Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 19, 2016

Hi Mom!                                                                                             June 19, 2017

This week:

Boat rides, Jessie's baptism, answering prayers, and what-have-you

 This week in Coulee Dam proved to be a spiritual overload! Whenever we went tracting it seems, we were able to talk to someone keenly interested, or serve them in some way or another! Tuesday we wound up helping a few lawn care guys with one of their jobs, which provided a nice break from the usual door knocking! Later than night, we got to travel to Keller, which allows us to ride the ferry. I think it goes to show how desperate we get for adventure sometimes, because for a simple boat ride it can feel pretty epic!

Jessie's baptism went phenomenal! Thanks for the prayers you put into it! She and Austin as well as the family were the first to show up, but in the course of the hour, seemed like half the ward arrived! It was almost hard fitting everybody into the small relief society room where the font was! But the spirit was so strong, during the whole service and particularly during the ordinance itself. Later on that evening, Bro. Kershaw ,her step dad, texted us and told us that while they were driving home, both she and Austin had this "burning" feeling in their hearts. The ward has helped us out so much in guiding them to have this relationship in Christ!

We also had a really cool experience that I can't pass down sharing. We were driving around trying by folks on the unassigned-home-teaching list, but to no avail. We drove by a potential investigator's home, named Phillip, and saw his door was open. Normally he works at the nearby Exon, so we decided after some consideration to pull in to see how he was doing. He wasn't on duty, so we went back to his apartment. Knocked on the door, and he comes around the corner, sees us, puts his hands on his head, looks up, and then proceeds to bear-hug both of us, exclaiming "Does God answer prayers, or what?!" As it turns out, he and his wife had had an argument that left him alone in the apartment, super-depressed. At that moment he felt like he needed God now more than ever in his life, so he was praying that God would send us because he had lost our number, and his phone was down. I guess we knocked shortly after he said that! I got to agree with him, God really did answer his prayer then! Talked with him, gave him hope, and in the end left him with a blessing. He also asked if we could find a ride for him to church, and not only did it work out so he could come on Sunday, the member who gave him the ride had a lot in common with him. God is good!

Other than that, we are holding together quite nicely here in Coulee Dam. I'm not going to lie, it's frightening that I have less weeks than I have fingers on one hand. Heck, if it wasn't for the schedule change at the MTC, it would be even sooner! But, the Lord has blessed us with so many abundance that it would be mockery to get trunky beyond working. That said, the full-throttle effort has been so awesome recently. I truly do love you all for the love and support that you guys have show me. I will continue to push forward hard to the end! Kind of like flying to the finish you know? So much so that you need to eject because you can't pull it back.

Anyway, cheesy rhetoric aside, love you all! I really do! I don't know what I would do without you guys.


Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                                       June 12, 2017

This week:

 Dam tours, Waterfalls, Apostles and nothing too much else.

The classes look pretty good to me! But you know I kind of feel bad, and I guess I'll have the chance to do it when I'm off the mission, but at the same time I feel guilty for having you do my registration instead of myself doing it. Then again, I'm out here, and I think it's safe to say that there won't be anything from here that won't be affected by the lessons I've learned out here. Still! I'll let you know if I still want to take ROTC by 21 June. Talked to Mckay about it, and despite his gung-ho attitude he did mention it would be better to be commissioned than get drafted if that happened. But then there's Dad's council on it. I'll give some thought and prayer, but in the end I'll let you know!

I guess you've probably been able to learn from my last emails that Coulee Dam isn't the most exciting area for stories-worth-sharing. But you know with the past week, suffice to say, I can sum up in a nicely-lengthened but also brief message. For one, took the first course of My Plan. That was....nice I guess. Basically a summary of the greatest spiritual takeaways I've had on the mission so far. I've changed and learned a lot!

