Virginia weather!

Virginia weather!

Sup, Elders

Sup, Elders

December blast of snow!

December blast of snow!

Hunter, sis. Henrie & Elder Beaus

Hunter, sis. Henrie & Elder Beaus

yeah for PDAY!

yeah for PDAY!

its a tie fashion show

its a tie fashion show

Swamp monsters?

Swamp monsters?

The companions!

The companions!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

christmas in virginia!

here is when I will be calling you on christmas. So I will be calling you at 7 o'clock post-meridian (PM) our time, which is 4 o'clock post-meridian (PM) your time. haha. But yeah I'll call the house phone first, and if you are at grandma's I'll call the cell next. I most likely won't be able to email next p-day since we are having it on thursday instead of wednesday, and since that's christmas eve, the library might be closed. But It'll be ok since I get to call you the next day. So just remember to let me know somehow, like send me a dear elder as soon as you get this, what number to call. The number I'll be calling from will have a 540 area code, just so you know that it's me. If you have ANY questions, send me a letter asap and I'll try and see what I can do.

NOW I'll answer the letter :)

Things are going very well. The area is progressing and things are going good. I did get the suit and I laughed a little bit because nobody in our apartment has ever seen a wool suit that like before haha. The only thing is that I probably won't be able to wear it in the summer simply because it's going to be super hot. But it's good for this time of the year for sure. I wore it the other day and it was really nice. Kind of weird feeling but yeah.

Back to the letter! Things are going much better with Elder Terry. We still have disagreements, but I am seeing the blessings of being humble and contrite when it comes to companions. Last night we had a heated discussion about illegal immigration according to the gospel (don't ask me why, but you know how staunch I am on my political views, which is why I don't like to bring them up, but he did so yeah it wasn't pretty at first) and we argued for a while, and then I just felt really guilty and said "alright we shouldn't be arguing about this anyways." cause I know for one that political stuff shouldn't eb worried about on a mission and two that if we are being contentious with each other, the work cannot progress, because the spirit won't be there. So we worked that out and all is good.

We were down in richmond yesterday because we had a christmas mission conference and it was awesome. Learned tons of things that are helping me become a better missionary. It's so cool when you can actually see the progression you yourself are making in becoming soemthing ebtter. It helps alot.

The talk went really well. It was awesome because we got picked up by president millburn at our church and we drove over the mountains and into west virginia, down into a little area called franklin. They have a ward there, but it really should bea branch. But Elder Terry and I didn't really have as much time as we thought we would to talk so we basically just bore our testimonies and told the ward there why it's so important to do missionary work. Oh holy cow you are going to be so suprised when I come home how much better I am at talking in church haha

Yeah ryan told me about the freezing rain! That's intense. It doesn't freeze very often there haha. It's funny though cause recieved a warning last week for a severe ice storm and we were like "whatever, virginia people are just wimps" and it started raining later that day at about 5 and no joke, everyone we were going to see called and canceled all our apoints within five minutes after that. It was ridiculous. They all told us to get off the road and we were like, ok? it's just raining? chill out everyone. haha. We called our zone leaders and they were just like "alright, go ahead and stay in until we call you and tell you what to do." so we go in and we have dinner and fix up our area book and we are looking outside and it's still just RAINING. and we are expecting a call so that we can go back outa nd work, and we get NOTHING. So we stay effective and work on the area book and plan and whatnot but we were so frustrated because we had to stay in when we definitely could be working. RIDICULOUS VIRGINIA DRIVERS!

Yeah the snow melted a while ago. Our snowman we built is the only snow still around, and he is only a tiny mound now. He'll probably be gone by tommorow. sadday :(

Yeah the guy in the cave, his name was brother jones. It was really sad. And my old companion elder hinds actually knew him and he was his ward mission leader. it was way ridiculous. And I think we may be going into some caverns here someday for p-day! haha just kidding but we might :)

Oh and about our trip to the airplane crash thing, yeah that didn't happen this week so oh well. We'll see.

We have a tiny little fake christmas tree on a table in our living room. It isn't as bad as a charlie brown christmas tree, but we call it that haha. It has lights and a star on it. We have like a couple ornaments that members have given us but besides that, we have candy canes haha.

haha seminary is good! I really wish I'd hear something back from sis. dunmire-beer! She is awesome!

Well things are going well here and I am happy. It doesn't matter really when the package gets here so don't worry about it! I love you guys so much and if you have any questions about anything, let me know asap! I love you all and I hope you are safe. God bless!


Virginia winter wonder!

Sooooo yeah. Here I am again. bahhh.
Yeah I'm not down about (Mr No Name). We laid it on the table for him and he was given the choice and he chose the wrong one. So hopefully he'll see that. I'm not stressing about it though.

I'll tell you what I am stressing about though. Let me tell you a little something. I know now that all the things I've learned from you and Dad, especially when I argued with Dad alot where you would say "even if you know you are right, don't argue about it" were prepapatory for this mission. haha. I'm having a little trouble with my companion on that side, just because he is a little inflectious, and even in instances where I KNOW 100% that he is wrong, he will argue with me to the bitter end. So I don't carry on the arguement and just let him go. I've learned my lesson when it ocmes to arguements like that. They really go no where. So thank you for that. Also he doesn't seem to understand the concept that people have agency to choose. It seems like every time we knock on the door, and someone turns us away, he gets all upset and starts ranting and raving about what we've done wrong. And especially in instances where I know I did my best to simply bare testimony and tell them the way we are supposed to, this kind of thing gets extremely annoying and somewhat frustrating. I told him yesterday to stop beating himself up about it and he got all mad at me and told me that's how he gets better. I told him there's a difference between beating yourself up about it and dwelling on it, versus taking it and learning from it and moving on. He likes to dwell on it and let it sit there.
Alright, now that I've made myself sound like a horrible person for ripping on him. But I'm really not, we get along most of the time and I just have problem with his missionary inflection. He seems robotic and it drives me CRAZY. But I do love him as a brother. I never say negative things to him and we do get along quite well. I get worried with these differences in opinion sometimes, but I know this is what we need to do to better ourselves and prepare ourselves for the future.

So yeah things are going fine there it's not as bad as I make it sound.

Thank you for being proud of me :) I am going with the mission pres this sunday to give a talk and I am excited. I think I finally figured out a way to give a good talk haha. So yeah, wish me luck!

Yeah Jordan told me all about the football stuff. That's tough luck but oh well. haha there's always next year.

By the way, tell dad I am still workin on his letter, it just takes forever for me to have time to write one. I have so much stuff to do on p-day by the time I get time to write letters, I have maybe 2 hours to hand write like 8 letters. UGH. But let both sets of grandparents know tehy should be getting a letter from me soon. Send stamps in the christmas package if you can!

I'm glad didn't fall off the roof this year. Send me a picture of the finished house when you can! hahaha. I liked the story about the skit. That sounds awesome. I wish I could've been there for that but oh well.

It snowed this week! haha. Like they told us that we might get ice, and then they were like, maybe 1-3 inches of snow, and then we woke up the next morning and it snowed like 6-7 inches. We built a GIANT 8-9 foot tall snow man and we made christmas cards with pictures of us by it. So expect one of those soon ;) Yeah I was able to take 3 pictures with just the camera but now my memory is full haha. but yeah

Oh and it's so funny when it snows here. It's worse than oregon is. Like, EVERYTHING just shuts down like it's the end of the stinking world. It was so funny last night, they had a severe ice storm warning, and it start sleeting at like 5, and no joke, 5 minutes after it started raining, ALL of our apointments (we had solid appointments from 5 until 9pm) called us and canceled because they didn't want us to be out on the roads. So we called our district leader (who lives with us) and he said he'd call the zone leaders so he did and they said to go in and stay in until they gave the word. So we went in and ate dinner and planned and updated the area book and whatnot, and then we look outside and it's just...raining. And I'm like, what the heck? Why is everyone FREAKING OUT? It's just RAIN. And so we sit inside, cause the zone leaders haven't called and told us anything, so I'm getting super frustrated with all this cause I'd much rather be out doing work if it's just going to rain, but then at about 8:30 it started iwth the freezing rain which turned into ice. So if we HAD been at our apointments we would've been in trouble. So yeah. But it was all melted this morning.

We'll have a good christmas I know we will. By the way tell dad that next wednesday for p-day we are going hike up to this old plan wreck from the 60's up in the mountains. we'll take pictures!

