Monday, October 28, 2013

Operation Salvation

Gosh it's so weird having Halloween right around the corner and being out in the mission field. I guess it's kind of my first major holiday since I've been out so, that's probably why it feels so crazy! It sounds like you guys have had an awesome week though! Gosh I'm so jealous that you all had the annual pumpkin carving night without me! Alright i think it's time to admit it... looking back now I totally regret not carving pumpkins every year... I was a little punk and thought I was too cool for that but I miss it now! So Mom, Jody, and everyone else I'm sorry! But I guess it's just my loss right? Going to the Halloween party and Grandma and Grandpa's will be so much fun! So every year on Halloween all of the missionaries have to come in pretty early I guess because there have been some people dressing up as missionaries and going around door to door? But anyways my companion and I have this huge Halloween party all planned out! We're going to have scones, play the doughnut on the string game, and have a pinata so it should be awesome! I mean you've gotta have some fun everyone in a while while you're out here right? So I just figured that I'd carry on some of the family traditions! Thanks for sending me the scone recipe! I have no clue what its means to dissolve yeast, cream eggs and sugar, or alternate dry ingredients with butter milk so I guess we'll have to see how this all turns out! haha! You're going to be amazed by the amazing cook I've become! I can cook top ramen so many different ways now!! :)

This week has honestly been so amazing! I'm not going to lie it was a pretty good culture shock for me when I first got up here... But I love it so much! We've been able to see so many miracles it's crazy! It just goes to show how mindful Heavenly Father is of us all. It's up to us to first put forth the effort and show we're willing to work and then he blesses us! We found out that one of our investigators who's ready for baptism is moving down to Alabama this week which is a real big bummer. So right now we're really focusing on finding some new people to teach. We're really not sure how long we're going to be out here but we're going to try start "Operation Salvation" and tract the entire town. Hopefully as we're led by the spirit we'll be able to find those people Heavenly Father has prepared to receive the gospel.
We had a lesson with the Brink family last night that has probably been the high point of my mission so far! We taught them the Restoration of the gospel. You could literally see everything click in their eyes as we were teaching. So cool! Everyone either started crying or at least was tearing up during the lesson the spirit was so strong... Yea I guess I'm a baby judge me ;) But I'm so excited to start teaching them! I've never taught an entire family who aren't members yet so it should be a really cool experience!
So if you can speak a little bit of their language all of the elders and natives really warm up to you so my comp and I have been trying to learn Yup'ik. Not a lot but just enough so that we can have a really simple conversation with them! It's such a weird language.... but it's pretty cool!
Well that's just a little bit of what's been going on out in the bush... But guess what?? It's finally snowing outside!!! WOOOO!!! haha well I hope you guy have an awesome Halloween without me... just kidding :)

(I Love you!)

Monday, October 21, 2013


Hey Family,
Thanks for giving me an update on the NY trip! That sounded like so much fun! I can't believe you didn't take any of the guys with you... pretty mean.  So while you guys were at Broadway were they also playing the Book of Mormon Musical? One of the recent converts I was working with in Kenai Josie Jones (I think you mentioned her?) was in NY with her twin sister Ali and they went to see it and they ended up both getting converted! You hear of stories like that all the time so I think its pretty funny how they made it to make fun of Mormons but a lot of people have actually accepted the gospel because of it! Michael McCann was telling me that they station missionaries outside of it after with Book of Mormons and Pamphlets so that they can teach people more about it if they're interested.

So this past week has been pretty laid back. Elder Wingard and I drove up to Anchorage Tuesday for transfer meetings where I met my new companion elder Nielson! He's such an awesome guy and I'm so excited to serve with him! (thanks mom :)  )  He's from Nephi Utah and has been out about a year. He love hunting and played a lot of sports so we have a lot in common and get along really well. Well we were told that our flight didn't leave until late Thursday night so we hung out at the mission home for a few days and worked with missionaries in Anchorage until then. Like I said before everything in Bethel has to be flow in so food is SOOOO expensive up here! But Elder Nielson brought down three suitcases and we went to Walmart and bought a bunch of food that will hopefully make it last until we fly back into Anchorage in 5 weeks. We got to the airport and found out that out flight actually was the day before but they were able to switch it over really easily because no one really flies out here... Bethel is pretty crazy... its definitely a lot different than anyone else in the U.S. We cover a pretty big area including  a lot of villages within about 100 miles of here. About 80% of the population is native and 10% is Asian and the other 10% is white. It's a pretty 3rd worldish place. Its flithy. Luckily we live in the church and it's so nice! I have a basketball court right out my door when I wake up and a flushing toliet! We don't have running water but have to have it delivered to us twice a week to fill up our 600 gallon water tank. That seems like a lot of water but for the whole church you can use that in about 2 or 3 days so we have to be really careful of how we use it! The water here's really dirty... so we have to use filters and boil so that we don't get sick. I know it's still nothing like what Kate's going through but it's a pretty cool thing to experience!

