Tuesday, December 9, 2008
the lord definitley is mindful of us - i think the last two verses in alma 37 are great about talking about that. if that is a bogus reference, just look up "mindful" in the TG and look for alma-ish. it's great
yes i remember that 4th of july story! i had quite a bit of adrenaline going when i was putting it out! yeah i've actually been thinking - i'll probably do some volunteer fireman work when i get home - and by the sounds of it i think i got some good genes from dad!
well i love you all and the church is so true. i had a wonderful experience at the christmas lights yesterday. i talked to everyone and it was amazing, the lord lifts us up when we're on his errand. and we should always be on it! i'd also like to stress a couple things i've thought about recently - our relationships with people are so eternal and of great worth. and that is why it is so important to always try and be christlike and improve ourselves and our relationships. that's why there's a section in the lesson 1 of PMG about families (and we're all a family!). but also it's important to remember that you can always talk and have fun with someone and have a good relationship that way - but if you never edify (spiritually) each other, how are you helping each other one bit? the funny thing about that too is that with edifying, relationships grow beyond something that can be attained with just idle talk and laughter. well i love you all, and i hope you have an amazing week!!!!
We had a Christmas miracle early Sat morning. We had gone to bed late on Friday, about 11:30 and I was so tired from the week of 5:00 am wake ups for Seminary. I tell you this to make it clear how deeply asleep I really was. Just after 1:00 am, I woke up suddenly and completely because I thought someone had been speaking to me. And I could smell a faint burning odor. So
I got up and went all over the house, the garage and out the back sliding door to see where the smell was coming from, but couldn't discover anything. I began to doubt my nose so I woke Scott up to see if he could smell it too, and he said he could. So I went over the whole house again, and everything checked out. I thought I would check the air out the front of the house. I opened the front door; the timing box for the Christmas lights was a puddle of smoking plastic, and the siding of the house was on fire, and the framing along the foundation was glowing embers.
Dad was a trooper. He ran and got the garden hose out, and after pulling out what was left of the cord from the wall, he had it pretty much out by the time the fire truck arrived. The firemen said we were pretty lucky-a few more minutes and we would have had a major fire. They had this amazing heat sensing camera that sees through walls and floors, and registers the actual temperature. It was cool, you could see the framing had started to heat up. After they made sure there were no more hot spots (about an hour)they left. They said it was amazing that I woke up so quickly, that most fires that begin on the outside do a lot more damage before they are discovered.
We got back to bed after 4:00, after a heartfelt prayer of thanks for God's tender mercy in waking me in time to avert a disaster. The Lord has been protecting us from fire lately. Remember on the 4th of July when we left the garbage can on the front walkway? I was going to tell you to put it at the side of the house, but then thought it would be fine there over night.
Thank the Lord, literally, that you and Dad left it out, and I thought better of asking you to put it away. God is good!
I'll send this, then write a little more
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
my teaching pool is good. we've had not baptismal dates for a while and it seems like most of our investigators are having trouble progressing (as far as we can see) but we're finding 2 new investigators (4 this week) per week and so we are getting work done. i also feel good about our pool because when i can't see any progress in everyone we have written up on our whiteboard, i feel that the lord is watching over them and making sure they are progressing and learning. Elder Pongi and I are doing everything we can too!
no don't worry about doing anything on your side other than prayers for us and if you want our investigators. pray for them to feel and recognize the spirit and have the courage to follow those promptings from God. above all for you guys - let your prayers be guided by the spirit, i try hard to do that, and i know that there are times that i'll pray about something that just comes to me and it needs to be said/asked for. it's easy too - really be sincere and think about what needs to happen or be done. think about and feel your love for people and the spirit will tell you what to ask or say. maybe read Bednar's two recent talks about prayer too - and implement!
i'm glad you're trying to put focus on the Savior vs. gifts and the commercial side of christmas. it is funny and sad how subtle satan is in turning a completely religious holiday into a materialistic craze for a month. i see lots of christmas decorations and hear songs and i look at some and realize all to often all of those dumb landscape blow-ups are of santa and reindeer or something like that. nothing about Christ (it's become Xmas instead of Christmas). i do love all of christmas and santa and stuff, but it can be easy to lose focus of things. it seems satan's favorite tool is half-truths and things like that. he'll never say "run around and do every sin in the book", but he will say, "you don't have to read your scriptures right now, you can read them later." bad example but you know what i mean. Be soo soo careful about half-truths. i'm preaching to the choir though! Love you dad
Oops - sorry about last week. As you can imagine, the time is screaming by for all of us. Before I was a bishop it seemed like the days moved slowly but the weeks and months sped by - now the days speed by too. That may just be an "old-guy" thing too, I suppose.
I'm glad that you are working hard. That is the only way to spend a mission happily. The Spirit may be more intolerant when we are on missions, but I recall even a bit of slacking made me feel badly.
How is your teaching pool? Are there any investigators progressing well? Is there anything we can do on our side?
I am in the middle of Tithing Settlement now, which has been an inspiring experience. It gives a time to visit with and get to know many of the members of the ward I have not known well, which has been very enjoyable and often inspiring. We have wonderful people in the ward, as you know.
Your mother is working very hard on her Seminary calling and, she says, feeling quite a bit better about it, which is good for all of us.
