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!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Elder Dallin Stout

My first week out here has been awesome! I love the weather and seeing the ocean. My trainer is Elder Driggs, he has been out for 3 months. I dont have a bike yet, I borrow a big mountain bike for now from one of the zone leaders. I found out I can't wear light colored pants so it's a good thing I didn't bring them all!  Oh I got a package the day before I left the MTC. It had salsa in it and when I went through security at the airport they threw it away!  Apparently everyone knows that except me, so I had to go through again. 
As a companionship we have one investigator that has memory loss so she has been taught every lesson 4 or 5 times! but she is making progress.  We'll get her baptized eventually, it will just take a lot of patience.  We have lots of potential investigators that we just have to contact. The first person I talked to while on my bike gave us her address and said to come see her. Also my first door approach, I said we are sharing a message and he let us in!  My companion said that was the first time someone has ever let him come in before.  It's been only a week and I have already declared to a gay couple and the same old lesbian couple twice!  It's kinda awkward!  We have a mission car that we share, so we get to use it every other day. 
The ward here is great! people feed us every night and one night we were hosted by a non member couple.  The man was born and raised in Layton and went to high school there so we had a lot to talk about!  I now weigh 155 pounds so I already know I'm going to get fat unless I can find a good way to work out every day!!  Yesterday was my first day at church and it was the Primary program.  The kids very basically taught all the missionary lessons, and there were around 40 non members visiting!  
The other day we were going to see an old lady at her house but she wasn't there.  We were about to leave when we saw a lady near by moving boxes into her car.  We thought about just leaving but decided to help her.  When we did we told her who we are and what we do. Then she just opened up to us and told us how she is going threw a very nasty divorce and lost everything, including her daughter.  She was getting ready to move to London.  After she told us this she started to cry and told us how grateful she was for us coming by.  We told her how the gospel can bring joy to her life and gave her a book of mormon.  We said a prayer with her. After that she gave me a hug, and I just remembered how we can't do that.  But she needed it and I must have had a weird look on my face because my companion saw. That was a testimony to me that the Lord prepares people for us to bring to the gospel and puts them in our path if we are looking. It really was a miracle that we found her at that exact moment before she was leaving.  We are trying to help a less active quit addictions and come to church.  He knows it's true but he needs a little help.  I ask you to keep Troy and Marry (our investigator) in your prayers to help them come closer to God.

Elder Stout

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Elder McCade Tracy

September 30, 2013
I've been doing really well! This past week was a really good one with a lot of different surprises! We've been able to stay fairly busy this past week with teaching a lot of good people and meeting a whole bunch more with great opportunities for unplanned service for others.
We just hit a cold spell for the last couple days but later this week we'll be back up to the mid 80's for a little while, but it's all good hopefully we'll be inside a lot teaching people during the warmest parts of the day.
Trent got BAPTIZED LAST SATURDAY!!!!! We texted him on Tuesday and asked when a good time to meet him this week would be and his response shocked both Elder Gallagher and I, he told us that he would like to meet on Friday and then get baptized on Saturday! The rest of the week just seemed like a blur as we met with people just wanting Friday and Saturday to come a little bit faster, yes he came to church and was confirmed but had to leave after sacrament because he wasn't feeling well but he did come to the fireside last night and almost stayed for the whole time but had to leave early. Our only other progressing is Donald Morris, we've been meeting with him regularly for the past little while and we've set a baptismal month for him in February and we'll be meeting with him tonight to see what his answer was for a specific date in February.
A spiritual experience that I had this past week was when we were meeting with Donald on Thursday night, and we had just gotten done reading 3 Nephi 18-19, as we were discussing things Donald had to get up and take care of a few things around the house and I got the prompting to invite him to be baptized but I didn't know specifically when. So I thought about it more and more, my first thought was December but nothing came, then January and that was a little iffy, finally a feeling came over me that possibly could have knocked me down, if I were standing, for February. I didn't get a specific date but I knew that he is supposed to get baptized in February, we'll be meeting with him tonight to see what his answer is and hopefully he received an answer as we have been praying for one for a long time.
High - Having Trent be baptized this past Saturday and having him confirmed on Sunday, he'll definitely be a strong member of the Branch.
Low - Not meeting with as many people this week as we have in the past
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October 7, 2013
It was really awesome for Trent to get baptized last week, and we've been able to stay relatively busy this past week. Yeah, on the 20th it'll be a full year since I opened my call and it really doesn't seem like it's been a full year since that time. It's almost a sure thing that I'll be transferred  because after talking with President Woodbury at interviews I know that he's gonna transfer me and I know that because the last few transfers I've asked him if I could stay for another transfer and I did. So I know my time in Shively is drawing to a close soon. It's been a short 7 months of a mission, and I kinda feel like an old dog at this but I still know that I have a lot of work to do and a lot more things to learn.
Conference was a really great experience and I loved every talk but my favorite one was President Uchtdorf's in Priesthood session and rising up and doing it now! It was a good thing to hear and it motivated me to work a lot harder than I have been the past little bit.
We had one to conference, which is a new investigator and a friend of Joshs' that he brought.
High - Hearing all the wonderful talks and being part of a missionary force that tops 80,000 now.
Low - I fell off my bike on Friday night and got a little bruised and banged up, and my first thought was of both Dallin and Grandpa and their situations.
I learned that I cannot get frustrated with others because they don't learn things as quickly as I do.

