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, January 18, 2015

Elder Dallin Stout

                                                                                                                                     Elder Stout

January 12, 2015

This week I went on exchanges with Elder Deem and I got to Drive!  That's the second time!  Ella had to cancel with us because she is sick.  A lot of people are sick right now so we haven't been able to see them.  We saw Todd and his little room that he rents out is even more decorated!  Every time I go over, he has more statues of Jesus or Buddha, and now they are painted!  I'll have to get some pictures of his room for sure! 
We taught Cristina and the Tapia family the Plan of Salvation lesson, and brought Josh Fielding to both the lessons.  He's preparing for his mission and wants to know what he can best do to prepare.  We told him to read the white handbook!  We went by David's and he invited us in for a few tacos and something to drink.  He had a bunch of friends over for a party.  They were playing NBA 2K13.  On an end table we saw a bunch of empty beer cans!  We went to Rob Brec's house for a Tri-tip barbecue!  He also made something called Chile Rellenos. He barbecues these big green Chile's till they are golden brown, then he smokes them in a bag for a minute, pulls off the skin and dunks it in melted butter with garlic salt, before eating it!  It is super good!  The Winchell's are also good friends of his and they came over! 
     Elder Robinson is doing great, we have been teaching well together and we always get along!
     I know that we are lead today by prophets who are inspired men of God. I know that we can always be happy when we abide by their counsel and heed their warnings.
     Wednesday night we were going to see Naomi when a guy on the street told us "their is a 91 yr old lady that just got evicted and is now homeless. What can your church do to help her?"  We checked it out and found a woman, named Lisa, and her mom who both got kicked out.  Their stuff was all out side the apartment in the open.  We volunteered to come back in the morning and help her move her stuff to storage.  Thursday morning we got Brother Campbell to bring his trailer and help us load everything.  It took way longer than it should have. Lisa was scatter brained from lack of sleep, and had to watch her 91 yr old mother with dementia.  We called Brother French to take our place, because we needed to be gone at 1 pm to get to Santa Barbra for a zone meeting at 2 pm.  We left at 1:30 and quickly changed into suits and got to the meeting about a half hour late. But they waited a bit for us, so we didn't miss much. 
I'm glad we had members to respond quickly to be good Samaritans to help Lisa and her mom even after we left!
Elder Stout

Elder McCade Tracy

January 12, 2015 at 9:59:00 AM

Another week, and a really cold one I might add, is in the books! Yeah, we had one day that was at -8 with the wind! We walked around all this week because it was so cold, and there was absolutely nobody out walking around, so we looked like the crazy ones!  It's rainy now, but the weather said it'll change to snow, and it probably won't stick around for long. It'll kinda warm back up through this week, hopefully, it's not too windy so we can ride around a see a few more people that have been brought to our attention. This Ward is really interesting, not only do we have a young woman who isn't a member, (she's getting taught by the Evansville Sisters now), but we just found out that there is another young woman whose been attending regularly who also isn't a member!  She's a definite focus for us this next week, so she can begin to progress towards baptism :)  Our week was pretty dismal at best, but with Karen getting her interview from President Brough last week, to finding other youth who aren't members, all of that has really made up for the entire week! 
James and Karen are doing really well and are all set for baptism on Sunday.  We're still waiting to hear from Karen on who wants to baptize her  so we can finalize the program :)  Outside of James and Karen, there really isn't much else.  One of the youth, who is also a recent convert of a few months, lost his mother a couple days ago. He and his dad are taking it surprisingly well.  His dad was investigating a while back, and hopefully we'll be able to get in and teach them a little this week.  The only thing that really held him back was smoking, so he should progress really fast. There is a couple other people that we're going to try and work with this week, to help us stay busy through the day :)
High - Having Karen pass her interview, James is doing really well and we've got some more people that we're going to start working with this week :)
Low - Just the freezing cold that forced us to walk around all week!
Not this week because of the cold and from walking, it takes quite a bit of time to get from place to place :) People tend to block us out when it's super cold, and they just want to get to their destination, but that's alright we always find at least one person that wants to talk for a little bit.
I'm excited to see what happens, and how Elle enjoys volleyball.  That's awesome about your new calling!  You've been waiting to get back into the YW program ever since you got released years ago :)  I know that you'll have fun in that calling again!!  You'll probably be there when Elle turns 16 at the end of the year.  I can't wait to see what happens next, back home :)  This week I learned that having a lot of patience pays off, and when it's necessary, let some people have some time without the missionaries, so they recognize the difference between feeling the Spirit with us there and without seeing us for a time.  There hasn't been any profound experiences for a time, we've taught James and Karen everything and we're just trying to find some new people. I will keep doing what I need to in order to help those we meet with :)

Love you and miss you!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Elder Dallin Tracy

  Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:14 PM

This week has been alright!  We had some ups and downs, but it's all good!  Everything is finally setting down from the holidays and we are returning back to a full work weeks and stuff which is good, cuz we need the time!  So this week at church our numbers were high, but not as big as last week!  But still strong and higher than usual.  The bad thing was and probably the low for the week, was we had 0 investigators at church, so we will have to move their baptismal dates back....:(   Our weakest part of our work is new investigators, so we spent a lot of our week finding and trying to make our teaching pool a little bigger.  We have about 15 people we need to contact next week, so that's good and could really boost the work here in Hamtic!! 
Garbriel- Of course he's not finished cuz he got baptized, the goal now is the temple!  And his wife is a Returned Missionary, and he has a little boy.  So they, of course, want to go to the temple, so we are starting to prepare them (the little boy eating the coconut was their little boy)! He's so cute!! Haha!
Josh- josh? James...James had some great things and some bad things this week.   We met with him 2x this week and they were really good lessons, and he's stopped drinking coffee and is reading the Book of Mormon a lot, he read over 20 chapters in 2 Nephi this week, and is understanding it and getting deep things out of it, which is really great, but....he said last time that he doesn't feel worthy to be baptized, and wants to make sure he is 100% on his decision. So I told him, "For that there is nothing I can say to really help you, but, I can tell you something to do, and that's pray to our Father in Heaven."  So we challenged him to pray, and ask the same question every night until we visit again, and then re-evaluate where he's at.  But then he didn't go to church, so we are forced to move his baptism date back at least 1 week right now.
Rodrick- He's progressing well, but we just have so much more to teach before his date, and his work schedule is super hard.   And so it hard to get him when he's there, and hes going to Aklan next Sunday, and if he doesn't go to church next Sunday, we have to move his date back. So we told him, if he really wants to baptized on the 24th, we are gonna have to meet with him everyday, so we can prepare him 100%, and then he's gonna have to choose church over a trip to Aklan.  So it's all up to him and his choices now!  I really hope he makes the right choices!!
Robert- Still same!!   We just can't talk!!  When we are there, he isn't, and they live far in the mountains, so it's not easy to get there!!
Mary Ann- her parents said NO! to being baptized, but she really wants to be, so the only thing we can do is wait till she turns 18, which is in April, I think.
Anyone new? No one really new.  There is a lot of people we found, but need to contact and really teach them.
Less actives-
The Abong Family is doing great!  They're my favorites and their faith is just getting stronger and they are getting callings and starting to help the branch!!
The Aban Family- Their whole family came to church, even the inactive older sons!!  It was awesome!! ( The crazy girls made weird faces are them)

Even though our investigators are low, we have seen so much success with our less actives and it really is just as rewarding, and it helps out our branch with leadership and attendance!  Our branch looks like its on the up and up!!  Changes are being made and its looking good!!  I just hope they stay with it!  We are close to getting our budget back as a branch, so that will be super nice to do activities for free!! Haha!! 

Congrats on your calling!!  I knew you'd be back in the Young Women soon!! Haha!  But for New Years, I didn't care, I just went to bed early!!  I was so tired!  I'm trying to upload pictures, but is super slow so there might not be all of them!!  Sorry, I have them saved on my sd.  Thank you for the recipe, and ya,Elder Tolentino's tooth is fine!!  No problems now!! Haha!!  But ya, it's gross. 
A lot of the pictures are at Family Home Evening at the Abong's again, with some of the members along with.  And then with the Aban kids, and if the mountain ones got uploaded, I'll explain them in a minute...  
- Mom, can you thank Sue Green??  She is still sending me things, and I really appreciate it!!
Things that happened this week-- 
-Zone training, and it was really good!! I learned some good things and then had lunch after!! Super good!! Haha!!
-Some members gave me a hammock and I hung it in our house!  It's super nice!! Haha!!  I love it!!   Oh, and our house is kinda under construction!!  The tiles broke cuz of the earthquake, so our room is all torn up!!  Haha!!  I tried to upload of picture of it, but I don't know?? 
- So to cross water, or gaps, there are these sketchy bamboo bridges and they're made for Filipinos, but this week I broke one, and almost went swimming, but I jumped and made it!! Haha!!  It was crazy~! 

So, back ground information, we were just waiting for the bus, and this guy came and contacted us.  And his family are all members and his sisters even served missions, but when he was taught, the elder only knew English, so the guy couldn't understand.  But he asked if we could visit him on Sunday.  Well, on Sunday, me and Elder Chapman went on a split, so we set off to find this guy.  His house, he said, was in Casanlang, which is like a 20 minute bus ride in the mountains, and we get there and start asking around, and everyone says "taas" or "sa baw baw," which just means higher, or up!!  Haha!!  And they all said, just close.  So we start walking and we are contacting everyone we see,  and everyone is super nice and was good to introduce the gospel to them,  and they helped us a lot, but then we got to the next like village which is "Bot Bot" which is like a 45 minute hike straight up hill in the mountains.  And we get to "Bot Bot" and they speak Tagalog!!  Now, me and Elder Chapman are really new still, and can barely communicate in Illonog/Krya-a,  so we were lost!! Haha!!  Just walking and walking and we get to a basketball court, and we are about 1 and 1/2 hour walk from the round, like literally the top of the mountain!  And we find his son at the basketball court, so he shows us their house, which is another 30 minute straight jungle climb, and we get there, and he's not even home...:(  but, we taught his family and it was a great lesson and was sweet!  But, when we were done, it was pitch black and we had one flashlight and a 2 hr walk ahead!! Haha!!  And to make it better, all the people were asking if we were scared, and we said "No" and they said, "Well be careful, cuz there's a lot of rebels in the mountains that kidnap Americans!" (we are both Americans...)!!  We thought they were just joking??!! Haha!!  We got home safe, but it turns out they weren't joking.. but it was so cool up!  Even though it was a straight hike on rocks, it was amazing!  I'll try and get the pictures up! 

I'm excited for the packages, but I think that was about it!!
Love and miss ya, 
Elder Tracy 

