new companion. His name is Elder Caudill from Huntington Beach, CA. He is really funny and awesome. I think we are going to work good together here. I really am excited for that. I cant believe I have been out longer than a year. Time is going by so fast. I will just have to keep going and do the best I can until I am finished. Thats all I really can do. I am so thankful to be a missionary its truly a blessings. Oh and I also wanted to say congrats to Elder Austin Davis. What a huge example you have been to so many people especially your younger cousins, Love you man:)
Ofa Atu! Lots of Love from Tonga,"

Words from Elder Jake Zieler in Canada

"Hello Family and friends! this week has been pretty good. we finally have our own apartment that we moved into it but unfortunately its in North Vancouver and our area is West Vancouver. we definitely have seen some awesome miracles! there was a quote that says, " I don't believe in miracles, I depend on them." and the longer I've been out here, the more I've come to know that its so true as a missionary. its pretty awesome to witness. I know I've only been out a little over 1 month, but if I look ahead of time, it seems like forever until I get home, but when I look back, I can't believe it's already been a month! days go by like weeks and weeks go by like days! haha I can't believe Austin is getting home this week! that's crazy!!! so yesterday at church, we saw a huge miracle. this lady walked up to me and my companion and said," I'm an investigator for the church, where's the gospel principals class?" so we showed her where it was and got to talk to her for a little bit. turns out, she just moved here from Columbia and has a sister who is a member. she's been taught by missionaries and decided to come to church on her own! and she lives in our area! we have an appointment set up and I know she's going to get baptized. I hope all is going good for everyone. here in Canada, I've already picked up a little slang like eh, washroom(instead of bathroom) and a few other things. the only huge disappointment I have besides milk being 6 bucks a gallon, is someone from SJ told me that the donut shop Tim Hortons was better than krispy kreme. I was so pumped to hear that, but unfortunately, they're just as good as getting a donut on a donut run to wilburs during seminary. so I wasn't impressed. I can't believe school started today. where did summer go? well please keep sending your prayers this way and thank you for everything!!"

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia

"I'm sorry I didn't write last week. This week was really good. We have
an investigator named Gary who is progressing really well and came to
church this Sunday. We've been teaching him for two months and he was
hesitant to make or keep any commitments. On Wednesday he came to the
church tour and from there out he's been doing great. Here in
Lexington on Wednesday nights they have a church open house and do a
tour around the building. Its an opportunity for missionaries to show
investigators the building and a really non-threatening way for
members to invite their friends. We show two videos, one is an eight
minute overview of the church and the other is a video called None
Were With Him that we show at the end. I would definitely recommend
looking into doing a church tour in St. Johns, its made such a huge
difference here and a lot of people come away knowing that Mormons are
Christians, that we serve one another, and that family is huge to us.
That's awesome about Coulson doing Hunters Safety. A lot of the
practical stuff that you learn there comes in handy in the mission
field. I like reading about Elijah too. On Sunday I finished reading
the Old Testament, it took me about a transfer but it was worth it.
The biggest sentiment that came out of it was that God's work would
not stop. He didn't put in thousands of years of work into His
covenant people for a thirty three year stint to be the last time the
the Savior spoke to us. Covenants are still important, they are the
most important thing we do in this life. After reading it I wanted to
read more, and I'm grateful that the New Testament is there but I'm
certain that after I'm done reading that I'll still want to have more
of His word. The work is going well, its going forward. this week
Elder Wagstaff and I got bicycles so we've been testing them out
today. It's a little different riding a bike in dress slacks and a
backpack but its about progression. A couple that we were teaching
Rebecca and Salvador moved back into our area this week so we'll get
to teach them and I'm pretty excited about that. On Friday we're doing
a hymnal event in a park here in Lexington called Joyful Noise at
Hopkins Green. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a pastor of a
local baptist church and he asked me a couple of questions about what
I believed. After talking to him about how we view God, that we are
saved by grace, that Christ died for us, and that the Bible is the
word of God he was a little bit confused. He paused for a minute and
said "If I didn't know any better I would think that you were an
ecclesiastical Bible reading Christian" I responded by saying that all
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are
ecclesiastical Bible reading Christians and that we sound similar
because we believe the same truths. The sticking point was the Book of
Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. He asked why I wouldn't join a
baptist faith if we believed the same things and I told him that I
knew the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and that any church that
didn't use accept it as scripture would be causing me to turn away
from His word and that didn't sit well with me. Nobody can know if
something is true, even that Jesus is the Christ except by the power
of the Holy Ghost, the scriptures teach us this. So if by the same
witness I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet then I can not deny one
portion of truth and honestly say that I believe the rest. It all goes
together in a way that is unique and divine. Thank you for everything
that you do for me, I really appreciate all of the insights you send
and for the prayers. Tell everyone there that I love them and give
them a big hug for me. I love you dad."

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Illinois

"It seems like just yesterday was Monday. The week was so full it just
went by so fast. But it was a great week! I know I say that every week
is a good week, but this one was special!
Last Tuesday we had the new missionary training meeting from
9:00-4:00. We only had to do a little demonstration and practice so it
wasn't very stressful. We did a practice on initial contacting, like
walking up to someone on the street and sharing the gospel with them.
Well we decided to do a bad demonstration first and then a good one so
they could see the contrast. After we did the bad demonstration
President Fenn says in his booming voice "THAT STUNK!" Haha I had to
remind myself it was supposed to be bad because not everyday do you
hear your mission president say that something you did stunk:)
I have decided that President Fenn reminds me a lot of my Dad, and
here is why: Because he has a clogged artery by his heart and the
surgery they did was unsuccessful, he has had to exercise and eat a
lot healthier lately. So he stands up in front of his missionaries and
says "I know you're all dying to know how many miles I rode on my bike
this week. So let me tell you...." And he proceeds to tell us how many
1000+ miles he's ridden this year and how he has an app on his phone
that keeps track and how proud he is of his accomplishment and he just
goes on and on for about 10 minutes! For those of you that know my
Father, this describes him perfectly! Except his is about walking, not
bike riding. I was probably laughing the hardest out of everyone there
because I felt like my Dad was haunting me on my mission through
President Fenn! So Dad, you and President Fenn will be great friends!
Well played, Dad, well played:)
And then we woke up at 5:00 on Wednesday morning and drove down to
Bloomington and Normal Illinois for exchanges. Normal is the home of
the Illinois State University and has the tallest dorm buildings in
the world at 38 stories. There's your random fact for the day! We got
there at 9:00 for companionship study and then did missionary work
with them for the rest of the day. That night we drove 45 minutes to
Morton and Washington Illinois. Washington is where that tornado
happened last November and you can still see the effects from it. We
did a lot of walking in the sun and I got some new freckles. And then
we went on to Stinkin' Pekin! It felt like I was just there yesterday
and yet it also felt like a whole year. Not much changes in 3 weeks. I
had the great pleasure of serving with my last companion, Sister
Clayton! We had a blast together and I love her so much! She is pretty
much awesome because some members had given them sweet corn and she
knows how much I love sweet corn, so she saved it until I came! So
they let me husk the 4 ears of corn and then I cooked them and it was
SOOOOO good!!! Like, life changingly good:) And when we were at the
store this morning I bought 2 more ears of sweet corn. This is why I
love Illinois. Because of the corn:) Anyways, we didn't have any crazy
adventures in Pekin either. I didn't even get to smell the Pekin
smell! And no, we didn't see any crazy men in cowboy hats and yellow
shorts riding their tricycles through McDonalds. But I did see lots of
So we left Pekin Friday evening and began our 3 hour car ride home.
Sister Bird and I had some good gospel conversations and talked about
how much our missions have changed us. It was your average missionary
car ride. And nothing out of the usual happened. Until I saw it. The
sign that said "Oswego...... 16 miles". I screamed so loud Sister Bird
swerved on the road because she didn't know why I was screaming! But
it was out of pure joy!!!! And sure enough, I got to drive through
Oswego again! I literally almost started crying it made me so happy.
I've never been so tempted in all my life to lie that I had to go to
the bathroom just so we could stop! Haha, but I decided to be obedient
and not lie and not stop to see anyone even though I really really
really wanted to! I thought of Leena and we drove by her subdivision.
And Carol as we went through Yorkville. I thought of the Smotzers who
we lived with for 3 weeks. I thought of all the wonderful members and
all the great memories I have there. Oh how I miss Oswego! When we
come back and visit next summer I'm going to a mess. Only as a
missionary could you come to love such random towns so much in such a
short amount of time. So I got to be in 3 of my 4 areas that day:
Pekin, Oswego, and Elgin. Too bad Blevidere wasn't on the way! And
then Sister Bird got to have the same experience as we drove through
Aurora, which is her old area. And then to top it all we sounds
thousands of fire flies out in the fields and the prettiest sun set
I've ever seen. This is just a small example of The Lords tender
mercies in our lives. I am so grateful that my gps decided to take us
back home through our old areas. It sounds silly, but I really needed
My testimony has grown this week in the fact that The Lord takes care
of our area while we are away for so long. We had an awesome Saturday
and Sunday full of many miracles! Our investigator Roy came to church
yesterday and we weren't expecting him to. He decided that he she'd
learned all that he needed to from the missionaries and wants to do
his own study so we hadn't seem him in a while. But yesterday he came
it church and we were able to have a lesson with him afterwords and it
was so good! Just because we were out of contact with him for a few
weeks doesn't mean that The Lord was. He went through this whole
process of at first not believing he needs organized religion to
studying the plan of salvation which made him realize that he has not
yet obtained salvation and realizing that he needs to be baptized.
He's definitely the most intelligent person I have ever taught. He
didn't want to be on date yet but he wants to continue learning and he
knows that he will be baptized. It was such a miracle to see him
change so much!
And then yesterday we were able to take a member out with us. And she
took us to meet 2 of her friends that she's wanted to share the gospel
with. One of them was her daughters friend, his name is Isaac and he's
15 years old. The member was telling him about scouting and trying to
get him involved. She told him all about merit badges and being an
Eagle Scout. I had the rare opportunity to bear my testimony on
scouting. Grandma, you would have been proud! I told him how much it's
changed my brothers lives and helped them to be an Eagle Scout. I
remembered when I was a little girl I literally cried because I was so
jealous that scouts got to wear a uniform and have a sash and get
these cool pins, and I just had activity days. Of course I know now
why the church is set up that way, but I told him I always wanted to
be a boy so I could do scouts! But don't worry, I've gotten over
So this week, we have 3 back to back to back exchanges. I'll be in
Elgin for 2 of them and then get to go serve in Byron. This weekend is
also the Schaumburg stake conference so that will be great! It's going
to be another busy week but I'm excited for all the lessons I'm going
to learn! May The Lord bless all of you in your endeavors. And always
remember, sweet corn is my favorite food!!"

