Monday, September 26, 2011

Travelling around the Countryside!

Buenos dias!        Sept 26, 2011

Wow - the weeks come and go so fast, at times it is still hard for me to separate the days. This week was still a good week, but it was filled with both good and bad, but that just comes along with the job description, I guess.


This week I finally had the realization of how long I have really been away from home. For the longest time I was just going out and doing the work and nothing effected me, but last week it just all sort of came down on top of me. Don’t get me wrong and think that now I am totally useless and haven’t worked for the past week, because that wasn’t the case at all. I just finally had it hit me that I have been away from home for almost 13 months and haven’t seen any family or friends. It is just something that was very unusual for me. I haven’t had a day like that, or even thoughts like that for a really long time.  I was definitely caught off guard by those feelings. It was just a one day thing, and now I am back to normal and enjoying the time here once again. It just was different to be out for this long and to see how far into my mission I really am. Well enough ranting about that...

Visting Historic MANTI TEMPLE!

This week I was able to go on exchanges with an Elder from the Castle Dale area. He came back to Price with me and worked in my area. It was a good relief for the day. It was nice to get away from my regular companion for the day and get a new fresh view of the mission.  On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to go to the Manti Temple as the north part of the mission. It was pretty amazing! It just feels like a castle, but there is so much history, symbolism, and artifacts there.  We had to wake up and be ready to go around just to make the trip to Manti and be there by 8. So it was pretty tough. It is surprising how much riding in a car drains your energy.
          In the evening we had a really amazing experience with one of our investigators named Claire. She has been going to church off and on for quite a few years, but has never been baptized because she can’t kick some habits. Her home situation is a pretty interesting one as well. As we went into the lesson, I actually was thinking on how we could get out of there and get over to someone else’s house to teach them.  Well the Spirit had completely different plans for us. Claire and Margaret were both having terrible days, and they were just stressed out about life and how they were going to keep going. So we followed the Spirit the whole time in the lesson, and it truly provided. She talked about how she loved the principles of the Gospel and wanted to stay close to the Church so that her son could have the examples of the members in his life. She hopes that one day he would make better choices then she has. It was at this point where the lesson was taken to a whole new level. I was guided to ask the question, "Well how much more powerful would that example be if it came from inside the home?"  Claire just basically stopped and stared and thought for about 2 minutes. She was completely taken off guard. She was having a huge internal battle about what to say; we eventually went on to talk about how she could make those necessary changes and how she could be that example to her son. It was one of the most powerful lessons that I have had in a while. It was what we would have called an "ideal lesson." It was probably the main highlight of my week to have that experience.
On Thursday, I hit the road again, and was out traveling almost the whole day. I had a ton of baptismal interviews to do, but because our district is so huge, that makes it tough to get in the miles. First we were off to Green River, which is an hour away. I interviewed a pretty awesome 76 year old man.  He had a pretty amazing story. and had some eye opening experiences lately, and he decided to take the plunge.(to be baptized) As soon as we got back to Price, we had to hop in another car and head to Castle Dale for another interview. This one was for a 9 year old boy. We got home and had to hop in our car and head out to East Carbon for dinner and a lesson with Tony and Kristie. So you think that day is pretty full and done, but we had to go back to Price and once again do another baptismal interview. My day was just jam packed with traveling and interviews. It was a tiring day, but a good one.
Some of the bad this week has been dealing with a lot of cancellations. I think this is just a little test and trial for me. I will just have to work harder to overcome those cancellations and find the people that are prepared for the Gospel.
This week ended with an awesome recent convert fireside. There were some great conversion stories that were shared. It really strengthened my own testimony on how important this Gospel is to me. It also reconfirmed on how much the Gospel blesses my life and anyone’s life if they will just apply the principles and give it a shot. Well that about wraps up my week.
          I am grateful for your love and support! Thanks for everything and keep on moving forward!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!     Les Amo!      Dios les bendiga!

                          ELDER D                         

Monday, September 19, 2011

Elder D Meets an Apostle of the Lord!

