Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Elder Colton Price

First opening comments, THAT BROADCAST WAS MIND BLOWING THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH!!!! I am so excited to have front line placement while the Lord is hastening the work. I know that the work that I am involved in is the work of the Lord. It is funny to think about the technology entering the field...we should have expected it. I can't wait to see how it all works and how much more effective I can be. 
As to my current efforts, Elder Callister and I are trying new finding techniques daily. We prayerfully decided today that it would be good to drop our two investigators and start from scratch again. 
We both had a neat experience that strengthened our testimonies and got us involved in the work even more. We are becoming the fourth missionary. 
Learning how to receive personal revelation and apply it is super fun and uplifting. 

The official change day for the mission is the 1st of July (which seemed FOREVER away 5 months ago) and I will be staying in my same apartment. Feel free to send me stuff :)

Elder Callister and I are doing great together. We have had a few rough patches, but we are doing good.
NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT YOU CAN BE YOURSELF AS A MISSIONARY!!!!! Seriously what is that all about?? So long story short we are happier because we aren't trying to be someone else. It was quite a hit when we were getting ready for bed last night singing the Mulan song "Lets get down to business, to defeat the Huns. You're the saddest lot I ever saw, but you can bet before we're through, Mister I'll make a man out of yoooooooou." That and Mega mind have become regular quote staples :) 

I am so excited to meet President Porter!

I know that the Atonement is real. Jesus Christ Loves me and you. There is no sin that can hide us from the Light of Christ. Heavenly Father wants us to return to Him. I am here because I love My God, and I love his Children. I am so grateful to have your support. I love this work. I can't believe that it has been 5 months almost 6 already. I MISS THE TEMPLE. If I could exhort you to do anything it would be go to the temple as often as possible!

Love you all

Love Colton

Elder Colton Richens

Well...this week has been a good week! We had 5 baptisms in the zone, making a total of 10 baptisms for our zone this last transfer. But now the transfer is over and it is time to get people marked for this next transfer! So the news is that not much happened in our zone. Nobody in our 4 elder apartment is leaving, so that is super nice because I really like our house! Just a few changes. We have 8 areas in our zone so 16 missionaries. And I think only 3 of them left. Because it's a new zone, we didn't expect that many people would change. But we are super stoked for today! Because me and Elder Dunford have the first baptism of the transfer in the whole mission! Bruno is finally getting baptized! (The guy who was having difficulties with his family). He ended up not telling his parents that he would be getting baptized. He's 24 so he can do that...and he thinks that it is the right choice to make! But me and Elder Dunford are super stoked! This guy is suuuuper cool. I freakin love this ward so much! This will probably be my favorite area on my mission! I wouldn't mind if I had to stay here for 5 transfers :) But we'll see what happens! Me and Elder Dunford are stoked to stay another one together! But that probably means that next transfer there will be some changes. President doesn't usually keep companionships together for more than 2 transfers. the couple that I told you about...we had an incredible lesson with them this last week! First of all...a group of young adults in our ward (including Bruno!) had a huge party at this one rich girl's house (who is also in our ward) so including Jessica and Carlos (the dating couple we are working with) there were 6 of them. And they had this all day pool/movie party at this girl's house. And then we came over at the end of the night to teach them. We taught the plan of salvation and it was so awesome! Everyone contributed and it was just way cool. I've never been in a ward or branch that had this many young people! And they are pretty close to my I'm pretty close to all of them! I love 'em to pieces! Every time I am with them I feel like I'm back with my friends again! That combined with teaching the gospel is just about the best combination ever! But Jessica and Carlos really liked the plan of salvation! Carlos was asking a bunch of questions because his dad died when he was young and he was wanting to know how the sealing thing worked. Ah, man it was such a great lesson! And Jessica has been reading a lot of the Book of Mormon. She said that she read some and then put it down...then couldn't stop thinking about it because she wanted to know what happened next in the story! So she kept picking it back up! Then Mauro (one of the guys there) said that when he first started reading the Book of Mormon, he didn't even like reading! But for some reason he loved reading the Book of Bormon. That was a cool testimony! Because there are lots of people here that don't like reading. :/ We marked them for baptism for the 20th of July! :D We need to get them married or living in different houses... :/ so that will probably be the only stumbling block..and they smoke a little...and probably drink coffee. But that shouldn't be a huge deal! I'm sure they will be baptized on the date we marked!
Okay next, funny that you mentioned Brother Gouveia...because this last week I got a phone call from President Fluckiger...he said that he wanted me to call to Madeira to talk to Brother Gouveia because he had cancelled his interview with President Fluckiger. So I actually got the chance to talk to Brother Gouveia for quite some time on the phone this last week. He said that after I left he fell a little bit and then didn't want to go through with the interview...apparently there were a few things that happened since I left as far as the branch is concerned...but as far as Brother Gouveia goes, we had a nice long talk and we resolved some things...I asked if he was going to give up...and he said no, I can't go back. So I trust in him in that he will do what is right. He is such a good guy. I think I'm going to get his email from my planner next week and start including him in my weekly emails home. So yeah...there's the news on that one.
This week I learned a lesson on humility. So I had another day were my allergies were really bad, to the point where I couldn't function. I think Heavenly Father gives me these days to teach me a lesson on humility. Because I've been so prideful with my allergies that I never go to God or anyone for help. I pray and ask for the allergies to stop being such a bother...but nothing happens...And I think Heavenly Father has wanted me to humble myself even more and ask for a Priesthood blessing...but this occasion was a little bit more humbling. I was laying on the ground in our house when we came home for lunch. And I really couldn't do anything because my eyes were red and watery, my nose was running like crazy and I was just sneezing a ton...and my head was pressured with crap. So the other Elders came and picked me up and put me in my bed...and I said, "Are you guys crazy?! I am not goin to sleep! Just give me a blessing and we'll make lunch!" And Elder Dunford was like, "no. You need to rest a little bit..we'll make lunch you rest." And of course...I battled with him again. Then he said "Do you think somebody that has a smoking problem prays for help and then puts a cigarette in his mouth? If you want Heavenly Father's to help need to rest a little so that you have more energy. We'll make lunch and then after we'll give you a blessing." This experience, as small and simple as it was, taught me a lot about humility. I never thought of it that way...but it struck me clear as day what Heavenly Father was trying to tell me...we need to let others help us, no matter how humbling the circumstances are. I felt like a child being picked up off the ground and put in my bed...but it brings the reality of the Lord's invitation to be submissive even as a child unto his father. Just a little humility lesson I learned.
Tell Kyle and Erika congrats on running the crazy man race! I can't believe they did that!
Well I hope all is well with the family. Thanks for all the love and support that I receive. :) We're going bowling today! :D No time to waste! haha. I love you! :)
Elder Colton Wayne Richins