OH by the way. Did you hear on the news about that guy who died in the caves in utah? I don't know if you did or not but heres the story. this man and his wife are from charlottesville which is in my zone and an hour away from here. They have one little girl who is very young and another one on the way. In face that's why they went to utah was to tell everyone about their new baby. Anyways, this man, his name is bro. jones, decided to go cave spelunking. He went into this cave down by utah lake called nutty putty cave. He was climbing down this shaft that was super narrow and like, almost vertical. He got stuck down there and his head was facing down so all his blood rushed to his head. He was with a group so it didn't take long to find him. They tried to get him out, but the pully that was pulling him up broke and he fell back down. He was alive after that, but his pulse slowly fell. He died down in the cave. He was able to talk to his wife and child on a little phone before he died. The worst part is because of the place where he was stuck, they can't get the body out. So they are just going to seal the cave. They had the memorial service here in our zone last week. We didn't go but I can just imagine what it was like.

We'll have a good christmas I know we will. By the way tell dad that next wednesday for p-day we are going hike up to this old plan wreck from the 60's up in the mountains. we'll take pictures!

OH by the way. Did you hear on the news about that guy who died in the caves in utah? I don't know if you did or not but heres the story. this man and his wife are from charlottesville which is in my zone and an hour away from here. They have one little girl who is very young and another one on the way. In face that's why they went to utah was to tell everyone about their new baby. Anyways, this man, his name is bro. jones, decided to go cave spelunking. He went into this cave down by utah lake called nutty putty cave. He was climbing down this shaft that was super narrow and like, almost vertical. He got stuck down there and his head was facing down so all his blood rushed to his head. He was with a group so it didn't take long to find him. They tried to get him out, but the pully that was pulling him up broke and he fell back down. He was alive after that, but his pulse slowly fell. He died down in the cave. He was able to talk to his wife and child on a little phone before he died. The worst part is because of the place where he was stuck, they can't get the body out. So they are just going to seal the cave. They had the memorial service here in our zone last week. We didn't go but I can just imagine what it was like.

We'll have a good christmas I know we will. By the way tell dad that next wednesday for p-day we are going hike up to this old plan wreck from the 60's up in the mountains. we'll take pictures!

OH by the way. Did you hear on the news about that guy who died in the caves in utah? I don't know if you did or not but heres the story. this man and his wife are from charlottesville which is in my zone and an hour away from here. They have one little girl who is very young and another one on the way. In face that's why they went to utah was to tell everyone about their new baby. Anyways, this man, his name is bro. jones, decided to go cave spelunking. He went into this cave down by utah lake called nutty putty cave. He was climbing down this shaft that was super narrow and like, almost vertical. He got stuck down there and his head was facing down so all his blood rushed to his head. He was with a group so it didn't take long to find him. They tried to get him out, but the pully that was pulling him up broke and he fell back down. He was alive after that, but his pulse slowly fell. He died down in the cave. He was able to talk to his wife and child on a little phone before he died. The worst part is because of the place where he was stuck, they can't get the body out. So they are just going to seal the cave. They had the memorial service here in our zone last week. We didn't go but I can just imagine what it was like.

I will definitely share with the other elders. Sevilles famiyl sent me some happy bread the other day and we all shared it and it wa awesome.

I will definitely stay safe. I am learning and working hard. I am trying to continue progressing and getting better. I love you all so much and I hope you have a good week. You'll hear from me next week. I'll let you know soon when I can call you. Clear your schedule on christmas! haha.

I pray about you guys too every night. I love you all and miss you more than I can tell you. I have to seperate myself from my emotions a little sometimes other wise I'd probably by crying in the library. hahaha.

Love you all and if you need anything before next wednesday, write me a dear elder!

our Thanksgiving was good. We got up at 530 so we could study and whatnot and then go to the turkey bowl at 9. We played football for a while and it was fun. The ground was super slick but it made it more fun. But yeah after that we came home and did our weekly planning session, we went to a less-actives house for lunch. His name is (Mr. no name). He co-owns a restaurant downtown and lives in a pretty big house downtown. Elder Terry is pretty close friends with him. But yeah it was delicious. We had twice-baked potatoes which is something I don't remember ever having before, but they were DELICIOUS. ahh. haha. But yeah funny story about (Mr.No name). He's been less-active for a really long time. Elder Terry's been here for almost 7 months. Elder Terry's been visiting with ( name) since he started here and (Mr. no name) has only been to church 3 times in that 7 months. So we were having a lesson (two days after Thanksgiving lunch with him and his family) and he was complaining about how the bishop wouldn't "get off his lazy *bleep*" to help (mr. no name) get back to the temple. And we talked to him about this all and said well (mr. no name) you need to come to church, or at least partake of the sacrament in your home. Well (Mr.No Name) has had really REALLY bad back problems, so he took that as we were judging him or something and got really angry. So Elder Terry, (with the spirit guiding him I might add) explaining to (Mr. No Name) that we loved him. And his Heavenly Father loved him. And that we only want to help him. We would do anything we could to help him. And the lesson ended with a very spiritual prayer, and (Mr.No Name) was crying and elder terry was crying and they hugged and he was nice to me as we left. He was quiet but we figured everything had been figured out. So we go on our way to this town way out in the boonies called Grottoes, and we are working out there and we get a call from the Spanish Elders who are in our area. Now unbeknownst to us, for some weird and ridiculous reason, the spanish elders are working with (Mr. No name) too. So they call us and are like "Did you meet with (Mr. No name)today?" "ya? why?" "WHAT HAPPENED?!"

So we explained it all and they were like holy cow. Basically (Mr. No name) sent them a text saying that he wanted to be excommunicated and all this garbage because of Elder Terry "judging him and putting all this pressure on him"

what a load.

Anyways that day was a horrible and as far as I know (Mr. No name) is still pretty ticked at missionaries in general.
Yeah the Roarks are awesome! My old branch was basically made up of two families: The roarks and the Daltons. Everyone was either a roark, a dalton, or married to one of the too. haha. Except, ironically, the branch presidency. But sis. roark is so nice and you should send her something thanking her. Send me a copy of that picture! haha.

My talk was actually pretty good, I thought. It was the first talk I've ever given where I didn't write it out. I just made a rough outline on what I wanted to talk about, and did that. And what was REALLY weird, is that I didn't even have enough time to say everything I wanted to. It was four of us speaking, to recent converts a missionary and a returned missionary. It was missionary sunday I guess. So I gave a talk about what else? missionary work. So I talked about why missionary work is so important, and why we do it, and how we do it, along with what members need to do to help that work along. I had a whole big meaty section on attributes of a good missionary, but I had to cut that out because of time restrictions. The only thing I could've done better I think is tabbed my scriptures that I was gonna use haha. I took forever finding some of the scriptures and stuff I was using haha. Also, you know how I make stupid little comments when I'm up there and am trying to fnid something but I don't have anything to say? Like "ooo maybe I should've marked these scriptures" yeah I did that alot and everyone was just like, what the heck? lol. but the talk was good and I wasn't very nervous just hoping that it got accross what I was trying to tell them.

I'm also going with the mission president to a small branch out in west virginia this sunday to talk about missionary work again. It's closed right now but I have a feeling that us giong out there is a sign it's going to open up soon. They want missionaries so bad out there.
I'm glad Dad did all the talking for me! haha no one would know what was going on if you cried through it all! hahahahaha just kidding mom. I love you and I'm glad you still miss me cause I still miss you guys alot!

Your mexico pictures were awesome. YOu probably could've refrained from sending me the ones with girls in bikini's in em, but I forgive you! haha. There was only like, one so I just put it outta sight. ha. So don't worry about that. But the resort was awesome looking! I'm glad you had fun though I certainly would have haha.

OH. Another funny story about getting sick. SO. Three days ago my companion (Elder Terry) and the other Elder who lives in our apartment, (Elder Hiltbrand) started getting sick. The next morning they woke up and they just felt TERRIBLE. So me and Elder Stokes (elder hiltbrands companion) went out and worked in my area and I was senior companion for the day so that was a little different experience. But we worked all day and it was good. We came back and apparently Elder Terry had got a little better, but Elder Hiltbrand had gotten much worse. Temperature of like 103+ degrees all day. like 103.7 degrees. And we were planning for the next day, and Elder Hiltbrand comes in and is like, totally delirious. And he's super weak and can barely stand up. And then he's just like "I think you guys need to take me to the hospital." So we called the mission medical officer, (she agreed) gave him a blessing, and then elder terry and him left. It was interesting because they left at like 10:20 pm and we are uspposed to be in bed at 10:30. So I did Elder Hiltbrand's district leader stuff for him while he was gone and then went to bed. Apparently it took them two hours to get into the hospital and then when they got in, he had to get into one of those stupid hospital gowns, and then the doctor came in and all they did was put a stethescope up to his chest and said "well looks like it's only bacteria. Go upstairs and get some antibiotics and go home"

haha it was so bad. BUt they are doing much better now.
With hte video and cassette player thing, if you send me a cassette or a cd or a dvd, as long as it's from the family or the ward, and it's like a letter I can watch/listen to it. SO if the ward sent me a video like they do every year to all the missionaries, I definitely could watch it. Same if you sent me one. Just nothing like actual movies obviously haha.