Hola Mis Queridos Padres!        September 19, 2011
Well this week was pretty amazing. I was able to have so many memorable moments!  There were definitely some ups and downs, but I was able to push through it and find the good. Hopefully, I will be able to portray all my memories here to all of you through these words, but typed words can only do so much.
First, I want to talk a little about an investigator I am teaching. I say "I" because we are teaching here in Spanish, and since my companion doesn’t know Spanish, I am left alone to try and teach these lessons. Rosie is a middle aged lady with two kids, but the craziest part is that her husband is in Eastern Washington right now. They have spent a bunch of time up in the Tri-Cities, so we have that connection to help me out. But more then just talking about common things, she is completely ready for the Gospel. The Lord has definitely prepared her to be taught at this time. There is so much potential and I am happy to have the opportunity to teach her. She has asked some really great questions, and had some really good experiences that have led her to this point. I am just waiting for her husband to get back, so that we can set a baptismal date and have them baptized at the same time.
          This week I was also able to go to Ephraim to have leadership training with President Leonard. It was pretty humbling and inspiring. I definitely learned a ton and was able to have the Spirit to help me learn and have those epiphanies. To answer your question Mom, my opinion of President Leonard has changed immensely. I really am grateful for his love and guidance.  Before I used to think that he was very timid and not very personable, but he is definitely coming out of his shell and I am able to see the good in him. The training took almost all day, so when I got back to Price, my companion wasn’t in the best state of mind and I could sense some tension there between us. So I had to try and get him to open up to me and tell me what the problem was, that didn’t happen very easily. We eventually arrived at the point and we had a little companionship intervention. The Lord is definitely testing me with my current companionship, but I am taking them as learning experiences.
I also had a really good talk with Elder Hultgren. He is my ex Zone Leader and the new Assistant to the President. We have had a pretty good relationship and have known each other since the plane ride to St. George. So we had a really big heart to heart about our missions and we were able to uplift each other by the things that we talked about. The Lord definitely places people in our lives to change our lives, and I can definitely say that Elder Hultgren has changed not only my mission, but my life as well.
          As part of being a District Leader, I have to go on exchanges, or go to other areas in my district. So this week I got to experience MOAB! It was so amazing! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to go there and to see all the sites and meet the people down there. I was able to help them find a new investigator that is going to be baptized in a few weeks, so it was very fruitful. But Moab is unlike any place I have ever seen in my life. It is the place that truly has adventure written all over it! It ranges from mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, hiking, to my favorite Jeeping! There were so many Jeeps all over, I thought I was in heaven! I had another pretty random experience down there. I had to do a baptismal interview down there, and the girl's father served a mission in Hawaii at the same time that Pops did. His name is Harlan Hawks, or Pops might know him as Elder Hawks. Does it ring a bell? (Chad’s father does remember an Elder Hawks that served in Hawaii towards the end of Darin’s mission.)
          This week I am still learning the importance of planning and how it benefits us to have a set plan. Things don’t always work according to our plans, but planning is there to help us. We also had a baptism this week! Her name is Nicole, and she is 10 years old! She is pretty amazing! Her family is less active and didn’t really support her too much through her whole learning experience and journey to baptism. So she basically had to do everything herself. She even got up and went to Church without anyone else’s help. Pretty amazing, because how many 10 year olds do you know that want to wake up at 8 in the morning to go to Church? Her baptism was super amazing, and I had the opportunity to baptize her myself. I was pretty excited about that! She had a pretty memorable experience herself -- She was able to peek into a meeting where Elder Holland was, and she got a wave and a kiss blown to her from Elder Holland. It was a pretty good way to remember her baptism. Nicole's grandma also came up to me with tears and thanked me for helping Nicole and Braxton. Braxton was another kid that got baptized a few weeks ago, and Nicole and Braxton are cousins. So their grandmother is extremely thankful for the missionaries and being able to help her grandchildren to come unto Christ.
          Next, Sunday like always was extremely crazy! We had to run around like chickens with our heads cut off, but it all worked out. We had the confirmation of Nicole in the morning, and then afterwards we rushed out to Wellington to go to their special Stake Conference. At this conference, we were able to sing in the choir, so we were right up on the stand. This is significant because Elder Holland was at this conference. We were sitting literally 5 feet behind him. It was so amazing to hear him speak in person. That man speaks with so much power and authority! His talk really opened my eyes and I had some pretty humbling realizations from that talk. The best part came after the conference. I was able to go and meet Elder Holland. Yes, I did meet Elder Holland. I shook his hand and I expected that to be all, but I talked with him for about 2 to 3 minutes about missionary work and my mission is going. It was probably one of the greatest memories from my mission. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever meet an Apostle face to face. So it is pretty crazy to be able to talk with him, but I also counted and between the MTC and now, I have seen 5 Apostles in person. Pretty strange fact to say that I have seen almost half of the Apostles in person.
          Well just to let you know, I did get the package and I am satisfied with the shirts, and they will fit the bill. Thank you for all the other little gidgets in there as well. Thank you for sharing the story about Verna with me. It really touched me. I feel sorry for her and I know what she is going through. But you both know that as well, so you can be there for her and help her out through all of this! (Verna sent her youngest son off to college and was missing him terribly. She realized we have it a bit tougher because we had to say goodbye to Chad for two years!)  You are great people and will know what to do! Well my time is almost up, but thank you for everything that you have done and helped me out with, it means more to me then you will ever know! Just keep on moving forward and everything will work out!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    Dios les bendiga!  Les amo!     ELDER D!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ONE YEAR, Chad reflects on Why He Is Serving A Mission