Words from Elder Eli Frazier in the CCM (6 more days)

"hola amigos!
this past week has been awesome, listening to great speakers, videos, and teachers, oh and sorry if my spelling or punctuatuion in this is bad, but i dont have much time. yesterday it rained so so hard, the hardest i might have ever seen rain. and me and my companions ( i am now in a trio for a week due to a missionary who was sent home in my district) anyways, we had to run a good quarter mile in it to get to the other side of the campus and we got soaked! but it was a cool experience i wont forget, with all the rain, and thunder echoeing off the walls of the mountains of mexico city.
I leave for Peru this coming Monday at 257 pm and will be on a straight flight to there for 6 hours. Crazy im almost already out of here, but im ready to go share the joy and happiness of this gospel with other families! To show them how important families are and that they can forever and eternal.
I dont have much to say about anything new, but when i get in the field im sure ill have way more to talk about! for now its just classes and studying!
I love you all and hope the best for you! I dont know when ill be able to email again, but ill talk to you guys then. i assume my pdays will now be on mondays, but i probably wont get to email next week, Love you and miss you all!"

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"Fun week this week! We had a baptism and it was so great, I can honestly say it was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever been to. After the baptism the Mellingers ( the couple that got baptized) stood up and bore their testimony and how they feel now that their search is over. They used these words " we finally feel at home" (as tears were streaming down their cheek). The feeling of the experience was unexplainable. I can testify that any person in the room could feel the presence of a light surrounding them rekindling a particle of faith that they have of god, and creating a stronger desire to learn about him and follow him. Their testimony helped me and my desire to receive a better understanding of this gospel. A desire to share it and obey it, to get out of the way and let my father in heaven guide me and my thoughts and acting upon them. " Agency is powered by Faith". As we act in faith we are acting as agents. Agents are to be acted not to be acted upon. We all have a choice to follow our savior as did the Mellingers. Them coming across road blocks in their life questioned their faith in this gospel. Is it true or not? I know that acting on a righteous foundation that is good will always bring a consequence that will also be good. we may not recognize the good that comes from that action until the trial of our faith is over, then comes the increase of faith and knowledge. I am so grateful for the mellingers and them making the decision of baptism. I get to see how happy they really are now, it builds my testimony and strengthens my faith that this gospel is true."

Words from Elder Chandon Herring in Washington DC

"Well I am officially an experienced missionary. I only have one summer left before I go home. Dang time flies ;) ok so this week was great. It is weird but our most solid investigator is a 10year old girl from a part member family. Her older Brother is a member at 16 yrs old and that is it. Parents dont care (yet) and we will have success with them because we were able to get some pretty good ideas on how to get them involved in a lesson or two. Also I really am beginning to enjoy the 4:30 am lifting it makes the day seem longer and more productive.

Ok tues. The most rain I have ever seen in my life. Literally. It rained/poured ALL day long. It was bad. The buildings here are built to withstand it and all but a few were really damaged. Not mine tho :) But this day started out pretty crumby. We had a full day planned and it was going to be super good but due to the rain either everyone called and cancelled or we showed up and they were stuck somewhere in it. We got soaked and did not have a single live lesson until that night at the ward FHE. I really like those.

This week we went and supported the scouts in the ward for a court of honor. We have 5 scouts. They are some fun kids and it is really good for them to get the attention and show that they have achieved something, The parents here do not parent as well as you mom and dad. They almost always are really snippy and belittle the kids. It is super sad. You can see how sad and hurt some of the kids are emotionally. It is really sad. Another reason for bringing the families to the Gospel. Make them happy!!!!! While we had the down time during the storm I looked at our family History. I looked at the family tree and I went back to a Irish King before Christ. Wow I am Irish!!!!!! :)

Wed. Today we Had a slow morning of finding fake referrals. woo hoo... But when we were doing facebook and family history we saw a super funny video called, "How General Authorities Eat Their Recees Peanut-butter Cups." I bet you could find it on YouTube but I cant look to see if it is there or not. You should watch it tho. It cracked me up! Anyway we had our Ward Coordination meeting and were fed Enchiladas by a member. They were super good! Glad to have something different. Soon after we met with Bessie. She is a Baptist Minister. She is super cool and a great investigator. Some doctrinal issues but we can fix that. She is determined to read the BOM and she has a lot of great experiences with prayer. So she has to have faith to pray and get an answer! I am so excited. She is about 70 and her daughter should have joined us but was out of town. Her daughter is named Linda. She is more solid than Bessie. It was fun teaching bessie tho because she loves to talk. When we tried to teach the Restoration we only got to the sentence, "Joseph Smith prayed..." and then she went off on her life history and all that. We ended bringing it back to reading a chapter in the BOM which was filled with her saying yes as we read. Super funny. People here will yell Hallelujah in church and Amen and everything it is great. But she loved our little talk and prayer with her. So we are coming back and will hopefully teach her about what happened when JS prayed. That is really all she knows so far. Is that he prayed. :) so funny.

