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!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Elder Brennan McEwan

Hey Family!

Another week done at the MTC! Three more to go!

Anyway, this week wasn't super eventful, as usual. In fact, this week was even less eventful than normal, which is really saying something for the MTC. I discovered that they do have an indoor track here, which was really nice to run on for a while. Though I found a scale, and discovered I've gained five pounds since I last checked two weeks ago. :( The MTC is really trying to make us chubby. This one Elder on our floor has gained eleven pounds already in two weeks of being here. Then again, eleven pounds isn't a very proportionally significant gain for that particular Elder... but still. I think it's a secret plot to make us suffer and hopefully humble ourselves once we get to the field. We'll all be so chubby from all the deep-fried food and lack of exercise that walking around all day is going to feel really rough. Then we'll be like: "Oh noes I'm so unprepared I can't even walk for a day ah why did I not work harder in the MTC???" And then the MTC president will gleefully cackle and stroke his fluffy white cat, Bond villain style.

… My companion and I had a GREAT lesson on Wednesday - we really had the Spirit with us on that one and our "investigator" really opened up to us. Granted, when she explained her life story, we only caught about half of it, but... we caught the general idea at least. Our teacher ("investigator") actually interviewed my companionship after and thanked us for the lesson. Usually they don't do that to maintain the separate personas, but I guess we did something that she had never seen before: We apologized to the "investigator" because our last lesson (on the restoration) was understandable, and she understood the Joseph Smith story, but it wasn't what she really NEEDED, and so she was tuned out for the whole lesson. But when we apologized, she said our humility really invited the Spirit into the lesson. So, it was really cool to feel what a really good lesson needs to be like. I hope I can do more like that. Anyway, she thanked us for doing that, because she said she had never seen anyone do that in the MTC or the field.

I've been having a good time here. It's just that all the good experiences are pretty much exactly the same, so it's kinda hard to distinguish them from each other. My companion's mom continues to send us hilarious amounts of food. Pictures are coming - hopefully today. Our dorm has become the place to be since the delicious smell of toast wafts out of our room every night. (Did I mention she sent us a toaster and constantly keeps us supplied with bread? Hilarious!)

Oh, they're also kicking us out of our room next Tuesday. It's kinda annoying because we'll only be in the new residence for two weeks... so we'll have to pack and unpack for no real reason right before we leave. I guess they're finally tearing down the residence I live in and rebuilding a better one. Which is good for future generations, because the residence is kinda nasty. Our floor keeps it okay, but we clean the (identical) building next door... and those guys are filthy. There's this one shower that you can tell right where the water stops flowing because there's a thick wash of shaven hairs on the floor, like a pile of drift wood on a beach. *blurp* And the Elders in there are too stupid to pick up toilet paper off the ground before it gets soggy and glued to the floor by... I don't even want to know, honestly. *chug* Oh, and don't even get me started on the sinks. I caught our DL "washing" them by splashing water in them. Unfortunately, that probably counts as a job well done here, based on the sinks. *heave* I hope the new residences have pressure washers built into the walls. With acid. And 9000 degree water. You might be able to semi-sanitize the bathrooms that way. Also, they could improve a lot of things. Like, why in the world would you have four HANDICAP showers per floor of a four story building with NO STAIRS? (Split level too, so you have to use at least one staircase to get anywhere) You could build like eight showers in those two handicap spots. Or - perhaps they could make each building not perfectly identical? Seriously, if you got knocked out and woke up in one of the residences, you could be on any floor on any residence, and you'd never know. The identical-ness is also kind of soul-crushing. It drains the happiness right out of you.

Ah well. I got a bunch of letters this week, so that was nice. :) (Four on one day - that's a new record!)

Love ya guys!