October 14, 2013
This week has been really fun and interesting at the same time. The start of the week went really fast, and as it got into the end of the week it started to slow down a little bit so I was able to really take it all in and so I could remember the feelings that I've had in this area. Hopefully, the members of the branch get going after I shared my testimony for the last time in the branch. And it seemed to work because a few of them were talking to Elder Gallagher about a few appointments next week.
High - Getting a few new investigators from the former's that were taught about 5 years ago!
Low - Having to say good bye to all the people that I've grown really close to and gotten to work with over these past 7 months, and just about everyone can't believe that it's already been 7 months and they think that I just barley arrived.
I learned that not only did I notice the change in myself, but also many of the members and people that I've worked with. Many of the members said that they remembered when I first arrived and I was so shy, timid and I didn't want to talk to anyone. Now, I've completely changed from who I was 7 months ago! They also see the confidence in me, and how I've really grown to who I am now. They all told me that no matter where I'm sent to next that who ever I talk to will be very lucky to have me, that really ment a lot to me to know that everyone there cares about me so much! Before priesthood started, President Russell told me that at least one of the bricks that will be laid, as they try to move to a ward, is mine because of the time and effort that I've put into this branch.

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The first one  is a woman named Felicia that we were teaching a little while ago, third is a woman named Joyce that we've been teaching for about 5 months.

October 21, 2013
I've been transferred! Well, I'm pretty far out of Louisville in a small place called Owensboro and I'm still in Kentucky! My comp is named Elder Stoddard and he has been here for about 5 months and he's from Ogden, UT. He's also been out on his mission for about 14 months already. Also, some really cool news..... I get to drive now! We are definitely in a car area and both he and I have the privilege to drive the car :) it's gonna be really fun!
High - meeting more amazing members of the Church, I also spoke yesterday in Sacrament which was a really great experience because I was able to follow the Spirit in what I needed to say and I talked about Missionary work, and I related to the story of Alma in Alma 8 and how he went about things a different way to have success in the city of Ammoniha, you should definitely read it and see if we come up with the same answer in what it's letting the members of the Church know how to help move the work forward.
Low - not getting any of our investigators, that told us they'd come to Church, to Church yesterday.
The area is a branch, but it's a much bigger branch than Shawnee, they're much closer to becoming a small ward and the Branch President issued a challenge to all the members to invite someone into their homes to start things rolling so that early next year they may take the discussions and we'll be able to become a ward by next year!

Elder Justin Thiel

Dear mom:
That's great to hear that Matt is a priest now.  Tell him that missionary prep is important and to take it seriously because I didn't.  Tell Horsley that I said hi and tell him that I am really thankful for always sticking with me and picking me up for activities even if I didn't want to go.  I think that he is one of the biggest influences for me on serving a mission.  Also tell Brother Savage that I still work out every morning and that he can't slack off just because I'm gone now.
One of the biggest things that I'm starting right now is that I'm learning how to teach a "stop smoking class" that helps people stop smoking in just a week and we already have some people that want to take the class from us. We just had a mission conference yesterday and we had Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 speak to us.  He taught us the importance of goals and inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson.  I got to do a role play with him in front of everyone one because me and my companion were the only ones brave enough to do it.  Not everyone can say that they got to do a role play (which is when you act like your teaching someone and the Elder Aidukaitis played the investigator we were teaching) with a general authority.  They taught us the importance of making goals with faith and also of the power of prayer.
I would say that the most important thing that I can get any of my investigators to do is to read the Book of Mormon.  The introduction in the front of the book doesn't lie.  Anyone who reads the book and then diligently prays about it with real intent or intending on acting on the answer they receive will get a divine witness that the book is true. It's something that you have to do that no one else can do for you and it's the most important step in learning if the gospel is true because if the book is true, then everything else that I teach someone is true because it all can be found in that book.  I would say also to not take anyones word for anything untill you try this out yourself because in all reality, truth only comes from God, so ask Him and that's where you will get the truth of all things.
I didn't get transfered so I'm still in the same area but I did grill chicken this week for a family that we had dinner with and it was amazing.  I prepared it myself so now I know how to make some awesome chicken.