(Parent Preface: It is apparently a tradition that on your ONE YEAR MARK, you burn a white shirt. If you remember Chad burned a tie at 6 months. So, enjoy the pictures.  Also, Chad shares some tender feelings about WHY HE IS SERVING A MISSION and what it has done for him.  He certainly has wisdom beyond his years.  We love him and are grateful for his example, and his missionary service that will bless his LIFE every day.)

Burning a SHIRT for ONE YEAR on a Mission!

SAD because one year is gone?
Only ONE YEAR left?
 Time really does fly!

Hola Mis Queridos Padres!           12 Sept 2011

Another week has come and gone. This week was a decent week. It was not the greatest, but it was good enough for me. I just have had a lot of things fighting against me and I am trying to push through and stay positive. One thing is that the afternoons and starting to become really slow. In the summer we were able to go teach a lot during the afternoon because there was no school, but now most of the people we are trying to teach are in school for the whole day. It is just a real test of my diligence to see how I work through it. Sometimes wish that I was in a big city where there are always people out walking around and we would be able to contact them on the street. In Price, there is no one ever walking around, or if there is someone walking it is usually the missionaries. J  However, I am grateful to be able to serve, even if it is in a little town in the middle of no where.
This week I have had some good experiences and some learning experiences. I really have learned about the power of prayer this week. I have been really increasing this lately, but we had a lesson where we talked about how they needed to pray for understanding on what God wanted them to do. We talked a lot about how it is a conversation with Heavenly Father and how it is a powerful tool. It finally hit me that since it is a conversation between us and Heavenly Father, it requires us to take the time to stop and listen to what He has to say as well. We can’t just run in and rattle off a little prayer and then just take off. We need to say a heartfelt, sincere prayer and then stop and wait for the answers and remarks that He has for us. It was a pretty crazy epiphany for me.
          Well a crazy, random thing that happened this week is that I had a boxing match with a 4 year old. She is the daughter of our investigators. When we were over there one night, she pulled out these boxing gloves. After the lesson I had a bout with her. It was pretty funny. There is a video of it, but I guess that will have to wait for another year.
Yes, I am officially a year old in the mission now! It is so crazy to think that half of my mission is gone. It is amazing to see how fast time flies by. I do know that this is probably the greatest thing I have ever done in my life to this point. I have been able to learn so much in this past year, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I have a ton of people that ask me if I feel that it is too much to give up two years.  I just look at them and say it is worth every second. I never thought it would be possible for me to learn this much in such a short amount of time. My knowledge of the Gospel has grown infinitely. I have also been able to learn a whole other language and be able to completely understand and communicate with others in this language. Great experiences! I am looking forward to this next year of my life with great excitement to see what will come out of it. I just pray that it will be as great as the first year of my mission.
One big excitement here is that the Spanish work is really starting to take off. We had a ton of investigators at Sacrament meeting. It was definitely a surprise. We have been teaching more in Spanish and since I am the only missionary that speaks Spanish, I have been relying on the Spirit so much. If I didn’t have the Spirit to help guide me, I would be completely lost and those lessons would have been terrible. The Spirit is so important in this work!  I am really learning a lot by serving as a District Leader this time around. I feel that I am a little more prepared and I understand what is expected more at this time. Before I just "winged" it and I was not that qualified to serve in that position because I would ask things of people and then not do them myself. But how can I ask others to do things that I am not willing to do myself? It just doesn’t work like that, or at least it shouldn’t. So I have made the commitment to myself this time around that I will be the example that I should have been last time and follow through with both my words and my actions.  The Lord does call us in our weaknesses so that we are able to be lifted up by His hand.
