Come Follow Me

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sister Sydney Burningham


                                  Tennessee is seriously beautiful, this is on a river near where we live.

Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Dance Dimensions.

Hello from Knoxville!

Well, everyone, it's happened, transfers are over and I am not in my last transfer as a full time missionary, strange the way time just flies, okay I know I say that every single time I email so I won't spend much time on that.  Still runnin' on 6 week time periods over here, and we are loving our West Hills area.  I probably talked about this last week but Sister Sume left us and was transferred to Greenville, Tennessee and she will love it, her new companion is simply wonderful as well. 


                                 This is Sister Sume and I on our last day together, she's a hero.

Sister Roundy and I came back to the area and decided to rearrange everything in our apartment so nothing reminded us of her and we could just have a fresh new start.  It always works out, Sister Roundy is great!  She has been out for about 10 months and definitely is diligent and knows what she is doing.  We have a lot of fun and are really starting to build relationships with the West Hills ward, it's a big ward and I still don't know everyone after three months but we're workin' on it.  Haha.

Okay first of all I just have to tell you we went to the transfer meeting on June 18th and we saw the Kronick family!  Oh my goodness can't even express to you my joy in seeing them and being able to catch up and everything, they mean so much to me I cannot even express it.  They are doing wonderful and they inspire me in so many ways.  That was definitely a highlight and gave me some hope and happiness, they mean the world to me, It's that Christlike love I always talk about that you can feel for people, it overwhelms me at times because I just love people so much it hurts.  But anyway, Tennessee is HOT and HUMID but I'm loving it and we see miracles everyday, I will tell you about one such miracle.

So, we went to this members home for dinner, she is a single lady about probably.. in her 30's and she dances at this place doing ballroom dancing, she has two instructors who are some of her good friends, they ask her SO many questions about the church and the standards, one of them actually just saw the Book of Mormon musical in Louisville Kentucky and is obsessed with Mormon's now, wears a shirt around that has "MORMON" in huge letters across the front, so she asked us if Friday night we would come talk to them about our church, we were so excited and went to see them!  We were introduced and they had SO many questions, it was amazing to see that even though the musical isn't exactly the best representation of the church that they were curious and wanted to know more because of it.  As we were talking, this boy was there as well just listening in, he asked a question here and there, but then as we were leaving he asked us if he could talk to us outside for a minute.  So sincerely, he told us he really felt like us coming was a sign from God and that he isn't really religious but throughout his life he has seen members of the church live and be changed because of what they believe and he said he wants to be a part of it, it was so incredible, that maybe we weren't there for her friends but this boy was there and he wants to change his life, the Lord led us to him, he is Young Single Adult (YSA) age so the assistants will teach him and we are excited to see how he progresses.  Someone else was prepared and the Lord knows and loves his children and when they are seeking he will lead them to the truth.

Everytime I study the scriptures and learn more about God's plan for us I am amazed at how simple it is.  There is quote I found by Henry B. Eyring he says: "Heavenly Father has made each of us unique.  No two of us have exactly the same experiences... whatever will be our experiences, there is but one plan of happiness.  That plan is to follow all the commandments of God." 

I know that by being submissive and humble and just trying our best to keep the commandments, that's how we gain a testimony of them, we have to do before we can receive a witness of the truthfulness of the things we do, the people we teach have to first read the Book of Mormon, then ponder it's message and teachings, after which they can go to the source of all truth, Heavenly Father, to ask him in sincere prayer about the truth, it works, it always works, but we have to put forth some effort before he can come and help us.  I love this work, I love how simple the Gospel is and that it can bring anyone true and lasting happiness, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real, anyone can change.  

Thank you for the love and prayers, I am excited for the transfer ahead, love you all until next week.

Love,
Sister Burningham.

So there is this woman in the ward who does professional photography and so she took pictures of us for the bulletin board in the church, we have a missionary, get to know us bulletin board, it was a lot of fun!





















                              Get it? Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Hahahahaha, oh the South.




                                                                               Just admiring Tennessee on our hike.

Elder Dallin Stout


Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 1:40 PM

New Transfer and President!


So its a new transfer and I am staying with Elder Martin! This transfer will be 7 weeks long because the last one was only 5. President Castro will be leaving Thursday and we will have President Felix. Here is a summery of this last week.
Tuesday
     We had a very good lesson with Bro Nolan. We shared Elder Anderson's talk from conference called "The Whirlwinds of Life".  He asked us a lot of questions that he had, and he is faithful that God will take care of him even though he has very little work and income. We had dinner with the Herr family, they are from Elder Martin's last area in Simi Valley and we met them at the park. They brought cake and presents for him since his birthday was Wednesday and we had a good time.
Wednesday
     We did service with a member from 1st ward to help out Sister White. We mixed lots of cement and poured it, then placed cinder blocks on top to make a wall. For Elder Martin's B-day, the 1st ward Elders took us out for lunch. Later we had a short lesson with Debbie who we met last week.  We talked about what she read in the POS pamplet. Then we saw Deborist and talked to her about what she learned in church.
Thursday
     We had zone conference with President! It was only 2 hours because he had to do them all day, but it was great! He and his wife spoke to us, then his kids, Samuel and Hannah, bore their testimonies. We all got pictures with them at the end, that was the last time I saw him before he leaves. Later we saw Bro Santini, we gave him an Ensign with a time line for the Book Of Mormon and he said he will start reading. We finished our day with a visit to the Goyeneches.  Their 3 yr old boy, John, broke his leg the other day at sky high, a trampoline park! Thankfully he doesn't need surgery and now has a cast.
Friday
     We went to the library to do Mormon.org and on the way there we always pass a Presbyterian church that has a van parked out front that looks exactly like the mystery machine from Scooby-doo. The only difference is its called the "Ministry Machine" I got a picture of it as we drove by!
Saturday
    As we left our apartment we saw that our neighbors were moving so we helped them load up their moving truck. After we finished, we met them at their new apartment with the 1st ward Elders, and helped unload. Afterwards, they gave us all really good sub sandwiches and thanked us. We stopped by the Logans and shared some scripture with them and we also saw Bro Brodbeck. For dinner, we went to a ward Luau and saw Bro Limberg and the Goyeneches there. Their little girl, Lila, went down the waterslide into the deep end of the pool and she can't swim. Thankfully, someone was watching and jumped after her in all his clothes!
Sunday
     Bro Logan and Deborist came to sacrament meeting. Later we were able to visit Deborist and talk about what she learned while at church.