I loved the Ford Woody you found! Surf boards and everything. What a hoot. The Barrett and Jackson car show will be in Scotsdale in January; you might want to see if your president will let you go on a P-Day. It's well worth seeing.
I have invited the ward to read Luke in December to build up to Christmas. Luke has 24 chapters, so we are going to read one chapter per night, on Christmas eve reread chapter 2, and then read chapter 24 about the resurrection on Christmas day some time. I'm quite excited about it - I hope it helps us all focus more on the Savior and less on the gifts.
Well, have a wonderful week. We love you and pray for you many times each day,
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
anyways: i am doing well - it is pretty nice outside usually, and i am trying hard to not be lazy and focus on my investigators and on how i can help them the most. that mostly by focusing on commitments. i also am trying to implement all of the advice i get from district meetings and all of the meetings. which is a job in itself! we have lots of meetings.
i don't have a lot of time but i would like to put some pictures on here so i'll keep it short.
it's amazing how important it is to be humble. pride is one of the basic and universal reasons people reject truth (or actually implementing truth). And i'd just like to share something that i learned as i decided to study about this, especially as it is very relevant to this week - thanksgiving week. i think i will try to make this holiday rival christmas in my home when i get older. Basically what i got from the Christlike attributes section in the PMG is that the way we are humble is how much we express (truly) gratitude. we thank God for everything - which makes sense, if you realize that all blessings come from heavenly father and that it is important to thank him, what is there to be prideful about? well i don't have time to keep talking about that but i commit everyone this week (who reads this email) to read that section in Preach My Gospel and the scriptures it gives in the blue box. then to try and apply it into your lives. will you do this (answer with a yes and then do it and be happier).
love you all
p.s. wow lots of KBs from my pics - hope it goes through
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
sounds like everyone is doing well - except mom with the sickness.
as a reply to the package thing - i would love some vitamins as a matter of fact - i have been out for a little bit. care package requests... i can't think of anything specific - if you're sending a package big enough i guess you could fit in my white nikes that i used to use for basketball - but only if it just fits - i was thinking of just getting something cheap here. (if you do that you could put in a headband too!). but those are just things that would be nice. When the Christmas package comes around though i love those chocolate oranges (all of the flavors).
We are doing awesome though. last week we had the biggest lunch. we got this turkey from albertsons for like $7 so we had a huge turkey and mashed potatoes lunch one day. it felt like thanksgiving.
last week was not very good for us number's wise. it made me a little frustrated because it is hard to take over an area after only 6 weeks in. i'm still learning how to be a missionary! it's hard but we are working hard. The spirit is so important for us - all of us. i think it's a verse in 1 nephi 10 that says that the gentiles will not see jesus christ, rather they shall have the holy ghost as their witness. he is the reason we know and the reason we do everything that has to do with the church. i've gotten lots of comfort knowing that i am not the one (as an imperfect being) truly responsible for the teaching of these souls in my area. heavenly father sent me to carry it, but mainly he sent the spirit to teach and let everyone know - that is very comforting to know that if i mess up in lessons because i am human, that it really isn't me that teaches, but the spirit. my mission plaque scripture bears witness of this idea - john 15:26 &27. i've come to realize here how awesome that scripture is.
so the lesson for everyone not immersed in missionary work every minute: it should be the same for me as for you, the spirit is your witness to you, and it is our job to be clean/pure vessels of the spirit so we can know what we need to do to follow Christ's example and also help others feel the spirit and invite them to Christ. it's the reason we're here really. it's funny to think about actually! we're here on earth separated from God so that we can return to live with him again... it's true but that almost paradox makes me laugh. it's like heavenly father dropped us off at the beginning of the maze so we can get back to the end where he lives. anyways i'm beating the dead horse.
hey mom: just a word about seminary. i loved it so much, and even though i couldn't tell you for sure if the teachers loved teaching the class (because that would be stressful), but i could tell you that they loved the class. they loved what was taught and they loved us and wanted us to love it too. i can really say i felt that and that makes a huge difference. the sensitive/participating kids will feel your love for them first, and then think about it more and realize that you love the gospel - then hopefully they'll realize how much happiness they can get from it so they will love it too. wow i feel preachy but i that's kindof a thank-you to my seminary/ sundayschool/missionprep teachers. hey, if brother mitchell is still in seminary tell Rachel to give him some of my emails or letters or pictures or something. and tell him he rocks.
i had the chance to go to the temple today, that was awesome. and yes we'll be helping with the lights there i think even. talk to you next week!
well i love you all and the lord -
Alec's First Area:
How are you this week? We are doing awesome, except that I came down with a head cold that marched down my throat to my larynx and now down to my bronchial tubes. At least I had a hoarse voice for seminary this morning. But I'm feeling a lot better than yesterday. Hopefully no-one else will in the fam will get it.
I hope you are healthy. Do you need more vitamins? Any requests for a care package? Everyone at church is always asking how you are doing, and asking me to give you their love. You will probably be using the Mesa Temple Christmas light display as a place to take investigators so you will be able to see it yourself.