The Grand Coulee Dam tour that took place a week ago was nice, as dam tours go. The post 9/11 world doesn't allow for as much excitement as it used to, but for what it was it wasn't bad! Us along with Omak and Oroville showed up on the dot for the tour to meet our member connection/tour guide himself, Bro. Miller. And his absolutely adorable 5-year old daughter, Mia. Against better judgment I assumed that this would be a private tour, but we realized we were joining along with another tour. So we may or may not have crashed the totally normal scene when 8 Mormon missionaries got in with the rest of the group at the security checkpoint. We boarded the bus, drove to Pump plant III, took the elevator down, saw the main turbines, and then went back up to drive to another view point, and then it was over. Kind of anti-climatic if I'm honest, no frozen robots, aliens, or super humans hid down there. That we know of...*insert Twilight zone music

The next highlight of the week occurred when driving up to Grand Coulee, taking us past the dam itself. Before we had heard the sound of cascading water, and assumed it was just a few of the flood-ports open.

We were wrong, the entire spill way was flowing! And it had turned the face of the Dam into a sheer white face! Kind of threw us off guard, but it was waaaayyyy cool getting to see that. Kind of like a once-in-a-lifetime thing! Learned from Bro. Miller later told us that about 185 thousand gallons of water come off that every second, and while it may seem alarming, I did the math. It would still take a little under a week to lower Lake Roosevelt one foot at full pump. In other words, more water runs out of that thing than I've ever used in my life. Lot of water folks.

Between tracting and other things, got to meet a lady and her family who were interested in coming to a church, Jessie passed her interview for baptism, and on Saturday she and Austin were married in Montana! It's been really cool meeting with them, you can really see the change that's come over them because of the Gospel. Austin has opened up a lot ever since then, and we're looking forward to Friday for them as well!

Chances are the biggest highlight was when Elder Andersen came to Kennewick for the bi-mission conference. Oh mah golly, the Spirit was super strong! I wish I could pinpoint or at least summarize what we talked about, but overall he along with members of the seventy counseled us to really have faith and effort, we could hit 50 baptisms mission wide if we really dug down and went for the gold. We need to improve our overall OYM quality, and more or less have faith that we can do this. He also bore his apostolic witness, and I'll tell you, the spirit was super charging there! Now I know more than ever that God has called Apostles and Prophets to lead, guide, and direct us in these days. Unshakable hope, that's what it is! Because in the end He sent His son to save us and strengthen us to keep going!

Yeah, it was cut up pretty well this week. I'll be certain to let you guys know how the baptism on Friday goes! I'll just end with my testimony, that I know that this church is true, and that God lives and Christ His son has risen from the dead to help us be raised ourselves. He's called prophets and brought forth the Book of Mormon along with the Bible to lead us through life. And no matter how hard it gets to live, it will always be worth it to endure! 

Anyhoo, love you all! Glad to hear that you can feel my love when I'm away. I can feel yours too! Good luck with whatever project is going on, I'll be there to help, but for now, I need to help people feel the spirit so they can change their lives for the better, acting as a representative of Jesus Christ. 

Love you all!


June 5, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           June 5, 2017

This week:

Funny phrases, and well..

Sorry to say, the past week wasn't terribly exciting as far as stories or anything like that goes. But it went well for what it was anyway!

I guess I could mention that we learned from transfer calls the official truth; I am staying in Coulee Dam for the last transfer, Elder Quast is the one who is to kill me. And as one member put it when I broke the news to him, I'm Dammed. Despite the rhetoric, we're actually looking forward to this next one. Because that gives us the chance to continue working with Jessie and Austin both leading up to and after the baptism. Scheduling with them is a fun game because they have their wedding this weekend in Montana, and then Jessie's baptism on the 16th. It's hectic, but she is super committed to do this! And Bro. Kershaw is there to explain things to her when we're not! 

Geeze, it's funny thinking it's been 23 months since I first came out. Even crazier to see life continuing to roll on after this one. But don't worry, I have no aspiration to get trunky anytime too soon. I haven't started My Plan quite yet but I am looking forward to it, I guess. Quast is happy because it means an extra hour to do something for him. Can't blame him. I think My Plan in essence is the how-to guide to make sure that you know how to date and all that for when you get off.

Meh, whatever it is, it'll be fun!

A few fun things now that I think about it. We had a few of those 4th-floor-last-door moments. The prominent one being when we knocked out an entire block or two, we ran into Matt and Liz, who are moving to Henderson. I related to them well for that, and they asked us if for the sake of time they could take a pamphlet. Hopefully the Plan of Salvation will ring something in them! We also volunteered our efforts to help pack too.