Thurs. ZONE TRAINING!!!!!!!!!! I love these days. We learn so much. We had an amazing workshop by E. Little about studying the scriptures. When you study it is great to mark and underline but when you put your name in it, relate the story to your life, and think about it during the day the amount of revelation you receive is 1,000,000,000X's more. It was great. We have some tough goals tho. We want every companionship to get 20 lessons a week and as many as we can under 30 minutes. We can do it but it is tuff! When we got home the Thursday curse left its mark. I had yet another flat tire... I was so dadgum irritated that i could do nothing other than sit, eating goldfish, and stare angrily at the bike while i patched the tube. Even better I guess my tires are not flat proof but patch proof. because the patch did not work!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! But i bought another tube from E Thornton. and off we were. On the bus later that night we were asked by some random people if we were wearing magic underwear. we are the 3rd set of missionaries asked that, that day. IT was a fun discussion and they were not very interested in much else.

Friday. the bread pans came :) i am pumped to make different breads. This was a great day. We had 6 solid lessons one right after the other. and Ceasar fed us these GIANT burritos. They were delicious and huge! We got to see Ben and Adelle. (adelle is the 10 yr old girl that is awesome.) They are both really wild and crazy. Mom knows how much I love little kids too :) Then sis sandy who is a LA (Less Active) that is never in town so we were lucky to catch her. She is really shy but super smily and happy. I hope to get better acquainted with her. Off to Sis Luna for some delicious Juice and a great lesson on the importance of being creative and busy. I love that Mormon Message by the way. It is called Create and it is by Pres. Uchtdorf. some facebook lessons and then sis Onyeka who is on a two week streak of not stripping in the middle of a lesson! And she came to church on sunday!!!!!!!! (Now that's progress!)

Sat. So this whole theory of practice and you get better. Ya it is not true. I have been trying to get better at basketball and every saturday morning when we play I get worse. I know dad, hard to believe i could get any worse huh? But i did stuff E Jensen. :)

Right after we went to the wards former building when it was a branch and cleaned it up. THe building was in pretty bad shape but it still bears the churchs name so we cleaned it. It looks super good now and it's CLEAN!!!! I had the fun job of trying to cut down trees about 1-5" thick with a dull kitchen knife we found. I was having fun tho. had a few lessons with Karen, Sis Bonner, Who we taught the Word of Wisdom to and they will try to do better at it. Smoking is the only problem. They drink like twice a year and they both said that from now on they will just have a Pepsi. :) Then Sis Galloway who we cant figure out. SHe was the former RS Pres but as of about 8 yrs ago was completely inactive. She comes to church when she knows a speaker that invites her and then leaves right after. She is a really incredible lady. I love her so much!

Sun. We had 3 peeps come to church! They loved it and I got to go to Primary with Adelle. :) I hope I am never called to Primary. EVER!!!! (HAHAHAHA!) But we had fun. During Sacrament meeting Adelle stole my ipad and wrote a note in it all by herself. This is what she put in.

hi my name is adele coleman,sister of benjamin coleman. im in church today listening. i had bead and water. bread is jesuses body and the water repersents his blood.

1. his father is god
2. god is the king(sort of)
3. jesus sacrificed his life for us
4. if jesus didnt sacrifie his life for us we wouldnt be on this world
5. mary is jesuses mom
6. lord is gods father
7. another name Jesus Christ is the "lord"
8. jesus was baptized even though he was perfect
9. he created earth
10. without him, i cant return to live with Heavenly Father


She is AWESOME!!!!!! For Lunch I was super hungry and was never satisfied. I had to tell myself to stop eating because I would have no food left! We had a Why I Believe at the VC at night. A former pres of SVU spoke with his wife. Super cool people. I also found out that the former Mission Presidents wife was in the General RS Pres as a 2nd counselor. She spoke in conference. Sis Miasoki. That is incorrect spelling but you get the gist of it.

So life here is amazing I am loving the area and the people. I am truly blessed to be able to serve a mission. We are all loved by God and as Adelle said he always sends a sign back after we pray to let us know that he heard it. :) Remember I love you all and you are in my prayers. Choose the right dont do drugs and Madi GET A JOB!!!!! ;)"

Words from Elder Jake Zieler in Canada

"this week has been awesome hearing from all my friends who have served and who are serving missions. thanks so much for the examples! so this week, me and my companion were knocking on doors one day and I wasn't having the best day. but we ended up knocking on a members house who didn't go to the same ward as us. he invited us in and gave us some water. he looked like a young guy and we just started talking. he asked where we were from and my comp told him boston and they talked a little about that. then he asked where I was from and I told him from a small town in AZ. and he's like what town was it? so I told him St. Johns. and he said no way? do you know where eager is? and I started laughing. he served his mission in the Tempe mission in 2008. RV was one of his areas and he had been to SJ a few times. then I was trying to figure out if he remembered any names from anybody. and he said do you know randall raban? his dad is like a principal or something. so I told him about my relationship with the rabans and he just kept talking about how nice they were and such good people they are. then he asked if I played football for SJ and he kept talking about the huge rivalry and said you don't know a rivalry until you go to those small towns in Arizona haha it just made me so grateful to have grown up in the town that I did. I love the people that live there and for the example they set for people around the world. that conversation definitely made my day better! I guessed he baptized this girl named Sammy Newton from rv. I know of her and I think Tyler Johnson used to date her, but I'm not sure haha but it was way cool having that conversation!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Words from Sistrt Elese Hauser in Illinois