I am going to buy a goat for Christmas-to be sent to a needy family in
Isn't the Gospel great, joy in this life and heaven too in the next!! I am always amazed at how much the Lord loves us and blesses us, in spite of our self-sabotage. Well I must go,
Love you soooooo much,
Monday, November 10, 2008
People really are funny - and I'm being nice and euphemistic when I say that this time. It is a very prevalent thing in this world that people only want temporal salvation. I understand that to some people that that is all that they know about so that is slightly excusable - just like the Lamanites' blindness. But when people have heard the real story, and by that I mean the plan of salvation and the gospel, for example those who followed Jesus around because he fed them, that is just so wrong. But then again most of those people are just like the pharisees who see but do not see - the truth is there and they see it but they do not comprehend it. Also it's much like the brass serpent - just look and you'll be healed but that would just be too easy for some of us.
It is pretty scary that God respects people's agency so much. But agency is truly sacred. Without agency the plan would have been impossible; the whole idea of the plan of salvation revolves around our agency. I do respect other people's agency, even if I know they'll make bad choices because I know that through the merciful atonement of Christ and that everything can and will be made right.
I don't know if I respect Rachel's choice to bring out the Christmas music already - it's just criminal to do that before Thanksgiving. It's disrespecting the holiday! "That make Squanto not heap glad." (or whatever famous Native American that was).
Well, this week with Elder Pongi was great - we did well and worked hard, which is a relief considering I took over the area of all these people. We had a great lesson last night; because of the faith of all present the Spirit was in the room so strong, especially with a beautiful testimony of a 18 year old friend of the investigator. Members are so key to every conversion. We as missionaries can run around like chickens and teach lots of people, but what really makes the difference is regular members present at the lessons also testifying and inviting the investigator to church.
Hopefully I'll have time to send a couple pictures on another email, but know I love all of you. By the way - I think it would be a great idea for the family to have a copy of Preach My Gospel. Not having that is like trying to build a building without knowing what tools and material you have/need, or what the building is supposed to do or look like. We are of the tribe of Ephraim and are therefore expected to bring the gospel "unto all nations". I feel we're not accomplishing our purpose here on earth if we do not do our best to be member missionaries, and the only real way is to have the PMG. More than one would be good as well - just like he says in the Reebok commercial : "What is better than having one linebacker in your office? And the answer to that is having two linebackers in your office."
So I will start posting letters from other family members to Alec too. I will label them as To: Alec, so you can easily skip over them if you want. Anyway, here's Mom's letter:
We got your picture CD and it was awesome to see all those pictures. I couldn't help but notice that you were filming while you were riding your bike, and your hands weren't on the handlebars. After Caitlyn's disastrous bike flip, I think it would be a great idea if you were extra cautious when you ride. Give the angels who are round about you a break! Caitlyn is healing beautifully. She got the stitches out on Thursday and the scabs have given way to new pink skin. I'm not sure of all the reasons, but she seems a lot happier, and is just very sweet and helpful.
There isn't a lot of news, just the routine care and service to family and friends. It's all good.
I got pulled into a situation in the ward where there is a family who is not at all active, and their teenage kids are having real difficulties, and the Dad is out of work. Their landlady called here and asked me if the Bishop was going to pay their back rent for them. (Dad didn't discuss anything confidential with me, these are things that I observed on my own.) I found it interesting that this family only wanted financial help. They don't want to come to church, and have the emotional support of a ward family to lift themselves and their teenagers. They don't want help changing their lives in any way so they could have the Spirit guide and teach them. They just wanted to be saved from financial disaster, or temporal salvation.
It reminded me of everything I've been teaching in the Gospels this semester. Thousands followed Jesus for a time because He fed them; they also sought a temporal salvation. Most of the Jews wanted political salvation only, they were waiting for a Messiah to free them from bondage to the Romans, not from bondage to Satan. Some who were sick wanted healing, but were content with physical salvation only, when He was offering so much more. Then there were
those who sought Jesus for spiritual healing. Those who were mentioned by name in the New Testament most likely became disciples of Christ, who found, at last, their spiritual Savior. "But whom say ye that I am?" "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
It is a wonderful thought, but also a terrifying thought that the Lord respects our agency so much, that we will get what we want most, and nothing more. As we read in Alma 41:3-7, we will find what we seek. And yet we feel somehow cheated if we are not happy at the end of the day, even when we insist on doing things that lead straight to unhappiness. (Alma 41:10) The bitterest people in the world are those who resent God for not allowing them to be self-centered and happy at the same time.
Well, God bless you and those you teach. You are carrying Living Water to a desert land.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
transfers are tomorrow and my trainer, elder Howell is getting transferred out to be a zone leader in a different zone. i'm getting a tongan elder named Elder Pongi. i don't know how i'll be the one who knows the area but i hope everything goes well. it seems the lord always finds ways to stretch us. i think i'd rather be a district leader because i've been a church leader in the Aaronic priesthood and stuff like that. i just feel so inadequate for the people here and investigators. struggling a little with th fact that i'm here trying to help these certain people. but i'll be ok - with time everything will work out i've found out. i might doubt about something for a little while but my little lamp of faith will see me through every time. i do know that. (that lamp is faith in Jesus Christ and heavenly father). i guess that can apply to everyone in any type of hard time. it may sound like the typical "judean-christian" solution, as a very prideful man we talked to (thought he knew everything and was thus on a "higher level" than us, but you could easily tell he was miserable and still incomplete even with all of his study and intellect) would have said, but it is SO true. the faith that Jesus Christ suffered everything that we have and so therefore can help us through every rapid of life we come up against will lead us through things we didn't know were possible to overcome. that childlike faith that let Enos know the truth. also that let alma the younger completely change, and also to help Job get through his path through afflictions.
