Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                          

This week:

Finding Mae, finding swords, the river ferry, and out in the woods!

You know, I wouldn't mind living with other dudes for housing. It would be nice to know who they were and what their personalities are like, but I can cut it. Dorm life wouldn't be too bad either. But addressing your question from last week, I have to say I actually enjoy cooking! I'm no expert chef. But it's fun, I'm not going to lie.

But still, you will never believe what happened this past week, because it was pretty epic!

Or at least, I say that with the work perspective in mind. After a failed attempt to contact one of our potential investigators, we felt it best to tract the trailer park where we were at. A few doors in, we met a nice lady named Mae, who is recovering from back sugery. She has faith and family central to her life, having raised 4 sons herself, and family living in the trailers around her. She also had a late brother who was a member of the church, but he had never talked to her about it, so she was curious. So we set a return appointment, and when we went back, things just fell, into, place. Like kid you not, the spirit just lined it up for us! Inspired questions led to her asking even more inspired questions, and the members who came with us bore powerful and wonderful testimony. At one point Mae asked us if it was the right thing to do to pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Sweet! And as we covered the Restoration she asked "so does this make Joseph Smith a modern-day prophet?" And then when we talked about the Book of Mormon, she took a copy of it and the Bible, plus the members helped download the GL app to her I-pad! She told us that she wouldn't be able to do church that week, but would try to come in the following weeks. And in the end, she accepted a baptismal commitment for the 27th of May.

Go humanity!

We also got the chance to see Mitzi and Nakai, and they're doing superb as well. Also learned that Elder Saitman is going to be transferred out and I'll be serving with a certain Elder Quast, who I served around in Moses Lake. Chances are he'll be my last companion. And I'm looking forward to it!

The rest of the week had some funny and interesting experiences. While helping Bro. Foster again with his interior remodeling, we did a lot of furniture moving. And while moving things around, we found a broadsword that he owned. Of all things! I'll let the pictures summarize what we did with them after that.

We also had the chance to use the Keller River Ferry, the only boat we are allowed to use in the whole mission. And consequently, the only boat I've been on in almost 2 years. It was, well, a boat ride. The owner of the other car we were ferrying with talked to us. I think she tried to anti us, but it became clear to her and us that that was quite unnecessary, so we had a nice conversation about the usual conservative rant of deteriorating moral standards and whatnot. Meh, whatever.

And I can finally say now that we ventured our to the middle of teh boonies on teh edge of the mission. Another part of the reservation up in the mountains. Still! For what we did tract up there we got to meet a lady named Judy, who talked with us for an hour about life, art, and Gospel subjects. Nothing too exciting, but it always warmed my heart to meet nice people. Nice people are always much more friendly than mean people. I guess you could say that's my obvious statement of the day.


Guard the bread   the 12 mile road    swordplay (and comp. inventory in a nutshell)    and the ferry pic!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 17, 2017


This week:

Furniture moves, drug busts, finding and teaching, and tree-cutting-throwbacks!

I loved Easter as well! I'll definitely add my testimony that our Savior lives, and because of that, we all will live again!

Not certain if you got that picture that Sis. Churchill sent out last week of me underneath the floorboards, but like she said, the week started off by helping their family move furniture out of their home, which was severely damaged by water leak over their vacation. She and her sister live there with Bro. Churchill, and they are direct descendants of the original homesteaders. While there we also got the scoop on Syria and Korea, seems like the nation's gearing up again.

We also had a humorous experience worth sharing. We went by a LA family in Nespelem who we are working with. Only the youngest kid was there and said that we could try back a different time. When we were walking off their porch I noticed movement in their van that was parked on the driveway, and after approaching it we discovered that the rest of the boys in the fam were in there. Their cover blow, they opened the doors and we discovered that they were about to light up their weed so they could get high before shooting some hoops (they confessed they had literally nothing else to do)! We talked with them for a brief moment, mostly about high-school fights and other life-drama. But in the end we told them the weed stuff wasn't too good for them. Still, kind of funny to catch them right before that!