I wanna hear dads song so send it to me!

haha make sure dad doesn't hurt himself up on the roof. You should take a picture of the house when it's done and send that too me! haha.

I doubt it's gonna snow enough to take the power out so don't expect it. haha. It's funny cause you know how the whole state freaks out in oregon when it snows there? Yeah it's basically the same in virginia. No body knows how to drive in it. hahaha.

Thank you so much for all you guys do for me. I love you so much and miss you alot. I'm a little nervous for the christmas season because it's gonna be hard not spending christmas with you guys. It's gonna be even harder after I have to hang up the phone with you on christmas. BUt look at it this way: at least I get to talk to you all on christmas! haha I'm excited!

Keep me in your prayers so that I can continue to become a missionary and not just do missionary things. Love you all so much and I'll hear from you again soon I hope!


Monday, November 30, 2009

finally caught up!

November 25,
First off Elder Terry is from St. George, Utah. So I don't know if that's close or what? ha. He's only two transfers (3 months) older than me, mission-wise, So we are both pretty young missionaries. He's been in this area his whole mission so far though. 6 months in the same area! haha. But He's way cool, kind of intense sometimes, but really cool. So in harrisonburg there are two wards and a branch. I am in Harrisonburg 2nd ward, and there are two other elders (Elder Hiltbrand and Elder Stokes) who live with us in the same apartment and are over the 1st ward. The branch is a spanish branch, and the Elders over that live in an area that me and Elder Terry cover, called Bridgewater. But they cover a huge area. The Elders here are all cool, except Elder Stokes is super talkative and kind of goofy.
But basically Harrisonburg is this big city with two universities in it. James Madison University, and EMU which stands for something I don't remember. We also cover three other smaller cities called Bridgewater, Grottoes and Dayton. But the funny thing is, even the smallest city we cover here is at least twice as big as the biggest town was in my last area (blackstone). It's pretty cool, and I really enjoy living with two other elders because I don't feel isolated. It's good. Our apartment is basically basement apartment, but I like it. Especially because I have a washer and dryer now! haha So we don't have to pay for laundry. It's interesting the Elders here kind of pay for groceries all together, so we get whatever we want and then we split up the bill all at once. So yeah. Law of consecration style I guess.

Let's there anything else I'm forgetting? Oh the ward. The ward is pretty awesome. We are lacking a little bit in the missionary work department, but it's something me and Elder Terry are working on to help the ward. There are some awesome members though. Two of my favorite people there are the Hendricks. They are this married couple who can't be much older than 24 or 25. He grew up agnostic (not sure if there is a god) and then became converted to the gospel and served a mission. And guess where they both went to school and met? BYU-IDAHO YEAHHHH. haha. So it's nice relating with them on that. But the ward is awesome and they do feed us. We went over to this older brothers house the other day to rake his leaves for him, and he insisted on feeding us. So he took us to this pizza place called CiCi's pizza, which is basically a pizza buffet with almost any kind of pizza you can imagine. it was excellent haha.
Harrisonburg is in the shanandoa (spelled wrong probably) valley. So we are in between mountains (basically big hills) But yeah. that's basically where we are at. I'm glad you have a big map of Virginia! Take a picture of it, I wanna see it! haha. Oh yeah random story. The first day I got here, I found out that I'm giving a talk this sunday. UGH. Then I was told that me and Elder Terry are going with the mission president to Franklin (which is an area to the northwest of us that is closed to missionaries right now, but it's the area that is in West Virginia) and giving a talk to see if they are willing to support missionaries again. INTIMIDATING. haha.
Heres our thanksgiving plans: We are eating at a less-actives house for lunch, and then we aer going to an investigators house later to hang out with them. These two investigators are awesome! They are getting baptised in december! Their names are Junior and Diane Harris. They are solid and awesome. Older, and she is diabetic and he had cancer but just found out it's in remission! Isn't that awesome? ha.

But yeah after that no other plans haha.

That wind storm sounds crazy! WE just have fog and rain. Blah. haha.
But hey I guess I have to write my mission president too, and I only have 15 minutes left on my time so I love you guys a ton and ask me and questions you need to in the next email and encourage family to email me and for friends on facebook to write me and whatnot. I love hearing from people it makes my day even better. I'm learning awesome things out here in harrisonburg on how to be a better missionary. It's tiring and I go to bed exhasuted almost every night but it's so worth it and I love it.

I love you all and I hope this week is the best week ever. Talk to you next wednesday!


November 18th

So before I do anything, guessss what?


Here's my new apartment address:
1721 D Park Rd.
Harrisonburg, VA 22802

I'm pretty sure that's it, and if it isn't, I'll send you a letter when I get there on Thursday. But it's up in the northwestern most corner of the mission. And it's one of the only areas in the whole mission that goes into west virginia. So we'll see how that goes. It's a ward up there and a somewhat of a big city in the applachian mountians. One of my buddies from the mtc is in my district up there, and I'll be living with two other elders besides my comp at the apartment there. My new companions name is Elder Terry, by the way. Besides that, you know about as much as I do. You might wanna do some "Research" like you did on blackstone haha. I'll send you a map or something sometime. I'll be going there on this thursday (nov. 18) and I'll be there for at least another six weeks.
Like that wednesday after I emailed you, we got hit by the remnants of a hurricane that came up from the gulf of mexico, and it rained for 72 hours STRAIGHT. The first day I didn't have a coat, so I just wore my suitcoat out in the rain. It was fun as you can imagine. The second day is when I got the coat in the mail, and oh my gosh thank you so much I LOVE the coat. It's perfect and warm and water proof. I'm sure it'll last me a long time. But it was perfect for the horrible weather we had. THe rivers were super flooded and they actually closed school in one of the counties we work in because the country roads were all flooded.

BUt another story haha. This past friday we were invited to our branches chili cook off, and we went because there were going to be non members there. But it turned out that they wanted us to be judges for the chili so me and elder hinds judged chili. And we got lucky apparently, cause last year they had chili that they said wasn't even edible because it was so dang spicy. But it was intense cause one of the chili's was so spicy I put it in my mouth and it started burning my mouth before I could even taste it. It was ridiculous. Apparently this whole stake I'm in is INTENSE about chili cook offs. Our branch especially. Like the whole stake presidency was out there in our little branch building. haha.

It was way sad last night ahving to tell everyone we are teaching that one of us could be leaving. And when I found out last night that I was leaving burkville branch, I had a really hard time sleeping. Not to mention that drinking mountain dew right before hand didn't help me sleep either. SO I had a hard time sleeping last night 'cause I'm super nervous about going to a new area and bummed about leaving this one. By the way I finally got around to taking a picture of Kevin and Sarah and you'll see it next time I send the card home. Which may be tonight, I don't know. BUt yeah today is p-day and we are spending it in Farmville, with the farmville elders cause they are awesome. I gave them some of dad's durian candy this morning. They enjoyed it as to be expected ;).
It was so funny this morning, cause last we told our branch mission leader that one or both of us might be getting transferred and he was like "what?! They can't do that!" haha. so we told him we'd let him know today what was going on, cause we didn't find out until like 10:50 last night -_-'. But we were at walmart this morning getting stuff and We get a phone call, and it was before 10 and we aren't supposed to get calls before ten so we were like, what the heck? And it was brother berryman (our branch mission leader) and the first thing he says when I answer the phone is "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY LONGER, WHICH ONE OF YOU IS GETTING TRANSFERRED!!??" haha it was so funny. But he was sad that I'm leaving but he would've been much more sad if elder hinds was leaving, because he's been here much longer. But it was all good. we are eating dinner with them tonight.
By the way, we plan on going to see the branch presidency tonight to take a picture with em, so you'll see how hilarious and awesome all ofthem are. two of them have HUGE bushy beards and the other one is on crutches right now haha. He had hip surgery. But you will see. One of the guys with beards has NEVER SHAVED HIS FACE IN HIS LIFE. Except when he got married. BUt since then he hasn't shaved. Ridiculous but awesome.
Yeah the weather has been all over the place. Like I said, three days of rain (bad, but not like hurricane force winds or anything, just high winds) then one day it was cloudy and within 20 minutes there wasn't a cloud in the sky. IT happened so quick that I was wearing my suit coat and I had to take it off cause it was so freaking hot. As brother berryman always says, "Don't like virginia weather? Wait 5 minutes, it'll change." hahaha. And then it was sunny for a day or so, and now it freaking cloudy and cold again. AHHH.

But yeah, being up where I'm at in harrisonburg, I'll probably have some snow this year. I'll be spending christmas and thanksgiving there. But one of the elders I'm living with is one of elder hinds good friends in the mission and elder hinds says he's awesome so I'm glad for that. Apparently my companion is going to be awesome too, according to one of the farmville elders.
I'm going to miss burkeville alot, but hopefully harrisonburg is awesome. I was told it's basically like burkeville, but with a big city in it. And it's a ward instead of a branch so that'll be good.
I do have one scripture for you guys to read/put in the blog for me. It is this:

1 Nephi 21: 14-17

"14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.
15 For can a awoman forget her sucking child, that she should not have bcompassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may cforget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

This scripture is really powerful and though provoking simply because of the last verse. I don't time to complete my thought right now ebcause this stupid computer has a time limit. BUt you probably understand.


Hey Hey Hey. Surprise email! haha. Wednesday is Veterans day, which means the library is closed, so they moved this weeks p-day to tuesday. So hopefully you read this before wednesday. haha.
We have another hurricane coming up from the gulf that might hit here. But some of the members said that the ones that come from the gulf really don't do much by the time they get here. They said the ones that come in from the atlantic and go up the carolinas are the ones to watch out for. You ever hear of Hurrican Isabel? that hit here a few years back and it wiped out power for like 4-5 days for like, almost all of Virginia. One of our members said that they said on the news that they were going to lose power, and they lost power hours before the storm even hit. It was that bad. So hopefully we don't get anything like that. But the area I'm in has had tornadoes before. Not in the main town here, but out in Victoria. I should mail you a map of my area. I don't think you've seen that, have you?
Ohhhh I forgot to tell you something haha. So these two new members moved into our branch last transfer and they are awesome. They are named the browns (don't put this on the blog obviously haha) and brother brown reminds me so much of dad it's so funny. He works at the military base next to blackstone called fort pickett as an aircraft controller. He's a civilian though, not part of the military. But anyways he was telling us all this crazy stuff that he did in the miltiary. He told us how he was stationed in cuba at guantonamo bay back in the 70's. He said that they actually started a little war that no one really knows about. It was crazy.They said that at night the cubans would herd cows into the mine fields and set the mines off and then the american soldiers would just start opening fire into the darkness haha. The cubans did that just to mess with the americans.

Last week we had an excellent week! our goal is to get a minimum of 20 lessons every week, but we rarely get close. This last week we almost made it! 17 lessons. That's the best it's been since I've been here. Me and my companion had a good talk about the work here last night. Basically talked about if we were working as hard as we could or not. But things are going good. We have our once a transfer interviews with President Millburn this saturday so that'll be good.
But anyways. things are going good here. Anyone who might send me mail needs to send it to the mission office otherwise it might get here too late if I end up getting transferred. So we'll see.


So hey y'all
Yeah so things have been going good this week. This past week has been kinda crazy though. So there are three groups of missionaries in our district, three in farmville, two in buckingham, and two in burkville (us). So my companion has to deal with them all since he is the district leader. And we've been having some huge drama with the two in buckingham. It's ridiculous. They're always fighting and like BAD fights too. One of them is really really prideful and always has to be right. Which is why most of these fights happens. It's ridiculous and frustrating but we deal with it.

But we also had an epic p-day today. Yesterday we went on exchanges with those buckingham elders, and me and another elder named elder bond spent the day in my area while elder hinds went up to buckingham. me and elder bond had a great day, taught alot of good lessons and set up some good lessons. and then afterwards we met up in farmville (the halfway point) and they went home, and to save miles we stayed the night at the farmville elders place. then today we got up, did our studying and whatnot, then played a game called rook and then buckingham came over and we all went and played some flag football and that was awesome. then we had a bbq on this little grill and it was epic and delicious. Just an overall great day, because the farmville elders are like best buds with us here in burkville.

so I'm getting a pretty strong feeling this is gonna be my last transfer here in burkville. I may be wrong though. We will find out if I'm leaving burkville or not on the 17th. So we'll see. Basically if you are going to send any mail that won't get here by that date, mail it to the mission office, so it doesn't get shipped out here.
we had a crazy guy out in the middle of no where open His door the other day and just starting howling and whooping and stuff and being crazy. so we were just like, alright you have a nice day. hahaha.

So I think I'm gonna cut this one short today, not alot to report.

I know my Heavenly Father is helping me to be the best missionary I can be when I put forth the effort to be such. I have things I need to work on, but I am trying. Please be safe, I worry alot about you guys. I love you all and hope you have a good week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This week in the life of Elder Christensen

OCTOBER 28, 2009
So I'll explain to you the whole thing about missionary "life." When a missionary is in the mtc, they call it the "premortal existence." when a missionary first comes out into the field, the area he starts out in is where he is "born." His trainer is his "Father." And during his second transfer, when he is being step-trained, his companion is his "step-fatehr" if it's someone besides his first companion. When a missionary goes home, he "dies." So since Neil has already trained someone, that missionary who he trained is his "son." And his "son" is training someone, so that missionary would be his "grandson." Does that make sense? haha. I actually sent home a picture of me and my mission "father" and my mission "grandfather" haha. I hope I have confused you thoroughly.
Yeah I saw a whole bunch of my MTC district at the mission conference. It was way cool. But there's still a whole bunch of missionaries that came out with me that I haven't seen who are out on in the tidewater area. I don't know what areas they're in though.
This week we've been kind of immobilized. We are out of miles for our car, so we have had to try and get rides from members out into the far reaches of our area. For all those who don't know, my area covers three full counties and 1/2 of two more. So even with 1450 miles each month, we still burn those really quick. But we've been striving to help some of our investigators out there progress. Unfortunately, most of our investigators, along with most of our members, are far away from us. SO that makes it hard when we run out of miles.

This is random but a quick message for Brent Walkerrrr: I forgot to tell you in my letter, but an older couple out here served in your mission (albequrque) around 1990. I know you were super young but I thought I'd tell you. Their names are Brother and Sister Dalton.

Anyways, so we've been having actually alot of success for a country area. We are teaching good quality lessons with people out here, and thankfully we haven't had many people that freak out at us. Lot's of people who are ridiculous and hide in their houses when we know they are there. Oh well.

But I hope you all are doing good, and I appreciate all of you who write me. I try to write you back the day I get your letters, but lately I've been so busy with everything. And for everyone who has sent me letters in the past week or so, I am out of stamps. and I have no money to buy more! I get some money on Saturday, so I will get stamps then. But just know I'm not ignoring you! If you wrote me I WILL write you back! It may just take a little bit of time.
So a little thought today. I was studying in 3rd Nephi this morning in chapter 11 when Christ visits the Nephites after the tumults and horrible destruction that has occured. I can't quote it word for word, but what struck me this morning was that when Heavenly Father announces the triumphant arrival of his Son, he speaks through the Holy Spirit in a still small voice. It took the Nephites three times before they were tuned in enough to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to them. How many times during our day is our world so noisy, that that still small voice is too quiet to be heard? I am personally trying to learn to listen to that Spirit as well, and I hope you are too.

Love you all, and hope things are good with you all. Keep writing me, I love all our letters of encouragement. I love hearing from everyone, it helps me alot. I miss you all.