Love,
Elder Stout


Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM


So we had a good week here is a quick summary of how it went.
Tuesday
     We had 4 lessons planned that all ended up falling through! Bro Nickols called us and wanted us to come visit him so we did. We also stopped by Debrist who was having a stressful day so we said a prayer with her to help her be calm. We had dinner with the Gonzales family. They decorated their dinning room table with Los Angeles Laker stuff! they gave us name tags that said "Elder Martin #1 Laker fan!!" and  "Elder Stout #2 Laker fan!!" They also had jackets on the back of our seats, place mats, silver wear holders, purple napkins and ribbons hanging from the fan! They had a sign in the middle of the table that read "Just say no to Utah Jazz" we had a lot of fun with them.
Wednesday
     We met an older lady named Debbie who called us as we were walking by. She told us she has several LDS friends that have taken her to temple square and the tabernacle to see choir performances. She at one time has talked with missionaries but it has been a while, we will see her next week.
Thursday
     We met with Brother Sherman a Less Active (LA) who is a very nice guy. We talked to him about conference talks. We also saw Brother Nolan who is still looking for work but is getting enough income to make payments. He payed his tithing first thing with his last check and says he trusts God will prepare a way for him to get a job!
Friday
     We saw Brother Brodbeck and had a great lesson with him. Later when we were walking to "The Habit" for dinner, Brother Moffat pulled over and gave us a ride there. When we got there he payed for our dinner and had to leave. While we were eating, a couple sat next to us and talked with us. After a while we realized they were not members because they asked us how long missionaries are out for and if they get to choose where they go. When we were about to leave the wife returned to her table and gave us a $20 gift card that she just bought for us!  We thanked them before we left. We walked by our church building and a member called us over. He asked us, "Have you had dinner yet?"  We said yes and he said, "Well you have to have some food anyway!"  He took us to the gym where a graduation party was going on and told us to start eating. They gave us this amazing Samoan fruit drink that tasted like watermelon and put us in line for food!  So we got a little food and stayed there for a while with a member family from Oxnard.
Saturday
     We stopped by Deborist to see how she was doing and she was doing yard work. So we did some service for her to help her out. Elder Martin managed to break two broom handles while sweeping with a push broom! We saw Richard Perry and talked for a while with him. We had dinner at home and Elder Martin taught me how to solve a Rubix cube which is pretty cool. We later went to see the Goyeneche's. Juan was on his way home from work when we showed up so we stayed outside and played a bit with the younger kids. Elder Martin got on a tiny tricycle and tried to ride it around but he was far to big for it! When Juan got home we had a good lesson with them.
Sunday
     So after church the ward had a huge pie social for everyone. The members kept telling us to eat more so we both totaled out at 3 slices each! They wanted us to take leftovers home but I didn't want to look at another piece of pie!  Elder Martin and I both got to make calls to our Dads for fathers day and that was great. We had a good fathers day dinner with the Maddux family, they gave us very good smoked tri-tip! Which is like steak and people here always eat it. I also discovered I can still tie a knot in a cherry stem!

Love,
Elder Stout


Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 3:03 PM

This awesome week!

We did a lot of good work this week and saw lots of people.
Tuesday
     We were able to meet with Dan and help him to get in the habit of reading every day and praying. He is trying hard to start doing what's right and put God first in his life. We also had a gospel discussion with the Goyeneche's that night and help answer question that they had.
Wednsday
      We were able to see Bob and help him understand the Book Of Mormon better. He is reading through 3 Nephi right now and says he kinda understands, but the language is difficult for him. We also saw Bro/Sis Gonzales and gave them encouragement to keep their commitments.
Thursday 
     We had a really good district meeting that helped me personally a lot. We had a set lesson with Bro Santini and we were able to get to know him a lot better and learn how he first joined the church. We talked about the importance of reading the scriptures and praying every day. 
Friday
     Well during our weekly planning session Elder Martin upgraded his "missionary motivator" which was first just a Saran Wrap tube stuffed with paper and taped up. Well he broke it in half, used dental floss to connect the two pieces and made it into num-chucks! They didn't work that well, so he taped them back together, took the tube of a paper towel roll and attached it to the end of the stick. Making it into the "missionary motivator sword!" For companionship inventory when we got to "resolve conflicts" we had a war. He used his sword and I used scripture markers as throwing knives! He hid behind walls, ninja rolled from place to place and would attack! Haha!! So that's how we resolved our conflict and got our energy out after a long morning of planning!
Saturday
     Exchanges with Elder Pace. That morning we met this guy named Guy, who was the son of a potential. We gave him a Book Of  Mormon and set up a time to come see him and his mom. Not long after that we ran into an anti-Mormon Christian who basically told us we were a dis-service to the community by spreading lies and and walked away. Well, there is opposition in all things, and Satan is working hard so we must be doing something good! We also saw Richard, Angelina and contacted a referal after that. We also had a good lesson with Brother Brodbeck, who is wanting to come to church soon. We gave him encouragement that God would help him do all things that are good and always holds up his end of the promise, if we are willing to do our part. We also had dinner with the Goyeneche's and had a good discussion with them about how Satan is trying to hold them back from baptism. They have had a lot of trials block them from it but they are still determined to work through them. 
Sunday
     Elder Martin, our ward mission leader, Bro Tui and I gave talks in sacrament about missionary work and how members can present the gospel to their friends. I later met the Orleannas, who are a part member family, and we had a good lesson with them. Later that night, as we were walking home, some guy on a bike rode through the street laughing hysterically!  He was so loud that we could hear him from a block or two away! I figured he's on something and he definitely should not be riding around a busy neighborhood!

Love,

Elder Stout


Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 12:20 PM

This Week

Here is a summary of the week.
Tuesday
     We saw a less active named Kent, in the past he has always pushed away any possibility of coming to church. But he told us that he wants to come with us to church soon and not to let him chicken out!  We also had a lesson with Todd, another less active. We taught him about tithing and supported him in his decision to stop drinking. We later had dinner with Carl who is also less active and got to know him a lot better.
Wednesday 
     We went to visit Sister Madsen who is LA and probably the coolest older lady I have met! We had dinner with the Gonzales family who is LA and awesome to be around! We helped them to set goals to live the Word of Wisdom.
Thursday
     We had an awesome district meeting and afterwards went to get Shave-it with the 1st ward elders. My companion had 7 punch cards all filled out! He was really nice, he gave us each one to get us a free shaved ice. We later went to visit Richard Perry who has been investigating for several years. We talked to him about how to have real intent to act on answers to prayer so that he can have an answer. We also got to know Mike a little bit who has also been investigating for several years. 
Friday
     We went to visit the Logan family who is LA and helped them with their garage sale.
Saturday
     We were walking the neighborhood when we met a lady named Amy. She asked us for a Book Of Mormon and told us that she used to be a member but that her husband was against her going to church. But now he is out of the picture so she wants to come back!  We also went to visit other less active members.
Sunday
     We went to visit the Goyeneche family and they are doing great! Juan is going to go to LA to get his paperwork from Argentina soon so that he can get married and them Baptized! We had a great lesson with them, they know a lot about the gospel so we discussed it and answered questions that they had.

Love,
Elder Stout




Sister Sydney Burningham




We went down into one of the ladies in our wards home and found these gems, she said I could have this coat but I couldn't take it from her, it's brilliant.


Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Faith Promise.


Hello Everyone!

What a week it has been, as every week.  I have a few quick updates for you seeing as how we had transfer calls on Saturday morning, transfers are this Wednesday.  It's always so funny to me that none of you run on 6 weeks at a time, haha.  We got the call and Sister Sume is being transferred on Wednesday, it was a bit of a shock to us because she has only been here 3 transfers we thought for sure she would be with us till I left, but the Lord knows what he is doing and she is needed elsewhere, needless to say it's been sort of rough because I just love her so much and have been able to see the Atonement work in all our lives and we've all changed and grown so much in our time together, it is always difficult to leave a companion but the Lord has a plan and it's perfect so we just trust in that.  We have spent some time the past couple days saying goodbye to the people she has come to love so much.  It always amazes me how instantly you can love people you meet.  I had one such experience this week.