The rest of the week panned out alright, and we got to meet Nakai, the great-grandson of Sis. Cook, an elderly lady in the ward. He is 9, and he told us that he wants to get baptized! But the first lesson did confirm to us that we need to work on teaching simply a whole lot better! Heck, teaching in general, because we haven't had too many experiences teaching so far. But that's about to change too! Because in the past week or so we've had some serious finding-blessings. It's been a mission regulation to tract for at least an hour a day. And you know, every time we did, something happened! In Colville we got to meet with an elderly couple named Daniel and Patty, who after discussion accepted a Book of Mormon and Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Another occasion at 8:35ish led us to meet a young father Jaron who totally said we could come back in a genuine manner (I'm glad Elder Saitman convinced me to go into the evening that late), so we left him a Restoration pamphlet! A few days later we got in with an elderly retired hunter named Richard who was open to a spiritual thought. And after a lengthy conversation (he's a talker) he took a Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet too! And to top it off, we ran new potential investigator in Coulee City at the bottom of our area. So hopefully we can get something going across all the towns we are in. Still have yet to contact Mitzee though.

It was nice, it really was! On Saturday we were enlisted by a few brethren in the ward to go help out Garth Miller, a less-active but pretty cool guy, who had a tree fall on his garage. Since we couldn't get on the roof we resorted to hauling off the logs that the other guys cut off. Reminded me a lot of the wood parties! Until my back pulled. That hurt. But it came too in time for us to get most of the tree cut off and hitching the main trunk to Bro. Bond's Tundra. Only problem was the tree was wire-wrapped to a fence that wasn't budging. So after another hour of cutting, unraveling, come-alonging and more cutting, we finally pulled the big ole-thing off, partially irrigating his lawn in the process. He didn't seem to mind, it's a country home. Why we didn't just go get a grinder to but through the main wire, I have no clue. Everyone thought if we went for it we'd figure it out by the time we'd get back.

Still, it was fun working with wood again! But even better with what we have lined up for this week. I'm looking forward to it I'm not going to lie! But until then, know I love you all. Don't know how I'd be able to do all of this if it wasn't for you guys. I've really come to appreciate prayer. I've learned that taking time after prayer to listen for answers goes a long way. It's hard for the spirit to speak to you when you're out immediately doing something. Just a thought, and I hope it can help.

Love you!


Friday, April 14, 2017

April 9, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                               April 9, 2017

This week:

The trunky call, meeting Mitzee, goin' down the right roads, and playing archaeology!

I'm still trying to fathom the fact that I don't live in Vegas anymore. Thing is, I don't really think I'll miss Vegas itself as a town, the people definitely though. But I still tell folks I'm from Vegas because I don't want to fall into the "I'm from Utah..." boat that a lot of other missionaries do in the WYM. And I'm also certain that you and Brooke are going to have a great time in Ireland! Are you going to be doing any sort of Family History work while there? I don't think we have any Irish blood, but I figured you would know more than I know. I'm still wondering if Daniel is aspiring to go to Rome for the temple dedication, whenever that will be.

You know, I don't really know what to talk about this time. To be honest with you, this past week seemed like it would take forever to pass, and now it has. Funny how time works that way. Not as much excitement as the previous week no doubt. But there was still a good amount of good things happening!

I guess before I forget, I got my trunky call on Friday. I already informed you on what they asked, but hearing Sis. Call from the office ask if I knew what school I was attending, when I reported, how much my bags needed to weigh for the airline, ticket intel, etc. Yeah, I had always wondered what getting the call would feel like, but it wasn't that bad. Still, it reminded me of the impending future. Oh boy...