i hope caitlyn is ok - i had an over the handlebar experience when i was younger. i was fortunate enough to land on the top of my head and so the helmet helped me out.
i sent a picture CD recently - i hope it gets to you soon, sister burningham sent me a card telling me i should do it, and so i felt i probably should ;)
love you all, read your scriptures and have meaningful prayers. also go outside of your comfort zone, because that's where nothing gets done
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
sorry this is on tuesday - the reason is is because yesterday was a Zone development meeting where we all got our interviews with president Bassett and so Prep day was pushed to today (also because the temple isn't open on monday). so to answer your question, mom; yes i have gone to the Mesa temple! i did so at the 5:30 am session this morning (man was that early). it was great to go to the temple again - and I like that temple a lot. i would be very pleased with it if i lived here - but i probably won't so boise is still good!
that is nice of the frosts - they are really a great family: Salt of the earth. that could describe alot of the families in the 5th ward. and i can say that about most of my friends - especially The Quorum. (notice in caps, hehe)
i saw in the pictures how much our house seems to have changed. it will be very "wheird" (weird) to come home and have it that different. and funny you mention that Jon married above himself ( i agree - no offense jon [you did too dad]) but it just brings to mind the Oscar wilde quote from the Ideal husband:
"you don't deserve her" sighs the father
"well, father, if every man married the woman he deserved, they would have a very bad time of it"
so true,and hilarious (i think i did a pretty good quote job too)
sounds like some great questions, mom - i'd be interested in those too. we got a good one too from a guy: what does it really mean that the priesthood will "never again be taken off the earth until the sons of levi do offer up and offering unto righteousness"? i don't know! we'll see then i guess
that's great grandma ruth is visiting - i hope she's enjoying it and especially the temple. if you're reading this: love you Grandma, and thanks for being open to the missionaries! you've changed more lives than your own that is certain.
dang that grandpa bob! lucky duck gets to go off to see real football games in jerry ol' England. i bet he's loving it though.
well i'm here without my planner so i'm only going off memory as to what has happened this last week - oh and sorry no pictures. we came straight from excercising from 8:30 am to here so no camera nor cord.
what am i thinking: we had a baptism on saturday. This lady on the apartment street that we have so much work on (about 55% of our work). she's single and has 2 funny kids (elder Howell and I are the "church guys" ; "hey mom, the church guys are here!" as he answers the door - he's like 4 or 5) but anyways she has been feeling the spirit and happiness from the gospel and so she got baptized. it was great.
we also played basketball last night as a finding activity, because on the apt street is this black family of really cool and nice kids but they've been passively resistant about taking lessons (ok with getting and apparently reading the book of mormon but oh well). so we played basketball with some of them and also this guy who's wife is LDS and another guy who's wife just left him yesterday so we were trying to see if we could help him out. one of the black guys though is married to a daughter of the black family, and he says he straight from compton, CA and he is a pretty quick flashy moves guy. wears a do-rag. it was pretty fun and also good.
well i really hope i don't get transferred. transfers are this next tuesday and the one of the zone leaders who live with us is going home! yeah he's pretty trunky (not really, elder olsen is a great elder). but it seems our relationship as a companionship is really starting to go well, and by that i mean that we're understanding each other really well and teaching together better. i've started to get over my shyness that was keeping me back from street contacting. better late than never, but i should have had the little sitdown with heavenly father in my nightly prayer earlier. but it helped. ha - i mean it did it all, as in it started it all so that i could let heavenly father help me do what i needed to.
i love the "The Village" quote by the guy character about why he can be so brave: "i only think about what must be done, not about what might happen." which reminds me - i've been having the feelings that we as a family (and i mean the Hoopes family) are not as good (that's being a little kind) at missionary work. it's very simple things that we can all to do affect positively the lives of everyone around us, and if we're not doing that, then we're not following the example that the savior has set for us. don't feel like i'm being preachy or getting down on you for this or that, but we all NEED encouragement. do your best to help the missionaries - i know it's hard for dad because he's so busy, and mom is busy too and it's hard sometimes to involve the sisters. and rachel, i know how hard it is to talk to people in general let alone about something like the church. but it can be done i know you all can do your little parts. and you all will see what those are if you have faith. love you all, you are the best!
well i love you all and before i go i have a quick question for caitlyn: do you like scorpions? there are lots here i just want to know if you think they're cool. (and don't worry i wont send you one, and they're all not that big - only about as big as a normal zip USB drive.) well, i still have to write Ben and Jon/Nicole - so i love you all and talk to you next week!
Sounds like the wedding went well - i saw a few of the pictures that mom sent me. Karene sent me a picasso thing i'll open up afterwards. but so you know i can only go on the church websites.
well the week went ok. we had 7 member lessons last week and that is really solid. definitely happy about that. though our street contacting has been really bad - a lot for me because i am not an outside of comfort zone or talk to strangers person. but i've learned a lot this week (i hope). had quite a few realizations and i hope i really learned from them. We got one new investigator this week - a graduated kid, he seemed pretty receptive, and has a couple friends really helping him (one was there at the lesson) who are LDS (or about to be baptized).