So we were going to contact some in active members in our area book and we went to a home, no one answered so we were deciding what to do next when this couple were walking their two dogs.  We met LeeAnn and Jeffrey, they are pregnant with their first baby and moved here pretty recently, we asked them if they knew their neighbor we were trying to see and then our conversation moved to what we do as missionaries and then on to the gospel. They belong to a huge mega church (they have them all over here) called Faith Promise.  It's non denominational and they really love it.  LeeAnn spoke about her confusion and wondering if there is one way back to God and if there's a way we can really know before we pass away.  We had a long discussion with her about the Book of Mormon and how she can know, I felt an instant love for this little family and wanted to help, at the time she was pretty convinced we had nothing of value for her or her family and that Faith Promise is somewhere we should be going to church.  
But in this time we had with them I realized that no matter what, if they accept or reject the message we have to share they are children of God and his sons and his daughters and now they have a Book of Mormon and somewhere down the road they may have the opportunity to accept the Gospel later.  I am reminded of the incredible prophesy about the southern states and them accepting the gospel.

President Kimball says:
"Make no small plans: They have no magic to stir men’s souls. This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the Church than all other English-speaking missions in the world together. There are great hosts of marvelous Baptists, members of the Church of Christ, Methodists, and Catholics who are honorable people, and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see the church veering off to the right or to the left of those basic teachings, they will begin to search for the truth; and as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence they will see the time when we will baptize hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands, in your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be temples plural in the South States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people. The missionaries love the South. We are making great strides and expect to continue.”

I am always amazed at how much I love these people here they have such strong faith in Christ and they are being prepared.
This week in my studies I was reading 3 Nephi which I believe has become my favorite Book in the Book of Mormon mostly because the Savior comes and it is so powerful, it truly testifies of him.  I was thinking about the confidence I have in the Savior and that really I am to qualify to be the Lord's hands, voice and acts and to hold his light up in 3 Nephi 18:24 it says:

"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed."

It is his light, not our own.  We do what we do because we love the Savior, because he has asked us to serve his brothers and sisters and lead them to him.  He can heal us from anything, he loves us and wants us to turn to him, I love having him with me, he has helped me to change and enabled me to become who I am now and through him I can become what Heavenly Father has sent me here to be, it is by serving others and leading them to Christ that I have found myself.
 

Thank you for the love and support, I still have one more transfer and I'm excited for all Sister Roundy and I's adventures ahead, I love you all, have a great week!

Love,
Sister Burningham.


Last picture and zone meeting with President and Sister Irion, we played volleyball with them, I love them and will miss them so much when they leave in a couple weeks!


























                                                                                 Sister Roundy turned us into unicorns.




















Sister Sydney Burningham




Just me holding the sun sphere, this is a mural at the very top of the sun sphere you can see all of Knoxville from the top of that thing.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 1:48 PM

To the Rescue.


Hello from Tennessee!
I just have to say Tennessee is beautiful, we went on a hike this morning and got to see this really old Quarry and it's so green and pictures don't really do it justice so someday I'll bring all of you back with me, or just take my word for it and come to eastern Tennessee, I have fallen in love with this place for real.
Okay, you guys I know I say this every single week, but time is going by so fast and I don't know what to do to slow it down.  This transfer has gone by the fastest of the them all.  We find out transfer information on Saturday and sometimes, (all the time) I wish it would all just slow down.  I've been trying to take it one day at a time but my goodness, it just flies.  This week was so wonderful, our companionship is doing well.  I'm still in a trio with Sister Sume and Sister Roundy, I never really told you much about them but they are super great and we are really learning how to work in unity.  Your companions sort of just become your rocks, no matter what happens they are always there, through the good times and the rough ones, it's so neat to see your companions and yourself change out here and become who the Lord wants them and yourself to be.  I have always been so blessed with companions, learned something different from every single one. 
This week something miraculous happened.  Well every week we see miracles but this one was particularly meaningful to me.  So we know this woman who got baptized last year back in I believe October and she went inactive shortly after she was baptized.  We have not been able to get in to see her and she has been really struggling.  So finally last week we just offered to come help her around her house and clean up a bit and help her get things back in order.  She agreed and we came into her home, she just seemed.. lost and afraid.  We got talking with her and it turns out she had this lifestyle before her baptism and she just relapsed.  She feels so guilty for the severity of the sin and just broke down to us for awhile.  We sat with her and hugged her till she stopped crying.  After a minute we opened up to 3 Nephi chapter 17 when the Savior comes to see the people, he tells them he must leave them just till the next day and they begin to weep because they don't want him to leave, so he tarries a little longer and blesses them, prays for them, heals them, and blesses their little children.  After we read she starting looking up, the spirit was tangible, she knew she was loved and honored even though her past had come back and old habits were difficult to break, she knew that the Savior loved her and wanted her to be happy.  I have never been a lesson where the spirit was that tangible.  She is the most incredible person, we don't know everything she's been through but the Savior does and it is never too late for anyone to come back.  The Savior will wrap you up in the arms of his Atonement and bring you back, every single time.  She said we could come back anytime this week and we will continue to work with her and her 2 kids.  As a missionary you feel this overwhelming love for those you teach, and work with, it is a very very small fraction of the love the Lord feels for them. 
On a completely different subject, so sorry I'm all over the place today but I was thinking about our time and our dispensation and specifically why all of us are here right now in this specific time period and I found a quote by Neal A. Maxwell that said: "All the easy things that the church has had to do have been done.  From now on it's high adventure, and followership is going to be tested in some interesting ways." Reading this quote at first I got a little bit scared and nervous but then I just got excited, we are in the last days and we get to spread the gospel to all the world, the Lord trusts us so much with his work and he wants us to be happy and he has given us the perfect plan to guide us back home.  We need strong homes and strong families, we need to lift each other up and help everyone get back, it's exciting and it's all true.
I love you all thank you for the support and love, until next week!
Love,
Sister Burningham


The two at the top left are our sister training leaders and Sister Roundy across us, we went on the coolest hike ever to this quarry.  LOVED IT..






Elder Zach Beckman

                                               A testimony of the Book of Mormon

Mon, 2 Jun 2014 12:20

My Week!


Well hello everyone how are yall doing?? I hope this last week has been a good one for ya! because it was another fun one for me!!... it always is ha ha ha life on a mission!
So this week we were able to do alot of service and have alot of fun with it!! This week we went and poured a huge Concrete Slab in someones back yard and there was only me, Elder Price and a member and his neighbor and it took like 3 hours to do but it was a lot of fun; we got super dirty and just had a good time doing service the rest of the day!! I loved it!  But it is so sweet in this area there are Snowie Stands everywhere where you can get snow cones but a member owns all of them so we as missionaries can get a free snowies every shift ha ha ha!!!  So on those days that are just way to hot to go out we can go get a snow cone and talk to people around them!!  It is awesome I love this ward!
But this week we were able to meet this new guy and he came to church with us this week and what's cool is he is a writer and so he wrote this poem about all of his spiritual questions and life long purpose!!   About himself it was sweet!!  We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and then later that week he called us and told us that he is finished with 2 Nephi already and this book is answering all of his questions!!  It is so sweet!!  I am so excited to see how he progresses!!  I will let you know what happens!
So what else happened this week??? Well I was able to go on a lot of exchanges this week with people in the zone so that is always fun being around other missionaries!!!  I love it!!!  They are always so much fun!!!  So going to meetings and being around them all is so fun!!
But not much else really happened this week that I can remember, so I hope you all have a fun week!!  I will write a better letter next week I promise but until then keep on keepin' on and keep smilin' and have an awesome day!
LOve
Elder Beckman



Sister Sydney Burningham


                            This is Erica, her husband and two kids, she just got baptized last week!



 Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 8:42 AM

 Stage Fighting.

Family and Friends!

What a wonderful week.  The time is going by all too fast, can you believe it is June?  I can hardly believe the time has gone by as fast as it has.  Everyone told me when I got to my mission that the mission goes by really fast for a really long time.  I suppose that is pretty well accurate.  Okay, also I haven't had horrible Harry Potter withdrawals on my mission but lately Sister Sume has been quoting it, haha so I was thinking about how to relate it to the mission because a lot of imaginary things have some truth to them at least.. okay I promise I'm getting to something good here haha so when Harry and Ron are in Divination class with Professor Tralawney Ron says to Harry "Well you're gonna suffer, but you're gonna be happy about it.." and I was thinking that sometimes in our lives we suffer, it is part of mortality but we can always find the joy in the difficult times and the difficult times will ultimately help us become who God wants us to be.  I just figured all of you would love a Harry Potter reference today, I quite enjoyed it!

So I don't know if any of you fully understand how opposite my companions are from me, haha.  But they are both real shy and we just have completely different interests so we were telling each other one night about the things we love and Sister Roundy talked about how she did drama in high school and they learned to stage fight, unfortunately I can't send pictures this week, it's not working but I will send you photos, they are hilarious, Sister Sume took a bunch of videos of all of us beating each other up, and I just have to say we are a hit in the zone, you all would love it.  I love my companions and each day we are doing better with our unity in teaching and in everything else.  The spirit is really working within all of us to keep trying and to do better.

We also met a Romanian boy this week.  He goes to the Romanian Church of God and is sort of bored with the "traditions of his fathers"  so probably he'll want to find out more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that was fun!

Erica got baptized!  (Again I'll send pictures next week) but it was a beautiful service, her husband baptized her and Erica's Mom, who isn't a member was crying and just talked about the spirit that she felt, she lives in Franklin Tennessee, but hopefully she will want to meet with missionaries there, the Lord has hastened his work and it will continue to go forth and I am so grateful to be able to witness it. 

In my studies this week I learned about integrity and honesty.  As I've been on my mission the spirit whispers to me about things that I need to change and do better, it's started to really get to the little things I need to be better at.  I was pondering about integrity and honesty and the value that comes from others trusting you and your judgment and trusting in you as a disciple of Christ.  I was reading a talk by Henry B. Eyring from the last conference and he says:
"As you pray and serve others your knowledge that you are a child of God and your feelings about him will grow.  You will become more aware that he is saddened if you are dishonest in anyway...you will be more honest with your employers, you will be more determined to be on time and to complete every task you are given by the Lord that you have accepted to do."

As disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to be honest, to have integrity and to give everything we are to each thing the Lord requires of us.  We had dinner with this amazing lady who is in drug addiction recovery and works with all kinds of people, she has struggled with it as well in her life, she bore a powerful testimony of the Savior while we were there, the spirit was tangible.  She simply said ( and I will never forget this) "I do the things I do because I love the Savior."  Why do we do the things we do?  Is it out of obligation?  I know sometimes that happens to me.  Do we do it because it is expected of us?  The only way to really change is to do the things we are asked to do because we love the Savior, that's when we change.

I love you all I hope you have an amazing week!  I am loving every minute of being in Tennessee and being a missionary, it's the best life, really.

Love,
Sister Burningham.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Elder Justin Thiel


You'll just have to send the contacts to the mission address because I don't know the address to my apartment and my companion doesn't know it either.. This week was pretty good. We had a lot of our appointments fall through but the Cottman family is still getting baptized this week so we will have 6 baptisms on Saturday!!  My bike tire popped again this week so I had to go get a new tire.  We got a member to take us to the bike shop and the member took us out to lunch too, so that was really nice of them.  My new tire is an aggressive road tire.  (it just looks like a mix between a mountain and road tire) It rides a lot nicer now.  
We had a very powerful lesson with a less active this week.  The less active was a 15 year old boy and we talked about the last week of the Savior's life.  He broke down in tears at the end of the lesson and excused himself. when he came back (because we ate dinner with them too), Elder Hunsicker asked him about his baptism and he said that he felt clean and warm that day and today was the first time that he had felt that since.  It was a really powerful moment for all of us. 
We didn't have to bike as much this week as in past weeks.  We had a man come to church this week who is awesome.  His name is Tavorious and he is ready for the gospel.  Elder Hunsicker was teaching him before I got here.  He has quit smoking now and when we told him about he law of chastity, he went home that night and told his girl friend that things had to change.  He found a separate place to live so that he can get baptized.  His girlfriend and him want to get married in July, so they did this until they can.  That guy has some dedication!  He also came to church with us on Sunday and he said that he loved it!  
I'm really enjoying it here so far.  This week we found a brown recluse spider in our apartment.  The brown recluse is a cousin of the Hobo spider and is just as dangerous (its bite does the same thing).  It's called the recluse because it likes to hide and not be found, so they like to hide in cloths and bookshelves.  They're really fast but we killed it without a problem. 
I listened to an awesome talk this week by Jeffery R. Holland, and it was based around one scripture, Luke 17:32.  I want you to look it up and tell me what you think it means.

I'm glad to hear that grandpa is getting better and that everyone is excited for school getting out. The schools here got out last week. I don't know how I will find the eye doctors place, so I can get a new prescription. I might try to plug the name into my GPS and find the nearest one.  If you can, see if there is one in Warner Robins or in Macon.  What did the letter from Sister Applegate say?  I'm curious, but if you can't tell me that is fine.  I'm glad that things are looking up for all of you!

I hope that you all have a great week!

Love,
Elder Thiel

Elder Zach Beckman



       The Plan of Happiness in chalk!!!  What a great IDEA for teaching and reaching New Investigators!!!


Tue, 27 May 2014 11:47:09

The PLAN of HAPPINESS!!!