"I've survived the next best week of my life! Sister Bird and I had
many, many interesting experiences as we usually do. I for one, had
some more embarrassing moments to add to the list. I know, you're all
shocked that me of all people would have embarrassing moments! Don't
worry, I didn't fall down any stairs or step on any sprinklers. Yet...
On Tuesday we taught a lady named Cathy. She is from the Philippines
and her son Dan is a recent convert of 2 years but he goes to the YSA
branch. So since she'll go to the family Ward, we got to teach her! We
took this member from Utah who is out here visiting her daughter and
she's never been out with the missionaries before so she was very
excited! She was so excited in fact that when Cathy asked the golden
question of what makes our church different from any others, the
member just jumped in and started teaching about the apostasy and
restoration except she was so thrilled that she was making no sense.
So we were finally able to stop her and we started from the beginning.
It was a good lesson after that! She said that she knows the church is
true because of the change she's seen in her son! And she just got a
new job that won't require her to work on Sundays. Miracles happen!!
But if you remember, she's from the Philippines and so of course we
couldn't leave without eating a five course meal on the way out the
door! She had a cook in the kitchen the whole time preparing things
for when we were done with the lesson. So here we are sitting in the
couch and she just starts piling food in our laps. Egg rolls and
empanadas and then she randomly gave us jelly filled donuts! Haha! I
don't think those were Filipino but what do I know! And then she gave
us all the leftovers:) I'm beginning to think the Philippines would be
a nice place to go:) But Elgin has a huge population of Filipino
people! So it's close enough:)
We gave 2 trainings this week and went to 2 zone conferences. First at
Schaumburg and then we went to Rockford. I got to drive by Belvidere
and i almost started crying! Word is that Bennie Rivera will be going
to the temple soon! That would make my life if I could go see him take
out his endowments while still on my mission! But anyways, we trained
on Helping investigators make and keep commitments. We had 30 minutes
each time and I think it went alright. I can still improve a lot so
I'm grateful for the time ahead of me that I'll have to do that. So
this week I got a wonderful package from Mom and it had this super
cute orange shirt in it! As you can imagine it almost brought tears to
my eyes the fact that I have one new thing to wear! So I wear it to
the Rockford zone training. Well I also eat before the Rockford zone
training. Can you see where this is headed? So I ended up spilling
some of my breakfast on my new white and orange shirt. And of course i
forgot my tide to go pen at home! And we gave a training in front of
20 or so missionaries. Luckily it wasn't super noticeable but I felt
like it was screaming at me. Just my luck.
So we went on 2 exchanges this week. I got to serve in the Schaumburg
YSA branch for a day and that was super awesome! And then a sister
from Rockford came and served here in Elgin with me. When I was here
in Elgin with this sister we had taken a member out with us and we
were dropping her back off at the church. Well I was in a hurry to get
to our next appointment so I whipped around in the parking lot and
started heading for the exit. Well I'm about to turn down the lain
when I see a car coming so I turn the wheel to move out of the way so
the car could get by. But apparently I turned the wheel a little too
far and was still going a little too fast because the next thing I
know our car ends up going up and over the entire curb before coming
back down. So here we are bouncing over the curb and I know I look
like an idiot but chances are I don't know the person in the other
car. Right? Wrong. To my utter horror I see none other than President
Fenn is the driver of the other car. He slows down, stops, peers over
his steering wheel at me with a look on his face like
what-are-you-doing?! And gives an awkward little wave. It was one of
those slow motion moments because it was so embarrassing! Meanwhile,
I'm sinking as low as I can possibly go behind the steering wheel and
hoping my sunglasses mask my identity. Before I can do any more damage
to my pride I finish our journey over the curb and try to get out of
there as soon as possible without making too much eye contact and sulk
slowly down the long and dreary lane of embarrassment. My companion at
the time about died of laughter, I about died from embarrassment. Of
all the people that could have been, of course it was President Fenn!
And I'm the worst at hitting the curb, just ask any of my companions!
So that was my funny story of the week:)
We are still teaching Mercedes but she's been sick so we've had to
teach them over Facebook. And Brother Laine came to church again
yesterday and our lesson this week was awesome! We were only able to
teach the first half of the plan of salvation because he had so many
questions. He always does his reading assignments and is so dedicated.
It's weird and rare to find people like that! Do you all remember
Catherine from Pekin? Well she still hasn't gotten baptized yet and
Sister Clayton told me that had to drop her because she isn't going to
move out any more:( My heart was broken when I found that out! She was
so close, so close!
This week is going to be crazy! Tomorrow we have a new missionary
training meeting we have to train at and that's from 9:00-4:00. And
then we will leave at 6:00 am on Wednesday morning to head down to
Bloomington where we'll do exchanges. Then go to Morton and do
exchanges with the sisters there on Thursday and then we'll go to
Pekin and be there on Friday to do exchanges. We will get back Friday
night. Since it's 3 hours away we both go to their area and stay
there. It's really stressful for them because they have to plan 2 days
worth of stuff in one day and since it takes so many miles to get down
there we won't be driving at all while we are there, so I better break
out my walking shoes! But it's a good thing we have iPads and Facebook
because we will still be able to teach our investigators for those
days we are gone over Skype or Facebook. Sister Bird describes this as
the most tiring week of the transfer. That's comforting. But I'm
excited to visit Pekin again!
So life is wonderful! It's crazy, it's overwhelming, it's stressful,
but I love it so much! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve a
mission. This is the best decision I ever made. I don't know where I
would be or what I would be doing if I hadn't gone on a mission. I
hope everyone has the opportunity to serve a mission in their life
because there is nothing that compares! Stay safe and be well. I love
you all!!!"

Words from Elder Kyle James in Germany

So this week was pretty good. I went on splits with the zone leaders and the district leader. I spent a day in Düsseldorf and a day in Wuppertal. Düsseldorf is awesome. I hate big cities, but it was awesome. And Wuppertal is gorgeous. Instead of the average train, Wuppertal has a train that is suspended from a track in the air above a river! We rode it everywhere. Wuppertal has VERY narrow streets with cobblestone roads. It was awesome! Cobblestone is everywhere. I love seeing the houses with the white walls and the black cross beams.

Yesterday, we went to Familie Moss`s Haus. THE DRIVE THERE WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! Burscheid is the name of the town where they live. There are rolling fields of green with trees and cows and sheep and corn and everything! It is so beautiful. We have to drive through a wald to get there too. There was one point where I could see for miles! So awesome. Ahhh I love that area.

We had a slow week this week. Both of our progressing investigators are busy, or on vacation. Nadine is one of them. She gave a prayer in church though! Her first public one! it was awesome!

SO family Moss made us some interesting food. I cant even describe it. But, it did have onions, and i forced myself to eat. And.. yeah. German food is really good. AND I LOVE THE THING OF PEPPERS YOU SENT!! IT SAVES ME. I SERIOUSLY ALMOST PUT IT IN MY CEREAL.

It was really stressful for me last week. I really wanted to talk to people and bring them nearer to Christ, but I couldn't. I cant do it if I don't know German. SO I've been studying really hard. Crazy Hard. Every chance I get. Most of my first two transfers will be me studying.

Ah, so miracles. I've was kinda bummed because I wasn't seeing miracles, but then I realized something... Miracles only come after a trial of our faith. Faith has to come BEFORE miracles. We receive a witness AFTER the trial of our faith. So I studied faith this morning and marked lots of scriptures and learned a lot. Also, Faith WITHOUT works... is dead.

Do we believe in Jesus Christ? Yes? How do we SHOW it?
DO we have faith in the Atonement? Yeah? How do use it?
Do we trust in the Church and Gospel? Yes? How do we LIVE it?

We need to always see how we can do better. Read Alma 32. It explains faith beautifully.

Also, I HAVE noticed a miracle. The Miracle of me. I am being converted. My soul hungers for the word of God. My spirit thrists for truth. The Holy Ghost is my constant companion. Because my German is bad, and I can't help people come unto Christ as easily as I want to, I can still convert myself. I can still strive for the truth. I can still seek understanding.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is God´s work. I am finished with hoping that the chruch is true. I know. I am finished with thinking that Christ suffered for my sins and pain. I know. I know that we will be together forever as a family. I know that God and Jesus Christ came to Joseph Smith. I know. And I know that eveyone else can know. I know that you guys can know.
And to Trevor- You start your mission papers in a year. It will come fast. Don't read your scriptures everyday. You STUDY them. Trust me. You do that, and you'll be ready. Also, Start studying Preach My Gospel. Youll do great.

Good luck to all of you in school and sports. You'll do great. Be nice to one another. Love one another. Study Faith this week. And always remember who you are.

Thank you for the emails. I love them.
And I love you all."

Words from Elder Garrett Davis in Provo, Utah (MTC)

"week 4!!:)
this is going to be an epic week for a couple reasons one is that this is our last week with the cantonese districts (like SIster Brown's). Its going to be sweet because we really like this two districts they have been our good friends since we got here so hopefully we can send them out with a bang:) and the langugage is coming along i am trying to memorize their characters right now and its difficult but it can be done:) and my vocabulary is getting bigger which is good:) we are teaching a lesson like 6 times a week now which is really helping learn thai:) my companion and i are still going strong we are getting along:) hes pretty cool and hes really helping me with the langugage and the thai script:) we were teaching some Natives from thailand and it went pretty good they talk to fast though its ridiculous:) but they told my companion he is basically ready to go to thailand i was pretty stoked:) and well the mtc the days are feeling like weeks and the weeks like days! somedays seem to be so long then others i would just blink mainly pdays though:) and well we got some nerf guns in our dorm so like today we had a nerf gun war it was pretty epic:) mtc is going well:) love you guys!"

Words from Elder Chandon Herring in Washington DC

"Ok i am not so sure anymore about this whole 4:30 thing. But i guess i paid already so I am in it for a while. We were able to find a solid potential bus driver on the way home, yes we did not bike, it was leg day so come on cut me some slack... I could not walk for 3 days. We had apartment inspections and were given a giant thing of Oreos as a pat on the back. It is now gone. we had a great lesson at FHE but people are still struggling to get there. We have boosted attendance but we want more to come. so much cheese.

Wed. Transfers... I am still with my dad. I am a seasoned vet now with one transfer under my belt. I am good. only 16 left. We got a greenie in our apartment named E. Porter. He is from Idaho and is super diabetic. he is cool tho and super smart. E. Thornton is now the DL and he is not to excited about it but he is a great missionary. We had two lessons cancel but we got to teach Floyd. He is that guy we randomly found on his porch after a different apt cancelled. He is old and loves fishing, He is great. hard to catch tho because he is always fishing. We had a good lesson. We also got a call from a lady who is super solid. She called us and is wanting to learn more about the importance of family. That is one of our specialties and missionaries so we are happy to help. She is great and is going through a tough time.