Elder Zach Beckman

Elder Beckman and Elder Seegmiller

so..... as you all know, now I am a trainer!! So I got my new comp last week and his name is Elder Seegmiller! He is from Kaysville he is way sick and is an awesome missionary, ha ha, all I can say is he is sick!!  The only part that stinks about him is that he went to Davis ha ha but he sleeps with a huge Davis High blanket on his bed!!  But he is an awesome missionary.  Last week we went on exchanges and he went to richmond north and got 4 new investigators and they are not even in our area ha ha ha, I was like why don't you do that in our own area before you go doing it to other areas?? ha haha But he is cool and we are getting along great!!
Well next story is, I met Sis Hatch!! (Kaylas friend) she came up to me at transfers and we talked for a bit and how she is liking it so far,  and man, I'll tell ya.... its about time we started getting good looking sisters in the mission, ha ha, like the whole group of new missionaries was a solid 8 feet or higher ha ha but man good thing my heart is locked!!  But president did say "lock your heart but..... you would have to be stupid not to look" haha, so ya, that's a good thing thats also happening!
Next story would have to be a sweet miracle we had!!  So we were tracting down a street and we walked by a house and a girl came out crying and asked us if we would go inside and talk to them!!  First off, that was already cool in and of its self, but when we walked inside everyone was just bawling!!!  We talked to the mom and she told us that her son was just murdered last night in front of their own house and she had seen the whole thing!  It was totally gang related and she didnt know what to do and was just shaking like non stop!  So we offered to give her a blessing and holy cow the spirit was so strong it was nuts.  I gave the blessing and while doing it, like half way through she just changed.... she was calm and began to control herself and it was just amazing to see the spirit change someone like that fast, and this was Elder Seegmiller's First day ha ha so of course he was just dumbfounded and couldn't talk and holy cow it was just awesome! and I totally love being a missionary for times like these!!
Next and last story is that we started a 15 step program to help Cinderella stop smoking today and its going to work. I'll tell ya she is so sick of her life and just wants to start over and I'm like well you know for the last 3 months we have been telling you that this gospel "CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE" ha ha. I am super bold with her because we are close but she will just laugh and it kills me because she has so much potential and she won't leave that  boy friend of hers and move out!!!  Ahh I just wanna kick him out for her but only time will tell on this one but I love her and she will be baptized one day!!
Well I love you all and miss you!  I hope you all have a fun week without me... man it must suck not having me there but don't worry, I'll be back in 20 months so relax till then but until then just know I love ya!!!
Peace out ya'll
Elder Beckman

Elder Beckman and Elder Price, WWW missionaries serving together....POWERHOUSEES!!!

Elder Seth Garner

October 8th:

This week has been satisfying. I am completely drained, but I am satisfied! Elder Carey and I had a lot to do this past week, which left very little time to be doing things in our own area. First of all, General Conference was amazing! (Did anyone else notice the fly that landed on the Australian guy's nose?) This week we were completed adding a family to our teaching pool, the Taylor family. We found Kristi Taylor a while back, added her as an investigator, but haven't been able to visit with her for a long time because she has major health problems. This week we were able to visit with her again, add her two sons, who are fifteen and twelve, and commit them to watching General Conference. They weren't able to come to the stake center to watch it with us, but they watched it at home... DANG that made me so happy! The Taylor family is so solid! They have accepted everything that we have taught them so far, and have agreed to be baptized when they know it is true.

We had our zone meeting yesterday, which is where Elder Carey and I get to teach the zone for two and a half hours. It went great, and the Penasquitos stake president was even there! Elder Carey taught about member missionary work, and I talked about becoming a successful missionary. You know you are a successful missionary when you can feel the Spirit as you teach. Success on a mission is measured by your commitment to find, teach, baptize and confirm, and help converts enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and eventually lead them to making more covenants. I came up with the "3 don'ts" in missionary work. Don't become depressed. Always know that your Father in Heaven is with you, and if you are doing the Lord's work, you cannot fail. Hold fast to the Atonement, and never turn back. When the sons of Mosiah were ready to give up while teaching the Lamanites, the Lord comforted them, and helped bear their afflictions. Don't become discouraged. If you are discouraged your faith will weaken. When your faith weakens, doubt and fear enter, diminishing your ability to feel the Spirit. Don't become disappointed in yourself. Missions may be full of disappointments, but as long as you are doing your very best, you cannot be disappointed in yourself. I think that it really helped out the zone, because there are a few missionaries who have been having a rough time with these things (I loved Elder Holland's talk on depression.).

Well, it is Elder Carey's last week, so we are going to make it a good one! I am so excited to see the progression of those I am teaching. I love to see people use the Atonement, and gain a knowledge that they can be forgiven of sin. I love the Lord!
       Elder Garner

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 11:28:12 -0700
Man oh man, this week has been nuts! It was Elder Carey's last week, so it was filled with many goodbye's. He was in PQ for ten months! That is a stinking long time! I had to drop him off at the airport this morning, that was quite the tender moment. I sure am going to miss that guy. He was a great influence to me, and an incredible missionary. But, life goes on, as always. I am staying with some elders in my zone, and I will be getting my new companion tomorrow. I sure hope I get someone who knows what they are doing, because I am still trying to figure out how to be a zone leader! I am stoked though!!!

We had our first rain of the year this Wednesday. I have missed the rain so much! I have gotta say though, I have become quite the wuss when it comes to the cold, because it dropped down into the high 60's, and I was freezing my tail off! I am so used to 80-90 degree weather it is not even funny.

My dear friend Dennis Reynolds from Julian is in line for baptism on the twenty-sixth of this month, and I cannot wait to go up and see him! Andrea Listeningdeer is also getting baptized on November second. I am so happy for them both! Also, Diana Sherwood will be getting baptized in the same month. Dang, things are going swell!!!

Things are going pretty well on my end here in Penasquitos as well, granted I am still trying to get my feet under me and figure out how I am going to do without Elder Carey. Aaron Gadberry is in a bit of a rut right now. His girlfriend being completely anti is helping out a whole bunch with that. So, we will see what happens. We meet with the Taylor family tomorrow, and I am so excited! They are going to progress so quickly, and the church is going to bless their family more than they could ever imagine!

Oh, I JUST found out that my good pal Elder Casey is getting transferred from Julian. It is so weird to see the area that I was able to start be taken over by two completely different missionaries. Well, I know that things are going to continue to boom for Julian, and I will be there for all of my investigators baptisms!