Thanks for the letter, Caitlyn. yes it is pretty hot here! but not too much more than in boise - it gets up to the 100s sometimes. it's just a normal temp at 100. luckily we are at the time where it is cooling down now. the nights/mornings feel so nice.
sorry mom, we were in a hurry out the door and i forgot to bring my camera and someone else's computer cord so that i could email some pictures. i sent some a few days ago in the mail so you'll get a hardcopy of some pictures. i hope that will be enough if you need them before next week. i didn't want to have to deal with sending a CD either so i guess you'll just have to use the scanner.
this might be a short email though because i'm a little lazy today. i think i'm starting to have a cold - my throat doesn't feel quite 100%
oh thanks for the package though mom - we already ate almost all of the cookies. and the pumpkinbread just has escaped attention i think they'res still half of it left.
well it is going well on bikes. tell you what with our 7 wards we cover, the farthest one out (avalon) is our 3rd busiest so i sleep pretty well at night, i'll just say that.
had a good experience i'd like to share before i close: (which reminds me, thanks for all of the forwarding of the other eagle guys!)
We were visiting this family on wednesday. and the WML (ward mission leader) is a great guy, really been helping get a hold of this family. anyways the father was baptized and knows a lot but hasn't been in a long time to church. i think he was baptized by foster parents or something - just a temporary family and then was taken in by some catholics (just some background). anyways he has the nicest wife and some kids. we were there and not to sure (elder howell and I) what we were going to teach. i was a little out of it and wasn't thinking too much really. elder howell did this lesson with ether 12:6 and faith called the faith-o-meter. it involves a tea bag lit on fire and it's pretty cool, we do it with a lot of less-active, recent converts, or part member families. so he did that and then i just shared 3 BOM stories (nephi & brass plates, Ammon, 2 thou stripling) and how they used their faith in action, to actually do something. their faith was active. and i used that to teach that point and then the WML closed it off pretty well and we left them 2 ne31 and i felt like that was exactly what they needed (whether they listened or not) and done in a great way. Elder howell didn't know what was going to happen in the discussion. and when i was looking up the scriptures i had no clue about how this would tie in(i was a little out of it) and then WML just capped it off. great lesson on how if we're led by the spirit even if we can't see the end from the beginning, things can work together better than so much planning would have. once again 2 ne 4 nephi led by the spirit not knowing what he'd do (that's the scrip i shared about the story). it's funny how that idea (faith will = action) was taught to everyone there - it was for the family but i learned something about/from it too. cool beans! well i love you all!
Monday, October 20, 2008
thank you everyone for your letters and email - i love hearing from everyone individually, and i'm sorry i cant reply to you all individually as well. just know i love you! And we're pretty pressed for time this Prep Day so i'll just send this one email - so please forward to Jon/Karene/Ben that would be so appreciated.
i know what you mean and it's been something i've learned before my mission, but especially in the MTC and i guess from you that the mission, just like the gospel, is not to make someone different temporarily, In order to become like God we go through these things to change our hearts and selves. If i'm not able to be changed from my mission then what will change me? two intense years of spirituality should change everybody - but of course Heavenly father won't force anybody to do anything. I learned to love my MTC teacher Bro. Shelton because i could tell he was a fundamentally changed person from his mission - i could tell he loved soo so much more, he listened so much more, and he felt the spirit so much more. he was off his mission, but still a full-time missionary. I love that phrase; it doesn't say "full-time missionary for just 2 years" it's Full-Time period. i hope i'm always a missionary. and i'd like to thank you too jon, I could tell you were different after your mission, just like bro S I can feel that you love more and more sincerely - and you understand much better about God's will and ours - something i hope to be able to do as well. the mission to me changes people in that they understand that knowing and saying is not enough. we have to KNOW it in our very soul - and when we do that we actually DO those things, and that radiates from you, i felt it from dad & Mom and Ben and Jon and Karene and Bro Shelton and Sister Wellington (the other MTC teacher). thanks for your words and example!
Thanks for matt's letter - i'll cherish that one for sure, i really do any words from the quorum guys that i get. which reminds me - if you somehow can tell Matt and Jordan or Harry that i Love them and their examples that would be great!
Brendan is a stud - i've loved seeing him grow up just under the older guys, he really has matured into a great man of God.
thanks for sending the things anyways - i know life is busy and i love you for everything you do (i guess to mom mostly, but true of everyone)
oh and sorry, i forgot to send that picture earlier! i'll send it today - karene did say she posted one of me in the MTC from a girl in my district... weird. i don't know how that happened but whatever! :)
i'm glad Caitlyn had fun, birthday parties are always the best - it's probably late but Happy Birthday Caitlyn! keep on going and having fun and true happiness - which doesn't always mean what makes you happy right away, that's something we'll all have to learn and i figured i'd rather learn it on my own (the easy way) than be forced (the hard way) with something bad happening to me. but with that that doesn't mean bad things always happen to us because we're bad, but we can always learn something from almost everything. and i've realized that if you don't learn something from a trial, then that trial was a waste of time and you'll just have to have a similar one again to learn what you were supposed to learn the first time! sooo much easier to learn and love the first time. oh and learn to laugh, as Elder Wirthlin said!