Thurs. Today was the first day of the entire mission I was cranky. It was at night tho right before bed. The day itself was great but I got another flat tire and the patch did not work. I was not to excited. but i got over it. If that is all i have to be mad about life is good. We ate at Ceasars home again. I made Cinnamon Pancakes. Just like grandpa with lots of cinnamon. Everyone loved them and that is what we are doing from now on :) I was happy. We taught Anita today and her kids need a spanken. They were off the wall. But they learned the 5 principles of the gospel. We also met a great lady on the bus today. Matilda. An older woman who is super nice. She is going to meet with us again.

Fri. Today I was in the Spanish program. No joke. it was because the spanish Elder needed a comp as his comp and E thornton went to a training meeting. We had fun and I understood nothing. We had a Visitor Center (vc) appointment cancel. But we were able to give a blessing. I also met Elder Gilespie. He is awesome. I cant describe him but he was called to be 2nd counselor in the mission presidency on his mission, bishop, stake pres, area authority, mission pres, patriarch, general authority, and temple pres. Now he is remarried and serving a mission with his new wife. of 9 months. He is great and he emphasized how important it is to do the will of The Lord. He said just do it when it needs to be done and you will be super successful and happy. He also was Spencer W Kimballs comp for a week when he came to his mission to prep it to open. We taught Sis onyeka who did NOT take off her shirt in the lesson this time. Super grateful she also even came to church and was all happy and smiles. She was a different person.

Sat. started crumby with a massive headache at 4 in the morning. E Thornton thought I was sleep walking and popping pills but I was well aware of what I was doing. It was cool as I took some drugs and layed there I said a quick prayer and that is the fastest answer to a prayer i have ever had. I asked to be able to feel better and sleep. Boom nocked out before I could even say Amen it seemed like. I felt a ton better in the morning. We went to play some basketball with the other elders. It was fun to see a lot of bad players try to be good. But we all are terrible. We went to Ceasars home for lunch and he fed us El Salvadorian chicken soup. super good. Mom you would love the cream stuff they have here. We went and saw sis Luna after and had some of her delicious Juice again. I will send a pic of her. we went to the vc with her on sunday. We then taught Karen whose back is still in bad shape. But as we were leaving a bird pooped on my shoulder... I was so shocked I did not know what to do. So i swore like a sailor. Just kidding I laughed. E. Thornton said that he would have sworn like a sailor but he was surprised when I laughed. I cleaned most of it up but will most likely have a stain. We had another night of testing spiritual powers. It was my turn to find a street that we could get into a home. I rode a while and picked one. the third door we knocked we got in. Adam and Monica are a young couple who love the Ravens. so I used sis Gissel and Denis Pitta to my advantage. We are going to come back and teach more. it was great.

Sun. one of my favorite days here. We had sis onyeka at church and got to go to the VC for a night of music and inspiration. it was super cool and we were able to bring sis luna. But at church, this is for mom by the way, We saw Pres. Cooke who was speaking in the spanish ward. He walked up to me and said I looked sharp but he thought that I did to fancy of a knot. he took off my tie and redid it. Guess how he did it? The Cheaters way!!!!! The way mom you said you dont like it. The way Dad said I would tie it everyday on my mission because it was so easy. This made me laugh and I learned the not is also the Rich mans knot. If you look at rich people's ties that is usually how they do it.

Well for pday we started early at the gym again and then went to the mall to play football. it is cool playing right in front of the Washington Monument and the Capital Building. We had fun. I tore it up! I caught two passes and knocked down a ton of passes. Our mission is supposedly thee most fit in the world according the the mission doc who covers 14 missions. We are really athletic and competitive. O the way back home i almost got hit by a car twice, the first time I was lucky enough to shove E Thornton into the car saving myself and the second the gentleman was kind enough to brake. :) He only swore like 30 times to, not bad for DC.

Thank you all for your love and support. you are all the best and I know that you will be blessed for all you do will Diligence. Look at Pres. Eyrings talk in the April 2010 priesthood session talk called Act in all Diligence. it is my favorite. We are all here to be missionaries. The best ones are you tho. Find people and be an example. If any of you find someone to teach though we can skype and teach them with you. Just to let you know. :) I might ask some of you to join me in a lesson to. One lady we will start teaching soon wants to meet some people who have a family. She wants their testimony. :)"

Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

"Oi, in case you are wondering means hello in Portuguese. Before my
mission I could only recognize Spanish, maybe, but in japan, with a
bunch of people, I have now been exposed to Portuguese, Chinese,
Korean, Thai, Spanish, and Nepalese. Wow! Haha! Japan is, awesome!
Everyone, thanks for all the emails! I love hearing from everyone!
You are all amazing! Keep being rock stars!

So, this week, well you all keep asking about Wendy, so I will tell,
she is struggling right now. She hasn't been meeting with us for some
time, and she has had lots of different things come up. Please pray
for her! This week was both good and bad. We weren't able to meet
with everyone we wanted to, summer is hard, because everyone leaves,
especially now because this week is a special holiday in japan where
everyone goes to their home town and visits their ancestors graves and
pray and gather as a family. Kind of cool. I love the respect they
have for their ancestors. But we were able to meet with Hiroko and
Niimura San. It was awesome, as always! Hiroko San is so sweet! She
fed us lunch, we got to try ratatouille, and it was yummy! Then we
were able to talk a lot about the savior. That's my favorite part. I
love being able to introduce people to the savior, people who only
have heard of his name, but don't realize how much He loves them, and
what He did for them. Helping them realize that is amazing! They
can't believe someone would love them that much, to suffer, and
provide a way for them to overcome. I love bearing testimony of the

Then we taught Niimura San. She is such an amazing person, but she
decided that she can't get baptized because she would have to give up
a lot, so she reads the Book of Mormon and prays, but isn't willing to
progress. But she loves gospel music and we were able to sing with
her, which was awesome! We bought her a small hymn book when we went
to the temple and she was so excited to get it. Music is super
powerful! I love the effect it has on people. Amazing! And the
effect it has on me. I love music!

Life continues to be amazing! We meet cool people everyday,
interesting people to. A man told me that I look like princess padme
(sp?) Natalie Portman, and it made my day. Not sure how true that is,
this man also claims to talk to spirits, but we will go with it.
Haha! Let's see, on the not so spiritual side, I continue to improve
in ping pong, and I'm excited to practice at home. Haha!

Missions are the best! I love you all! This truly is the lords work!
Chan, Rexy, and Anna keep rocking it! This is amazing, I love
serving with all of you. Family, keep it up at home, keep being the
awesome member missionaries I know you are!

Love you lots! Say your prayers, and read your scriptures, everyday,
it's the small things that count!

Stay cool and dry!"

Words from Elder Trent Jensen in South Africa

Elder Trent Jensen August 11, 2014
[Elder Jensen has now been transferred to Pinetown, South Africa. It is a small, modern city just inland from Durban, 16km (about 9 ½ mi), in KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa.

My Comps name is Elder Chapeta, hes from Zambia. nice kid. the coast is so close, i can taste it. nice down here. its rain forest almost.
Pine town is great. We have a solid ward and im learning zulu! I wish I had more time in the day.
Oh yeah, also, there is a really big thing going down here. there is an all Zulu speaking radio station down here called Ukhozi FM its Africas most listened to radio station. one of there people found come come ye saints by the MoTab choir and plays it at the end of his show. at the end of the show the announcer would say things like wow this church is the most welll organized..

the church hosted the staff in SLC for a week around the 24th of july... they also took my bishop (Bishop Tsibela) with them. it was such a P.R. boost for the church you wouldnt even bieleve it. people listen to ukozi like Navajos listen to KTNN. its a big deal. we have people almost mugging us to know if we are the church that they heard endorsed on ukhozi! we usually teach like 12 lessons a week, now we teach like 25+ per companionship. not bragging. the videos are all on youtube so check it out
people here cant get enough of the Ukhozi fm. or the church its incredible.
Small World...
ive met 2 people here who remember Preston Wengert (a missionary from St. Johns).