So this week was awsome!!! probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far! but its only by the grace of God that it was all able to happen!!
So this week me and Elder Seegmiller went on Exchanges and that was so sick we killed it!!  We found 5 New investigators and it was just an awesome time to get back together again, ha ha!   I forgot how fun it was serving with him!
NOW FOR THE REAL STORY!!!
So this Monday was Memorial Day our P day got moved to Tuesday instead of Monday and the mission wanted to set a goal for 100 New investigators in 1 Day!!!  So in all honesty I was super bummed about this whole P day switch thing but then Elder Seegmiller came up with this Brilliant IDEA!!!  So his idea was we were all going to go to this big park where EVERYONE goes on holidays and we got a bunch of chalk and we drew out this HUGE Plan of Salvation!!  It covered like 2.5 Basketball courts it was awesome!!  And then with all 12 missionaries we just walked around the park talking to everyone and then we would ask if they would like to see our awesome drawing and they would come see it!! ... It was so awesome!! ha ha!!  The sisters in our zone killed it and just got so many new people to teach it was awesome!!  But through out the whole day our two districts found 47 New Investigators!!! IT WAS AWESOME!! ha ha!!  And we had a mission wide conference call and they were talking about how awesome our zone is and everything it was great!! But honestly I learned that just simply changing your attitude toward something can make all of the difference!!  So if you ever are just thinking something is going to suck... Chances are that it really is going to!  But if your Change your attitude it will make all of the difference!!
But this Sunday we had a new family we are teaching and there names are Cerissa and Michael but they call themselves "Circle" ( I will let you figure it out), but they are awesome!!  I hope they keep progressing so I can give you more of an update later on in the months!!
Well everyone I sure do love you and hope you all the best this upcoming week!!!
LOVE
Elder Beckman



                                     Proselyting with chalk talk - the Great Plan of Happiness!!



                                         An overview of the Plan of Salvation - in chalk talk!!

Sister Sydney Burningham



                                             Before bed one night, oh and this is the best book.


Tue, May 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Do you want to build a snowman?


Hey Everyone!
I have to first just let you all know that no I have not seen the movie "Frozen".  I do however know every line to every song because every single place we go the children are singing it and wanting us to know it.  Apparently it's a pretty big deal, so I mean I feel like I've already seen it!  Haha, but that time will come, for now it's missionary work in the Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission, the best life.
Okay, so I just have to tell you about the most amazing woman.  Her name is Wilma, she is 93 years old.  She is pretty much bed ridden, but can get out sometimes, she met her husband when she was 16 years old, and married him then.  He passed away two years ago today and they were married for SEVENTY FIVE YEARS.  I mean really, that is a very long time to be married.  She is the cutest and she just talks about him all the time, she calls us her angels and we come sing to her once a week, so she can feel the spirit and talk to her about what happened at church on Sunday.  She was absolutely determined to get to church for Easter, and she did for sacrament.  Her testimony has strengthened mine, she is someone I will always look up to, so Christlike and still sharing the gospel with everyone in her 90's.  No fear in that one, only faith.
Erica is getting baptized on Saturday, her husband is baptizing her and it will be wonderful, she has been coming to church for awhile so most of the members thought she was already a member, which is great because she is so converted to the gospel and so excited for Saturday we are meeting with her tonight for her interview, watching people you've come to love enter into those covenants is the most wonderful experience, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I was reading in the Book of Mormon this week about captain Moroni, who is just an incredible person.  I am so grateful to be able to read about his life.  I was reading in Alma chapter 51, after the Lamanites have come to attack, Moroni is trying to fortify his cities and then verse 22 says:
"Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his OWN people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore."
It really hit me after reading this that how often are we in conflict and contention within our own families or within our own ward families?  Maybe we don't agree on some things, but we are all on the same team.  I have learned that we have a living prophet on the earth who is leading and guiding us away from Satan (the Lamanites in the story) but in order to be firm against Satan we have to help each other, if we are finding so much contention and confusion with those closest to us, who share our same values and have our same beliefs, it is going to be a lot easier for Satan to get in and take over.  It is difficult to be kind and honest to those that we love the most because we know no matter what, they will accept us and love us unconditionally, but it has been my experience as I work on fortifying our companionship and our ward family out here, when we are all on the same page and working toward the same cause then unity comes, and unity is power.  I am so grateful for the people who have loved and supported me throughout my life.  It reminds me about Elder Craig W. Zwick's talk from general conference he says:
"The willingness to see through each other’s eyes will transform “corrupt communication” into “minister[ing] grace.” The Apostle Paul understood this, and on some level each of us can experience it too. It may not change or solve the problem, but the more important possibility may be whether ministering grace could change us."
I know it's so difficult to be patient and loving, and we aren't going to be perfect at it all the time, I just know that when we are patient, kind, and try to see things from someone else's point of view and think about what we say before we say it, that will make all the difference. I love my mission, I love Tennessee, I love my circumstances, even though sometimes they hurt me and they stretch me. 
I love you all and hope you have a great week, until next time!
Love,
Sister Burningham.

We found our ward mission leaders guitar and so we played and sang some hymns as part of our lesson after dinner.  Love that family.
I made this planner for my companion, she LOVES penguins.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Elder McCade Tracy




March 17, 2014
I really don't like how fast these weeks are going by, actually I don't like how this entire year has gone by so fast! Just last year I was going through my last day in the MTC before flying out to Kentucky at 4 am, simply wow. This week was definitely better than last week :) Yes, Happy St. Patrick's day and a snowy one at that, I am wearing green and I wore green yesterday too ;)
This week was far better than last week as we doubled our success in teaching, we made contact with some very solid former investigators, they lost contact for about two months before yesterday and we've got a few other high potentials that we'll be meeting with the first week of April :) Traye did not make it to church sadly, as far as we know he's still on track for the 29th and we'll know more tonight when we meet with him.
Yes, I'm pretty jealous of you going on a stinkin' cruise! But to be honest, I wouldn't want to be anywhere but here in Kentucky on my mission and meeting the wonderful people that I'm supposed to meet here at this time. Make sure you take a lot of pictures and just simply have fun because it only lasts for a short time :)
The teaching pool is beginning to expand slowly but surely, we actually made contact with the former's yesterday and found a new investigator despite the snow storm yesterday :) It was a welcome change this week, after talking with President on how I could go about this differently and from a Zone meeting that we had last week helped me to re-focus and pay attention to what really is important and just being led by the Spirit has been such a giant help with everything! I know that I have a lot of work to do, and I will be able to use the things that I've learned from the past year to help me change in any way that is needful for the next year :)

High - Just being able to teach more people! I felt like my efforts were not wasted this week!
Low - Not having Traye at church, as well as the snow hitting again.... I want the warmth already!
Before yesterday it was beautiful and it was very nice to bike around but this week should warm up again so cross your fingers!
Yesterday, we had just made contact with a former, and in walking back to our bikes we saw a lady carrying her laundry, we offered to help but she said no. So being missionaries, we continued the conversation and asked if she wanted to say a prayer with us and she accepted. After the prayer, she talked about how she's seen God's hand in her life and we started talking about how God loves us so He calls a prophet (this whole time she was agreeing with what we were saying) we introduced the Book of Mormon and she accepted a copy and that she'd read it! I cannot wait to begin to meet with her and help her boys grow up with a knowledge of God and His love for us all. We set a time to return at the start of April, she works at a college and they're moving from normal text books to e-books so there's a lot to do for that :) We've got a lot of great things that are in view for this area, as long as we follow the Spirit I know that we'll know what they need to here when we meet with them :)
Thank you for doing all of this... Thank you for being such a huge support to me and helping me through all the rough times and the joyful times of my life and my mission, I love you and miss you like crazy!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

March 24, 2014
Yes, another week has speedily come and gone so quickly! We were able to have a much better week than in the past, we saw a huge miracle this week as we tracted randomly after trying a couple people that we met in the last couple weeks. 
It's just starting to warm up a little bit more, but there is still some tough and cold weather that is right around the corner. Hopefully it's not too bad, and it'll warm up near the end of the week and finally stay warm and start the summer :) We've had a pretty bad winter, and an odd one at that so we will be having an interesting summer as well. Traye did not come to church, and he has seemed to fall off the deep end and not want to really meet or quit smoking.... We're hopefully going to meet with him today and see what we can do with him.It's a constant struggle to keep up the teaching pool, especially in St. Matthews, because a lot of people have told us repeatedly that they're fine with where they are.. So it's a bit difficult to get through to people while we're here.