Elder Brennan McEwan

Elder Zach Beckman

Elder Beckman with one of the wolf dogs

Hey Yall!!!
Well it was another sick week in Richmond INDIANA!! Me and Elder Tavake did alot of work and had alot of cool experiences!!
So we got a new investigator named Hope! she is 17 and has already read the whole Book of Mormon and has so many crazy questions!! So we meet with her every Tuesday at the library and teach her but this last time she was asking us about the whole how we become gods and a lot of deep doctrine and stuff like that and seriously the spirit was so strong in the lesson we just started talking about it and I can't even remeber what I said but it was awesome!!  I love when the spirit just seriously speaks through you!!  It's awesome to know that we really are just tools for the Lord to use in converting people ha ha but man i love the work and moments like that make me so happy you have no idea!
So remember that guy with the wolf dogs??? ya well he asked us if we wanted to go with him and help train them and I thought it would be at his house and stuff and just teach them tricks and stuff but nope!!.... we hopped in the car and drove out into the woods and we found out that they are search and rescue dogs in training so he said here take this walke talkie and go run!! ha ha so we just bolted off into the forest and they were going to come find us!! well it was SO cool you have no idea! the forest was like the sacred grove... just so beautiful and we saw a deer and all this stuff it was awesome but ya we just got to spend all morning in the woods with all of these dogs and stuff it was awesome!!  I love service now!!!
Well next story is another throwing up expierence!!  I swear the members here SUCK at making dinners!! Everyone here wants to feed us but the only problem is, is that we leave sick ha ha ha man but we went to this one members house, the Sharits, (they are hillarious) but they cooked hamburgers and coconut pie... the burgers were not cooked at all and holy cow when we left there I stood on the other side of the car and just blew chunks all over the side of the car door ha ha ha it was awful... the members here need to step up there game with the cooking ha ha!
Well Cinderella is improving alot actually!! She just got her divorce and is working toward getting baptized but last week we talked about temple marriage and that whole thing in church and she was really amazed and asked so many questions about it ha ha ha it was way sweet but she still needs to leave that boyfriend of hers!  Holy cow he is a loser!!  All he does is sit at home and watch tv while she works!!  Man it pisses me off! o ya and holy cow like half of richmond is on the dissability and gets their monthly checks and holy cow all of that money goes to drugs man it bugs me so much to see where all of our money is going!! ahh it kills me!
Don and Dezzy the two sisters have basically fallen off the edge!! :( their mom has been keeping them from church and stuff and they don't want to go anymore its really sad!!  They were progressing so well.  I hope that one day the mom will wake her game up and change and encourage them to go to church but man i just wanna go over there and slap her ha ha you have no idea how frustrating it can be!
Well the work is going great my testimony is growing by the day!!  I love it out here and man its cool to watch peoples lives change for the better.  I love that feeling! but I just want all of you to know that I love this gospel and I know that it can change your life... only if you let it change you!  But  I love you all and have An AWESOME REST OF THE WEEK
Elder Beckman

Elder McCade Tracy

August 26th
This week has been kinda slow, work wise, we had all three of our baptismal dates drop yesterday as neither us or Shively get any investigators to church. I wish we had more teaching appointments, but sad to say that we only had 13 total lessons this week.
Things are going good, just a lot of tough things this week, with appointments falling through and not teaching that much at all.
High - Being able to watch Felton baptize his niece on Saturday, it was really cool to see that about two months ago I gave Felton the Aaronic Priesthood and to see him exercise that power was just incredible and wonderful to see.
Low - We now have no bap. dates. all of them were dropped yesterday. Now we have to start all over with Breianna because we dropped the ball and only worried about how to get her baptized and we were only stressing three things: coming to church, quitting smoking, and getting baptized. We lost sight of what was important to teach, and now we have to try and fix that because she is ready and we need to help her feel that same way again.
Trent is doing pretty well, he was busy pretty much all of last week so we were unable to meet with him and his bap date is going to get pushed back to Sept. 21, we're meeting with him tonight and we'll set it then. We still have to go over a few important things with him, we'll see how he feels about it all and how comfortable he feels about the 21st for baptism.
The thing that I learned about myself this week, was that I was getting to involved with the numbers, and I was pretty much going down a checklist for things that our investigators need to do for baptism and I completely lost sight of what was important, and that is to teach to the needs of the investigators and tell them what they need to hear to help them grow closer to Christ.
On Saturday, we helped a less active move a few things out of his house. His kitchen caught on fire and pretty much burned everything up. Before we went to help he stopped us the day before and said that he knew he couldn't do this without the church and that he knows that he needs to come back to church. He did that yesterday and I don't think that he'll ever miss a Sunday with the recent events that have just happened to their home.
 I don't like to even look at the number 6 anymore, it just reminds me that I'm ending the first quarter and I've only got three left to do all I can to help everyone come to Christ. I am trying to remember that every day, I'm realizing that the things that I do are the things that I am meant to do at this time. I will have no regrets from my mission because I know that this is the route in which I am meant to follow and that I will be blessed because of my efforts in serving the people of Kentucky.

September 2
My week has been pretty good, I'm staying in Shively for at least another 6 weeks, I know that my work has not yet finished here. We've also been trying to work with the Less actives a little bit more and not a whole lot of time finding new investigators but we'll be doing that more this week.
It was stormy a couple days ago, so it's been really nice this week so far.
For the second week in a row, we had no investigators to church, but our goal is to have them there next week for sure.
Trent is doing pretty well, he was in Indiana visiting his mom yesterday so he was unable to come to church
Haven't had much contact with Breianna lately, but we'll be trying to catch her on her day off some time this week and starting over from square one.
We made some improvement this past week, we were able to teach 16 lessons and we intend for that number to keep growing as the weeks go on.
High- Being able to stay in Shively for my 6 month mark and 7 month, and to keep working with the members and investigators that I've come to know and love so much
Low - not getting people to church and having appointments continue to fall through with solid investigators
The biggest thing I've learned in the first quarter of my mission is to forget the numbers and to just focus on the people and if I do that then the numbers will come and I just have to be patient with some people because they take a little longer than some. Also, to have a really good plan for the day, otherwise we'll be wondering what to do for the rest of the day and it'll go super slow.
Thank you for all your love and support! I know how important prayer is, and every day I find myself praying to know where to go and what to do and from that simple prayer it seems like I'm always guided to those who we need to see at that time.
Love you and Miss you so much!
Love your Son and Missionary,