 During the knocking process I stepped out of the box and tried a few new things. For one, I asked a kind lady named Becky that even though she wasn't interested if we could lighten her day with a corny joke. She said it would be fine, and so it went a little something like:

"whaddya call a guy who assists farmers?"

"A Pharm-assist!"

*insert the joke drum

Turns out, she told us, that actually lightned up her day. Also got the opportunity to "think" a little in between doors. A member in the ward gave us the idea, and after adapting it to my personality, I gave it a try:

"I'm not interested boys, you're 7th-day..(looks at tags), Mormons!..."

"Yes sir, but I'm also a Christajewislamhuist. Just want to be right, you know?"

*closes door.

Also helped Bill and Megan move heavy furniture. That was fun because Tombstone was playing on their TV as we were moving stuff out into the trailer. Tender Mercies you know. Also went by a PI's home in Nespelem and met Travis instead, a Flat Head Indian who lives there now. Turns out he was super interested in learning more about what Mormons believe, because he's had a lot of LDS friends in Montana, but never talked to them about it. Cool!

And apart from getting eaten alive by flies on a couple occasions, the week progressed as they normally do. Jessie and Austin came to church, and we were able to teach them about Tithing as well! And it all ended on cake and milk too, so what can I say? The week was pretty awesome!

But above all else, Love you all! I'm glad to see you guys got the deal for the water fountain in Vegas. I'm certain it'll look lovely in the yard. Youth conference also sounded like fun, along with the Temple work too! Funny you mention Elder Ence, there's and Elder Ence in out mission who is a humor swag-machine. And yeah, I love reading the Book of Mormon for studies. And the Bible too! I often find myself saying stuff like, "gee, Alma and Paul would really hit it off you know?" Still, ready to hit the last one hard! This is going to be one heck of a transfer!

Yeah, and at the end of it, there's chick-fil-a and a chipotle burrito waiting! But more importantly, I will have done my duty and honored the Lord's name. And the family's on that note. More importantly, doing the Lord's work. He's saved me so many times from stupidity, and doing this thing for two years is the least I could do to repay Him for it. There's life ahead in His service you know! 

Love you all!


and a couple of pics too:

Me 'n FDR, Smokey's fat cousin, and a baby bull snake. Because you know, snakes.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 29, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           May 29, 2017

I'm glad you found that picture inspiring. To be honest, there was actually a guy coming right up that road so we had to book it back to the car after it took so we could avoid looking funny. But then again, as you saw, there wasn't life for miles around so I can't say there were too many witnesses to that moment of sentiment.

Hope you and Dad are able to get the deck done well! Sorry to hear that there aren't Elders to help you out, but I'm certain the Sisters would be more than happy too! Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are Sisters in the ward right? Or maybe I was mistaken. Either way, you'll have my service when I get back for those jobs! I've learned to appreciate hard work. Play has it's time after the job's done.

On that note, I actually had a bit of a throwback this past week helping an elderly member in the ward, Bro. Bastian. He was finishing up a wall he was building, and needed to install the last blocks before his time for the trailer he hauled them in expired. So we got there, and sure enough, they were the 50 lbs cinder block type. Fortunately there wasn't 16 pallets of them, only about a dozen or so. Elder Quast wheel-barrowed three at a time while I grabbed two in each hand. Heh heh, brought back memories, all I needed was that auzi wide-brim I used to wear! Got the blocks in place and finished off the wall in a matter of minutes! The Bastians were really appreciative. He got radiated the 2nd time in treatment for his cancer a few days back, so we are keeping him in our prayers.

As you probably received from Sis. Lewis, interviews went incredibly well! I really love Pres. and Sis. Lewis, particularly in the time they take to come way up North to see us individually. Sis. Lewis left us with some forms about tips to being a more likeable person. I would also like to give my personal thanks to you, Mom, for helping me love all of God's children. You have a very wonderful talent for that.