I'm doing all that I can to see the good in each day no matter what happens during the day and throughout the week.
High - Finding four new investigators in a matter of 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday! We tried a couple people and then started walking down the street, as we got near the end Elder Engstrom turned into the last apartment complex, and me not really knowing where the members, formers or LA are asked "Who are we trying to see here?" he responded "Nobody. This is just a random door." So we began to knock and see what happened. In the end we were an answer to someones prayers in needing us to stop by and pray with/for them specifically. It was very nice to see something good come out of our weeks of struggling to find someone to teach!
Low - Not getting anyone to church, and that we haven't had much progress with our investigators.
The spiritual experience was the new investigators in a short amount of time, I was able to see the Lord's hand in a lot of things this week. I saw His hand in helping us reach out to people who really needed a prayer as well as letting people know what we're doing out here and what our message truly consists of.
I love you all so much and miss you more each day! I know that you have been blessed because of your efforts and because of your sacrifices on my behalf.
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

March 31, 2014
I'm doing really well! This last week has been a great one for sure! Also, transfers are this Tuesday but don't worry because I'm staying put in St. Matthews for at least one more! We did get a few days of cold weather but it's all good now because it's supposed to be mid to upper 70's this whole week! Haha, at least you were able to get out and walk while it was warm!
 We had 3 at church this week!!!!! We had Traye, Shelly (Trayes mom) and Jim Harralson, it was Shelly's and Jim's first time at church and the Spirit was very strong all throughout! Jim told us that he's planning on making this a regular thing we've just got to get him over smoking which will be a little difficult because he tells us that he's "too addicted to quit" but I don't doubt that we'll get him baptized this transfer :) Things are going good with Traye again, he's going to be living the word of wisdom from now on and as far as we know he's been living it for a full week now so hopefully in a couple weeks we'll have a baptism again!
The teaching is going well, and it continues to get better each day, it's still a little tough with some cases as we try and find more to teach but we're being blessed with our efforts in finding people who would like us to stop by again to just get to know us and we've met a lot of Seminary students who want to talk and see where we're coming from instead of taking what the internet says about us or even the "Book of Mormon" play that'll be coming in a few weeks I think. Other than that things are going pretty well :)
High - Having more people to teach and having three people at Church!
Low - not being able to make contact with our promising potentials
I will answer the other questions later, I'm out of time so I just want to thank you for all that you do on my behalf, thank you for all your love and support!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 7, 2014