I'm excited for Jon & Nicole! they are great, i love them both and i've always wanted another sister in the family - i felt like the girls were outnumbered in our 5 kid fam. so with Laurie coming and then Nicole, i'm "so stoked", as elder Hinckley said in my MTC devotional.
i hope Dee is doing better - tell that young lady that she is The Best, i'd rather sit and talk with dee than many girls my age, she is just a firecracker; the world's a more enjoyable place when she and her wittyness are around.
and Dad, thanks for the individual mail - i do love to hear from you.
i know what you mean with people dealing with poor decisions. i have this guy we're teaching who i think might have quite a few nervous disorders and possibly mild schizophrenia - he's interesting to say the least. but he also is dealing with those and so is everybody in this world to some degree. thats why i love the Savior!
My teaching is going well and getting better - practice and more practice! and i just want to say i love you, Dad with all of my heart! I'm glad i have you to think of when i relate the words "heavenly father" to someone - I can say i love my Earthly father and i can feel his love almost as much.
which reminds me: prayers we need, please pray for my companion and I for help with what do do with the above mentioned investigator for us to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, please pray for us to always have the spirit so we know what to do.
we have a lady we will be baptizing on the 25th. she is the nicest lady and has two kids who are just the bomb. she came to church yesterday and loved it, and her kids said they did too.
we have a couple others who had dates for baptism but they've been past because of complications like the woman has to move out of the house (away from the boyfriend) and the other man is having trouble keeping commitments, but also wants to bring his daughter in now too.
well i love you all and i know the church is true - you can see it change people, their very souls and inner selves. there is this investigator with a member wife, who both my companion and I agree he just belongs at church, he has the light in his eyes as well - so we'll ask him to be baptized and i think he just might ask why we didn't ask him sooner. he's a stud - also a really funny guy too.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Well i arrived in the phoenix airport on tuesday and the mission president met us at the airport (with sister Bassett). we went to the mesa Temple's visitor's center, and then over to the mission home for a bit where we learned some stuff and eventually were assigned (after interviews with President Bassett) companions. my companion is Elder Howell, from Rexburg. He's a great elder and trainer and so i am excited. funny though, after we went to our house - which is very nice, i'll explain it later - we started driving to a "referral". i kept asking Elder Howell how we got it but he didn't answer me really anything. so we got there, started teaching this family (the Bennetts) and then about halfway through after some funny questions and elder Howell saying about two sentences and turning it over to me right away (at least 4 times), Brother Bennett revealed they were members and i was duped. it was kind of good - got out the wiggles (some) about teaching right away.
well so our house is way nice - we're with the zone leaders Elder Olsen and Elder Erikson. it's a member's house that they turned over to the missionaries. we have two bathrooms and a sweet backyard with a bball hoop. also chickens (the roosters are way annoying, we have like 7 for some reason so 24/7 crowing) oh and a bunny named thumper (he's the only cool animal). elder Howell and I would normally ride bikes but he hurt his ankle a little while ago so we have the Zone Leaders' car (hehe) for at least one or two more weeks.
well this week was awesome. I'm in the Citrus heights and a little of the Mountain View stake in Mesa. I've got 7 wards in my area and so we are ALWAYS busy with referrals and investigators.
It is great to be on a mission, at dinner last night there was one of the kids who (at the member's house) after finding out i had been out for 5 days said "well you'd better start counting down, two years to go!" in the meaning that like, dang you have that long until you can go home - that stinks. that is not at all why i am here. i wouldn't be anywhere else, if i could be a missionary for longer than two years i would be, and i will be because i know already i'll be forever a missionary after i get back unless i lose track of what's important. this is such important work, and if i felt like i was here because i "have to be" i wouldn't be effective. i can't put in words, i've been trying this whole paragraph but it isn't doing it well enough, how important this work is and how much i am so grateful that i can be here doing it. is there better than being a missionary for the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints? in the words of Brother taylor at the MTC "i don't think so.." and in my own words "I KNOW so". I've only been here a week so i don't know if what we've been doing has been changing our investigators' lives, but i can feel as i'm teaching them and loving them that the spirit is telling me (to everyone so far i've felt it) that they NEED the gospel and they will be happier and all of their problems and trials (that are many with a lot of our investigators) can and WILL be made better/easier to bear with the gospel of Jesus Christ through his atonement. gosh i feel like nephi in 2 ne 33 i think, where he says his writing feels weak and i can't say what i'd like to. well, enough of my preaching to the choir.
so i'm out here for a reason, and you'll understand why if you do what i've done, which is read the scriptures every day for 2+ years, and try to every day learn what i can to better and how i can be a better person. everyone reading this - NEVER let an opportunity to grow or become a better person (which is, if you are having trouble figuring it out: anything relating to the Church and prompted by the spirit. so church every week, scriptures daily, every dumb little meeting or "fireside" or devotional or seminary. what are you doing if you're not doing those things? hmmm.. how should i say this? you are making yourself and your life worthless, meaningless, and less happy. so why do those things? you're right! good you know why - they're dumb so you won't do them.