Work wise, Jessie and Austin and still doing incredible! She has an outstanding support system in her family whenever she has questions. We also had a very cool finding experience too! After a brief prayer, we were getting out of our car to try by a potential investigator, a lady named Missy pulled out of her driveway and as she was passing us stopped and asked us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses. After correcting her, she asked us if we could come bay the next day, and so we did. We got to meet wit her and learn her backstory. She's had it rough in life, and consequently wonders now more than ever if there is a God who loves her. We testified to her that God does indeed love her, and Christ suffered personally for her. Mid-conversation she told us that she felt impressed to stop us that previous day, and was actually surprised we came by like we said we would. To her, her attitude didn't seem like something we'd want to come back too. But she told us that she really appreciated us coming to talk to her. That was cool!

Also had one of our investigators, Chris, come to church yesterday. He's a former Bering Sea fisherman, and he's always been wary about churchy things. But you know,  he really enjoyed it! It was the first time Elder quorum had their own separate meeting, and since there's only 5 of us, it made for a very open environment that Chris could ask questions and feel open to speak. In the end, he really liked it, even added onto the closing prayer at the end. Go spirit!

I'll conclude by saying that Summer is gearing up here. Consequently there's a lot more tourists coming and going. A lot more people out on the lake tubing or skiing. It's inviting, no doubt, but the work here is just as refreshing. The Lord's really helping us out here, and every day I feel like there's something fun to do. Some days slower than others, no doubts, but the work effort here is real and divine. Not that we're doing anything with these people, but being worthy windows to the Spirit who teaches them the truth. It's such a wonderful thing teaching people how to receive that revelation in their lives, and then to help them gain testimony that God has restored his Gospel, along with prophets and apostles to guide us today. It's a pretty cool world we live in!

Other than that, I love you much dear Mom! Thanks for all the support that you've sent and I'll be certain to work hard until this is all said and done! Give Tom and Evan my thanks and regards!

Love you,

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

This week:

Magnificence, free ice cream and dang-good bacon!

It's cool to hear that you met Sis. Hopkins at the temple! I can't say that I ever knew her much though. It also sounds like despite you guys being empty nesters, you're finding a lot of opportunities to house folks. I guess you guys are situated pretty well though, given being between Las Vegas and the Northern counties. Hearing about that High School choir and the service melodies did bring back a few memories. But mostly the knowledge that the End-of-year Banquet occurred on Saturday, which is signaling that another school year is coming to an end. Well, that was fast...

In terms of life up here, things went supercalifragilistic! Of course, there were the downer moments at the beginning. But by overcoming, life was pretty good!

It's kind of hard to think of a place to start, but on Tuesday we got to see Bill and his GF Megan. We weren't able to get through the whole Restoration with him, but he super-promised us that he would read the pamphlet before we went back tomorrow. You could tell that what the Spirit was telling him had an impact on his heart, even though he had some questions that still needed answers. Then right after that got together with Bro. Miller and hit the road to Wilbur to meet with Jessie and Austin, the unbaptized daughter and fiancé of the Kershaw family.

And let me tell you, that, was an awesome lesson! Jessica already has expressed that she wants to be baptized! Turns out her Mom was actually a convert (something I did not know about Sis. Kershaw), and at her baptism Jessie felt the spirit tell her that this was the path for her. Everything about the Restoration just came too for her, and she totally accepted to work towards June 17 to be baptized, it being a week after she and Austin get married. He is also keenly interested, and while he's not on-board as his fiancé, you could tell that the Spirit was working on him pretty well. And then they, along with Nakai, made it to church yesterday! Jessica even participated in Gospel Principles with enthusiasm. Go humanity!

Mitzi is still doing really well too! We're helping her overcome the time barriers stopping her from reading The Book of Mormon. And she really appreciates that as well! You know it's funny, given her age, we had supposed that Mitzi was the matriarch for the Nanamkin family, a very well-known Native name up here. We actually tracted into her niece, Leslie a few days back. And while our affiliation with Mitzi wasn't the main reason for a great contact-turned Potential Investigator, it was cool to see how us knowing her helped us there.