Still! The next day we got to go out to Omak for our Zone Training Meeting. "Bro-mak" Zone is an Elders-quorum, no sisters serve here. Haven't been part of one since Yakima. But it was great being able to meet with all the guys for the meeting. A lot of teachings about talking less and listening and doing more with our investigators. We also were told to cut back using the words "cool" and "like." That's going to take some grit. On the way back we stopped at Nespelem. After things there fell through, we opted to go try by the folks who said we could come back. Ultimately this led us back to Joe, and this time his mother answered. And whaddya know, she let us right in! Joe was sober again, and he showed now changed emotions towards us. Turns out his Mom, Mitzee, loves the missionaries! She came from Yakima, and she met with them down there. Uncertain how much she's been taught, but she told us that she would read the Book of Mormon that we left with Joe before! She also really wants to help Joe get over his alcohol problems, and in the end she told us that we were "always welcome to come by." In a way, she reminded me a lot of Grandma Camit!

Go humanity!

Later on, we found ourselves tracting in Electric City. If I can confess, I've been falling behind in the 1-hour a day of tracting we do in the mission. Felt good being back knocking doors again. The funny looks, blank stares, and other emotions are pretty timeless. My favorite is when folks stare at the tag first just to make sure we're the Mormon missionaries before shutting the door. Part of me has always wanted to say "You wanna buy some jerky?" but I figured it wouldn't really help us get in much. Still, after going down one road we noticed a small apartment complex yonder. We decided to go knock on the doors there, but after going around the corner of the building to get to the staircase, we noticed a guy blue-taping the Chevy logo on his Cruze. I hate Chevy Cruzes. Still, talked to the guy, and turns out he's a less-active fellow named Michael! Great fellow, he's a native who joined the church a few years back. We didn't know he lived there, so we got the chance to share the Prince of Peace initiative with him. The really cool part was that after sacrament meeting the next day, his grandmother approached us and told us that his son, Sikai, got permission to be baptized! So now we can go over to teach them!

On the service note of things, we got to help some of our investigators fill in a trench that had washed out part of their walkway. Filling the trench was easy, because part of the job was to un-earth a buried stair-case underneath the walkway. That brought back memories, digging a big hole into the dirt. Eventually we hit the staircase, only to find it stopped after three steps. But still, it was fun thinking to myself maybe there's something exciting to discover if we just removed a few feet of dirt! Sorry, no lost cities. Just dirt and a half-done stair-case. And a gas line too. Nuts.

Other than that, there's not too much else happening right now. We had some pretty cool teach-people-not-lessons in Coulee City, and I'll just briefly say that sometimes, the spirit prompts you to say something unusually simple, when that question opens up into something even larger. I also learned that Turkey-vultures are big birds. And also got the chance to tell an old vet thanks for his service. He seemed to soften up from it. God bless out servicemen.

I hope you guys get to completely move into the home without any catastrophe! I still find it funny that I I'm not there to help you guys out with it. But soon enough I'll be able to help out again! Looks like you guys get about 1 month and a half before I'll be needing to go to school. I've met a lot of guys out here going to Idaho, so hopefully I'll see them there. I'll always love you guys for all you've done to help out! Got to finish strong though. Everyone take care though, and don't forget to appreciate being able to travel. We are isolated here in Coulee, but dang! It is awesome.

Love you all!


Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           April 3, 2017

This week:

Hanging with John, mountain routes, back to city, and good ole' Joe!

Well, hearing about Makayla's pregnancy didn't throw me for a curve-ball as much as I thought it would. If anything, it was more like a fast-ball. 

When do you get to go to Ireland? That will be a fun trip, glad you're getting some local tips from the senior RM's, but I'm certain you and Brooke will have a great time! I guess Brooke always has connections of some kind that get her places. I wonder where she, or you both, will go next?

Coulee Dam is holding up well. Which is good, otherwise we're probably dead. But the work is going well too! 