Elder Dallin Stout

January 5, 2015

The Zone leaders gave us a referral, his name is Pete. Elder Cavazos and I went to see him we talked on his front porch. He is really cool, last Sunday he took his family to church at the other ward. We saw Jim Scott and found out that he also was a professional official for High school and College football! He liked the video camera we gave him for Christmas. We actually were given it from an investigator, so it was good that we could pay it forward. A lot of people in our area that we work with are sick, so it's been hard to teach them. We saw the Topete family and brought their home teacher with us. We read out of the Children's Book Of Mormon and challenged them to read daily as a family. They have been consistent at coming to church since William got baptized!  In the past, they would get active right as one of the kids needed to be baptized and then stop coming.  But now, Brother Topete is taking Sundays off to come to church!  We also taught the Topia family, They are less active and have an 8 yr old son named Issac who wants to get baptized after seeing his friend William Topete baptized!  We took Jake Heath who is leaving on his mission soon, and taught the Restoration. Sister Topia said the kids can come to church with the Topete family since she works Sundays!
     Elder Robinson was sick at the beginning of the week, he threw up last P-day in the showers at church during sports!  He says McDonald's doesn't taste as good the second time!  So I was stuck inside for a while, but I got to blitz with Elder Cavazos, so that was good.  Elder Robinson is better now though.
     Something I learned yesterday is that Heavenly Father definitely loves us and wants to help us. His goal is not to try to keep out people from the Celestial kingdom, He want's us there!!  All of us!  As long as someone desires to live with Him, and to be with their family for eternity, then they can and will!  Heavenly Father loves us so very much that's why he prepared a way through Jesus Christ. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
     We did service for Rob again this week. He had this wheelbarrow full of Dog poop that he left outdoors, it rained and filled the Wheelbarrow. When we helped him it was full of this black sludge looking stuff and its been like that since the last time it rained! So it stinks really, REALLY BAD! We duga hole at the entrance to the backyard and poured it all in there and covered it with white powder to mask the smell a little. We wheelbarrowed bricks to the backyard past the hole, careful not to step in it! We also organized his garage and tools. He is going to have us over for dinner next week for BBQ tri-tip! We found out that his family is also good friends with the Wares and Wynchels!
Elder Stout

Elder McCade Tracy

January 5, 2015 at 12:47:56 PM

My New Years was great! Thankfully I was able to get to sleep on New Years Eve and we were able to stay warm during the majority of the day, it'll get colder this week :) I still can't believe that Elle is driving now! That makes me feel so old, it'll be fun to drive with her and help her learn a lot of things.
Haha :) I wasn't looking forward to working after Christmas either, but somehow we were able to work and get some stuff done. I can't believe that Seth is home now and Colton and Brandon are not far behind them!  It's just a short 8 weeks until I'm home again. Honestly, it's a little tough to stay focused, but with the progress of James and Karen, it helps me to work as much as I can with what we're given here in Evansville. Karen thought that the 17th was a Sunday, and the Stake wants to have baptisms on Sundays, so we talked with her, and Karen was all for moving her date to the 18th, so we've got both of them set for the 18th now!  They're both living the Word of Wisdom fully, and President Brough is coming to interview Karen on the 8th. That's really about it right now in the area. We're going through the area and organizing it all, making sure that we know who is in each area so we can be as effective as possible, if everything falls through. I will definitely keep you updated with all the progress of the investigators that we have. Thanks for keeping me updated with Elle and her volleyball tournaments. LaDonna hasn't responded to us since New Year's Eve, and we've been window checked a couple times, so we're dropping her for now.
There aren't really any new investigators that are really progressing right now.  Our main focus is on James and Karen, although there may be a few people that we could add to the pool after a few things happen this week.  Ok, I will be looking for it in the mail when we check it.
High- Having Karen stay so strong living the Word of Wisdom.  We gave her a blessing last week and it really helped her through a few trials that she has faced recently.  It's been great to see the progress with James and his willingness to follow the Word of Wisdom, things are gonna happen and it's gonna be great!
Low - Having to drop a few people and just not being able to talk with as many people as we would like to due to the weather and not many people being outside any more.
We had some really spiritual lessons with Karen and James this past week which really helped make up for the lack of teaching this last week. We're planting seeds with many people that we talk to and pass by on the street, there is still a lot to do here in the area and the work will never stop. That's good to hear about the rooms and the truck, just let me know when my input is needed :)  I know that I've got a lot to do, and I'm doing everything in my power to keep my head up and focus on the work here. I know it's possible. Thank you for your love and support! Love you and miss you!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Elder Zach Beckman

Mon, 5 Jan 2015 12:52:35

18 Months!!... Holy Cow

Hey Everyone!!  How are you doing??  Life has been great for me these last two months!  I am loving the work here, and I have made a lot of changes in my life, and it has been just an awesome week!!

So, this last week was New Years, and it was an awesome one... Except for the fact that I went to sleep at 10 pm!!  Ha ha ha!!  But I don't care!!  I was really tired, so I knocked out!  But in our mission, we had to be inside at 6 pm that night, so we didn't do anything stupid.  But it was really awesome because the mission president gave us this huge packet of paper to study and do basically home work for 2 days!  But it was awesome!!  It was all about looking back on our mission, and how well we have done, and how we need to do better, and it was basically like a 6 hour packet on Repentance!!  It was so awesome to go through that, because it really made a huge impact on my life, and it made me really re-think some things in my life, and where I want to go in life!!  But it really caused me to think a lot about it!  In fact, this last week was one of the hardest of my mission. I'm not really good about putting it into words or things like that, but I feel like my life plans have all of a sudden changed course, and it was something really hard to deal with, and it caused a lot of Crazy anxiety, and I was sick to my stomach for like 5 days!  But it was perfect timing, because we had Mission Leadership Meeting this last week and I was able to sit down with my mission president and talk with him about everything going on in my life, and just really get it all off my chest!  And it was such a good feeling to talk to him and to really get a good talk in with him!!  But I feel like a new person this last week, and it feels so good to not have all that on my mind anymore, and to be able to be back to 100 % on the work!!  So now that I am back to normal, it has been a great week!!

Sorry, there is not much info about that last story, but I don't know how to talk about it, so that's all ya get for now!  But this last week we also had Zone Fun day which was a blast!!   We were able to play some games with the zone and to have a good time playing all sorts of fun games!!  We played a lot of get to know you games because there are so many people in the zone, and it was fun!  We have so many "Different" kinds of people in our zone!!  It is hilarious!! Ha ha!!  So it is very interesting to see what people do in certain situations!!