I can't wait for this next transfer, I know it is going to be good! I know God lives, and I certainly know that His Son died for us. I love the Atonement of Christ, and I absolutely love being able to share it!

       Elder Garner

Elder Garner on P-day at the coast

Elder Brandon Wallis

Jackson's Baptism went really well (picture attached)! We could tell that his Dad hadn't done it in a really long time. We had to help him get the placement of his arms right, haha. It was really cool though. I got to be in the Confirmation circle! That was really special. Max came! He seemed to enjoy it. We're going to teach him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We also had a couple other investigators come. Mallissa is a new investigator. We invited her to come see the Baptism the day before! She came and liked it. She's already read some of the Book Of Mormon. We have another investigator, Marcella. She's a friend of the Bakers family. All we have to do is teach her the lessons and she's going to get Baptized. Then we have Sylvie Johnson, and her two daughters, Nina and Lilly. They are all going to get Baptized in November, most likely. Beau is doing ok. He got offended because someone took down his posters that were advertising his tool chests for sale in the Church. Ferman and Denice are also doing okay, but not as well as we would like. Denice would rather go to the Catholic Church. Ferman would rather go the LDS Church. He really likes the environment and people there. They'll come around!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Elder Riley Harris

Sorry it has taken me so long to get you something from Riley.  He is doing awesome and loves what he is doing.  I still miss him like crazy, but I am proud of him for the decision he has made to serve our Heavenly Father.  He has become a great young man that has grown in ways I didn't know possible.  Anyway, this is a just a little bit from him. 

October 14, 2013

Wow all the things that will have too happen when I finish my mission. Luckily that's only... 9 months away... Wow I'll be down too one hand in no time. I'm actually really excited for this holiday season. I've been wanting too call ya'll really bad lately. That's why the second break in phone calls stinks. Instead of waiting 5 months we wait 7 between Mothers day and Christmas. That's real close now though. This transfer we have Thanksgiving and then the next we have CHRISTMAS! It's gonna get crazy from there I can just feel it.

So we got transfer calls on Saturday. I'm getting transfered again. I'll leave Wednesday and probably go back to 'bama. I'm thinking that I will have a total of 10 areas during my mission. That means I've got 3... well after Wednesday 2 more. Then with 6 transfers after that... Maybe I'll have 11. We'll have to see. I'm a little sick of moving but this move will be nice. I'll get away from some of the trials here. I'll admit, I've been a little worn down here in West Point. In case you couldn't tell with the meme that Haley posted on stream. It's been a struggle but I've done everything I know how to do and some stuff that I hadn't thought of before that The Spirit helped me do. All in all it will be a nice change of pace. I really wouldn't want to go back to a city though. I'm fine in the rural areas. I've just become too country I guess ;) haha right. I'm still a city boy. Just got a little country in him.

This week was definitely interesting. We went to that Halloween house on Wednesday. She canceled on us because she was sick but we still took pictures. She really likes too bash with us, so we were going to testify of the Restoration and see where things went from there. I wasn't even going too try and talk about the whole, "As man is God once was, and as God is man may become thing."  It's too hard to explain unless you understand EVERYTHING else about the gospel. It's one thing that's hard to put into words but it just makes sense.

We had dinner with the Huking family. She is 18 fixin' to be 19 in Nov. and she's been married for 3 years... yeah I know how that sounds. She's been married since she was 15. They are an awesome couple though. We had pizza with them and then burned some twigs in their backyard that they needed too get rid of. They're the family that we washed their dogs. Well I told them that I was leaving and they gave me their phone numbers and address. Told me to keep in touch. That made my night. I will have too come back and visit them when I can.

Oh we also got to mow Pauline's lawn this week. I've learned that a riding lawnmower isn't all it's cracked up too be. It's hard to guide it. It really doesn't turn very well at all. It was fun though. We flew through her lawn since we needed to be somewhere right after. I didn't do too bad of a job for how fast I went. Cranked that thing up as fast as it would go and flew. I think she had me cut it way too short though.