September 9
Things are going pretty well right now, Trent was able to make it to church and after we talked with him we decided to move the baptismal date for him back a few months so then he feels completely ready and very sure about this major decision in his life.
Haven't gotten rained on in the last few days, yeah, I thought is was going to rain yesterday but it didn't.
This last week was interesting, we had a lot of solid appointments fall through and we were unable to meet with Trent this week, so we had to fall back on the former's and working with the less active members, which was fairly promising and we found a few new people to teach and a few less actives who know that they need to get back to church.
We only had Trent at church this week, which is a lot better than the last three weeks when we had nobody show up.
We had 14 total lessons this week, we were working with our less actives a lot this week and it really helped because a few of them have started coming back to church pretty regularly.
High - Getting a new investigator from the former's, he was taught two years ago in December and so we tried to make contact with him and we have an appointment set for Wednesday afternoon.
Low - Breianna dropped us, she told us that she's not ready yet for the  "Mormon lifestyle" and she's going to be looking around to find what works for her and hopefully with continued contact some missionaries in the future will meet with her and help her over the last little hurtles so she'll be a solid member.
This guy that we were meeting with really studied and researched about the Book of Mormon, when we went to meet with him, he had all sorts of different things that he "found" that was different from the original copy of the Book of Mormon and the one that we have today. He told us that he got his info from the Library of Congress and that it can't possibly be wrong, we told him that anyone can make a web site and change all sorts of different things to make it seem like we're wrong and that it doesn't match up from the original copy. That whole experience really helped me to know that there are so many people out there who will try and make it seem like we're false and that Joseph Smith didn't translate the Book of Mormon correctly.
I know it's short and not really detailed, but don't worry because I have it all down in my journal. 

September 16
This week has been really good, it started of kinda slow with not many lessons being taught but it went better when we went on exchanges this past Friday, and it really made a difference for the rest of the week. We were able to make contact with a really interesting referral and we'll be meeting with her this Wednesday and we added a couple more new investigators to our pool, which is really good because we need to move the work forward and keep refreshing the teaching pool as much as possible as we work with our progressing investigators and the less actives in the Branch.
I know how you feel mom, over these past couple weeks I have had the feeling that this is my last transfer in Shively, and Josh made a prediction before he left to move to Ohio on Friday that I would be transferred after he left because my real training was then complete and I know it'll happen even after yesterday while I was talking to a few members of the Branch and they said that they need to stop getting attached to all the missionaries that come through the area, so now that I know that my time in Shively is short I have been doing all I can to make the most of it, and I have been getting Elder Gallagher ready to take over the area as we continue to work with our investigators for the next little while.
We only had Trent at church, and plus it was Stake Conference this Sunday.
We had 16 lessons taught this week, we kinda got saved thanks to the exchange on Friday.
High- Finding two really solid investigators who want to do all they can to learn, and we'll be trying to make contact with our other referrals because they also sound really interested in the Gospel and I know that they will be strong in the Branch as soon as they begin to come.
Low- The mother of a recent convert passed away last week, her funeral is on Wednesday, it was a huge shock to me because it came out of the blue. I felt really grateful to get to know their family and even though they're out of my area now, I'll do all that I can to help them get through this rough time.
a spiritual experience that I had last week was: Elder Gallagher and I were planning for what we were going to do the next day, and I was very stressed and began to get angry. I thought of standing up, grabbing my chair and smacking it against the ground out of frustration and anger from our investigators who weren't keeping their commitments. As I sat down.... I looked at my name tag and read it and then I looked at a picture of Christ, I then thought to myself "What are you doing you idiot?!" after that I sat on the floor and continued to think of what I was doing, as I thought I gained a really inspired revelation to why I am out here and why things must be so difficult, as these thoughts came to my head I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote them down. I truly felt as Joseph Smith as he was in Liberty Jail receiving revelation for three sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. I will never forget that day. Every time that I get frustrated I read that, and as I get to the end of the revelation I feel at peace with everything going on around me.
What's really worked the past little bit is talking to less actives after the first Sunday and having them come to a Pot Luck on the second Sunday of the month (The Branch has a pot luck dinner after church on every secondSunday of the month! It's so awesome, because a lot of people show up!)
Thanks for all your support and love! I miss you all so much!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Elder Colton Price

What a week of MIRACLES!!! Elder Decoursey and I have been seeing so many miracles this week. Last night at 8:00 we needed another lesson and a new investigator. We said a prayer and then went about our plans with faith that God would walk with us. We were walking to a person that we felt that we should visit and we saw a young woman sitting on her porch with her child. We decided to talk to her and what do you know, Heavenly Father provided a miracle for us in the form of Brandi. She is a young mother who lost her grandmother a few years ago and is slowly getting back to finding a church. We are seeing her this week. 
Heavenly Father has prepared the hearts of many of His children to hear the gospel. He prepared 7 for last week and I can't wait to see how many more people He has prepared. 

I know that the Savior lives. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. God is our Father, and we have the privilege of calling upon Him whenever we want. He will always answer our prayer. He gave us the Book of Mormon to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and to provide a way to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth once more. I know it to be true. He calls prophets, and He called Joseph Smith. Today He has chosen Thomas S. Monson. Jesus Christ is the chosen, anointed Son of God whose calling it is to bring us to Him. I love Him. 

Elder Colton Price

Just an FYI for all of you following Elder Colton Price....he has now been moved to the Ohio, Cincinnati Mission, which means we now have two elders in the ward serving in the same mission....Elder Price and Elder Beckman!!!