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Elder Brandon Wallis

I am now serving in Los Alamos. It is awesome up here! There is a lot of work to do, and I'm very excited that I get to be a part of it. I have a new companion, his name is Elder Hatch and he is also super awesome! It's been very fun to work with him so far. Elder Hatch is waiting on a visa and I've been able to help finish his training here in NM. This area is also new! The ward up here split and they needed Missionaries to cover Los Alamos specifically. There were Sisters here but they had to split their time between here and another area. It has been very interesting and fun to help the wards get organized and to be able to work with two Bishops two Ward Mission Leaders etc. We started out with pretty much no one to teach here. We've been able to find a few investigators that look pretty promising! We're very excited about this guy named Ferman and his family. Right after our first lesson he told us that we had to come back and tell him more. The wards have also been outstanding in supporting us and willing to come teach with us. It's slow but steady right now. It's been quite a thrill to see the growth start happening.
I know this Church is true. I know that the way we are able to receive multiple spiritual witnesses of that truth is through reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. I know that I have been called by a Prophet of God to serve here in New Mexico. I love being able to share my testimony with others every single day. I pray that all of us will have a desire to share what we have been blessed with.

Thank you all for your support and love,
Elder Wallis

Elder Seth Garner

Another incredible week has gone by! Time is going way too fast... I don't like it! Sacrament meeting yesterday was great. Andrea AND Dennis both came to church, which is such a miracle! Anytime we would ask Dennis about church, his immediate answer was NO. He has made some complete changes since I first started teaching him. He is flying through the Book of Mormon, and says that he just can't put it down! We committed him to pray about it again to know if it is true, and he said "sure, but I already know it's true."... AWWW YEAHHH! Gosh, I stinkin' love that man to death! It seems like every new person I meet is my new favorite person, and each time I think they can't get any better... I guess everyone I see is my favorite person! AHHHHH it makes me so happy!!! We have been able to reactivate a less-active named Kris, who hasn't been to church in forty years. He is the kindest, sweetest man ever. He's got a pretty sweet handlebar mustache too! He works at the corner market, and he always gives us free food from there. His first week back to church was on Mother's Day, which Elder Casey and I happened to be speaking in Sacrament meeting. Kris said that he has never felt the Spirit so strong in his life, and he has come back to church every week since Mother's Day! He always says that he considers us family, and I can definately say that I consider him mine! Kris will always be apart of my life, along with all of the other wonderful people that I have had the opportunity of meeting here in Julian. I am sorry but time is short this week, so I have got to get rolling. I promise to give a more detailed e-mail next week. Hoorah for Israel!
       Elder Garner

Pics - Elder Casey and I were able to help do a Mormon Battalion re-enactment for a ranch house called Warner Carillo that is in our area. The Mormon Battalion stopped here on their way down to San Diego.
This is Blind Dave. HE IS THE BEST! He plays the guitar and sings like a champion. We were able to stop by Downtown Julian on Sunday and listen to him play.

This... Is a llama.

Elder McCade Tracy

June 3, 2013
 I'm doing really well! This last week has been a blast, we met and taught a lot of amazing people. It has definately been busy, but we are able to handle it. Today we've already given two blessings and it's not even noon yet! So this week has already gotten off to a terrific start, all the people that we're working with are doing great and we got 5 people to church yesterday! 