Words from Elder Ryder Nielsen in the Philippines

"Things are all well, I can feel the presence of the spirit each day which has been such a blessing i can see all things with a greater spiritual perspective. My companion and I are doing well. We have been struggling with finding people that want to listen to our message but we have been patient and diligent. Because of our perseverance the Lord has blessed us with some really great opportunities to teach his children this week. I dont have much time to write you as we are rushing so we can catch the train to the temple (today is our temple day). I hope all is well for you. John 17:3 And this is life Eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I will forever be grateful for those who helped me to choose to go on my mission. I have come to know my Savior and Redeemer and have tasted the true meaning of Eternal Life. Although i know i will not receive a fullness until the life to come but i know and understand what John described eternal life to be, to truly know God and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that without this mission that God has called me to I would have never understood the gift that Jesus Christ has left the World. I know that through the Atonement and the example of our Savior we will each be partakers of the Gift of Eternal Life if we choose to do so. Alma 42:27 Therefore my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. The invitation is to all and it is my prayer that we will continue to come unto Christ and continue on the Path to receive a fullness of Eternal Life. I love you!"

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"Man is time going by fast. it feels like i was just e mailing yesterday! this week we have been helping a family prepare for baptism. Their last name is the Milingers, they are so ready. This week we ran into a wall with them though. As my companion and i were waiting for them to come to church, the husband (Jim) walked in without his wife and we asked where she was, he told us she wasn't feeling good and that they read on a web site called Mormon secrets some stuff that disturbed him about the church. Right as he said that the bishop announced over the congregation that the Milingers were going to get baptized. As soon as that happened Jim looked at both of us and said i don't think the baptism will be happening on the 16th. My heart dropped! We talked to him and try to clear things up and MAN he had some questions that i have never even thought of! It is crazy to me what people put on websites to throw down on our church? Where do they find time to think of all of this? But we got most of it cleared up and he is still well on his way for baptism this upcoming weekend. We set up a time to talk to his wife this week because she is super worried. (Please pray for the family they need all of your prayers.) In my studies I have pondered and read allot about sacrifices. Reading about Abraham really motivates me to give up my worldly desires, he is a hero to me for how courageous of a man he was to god! Someone who had great faith. as i studied about that and Jesus dying for our sins and fulfilling the law of Moses, I pondered about us not having to sacrifice as they did but that doesn't mean sacrifices are over. As Jesus came to the Native Americas he taught us that we needed to come to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. That is most defiantly a sacrifice that we have to make. By giving up what is dear to us for the lord, thus humbling us as we sacrifice our worldly wants for the lord, giving of ourselves and coming to him, showing him we love him. Through making these sacrifices and also making covenants, As we remember our covenants they wont compel us but be as a nature of who we are becoming. an example is the commandments we have to follow, they seem to most people a rule. it is a sacrifice to have to follow them but as we do so willingly it humbles us, its hard. but we are giving up our wants or what we seem compelled to do for our father. and as we do it taking upon ourselves the name of Christ it becomes a habit and we see a change of heart, over time we will have no need or desire to go back because we realize this is so much better!.. i love my father, and the light he gives to all of us. He wants to bless us! I testify that is true! as we sacrifice our wants our mind set will change from us thinking "I CANT AFFORD TO DO THAT" to " I CANT AFFORD NOT TO DO THAT" we cannot afford NOT to receive our fathers blessings. we truly do need them. i love all of you with all of my heart. always smile and be a light to everyone you see!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Words from Elder Trent Jensen in South Africa

"Elder Jensen bids a fond farewell to Lesotho... (referring to Elder Spencer Platt from St. Johns) oh yeah

thats right he was here wasnt he?

got transfer news yesterday: im now being assigned to Pinetown. its in Durban. my area is right next to the

office, so if anyone sends me mail ill have it in a flash. its apparently a town which means that during

apartheid it was a big people area full to bustin with Afrikaners and English.since this was the end of

the transfer, there wasnt a whole lot going on, Leribe is a good area with lots of potential, but i couldnt do

much more there. im now going to Pinetown. cant wait. not that much happened this week that i can recall. i

will miss lesotho tho thats for sure well i guess i should go now, i love you guys and i cant wait to here from

you again.peace out."

Words from Elder Eli Frazier in the CCM (MTC)

"Well hola everyone! Its crazy to think im already half way done with this place! I would compare my spanish to a 3 or 4 year old mexican child. hahah and as of right now i can conversate, pray, testify, and give lessons all in spanish, and also right now im just working on learning as many words i can memorize. it may be alittle slow but i can get around. and also memorizing important scriptures. i have the first vision, and about 6 other scriptures memorized that i use in my lessons. nothing much changes around here. the normal routine is classes and study time. but gym time from 130 to 3 is awesome! i am getting pretty good at soccer if i dont say so myself. thats the most played thing here. there was a devotional we had from a member of the seventy, and he talked about how he had a little who lived for only one day. he was not at her birth cuz he was at work outof the country, the next day at work he celebrating and giving his workers chocolates(that is just a common mexican culture thing i think) andthat is when he got the call that he his little girl had passed away. he talked to his wife about this and shared with a scripture i cannot recollect but it was about how families are eternal. so as he was at work he still kept handing out chocolates and one of his workers asked him how and why he could still celbrate. he told him he would explain if he had a couple hours to listen. he explained it to him and that man who he had taught was later baptized and has now gone through the temple and sealed to his family. this story really touched me and the how important temple work is. i thought id share this with you. i fi can find the scripture he shared with his wife i will tell you. we have those kind of devotionals and meetings all the time. of miraculous stories and teachings.

Well now im going to go play some soccer, get a haircut, finish my laundry, eat lunch, and then see whatever comes next. i love and miss all of you! i hope you are keeping god and his son in all the decisions you are making. for that is what is truly going to matter when it is all said and done. please also excuse my grammar as i dont have much time and this keyboard is not that great. Love you! Ill update again in a week!"

Words from Elder Chandon Herring in Washington DC

"ok family sorry for a short letter that is a little late but I was super busy today (Monday). I was able to successfully spend a lot of money! I have none left for the month because I went to Costco. I will have plenty of food for some time. I also bought a Gym membership.. We are starting to get up at 430 in the morning and biking 5 miles to a gym and still making it back by 7.

Ok Tuesday. We had a great start to a contest of getting the most contacts in a week. We ended up winning and today was a great start. We had a delicious breakfast at Ceasars home. It was so good but you could roll me home if you wanted to. We had our normal studies and facebook time where I saw a super awesome video about America. We were given dinner by the Walkers in our ward, They had these stuffed shells that were super good and they came with a half loaf of banana nut bread. I have been eating super good and those beans have been working out great mom super easy and delicious. No roast yet.

Ok Wednesday. This was a temple day. We saw the new movie. We talked a lot with JS armstrong who is a member who is dedicated to helping missionaries. He brings us our mail and takes us wherever, whenever. It is great. He is super old too.

We had a great ward coordination to. Our Ward mission leader is the best. He is so into everything we do and great with being involved with everyone. He is just perfect. I hear he is the best in the mision. Oh ya on the way to the temple E Brian, who is in our neighboring area, hit a pole on the way to the Metro stop. I wish i was there to see it! It was supposedly super funny to watch!

Thursday. Ok I went on an exchange with E Hansen. He is the ZL. He is great but weird. He was a good example of being disciplined and working hard everywhere. He started me on a memorization thing so I will learn 1 new scripture a day. It will be so good! It is super hard tho. We had a great time meeting with... no one really. All of our appointments cancelled so we just had a district meeting and did some contacting. We had a great time on the metro. The people here have and unspoken rule of do not speak unless spoken to on the metro. So all we have to so is say hi and they will almost always talk back. i love it!