Elder Brandon Wallis

Los Alamos is still going well! A lot of our older investigators have slowed down a lot, but we've been able to find some really solid new investigators. Ferman and his wife Denice came to church with their whole family! Well, Taylor their oldest son stayed home. But it was awesome! We've invited them several times and it hasn't worked. This time they were invited by one of their daughters friends to come to the Primary Program! That goes to show the power and influence that members have on their friends. We were very excited and they loved it. Ferman said they will definitley come back. He even made the statement that as they keep coming that their kids will get used to everything. Their two youngest had a hard time being away from Mom and Dad during Primary and Nursery. We're hoping that this will really help them commit to Baptism. They're such a wonderful family! They're practically Mormon already! We also have a relatively new family that we're teaching.  They've met with Missionaries before but have been in Germany for work for a year or somewhere close to that. The Mom and her three daughters came to Church. They have wonderful friends in the Ward that have helped them so much! Member Missionary work is soooo important! We've found that a couple of the Bus Drivers are getting annoyed at us teaching people on the bus... so we've been hanging out at Starbucks of all places! It's a really small town, so there aren't that many hang out spots. Between the bus and Starbucks we've picked up, Jacen, Ash, Nicole, Emma, and Victoria as new investigators! Jacen was reading the New Testament on the bus and we starting talking to him that way, and we set an appointment with him and he brought a friend, Ash, who is also interested in learning more. They both have many questions. They're 16 and 15 years old. Nicole and Emma are Seniors, and were studying for a test in their Psychology class at Starbucks. So we quized them and helped them study! They were curious about what we do as Missionaries, and we're hoping to meet with them again this week. Victoria is a Freshman, we met her on the bus and we noticed that she was looking at our tags, so we talked about her religion and ours. It turns out that she is very Christian and loves service. She actually wants to be a Missionary someday. So we want her to be a Missionary for the right Church... All of these new investigators knew at least one member of the Church. They were all impressed by the standards that we live by, and how we practice what we preach. I know that as we all embrace the call to be Missionaries we will be able to make just as good or better of an impact on the people that surround us. I love this Gospel, I love this Church, I love helping my brothers and sisters come to know the joy of this message.

Elder Colton Richins

I hope all is well at home! To be honest there has not been a whole lot that has happened this last week. The first week of the transfer always seem less productive. However we all are screwed up timewise because recently President has changed the entire mindset of everyone so that we don't think of time in transfers. But in months. This way there will be more pressure in baptizing on a monthly basis instead of a transfer basis. Needless to say the stress and pressure in the mission has gone up! I love President Fluckiger but he is super intimidating. haha. Very powerful man with a very determined vision. He really wants to magnify his calling as mission president to the max. Sometimes I hear stories from other missionaries about what other missions are permitted to do by their presidents...wherein if we do those things in this mission we have to send a "repentance letter" to President Fluckiger confessing what we did and assuring him that we would not do it again. This mission, I feel, is very different from other missions. The good thing about it is that I have learned so much from all of it. We are held to a very very high level of obedience and it is preparing me to do my best to maintain that strict level of obedience for after the mission. So while I may not have as many fun experiences as other missionaries have from other missions, I know that I will be grateful for the standards that we are expected to live in this mission. One of the assitants to the president once said, "be grateful that you are serving here...because in this mission we FIGHT for every single thing that we gain." Which is so true. If anything I have seen on my mission, every ounce of success I have had in my mission has been just a battle! And I'm so grateful for it! During the process it may be hard to be grateful for it...but just as in every trial that we go through, once we are through with it, we look back with a grateful heart. I'm interested to see how all of this will play a part in the post-mission life. I'm excited to put everything into practice.

So that's that. But yes, it has been pretty hard to adjust to someone who isn't Elder Dunford. We seriously were a very unique companionship. We got along really well, worked really well together, I felt we were at the same level in all aspects of missionary work. When I stopped teaching he always had something to continue with...and when he stopped teaching I always had something to continue with. It was just a really nice flow of everything. And we were together for 3 transfers...which happens very rarely. However I'm liking Elder Quimuanga. I came to find out that he is from Angola. He is a super humble and chill missionary. Although sometimes I get tired of speaking Portuguese 24/7 :) I still am enjoying having him as my comp! He's a new zone leader, and I can tell he is pretty nervous. But he's doing a good job. The flow isn't as great as it was with Elder Dunford...but we'll get better together as the time goes on. Elder Wilson is still living with us...and his new comp is Elder Later. haha. I don't know if you remember...but Elder Later was the missionary that lived with me for 3 transfers back in my very first few months on the mission. So it has been super funny and weird living with him again now that we are both much further along in our missions. So far the new zone has been doing better. We are currently increasing in our key indicators...we are still far from what we used to be those first 2 transfers when I came to Viseu. I don't think I'll ever be over a zone as good as that zone was. We saw many miracles and all of the missionaries were just super powerful missionaries. So the zone saw a lot of success. However now we are on our way back up. Still lots of work to do...but at least we are not decreasing anymore :D so that's okay with me! And I am sure that I will get to work with the majority of the zone. Seeing as we have to do divisions with half of them. They all seem like great missionaries. It's funny though...half of the missionaries that were with us in those first 2 transfers (when we had amazing months) they are all serving in leadership positions now. The elders and sisters. So the Viseu zone must be a leader preparation zone. haha. 