The past week was definitely amazing as far as action and variety goes. On Tuesday we were doing some tracting in Nespelem, the Colville reservation. For the overall feeling of the day, mixed with the clouds, things seemed pretty dull. The folks we did talk too were kind and welcoming though, and at one point we got to share a brief thought with an elderly man and his brother. But what was funny was that while walking back down the street, we crossed paths with a certain man named John, who was clearly blazed. Still, he was about and started talking to us, and I guess he was the "tough" guy of the town or something, because he said we could go with him around to see some guys he knew. He also asked if we were thirsty or anything, and I said water would be nice. So we walk up to a random door and he knocks once and then enters, us trailing him. Turns out it was his sister's home, and while we were talking to his sister, he came back with a beer-cup full of water. Meh, works. While drinking it his aunt(?) came out from her room and scolded him for letting us in with him, and also that he was allowing me to drink part of his booze. We assured her it was just water, which still didn't calm her agitation. That's when his cousin arrived and joined our group, and before leaving he passed what looked like a couple grams of weed to his sister like it was a grocery delivery.

Anyway, we tagged with him for only a few more doors, all or which were family that he thought needed " a saving message." In the end, we along with his cousin had a small freestyle-rap session with another one of his bros, and for the first time in the whole mission I finally got to drop a few rhymes for some street-cred. Thank you, CCSD, for teaching me how to speak around friendly hoodlums. Don't worry I didn't condescend to their level of language.

After that incident there wasn't too many other exciting things going down. At one point Saitman and I decided we'd try by Keller, a super small town that is only accessible by ferry or super small dirt roads. Well, the ferry's out of commission, so we decided to go for a brief trail ride. Only problem was 7 or so miles up into the hills later the signs disappeared and the road started to fork. Classic. Eventually we got out by backtracking, but one of these days I'd like to go back up there to see where those old dirt roads lead to in the mountains! Or...maybe I don't. Either way, when we got back to the Colville Indian Agency (a small town near the start of the trails), we noticed a small housing community we never had seen before. Knocked a few doors to not much avail. We decided to come back sometime.

Thursday's temple trip was amazing! It was the first small temple I've ever been too, but a temple nonetheless. Turns out the temple president was Greg's former mission president! Asked him if he knew a certain Elder Cox, and he only had good things to say about him! The session was lovely, and the spirit was very abundant. I had some good impressions that the Temple is where I need to be when that time comes, so I think I'll start spending more time serving there when I return. On the way back, for the first time in 2 years, we got to go to Costco with the member who took us. Bro. Foster only had to get a few doggy items, but I finally got to quench the great soft-served-swirl drought that has been lingering for a while now. As a matter of fact, like Tri-cities, going to Spokane was stepping back into a city. Which was weird. Really weird. But nice as well!

General conference was great too! And yes, I loved the talk that was pointed towards the investigators. I also loved Elder Renlunds and all of Elder Eyring's addresses too! Grateful for prophets and apostles, what can I say? Gospel's got to be revealed some way or another. Afterwards, we got to go back to the housing development mentioned earlier, and while knocking doors, we were able to set up a return appointment with a fellow interested in family history, prayers will help! And then we knocked on a door, and a fellow named Joe stepped out, and he was drunk. It was hard getting anything through to him, but after he rambled for a little bit, he actually let us in! He was watching the North Carolina and Oregon game, and after talking to him a little bit about the game and the final four, he actually asked for stuff to read! So we gave him a Book of Mormon with a Restoration pamphlet, and he said he'd leave them for his Mom, who lives with him. Unconventional, but you know, the Lord has a way of getting things across to people. I got a good hunch this will come to something!

Yeah, it was a funny week. I guess another small little moment of sentiment was having a dog tract with us whenever we went out. That was nice! A lot of travel later, and here we are again. But I'm always happy to hear from you guys every week. I do hope that you have a wonderful week, dear Mom. Please congratulate Makayla and Wyatt (if she said yes) for me! Wow, feel like Fiddler on the Roof already, time seems to pass super slowly but also super quickly as well. Cool to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ outlives it all. He does live, and I'm super glad to represent Him now. I don't think there's any other thing I'd be doing right now. I guess it's my calling after all, but it's cool to see it be your life. Really changes a lot about you. I'll be doing a better job trying to see people how Christ sees them.