October 7, 2013

Conference was awesome! They really focused on the family and women which is always awesome! Not that I'm looking to be married anytime soon but I'm taking notes for the day that happens. But that's far out in the future so I'm not stressin' too much about that. I didn't know about the women's liberation thing. It's crazy! Don't they have the Relief Society thing that men aren't allowed in? I don't know I'm still young and stuff like that but the responsability of the Priesthood is big. It's so us guys are kept in line. Also the revelation from that session is to help us as priesthood holders be better priesthood holders. They can also watch it later so it's not like there's anything that they really miss out on. Whatever, they can throw their fit and I'll just live my life.
This week I got to go on an exchange again. I went up to Columbus and helped out there a little more. It was filled with moving stuff and service. We enjoyed ourselves because one of the guys we moved was straight redneck. He had his slurred speech from bein' southern, all his toys and mowers, and he taught us how too break into a door when we lock our keys in. It was fun and we put a lot of time into it. Later we moved a couple of Piano's to a couple of houses. Like some big upright grand Piano's. Bigger than ours at home. It took a little bit of effort trying to load them into a moving van. Then getting them from there into the house. It was fun and we got dinner after that. We had people who bought us a lot of things that day. A lady bought us a coke, then Bro. Oja, the guy we moved piano's with, bought us a drink at Sonic and then we had dinner at his house. Then the next day Marty, the guy we helped move the day before, took us out to breakfast. We have been extreamly blessed.
So yesterday was an interesting day as well. So the pictures of the boys in our suits were Jacob Maloney, our branch mission leaders son, and Jonathen Edwards, our 9 yr old investigator who's mom has been holding him back from baptism. They were having fun and enjoying themselves. They wanted to wear our jackets so we told them that they could if we could get a picture. They agreed. Then the drumsticks actually weren't mine. They were Brandon Edwards, Jonathen's older brother. He's in drumline at the high school, so I don't have my drumsticks from home. I borrow his every now and then though. Well we messed around with them between sessions and had a good ol time. After conference though, was the interesting part. So we had an appointment with a potential investigator. We were invited for dinner (can you say score?). Well they called and said since it was raining they really didn't want too cook so they wanted too know if we would mind eating out... Yeah as a missionary we both were thinking no. However, we both felt that we should go because this was an appointment with someone who could potenitally go somewhere. So we ate out on a Sunday... Well I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to hell for that one so someone was a little wrong... I think you know who I'm reffering to. Anyway dinner went extreamly well and after we went and washed their dogs with them. It was so awesome being able to spend some time with dogs again and to play with puppies! I'm not sure what kind of puppies they were but they were adorable.
So this couple we ate out with are Carrie and Lance Huking. Their story is really intersting. She had cancer at a young age and she was given 30 days to live, and had lost all of her hair. Well she decided too pray to God and ask him to heal her. She said that she read in the Bible that pork is unclean in the sight of God. She promised never to eat pork again and to do what he asked of her if she could live and get her hair back. Well guess what she lived! Her husband is a guy she met at church who was going to donate his kidney to her and bone marrow. Basically they are a perfect match when it comes to donating things to each other and for each other period. Well she graduated high school at 13 and obtained her associates at 15. She then got married 3 months after that. She is now 18 and her husband of three years is 24. Can you say wowzers? It's one of those fairy tale stories but It's really cool. They are super prepared too, so we are going to friendship them. Oh Carrie is also addicted too coke like you and I. She gave me 5 cans and wouldn't take no for an answer.
Another fun story is we went to a wedding this week. It was for Sam Luke's daughter. It was like a movie. She was FREAKING out. Those movies where the bride is so stressed about everything and even the smallest thing would set her off. Well that was what we witnessed. It made me laugh, which I felt bad for, and that only added to the problem. I just couldn't help myself. It's like, Holy crap this is actually real? It made me think I can wait too help with Haley's wedding... haha Hopefully she won't freak out like this girl did.
That's really all the stories that I've got for this week. I sure enjoyed it though. We were fed a lot by people too. It was a really good week. We pushed back a baptism and are hoping to get it too go through here soon. Nothing has really progressed with that sadly.
Elder Harris cutting the lawn

The Halloween House
Elders with tobacco they took from investigator

Elder Colton Richins

Well this last week was pretty crazy. Me and Elder Quimuanga are frantically trying to prepare a few young students for baptism! They are so ready, but it has been so hard getting help from the members. They live 45 minutes away by car...and seeing as we have no transport and there are no buses that go there, we have really needed to rely on the members. It's been super challenging to get help from them. This last ward council we had Miguel Silva (who is one of the 2 members who have sacrificed much to help us) told the council that God has given this ward this situation to challenge them. The challenge is, if they (the members) will work together and unify so that we can bring more members to the God's true church. I was glad that he talked about was very good...but until now we have still not seen an effect. It's started to get very stressful. They are marked for this baptism for this weekend. We are fasting as a zone this Tuesday that everything runs smoothly. This last Sunday I got chastized by one of the members for using the same people to help out with these young men...for a second, I almost lost my "representative of Jesus Christ cool" and ripped his head off. But I didn't. I kept my cool. :) I told him that we were trying our absolute hardest to get other members to help...but nobody will! We found out that a couple members had lied to us about why they could not help. I was pretty taken aback by this. On top of all of this...President Fluckiger has been dishing out a lot of pressure about baptizing as basically I was having a mental breakdown...but you just learn to take these types of situations and turn them into spiritual growth experiences. :) I am kinda anxious for this week to be done. I'm ready for transfers. I wouldn't be at all upset if I was released from zone leader. :) I just want to work without all of these sometimes unnecessary pressures. But whatever the Lord wants for me, I know is best. So I guess we will see what happens this next week. So wish us luck this week that we will be able to prepare these young men for baptism by this weekend. :/

On Tuesday I had a really cool division with one of the AP's, Elder Ferreira. He's Brazilian...he's known in the mission for being basically a machine. The dude is freakin' intense where missionary work is concerned. He's a very very skillful missionary. I was grateful to be able to learn from him. We had a very successful day. We contacted a butt-ton of people on the streets and found some new potential investigators. Then that night we went to no man's land to teach these students. We taught a very powerful plan of salvation. We taught very well. And we had Miguel Silva with us. It was the perfect combination! It was a very powerful lesson. I am grateful we had the combination that we did. Kevin, who is the student that we feel is most prepared, had told us that he really liked going to church. He said that he felt different there and that he came home that day feeling super good. He was excited to go again. Kevin is an excellent man! 