High - Blessing peoples lives with the knowledge that we have the full gospel on the earth once again and teaching people about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith
Low -  Having someone call us the devil after we proved him wrong in The Bible, that was definately different experiance than anything else

June 10, 2013
Every week keeps going by faster and faster! Yes they did, it went really well. Before the baptism Keisha had Elder Carson and I draw to see who could pick the right sex of the baby and that's how she chose who would baptize her and Elder Carson won. It's ok though, because I was granted the opportunity to confirm both of them and give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost so it was pretty awesome with my first two confirmations so far :) 
High - Finding some amazing people and setting three more baptisimal dates with our investigators and Felton is getting baptized this Saturday!!!
Low - Having Elder Carson get transfered because we've created such a great teaching chemistry over the last 12 weeks
Inline image 1 
June 17, 2013
I'm doing very good! Everything has been going just as it should, I've just been a little stressed out with my new comp. and being Junior and Senior Comp all at once!
His name is Elder Johnson, he is from Lindon, UT and he has served in New Albany for the past 7 months and this is his second area.
From what I've seen so far, yes, maybe because I have been working hard for the last 12 weeks and that's how I like to do things no matter what happens during the course of the day.
It was awesome! Elder Carson was able to come down from New Albany to baptize Felton on Saturday, and I was able to confirm him a member on Sunday! Also, Felton was able to get one of his friends to his baptism and we're gonna start teaching him soon. After his baptism, we went over to the house of another one of Feltons' friends and we were able to teach him the first lesson and commit him to a baptismal date for July 27!
Keisha and Kayla are doing amazing! They love having us come over and teach her the new member lessons.
High - Getting two new investigators from Feltons' baptism!
Low - Having Keishas' sister drop us, after having an amazing first lesson
Love you and Miss you like crazy!
Elder McCade TracyInline image 2

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elder Brayden Evans

Well this week was pretty good, We had a really good baptism this weekend and we have had a lot of spiritual experiences with our investigators. Well Erin made it to Sweden :) sounds pretty rough if you want the truth. The first sixth months of the mission might have been the worst six months of my life if you want the honest truth. The Cleansing process of the Lord that every person goes through on the mission really isn’t fun. But looking back I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. They have slowly turned me into who I am. We had a leadership conference this weekend and I was informed by the president that I was sent to be District Leader in my District to fix what was going on.. There were some problems and I think a missionary might have gotten sent home but I’m not 100% sure.. Wow a lot of work, I have been on the phone talking to bishops and counselors and basically doing the zone leaders job.. but hey I guess that happens sometimes. My companion is a stud, Professional soccer player. Thanks dad for the pictures, definitely a manhood crisis, and relive the past.. Everybody here is super concerned about soccer, and they have no chance to ever win the World cup so I don’t understand why. They say stupid stuff and I just fill my mouth with tacos and don’t comment. So I have been studying the genealogy of the Book of Mormon.. (That’s how many times I’ve read the stinking book) and I have learned a lot. The Book of Mosiah is probably my favorite book in the Book of Mormon. King Benjamin, Abinidi, and Alma back to back to back. Definitely worth my time. I have studied D&C 121 very in depth as well. The Power of the Priesthood is a very interesting subject. One thing that I have learned in my mission is that Miracles don’t make testimonies. I saw a miracle this week, and the people affected by it are still not interested in the gospel. God give us signs, sometimes little, sometimes big, but it is a decision that we make before if we are going to find these evidences. Literally as a missionary I can find a miracle in every day of my life. Eternal Life is a decision. I’m so grateful for the training and preparation im receiving right now from my Heavenly Father to be a father and a husband because in all reality that’s what the mission does more than anything.

Well I’m coming up on a year the 21. Wow haha when people tell you the mission flies by.. its a lie, but I’m very content with were I’m at in my mission right now. I’m very at peace. I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and there is really nothing else in the world that can bring those feeling other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That really is the message we share as missionaries. There is nothing else in the whole entire world that will bring the peace and comfort that I live with every day as representative of Jesus Christ. This next year will define the whole entire rest of my life and I’m super excited to get started.

The Lord answers prayers, I can honestly say that there is not one thing that I have asked of the Lord that I have not received in this last year. I live in peace, I fluently speak Spanish, My family still writes my, Erin isn’t married to some other dude (WHOOO) waiting 4 months for her is definitely better than that, and I’m not dead, which is always a plus.