Bethel is just a branch and that's a completely different feel than a ward! But I like it. Everyone is so close knit and really welcoming. So Saturday night when Elder Nielson and I were coming back in for the night, we got a call from Brother Kendall asking us if we would talk for 15 minutes tomorrow morning... i was pretty stressed out to say the least! Since I had literally no time to prepare I just decided that I would go up there and see what the spirit directed me to say. I was pretty nervous but it went great! The people up here are crazy.. its a definite culture shock. There's so much crime up. They had to make Bethel a "Dry Zone" meaning that no alcohol can be sold in the area because of how bad it gets up here. But of course they have bootleggers smuggling it in so they still get it anyways. I've never been around so many drunks in my life.  At night, haha no actually all day they're literally all wandering around the streets like zombies. Its really sad. These people definitely need the gospel! I know with the Lord's help we can help make its a better place! But really I'm SO excited to be up here! The members are so great.
Hope everyones doing great and stayin out of trouble!!
Love you guys!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Going Bush Wackin'

Ahhhh hey guys! I finally get to write you this week since everything's all set up again! These last two weeks have absolutely been CRAZY!! General Conference last week was so awesome! I've never been so excited for it before (probably being a missionary now helps), but I was so glad when it finally came around! Since we really don't get any other ones General Conference really is the only holiday the missionaries have to look forward to! I felt like all of the talks this session were especially amazing and I learned so much! The way we're doing missionary work is completely changing. Instead of us going into the wards and trying to get them to help us in our efforts it's completely the opposite now. We're here to help the members of the wards in their efforts in sharing the gospel. Eight of the talks in Conference were either on members reaching out and bringing back in those lost sheep who have strayed away, or else sharing the gospel with everyone around them. I especially loved Elder Ballards talk and how bold and straight forward he was especially when he challenged every member to reach out and share the gospel with at least one person before the end of the year. Think of how many people are out there and don't have the gospel in their lives. Even in Utah they're all over! Even though I loved every talk, I think the talk President Monson gave about his wife was probably one of my favorites! 

This past week was by far the best week this area has had in a long time! We were able to gain 3 new investigators in one week which is pretty unheard of! We've never had more than one or maybe two at one time but now we have six! It feels a lot better when you have a completely full schedule compared to not having anyone to go and see. Right now we have three people on date to be baptized, one next week and two the week after that! So one of our investigators is a born again Christian named Kyle... and to make things even worse he's a registered preacher and has gone to schools to study the bible all his life.  He knows the bible cover to cover and pretty much has the whole thing memorized. I'll be honest here... my bible skills are not very great. So to say the least I was a little bit nervous before our first lesson, but we got in there and talked about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and it went so much better than I expected! He tried to Bible bash with us for the first little bit but then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and how it really is just another testament of Jesus Christ and how all he has to do is read it with a sincere heart and pray about it and no matter what he'll be able to get his answer and know for himself of its truth. I'm not really sure what's going to happen with him but we'll just have to wait and see! 

 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; aspeak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be bconfounded before men

After this experience I know how true this scripture in D&C is. It was crazy to see the huge role the Holly Ghost plays in our lives as we're teaching investigators

Transfers... Going into transfers I was completely positive that I was staying in Kenai. Usually when a companionship finishes training the trainer leaves the area and the trainee stays. Our whole district got together in the morning to play basketball and wait for transfer calls. President Beesley called and I answered the phone and was told that I was getting transferred to Bethel!  When I first heard this I was completely shocked. I was so disappointed that I was going to be leaving Kenai. I really have grown to love this place and everyone in it! The members here are really so amazing. I'm going to miss them so much. But if I was getting transferred I figured I would get sent up to Anchorage or something since they always keep the new missionaries close until they get a little bit older. Bethel is a small native Eskimo village about 1,000 miles West of Anchorage. The only way to get there is by plane or boat so it's CLEAR out in the bush. All of the missionaries that get sent out to the "Bush" areas have been out for at least a year or more and they never send the "Greenies" out there. I'm a little bit nervous about that. Of course right when things really start picking up here in Kenai I get shipped out. It kind of stinks but I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be. The weather up in Bethel is supposed to be insanely cold so i'm going to have to buy all of my winter stuff in Anchorage before I get shipped out. Since everything has to be flown in the prices are crazy and there's really only a few small stores to get things. Since I can have a 3rd back fly free in Alaska I'm loading up a huge suitcase full of candy and and all that good junk food stuff and shipping it up! It's going to be really weird being all by ourselves out there with the closest missionaries a thousand miles away. From what I've heard it's going to be really, really, tough. But I know that with the help of the Lord anything's possible !I fly out Thursdays from Anchorage so i'm pretty excited! 

My ankle is doing ok. I was running through the woods trying to shoot a squirrel with a blow dart gun and a log slipped out from underneath me and I twisted it pretty good. haha I guess that's what I get huh?

Gosh I can't believe the Utes beat Stanford! That's so sweet! thank you so much for sending me those articles! It kinda sounds like they're all over the place this year. If they pulled it off against Stanford maybe they'll be able to hang with the Ducks! Go UTES! Don't forget to get all of the leaves taken care of and make sure that the tramp gets taken down and stored away for winter mmmmkay?

Love you guys!

Stay safe in NY! Don't get killed by terrorists or something like that.

P.S. - I'm going to be shipping a few packages home because I can't bring all of them up to Bethel but they're everyones Christmas Presents so DONT OPEN THEM UNTIL CHRISTMAS!! ok??! You're gonna love my redneck authentic Alaskan Wrapping paper :)