P.S. Joseph - I don't know if you got my letter or not, but congrats on the sweet mission call dude. I know you'll rock it. Let me know more about it whenever you send me another letter! haha

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey hey y'all

yeah, I'm way surprised that it's already getting close to halloween. It doesn't feel like I've been out here that long. Today is my month mark out in the field! AHH it's going by so fast!Thankfully though it's getting somewhat cooler and the cecada's are starting to hibernate and whatnot so no more noise from them :) teaching is the best part! I hate tracting most of the time, but I know it's part of the whole package so I'm totally fine with doing it, except when people are ridiculous and hide in their house when we KNOW they are in there! GAH
Dad told me about Grandpa's crazy experience at the airplane museum. That's so nuts! Elder Richard G. Scott is a way awesome man. We heard him speak the night before we left to come out here. That's so crazy Grandpa got to show Elder Scott the museum. So let me recap my week I guess. Well the important things I guess. This past weekend the stake had stake conference and so we went to the Saturday session with our investigator who is gonna get baptised this saturday. It was great. There was this lady there that acted EXACTLY like Sis. Parmenter. She was a recent convert and hilarious. She talked, along with some other people and it was a great thing to have an investigator there. I just wished we could've gotten our other investigators to it. Oh well. But Sunday we got a ride to the Sunday session, but we were late, so we had to sit WAYYYY in the back with all the families who had tons of little kids. I felt like I was sitting in a jungle I could barely hear what the people were talking about, let alone focus on it haha. But thus is a family ward I suppose haha. Oh! You didn't happen to hear on CNN about a group of murders that happened in a town called Farmville, Virginia this past week did you? Because apparently it made national news! That town is about 30 minutes away give or take. Apparently this crazy college kid there killed his ex girlfriend and her whole family. And apparently it was pretty gruesome, but I didn't hear any of the details other than that. But just wondering if you'd heard. Anyways, so two days ago on monday we went on exchanges with those missionaries in farmville. So I went to farmville and Elder Hinds stayed here. It was a blast. We didn't get a whole lot of work done there in farmville, because we couldn't find any of the addresses we were looking for (it's out in the country as well, but theres a college in farmville so it's a little more densly populated than anywhere that's in our area) and one of the elders I was with has Crohn's disease, so he had to lay down for about an hour or so. So we went around and met a few people. We talked to this guy who is like an ex-navy seal special ops sniper or something. He did all these missions that he can't talk about and stuff it's insane
haha. Anyways, what bummed me out about the whole day was that Elder hinds and another Elder went to teach Kevin and Sarah. (they are the two investigators that are super redneck and live in a trailer and whatnot.) We have been working with them trying to get a marriage date, because they aren't married, and also a baptism date. They have been praying about it but it didn't look good. But while I wasn't there Elder Hinds set a date for them to get married and baptised in November! Ahh I wanted to be there when that happened! Oh well, I'm more happy than jealous, just because they finally agreed to be baptised! yay! also, we have an investigator getting baptised this saturday. He is one awesome guy. He is older, but really rock solid in everything we teach him. We just taught him about tithing last night, and he was totally alright with it and everything haha. I'm not doing the baptising, but I'm just excited to be there and for him to get baptised :)hmm...let's see if I have any crazy stories. Our stupid phone keeps telling us theres going to be thunderstorms, but I've yet to hear any thunder. Oh, so I've been writing my roommate brent pretty consistently, and thankfully he's been writing consistently as well. Oh man do his letters cheer me up on a bad day haha. He is so funny and I miss hanging with him so much. If he reads this on the blog, brent you should be getting a letter from me shortly ;) haha.
alright I remember a crazy story now. The other day we were tracting a street here in blackstone and no body was answering as usual. We walked up to this house, and two girls (maybe 20-23 or 24) walk out and meet us. We start talking to them about the church and the gospel and what not, and we started talking about prophets. One of the girls asked us "well, how do you believe them?" (speaking about Joseph Smith) and then sbe asked "because if I just told Mallory (she is the other girl on the porch talking to us) 'Mallory! God told me that we couldn't be lesbians anymore!' I don't think anyone would believe me." I was just like wow. Way to make this whole thing SUPER awkward. So after we found out these two girls were lesbians we continued teachin em and then of course one of them had to ask about how we viewed the gay/lesbian deal. So we answered in the most polite way we could (without beating around the bush of course) and they weren't offended or anything because I basically said "well, we do believe homosexual deals are a sin. BUT. Christ wants everyone to love everyone. So we have no right to judge you, or be prejudice or hateful or anything." We also cited a talk from Elder Holland I believe, where he said that it's not a sin to have those feelings for the same sex, but it IS a sin to act on them. So we answered politely and respectfully. And because of that we are teaching them again on saturday ^^.I'm not exactly sure how we are going to go about this whole deal though, haha. I'll talk to the mission president about it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hey me again!

OH. You'll absolutely NEVER guess who I ran into out here. I was at this fireside thing up near Richmond and this lady walks up to me and is like "Elder Christensen!" and I was like (in my head obviously) "who the heck are you lady?" haha. Shes like "Do you know who I am?" and I'm just standing there with a stupid "I have no clue who you are" grin on my face, and she's like "I'm Drew Pigg's Grandma!" I was like WHATTTTTT. Yeah she's apparently Drew's Dad's Mom. haha. I was totally shocked. I was like, whoa. Small world. hahaha.
I eat, but it's not really good food, and I never cook anything...lots of frozen food...but's not cause I don't want to, we just are not home for long enough to cook. It's lame, but at least it saves money haha. We are also running out of miles again (GOSH and it's barely half way through the month...kill me now.) and we've been biking alot. and it's been BUTT hot around here and so humid you can see the freaking humidity. It looks like it's foggy or misty or something outside, but NO. It's just the stupid humidity. AHHH AND THE STUPID CICADA BUGS ARE KLSHDFLKJSHDFJKsd. *ahem* I love it here. haha. I love going out and talking with people. But like I said, I'm not so much a fan of knocking on doors for hours and getting maybe two people to come to the door. Ridiculous. But I love teaching. I love it more than I can say! I love seeing those people hear what we are saying and get it! Truly and honestly understanding. It's a great feeling. It's what makes this stuff worth it. What makes all the heat and the bugs and the exhausting days worth it. haha funny thing about the swine flu vaccine. You would never guess how crazy conservative it is out here. Like there is this guy in our branch, who I swear, is like 10,000 times more conservative than anyone I've ever met. And it's hilarious cause he's always telling us about his conspiracy theories about the government and the end of the world and what not. And what's even more hilarious is it's not just one guy in the whole bunch who's like this. Our whole branch presidency is like this in one way or another. Cracks me up. They have these big discussions about the second coming and how we are getting closer and closer and how the president is doing crazy stuff. Its like listening to coast to coast Am in real life. hahahaha. But I love em and all these things I'm saying about them isn't negative, it's just the funny things about them.
yeah I guess I am a bit of a freak when it comes to our house. Like, I'll let it get messy for a while, but when P-day comes around, Ihave to like, get everything organized, otherwise I feel like we are living in a pig sty. haha. and you are right, that's what they always tell us. That the Spirit can't dwell in an unclean place. So we try to keep things clean. Anyway, we are being careful on our bikes. I lost my safety packet there for a while, but I found it again here a few days ago. So I have some nice new reflector fabric on my bacpack and some new lights and whatever. It's fun. I actually love riding my bike....sometimes we do 7+ mile bike trips out into the country just to save miles. It works, but I'm always way nasty sweaty when we get back...the humidity is what makes hot days so bad out here, But I have like 3 water bottles I use all the time (which were here when I got here thankfully) and so I am staying pretty hydrated. I did almost mess myself up the other day coming down off this bridge on my bike. theres almost no sidewalks in this whole dang state and so we were riding on the edge of the road and I'd get nervous everytime a car would go past so I'd get closer and closer to the edge. Then this one time I was coasting down going way fast and then my bike started going into the gravel and I freaked out and pulled on the break and my whole bike started drifting out to the side a little for a second but I correct and I was fine. Scary, but fun after the fact haha. But my helmet is driving me crazy. It's smaller than it should be so it gives me headaches when I use it, and I can't adjust it to be any bigger, so the strap around my chin is alot tighter than it should be, but I can deal with it so I'll just go with that until I have an opportunity to look at a new one. that's awesome to hear about jordan and ryan getting started in school again. Gosh I can't believe it's already been 6 weeks since I left. Time is going by fast. Tell Ryan and Jordan that I'm proud of em for what they are doing in sports and school. Sounds like ryan is stepping it up a notch!
I'm glad to hear the bulldogs won! I hope they have a good season. Beat the rebs! haha. I might send a confederate flag home sometime...if I can ever get one haha. Its got a totally different meaning down here then it does up there, so we'll see if I actually get one haha. one story I wanna share for this week. So on Monday of last week, we got a text with a media referral for a man out in the middle of nowhere. So we went out there to give him what he ordered and before we even knocked on the door, he came out and was all grumpy and just shouted "I can't talk right now, I just got home from work and you can call me and we'll make an appointment later" and closed the door. So I was a little mad because we drove 45-50 minutes to get out there to talk with him and we used up tons of miles and he just shut us out. so a few days later, we call him up and we make an appointment for tuesday (yesterday) and then we hung up. BUt then we get a call 15 miuntes later and it's him again, and he's asking if we can send someone out that day and talk with him cause he's been so depressed and whatnot lately. So we get a member to come with us and long story short, he's half american indian and has problems with alchohol and we are now teaching him! He's very interested. And He gave us some very awesome gifts which he made and were very special to him, because of the gift we gave him: the Book of Mormon. He was a little drunk at the time, but we've talked to him since. It was awesome and it made me love this work even more.Well I'm outta time, and I can't think of much more to say, but if you have anymore questions just let me know and I'll write back on wednesday! LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING AND LET EVERYONE KNOW I LOVE THEM.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hey everyone!