I love you guys
I pray for you every day
Elder Evans

Sister Sydney Burnigham

Everyone, Hey!
I am so excited to write y'all this week and update you on the work here in Kingsport Tennessee.  I didn't really mention in this email that we found a raccoon in our apartment last week, which was the subject of my email but we did, but don't worry our landlord, Mac, SO country, wrestled it into a box bare handed and set it loose.  I must say we saw a dead raccoon on the road the next day and I assume it was probably the same one, poor guy.  Such a southern experience it was great!  But anyway back to this week, it has been crazy!  As a Sister Training Leader we do a lot of exchanges we had our first one, I stayed here in Kingsport and Sister Hatch, who is a brand new missionary, been in the field about a week came here with me, she is one of the 19 year olds and an incredible missionary, it's amazing how most of the sisters coming out are already pre-trained, seriously.  They are amazing, such great teachers and working so hard here to help the work progress.  I learned so much from her, these sisters in our zone are blessing me so much and just giving me more of a desire to work hard and become who Heavenly Father wants me to be.  We had the opportunity to go to a district meeting outside of our own with the zone leaders and it was way awesome to see how other districts do things.  The work is progressing, I see miracles every single day through revelation from Heavenly Father, he really does work through us for his children.  Our zone is killing it in the way of baptisms these sisters in Watagua have like 7 baptismal committments it is just amazing.  
A little bit about some of our investigators-- I'll start with Beth, Beth came to church yesterday and she loved it as usual, it is a matter of when she gets baptized, not if.  I am amazed at the progress she is still making and we are pushing for July the 13th for her baptism, we will see if her husband and family can get on board for that date she has this incredible testimony of the gospel and her desire to follow Christ it inspires me. 
Pam Mitchell is the one who is supposed to be baptized on June the 29th.  A couple days ago a bunch of members just donated like a million church clothes for her and her 13 year old son, this ward is amazing and we brought them over to her, she was very grateful and planned on coming to church yesterday, but when Sister Bastian came to get her no one answered and we went over after church to see if she was okay and there was no answer.  We are hoping we don't lose her, she is so prepared and wants to follow Christ so badly, it's just the worlds influence that makes following the Savior difficult.  We will keep following up and I will keep you posted.  Needless to say disappointment is part of missionary work at times but you just learn how to never give up and continue to seek for guidance from the spirit to know how to help the people you serve.  I have been working on my boldness with those that I teach really just committing them to doing things and helping them to change because if we don't invite them to change, they probably won't do it on their own. 
I love being here in Kingsport, the ward is so supportive and we get so much help.  I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here with Sister Bedke who is so amazing and deals with my worrying about everything and everyone haha I have learned so much on my mission but one of the things is to accept the things you can't control and give the rest to the Lord.  Sister Bedke and I were talking this morning and she just said sometimes I wonder why us?  Why did we get the blessing of being raised in the gospel and others didn't?  and really we don't know why our lives have taken the course we have but we recognize how blessed we are and use that to bless the lives of others.
"If you put the Lord first, the adversities can lead to beautiful blessings, you can see his hand and witness miracles." -Sister Mary N. Cook
"Following Christ is not an occasional or casual practice but a continuous committment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks
My mission has changed my life, the people here have changed my life and I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for it.  I hope all of you back home are praying for missionary opportunities and for the missionaries around the world.  Nothing will ever stop this work from progressing. 
Keep being amazing! I am so grateful for the examples I have had in my life!
I love you all so much,
Sister Burningham

Sister Sydney Burningham

Hey y'all,
Sometimes I try to sound southern, still not working that well, but I'm giving it my best shot.  Haha, I love it out here in Tennessee especially in Kingsport.  I guess I will start out by telling you a little bit about Sister Training Leaders and our responsibilities.  We had zone meeting and we met with our Zone Leaders Elder Schouten and Garber and the Assistants Elder Mills and Robinson to talk about what we are responsible for.  Basically there are too many sisters on missions and the Elders can't handle all of the concerns and problems the sisters are having at times so that's where we come in.  We do 6 exchanges a transfer, one a week with each companionship in our zone.  We report to our district leader and speak with our zone leaders about any problems or things we would like them to train on for the sisters we are trying to help.  We also are going to do weekly planning sessions with them and give them insight and new ideas about what we have done in the past that has worked.  I love these girls, they are incredible missionaries and they just want to be the best they can be.  It will be such a blessing to work with them and help them with missionary work.  I will admit I feel very inadequate, my companion Sister Bedke has been out a year and has much more experience than me, as do most of the sisters in my zone but I am trying to just trust the Lord and try to understand I have things to offer these girls even with my limited experience.  My companion is AMAZING, she's from Pleasant View, Utah went to Weber High School and graduated a year before me, in 2009.  She is kind and so loving, such an incredible teacher and just wants to work hard.  We talk about everything and I feel so comfortable with her.  I haven't had any hard companions yet so I consider that such a blessing.  Anyway, it has been a CRAZY week to say the least but with a lot of prayer, study and experience I am finding strength I never knew I had. 
Well, we had a heartbreaker this week.  Beth decided not to be baptized on June 8th.  Man, that was a hard day.  Her husband basically gave her the option between him and the church but she has a date set for mid-july so we just pray everyday she'll get there.  She has the strongest testimony and she was at church yesterday, it was just a really hard thing because there was nothing I could do. We still meet with her a lot and she is working towards getting baptized and her husband is slowly warming up to the idea.  On the brighter side we have 2 other baptismal committments.  Pam Mitchell is an old southern black lady that is really struggling financially.  Sister Johnson and I found her at her home outside, she keeps telling us she runs away from people like us (whatever that means haha) but for some reason she could not move, she waited, we prayed with her and she is all the way to Jarom in the Book of Mormon, it is incredible.  She set a date for June 29th and came to church yesterday, she said every single talk and comment was made for her.  We took her some food to get through the week and we will go with her to get some church clothes from some members for her and Devonte for church next week.  Words cannot express my love for this woman.  When Devonte heard she was getting baptized he said "Mamma, can I get baptized too?"  So needless to say this will be an amazing experience for them and we can't wait to be their guides the rest of the way, she has to overcome a few things but with the Lord, anything is possible. 
I am witnessing miracles. 
"It is easier to give yourself to Him, to surrender your will to His, than it is to fight the fight within.  It is easier to give yourself to Him, than it is to wrestle in your heart and soul between what you want and what the Lord wants.  Do not just look the part of a disciple of Christ, BE a disciple of Christ."
The gospel will bring everlasting happiness, I experience it and see it everyday.
Thank you for the prayers, love and support.  I love you all so much, have a great week!
With Love,
Sister Burningham