The rest of the week saw more driving. I think you would really like it up here Mom. Once you ascend to the top of the valley you get a view of rolling grass fields and big sky. Makes for some pretty good sunset pictures! One of our travels took us to Coulee city. On top of killing a bird on the way down (oops), tracting there only ran us into the abrasive and uninterested. Seeing a few of our PI's there helped us feel better, but while heading back North we decided to stop to get gas and ice cream. It hit just the spot! Adrian, the guy who manned the counter, told us his step-Dad was LDS, and he really likes what we do, and the fry cook there also told us that. Then he paid for the ice cream too! Then I'll just make mention of the dinner last night at the Getchers home, who literally live on the river next to the mission boundaries.

I'll tell you this much, hearing those waves crash on the river shore brought back memories of McCall. And then they served us some of the best bacon I think I've ever had. Oooohhh man that was good bacon! They even gave me the recipe too! I'll be certain to save it for the reunion or something. Yeah, life is good here in Coulee Dam. Tomorrow at interviews, for the sake of kicks and giggles, I think I'll ask President if I could go to the Coulee Dam July 4th fireworks show. Just a thought, but we'll see what happens. Until then, know that I love you all. It was so amazing to talk to you guys on Mother's Day! I guess back at Christmas I did say how May was a while away. Well heck, now there's July. Still, the Lord's going to do some pretty incredible things here then and beyond. 

Until then, love you all!


Thought I'd include a more formal pic with a more un-formal one. That's My Plan (post-mission prep training) that came up on my portal as I logged onto emails this morning.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 1, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           May 1, 2017

This week:

You know, there wasn't too much excitement unlike the last few weeks, sorry.

But still! Life here in Coulee Dam was pretty good to us the past week. Between knocking doors, driving out to places, and enjoying the spring blossoms, life is beautiful! I feel like spring took a long time to get here since last time it came. Probably because a lot of stuff happened in the year that occurred. But, then is then, and now is now. Right now things are great!

I guess you could say the biggest highlight came from when we traveled to Chelan for p-day last week. And you know, that was a much appreciated change of scenery. Mountains, lakes, and hills all make for a very nice view!

The transfer itself proved smooth and hitch-free. Elder Quast got here from Moses on time, and so far we get along outstanding! He hails from Phoenix, AZ, making him my 3rd comp. from the Southwest.  Since both of us served in Moses it gives us a common ground of things. We were able to see Mitzi and read 3 Nephi 11 with her, and she liked it a lot. It's fun testifying about the Book of Mormon, there aren't too many other times in history one could do that. While we were driving around another time we got the impression to go try by a potential investigator named Janet. In Coulee there are a lot of folks who tell us to come by again, but we are never able to see them. But we just so happened to see Janet and she set up a solid return appointment. Cool!

Tracting was tracting. But we met some pretty nice folks there as well. Teaching Nakai is super simple, and it may take a little longer than we thought before we can set a baptismal date. Due to his family situation, it's hard for his great-grandmother alone to bring him to church and be his solid support. Ay, ay ay, but even if it takes a while, we'll roll with it. This is the Lord's timing, not ours!

But he did come to church! And Mitzi too! As a matter of fact she brought her sister, Tina, and another friend, Alex, with her! The ward loved her right off the spot, and you could tell that she really enjoyed it. We were also informed by a member of the ward that they have a child and spouse who are interested in learning more, and they were there too! Got to say hello to them, Jessie and Austin. Hopefully we can start teaching them soon! 

Yep, God's been pretty good to us here. And I have to say the highlight of every week is when I get to hear from you guys. Thanks for all the support in the letters and notes. Feels like all the stops are being pulled out for the last part of this crazy mission, and I feel like the Lord's really helping us out here right now. And I can't wait for Mother's day too! Holy smokes, it's already May. Feels like December was yesterday. Stay safe out there!

Love you,


May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

I guess I could also give you the update on the week like I normally do. So...

This week:

Hospital scrubs, "the closest to swimming...," breaking 80, meeting the people, and the torturous-two!

Kind of like last week, the previous one saw it's fair share of action and in-action. Which is good as far as the work perspective goes, so I guess I can't really complain!