Conference was amazing!!!!!
 It is truly amazing how fast time flies, I was talking to one of the sisters that I came out with that's in my zone right now, and just realizing that the third conference weekend of our missions has come and gone. It's also odd to think that the sisters that came out with me will be home for the October conference! Now I definitely feel like an old missionary, yes only at 13 months am I feeling really old ;) We did have two investigators attend conference, sadly it was only for the Sunday sessions but it was still good :) We had members homes available to us for yesterday, so we watched conference with Traye at one of the members homes and we had Jim at the other session and another member home :) It was great to hear their feedback on what they felt and what stood out to them during the session :)
The last week was actually pretty good, with the warm weather and with a lot of faith we saw some success out of tracting in the rain :) We started to tract in an area that is a bit wealthier than most places, and I had the feeling that we needed to go there at the end of last transfer and made it a goal to start this transfer. So far we've seen some success in that general area and doors are beginning to be opened throughout the area it seems like, that tells me that our efforts are for good and that God does see our intents and our hard work and will bless us as we put forth our best effort to spread His work :) It was so nice to finally ride a bike without a coat and to get some much needed sun on the arms :)
Our investigators are progressing some what right now, Jim is still smoking and even though he wants to make church attendance a regular thing he still won't do all he can to quit smoking. Basically, he doesn't have the faith in himself that he can quit. With Traye, we will be turning him over to the assistants because we feel that he'll progress better towards baptism with them and since he'll be turning 18 this month and graduating as well we really did not have much time left to work with him.
I learned that if we come to conference with questions that they will be answered in one way or another as we diligently seek. I feel that I now have a better understanding of what I need to do so that I can be the best priesthood holder I can be and that will lead me to becoming a better husband and father down the road. I'm also beginning to figure out and seeing what my best options are for work when I get home, I'm still focused on the work and why I am needed out here, but lately my mind has been looking forward and weighing the different paths I can take that will set me up to get my feet on the ground and then in turn support Dallin and Tre as they are on their missions :)
High- The majority of my questions were answered during the Saturday and Priesthood sessions of Conference, it boggled my mind and really changed my out look on taking notes for conference, having questions really does make conference a much better experience and makes it more than just watching and half way listening to the leaders of the Church.
Low - Just the continuation of people rejecting us and not wanting to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ
I knew that you would take heed to that invitation to read and study Preach My Gospel, it's a much needed resource and a BIG help to understand fully the doctrine of the gospel and really just get back to the simplicity that Christ taught, I know that through this you will be blessed and more doors will open to you and the family as we all try to spread the gospel, just as I have studied, I have had many of my friends who are not members come to my mind that I will get back into contact with in hopes of helping them see more of why I did this and how it will bless them in their lives moving forward.
I've thought about the last year so much over the past month and the transition and changes in myself is straight ridiculous! I never thought I would be at the point that I am. I never realized that I could have such an impact on people. I have taken record of my feelings and thoughts in my journal and I've sneaked a few peaks at my first journal and the difference is very substantial.  I love you and thank you for all that you do on my behalf, you have taught me in righteousness, you and dad have set the example for me in how to have a marriage that will last into the eternities :)
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 14, 2014
We had a really good week despite the crazy Thunder over Louisville crowds :) Yup, my bike is all fixed up, they actually called us the next day and said that it was all done! Now it runs like new, which is a big help being in an all bike district.
This week was a much better week than the last, we had Jim come to church this week which makes is his third time, counting conference, and he's on board for making church a regular thing :) We'll be even busier after these last two days, we've gained a handful of people to begin teaching from tracting, contacting and just trying formers/ potentials when there isn't much left to do in the day. We've found that simply asking for miracles to happen throughout the day come to pass, and we find the elect people of God who are ready to listen and follow through to find out for themselves :)
My allergies have been held at bay so far, right now it's not really effecting me right now, the weather has been really interesting in the past few days.. It was at 84 Sat-Sun and now it's about 55 and raining :) So it's been a really interesting spring this year, it wasn't this odd last year and I remember my allergies got bad right around the time we met Keisha for the first time which was the weekend after Mother's Day. So if history holds true, I will take extra precaution by then :)
I've learned that we have to let a whole lot of things into the Lords hands when it comes to having people return to the church, this might be something that helps them out because since they have you there reminding and inviting them a lot of the time and when that influence leaves. They take it upon themselves to get to where they know that they need to be :) we've done this with multiple investigators that aren't keeping their commitments so we stop going by for a few weeks and eventually they come around and tell us that they want to start meeting again because they noticed that the Spirit was gone completely without us there.
High - Finding new people to teach, having Jim at church, and having more of out investigators progress and keep their commitments as they do their part in coming to know if the church is true :)
Low - Having solid appointments fall through when we're with a member
A really awesome experience just happened yesterday, over the last little while as we've met with Jim, I've had the impression to give him a blessing in calling upon the powers of heaven to help him quit smoking. Yesterday, the opportunity really presented itself and we were able to give him a blessing. It ranks up there with the most powerful and spiritual blessings that I've ever given.... As the words came to me, all the noise of outside went quiet and I know that Jim will quit smoking in the next couple weeks and be baptized in May.
There's not much more going on other than Jim, everyone else is just starting to make progress and I will update you when they start to move forward and there's just a lot of new people that we're beginning to work with.
I know how you feel, because on the flip side, being a missionary isn't easy. There is no breaks, it's 734 days straight of a full time job and you work all weekends rain or shine. The only time you can miss is when you're sick, and that is worse than not having anyone listen to you :) I love this work though, each day brings it's own miracles and it's teaching me the things that I couldn't have learned if I had stayed home and just gone to college and gotten married. Thank you for all of your love and support in all of the success and struggles of this work.
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 21, 2014
Thank you for the happy Easter :) I can't believe that this was my second Easter already! 
The last couple days here have been very warm and sticky (thanks to the lovely humidity) but I love it out here though! With all the warm and through all the sweat we find people who want to listen and hear about the gospel, I've begun to start writing down what I learn about myself through the day in my journal instead of just writing down the events of the day. I feel that I'll see my growth more from that and finding what I learn from all the experiences rather than just writing down what our schedule was like for the day :)
This last week was one of many interesting things happening to Elder Engstrom and I, first the sad stuff : we had an "intent and understanding" lesson with Jim, and he did not understand the meaning of us reading the Book of Mormon and he does not know if we are the only true church. It really all goes back to the authority and he doesn't understand that. When we asked him about what he learned from reading the Book of Mormon, he couldn't tell us much and that's our fault. We only told him to read it and not how to STUDY the book. I actually just read over that part in "The Power of the Everyday Missionary", hopefully we can use that to help him gain a testimony about the church and get baptized soon! Now the good/interesting stuff :) The good part of last week was finding more people who want to sit down and meet with us, one in particular is and 18 year old girl named Christen, she's started to read the Book of Mormon and she has accepted a baptismal date for May 24th! We went over on Saturday to check up on her, and she asked us if she could have two friends sit in with us! Part of me says 'Sweet! This girl is already spreading the gospel with only knowing very minimal about the message' And the more experienced part says 'This could be a trap and we might have to bash with a few people, so I better study better just in preparation.' I know it's kinda odd, but we've been put in many situations and I've heard too many stories about that happening. We'll just have to wait and see on Tuesday morning :) the interesting part is about the picture below :) We were tracting on Friday, and we approached a home that looked like it was having a huge party... Turns out they were! A Catholic Passover party! They welcomed us right in and we talked with them for quite a while, we ended up eating with them as they had done a mock "last supper" earlier in the evening. We had lamb, bread and a couple other things from that time period. Before we left they handed us an Easter basket with chocolate crosses and a few hard boiled eggs that had "Jesus" written on the side :) If you were wondering, yes, the majority of them were drunk as they always have wine in part of their celebrations :) Definitely an experience that I will never forget :)
Thank you for the package and for all the wonderful things that you do on my behalf! I love you and miss you!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 28, 2014
This last week went by so fast!!! And it was awesome! We've met so many people who want to hear us out, even with all the slandering that we get and the few times a week that we get told to leave by people who don't know what we do. By the 24th I meant May, I don't know if I said May 24th. So sorry for that miss communication on my end ;) Christen has actually been sick for the last few days so we haven't been able to meet with her as of yet, and we talked with one of her friends that she invited to listen in and they're very sincere and want to listen. Sadly, we will have to hand them all to the AP's because they're in their 20's..... It really sucks to have to turn over solid investigators to any set of missionaries.
The teaching is staying up right now, we've been taking every opportunity to teach everyone that we see! It's about half and half right now, and it's really a constant thing to be finding as well as teaching because there will be many times that you teach people who end up getting baptized and if you haven't spent the time finding people along the way then you end up in a rut and have to always be in the finding mode and the whole area slows down. This is probably one of the biggest things that both Dallin and Trevor will have to learn on their missions, because as you constantly add people or drop the people who aren't progressing then you will always be busy and have something to do during the day rather than doing the same thing every day because you (as a missionary) failed to replenish your teaching pool every day. Hopefully all of that makes sense in one way or another ;)