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Elder Colton Richins be honest...I don't have a lot of new information this week! It seems like this week passed without me really knowing it. And now we are already in the last week of the transfer. With how busy we have been, this transfer has just flown! But it's been a really good transfer. As far as the work is concerned it has been my best transfer. We are currently finding a decent amount of people to teach and they are all really cool! So this email will probably just be a bunch of random stuff...Anyways. This week we had to do more divisions. First we had a division with the AP's. Ah. Which makes me remember, I did have something really cool happen to me as well where the Priesthood is concerned. So the morning of the division with the AP's my allergies were super bad! They have been pretty bad in this new area. But this day was awful. And I really needed to be at my best for the division with the AP's. But we were out working in the morning and I my eyes were just streaming with tears (because of allergies...wasn't crying...) And my nose was running like a faucet and I was sneezing like none other. So I was literally unable to work in that I asked Elder Dunford if we could return home and he could give me a priesthood blessing. So we went home, and I took some allergy medication. Then he gave me a blessing. It was almost an immediate soon as the blessing was over I jumped out of the and Elder Dunford looked out of our window and saw a less active walking down the street, we looked at each other, and raced out the door to go meet her! The rest of the day I didn't have any problems with allergies! It was a big testimony booster for me with the priesthood. I remember many occasions where I have been on the receiving end of the priesthood. I remember many little miracles after giving a blessing to someone...but I don't frequently ask for priesthood blessings. Before the blessing I remember getting on my knees and telling Heavenly Father that I really needed to be well that day, and that I confided in His priesthood power. Then right after the blessing it all cleared away. It was incredible! It just goes to show that when we really put our faith towards something, Heavenly Father always answers. So that was cool. And the division went really well. I'm not a big fan of the AP's in this mission. But a new AP was recently called that I have known since earlier in my mission. His name is Elder Harvey. He played college baseball and basketball before the mission. And he is super funny. I met him like 9 months ago, he was in my zone. He also almost got sent home because he entered into a group "bull chasing" thing, and he ended up getting stabbed through his butt by the bull. He was out of the work for a few weeks and he was almost sent home...and now the Lord has called him to be an AP. I did the division with him. It was super fun. He is an awesome missionary! Although he's a HUGE jokester, he knows what he is doing. later during the week we had a lesson with Bryan...the professional soccer player. We marked him again for baptism. He said that if he gets an answer about the Book of Mormon before that date (this Saturday) then he will be baptized. So we made plans for him to start reading the Book of Mormon in the chapel instead of his house. That way there are no distractions...and throughout the week we will go and read with him. He has SO many little doubts that really have nothing to do with the Lord's pre-requisites to be baptized...but they are important to him. I have already told you about all that. But we will do everything in our power to help him get baptized this week. The members here are super supportive...this ward is incredible. Me and Elder Dunford have around 7-8 member present lessons a week (which is really good for this mission). I absolutely love the members in this ward. 
Okay, more. So this weekend we found this amazing couple! They aren't married...but we had the first lesson with the boyfriend this weekend. He was super receptive, and he even asked if he could give a Book of Mormon to his mom! He said that he was Catholic but he stopped going because he never saw anything about "saints" or "baptizing children" in the bible. But he kept firm in his faith in God. First impressions of this dude would lead you to believe the exact opposite. He's got ear rings and tattoos, but he is super super cool! Him and his girlfriend even went to church this weekend! And we found out that she has a cousin in our ward! So we're super excited about them...and we feel like they could get baptized within the next few weeks! We just gotta get them married... 
Yesterday we had a visit with Domingos...he slipped up. He wasn't at church yesterday and we were we marked a visit with him that night. We took over the Elders Quorum president with us (who is from Brazil and he is super cool). So we talked with Domingos, and apparently he was super depressed because it was his weekend to have his kids over and his ex-wife had taken them away without saying anything. Domingos' sister had gone to go get them and bring them to his house...but when she got there everyone was gone. She found out that the ex-wife had taken the kids to go stay at her new boyfriend's house. Domingos was frustrated and really hurt, because it was his weekend, and he always respects "mom's weekend."   But she did this without even saying anything. So Domingos left his house to go spend some time with friends...he said that out of depression and frustration he drank a lot. After a long, encouraging chat, everything had turned out okay. And we gave him a blessing of comfort. The poor guy. After all of this chat, Domingos had invited a friend to stay with him for a bit...and he was like...well elders, this dude is a friend of mine. I told him about the Book of Mormon and everything and I brought him here to talk to you guys. We were like....umm...okay! haha. It was super cool...and Domingos was bearing testimony to his friend of how the gospel changed his life and how he has found a happiness outside of drinking and smoking that lasts. He was like, "God is your best friend, and if you have faith in him...everything will be okay." Domingos is such a freakin stud!
Last. Which has nothing to do with anything...but it's just a random thing to throw in here. We have a house spider in the back corner of our house. And we've decided to keep it and feed it moths. We named him after our ward mission leader. haha. Anyways...just thought I'd throw that out there too. The things that go on in a 4 elder apartment. :)
Well I am super happy to hear that McKay went through the temple and that everything went well. I am excited to hear from him about it. 1 1/2 months and he will be out with me! I'm very excited! 
I hope everything is going well at home! Thanks for all the love and support that you give each week! I love you!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins

Monday, June 17, 2013

Elder Derek Fisher

Hey everyone! To start off I just want you to know I'm doing great. Having a challenging time with "shotgunning" the area but it's been a real growing experience to be sure. This is the 2nd time I've transfered into an area with no idea where to go, a very poorly updated area-book, and next to no investigators left behind to teach.
Regardless I love it, The difficulties we face are forcing us to do things out of our comfort zone, thus making us stretch and grow. Sincewe have no investigators we've been doing a ton of finding on our own efforts, Bahay-bahay (house to house tracking). I can really understand why people say it's not that effective, even though I have the american factor going for me I've had a lot of doors closed in my face lately. Despite the disappointment I feel a real rewarding
experience knowing I'm giving it my best to help everyone come to a knowledge of the gospel.  

Since coming into this area we've been lead one way or another to some really great Part-member/Less-active families. Despite being new to the area, we've already got a lot of progress in the works.  This last Sunday we had 7 of the Less-active members we taught this week come to church (A lot of love with a touch of boldness goes a long way). Not only that but we had 3 Investigators at church as well.  I have to say most of it is due to my companion Elder Yambot.  He is a MACHINE! He is working me to the bone.   Not only that but he is amazing at inviting the Spirit in a lesson. With companions like this it is really a humbling experience for me seeing all the spots that I can improve on. Elder Yambot is probably the most dedicated missionary I've ever met when it comes to the work.  I've learned so much from him in these past 2 weeks. Despite him being the only member in his family, suffering from epilepsy, and having his mom pass away while he was in the mission field, he truly understands his purpose and goes forth each day like it's his last. It's a true inspiration to me to take this work just a little bit more seriously despite the efforts I'm already making.
This week has mostly been about the work though.  Our mission president wants us to establish a model area for all other missionaries to reference off of this month before our New Mission President arrives. It's been a challenge but the Lord has been giving us a lot of tender blessings along the way. 
Lately I got some good news as I found out that one of the "Seeds" that I planted in my 3rd area (San Pedro 3rd) finally got "Harvested."  It's such a good feeling to know that your efforts weren't wasted and that all that we do really does help people grow closer to the Savior. 
Last new bit of info.   We (Cavite Mission Assitants/Office Elders) have been borrowing the extra Manila Mission cars(two 2009 Toyota Corolla's) for a week while we waited for our new vehicles.  On Wednesday we went in to trade in the cars, the office Elder got a sweet 2013 Ford Ranger. I was super excited to see what we'd be driving, I got an interesting surprise, a 2013 Toyota Hiace Super Grandia!  That thing is not a van, it's a freaking TANK!  It's been a blast trying to drive it around the Philippines(No casualties yet).  I've decided to name it "The Fishtank". 
Well that's just about it for this week, we just finished up some last minute CSP for the new Senior couples moving in so our P-day is cut a little short. Gotta get washing some clothes! Hope you all have a great week, Sorry if my emails aren't the most spiritual messages ever haha.
Love you all!
Elder Fisher

Quote of the week from a 12 year old investigator "Do you know the prophet who gave the 10 commandments?" "... um Moises?"(tagalog for Moses) "That's right, what about the one who built the Ark?" "..." "Nooo..." "Noises!!!". I don't know if you find that funny but we had a great laugh.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Elder Colton Richins