well i couldn't end on that because that is a little bit of a frustrating part of this life and we're not here to get tired or frustrated either. we're here to be happy. I'm so thankful that heavenly father and Jesus Christ love us - and they do. if you don't think so read the before sentence . and if you still don't read it until you realize that truth, because whether we know it or not they DO love us, and so do I, and this church is so true - the Book of Mormon does bring a man/woman closer to god, more so than any other book. and it might sound funny but were here separated from god so we can get back to him - and i'm so glad we can, i almost can't wait. imagine seeing him and feeling his love. that's why we have to be clean, i couldn't imagine the guilt and anguish if we saw him face to face and remembered all of those things we did that he warned us not to do. i think i would explode. good thing we'll be transfigured! ah once again the church is true. live it, love it.
well after my bantering ( i think i need to write in my journal a little more/better so that i'm not venting so much on email...), i am not feeling that you should pray for any investigators in particular. definitely pray for them though, that their minds and hearts will be opened and know God's plan for them. but i would like to be specific and selfish and ask for prayers for my companion and I. I am the lords servant, but so imperfect. even though the spirit is there at every lesson i am always seeing how i could do better and it's just so much i need to get better at. and i know what you mean dad by the spirit is all that's important. it is true, but it is needful that i feel my weaknesses and also try to get better at saying with more boldness and clarity and also addressing my investigator's needs better with just the lesson (less tangents) and asking questions (better questions) better so that i can get to know my investigators better. so much to do but i know that with the lord's help and your prayers i can do it. ( i could do it with just the lord's help, but your prayers would really speed up and help my process of learning, i know it would).
well we set a baptismal date with one investigator, hope things keep going well. have some other progressing ones too. Church was great and Sunday was great taught 3 lessons! taught like 3 others before that on Saturday - the week was rough, no lessons because of no show's, things happening, etc.
oh and i remembered, i'll close on a sweet experience. There is this less active man and his mother and sister died when he was 14 and his life took a lot of bad turns until he decided to get away from his old life in SLC and moved down here. he basically tears up every time we come over, but he feels so weighed down by his troubled past. we were talking with him and his friend about what ward they wanted/needed to go to, etc.. and elder Howell asked him if he wanted a blessing because he is in a tight situation and doesn't know what to do. he was going to ask us anyways, so you can see how my companion is in tune. he said that whoever needed more experience should do the sealing and blessing part. of course that meant me, which i was hoping wasn't going to be the case. but, because of a different great experience in the MTC i accepted totally. i gave him a blessing and my legs were shaking so much is was scary. but i feel i did well and the lord did get in at least a couple words to him. i feel like it was just what he needed. a very sweet experience like a day or two into my mission. thanks to a great example in the MTC. well i'll end with that - thanks so much mom for sending those letters from Matt, Jordan, and Landon. and i also got my bedding (on wed) so thanks! love you all and talk to you next preparation day (mondays)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
That is really exciting for Geoff, I'm glad to hear he'll be serving. tell you what i feel so much closer to a man but i definitely know i still have so much to learn. i do know by the end of my mission i will have grown so much spiritually and in every other way. which reminds me: Mom, i am getting fed PLENTY well here, i appreciate the love but i really didn't need those food care packages - we anyways got a box full of care package foodstuffs from the missionaries who left last week... whew. but i do appreciate the letters and love from everyone (except rachel who apparently doesn't love me - no wonder i almost didn't give her a hug before i left.) (jk...but only if she writes me). and i will still like the care packages when i get to Mesa i am sure of it. i got other package today, thanks mom. oh yeah back to "growing"
so before the MTC i was in the 158-165 lbs range (fluctuating weekly) and last week when i weighed myself i weighed 175 lbs so i guess 10 lbs? probably more this week, but i don't really look different. I don't i don't look any different. i've felt slow but that's probably because of a small sinus infection this week, luckily i'm on the tail end of it i think. probably be totally fine by tuesday.
i forgot to put them in the prayer roll but i bet you did for the boise temple. which reminds me, i once again went to the temple, and it is the best of course. i'm definitely looking forward to the AZ temples, it would rock if i went to both the Mesa AND the Snowflake ones.
glad to hear Rachel is doing well (indirectly from mom...) take good care of the Pathfinder/Unit-C. (it can be officially called that now because it's "yours" - note the quotation marks - for a while).
Hope Caitlyn is doing well - keep having fun but also remember the important things in life. I know i am SOOOO glad i read and studied the PMG and scriptures before i came here. it was easy to start teaching and focus on getting even better instead of getting better than no good at all. which reminds me: Everyone who reads this i commit (ha my teacher would be proud) you all to read your scriptures every day, at least every night and if you can (try hard) in the morning too. i can promise you from experience that it will make your life infinitely better and happier and what else could you ask for? NOTHING, thats right now read your scriptures.
i learned in mission prep that i actually was NO GOOD at teaching the gospel. i tried in the role plays and frankly i probably made someone go inactive (i'm kidding but i really sensed my inadequacy). i'm glad i learned that then too, so i didn't have to here. The spirit is SOOO much a better teacher, i can truly testify of that with all of my heart. If you're ever teaching without the spirit you should stop and say a prayer or something because without the spirit you are useless. well that's a little harsh: you're mostly useless.. hehe... mostly dead... anyways.