During those action parts we had a couple of fun experiences. One of which required us and Bro. Reese, our member split, to drive to the hospital to visit a Less-Active member of the ward who had been admitted. We were just about to walk into her room when a nurse told us we had to dress up in disposable clothing used to block contagious diseases. So we each had to dress up in these paper-like scrubs along with gloves and a small breathing mask. Linda, the gal who we were visiting, admitted the get-up seemed unnecessary, but safety first, I guess. I suppose it was foreshadowing my future career or something. 

In our weekly service, we found ourselves helping Bro. Foster out again by rolling the tarp back on his pool. Now I've never worked in pool maintenance, and I always assumed that every pool is drained and re-filled every spring. I was wrong, it was still quite full. And don't worry I didn't accidentally jump in thinking it was an empty skate-rink. Even then, while the water was clearer than I thought it would be, it was less than inviting. It had become a burial-at-sea for hundreds of worms, on top of (or rather, underneath) the floating shrubbery that had fallen in from rolling the tarp back. We got a couple of nets and started fishing out all the floaties. And at one point mine disconnected at the middle and I had to plunge my arm into the water to grab the sinking end! 'Bout the closest to swimming I've come too do out here. Still, not as trunked out for swimming as much as Elder Vejnar is probably getting at this point.

After hooking a hose up to Bro. Foster's shop-vac, we started siphoning the pool at a snail's pace. Which didn't bother us, it's not like we were staying there for the whole day. But we did notice that the temperature had broken 80 degrees that day. Not as hot as it could be, but a prelude to the impending Summer. A lot of the Spring blossoms are starting to disappear and be replaced by green leaves. Which is a lovely sight. And it seemed like everyone else was feeling it too!

Despite that, tracting efforts have seen some great success! But as tracting goes it came after a lot of trying. We met a lot of different people with even more different backgrounds, attitudes, and mindsets. Heh heh, at one point we were raking leaves and started hearing this guy in a truck ranting up a storm at our car we had parked on the side of the road. Due to some hedge in-between us the fellow didn't see us. But by his language it was clear he knew who we were. So to avoid confrontation, we decided to preemptively confront him. And he drove away as soon as we came around the corner. There was a native veteran who had listened to this guy standing there. He told us kindly that some guys get upset whenever we park there because it causes them to slow down to fit their rig and whatever-they're-towing to fit the gap.

I'm not certain why I just told that story. But oh well.

Anyhoo, we also got to teach a new guy named Collin, and he's super cool! He has a lot of faith in God, and he related really well with Joseph Smith because they're both New Yorkers who had questions about which religion was right! During another instance we had tried by a potential investigator, only to find that he wasn't home but his neighbor had just pulled up. I think the Spirit whispered to us to go talk to him, and you know, he was really cool! Alex was his name, and we shared the Prince of Peace video with him. Set up a time to meet again!  Right place, right time.

Yep, we crashed a few parties as well. Catching a LA family named the Boyers during a social get-together. I think Daniel, the dad, was a little tipsy, because he took us on a tour of his lawn and asked us where we were from 3 times. But he wanted us to come by for Wednesday for dinner, so we'll see how that goes! And to cap it all off, we had the Barry's for dinner yesterday, and they had 6 of their kids home for a baptism, and consequently about another 20 cousins there between the ages of 4 and 6. It was hectic, but their parents made a pretty awesome family of siblings. Kind of reminded me of Daniel, Brooke, and Paul. Give my love to them!

And other than that, we had a good week. May not have been groundbreaking, but I can say that we did out best out there. I hit 22 months yesterday so that brings us in for the final 2 months left. Weird. But life is awesome in Coulee Dam right now, so I'm certain it's going to be a blast! Thanks again for all you guys do to help out. And you know, I guess I'll be talking to you on Sunday! Love you all though! Keep up the outstanding work!


on June 10 they're having a mission conference for all missionaries in the Yakima and Kennewick mission in Tri-cities next to the temple. There will be a member of the Twelve and Seventy addressing us! I'm so excited for it! But I'm just as excited every week to hear from you guys too. I love this Gospel, and I know that this is Christ's true and living church on the Earth today. Otherwise, I don't know where I’d be in life. It wouldn't be as great as it is now, and as it always will be with you guys!  Love you!