Well that is about it for the week... sorry there is not much! Ha ha ha!!  I guess it is because not much happened this week!!  I will be more detailed next week, but know this... This week has been one that has really changed who I am as a person, and I will never be the same because of it!  I know that God has put me here in these situations to help me grow and "become the person that He wants me to be," and I know He does all of this because He loves me.  I know that Christ walks with me everyday, as long as I allow Him to be with me, and when I do that I can really feel His love and support in everything I do!!  I LOVE being a missionary, and I hope all of you can find ways to share the gospel with others around you!!


~Keep Smiling~

Elder Beckman

Elder Dallin Tracy

January 4, 2015 at 8:35:40 PM 

This week has been a crazy and fast one again! And probably the best one so far!  So I haven't gotten the packages...and I don't think you can get packs of lime jelly for slush, so could you throw some of those in there please.. haha!!  So you were already doing the letters thing?  Or just started it.  Basically this whole month of December we have had things going on, so the work kinda slowed down, so there aren't really any new investigators. but we did see some great progress in the ones we have...

YES!! Gabriel got baptized!!!  My first one, and it felt so good, even though I didn't perform it!!  I was still overjoyed and his father-in-law actually performed the baptism, who is President Egoino (from our branch).  So that was really cool, and the spirit was just so strong!  I couldn't stop smiling! 
James- as for James, we weren't able to meet with him, because on Tuesday we had another little typhoon and his road got washed out, so we couldn't visit, and then on Saturday,  he went to a funeral, but..he came to church!!  And he seems excited for his baptism!!  He just needs 2 more Sundays, and then he will be baptized!!  When that day comes, I will baptize him :)  So I am super excited, and hes a really big guy and our font is kinda small so...we are seeing if we can get approved an ocean baptism!!!  Haha!!  And we are gonna start talking to his family about the gospel, and his wife is the Barngy Captain (city mayor) kinda, so if we could get her, she could help with that whole area!
Rodrick- HE is so amazing!  He changed his work schedule to go to church, and so that's 3 in a row now!  And we visited him 2x this week, and both times were amazing!!   So his baptism date was February15th, but once he knew transfers were January 29th. he moved it up to January 24th!!  So now, we have to like visit him 3x a week, so he is 100% ready for baptism!  Then the next time we visited, he said that after he joins the church, he wants to serve a mission!  Haha!! He told us a story of when he was at a chungit (a little store thing), a guy said he had seen the "Mormons" at his house, and he said "Oh, you mean the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!"   It's cool, cuz what investigator does that??  Haha.! 
Robert- He wasn't there when we visited, but his little brothers that are baptized haven't been coming to church, so I think his dad isn't letting them come.  So that's not good!:(
Anyone new?
Just one, her name is Mary Ann - shes wants to get baptized, but it's her parents who are not excited about it, so probably in February she will be!!

Less actives: this is where we have seen a lot of our success, because we have so many in our area!   So we really focus like 15-20 lessons a week on Less Active's, but its working!
The Abong Family- We had an Family Home Evening with them a little while ago, and we actually have another one again tonight, but they are awesome and the kids have fully reactivated, and the dad is like 2 Sundays away from baptism!  They are really strong members now, and are gonna get callings and be leaders, and even cooler, Andrew, their son, says he wants to go on a mission after his school! But his relatives don't really want him to go, and they don't have a lot of money! 
The Bulac Family- we visted them for like 3 weeks and nothing happened, but after this week, they came to church! 
ABAN- almost reactived!! 
And we have a ton others that we are working on!  They come off and on to church.  Re-activating is just as cool and important as a baptism I'd say, even more, because they have already made that promise with God, and they will be judged more if they turn away from it! 

The branch is making some changes for New Years!  We had 217 people at sacrament!!!!!  I just testify that fasting works!  It was packed and we had the leadership meetings, and we are trying to implement home and visiting teaching, and make sure all the auxiliaries are filled, and people have callings.  And then, we are starting kinda a mission fund for Hamtic, so every Sunday, we ask that they just put 1 peso in a jar, and by the time they go on missions, the branch can help them out! Super cool!!  Haha!! 
The idea is even getting kicked around to split our branch into 2, and to put us farther down in our area, because there is a lot of less actives that are down there that would go to church, but don't have the money, and then we could actually get to the far part of our area that I have never been to, just cuz it's to far, and we need to use our time effectively.  The only problem would be leaders. So we need to find/prepare some, if that is gonna happen 

You mentioned that New Years is bigger than Christmas there, so what was that like? Were you on lock down New Years Eve Night?
Haha!!  So we actually had 4 lunch/dinner appointments.  I had zero to eat until then!! Haha!!  We ate so much, and basically partied with them.  It was super fun!  It's crazier, cuz everyone buys crazy fireworks, and gets super drunk.  But we were going home and we missed the bus, so we were walking and it looked like a zombie movie!! Haha!!  All the drunk people were stumbling in the road and it was smoky because of the fireworks!!  It was cool looking! 

We had some earthquakes this week!!  That was kinda cool, cuz I've never felt one before, and we had and a small typhoon. Elder Tolentino had a toothache, so we went to the dentist, and it's so ghetto!!  I hated it!!  And they clean their stuff with a tooth brush nasty!  That was my week!!  Super fun!! 
I wrote down to share Mosiah 4:27 with you guys, but I don't have my scriptures, so check it out! Mosiah 4:27 "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize;  therefore, all things must be done in order."
Haha!  Good luck on the remodeling, and with the "-ites" thing, it really is true, if we all just loved and treated each other the same, things would be so much better!! 
I hope you liked my present, Mom and Elle 
- recipe for no bake 
Love you all, 
Elder Tracy 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Elder Seth Garner

Tue, 30 Dec 2014 13:18:56

I have gotta say, I am not quite sure what to write in this one... I have been sitting at the computer staring at a blank email for quite some time now, not knowing what to say. I hope that what I have to say may have a lasting impression on you, as this will be my last email home as a full time missionary. 
My initial thoughts over this last week have been very mixed. I'll admit, I began feeling somewhat bitter, feeling that it is so unfair that I have to leave. But, I know that it is completely fair, because I have had the amazing opportunity to serve the Lord for two years. That is what He gave me, and that is what I promised to do. These past two years have been the most rewarding years of my life. Nothing will ever compare to what I have done and the things I have witnessed. I have met many who have embraced the gospel, and it has brought me the greatest joy I have ever felt! I would never give that feeling away or the friendships I have made. My life has been changed forever because of the people of San Diego... I have also seen many reject the gospel, and it has brought me some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I knew that a mission was not going to be easy; there were going to be difficult things I would have to go through, difficult decisions I would have to make, trials I would have to face, and boy, did I face them all! But the most difficult thing I have had to do while on my mission is grow an unconditional love for people and have to watch them reject the gospel, throwing them back into the horrible habits that once dominated their lives, giving up happiness that I know they had felt, and ultimately giving back the gift of the Atonement that God has given them. My heart has been burdened with sadness because of the choices others have made. I have had many nights filled with prayer and tears because of these people. My mission has not been easy... Though my heart suffers because of these people, my heart also takes great courage, knowing that the love of God encompasses all, and that all are not lost. I know I have tried my best, and some have not come unto Christ, but I know that God loves them, and will ALWAYS be mindful of them. They are not lost, and I KNOW there will be many times where the Spirit will have an opportunity to enter their hearts again, and they WILL be changed! I do not doubt this. I feel that this is true from deep in my heart. I have seen God's love change men who have lost all hope, who have given up and have forgotten Him. I have seen God's love change men who are held captive by their addictions. I have seen God's love heal broken souls, fix any wound, and bring joy into other's lives that you could not even imagine. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of this has been made possible. I have loved my mission! I have been honored to wear the name of my Savior on my chest for two years! I know He knows I wear His name, and I also know He knows the name just above His. This is my testimony as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ: I know that He lives!
         Elder Garner
                                                    Parting shots from San Diego

Elder Seth Garner returned home from the California, San Diego Mission on January 1, 2015 to his loving family and friends.   The time that he served there changed hearts, but most importantly of all, his own!!  
Welcome Home!!  Elder Garner!!

Elder Dallin Stout

December 29, 2014

 So our P- day was shortened to 2 pm because of all the meetings we had this week.  Tuesday we had a Christmas devotional in Goleta,  President showed us part of "The Polar Express" and at the end we brainstormed similarities to the movie and the Gospel.  It was really cool!!  I don't think I'll ever watch "The Polar Express" the same way again!  We also had a huge talent show, one of my favorite acts were the assistants. They wrote a poem like "The Night Before Christmas," but they made it about all the rumors that we hear about the AP's.  Part of it went like this: "They are all robots, every one the same.  For fun they correct each other, what a sick game! They drink spinach and oat smoothies and they get more pay. They each have a car, a Frontier, a Corolla, and a Mazaratti."  Another talent was Sister Hurley.  She did a stand up comedy act for us. Her parents are professional clowns, she is a Pro entertainer and Pro at animal balloons!  We also played a game, everyone had a baby picture on the wall and we had to guess who was who on a piece of paper. I couldn't find myself until Sister Felix read off the results and which picture was mine!  We caroled to Jim Scott and gave him a Christmas present. It was a video camera that we got at Robin's house when she was getting rid of all her stuff. We caroled to a lot of members and investigators with other missionaries in their areas. Christmas morning was great!!!  We opened our packages and went to district meeting.  We had a district gift exchange that was great!!  I got a cool California T- Shirt from Elder Mulford.  We took Brother Thomassen and Sister Young to a lesson with Ella.  We read Ether 12 with her and committed her to start Reading the Book Of Mormon  a little each day from the beginning.  Rene, (her 9 yr old), was quietly playing mine craft on her Mom's phone the whole time and listening.  It was the most well behaved I have ever seen her, and the most focused lesson we have had!  We also saw the Topete's and taught about missionary work.  They also came to church!  They have been on a good roll with that and are getting more active!  Shiloh told us she wants to move her baptismal date back, but we haven't met with her yet and talked about it. 
     Elder Robinson and I are still doing great with each other and the work in our side of the ward. His parents sent me a gift. It was a pair of leather work gloves and a card! :) 
     I love doing missionary work it brings me great joy!  I love the Lord and absolutely know that He is good and loves us all.  I know that He is patient with us and we need to be patient with ourselves to be able to grow and allow Him to change us. 
     We did service with Brother Campbell at the Hawkins.  We shoveled a giant pile of dirt into a hole where a giant stump used to be.  We also helped a guy, named Rob, clean up his back yard and clean his fish pool.  It was my job to catch the fish with a net a keep them in a small bucket of water.  Elder Robinson told me he would give me a big hi- five if I caught a fish with my hands.  So I set out doing it, and it was hard!!  But I eventually got a big goldfish with my hands and set him with the others!  Rob later got us lunch and we found out that he works with Brother Winchell and is close with the family!
Happy New Year! 
Elder Stout