Investigator wise we are trying to find new investigators. :/ like usual. We have been experiencing some good things with Patricia. I don't know if you remember her...the depressed girl that cuts herself. I haven't talked about her for a while...because she is 17 and she needs permission from her mom to get baptized and she was scared to ask her mom because her mom is just cruel to her. So we stopped focusing a ton on her. But this last week she said that she was planning on asking her mom for permission. This was a huge change in her. It has been incredible to see the difference with her since the first time we met her. I remember that first day...she didn't really know who God was...neither Christ. She didn't have any type of faith, or hope. And today I see such a difference! Her prayers are probably some of the most sincere prayers that I have heard come out of anybody. She really talks as if she were right in front of God, having a conversation with Him. So tonight she is meeting with her mom to talk to her. We are currently reading in the Book of Mormon with her...and yesterday we read through the story of Nephi getting the brass plates from Labin. And we made an emphasis on the fact that it took 3 times for them to be able to get the plates. The first 2 they were unable...and surely they may have been discouraged...but Nephi new that the Lord would provide a way for them to obey His commandments. And so we told Patricia to think of the example of Nephi...and to not give up. If she was persistant, the Lord would provide a way for her to enter the waters of baptism. A great lesson for all of us to learn. Sometimes we need to pass through our "trial of faith" before the blessing comes.

As far as Carlos and Jessica are concerned...they are slacking...again. It's been pretty frustrating. We are all pretty tired of them making us believe that they want to follow Christ's church so much...but then they put it at the bottom of their prioirty list. We are going to try one last thing and if it doesn't work...I don't think we will be working with them anymore. At least for while I am still here. 

And that is about it on my week. It sounds like having Josh as the only child is a little bitter sweet. On both ends. But I think it's way cool that Josh is very willing to help out where he is needed. It will be great mission preparation for him. I'm sorry to hear that you weren't able to attend the governor's event. It seems like things always don't go the way we plan for special occasions. They make great spiritual growth experiences...don't they? :) Anyways. I hope all is well with you and the family! I miss you guys like crazy. Thanks for everything! I have not received the packages yet because I haven't been to Lisbon yet. I only go once a month for Jedi Council...and other than that, we only get mail and stuff at zone conferences. So a couple more weeks I will know if the packages came or not! Oh and another cool thing. Sister Fluckiger is making a Christmas CD for the mission..and she asked me if I would record a song for it. I'm kinda excited to do that. Anyways that is all! I love you so much! Thanks for everything! :)

Elder Colton Wayne RIchins

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Elder Brayden Evans

So I thought I would share an experience that I had this week.. After the conference in Guadalajara we were on our way back and we got stuck in the bus station with about a half hour wait.. As a missionary waiting for more than about 3 seconds to do anything you feel lazy so it was kind of hard. ha. I received a letter at the conference and while I was waiting I decided to open it.. It was from one of my converts in my last área. (The chubby lady if you look at the pictures I sent, I'm wearing a purple tie in her baptism picture) I had some of the most sacred experiences in my misión helping that woman receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost and helping her overcome her problems.. She stressed me out, I think, more than any other convert I have had in my misión.. When I left I didn’t really get the chance to tell her good bye.. I was super excited when I got her letter.. I wasn’t really expecting what I got haha..

She bore one of the sweetest testimonies I have ever heard in my life.. She explained her story of how we found her and well.. Saved her life. She explained some spiritual experiences she had and how it was because of how we found her and loved her. She told me that she had never felt the type of love we showed her, and the type of respect she received as from us to her as a daughter of God. She wrote a whole paragraph of the type of man she sees me as and what time of father I’m going to be, and everything she learned and the gratitude she has from the gospel of Jesús Christ. 

I lost it, one of the few times in my misión that I have shed tears.. Sitting there in the middle of a bus station with everyone staring at me.. My companion looking at me like I was crazy. There isn’t really a feeling to describe when you see someone who really has changed.. Who has allowed the Savior to come into their life and become. I can’t explain to what it is like in words to know that you have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord to change a person and bring them into the góspel.. These type of experiences give you the energy to move on, to get up in the morning and keep working.. I’m really excited for my last six months to get started.

I love you guys
I pray for you guys every day

Elder Evans

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Elder Seth Garner

Elder Garner's Zone

Alright, so this last week was a little more strange. Not in a bad way! Since I am a Zone leader, I am able to go on exchanges with District Leaders and their companions. One of our District Leaders does Tagalog work, and another one does Spanish work. So I was able to do both Tagalog one day and Spanish another! Haha, it was such a cool experience! Never did I picture myself doing something like that on my mission. I was praying so hard for the Gift of Tongues! Even though I didn't understand a word that was being said, in each lesson that was being taught, I felt like I knew what they were talking about. I couldn't understand the words that they were saying, but the Spirit helped me to understand what was being said, and I was then able to bear my testimony about the things that were being shared, and I had the other missionaries translate for me. The Spirit was so strong in those visits. I also got fed some pretty weird food when I was working Tagalog! I can't wait to do that again this next transfer! By the way, I found out today that Elder Carey and I will be staying in PQ for this transfer, so that means that I will be killing another companion. Elder Carey is wrapping up his mission here! 