Then on Thursday I got to do a division with Elder Wilson. We had a killer day as well. We found out also, that we were able to work effectively together! We always thought that if we were to serve together that nothing would get done. But we actually had a really good day and we helped the area out a lot. Then we went to Lisbon later that night because we had to renew our visas. We got there and got to catch up with all the members from our MTC district. It was such a great day! I basically hung out with Elder Dunford, and Elder Wilson the whole day. Then after we went to Rodizio for lunch and had a good talk about our missions before we all caught buses back to our own areas. It was super fun spending two days with Elder Wilson. He's a great guy, and I've learned a lot from him. 

Sunday we had an interesting experience. One of the members in the ward had a diabetes attack during sacrament meeting. People escorted him out to help him while sacrament meeting kept on running. We were asked to help out so we left. They asked us to grab someone strong that could help lift this man into the car to go to the hospital. We went an got Kevin. Kevin is huge. I felt it would be really good for him to have a service opportunity! And by the look on his face afterward he felt really good being able to serve and help out others. I can see his testimony growing! I really hope everything works out for this weekend! Miguel gave an incredible talk during sacrament meeting. He talked about sacrifice. (I know he was talking about this regarding the member's lack of desire to help out with the students). He talked to the women, saying, "Do NOT let your husbands stay out home on the couch when there is work in Zion to be done!" He then told the story of John Tanner (which is absolutely incredible. If you do not know the story of John Tanner, look it up!) Then he told of a person that he knew who was a man in the church. His wife was a nonmember and always complained for him to stop being so involved in the church...well her influence slowly started to take effect...and soon he turned into a man who never left the house. Miguel said that this women strongly regrets her decision to convince her husband to leave behind his church responsibilities because now he has become an idle man who never leaves the house. He then referred to conference how the prophet said that NOW is the time for the members to work with the missionaries. Zion is ready to be built. When David O McKay said that "every member is a missionary" it was taken as counsel....well this counsel has now passed to a commandment..... It was a very very good talk. I really hope that it wakes everyone up! tired missionary!

Elder Zach Benard

Sept - Oct. 2013
Hello Everyone!!

     (We asked about his area) It covers Ashland, Medford, Central Point, Yreka, Happy Camp, Etna, Phoenix, Talent, and some other areas. We are also a car-share area with 1500 miles.

     (How is working in the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward?) -Fun and hard, we have only 1 investigator and a lot of potentials we are trying to contact. Some of them have told us they don't want to have contact with us and the church, so it's been rough. Fun cause of FHE (Family Home Evening), we've had a lot of great activities and some more to come. It's fun to be in a YSA ward though.

     We have a temple trip every 3 months now and we actually go next week on the 17th so I'll have pictures to send don't worry. :)

     We've had p-day on Tuesday the past 2 weeks and we had a zone conference yesterday which was great. So that was like a chill day cause it took 6 hrs of our day and then we had a 20 min drive back to town to drop off some Elders and another 20 min to drive back to that same building to have FHE....our day was totally spent sitting and looking up at someone talking. I think my butt and legs are still recovering from sitting that long! 

     Well, in Zone Conference we talked about how we should doubt not, fear not. Have faith and don't doubt cause if you doubt then you have fear and when you have fear then Satan has a hold of you and you will make it easier for him to bring you into his grasp. 

     Well this week was pretty great! We had nothing better to do in "Ashland" so we decided to go knock on some apt. housing that we hadn't knocked on before. We saw this guy talking on his phone and we didn't want to bother him so we started walking away, and then we heard, "Hey, what are you guys doing!!?? Come here!!" I looked at Elder Hague and thought, this guy was just going to be trouble cause he sounded kind of mad. He asked us who we were working for and we told him no one, but that we were Mormons and asked if he knew who the Mormons were. He said sort of but not really. He told us to sit down and said he'd give us a drink of juice. He started to bombard us with questions and wanted to read the Book of Mormon. We were talking for about 20 min when his friend showed up and then his other friend. We started to teach all 3 of them and it turns out they're in a band and have produced 35 soundtracks! It's pretty cool cause we both got free CD's.  Milan (the guy we are teaching) told us to come back every day and that he is so excited to read and hear what we have to say. When we came the 2nd time he was on the phone and said to some guy he was talking to, "Hey man I think I might become Mormon, I got to go though my Mormon friends are here." He's pretty great.

     That day we also had a lady stop us in her car that wanted a Book of Mormon and said she had a dream she would receive a Book of Mormon by missionaries and that they would teach her....well she found us but we can't teach her cause she's over 32, so we gave her to the other missionaries. I'm so happy that I know that Christ lives and that I know of His Restored Gospel. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to share that knowledge with those that I come in contact with. I'm thankful that I make mistakes, learn from them, become a better person, then use the Atonement of Christ to repent of my mistakes and be healed from the guilt and sorrow of doing wrong. I'm so thankful for the closeness I feel with my Savior through praying and reading the scriptures each day. I'm thankful that He cares enough for each one of us to forgive us and love us after all the things we do to disappoint or hurt Him. No matter what He will always love, care, and be by our side. He will never leave us.

     We met a new investigator that the previous missionaries had been working with and after 7 weeks we finally taught her one lesson. She's coming to an activity tonight and wants to watch General Conference too!!! She doesn't know much about Christ or about His church, but she want's to and she has a lot of questions about the Plan of Salvation.

     We haven't been able to meet with our new investigators cause they've been sick but we keep on stopping by and seeing how they've been and they're getting better so that's good, hopefully this week we'll be able to meet with them. Hopefully this weekend we can have some people watch General Conference because like most of you know that's the best way to get info on the church, heck it builds the testimonies of those who are in the church.

     Saturday's we chop wood at this place to help out poor people who are getting their power shut off. We cut the wood or load it and then people deliver it to their homes and they don't need to pay for heat cause the wood is free. It's so fun cause we help people and get a good workout too. :) It was fun this last time cause we had this guy from the Navy supervise us and he taught me how to chop wood in just one swing...I haven't got it down all the way yet but I'm getting there. ;)

     This past week was ok, we started a new challenge where we are going to hand out 20 Book of Mormon's. It was also pretty fun cause we walked around 15-20 miles one day and the next day 10-15!

     One funny thing was our fire alarm broke and we threw it in the dumpster and we asked our housing manager if we could just go and get another one...apparently we can't. Once we found that out we went back to the dumpster to get it and this guy saw us and said, "You guys look way too good to be dumpster diving." We told him we don't usually do it cause we get free food by other people and it's fresh from the oven so it's even better! It was funny.

     Sunday we had to give a talk at the last minute. (They called us sat. evening and we had things to do all that day so we couldn't prepare until 8 that night.) I decided since it was only going to be a 5 min talk that I wouldn't use any paper, since that would be pointless, cause it's pretty much like telling a story but in front of 30 people. We also were also asked to bless the sacrament and teach Gospel Principles because the people were late and the teacher in GP wasn't going to be there. (also a last min. thing) If that doesn't get us blessings I don't know what else could. ;)

     We handed out 10 Book of Mormons this week. We also got 11 referrals so that makes me happy.
Love You All!!
Elder Benard

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Elder Brayden Evans

So this week I read the Book of Ether and I learned a lot... Watching the whole destruction of a civilization really is an eye opening experience and that is what I did in my studies. I was amazed and the end of Ether how many different opportunities the Lord gave Coriatumr and the people the option of repenting and being saved... Over and over again they are given the direction to repent and change.. They reject it with pride every single time until, destruction. Another thing is that they destroy themselves.. The Lord says ¨you will be destroyed.¨ In the scriptures when that is said I always thought of someone being struck down by a lightning bolt dead haha but in all reality the destruction comes from ourselves. The Lord can do nothing to reject our agency even though he has all power to do so.. He simply cannot protect them when they don’t live the commandments and he allows them to destroy themselves.. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon it really the difference between our church and the others.. President Wagner gave us an assignment to underline in the Book of Mormon every title of Christ.. I did it and also counted them at the bottom of each page. It mentions Christ more than 4000 times by a direct title in the Book of Mormon.. We aren’t Christians hahahaha? My testimony has become what it is because of the Book of Mormon I’m so grateful for the Gospel and the peace it brings to my life :)

Well I miss you guys

I love you guys and pray for you guys every day

Con Amor,
      Elder Evans

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sister Sydney Burningham

Happy Fall from Sister Sydney Burningham!
Hey Everyone!
Another week gone by, can't say that it's slowing down at all, in fact it's going by like the speed of light.  But I'm loving every second of it.  So much has happened this week that I'm not sure if I can remember most of it, but I will tell you all about some highlights.  We got a week break from exchanges so we went hard as a companionship and tried to see as many people as we could.  It was awesome!!!... we're really starting to teach in unity and really just gain such love for the people and for each other.  We have been making some goals and making plans and things are just going great! 
So, the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month we have been going to help at the Methodist church food pantry, they just LOVE us there.  I'm serious they are the most wonderful people and they just love us coming to help.  We bag up the food and take it out to the cars of the families who come to receive it.  I don't know if any of you were aware but Kenny Chesney's family lives here and they are just straight up country and live clear out there in the backwoods.  The best thing is we know Kenny's uncle's friend, he owns his own catering business called "Uncle Butch's Barbeque" classic.  Anyway, this guy said he would bring uncle Butch next time to meet us and maybe we can meet Kenny Chesney's family or something, it's going to be great.  Who knew? 
Well, we have a baptism.. today!!  Joe Kronick is getting baptized at 5:30 tonight and we are so excited.  We'll be doing musical number as a companionship "Nearer my God To Thee" and there's a ton of ward members that are getting involved.  His son, Colin is baptizing him and Chelsea his daughter and Debbie his wife will be there as well.  We are so excited I'll make sure I send pictures of this incredible family next week, just amazing the miracles we are seeing.  Chilhowee ward is so great, I never thought I would love a place as much as Kingsport but wherever you go, you just fit right in and it all works out. 
We had an amazing experience this week.  So we got a referral from some people in Idaho and they told us to go see Zesta Faulkner.  We had a hard time getting to see her so on Saturday an appointment cancelled and we had some extra time, we all three instantly thought let's just try Zesta.  So we got there, she was home and we taught her the restoration.  I'm always amazed at the power and spirit that come when you teach someone about the first vision.  She just cried and said she knows the Book of Mormon is true and she's been reading most of it.  She has such a strong faith in Christ and I know she'll be baptized soon.  As we qualify ourselves for the spirit he totally leads us in the right direction, always.
My mission means everything to me.  I love these people and I'm blessed to be able to be a representative of the Savior and minister to his people.  He knows us, he loves us and he wants what's best for us.
"Sometimes you just have small victories, be grateful for them and be patient with yourself." -Elder Holland
I love our prophet and apostles and general authorities of the church, they are inspired and I know they are called of God.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Burningham