[in reply to dad's letter]
i bet it is busy there, and there isn't a jesse knight hall in the MTC so either they renamed it or you're talking about the JKH at BYU. mine is the addison Pratt hall (could you look up in George Cannon's mission thing and find out if he was a companion or fellow missionary? it said he went to hawaii as one of the first). ha i bet the chasm was a little much for 9th graders at 6 in the morning. oh well. Love you dad
and love you everyone who gets my letters or email - believe me i really do because the spirit allows people to love someone even if they don't even know them. i already love the people in Mesa, ask me how that's possible when i haven't even been there? The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and that is my testimony.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
well i am doing really well, and i am so glad that you got all of my letters on the same day even though i sent them at different times... i loved hearing from you and i also heard from karene and ben and now jon today. I went to the temple today for the first time here and so that was great. It is way fun to see what is different about the different temples. They played the other creation video in the provo one, it was funny to see a different one. But it was still way awesome.
oh and i don't know if i told you yet (i am pretty sure i didn't), that President Uchtdorf was the speaker at the Tuesday devotional! it was the best. Sister Uchtdorf is quite a character, she is really funny and gave some good avice. President Uchtdorf gave a great talk of course on how to make our missions the best, i don't have my notes (i took alot) with me but he gave so much advice it was awesome.
I had my first TE (teaching evaluation - teach a teacher as if an investigator and then get evaluated) yesterday with Elder Brown. we did alright, good for the first time. it was the best because we got some really key advice. it's all just practice and more practice! We also had a TRC (teach a volunteer investigator in a room made to look like a living room) on like tuesday...? oh well this week has gone by so fast i don't have a clue. but anyways we did pretty well except for we went wayyy over the time... hehe oh well. oh and also the lady was falling asleep for part of the time, that added a little comedy.
Well Elder Brown is doing well, he is a really fun guy and so that made it easy from the beginning. i also had the opportunity to help get him motivated and gain alittle more testimony in the first few days, it's fun to see how much we're growing. like i wrote to ben, i can feel myself being molded daily (painful sometimes, but needful). I have learned more here in the time i've been here than any 5 years in my life EASILY. i'm just glad my sculptor knows what he's doing - and if anyone reading this has any doubts about that: just know that Heavenly father knows EXACTLY what he is doing and that it's better to be as malleable as possible (ha i love metaphors... hehe) because all of us WILL be molded to the shape he wants eventually, it depends on us how painful it will be. (the changing part - life will always have some pain, but if we let it it will most definitely have an astounding amount of joy).
Thanks for the scripture placement stuff, oh and i figured out the immunizations so don't worry about it. I really hope Caitlyn does get to go to her family soon - it's rough to be in transition phases, believe me - i was in it for like 2 months before i left on my mission... frustrating...and annoying sometimes. wow sorry if a sentence doesn't make sense or if words are spelled wrong, all i've got is 30 min and the keyboard is slow/sticky sometimes so i'll look back and notice that one word i missed a letter...oh well. Keep it up Rachel, i love you. try your hardest to enjoy high school, the harder you try the more it will happen. that's really a universal principle. learn it soon!
I know that you're going through some of the same things as me mom, and i think we both know that it is painful and awesome at the same time, keep thinking about that sculptor metaphor, it helps me understand why it can be painful. and this missionary thing will be the make or break of me too - but i'm glad it is, what a wonderful thing to be doing something that can really define you as someone great! and by that i mean someone who lets the lord make us someone great through him.
well i'm getting blinked at by the time remaining thing and getting popups so I Love you all!
Love you all!
Obligatory Matrix shots
Around the MTC:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Ah yes, me towing the stupid flatwater boat that one of the guys decided to take even though he hadn't been boating for 10 years... a couple wet exits in a row with me having to save his gear and luckily he decided to stop and wait for us to finish
Look at me go
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I just had to barge in and almost ruin Elliott's cuteness display
Elliott and his adorable Grassophobia. I love how in his complaining he also takes time to smile once
Thursday, August 7, 2008
First of all i tried to teach a couple people to roll in a kayak (in a pool) on friday, which was fun and gratifying when they were able to roll up on their own. but not consistently enough in my opinion so i'm not much of a teacher. though i did read up so i might be better now, but don't count on it.
The recent time i went kayaking (this recent saturday)was with the Kerr family and whoever they invited (a good amount of vehwigs (i used to be able to spell their name, probably wrong now) on rafts. i was with Brother Kerr and Garrett in kayaks and it was way fun because i finally let out and really tried to play around in the river (previously i had been to cautious to do anything other than go straight down) I was able to do a little surfing which actually felt AMAZING, so fun/cool. so i had a blast. i didn't get any pictures however, but i will post some from a previous trip that i haven't put on my blog yet. (which explains me still in a wetsuit and with my goggles i don't use anymore)
Someone seal launching (in a kayak) off of that large rock - you can see their yellow paddle above their large splash
A totally different trip than described/in the rest of the pictures. That's me Guiding a three-man raft with Adam and Aaron Purcell. it was way fun (like the 90's oakleys? i use them for kayaking too!)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
letting the Nesquik rabbit out at the end
(insert pump up rock music *here*)
MMMM!!! Nesquik! or Ovaltine!!!
Rachel's raft at GLOYF
Other than that i've just been working for Inland Surf Company, getting ready for the mish, and just now started some self-defense classes - Krav Maga if you were wondering
Gloyf Video, nice of Caitlyn to miss me as i go darting past the camera