I'm very sorry that I wasn't able to get an email off to you yesterday! It was a portuguese holiday and EVERYWHERE was closed. internet for the missionaries. :/ So I apologize for that. I had no idea the last week so I had no way of warning you. This last week was very crazy. Me and Elder Dunford had to do divisions with some of the District leaders. We live with our district leader so that division was easy. It was really good. Elder Dunford went with our district leader, Elder Checketts, and I went with the greenie :) Elder Eddington. It ran super well. Elder Eddington was having a bit of a rough day..I remember those days. At the end of our division we just talked about how he was doing with everything. It was a super cool experience. He had just seemed a little down at certain parts of the day...I tried to make the division as fun as possible. At the end I just bore my testimony and shared with him a few of my experiences as a greenie. One that I don't know if I have told you about...but I told him that in my first transfer there was one Sunday that I was especially down. I remember the my companion was doing branch president stuff and I was in charge of investigators and other members...I felt so overwhelmed. I couldn't talk to anyone...I couldn't understand anyone...looking at it now it really doesn't seem that big of a deal...but to a frightened greenie it was terrifying. I remember leaving midway through one of the classes and I went into the bathroom. I fell onto my knees and just started bawling. I told Heavenly Father I couldn't do it anymore. I told him I wanted to quit, I was ready to go home. I even prayed that he would allow me to be hit by a car so I could have a valid excuse to go home! I poured my heart out to him...I told him, if you can just imagine...a 19 year old man in an old bathroom, on his knees, crying...very humbling circumstances...but as I prayed I felt the spirit very strong and I felt the words, "Keep going...I will be with you to the very end..." and I felt this overwhelming feeling come about me. I told him that the trial didn't go away...but I left that experience with my testimony of prayer strengthened and a certainty that I was not by myself. I bore my testimony that the Lord will make him stronger through these trials. I told him to make the most out of being a greenie. I came to know my Savior during my greenie months. I would not trade those experiences for anything in the world. After, we said a prayer together and had a big ol' bear hug! It was a good experience. One thing I really enjoy about being a mission leader is being able to lift up those who are feeling down.
Later during the week me and Elder Dunford had to travel for our next division. A 1 hour bus trip to an area called Averio. The division was alright. We didn't have a ton of time to work becaue they had scheduled meetings that day with ward mission leaders and they had an English we weren't able to help that much. This time I went with the District leader...we met with these 2 black dudes. The lesson was pretty complicated. They just complained about how were just preaching "man's" knowledge and that God doesn't exist. One believed in God...but that God is just peace and love and happiness and what not. The other didn't believe in God....long story short...we told them if they really wanted to know they had to read, pray, and go to church...they said they would read and pray but they wouldn't promise on going to we said that we can't promise that they will get an answer because they won't exercise their faith. They said...well why do I need to go to church to receive an answer? It just amazed me how they want to know...but aren't willing to do what it takes to find the answer. Annoying. The rest of the division went well.
Other than, yesterday night we had a family home evening with our new recent converts. It was so felt so nice to be there. It was us, the sisters, Domingos, his sister (and her daughter) and then two families in our ward. It was super nice and there was such a nice spirit. Both Domingos and Neusa (sister) bore their testimonies about how the gospel has changed their lives! Me and Elder Dunford kept looking at each other with huge smiles on our face. It was so great!
Oh! And on Sunday we re-marked Bruno to be baptized on the 24th of June!!! We were super stoked about that. We've been trying to remark him for about a week now...remember that Bruno is the guy that his family did not want him to be he let them stand in the way. And we feel like he was a little weary of us bringing it up...because he is sooo prepared...and he knows that. He wants to be baptized...but he wanted his family to accept it. So yesterday we didn't really plan on bringing baptism up again...but the spirit directed us otherwise. We watched the talk of Jeffrey R. Holland from this last conference, "Lord, I Believe." After he was just like...Woah....That was super powerful. Then the discussion led to baptism and Bruno committed to being baptized! He said he prayed about it earlier this week and he said that he saw the number we marked him for the 24th! Which is the first day of next transfer. On a monday! Super random...but we're super stoked! He said that his family will not get in the way. After watching that talk he had no doubts that he was going to be baptized whether his family accepts him or not!
So that it an update on everything! Things are still going good. Just keeping busy! I'm glad to hear that McKay's graduation went well!  I hope that this week runs well also! Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you so much! Have a great week!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Elder Bremen Acord