Elder Bremen Acord

Good week here in Porto Novo. We spent a couple of days in Mindelo for Zone Conference. It was good, I feel like we have meetings and councils and conferences every week! We travel so much! haha I got a letter from Dad, too, this week.  On the back you told me to save up all of my travel miles so that we can get a free trip for 7 back here to Santo Antão. 7???  Right now I am just sitting here in this Internet cafe sweating sooo much. I just told Elder Darling, that I just can't wait for the day that I am not sweating... I don't even know what that is like anymore. This morning we spent about $55 on groceries cuz they had a bunch of delicious fruit that I haven't eaten since America. PLUMS and Nectarines! 
I had a good week last week though. We had a good baptism this week named Vany. Also, I told you guys about a lesson we taught last week when we taught the Restoration and they all were crying. Well, we have been teaching them still, and on Sunday one of them got up and bore here testimony and it was incredible! Even though she hasn't even been baptized yet. Everyone in the congregation was super zoned into her and people came up to us and said that they want to come teach her with us now. haha Another thing that was super cool was that yesterday a few babies were blessed in sacrament meeting and the spirit was wayyy strong!  We taught a couple lessons afterwards to some investigators that were there and one of them said her favorite part of church was the baby blessing, cuz she said that she could see the baby when it was being blessed, and it was staring wide eyed super intensely toward the ceiling and she said that she just knew that the baby was full of the love of God at that moment. The very next lesson we taught, she said that her favorite part of church was the baby blessing because during the blessing she saw the baby and she said that there was a clear beam of light going straight down onto the baby. How nuts is that! I had my eyes closed during the blessing, so I didn't see anything, but it was a pretty awesome experience. 
When we were in Mindelo, President Oliveira took Elder Darling and I and the Assistents out to dinner for pizza :)  We talked a lot about the Second Coming and how it is going to totally happen in this generation and all that. It was a sweet conversation.. Never in my life have I met someone so humble and so dedicated to serving the Lord since his conversion. Never have I met someone that is always so full of the spirit and so full of love for the people he is serving. If President Oliveira is like this, I can't even imagine what it would be like to spend some time with an apostle, or the prophet. I almost don't believe that they could top President Oliveira! haha jk, but it's hard to believe. He will definitely be a 70 after this, and maybe even an Apostle. Anyways, it sounds like you all had a good week. Thank you for the e-mails, I love you all and miss you so much! Have a great week!!

Elder Acord

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Elder Justin Thiel


So we have every restaurant here that we have at home, and that does include a Little Caesars.  We drive and bike in our mission and we live in an apartment building.

Things that are new in the mission are that we have some new potential investigators and we taught Johnnie all the lessons and he came to church on Sunday, so now all we have to do is get him to church one more time and then he can be baptized. Roy ( the minister) is going to be a problem.  It's not him but his brother who is a self proclaimed apostle.  They are penicastals..  Roy had a stroke some years back and now his brother thinks that he can't think for himself.  So Roy wants to be baptized but his brother is the mountain we have to climb to get there.

I'm starting to have more fun and the home sickness isn't as bad anymore but it still has its ups and downs.  One thing that is interesting is that I've found out more about myself in these past three weeks than I have the past 18 years.  The scripture about how if you aren't looking for yourself then you find your self is so true.  The less you think about yourself out here the more you learn and the better you become as a person.

Well I love you all and love how much I'm learning about the gospel and about myself out here.  I'm going to come back a completely different person I think but I'll retain all the good quality's that I had before and I'll probably come back talking like a black guy. 
Tell Matt that mission prep is really important and to read through Preach My Gospel!  Don't make the same mistake that I did by not prepping for this.

I'll keep you all in my prayers
Love, to everyone but Matt

The work is slowly but surely moving along.  Johnnie is still progressing towards baptism on the 12th of October.  We have some other investigators and if they progress then I will mention their names.  I would also like to thank Dad for letting me take his bible with me out here.  The passage he wrote in the back with his references to scriptures about various topics is very helpful.  I plan on adding a few of my own to the list and then passing it down to Matthew when I return for time to take on his mission as well and I want to make that a tradition of doing that because of the wealth of knowledge that it contains.  I plan on also starting the same thing in the back of my quad.  Tell matt happy birthday for me.

I continue to learn more and more everyday.  I'm also starting to see the wisdom behind all the teachings of the prophets of the scriptures and also the character of Christ.  As I find them, I apply them into my life and see that fruit of which is sweet to the taste.  Also I'm learning secrets of the gospel that I didn't dream about knowing before hand contained in the scriptures and also by revelation that I can't write down at this time because there is too much.  I have only gained them in the purpose of helping other people, pure selfless desire, and that is the only way by which you can find these things.  If you think about it, everything in the gospel comes back to that...helping others and turning outward is the key to finding righteousness and everlasting life.

My time has now ran short but know this.  I love all of you with all the deepest respects of my heart.  And knowing  what i just told you, how can you now best serve one another as a family and the people around you?  Think about it and tell me what you find and after I shall convey more of the things that have been revealed to me.

I will continue the work in the hopes of fulfilling all righteousness with faith until the great Jehovah shall say " the work is done".  Give thanks for the things that you have and always remember who gave you those things.

Love, your humble missionary,

-Elder Thiel