Awesome :) I took a video of it as well and we went around the whole front yard of that home, it's crazy what you'll find in the homes of people in Kentucky and even on the road!! We were biking around yesterday contacting for a little bit and we stopped and talked with this guy for a minute, and this beautiful Ferrari pulls up and parks behind us! I've just about seen all the most expensive cars since being in Kentucky :)
Haha :) Sounds like you all had a very fun trip :) he can't go anywhere without getting sunburned can he ;) Wow. You had quite the adventure, I wish I could have been there in the Mayan ruins partially because we've had so many questions about who the people were in the Book of Mormon and it'll definitely serve Dallin well if he goes English speaking on his mission :) To say that you've been to places talked about in the Book of Mormon is almost as powerful as testifying of the Spirit that is still in the Sacred Grove and in Carthage Jail... It really makes you appreciate what you have, when I first got out here it was a big reality check where I saw families of 5-8 people living in one house and they were very happy, they did not complain about their situation because they knew that God had blessed them for their efforts :) That's how we were yesterday with a pretty humid day that led to a very awesome Thunder storm that came last night and into early this morning :)
The week was pretty good, we taught a lot of pretty good lessons and we were able to find some success while tracting in an area that we've been focusing on for the last little bit but now has seemed to stop so we're finding more places to tract in hopes of finding Heavenly Father's elect people, we were also able to finally find a guy that had been pushing off the missionaries for about a year or so (this is also my high for the week) and now with knowing where he lived we decided to stop by to catch him. Thankfully, it was good weather and he was outside doing some yard work when we arrived :) We asked if we could talk for a little bit and he said yes, so we sat down outside and began to just talk about things and it all led to teaching him the full restoration and setting a baptismal date for June 14!!! It has been truly amazing to have found these people here in St. Matthews over these last two transfers, after having to constantly find people and not really having success to now seeing a miracle each day with finding someone new to begin teaching is telling me that I need to be here and that the area was getting ready to blossom with success!
Low - Basically Jim has stopped progressing, during an exchange this week Elder Engstrom and Souza (our district leader) met with Jim and told them that he did not want to come to church, he didn't want to quit smoking, and to really top it all off they found out that he smokes pot too! So, needless to say we will be dropping him this week and moving forward with our new investigators that we have found and really working closely with our three baptismal dates :)
This whole week has been something else. There have been so many little miracles that have made the difference, even when we had nothing planned we still found people to teach, I've learned something new each day and by focusing on that instead of the negatives or the things that we could have done better, it really has helped me see that no effort is wasted and that everything will happen as we push forward knowing that God sees our efforts to bring about His eternal purposes here in St. Matthews.
Thank you so much for all that you do and the support that you give me through this wonderful journey called a mission. I love you all and miss you!
Love your son, brother and missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 5, 2014
We had a really good week! I did not receive the package, I will check with them today and hopefully they still have it.... I had a feeling that he wasn't going to be able to wait especially since it came so fast! Thank you for videoing it and letting me know. That's crazy and awesome at the same time! I thought that he would go southern because he's stubborn and that's what the bible belt needs ;) I know that he'll do great things in the Philippines, yes, Ryley let me know as well, I'm kinda speechless right now with knowing where he's going to be serving..... I really cannot wait to talk to you all next Sunday! 
This week we saw a lot of miracles by simply talking with everyone, even with all the craziness with the Derby, we taught many wonderful people and sadly none of them came to church. We have some new investigators that we're going to be working with closely this week and we'll begin to help them progress towards baptism soon :)
We have no idea, we had to hand her and her friends over to the AP's because they're single and the singles branch that they have here is from 18-30 yrs. old, so we really have no choice or say in the matter. If the AP's aren't able to see her then it'll most likely come back to us to teach her but then she'll have to go to the singles branch once she's baptized. I have a pretty good feeling that I'll be staying, but I never know what President Woodbury has in mind or the Lord for that matter :) Yeah, his name is Tom, we've tried to see him lately but he hasn't been available to meet. I think that his wife got to him because she wasn't there for the first meeting and she doesn't know why we started meeting with Tom. Even when we tried to explain it she didn't hear us out.
High - Seeing all the little miracles through the day and having each experience strengthen my testimony
Low - Just having our investigators not keep their commitments to us.
Thank goodness for the times that I can slow down and really take it all in because no matter what we do the time goes by fast! Thank you for all the love and support you send me!
Love your son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 12, 2014
Transferred to Carolton too busy, will write next week:) Loved seeing everyone & talking to them on Mother's Day!
Love your son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 19, 2014
 It seems like yesterday I just left the MTC and was headed out for my first night in Kentucky, and now I only have 6 transfers left after this one which is crazy :) But also really cool because I know that I have to give it my all every day and find those people that I need to find and bring to the gospel here in Carollton.
The branch is awesome! It's a lot like Shively when I first got there and the attendance was at about 45-55 people each Sunday, this Sunday we had about 46-48 people attend. I told the Branch President that I was really excited to work here and we've got the potential to get up to where Shawnee is right now with about 85-90 people per week! It all comes down to finding those who want to here the gospel :) We're on track right now to get there because we've got 4 baptismal dates with some really awesome people! Two of which we found on Tuesday while visiting a members home, their names are Erica Zink and Robert O'Brian, they're brother and sister. There is also Erica's boyfriend/fiancé named Jake (who is also the brother of the members wife), but he was at work when we set the baptismal date with them a couple days ago. Erica and Robert came to Church yesterday and really enjoyed it, the cool thing about it is that they live with the member family for now, so far everything that we've taught them has answered questions that they've had and Erica told us that every time that they wanted a clean slate as they lived in Indianapolis the Mormons were sent to her but she turned them away until Tuesday when we showed up :) Hopefully all of this makes sense ;) The teaching pool is staying steady right now as we had a good number of people from the start and we're just working with them step by step right now, our goal for this transfer is at least 3 baptisms and it'll be really cool because the branch doesn't have a font so either we go to the Crestwood building or we baptize them in the Ohio River right behind the building :) I'm pulling for the river because that would just be awesome to experience ;)
High - We had many opportunities to give blessings to many people this week, and each one was physically exhausting but Spiritually filling. We gave one to one of our baptismal dates, her name is Vanessa, and immediately after the blessing we were able to set a date with her for June 14! It was one of the most amazing blessings that I've ever given, it only came because earlier in the week we had to get some olive oil from her so that we could go give someone else a blessing. The other person is the mother of a youth member, her parents are not members, she asked us to give her mom a blessing on Wednesday night and after the blessing she agreed and wanted to have the Sister missionaries come over and teach her more! We also had 5 people show up to church yesterday, so just from this email you know that this area is super golden and ready for the gospel!
Low - There wasn't really a low this week.
 Also, I got the package of the almonds and the shorts so thank you for sending that to me :) I will be sending a few more things home that I don't need on the mission :) Thank you for all the love and support that you give me while I'm out here experiencing all of this :)
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 27, 2014
I really do not like how fast these weeks are flying by right now, we have been really busy and things are still moving forward quite nicely as we press forward having great faith and hope in everyone that we see and talk to :) We only had one at Church and that was Metina, Vanessa was out of town visiting family and she did not make it back in time for Church but the two of them are progressing quite well and are definitely on track for their baptismal dates!
Robert and Erica are still set for the 28th, as far as we know they're still reading the Book of Mormon and want to have that fresh start. We will have to check with the members to see where Erica, Robert, and Donald moved to but we're pretty sure we know where it is :) Vanessa just texted us this morning and told us that she is now 100% smoke free and coffee free! There are a lot of miracles going on here in Carollton, especially with Vanessa and Metina, every time we go over and talk about the gospel they are ready to live it and follow it as best they can :) I know that they will and are truly converted to the gospel. With someone or many people like this, it's really hard to wait through the weeks leading up to their baptism. It's also some of the greatest times on the mission to go sit down and talk with someone who is that prepared and says time and time again that the Book of Mormon is true. It makes everything seem worth it, the good times and the bad, we will keep seeing these miracles in this branch and things will change back to what they used to be.
This last week we've done so many different things it's not even funny! We've played some Corn hole and that has grown on me a little bit ;) We've done a lot of service and just wearing ourselves out day after day, the humidity does a lot of that for us but still we are always going and talking with people who are ready for the gospel.
For the service that we did last week, we helped an elderly member by fixing her driveway the best we could and it ended up taking all day! We were very exhausted especially after helping the Sisters with mowing a lawn for one of their investigators. The lawn had not been mowed for some time, so the grass and weeds were up to at least my hips if not higher in some spots! That only took us about 3 1/2 hours to do and that was a week ago, right after my allergies kicked up to another level and just smacked me in the face! I'm just glad that my allergy experience is over for now because I have not had any problems after that day :) That is just a brief summary of what we did for the last week and I wonder what crazy thing we'll do this week :)
High - Definitely going and doing so many acts of service for those in need. Also being able to play corn hole for the first time on the mission and the first time for quite awhile in my life :) Then there is always the constant contact with Metina and Vanessa in preparing them for baptism in the next couple weeks :)
Low - Having those people who just choose not to listen to the message of the gospel and move on with their lives.
I learned a lot from this last week and I know it's all preparing me to become the person and priesthood holder that I need to become and will become :)
I wouldn't change anything because every experience is priceless, whether it's good or bad, it has something to teach you and you can always learn no matter what.
Thank you so much for your love and support! I know that I couldn't do this without you and the family!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy