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.