Friday. I made beans this day! THey are awesome! We met Richardo today who is a transfered investigator from the spanish. He is already on date for baptism. :) He is awesome! We also had another meal at Ceasars because it is his birthday week. He fed us a lot again and i love him! He is so happy and nice! We were able to see sis onyeka who is the black lady who randomly undresses during a lesson. She is so weird. 70 yrs old and still does not know manners ;)

BASEBALL! We went to the baseball game! It was awesome to go but the game was terrible But this day started great! we helped two guys move and they were REALLY nice to us. But not creepy nice. I think... But it was good. E thornton and E Eishet were taking a couch up and they went to the wrong floor. They Noticed and came down to where they thought was the right floor But when the elevator opened they saw me and E Hart coming. they were super irritated because they just unloaded the coach from the elevator. They were Right back to where they had started. :)

Sun. 203 contacts total this week with a decent number of lessons :) We won and are going to get pizza! Hurray! We had fast and testimony meeting today. I LOVE IT! Sis mack bore\sung her testimony. she was baptist and sings a song that they used to sing. it is super good and the whole congregation sings with her. Is it bad if i recorded it? I will send it to you. You will see how awesome our ward is. We had dinner at Ceasars and gained more weight. But I am now 275 lbs because I have not been eating junk like I used to in GIlbert. You know that whole eat out all the time at work. I dont do that anymore so i am getting skinny! and now with a gym i will get huge! I bought protein.

Mon. Well today was good. We started st 4:30 we went and did sunrise pictures with E Fuller who was late because he got hit by a car. It was funny to hear that. We called to see where they were right when he was getting off of the ground. He is fine tho. So is the car. We had a solid day of go go go go. We signed up for a gym, went to costco, did sunrise pictures at the mall, I sent those to you. and we went and taught a few lessons. I love the peole here!

Well thank you all for your love and support. It is great hearing you are all doing well. Remember Madi, Jacob Simmons will kill, you know who, if he needs to. just let me know. (Awwww...still taking care of his little sister even though he is on the other side of the country. It's like a mafia thing "I've got a friend who can take care of that"...Haha!) Congrats to dad on making your life more stressful! (Our stake just created two new wards. We are in one of them and Mike was put in the bishopric) You will do great tho! Mom sounds like you are trying to get used to a routine again. Summer messes us all up and now you have to soon be called to RS pres. ;) I am just saying that because you are the only one who could do it right! (So not the case but I'm glad he has confidence in his mommy...or he wants another pkg...lol) I love you! Aunt steph good luck with school you will be able to be the best in class because you are that type of person. You can do it! It stinks but you can do it even with Hollan.

So happy to hear about all of the exciting Birthday parties in Russia. (Code word for baptism and he speaks Russian but is actually in the Baltic) I wish i could go there with Rex to celebrate. He is a stud. I love him. Nothing from Kort yet but I bet she is rocking it.

thank you all for all you do. I love you and I know that you all will be great. Remember that we are always protected and helped by angels. I almost died a few times this week, yet again, and for some reason I am still here. So it must be true. New favorite speaker..... Neil A Maxwell!

Mom everything is awesome. We are loving it. Those recipies would be awesome I will try them all. I am going to make a big thing of Mexican Haystacks this week. It will be great. I am so out of lifting shape but E thornton is mad because I was able to keep up with him for most of the workout and he is super dedicated. :) But I am awesome so......... (and ever so humble...)"

Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

"Hello! How are ya? I'm doing great! I'm exhausted! We had temple
pday this week, which is why my email is a day late! I LOVE the
temple! It's so amazing, and we are so blessed to live so close to
one! Sounds like everyone is doing well! I got letters from the
moores, and my lovely family and the ward young women's and it was
great! Thanks so much! You are all so wonderful and loving, and I'm
so stinking blessed! Thank you! Grandma Carol, thanks for writing
every week, it means a lot! I really enjoy reading Emily post
etiquette! Thank you family for all your love and support. I'm sorry
I'm lame and don't have much time, but I wish I could write you all
back individually, but just know I love and appreciate you!

So this week was good. We are able to meet with Akimoto San, Hiroko
San, Andrea, and a couple of less actives. Akimoto San is amazing!
She just has to overcome her struggles with the Word of Wisdom, and
tonight we have another lesson, super pumped! Hiroko is one of my
most favorite people! She is awesome! She is moving right along,
just has a fear of he change that baptism brings. But, she will come
around as her faith is strengthened. Andrea is from Brazil, and we
teach her English and the gospel. Yesterday we had an awesome lesson
with her, where the spirit was mecha felt and tears were shed, as the
spirit entered the room and testified to her heart that she has a
father in Heaven who loves her, and hers her prayers. It was awesome!
We were able to teach one of my favorite less actives about one of my
favorite things to teach, the Plan of Salvation! Her name is hosoya
Shimai and she has been less active forever! But she is so ready to
come back, and it's such a blessing to be a part of the process.

Eikaiwa has been super miracle filled lately. We have been having
lots of people come and lots of them are willing to hear about the
gospel. I love Oyama, the people here are great! Oh, so aunt Anna
mentioned getting proposed to, well, the creepy men in Oyama have a
thing for me, I now have two proposals, and many men wondering if I
have a boyfriend or time on Friday night. Awkward! They are all
either old men, men who aren't there mentally, or foreigners. Haha!
It's always an adventure when working around the train station. Don't
worry, I was only tempted for a moment to say yes....something about
his gray hair and missing teeth just got to me! Hehe!

So, today we got to go to the temple, and then a zoo! I got to spend
some time and see a lot of people that I have come to just love! The
sisters in my mission are amazing!!!

So ya, that was a bit about what has happened to me recently. You
know, the usual, me just being in awe of how amazing this work is and
how blessed I am to be a part of it! I love you all! I hope you have
an excellent week! Dad congrats and good luck! Family, I know you
will do great in the new ward! Change is hard, but so amazing! The
more people you meet and have relationships with, the more you are
able to learn grow and change. I have met some of my greatest
friends, right after changing from something I didn't want to leave.
It's going to be awesome! I love you all! The church is true! The
Book of Mormon is great! And Heavenly Father always answers our
prayers! Keep it up! Love you!"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Words from Elder Austin Davis in Oregon

"Well family this is my last week here in the Oregon Portland mission
kinda crazy. Don't understand it. I'm tired for sure. I have learned a
lot of life lessons some I don't even understand why I went through
the trials that I did. And others it's perfectly clear. This is just a
weird email to be typing time went by fast and slow but defiantly
faster than anything else. This week I had the opportunity to see the
cha's and Ing family they are from Woodburn. Sis.cha was like no way
it's only felt like six months since you left. I assured her it had
been 18 months :) we talked about change and the atonement and
baptism's and everything it was great to catch up. Then I started
thinking about my knowledge of the scriptures and just how much change
has happened.

Anyways going on to Tuesday we had a couple lessons then we went on
splits I went with good ol brother Johnson one of the funniest guys in
the ward. we had three lessons fall through so he was like let's go
get a blizzard and he talked about his mission and how much change he
saw in himself and how good it was for him.

Then Wednesday rolls around and we are with our WML and he brings it
up holy cow you have less then a week and a half. Thanks man:) ha it
was good to talk to him and just talk about the life lessons that have
changed the way I view things. It's just weird how much you grow and
learn. I think once principle I have learned a ton about is just
forgiveness either it's for me or my companion or me again. Or members
just tons of things you make everyday choices either to forgive or not
and it will have an impact on whether your friends with them or not.
The Lord forgives those who forgive. Sometimes it's so dang hard to be
humble and repent but once it's over it's fine you feel better that
person feels better and you know you did the right thing. And
sometimes you don't even mean to hurt feelings but the other person is
totally offended. That's when you have to rely on The Lord and just
act as he would and repent with a full heart. I know it's hard but if
you need to apologize to someone do it. You will never regret it and
it will add to your testimony, promise.

Well moving onto Thursday today we had the opportunity to have a
little weekly planning and to call a lot of people and try to set up
lessons and we have a lot of lessons set up finally so that will be
good. The life lesson I learned today would probably just to know how
kind God is. He truly knows us it's weird to think yeah there are so
many children we think, "oh how can he know me there are so many
people?" Sometimes Heavenly Father answers my questions before That
question comes to mind. I know God is kind. He has forgiven me and
will continue to forgive me. Even though we feel like we suck
sometimes we screw up. But this life is about progression not
perfection. So keep your head up God didn't provide a savior for us
for no reason. Use that atonement that he performed for us.

Friday what a joy I went on an exchange with elder mike Johnson a good
friend of mine. We saw a lot of curve balls and knuckle balls today. A
man walked up to us and all he could Talk about is pornograpghy & sex.
He was so engulfed in it. It was disgusting it was hard to see some
one have all of that and not want to rid themselves from it. So this
is the lesson I learned today is you must "Look in the situation
slowly."kinda like baseball you have to look in he pitch slowly! This
experience he did not want to give it up satan, satan had ahold of his
mind and his will. So as we look situations that might seem harmless
will lead us down trails we should not travel. He did not truly
understand why we are here on earth! It is to come closer to our
eternal maker. I wish I would have kept a journal of the life lessons
I learn daily I would have had 730 I have less because I've forgotten
some. I'm just thankful for my savior and I read this a couple days
and it came into my head as I was typing so I felt like I should
Enos 1:4-8
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I
cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul;
and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came
I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven
thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast
never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall
manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made
thee whole.
Talk to him The Lord is kind as we are humble and seek him.

Saturday ah Saturday today we had two lessons his morning. Then we
went out to lunch with Oregon city second elders. Elder dunshee and
elder Lewis they are goofy and just funny weird but they grow on you
ha:) today I learned how valuable true friends, real friends just put
things in to perspective. I'm thankful for true friends because they
are not afraid to put you straight and give you the answer that
sometimes you don't want to hear. But you will always heed to your
true friends council. I received a priest hood blessing this week and
how thankful I am for my friends holding the priesthood just as the
apostles of old. Tonight we had the opportunity to go to a baptism and
how cool it is to see people to make an eternal covenant with God.
Thankful for covenants that we make because covenants brings
blessings. The temple is such a sacred place. Thankful for it. Well
this is my last week of being a missionary I'm just going to treat it
like I have been out a year. It still hasn't hit me yet. Onto Sunday

Oh good ol Sunday well bishop ask me to bear my testimony today. There
are so many things I can bear my testimony on. How about a mission how
about I bear it on my mission. Missions might not be your first choice
if you have scholarships if you have a job. If you have just a bunch
of opportunities of worldly things. But this is your one chance your
one opportunity to wear his name for two years. We are so indebted to
him, I am so indebted to him. I may not be perfect but I'll always try
to be progressing. Because I know he doesn't need perfection right now
but I do know he needs my will and my heart and everything else I can
give him and he can save my soul. Missionary work is hard. It's even
harder when your going through trials. It's even harder when you are
rejected and struggling win your testimony. So I guess my simple
testimony that I have earned in the past 24 months is just that
Heavenly Father needs for us to go through hard times to see how much
we really love him to see how strong we are. But he wants to see where
we will turn when we fall will we turn to the dark and ignore God or
at our weakest state will we be humble enough to ask God for help. Ask
him prayerfully that we may have safety for our souls. My mission has
provided me the tools and capabilities for safety for my soul and for
that I am eternally grateful for my companions that gave up two years
to save my life. My mission presidents have given up three years. The
members giving up hours out of there day and weeks to come out to
teach and visit. For this I'm grateful for a great change has been
written on my heart. I know that Christ lives. I know that pain that
he felt when the nails went through his hands and feet were for me. I
am eternally grateful for his service and the atonement he preformed
for me.

Alma 7:11-14
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and
temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled
which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of
death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their
infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to
the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his
people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God
suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins
of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according
to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony
which is in me.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the
Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of
heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be
washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who
taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to
cleanse from all unrighteousness. Well I'm on my last week I have to
push myself. Thanks for being so steadfast and being an example to me
I love each of you. You probably know that.
With that I would like to say Thank you to everyone that has supported
me. Those who have said prayers for me and fasted for me thank you for
all you do.

Love from a servant of The Lord"

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"this week was an amazing week. We were on bikes the whole week and the weather was perfect. It was nice and cool. the ruff part about the week was we had run into some hard hearted people one was a less active that did all he could to prove are religion was wrong. that one we saw coming and ended it ASAP. following that person we were riding our bikes all around town and were seen no success, so we prayed to find a family right after we got done praying we ran into a guy and he was super nice! we told him who we were introduced the Book of Mormon and he smiled and said come back and i would LOVE to talk to you and also learn more! so that following day arrived and we were super determined to help bring the spirit in his home. We knock on his door and he answers lets us in we sit down and his wife walks in and shakes our hand. we were so happy to be there they both were so nice! as we get comfortable and sit down we offer a prayer in the home when we closed we started talking about our saviors love for us. All of a sudden a knock is at the door and it is his grandma who comes in with a bible and notebook. i thought to myself this is ether a really good thing or bad, So we continue talking about the saviors love for us. after we got done right before my comp started talking they started teaching US!! and started talking about the Mountain Meadow Massacre! and my heart just stopped! They seemed so prepared. as we left the house we both looked at each other and laughed. it was a funny lesson they had allot of facts from man and how the church could be false but the power of our testimony and the promise of the Book of Mormon was left for them to act upon. we then left and found many other investigators. i love how we go threw each week and have such a ruff time but as we keep pressing forword in righteousness satin cannot win. righteousness will always win. i have a testimony of faith and how when it gets hard if we just take one more step and then another, each time are faith is strengthened. "if it is to be it is up to me"

Words from Elder Jared Anderson in Brazil


"So this was a very interesting week. Our baptism, Aleksander, recieved the Holy Ghost Sunday, it was a very special moment for me. I felt so at peace and knew that this IS the Lord´s work. Everyone was so happy and we exchanged hugs and went our ways after church. We had an appoitment with him that night at the church and as we waited for some time for him, we finally relized that he wasnt coming, we tried calling him many times, we would answer and hang up. we were a bit frantic at this point and finally got a hold of him. His voice was very shakey and he told us he was not interested anymore and hung up. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I did not understand. we called him up again and tried to find out were he was, he would not say and finally just turned off his phone. I was completely be wildered in all my time knowing him he had never uttered or done anything like this. We prayed and went to were we thought he´d be with a calmness about us. We were guided to the house of his brother were we knocked on the door with no response, we continued persistantly because the tv was on. finally we jsut sat and waited at the door. he eventually came out with the Book of Mormon in hand. He tried giving it to us and said ¨I am not interested anymore.¨ I was shocked, what had happened in 5 hours to change his mind, we said ¨Alright but before, we want to share a message.¨ After must persistants he gave in. We began with a prayer and immediately after began rattiling of scriptures and bearing, the spirit was so strong, but it had no affect on him, he said God was not listening to him that the Gospel was not helping that he was not happy in life and many many other problems. he was very firm in his decision and said no. I thought Father please we love thy son so much please have mercy on him. I coould think of nothing else but to leave. So we told him, Aleks we are leaving now, we will end with and prayer, and you WILL say that prayer and you WILL recieve and answer. He argued but finally gave in. It was a very simple prayer, but it was defintly heard, peace filled my body, he ended and we looked to him, my companino looked and him and said, how do you feel? He looked at us with a smile from ear to ear and said, i am so happy. I wanted to kneel down and thank my Father in Heaven for His mercy, my heart was so full of joy peace love everything! It was one experience on the mission i will never forget. The Lord is listening to us and He WILL answer each and everyone of our prayers, in His time. (Isaiah 55:8-9), love you all."