Dear Family,
Wow, a lot of questions this week. My comp doesn't ever get e-mails from home, so I try not to spent too much time on Internet. I will answer all of your questions though. Mom:
1. My Schedule every day isn't a ton different, we wake up and get ready for the day, for me, getting ready includes taking a nice cold shower (which feels amazing in this blazing hot area) then, I usually eat breakfast and write in my journal. Starting at my year mark I'm going to start throwing in some excersises... haha then we start Personal Study at 8, comp study at 9 during which people in our zone call us a lot and ask us questions on random stuff... and we plan for the day and the zone. then language study at 10, I usually just read something in Portuguese, or right now I am learning Spanish and I'm trying to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. Then at 11 we go out and teach, we usually get to teach 2 lessons before 1 when we have lunch, then we leave at three and teach until 9:30. Then we get home, plan for the next day, call the district leaders, see how the day was for everyone, and how the baptisms are for the next week, then eat something and go to bed.
2. We have the newest, smallest zone right now. 2 districts of 8 missionarys... The zone just covers the 4 areas. 2 were in Porto Novo, 1 in Ribeira Grande and 1 in Ponta do Sol
3. The coolest place I have visited so far on my mission was Serra Maligueta in Assomada. I'm looking forward to go visit Ribeira Grande here though, its a jungle...
4. Each day as a missionary... a couple things, I'm always starving by lunch time and exhausted by night time. haha but other than that, there is usually at least 1 lesson a day that I'm stoked to teach, either with a family or a sweet progressing investigator. In a week, definitely Saturday baptisms and this moment right now. :)
5. My least favorite thing... that is a very vague question.... I don't like all the permenantly drunk people and all the broken families. Sometimes I get bored with the same old routine every day... being a zone leader mixes things up a lot though and the time is flying by right now! I'm half way done with this transfer!
6. What have I learned about myself recently that I didn't really know?? I have learned that I think the leadership skills that I have are best with one on one problems, or dupla problems. I'm working on gaining more self confidence on bigger scale things like zone trainings and stuff...
7. The gospel gives me the brightest hope for a happy future.
8. I"m getting more self confidence on bigger scale things. I gave a pretty cool training at zone meeting last Saturday...
9..... there you go. Advice?
Yaaaaa birthday package!!! okay I will look hard for those. Addie seems like she is going to have a pretty awesome eventful week haha those are some pretty sweet pranks :) Tell her to write me...
Jesse, thank you for your little message! I miss you so much! It sounds like everything is going nicely in your life :) love you.
This last week was good, Zone leaders council was sweet and we had a good baptism on Saturday. I'm happy :) I keep trying to upload photos, but the attachment keeps failing... sorry. Ill keep trying. I love and miss you all sooooo much! have a good week!
Elder Acord

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Elder Colton Richins

Well this week was full of miracles! So 1 of the 2 baptisms we were planning fell through. Bruno's family gave him a lot of crap and he decided to wait a little longer until he should be baptized. Poor guy. I agree with you though. It is absolutely ridiculous that one's family would be so cruel against someone's decision. It's not like him being baptized would affect them. They aren't even practicing Catholics! But Domingos was baptized! It was absolutely crazy! Me and Elder Dunford sang "Abide with me" at the baptism and it was super awesome. We got asked to sing in church here in a couple of weeks after that musical number. haha. So Domingo's was baptized with his sister, Neusa (who the sisters were teaching) and I don't know if I have already told you but they are the children of a Branch President in a branch more south from here. And he came up to baptize them. It was such a special family moment! Oh man...I'm gonna die it was so great! But when we actually went to do the baptisms for some reason the water had drained a ton and so it wouldn't work to baptize them. So me, Elder Dunford, the branch president, and our bishop started filling up buckets of water and throwing it in the font! The baptism was delayed about 30 minutes while we frantically went back and forth with buckets of water! And it was cold water too...I don't think they will ever forget their baptism! But it was so awesome! Neusa got baptized with her 8 year old daughter. And Domingos has a 10 year old son (he wasn't baptized because he is only with his dad every other weekend because of the we never had the chance to teach him.) But after the baptism we asked Domingos if we could teach his son (because his son had already gone to church a few times and really liked primary and the things they learned) And Domingos said that he would love for us to teach his son. So on Sunday we went over there to teach his son, Ruben. We watched the video of the Restoration...and after we asked Domingos to bear his testimony to his son. It was such a powerful experience. Watching the father bear testimony to his son of the change the gospel had on his life was absolutely incredible. Domingos had tears streaming down his cheek and was telling his son things like: "You remember how depressed your father was a month ago? Do you remember how bad it was? Well ever since I started reading this book and was taught by the elders my life has changed. I used to cry because of the depression...these tears that are coming our right now are tears of joy." It was such a powerful moment. We are planning on baptizing Ruben within the next few weeks...and when Domingos receives the Priesthood here in a bit he will be able to baptize him! 

As far as Bruno is concerned....we are hoping to baptize him towards the end of the transfer. But I'll let you know how that goes. This last week was a really good week for our zone! We hit the mission standard of excellence as a zone! Yesterday we called everyone up and told them that we were pretty close to destroying our zone goals and reaching the mission standard of excellence so we told everyone to work really hard. And we did it! It was great. Other than that Domingos is baptized and we are still working on Bruno and Ruben...we've got to find more people to teach and baptize. We are still working with that professional soccer player...but he just as so many doubts that are irrelevant it is hard to work with him. But we are just going to plan on focusing completely on the Book of Mormon. If he gets an answer that the Book of Mormon is true...the rest of his little doubts won't matter because he will have had to gain a testimony of modern revelation. So we will see how that goes. He is a very chill guy.
Other than that...things are still going along! Very busy but it is all very good. 
That really stinks that you have to work the all night party AND go to work the next morning...take some 5 hour energy with you. :) It helps. Hearing about the life that Kyle has right now with work and school...makes me very unexcited to come home! haha. I think I'll just stay out here. :) Well. I hope all is well with you! Good luck with graduation this week! I hope McKay, Staci, Katie, and Kaylie have a great graduation. Should be fantastic! Thanks for all of your love and support! Until next week then!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins

p.s. I have good quality computers now.. :) good for sending pictures. YOUR WELCOME