it's actually really hot and humid here most of the time so we actually rarely wear our Jackets haha. Yes I have my black suitcoat. I'm eating ok, I actually lost like 8 pounds or something ha. Yeah the place we eat at is pretty cool. Yeah we don't really eat at members that often, but they are trying to do a better job with that since they need too haha. But the area we are in only has a branch. and there's maybe 30-40 people there every sunday. I guess a good way to describe it is that the Young mens president and the Young womens president are husband and wife. Haha. That's cool to hear about wylie. Can you find me his mtc address and his mission home address? I wanna write him, but I had to send a letter to his house that hopefully the chapmans will forward to him. Along with wylies address can you get neil and davids address for me? Along with josephs college address, incase he doesn't write me back or the letter doesn't get to him? thank you.haha Ryan is carrying on the legacy! I'm sure he will party it up. By the way, did those two get my letters? I hope you didn't read them! They were to jordan and ryan only! haha. The Branch is very cool. It's funny though, all the members of the branch presidency have huge bushy beards. haha. But they give us food and whatnot. We write emails at the local library here in Blackstone. It's awesome. haha. Our apartment is pretty good, and even better now that we spent the day cleaning was a mess before. The elder that was here before me with Elder Hinds was a total slob and left tons of dishes that were sitting there the whole time while I was there. And who knows how long they were there before I got there. Mold was growing on em it was so bad. We actually had to throw some plates and stuff away cause they were so moldy. But our place is NICE and clean now. woo! It's a two story apartment, with a living room and kitchen on the bottom floor, and a bathroom and two bedrooms on the top floor, but one of the bedrooms we use to study in. Yeah so I've actually been using my bike alot lately, because my companion's using another elders bike while that elder works on his. So yeah. I love the bike! I almost flipped over the handlebars the other day because the brakes were so nice and new haha. But yeah, let dad know I am tightening those bolts each day before we go out on the bikes. But you know how I said it was really hot here? well it's hurricane season here, and we got the edge of Tropical Storm Freddie (no joke, that's what it was called haha.) and it dumped rain the past few days. No thunder and lightening though. And I'm sure you are gonna love this, but apparently in the spring they get tornadoes and stuff here. haha. Not only that but we have another Hurricane heading our way here in the next few weeks, so we'll see if that makes landfall or if it even hits here. But the weather is crazy here, it changes so much lol.
Oh and I'm glad you and dad decided to go on this trip after I leave! bums! haha I'm just kidding but it sounds like a ton of fun just make sure dad doesn't get wasted at all these swim up bars he's telling me about hahaha. But let me kind fill you in on the work that's been happening here in the past week or so. we went and say two of our investigators that are progressing really well this last friday. And my companion asked me if I would like to be the one who asked them to be baptised. And I said yeah of course! So I was nervous but we asked em at the end of our lesson and they pretty much said yes, but the only dissapointing thing is that they said they wanted to wait till next year to do it because they wanted to get everything worked out before then. These investigators are so awesome, even though they are kinda hickish haha. They live in a trailer park in this tiny little town called victoria. But I love em and I really wanna see them join the church. They are there almost every sunday. We asked em to pray about when they wanted to be baptised and we are going back today to talk to them about it, so wish us luck. haha. we also have another investigator named Richard who is set for baptism here on the 26th. And he is so cool. He is older and retired, but is very solid in the truthfulness of the gospel. I love him! He is so excited to be baptised and he's coming with us to stake conference and he wants to watch general conference and its way cool.we also have another investigator that we are still working with...he is having a hard time keeping his commitments so we are hoping on thursday when we go to teach him, that he will have done some work. Those are basically our progressing investigators, but we are still doing tons of finding and we are teaching several other people who we've only seen like once. But it's going good, although it get's a bit frustrating when we are walking or biking all day and no one ANSWERS THEIR DOOR. GAH. But the importance of the work keeps me motivated. Oh so also we had to go to the doctor all the way in richmond the other day because of my stupid toe. I have a bad ingrown toenail on my right big toe, and I called the health secretary for the mission and she told me to go see the doctor. but the missionary insurance covered it all I think. But the toes feeling better now, they gave me some antibiotics and told me to basically just soak the the foot in some warm water with epson salt dissolved in it. And it's makin me feel better so that's good.It's so hot and muggy here, you have no idea. Even when we were walking around in the rain, and I had an umbrella, and I should've been freezing because I have no coat, I was sweating like crazy. It's ridiculous how humid it is here. But I'm getting used to it.
So sometimes I feel like we waste alot of time driving, because we have to drive most of the time cause our area is so large. I emailed the mission president about it cause I wanna make sure we are doing everything right. I love being out here so much, you have no idea. I miss everyone so much it's crazy, but I love being able to see the joy in peoples hearts when they come to understand the gospel and Christ's atonement. I love it when people are kind to us when they don't even believe what we believe. It shows me that there are yet a few good people left in this world. And when we get the people who make fun of us or make themselves look really stupid by yelling ridiculous things out their car windows at us (which we rarely can understand) I just smile and am glad I am the one getting made fun of, especially since the Lord is on our side, and us on his. This isn't to say this work is easy, because it rarely is. Especially with this ingrown toenail, it's been hard to walk around the past few days. But I want to work hard out here and make sure I have no regrets about how I spent my time here. Oh, and just as a side note here, I finished reading the book of mormon cover to cover again a few days ago. The end of the Book of Mormon is so sad. Just reading about Moroni all alone, watching his people be destroyed because of how wicked they are, and not being able to do anything. It kinda reminds me of today, watching the world tear itself to pieces simply because people have differing opinions. I love the Book of Mormon. There are so many ways we can apply it our lives, and so many examples we can follow. I also decided I'm going to read the bible cover to cover so I'll let you know when I get throug with that haha. I started...2 days ago? I think? and I'm in Genesis 48 or 49. It's very interesting. haha.Well I guess I'll just finish this letter up, but I love you all so much, and I hope to hear from you sometime before next wednesday, and I hope everyone is doing well and whatnot. I love you all especially for the love and support you give me. Please keep the missionaries of the world in your prayers.Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I don't wanna stop typing haha.I guess I have to. Love you all SO MUCH. And I'm so greatful for everything you've given me. And continue to give. I'll talk to you later. Love you and I hope you ahve fun with everything.BYEHunter.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Finally in Virginia!