Elder McCade Tracy

December 29, 2014 at 12:28:13 PM

It was amazing to talk to you all and see y'all again! You look great Mom! I can't wait to spend time with you out here going to see the people that helped me feel loved while I'm so far away from home :) I'll keep the pics coming, but as I keep the pics coming you all have to keep the pics coming so that I have some idea as to what Utah is like as I'm away :) I will definitely tell them thank you for you, I bet having two calls this year was a great present for the whole family :)
Karen is doing great! We talked with her a couple times during the week, first at a members and answered some questions about the Spirit World and baptisms for the Dead. Karen's testimony has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple weeks, her husband got her a big quad for Christmas! She's starting to use it more and more!!  Karen came to Church again yesterday and we talked with her last night. During answering a few more questions, the topic of baptism was brought up as Karen said that she feels more comfortable with being baptized now, than when we set Dec. 28th as the date. She had been thinking of a date for her baptism, and she set January 17th as the day she feels that it needs to happen!  She's living the Word of Wisdom fully and is doing all she can to make that day :)  It was such a blessing for Elder Beecroft and I to have at the end of the week, after having a few down weeks :)  We also have James Caldwell progressing and he also set his own baptismal date!  He set his for January 18th!  This came after we simply asked him to pray about a specific date for his baptism, and as our conversation continued James sat quietly and began to go through his calender on his phone.  When the conversation kind of died, one of James's friends who is a member asked 'So what's the date, bud?!'  That's when we set January 18th!!  During that time, he also set up the whole baptismal program!  We were shocked as to how well things went during that lesson, and just how everything fell into place for us to see it happen. Last, but not least, we have a new investigator named LaDonna Mitchell. We met her while walking home in the rain after an appointment, talked with her, and she agreed to meet with us again.  So Saturday morning we took a brisk bike ride at about 8:15 am to meet with LaDonna :)  We talked a little about everything, parts of Lessons 1, 2 and 3, because she had questions about everything, and thanks to "Preach My Gospel," we are able to be very flexible with our discussions and make them according to her needs.  As we talked of baptism having a cleansing effect on someone's life and their Spirit, she felt a sense of relief and really wants to have that happen.  Surprisingly, she hasn't been baptized before, and wants that opportunity.  We then felt impressed to invite her to be baptized on February 15th.  and she accepted!   It's really cool to meet with these wonderful people and to see the miracles happen, after a long wait of things to happen!! :)
Transfers aren't until January 20th, so we'll get the call on Jan 17th :) There is still a lot of time here in the transfer :)  Sounds good, if there is any pics that you feel will make me trunky, send them all! It's a project for Sis. Robinson as well as both sets of Sisters that are here in Evansville :)  Maybe some more almonds and a few pairs of G's, a couple pairs are kinda gross, but there isn't too much more that I need because I'll be home in just a couple months. That's really all we're teaching right now, it's been a little slow but really worth it because the lessons are very spiritual and important. 
These past few days meeting with Karen, James and LaDonna have made every day worth it because we're seeing progression after having a few days of nothing happening :) 
High- Having James, Karen and LaDonna set baptismal dates and seeing them want and desire to change
Low- Not being able to meet with more people because of the Christmas season because most people are out of town so our teaching took a small hit :)
Thank you for all your love and support through all of this, I could not have done any of it with out you and dad helping me every step of the way!
Love your Son and missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Elder Dallin Tracy

                                     Elder Dallin Tracy in the Philipines!!

December 28, 2014 at 9:10:09 PM

Happy New Year!!

READING CHALLENGE;  January 1 we will start on page 1 of the Old Testament, by Sunday we will be on page 21 of the Old Testament

This week has been a good one! of course because Christmas and being able to call home and talk to everyone! But we also had our branch Christmas party and the couple missionary's invited over our district for Christmas dinner!  A lot happened this week!!  It went by way fast, but every week goes by way fast!  That's great its snowed!  I kinda miss the snow, but we've had over cast for the past couple days, so its been a lot cooler, which is super nice!  Something I just learned is New Years is a lot bigger deal than Christmas here!!  I guess cuz everyone party's and drinks on New Years. Ha ha!! But every Filipino loves to do karaoke and they love to do it especially when there drunk, and on huge speakers so everyone can hear!! Ha ha(kinda hard to teach with that) 
That's scary!!  Elle driving!! Haha JK!!  But really, the biggest concern is just dad, when shes practice driving... 

Gabriel - Gabe went out of town this week but yes!! he's a sure baptism on Saturday!!!! And he has his interview on Wednesday and then we just need to prepare for it. I'm so excited!
James - We had a great week with James!!  We went on splits on Tuesday, so I was with the new (5 days new) elder and we went to James and I really followed up with him on everything about Church,...reading,praying,Word of Wisdom, and we talked about it, and then I asked him about his baptism, and HE set the date for the 24th of Jan!  It was a super spiritual lesson and I think it really got to him. I love James, cuz hes the one guy I truly can communicate with and understand, and I think he likes me cuz I'm American too!!  But then, he came to church too!  So it's looking good!!
Rodrick - He's made some great progress!  He's gone to church 2 times in a row and understands all we say!  He said he's made his final decision, but he won't tell us, but he seems happy about it... so I don't know if it's good or bad??  He's set for Feb 15!!
Robert - We didn't get to talk to him, but kinda some bad feelings,  So his dad is against him being baptized, but the wife is a member (recent convert)!!  She was like a golden investigator, but I guess they got in a little argument and he hit we really don't know how to go about it, cuz if she pushes him she might get hurt!!  So we are gonna try and talk to the dad. 
How did you branch Christmas party go? - Super good!!  Our branch has zero budget, so it was kinda hard, and we really only planned one day, but it turned out great and super fun, cuz everyone just brought a dish of food and we divided the other stuff!  I sent a lot of pictures!! 
Were the members able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas?- Ya, we've had some good with this because some single adults asked if they can come work with us, which is great and really helps us out!
 Elder Tracy at the Ward Christmas Party
                       Elder Tracy always attracts the girls!!

How is your cold? Are you feeling better?- Ya, I'm good its almost gone, just a runny nose, but okay!

We went on a split so I can practice really leading everything in our area, and it went actually really good!  We are gonna do it like once a week, but I'm excited for it!  And also, the Traveling AP's came to Hamtic this week and went on splits with the other elders, and they checked our apartment. but the day before the house owner came and changed curtains and cleaned all the windows and picked up, so we got like a perfect score!! Haha!! 