        Elder Garner

Hello! This last week has been pretty crazy busy! LOTS of driving. It seems like we have to drive down to San Diego or wherever for something at least every other day. This week though has been really good because we have had a couple meetings on how we can be doing better in our zone. Elder Haynie of the Seventy came to our stake a couple weeks back and met with us, the bishops, and the ward mission leaders, so that he could pretty much tell them what they need to be doing better. It was great!!! We have been implementing what he taught into our zone, as well as the things that we learned from our mission president this week. We had our zone meeting yesterday, which Elder Carey and I taught. It was good, because I think a lot of the missionaries in our zone are a little disappointed because of how this area has done in the past. But it is all about attitude! Are you willing, and do you have the faith? We got our zone pumped up, and we are going to reach our goals this month! Aaron Gadberry's baptismal date has been set for the 28th. He has been going through a lot of health issues, so we are going to continue to help and encourage him. Stinking medical problems seem to always get in the way! Oh well, the Lord works in his own time, and he knows when the time is right. I do know that whatever burdens we are carrying, if we remember the Lord, and pray always, then He will make our burdens light and easier to bear. Know that all will be well!

        Elder Garner

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sister Burningham

Familia y Amigos,
I really am learning some Spanish because there are some Spanish Elders and people in our ward so I'm trying to learn the basics at least, the population here has quite a few Spanish people actually.  I don't know if I'll ever be fluent, actually I know I won't unless I study it when I get home someday but yeah, this place is way cool!  Next P-day we are going to go to downtown Knox which I am SOOOO excited about.  I miss the city, the country is cool though and the people are hilarious. 
Alright highlight from our transfer together so far.  This one day Sister Whitehead and I felt like we needed to take Sister Turner tracting for her first time, it was really amazing.  Miracles happen when we try our best to find people to teach, we don't get a ton of referrals from members so we have to do a lot of finding on our own.  We started tracting and the first door we knock on wasn't that nice of a person, so we went to the next one where this man named Victor Ramirez answered, he's from Nicaragua.  He let us in to pray with him and his wife who is two months pregnant with their first baby.  Um, Plan of Salvation?  Perfect? Yes.  But it gets better.  We start talking to Victor and he's like... oh I actually am a Mormon I got baptized in the eighties but just for my girlfriend and it didn't work out so I never went back.  Perfect again?  He is a member of the church.  We are in the process of getting his records and we have taught them like three times now, one of which I was on an exchange but they said it went way good.  They are so receptive and Victor wants to retake the lessons.  Does the Lord know his children?  Yes.  Does he know exactly where to place us to find people that are prepared?  Yes.  Such a testimony builder, Misty, his wife, is one of our most solid investigators now, it's incredible
Okay, I have to update you on one more family who I love to the moon and back.  They are the Kronicks.  Before Sister Turner and I got here Sister Whitehead and Sister Cheney found an old media referral and went to contact Colin Kronick, he's like 26.  They met him, starting teaching him and he got baptized right before we got here.  His parents, Debbie and Joe are incredible.  They are all just way rad, they have antiques all over their house and Debbie like rocks red lipstick and they are all covered in tattoos but they want to change.  We had the most amazing lesson about the Atonement last night, we were all in tears and the spirit was so strong.  They both soft committed for baptism and we are so excited to see where it goes from here.  How did I get so lucky?  Not really sure but my gratitude is immeasurable. 
On a more funny note and referring to my subject today this little black kid named Ty was at a less active families house and he was HILARIOUS.  The way he talked was priceless and I think he has to be a preachers son or something because he's so profound.  Basically he just talked about how he prays all the time and he never gives up on anything he sets out to accomplish, he's like eight.  Anyway, we are hoping we can teach his family sometime soon.  We'll knock on their door sometime. 
I love being a missionary and I love seeing the difference between when I teach and do his work by the spirit and when I don't.  Because there is definitely a difference. 
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that he can make more out of their lives than they can.  He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, life their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends and pour out peace.  Whoever will lose their life in the service of God will find Eternal Life." -Ezra Taft Benson
Our will should be God's will, we should strive everyday to be that instrument, that kind word or that smile that someone else needs. My mission is blessing my life and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.  Thank you again I know I say this every week for your love, your prayers and your support it means the world to me.
I love you all, have a great week!
Sister Burningham

Elder Fisher

Hey everybody! Lets see, what's to say? Not a whole lot actually, just going through the routine now of being an assistant.  It's weird that I'm finally getting the hang of things now that I only have 2 more weeks... weird. Lately we had a Mission Tour with Elder Ardern from the Area Presidency here in the Philippines. We even had a short private meeting with him. One thing I learned though is "It's not how much you go through The Book of Mormon, it's how much the Book of Mormon goes through you." Anyone can just read The Book of Mormon but it's a whole other matter when you take the time to prayerfully ponder the messages that lay within. I testify yet again of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon being the word of God and encourage all to take a moment to listen to the words He has prepared for you.
Another thing that's been happening lately is preparations for the upcoming transfer, yet again Elder Yambot and I went through with President Tye on the potential of the Cavite Mission and it's missionaries. I'm super excited for the future of this mission, President Tye is an amazing leader! I on the other hand have 2 weeks to train my replacement as Assistant to the President, his name is Elder Oakden and he his 3 times the missionary I am! 
In other news my Cousin just returned home from his mission! It's so weird that he is no longer "Elder Kasten". Weird to think that likewise I'll be the same, I just hope that my Stake President decides to take a vacation so I don't get released.. Anyways I'll upload some more pictures from our day in Tagaytay last month, Elder Oakden is the one wearing the "Beaver Football" shirt btw. Well till next week! (if there's time)
Much Love! 
Elder Fisher

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Elder Bremen Acord

Hey family!!!
It was a pretty good week this week. It flew by. All this traveling and stuff as Zone Leader is making the time seriously fly. We had an awesome zone conference in Mindelo this last week. We gave a pretty awesome training actually, on the most boring topic ever. I was pretty proud of us. The training was on how to use the tree of life, a tool we use to get references from investigators that are just about to get baptized. It's just a paper with a picture of the tree of life and we read 1Nephi 8:10-12 with them and have them share the fruit with their friends and family. It's a training that has been done a million times... but we made it awesome. I dressed up life Nephi and it was just great, the President and his wife just ate it up, they were laughing hysterically the whole time. I don't know if anyone actually really learned anything, but nobody will ever forget that training. Expecially the sisters... wow, I think they actually thought I was Nephi. I got a lot of crap for it from everyone after hahaha it was fun though. I'm definitely a lot less nervous giving trainings and talking in front of people now though. Things are going good though, the area is doing good, we didn't really handle things super smart here though and when we had those 9 baptisms, we didn't spend too much time finding new people and we spent a lot of time doing trainings and meetings with the bishop and other leaders to strengthen the ward, which is going to be awesome in the long run. The ward now has goals and plans for everything, and they didn't have anything before. We got a new bishop and we have been working super well together and things look great for the ward, our area is just a little bit slow all of the sudden cuz we haven't focused enough on finding, and we are traveling a lot. We go to Praia this Wednesday until Saturday, so we will have to do some serious finding for the days that we are actually here. This morning I did just about the stupidest thing ever... we live on the second floor of our appartment, and we were walking home with our groceries and after dragging all of our groceries through the blazing heat over a mountain to our house, we finally got to our door. My com has the keys, so I set my case of 6 liters of milk on the balcony railing... I reached to grab the bags from my comp, so he could open the door.... and ya you can guess what happened... the 6 liters of milk fell 2 stories to the bottom floor of our apartment and they all exploded. I cried. over spilt milk. Everythings is going really goood here though. I will write a letter home this week, I haven't done that in a while. Sorry... I like study every time I have free time now. I am still studing the crap out of D&C. It is sweeet! I also read Thomas S. Monsons Biography and I'm reading the Miracle of Forgiveness right now. Thats pretty much my life though. I hope all is well for all of you back at home. Everyone is starting a new year of school which totally maked everyone seem so much older all the sudden. I miss you guys a lot. Have a good week though. I love you!!!

Elder Acord

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elder Zach Beckman

Elder Tavake, Jonathan, and Elder Beckman at Jonathan's baptism

Well.... Richmond is beautiful! I love it here! I don't want to leave or get transfered. The ward is awesome and the area is beautiful!  You could compare it to main street in Farmington... you know the one road with all the trees on it.. well that is the case on every road around here and its so cool to walk down a road and have everyone outside chillin and going and talking to everyone... but its funny we don't really knock doors becasue everyone is already outside and we end up talking to them forever just about life and where we are from and stuff.  It's way funny how fast time flys by.  We maybe do half of a block (6 houses) every hour becasue people just love to talk.
So we had the baptism on Saturday and it was an all day event. We were there at 1 to fill up the font.  It took 3 hours to fill because we had to turn it off every 10 min. and then restart it so that was fun! So we got everything set up and ready for the baptism.  A lot of the ward showed up which was awesome.  I'm so glad they did.  Bro. Dillman baptized him because Bro Dillman is a fireman and probably the only person strong enough to do it all by himself.  After that we finished up the program and then Elder Tavake and I went out to dinner to celebrate,  we went to a place called Penn Station, its a cool sandwich shop.  We went there and then to Jonathan's house to talk with him and visit.  It was a super fun day!
Love ya,
Elder Beckman