Hey hey hey. I'm doing good! Let me recap what I've been doin for the past week or so haha.So after we hung up on the phone on wednesday, mom, I got something to eat and then we borded the tiniest jet I have ever been on (seriously like, there was three rows of seats, two on the right and on the left - like this: (- --) we actually ended up having to send some other people (no missionaries) on another plane, because with all our stuff and all the people we were overweight. so that was intense. the connecting flight was about an hour. we flew into over richmond and the very first thing that I saw was trees. I couldn't believe there were that many trees in virginia. It reminds me ALOT of Oregon. So anyways, we landed. (oh and btw, that jet was the bumpiest ride I've ever had on a plane, I guess because we were so small and light. also, instead of going down that hallway to the plane, we actually had to get out and walk on the tarmac to get to the plane cause it had like steps. I'm telling you, it was like one of those private jets.) I expected to get off the plane and just die from the heat and humidity, but it wasn't that first. But anyways we walked inside and made sure everyone was together and walked off to get our luggage and meet the mission president. we walked down this hallway and there was like, 4 missionaries, the mission president, his wife, and a senior couple missionary companionship. They welcomed us and we went off quickly to get our luggage. That was all good, except one of my bags, someone ripped off that rubber plastic case that had my name in it, but I found it just fine. We walked outside and it was so dang hot. Thankfully they told us we could take off our jackets cause i was just dying. But we got everything loaded up and went to the mission home. The mission home was huge and the mission president was so nice and they fed us and we just had a really good time. They explained to us mostly everything about the mission and what was gonna happen the next day. So we finally went to bed, cause everyone was so dead tired. They had groups of us in different rooms, because we obviously had no way of fitting us all in there. But we slept way good that night.The next day we got up, and ate breakfast. I wasn't feeling so hot, so I didn't eat a whole lot. They told us to bring a change of clothes, and I did, but apparently we were also supposed to wear our suit coat, but as you know, my blue suit coat only matches one pair of slacks, so I wore my suitcoat and it didn't match my was kind of ridiculous. But oh well. We took some pictures (which I'll be sending to you, but I'll tell you about that later) and headed on our way to find out where we were going and meeting our new companions. The mission president has these elders that help him out called AP's and they were way cool. We got to the chapel (called the Bailey Bridge Chapel) and they explained some more stuff to us, and I paid for that packet (oh btw, I only withdrew 20 dollars from the account cause the atm I used had to be in multiples of twenty) and then we went into the meeting to meet our new companions and figure out where we were going. I was way nervous, not cause I was worried about anything, just cause the change of things I guess. Nervous to leave the friends I had made.Uhm, so they went through everyone and I watched all my new friends get assigned to go all over the mission :'( it was sad to see them go, but I know I'll see them again and I know they are doing the same thing as me so they're doing whats good. I was like one of the last three picked, and I was assigned to go with Elder Hinds (Pronounced Hind like Hindquarters and add an "s" haha) to Blackstone and serve in the Burkville branch. I was like, "I have no idea where thats at, but I hope it's good haha. So basically our area covers three counties and several different towns. It reminds me alot of brownsville. It's a tiny town with basically one main street with a couple somewhat big streets and abunch of houses scattered all over the place (this blackstone that I'm talking about). So even though we live in blackstone, we have a car and we drive to a bunch of other little towns like Victoria, Burkville (where we have church), Crewe, and others that We haven't visited yet. The only problem was, that we normally get 1400 miles to use while driving, and apparently Elder Hinds used them almost all up 4 days before the end of the month, so for those four days we weren't able to drive at all haha. And heres were we ride our bikes right? wrong. His bike is broken. So my awesome amazing so-excited-to-ride bike is sitting in our kitchen. We walked the entire town of blackstone for four days. Thursday Friday Saturday, and Sunday. I tell you what, I think we did a good job getting the worst out of the way early. Cause those days were really hard on me. I had the biggest blisters I had ever SEEN on both my little toes. Right now we have three investigators that are doing well. Well I guess techinically it's four. Anyways, theres Kevin & Sarah, who are probably the most redneck southern people I have ever seen. Kevin is 21 and Sarah is 19 or 20 and they live in a trailer out in Victoria (about thirty minutes or so away). They are progressing well, except that Sarah is bipolar, and they both have anger issues. They both smoke too, which is whats making it kinda hard. We are going to try and commit them to be baptised here the next time we see them :) . Then theres Richard. Who is one of the most amazing people I've met since I've been out here. He's schedule to be baptised on the 26th of this month (september). We are way excited for him, and we just had a wonderful lesson with him last night about the word of wisdom. It went way good. There's also a man who's name is Bo. I haven't met him yet, but I will on thursday. Apparently he's really cool and we may need to work with him some more but we are excited. Not everything is great, but we are working hard and excited. We had this guy named David totally explode at us the other day. We were comin back to teach him, but he was drunk when we got there and started cussing at us and yelling and tellin us we were following a bunch of BS and just ridiculous things like that. We just walked away after we talked to him for a bit haha. It was ridiculously stupid but funny. Oh we also have a little restaurant here in blackstone that we are able to go to for free! Apparently it's owned by some inactive members but they still let missionaries come in and eat for free haha. It's interesting. oh and so I've learned a couple things about virginia in the first couple of days. haha. 1. Cecada bugs are the most ANNOYING bug ever. Seriously they are making noise ALL day and apparently people here just consider them part of the background noise. But they drive me CRAZY. I can like hear them while we are in the house. It's nuts. 2. In virginia, I HATE the sun, and love the wind. It just happened to be crazy hot and humid here the days that we had to walk around, and then as soon as we didn't, it cooled down. perfect. 3. Crickets don't just chirp in the evening. haha, this is just like the cecada bugs. They are chirping all day, and it sounds like the suns about to go down. so yeah, I'm trying to think of anything else to write...please tell people to write me on that address you got, and if its different, heres the one I know is right: 620 S. Main Apt B8 Blackstone, VA 23824. BYE LOVE YOU DAD MOM JORDAN RYAN AND ROCKYYYYY PLEASE WRITE MEEEE LOVE YOU

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yeah I'm glad too that my district is so awesome. I don't know if i said all the names of everyone so here I go:Elder Zaugg: from canada, awesome guy, great district leaderElder Server: from cali, lives in the same room with me and my companion. pretty dang funny and so nice and awesome.Elder PoVey: from utah, A little high strung sometimes, but very spiritual.Elder Barson: From Utah also, so dang funny. probably one of my best friends in the mtc along with elder server and elder zaugg.Elder White: From utah, served in the national guard, basically like a big teddy bear haha.Elder Graham: From utah. Pretty much the funniest guy you'll ever meet. Is like the best at improv and makin people laugh.Elder Orullian: from utah, big sports guy, pretty funny as welland also the sisters:Sister Vawdrey: from utah, really happy and funnySister Woodruff: From utah, way funny and really knowledgable about the gospelSister miller: Kind of like elder poVey a little high strung but really niceSister Adaniya: from Hawaii, convert to the church when she was 17, really funny and way my district is awesome. I love em and im so glad we are all together flying together.yeah so the RC (referral center or the phone calling deal) just keeps getting better and better. we had a crazy awesome experience the other day with my companion:he was calling people then ended up calling this guy from florida who just started bible bashing with him, calling Joseph Smith a liar and all this retarded anti-mormon stuff that was so grossly incorrect it was laughable. After I finally got my companion to tell him goodbye, (cause he just kept going) he got off the phone feeling way down about the whole deal, and depressed. He didn't want to make any more phone calls, he didn't wanna come back to the RC. But then he got an incoming call. And he wasn't even going to answer it. BUt I told him to ANSWER IT and he was like, alrighttt....he picked it up and it was this college student who was really interested in the Book of Mormon and wanted copies of it for him and his roommates and he wanted to missionaries to come over and everything. It really was something that I considered a miracle. It's amazing how the Lord works, and he really watches out for his missionaries, even when they are just down emotionally.I had other experiences, but i'll have to write them to you cause i only have 7 minutes left before this thing shuts down without sending the message.

first week in the MTC

Hey everyone! It's hunter.So it took a week for them to let us set up our email accounts. So that's why I said nothing for a week. But here I am! So recap of the first few days. After you dropped me off, I went in got my tag, and the host (missionary who showed me around) took me to where I was going to be living. I got there, and I was the first one there, and my companion wasn't there. So I took a bed and went to go get a shot. Which by the way, I didn't have to money to pay for, and you guys will have to pay for it I guess. It was the last hepatitis B shot, and it cost 54 dollars. I'll send you the information on where to call to pay for it in a few days. I'm sorry, but I just didn't have enough money to pay for it or I would have.Anyways, so the host left me, and I went back and decided to go to lunch since I had nothing else to do, and sat by myself haha. But then I went back and the other Elders had shown up in the room. My companions name is Elder Zaugg, and he is pretty hilarious. The other two Elders in our room are Elder Server and Elder PoVey. Elder Server is pretty much one of the funniest guys I've ever met. Elder PoVey, while a little high strung about things, is a great guy and I love being in the same district as him. After that we met our district and I pretty much wasin put in the best district ever. It has 8 Elders in it (including me) plus 4 sisters. and we are all going to the same mission. on the same day! Woo apparently that is pretty rare. But they are all amazing and love them all so much for what they are doing.the first three days were pretty brutal. just getting used to everything and learning the basicsall at once was pretty nerve racking. I think on the third day I about lost it because the schedule they gave to us and the schedule our teacher gave us didn't match and I couldn't figure it out and my planner was all messed up. But I talked with the teacher about it and we figured it all out and I am feeling really good about everything now. It's getting more and more fun to talk about the gospel and learn how to teach to people's needs and all that. I love it.and dad, I don't know if you remember, but there is an referral center here where the missionaries go sometimes to answer phones and take orders for stuff like the dvds they advertise and to talk to people about the gospel. Our teacher was really ambitious and took us there on the first full day. It was pretty scary at first but after we did it once, I've found it to be one of the most fun things we do here. I even talked to a lady about getting her a free bible, and I ended up sending some missionaries her way! I was pretty excited.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just one more time...