Phew, long email! But it was a good week. Thanks again for all you guys do and have done to help out. Love you all!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

March 27, 2017

Hey Mom!                                                                                           March 27, 2017

This week:

Road trips and Jacob's baptism!

I hope you guys enjoy the new home! I'm really looking forward to see what it looks like. And congrats on finding the remote! Funny how things wide up in the oddest places sometimes. Also good to see I was in good standing with Bro. Barry. In my defense, I've opened up a lot with regards to social life, but I guess you could say I still like to remain low-key in public. But not as bad as I used to be, I'll assure you of that! And I hate to say it, but I may have forgotten my BYU-I account login info. But if I was me, which...I am, then it's probably one of four universal sets I usually just keep. I'll send a list of them.

To answer your question regarding my driving experience, Coulee is actually the first area I have had a for-sure-this-car-is-yours-forever car area. Everywhere else was either share-car or by foot. And even then I've only driven in two of those. I've learned that corolla's aren't too bad for what they are, and Chevy Cruze's have the touchiest brake system in the history of brakes. You know, it's funny, when I get back it will be the first time in my life I've ever solo-driven (if you recall I got my license two days before 7 July).

Going off of that, the past week saw a lot of miles used up. Last P-day we drove up to Omak, which is 112 miles there and back, and then in following days we covered basically our entire area length wise, going down to Coulee city, Almira, and other way-out there Kane-county like towns. And you know, it was a lot of fun! Going out to Wilbur goes about 25 miles, 12 of which are in a straight-shot down a gradual slope. If that part of Washington wasn't so flat it would've made a fantastic view, but it is green!

The good Lord blessed us in those travels, because when we got to our destinations we were able to actually accomplish something. Whether or not it was contacting a LA family or tracting, something came to something! And when we drop a total average of 110 miles a day, that's a pretty good tender-mercy. In Almira we tracted into a nice man named Don, who accepted a Restoration pamphlet whole heartedly, and even pointed us to his neighbor, who also opened up to us when we said we can serve them! Wilbur, we got to meet an awesome family by the name of the Caudells, and their massive great-dane, Paw. They met with us before, and said we can come back on Tuesday. And in Coulee city we got to visit other LA members who recieved us warmly, and then tract fresh ground, ultimatley having a nice conversation with a lady named Normagene who had a strong testimony of God's love. Cool!

We also got to go to interviews with President and Sister Lewis on Wednesday, taking us back to Omak, and while talking to President he gave me personal thanks for helping out Elder Mayes the way I did last transfer. It was good hearing that he appreciated my efforts that way. And on the subject of Mayes, I actually got to see him again at Jacob's baptism on the 25th. It was kind of awkward, last I saw him I said, "see you July." But he seemed to be doing alright. Jacob and Natalia's whole family from 1st ward showed up, and it was also good to see Bishop Allred and the other guys there too. Overall, the spirit was super strong. I told Jacob to let me know when he and Natalia go to be sealed, and I would try to make it. I just hopes he remembers to keep coming to church, but sis. Banks and Haggett will do a good job of that I can tell! Their sit-rep from Moses 4th and 7th was pretty positive! I also gave a pack of the jerky to Jacob and his best friend/redneck cohort, Rilen. I'm sure they'll like it!

Other than that, we helped a member paint his house interior, helped other members out with moves, and saw a fair amount of sunshine and rain. I guess you could say that the 2-month long overcast has moved on, and looking forward to spring. And Easter too! We're going to be rolling out with the new initiative soon, so what better way to celebrate Christ's victory over death than being out here to share about it! This next week will probably be a grand-slam of events, we have out temple trip on Thursday to Spokane, General Conference, and the new initiative too! Things are looking up for us here. I can't wait to see how the new house looks, and I hope that Smokes adjusts well to the outside life. Funny, the ole' cat has outlived just about everyone else now. I'm certain they'll have a good spot for him when it's his turn.

But always remember I love you dear Mom! And everyone else too. Looking forward to hear from you guys and how it all plays out with the new house!

Love you!