Elder Justin Thiel

The MTC is fine. we've done a lot since I last wrote you. My first Sunday in the MTC was a different experience. It was weird not sitting with my family for sacrament meeting but it was a really good experience. Me and my companion are now the sacrament cordinators. That means that we are the onces who assign people to pass and bless the sacrament. The zone leaders and sister training leaders are also in our district so we kind of have all the authority in the zone. The days here just seem to pass by so fast now. We are always busy all day long and most of the time the only thing we look forward to is meal, TRC (which is teaching an investigator) and bed. my TRC's name was Halle ( like Haily) and she is the best. She had some experiences just like the ones I've have so right from the start we connected. She trusts us completely and she is really open when she answers our questions or thoughts. Sadly we are only had 3 days to teach her and yesterday was the last day. She was devistated when we told her that we would be leaving and she said that we really brought her closer to Christ. We told her that the next missionaries that she would receive would be just as great but she said that they couldn't be as great as us. One more visit with her and she would of committed to baptism because she was ready for it. 
One thing that we forgot to pack was shampo and conditioner so the first night I had to borrow my companion's and then buy some the next morning. Some things that would be nice would just be treats. I loved the package you sent me.  The only problem was that I'm only allowed to chew gum at my residence hall and I'm only there for an hour of the day. The mints I eat all the time though.
Me and my companion are getting along great. We started opening up to each other and I found out that he loves hunting and he's from Blanding, Utah. He has a southern accent and I think its really funny and so does everyone else but he doesn't mind that. Me and him work really good together but for most of the early teaching I was doing all the talking so now I'm trying to get him to teach most of the lesson, when we teach, to give him that experience. Other then that we don't have any problems and the rest of the elders and sisters in my district are getting along great. We are like a family now.
My day normally consists of this: we wake up at 6:30 and get dressed, then we go to personal study for an hour and then breakfast, After that we have a 3 hour lesson from one of our teachers, then lunch, then zone teaching for an hour ( we all get together as a zone and were taught by a teacher), then another 3 hour lesson, then dinner, then we have more study and planning, sometimes we have gym, too, during the evening it just depends, and then we have 30 mins to ourselves, and then we go to bed. That's my typical day and honestly sometimes it's really hard to stay awake after sitting there for so long. I like it though, I've really learned alot. I see Brennan (Elder McEwan) a lot and I've seen lots of people from my school here. Today was my first p-day and I love the feeling of not having to be anywhere for the first time since I got here. I'm really enjoying it here. I hope everyone is well at home and I want to know how high school is going for Matt and how school is for Jacob as well. Tell Matt that I need those addresses from Courtney and Kayla from work. Write me back soon. I won't be able to check my email again till I get out in the field. I leave for Georgia on Sept. 2nd at 3:30 in the morning. I love you all (except matt)

Elder Riley Harris

Elder Harris and Nu Nu at his baptism

Riley is doing awesome! He has been a little under the weather but it hasn't stopped him for working hard.  I am so proud of him and the testimony he has for the church.  I even got to talk to him at Missionary Medical a couple weeks ago as he was looking for a phone number for a different mission.  Don't worry, his mission president gave him permission and who am I to complain?  He sounds good and charged!! He is on the downhill slope now that we are past his one year mark and he is quickly realizing that his mission is rapidly ending.

He has had some great luck with investigators.  He even had a baptism a week and a half ago.  A little boy named Nu-Nu.  We are all very proud of him.  And we love all the y'all's we get with each letter.  He's my southern boy.


Alright so Saturday was an interesting day. We started by going to Columbus to work with an investigator I was teaching my first go around in Columbus. The visit went well and they even provided lunch! From what it sounds like the mother, who is a member, wants elders because she says it's the only priesthood she ever has in her home since her visiting teachers don't come visit her. Luckily there will probably be elders there next transfer. It would be cool if I could go back but I can live without going back. Then we headed on our way back to West Point. West Point was a very interesting day. Luckily we had found Nu-nu after they got kicked out of their apt earlier this week. We got the font filled and the program made. Well the program we were up till 12 am making... Yeah that was a real pain. Anyway the Zone leaders dropped us off at the church and went to see some people here in west point while we got the font ready. The font is the size of a bathtub by the way... Luckily Nu-nu was small. Well Nu-nu gets there and puts his jumper on, and I changed to my whites. 6 pm rolls around and hardly anyone has shown up. They showed up five min late if not a little later for some. Even then some of the people we were hoping would come didn't. Even a member of the branch presidency who was going to preside said if he didn't have to come then he wouldn't. LAME! Well we got Nu-nu baptized and it went really well. Except for his mom recording the baptism... oops forgot to tell her no. One of the highlights for me was when we went back to change again Nu-nu said lets do that again! haha I love that kid. Well our awesome branch mission leader and his wife threw together a little party for Nu-nu after the baptism at their house. We had brownies and ice cream. Something simple but it made it even more special for Nu-nu. Well the zone leaders who had joined us for the party took us outside and told us that they had given another one of our investigators an interview and that she had agreed to be baptized on the 24th of august! That's this Saturday! She even came to church on Sunday which was another miracle. I felt bad about this one because I ignored a prompting but luckily the zone leaders got the same one and went over to her house. They gave her a blessing and she got dressed and came to church! It was amazing. There have just been miracles after miracles here lately. I'm lovin' it! like McDonald's :)

It's been crazy this week if you can't tell. I have also thought a little bit about how weird it is that everyone is starting school again. What the crap?!? I just can't believe it. I leave for a year and the kids think they can have a summer break and go back to school without me? haha It's gonna be weird to have Haley and Britt starting College with me. I was so used to being ahead of them. Now they just jump right up and finish High school. I agree with you about Mic though. I have been praying for her to get over her anxiety. Has Dad given her a blessing for it? I am sure it would help but it's up to yall. I can't really make that decision from here.

I love you mom! I miss you tons but can't believe how soon I will see all yall again! Bentley goes home in February, then Alec in March! I'll have 5 months after that! So weird. The rest of this year is just going to fly by.