-MOM so Elder Tolentino's mom does this thing and i think its super cool so...she prints off every weeks letter and builds a book of the letters and so you can see the growth and like change over the 2 years!!  I know its a little late, but I think it would be super cool if you could go back and put it together, and maybe even Cades! 
-Can you send me the slush recipe??  I know it's easy, but I don't know...
-I still remember all the digits of PI!! Haha it was part of this girls homework!! Haha!!
-I found this homemade peanut butter!  It is so much better then normal stuff!!
For the next package, it doesn't have to be soon, it can be in a while, like with my retainer could you put in?
-Vivo fit wrist band thing, mine is just starting to break!! 
-The coconut chocolate cover nuts! 
-Cliff bars/granola bars ( I cant find anything like them)!!
Mom, you would love it here, cuz there is so much coconut stuff!! Haha!!  The word buko=coconut There is buko drink, buko salad, dried buko!!  It's so good! 
And I think it was Grandma Tracy, but thank who ever sent it, we use it everyday!! Haha!! 
It was great to talk to ya last week!! 
Love you all, and miss ya tons!! 
Happy New Year!! 
Elder Tracy 

Elder Dallin Stout

December 22, 2014

  It's been an awesome week in the Poc! We had a lesson with Ella about the Word of Wisdom. She understood it very well and knew what she had to do. We asked her to live it and she said she will work on living all of it. She has a smoking habit, but says she will start quitting. We also talked to Shiloh about moving her date to the 3rd of January and she is fine with that. We saw Jim Scott, he showed us a picture of when he was in the major leagues as an umpire!  He is yelling in the face of an Angels batter who had just mouthed off to him!  We also saw him at church this Sunday for the first time since I have been here!  We also saw Todd and Sister Craycraft.  We had a lesson with Olivia and sister Kaiser.  Sister Kaiser was watching the NBA, she is in her 80's and loves basketball!!  She is super cool! 
     Elder Robinson and I are doing great work!  We now have our own car so we can see more people and make less trips other places. He has a good sense of time and knows how to get us out of lessons on time so we don't get behind on other things.
     I know that to serve others we need to have Charity. If we can see our lives the way Heavenly Father see's them, then we can have greater love for ourselves and for others. Understanding self worth is something a lot of people don't have. I know that if we can reach out to those people, they and we will have greater love for God and his children.
     We helped Ron repair part of his fence that was damaged in the wind storm. We did yard work at the Women's shelter and helped the Skulyers paint their house. We helped move in a part member family into the ward, they are from Solveign. We got it done in about half an hour and they were very appreciative. I think service is the best way to learn to love someone. It is selfless and helps build stronger relationships. 
Merry Christmas!!! 
Elder Stout

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Elder Dallin Tracy

 December 21, 2014 at 8:22:00 PM

Malipayon nga pasko!!  I hope everyone is having a great holiday season, cuz I am haha!! even though it doesn't even feel like Christmas, its ok!!  So, I just wanna start by saying these mini scriptures are the bomb and literally ever person that has seen them has asked if they can get one!!  So if its ok, could you send even more haah... if not, it's ok!!  I can tell them I can't, so it's totatally up to you....!!  Ya, this week has been a pretty good one!  We did go down to Iloilo again for trainers and trainnes meeting and it was good!!   We learned some things that can help us! and ya, I got to see all my MTC batch so that was great!!  I've missed them!  We all did really bond for those six weeks!!  It's crazy that I'm already half way done with training!! haha!!  It feels like 2 weeks.

Are you going to be able to skype?
Yes, haha
Do you know what day and time you will be calling us?
10am my time on 26th and so 7pm on the 25th for you guys
How is the language?
It's coming!  When we went to Iloilo they speak Ilongo and I noticed I understood a lot and actually could hold my own, and I can communicate ok, but in kayr-a, it's still a little harder, but its coming. Down in Iloilo another trainer complemented me on my language and how far I am already, so that was good to hear!
Where there changes in your apartment with transfers?
Well, Elder Chapman had (house mate) had some big changes this week.  He is a turn around trainer.   After 12 weeks, he's training and he was made district leader, but those were the only changes in my house, but in the Antique zone there was lot, like half the zone is new, and I mean new!!  5 people are training and 2 others are still in training!
Did you get another key made so you don't have to break into your house?
Hahaha!! Ya, we got a new key, so that's nice.  We don't have to break in now, Haha!!
Update on the investigators??
Gaberil- so he's gonna be out of town now on the 31, so we just moved him to the 3 of January, but he's a sure baptism, and he's really changed and grown so much in the past couple weeks!  I'm so excited for that!!
James- :( so James has got me worried, cuz he hasn't been to church for 3 weeks, and every Saturday he says hes gonna be there.  And he bails on us every time we try and visit him, so we really don't know whats going on, but we are really trying for him, so we will see what happens!
Rodrick- this week has been awesome with Rodrick!!  So we taught him on Saturday and he really opened up to us, and he told us some things that happened in his childhood.  He's been holding them in his whole life, so we really had a super strong and powerful lesson!  And he said he really wants to join our church, and then he came to church on Sunday!!!  Which was awesome!!  The only problem is his work, so getting 4 weeks in a row is gonna be hard, but if we can, he will probably be baptized!!
Robert- we were actually able to meet with him and we recommitted him to February15th, just because the only problem is, his dad doesn't want him to be baptized, so we need to talk to his dad and help him let him get baptized
Any new ones?  We have a lot of people that are just in lesson 1 but look really good and promising, so we just need to keep going, but we did have a lot of success of just tracking and finding people this week, so that was great!!
Baptism dates?  No
Did you get the 2nd Christmas package yet?  Not yet.  But I'm looking for it...when you send it, can you track it, or is just a waiting game? 
High-   Getting to see my MTC batch this week at the trainers meeting in Iloilo
          Low- James!

That's kinda cool she talked about goal setting, cuz in training we learned about planning and goals  and why they are super important!  I really enjoyed it!  The work is pretty easy here we can find people pretty easy, the hardest problem is the branch!!  Like they have no budget, so we are paying for a lot of the party and events, which makes things a little more difficult, cuz I'm already low on money for this month cuz of all the trips to Iloilo, and now we have to pay some for the branch Christmas party...but its ok!   I'm excited for it!!  It is on Christmas Eve!!  It should be a good time.  And the branch presidency has no unity, which makes it hard, but we are really try to improve it! 

Iloilo is pretty cool though we got to go to SM and Robinson, which is like the biggest mall here, and they are big!!  They even have a lot of American stores, but they are American prices, haha so super expensive! 

I'd have to say the best part of tracking at night is that old lady's just set up a little charcoal grill and sell bbq (blood,intestines,pig) it is sooo good!!  And super cheap haha !!

I think that's about it!  Love you and miss you all!!  Can't wait to see ya!! sa pasko!! Tell the Tracy family I love them and miss them! 
         Elder Dallin Tracy

Friday, January 2, 2015

Elder Dallin Lambertsen

Monday, December 22, 2014 10:33 AM

Merry Christmas!

These weeks are Flying by! Wasn't I just dropped off yesterday? Didn't we just eat at Sizzlers? I have already been out 4 months. It is December! Christmas is Thursday! The past 4 months have gone by in a blur. Still have not yet received a letter from my sister Jenny..... or my Cousin Elder Larson. Those buggers.
Last Monday we went to Hmong Village as a District. One of the coolest most ghetto places I've been to.  Probably will go back and visit after my Mission is over. It is basically an indoor Asian Flea Market. I picked up a pretty cool belt. They had some weird food there as well.
Speaking of food, we visited Lawrence last week and he fed us some African food! They are called Potato Greens and you put it on rice. It is full of bones and meat and who knows what. While you eat it you just spit out the bones on a plate. It looks a lot worse than it tastes. Lawrence is really awesome, he is getting baptized on Jan 10. He loves meeting with us. He told us he is already calling himself a Mormon. He is telling all of his African friends to just try it out. Go to one 3 hour service and just try it out. He is so missionary oriented and ready to share what he is learning. He is working on getting his work visa so he can bring his family over from Africa. Things are really sketchy with Ebola over there.  

The Past 4 weeks have been full of miracles. We have picked up so many solid Investigators. I have seen such a change in our Investigators that are progressing. Growing up in the church, especially in Utah you are sheltered from a lot of the struggles people have in their lives. From smoking to marriage problems. When you start pouring the concrete foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ you can see people change. I read the bible Dictionary the definition of Conversion, it mentioned becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus. It is important to remember that Repentance and Conversion is a continuous process. We need to be consistently checking ourselves and improving ourselves. We always need to be progressing and learning in the gospel.
Excited to talk to you all on Thursday! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Elder Lambertsen

Elder Dallin Tracy

December 14, 2014 at 8:15:13 PM

Another fast week, that's for sure!  Because it was basically a half week, cuz we went to Iloilo for 2 days for the Christmas conference, so work wise, there was just a little, but it was a lot of fun this week haha!  And, we go back down next week for a meeting for the people that are training!!  So next week will be a little messed up too!  And this week is transfers!!  I shouldn't change anything, but our house mates will!!  Elder Dactutan has been here for 6 months, so he will probably be transfered!  
How was you Christmas Conference in Iloilo?
So fun, haha!!  President Aquino knows how to throw a party!  It was super fun, and I got to see some of my batch from the MTC, so that was cool.  I really enjoyed it, and I met and made some new friends in the mission!! 
Did you find the flip flop things you were talking about getting?
The rubber shoes?  Ya, I got a pair!   I'll send a picture of the other shoes!  They're about done, haha!!  But, I'm surprised they lasted this long, cuz they were super cheap shoes! 
Update on your investigators please…
Gaberil, James, Rodrick & Robert's baptism dates are still on for the end of the month?
So, Great news for Gaberil!  I gave him a blessing last lesson to help him fight the temptation to smoke, and we came this week and followed up with him!  And he said thank you, Elder Tracy, your blessing worked!  Wow that was the best feeling I've had on my mission!  He said he didn't even have a problem, and so now, he's a for sure baptism!!  We had to move it to Jan. 3rd cuz he's gonna be outta town the 31, but it's ok!! 
James: We couldn't meet with him and he didn't go to church, so I don't know about him? 
And we weren't able to meet with the others this week, so we're kinda worried! 
Do you go to the same family every week for family home evening?
No.  We have gone to a couple, but when we don't have a FHE, we go to the Abong family!   They're sweet!!   They're one of my favorites here!! 
How is the language coming? Are you feeling more comfortable and being able to converse with the people?
It's improving, that's for sure, but not close to where I want to be!  But this week, I started to lead and I'm gonna lead for the next 6 weeks, so when my training is over, I can do it all by myself!! So it's been a little hard this week, but that just cuz I'm doing more and trying to do more!  But i like it!
What was your high for the week?
Definitely our lesson with Gaberil!  That was straight up amazing!! 

What was your low, if any?
Just that James didn't go to church!!  I'm really worried for him 

Are you still breaking in to your own house? Can't you get another key made?
Haha!! Ya, we are gonna get one today, so hopefully we won't have to do that anymore!! Haha!! 
Awesome!!  I'll be looking for the packages and thank you for sending everything!  I really do appreciate it!  Ya, Christmas is weird here, that's for sure, just cuz it doesn't feel like Christmas at all!  But, sounds like the same back home!  When I get more information on skyping, I'll let you know!  I don't think the videos will make me home sick!  I'm doing good, but I'm excited to see it and see you guys!  That's awesome!!  Elle is starting!  I would love to see the pics! 
It blows my mind that my first transfer is already over!!  I love it here and I love this work!! Thank you so much for the packages and support!!  I love you guys so much!!
Elder Tracy