This is going to be my last blog post before I leave on my mission. I cannot begin to tell you all how excited I am for this. Also, I cannot begin to tell you how scared I am. But I know I am doing the right thing.
I am going to miss you all so much. I love the world I have grown up in, and to step out of it is going to be a little bit of a shock for me. Even in college, I at least had Wylie to tie me to my life in Albany. But I'm on my own now.
But at the same time, I'm never alone. I have my Lord and Savior. The one who has given me more than I can ever hope to repay. The least of which I can do is serve him by serving others. I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ more than I can express. They have given more to you and I, than we can ever comprehend.
I am excited to, as they say, "lose myself" in the work. I want to see the happiness it brings people. I want to make others lives better.
I watched this video earlier today and it really touched me. I hope you all watch it, and feel the Spirit the way I did. I loved it:

I know what I am doing here is what I need to do. Not just for me, but for those I am going to be serving. I want to have my eyes opened to the lives of others, and not continue to live in the sheltered way I am now. Because let's face it, I am extremely spoiled. I have anything I could ever want possessions-wise.
But I just want everyone to know I love them. I couldn't have made it to where I am today without your guys' support. And don't think that I don't mean you, or that I'm talking to someone else. If you are here, if you are reading this, you have made an impact on my life; whether big or small it does not matter. If you are here reading this, I am happy to call you friend.
To all those I am leaving behind, enjoy your lives. I will be thinking about you, rest assured. I am excited to when we will all meet again. Whether that be in two years, or 20 years, I hope everything goes well for you all. I will be writing a lot in the next week. If I don't have your address already, go to facebook and write me a letter with the address I posted.

♫ Ye Elders of Israel, come join now with me
And seek out the righteous where'er they may be-
In desert on mountain, on land, or on sea-
And bring them to Zion, the pure and the free.
O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell;
We're going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell. ♪

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Testimony

Now, before you read any of these, just know. This a direct excerpt from my personal journal, and therefore, everything here is pretty personal and deeply spiritual. Read on if you'd like, but it's really not going to be funny, or sarcastic. Just how I really feel.

So I really am feeling like bearing my testimony, because I can say things in writing that my nervous mind cannot say out loud, but that is just as meaningful as the rest of it.

Here we go.

I guess to start I have to go back to the roots where I first began to wonder about my outlook on religion in a whole….because that’s what started everything.

When I was younger, I really didn’t care about what I did in regards to church and religion. I was mostly just doing as most young kids do, that being piggy-backing on my parents beliefs. It is a perfectly normal thing, in my eyes, for kids of that age to do that. I went to church every Sunday with my parents, went through the whole primary school deal, and did pretty much everything the other little kids did. I don’t remember my baptism other than the fact that it was on July 4th and that my Grandfather spoke.

Now this isn’t to say my baptism wasn’t important to me. I was only eight years old. There aren’t many things about that age that I remember. So it’s perfectly natural for me not to remember. But I digress.

I’m not one of those people that had a huge spiritual experience that instantly converted me. In fact, I doubt very many of us are. I think, for a lot of us, the experience was a slow gradual change over time, with regards to many experiences and feelings.

I think the first time I came into contact with the idea of me choosing what I wanted to do with regards to religion was as I became old enough to enter our church’s youth program. At this point in my life, I had just entered middle school. I was extremely shy, more so than most kids my age. I was one of those kids who would much rather be left alone to think to himself, versus getting involved with a lot of people. I was terrified of being the focus of anything. And as a result of all this, I had very few friends. On top of this, those friends I had attracted were not members of the church or anything. Now this is not to say they weren’t good friends. I am not saying people who aren’t members of the church are bad people. On the contrary, there are plenty of good people who aren’t a member of my faith. I’m just saying that some of these “friends” wouldn’t exactly match my current definition of the term.

And because of this, I started making decisions that weren’t exactly up to par with what I would define as “good” now. I actually started to feel alienated by the church, simply because I didn’t have any friends there. My logic was so clear at the time, but they say hindsight is 20/20. I felt I had no friends in the church, why even bother going?

This logic stayed pretty concrete through 6th and 7th grade. I mean I went to the youth stuff, and tried to have fun, but I felt like I wasn’t connecting with anyone. I guess I can’t say anything for certain, because I don’t remember a lot of those years. But what I can say for certain is the change that happened in 8th grade.

Now I knew there were other members of the church who went to school with me. But I wasn’t really close friends with any of them. I kind of knew David, and Wylie was my best friend in elementary school, but we had kind of had a falling out in middle school. But sometime during that year, some new guys moved in and everything changed.

Three new guys moved in that changed my life, and I don’t think they even know it. Their names were Neil Crook, Michael Fraser, and Joseph Wiest.

Neil Crook was a guy who had moved around a lot. He switched back and forth from Oregon and Wyoming because of his dad’s job. He was a football player. And a dang good one.

Michael Fraser had just moved up here from California, and just like Neil, for his dad’s job. Looking at Michael then, and Michael now, makes me laugh. Not in a bad way, just looking at how we all have changed.

Joseph Wiest moved here, like the others, because of his dad’s job. I don’t exactly remember when he moved in, but I got to know him. He was friends with Wylie too, since he only lived down the street from him. And because of this connection, I began to reconnect with Wylie. We all became great friends. At times I am pretty sure Wylie and Joe’s connection was a little tighter than mine, especially since I lived a lot farther away from them than they did to each other. But we were friends nonetheless.

But because of these three guys…my life was changed forever.

We entered high school and I was faced with a new world. New opportunities that I could ignore, or take advantage of. I hadn’t planned on it, but my newfound friends coerced me into playing football. I never would’ve done this on my own, but because I had the support of my friends behind me, I went through with it. I was terrible at it. But dangit I am so glad they pushed me into it. That experience literally changed my life.

Because of these things being forced on me, I was forced to adapt to a more public scene. In this way, my self esteem grew. Much higher.

Not only was my self-esteem much higher, but I actually became interested in going to youth activities. And I am forever grateful for that…I don’t know where I’d be without the church.

I may not have a defining moment, but these moments have solidified my testimony.

I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loves me, along with everyone on this Earth, regardless of their transgression. He will never forsake me, nor you, nor anyone else. He chooses only to be sorrowful and hope you choose to return, rather than angry and wrathful. We are the prodigal son. If we seek to return to him, he will never, ever turn us away.

I know, for a fact, that my Father in Heaven, along with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, lives. Events in my life have made doubt impossible. I am deeply saddened when I see people bad mouthing my Savior. Using flawed logic. I wish for them to know what I know. That through him, we may all obtain eternal life. That through him, we may all return to our Father in Heaven. That there IS hope. You are NEVER hopeless. I have been in deep depression, bawling like a child, wondering how our Savior, who is perfect in every aspect, could love someone so lowly and sinful as me. I have received an answer to that question, and I know he loves me and has, through his sacrifice and resurrection, knows all that I am going through in my life. Every pain, affliction, and temptation. He knows more about myself than I do. He knows how to personally console me when I feel beyond help. How to help me out of any pit, no matter how deep I dig myself into it. He will take me back even if this is the thirteenth time I’ve tried to go back. He will never, ever forsake us.

I know the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed in the Sacred Grove for guidance and direction. And I know he received it. I know he spoke with the Father and the Son. I know he was called of God for the restoration of His church on this Earth in these latter-days.

I know that we have the privilege to have Prophets, Seers, and Revelators on this Earth presently. I know that at the head of this Church, President Thomas S. Monson leads and guides us by the power and authority of God, our Eternal Father.

I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice our Savior gave to us. Without it, this existence would be utterly wasted. Because of his sacrifice, we are able to repent of our sins and return to him. I have personal knowledge of the truth of his Atonement. This is the greatest gift of all. Without It, the world would be lost in darkness for all eternity.

But thankfully, our Heavenly Father, along with our Lord Jesus Christ, loves us immensely, and wants to see us return to our Heavenly home.

I am extremely frustrated when members of my faith preach anything but love and tolerance. Especially with respect to those of other faiths. I am a strong believer in the fact that those who are ridiculing other faiths are not strong enough in their own to just let it go. In fact, many other religions and their various sects have assorted portions of the truth. It is important to emphasize the connections we have. Because in the end, we are all Brothers and Sisters, children of an eternally loving God.

Now this isn’t to say I am perfect, quite the reverse actually. I am still working on caring at all times for everyone. But I am working towards that goal. It isn’t any easy task, but I know with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, anything is possible.

I am more excited than I can say to serve a mission. I want others to know the feelings I know, to feel the hope I feel. Even on my bad days I feel better knowing that the Lord understands how I feel. He understands ME. Completely and thoroughly. I love him. He is our Savior, and He gave everything for us. I just want to others to know that…and have the opportunity to come unto him.

And I say these things, in the name of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, amen.

I want people to know this. And because I am such a poor speaker, I don't think I could ever convey this vocally. My thoughts, for me, can really only be organized in writing. I'm sorry if I've embarassed anyone with this post, for it wasn't my intention. If you read it all, good job. Probably the longest post I'll ever make.

Thanks for your time.