We had another pretty cool experience about teaching the Word of Wisdom to some of our investigators, Mattie and Hagen. Mattie is 11 and Hagen is 9, but that wasn’t the cool part. Their father is a pretty typical country man, so I was a little worried about how he was going to take it as we taught his children, and it basically would call out all of the things that he does wrong. This week it came down to "D-Day". The whole time we taught the lesson, the dad was in and out of the house, but as he listened he just didn’t say anything. Then finally he said that it is something good that we were teaching his kids. He may not be perfect and not keep the Word of Wisdom at all, but he can definitely recognize the principle behind us teaching it. So to me, it just was a real testimony that the Lord is helping us out and He truly can soften others hearts to the good.
          I figured out this week as well, that I have an extreme pet peeve about plans changing after I have them set. Before my mission I would never plan anything, and if I did it was just a day in general, but never a specific time. That all has changed since I have been here. This week I had planned out all the exchanges with the other companionships of Elders in my district, but that all changed because of some leadership meeting with President. It extremely stressed me out to have to reschedule all of the things that I had already planned out. It was just like BOOM, you have changed into someone who is organized and needs to be scheduled and planned. Is this a blessing or a curse from being out here?
We had 3 investigators that are pregnant, that was something new for me to see on my mission. We are down to only having two pregnant investigators now. Kristie (investigator) had her baby yesterday. It was the first person that I have known outside of Emma or Bethany that has had a baby. Just a little random fact for you.
Well I am still trying to become my best out here. It is a lot tougher than I thought. I think I am at a point, and then I will discover something else that I need to change. I guess that is just a good thing that there is always a constant need to change and become better. I am still dealing with trying to bond with my companion. We are just so extremely different that it is hard for me to find that common ground. I have really been praying a lot more for charity. (Charity is the pure Love of Christ.) This week I will have a lot of breaks from him, so that might help a little. I will be in Ephraim for a day in a meeting with President, then on Thursday I will be in Moab with another companion. This may be a good break to help me relax and then be able to continue to find the good in my companion. We will work hard and look for the good in each other.
     NEWS FROM HOME:  (We had our local full time missionaries stop by.)  It is good that the missionaries still stop by the house. I am glad that the new missionary is in good hands. That is the biggest thing, how your mission starts out. If your mission starts out in a good way, that usually sets the tone for the rest of your mission. That is why training is such a highly acclaimed calling while on a mission.
Well I am grateful for all the support and information that you have given me! (Since both Darin and I have served missions, we have sent our wisdom on how to get along with companions and how to be your best self.) Make everyday a great one and always give thanks to Heavenly Father for what he has given to us!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!

Les vayan con Dios!    Les amo!     ELDER D

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Transfers, New Companion, New Struggles, New Growth

Hola Mis Queridos Padres!     6 Sept 2011

Well this week has been a longer week then usual. I think it had to do with transfers and trying to adjust to a new companion. But the work must go on right? We are still striving to do our best, but this week was pretty tough in a lot of aspects of the work.
My new companion is Elder McCarty. He is a navy brat and has lived in quite a few places - Virginia, Washington, Japan, and most recently Dallas, Texas. He is a good guy, but we just don’t have a whole lot in common. He is a little more eccentric than I am and has a lot of different interests. He loves video games and choir and I love sports and movies. It has taken us a while to adjust to one another’s personalities. I know that it is just as hard for him as it is for me. It is just a crazy change from Elder Nathan, who I had almost everything in common with, to Elder McCarty, who I have almost nothing in common with. Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to stay positive and look for the good in this companionship. Sometimes we are placed in companionships like this for a good learning experience, and maybe that is what this is for me. Back in the MTC I had a little trouble with one of my companions and things turned out pretty well as we adjusted and looked for the good. So hopefully things will get better and we will find that common ground somewhere.
Not too many crazy things happened this week, but there is one situation that was pretty random. We were out trying to find an address to contact a referral. We finally found it and we go up and knock on the door. No one answers. So I knock again. This guy comes to the door shirtless and he seemed half asleep. We talk to him and he isn’t really interested so we are getting ready to leave. He heads back in the house then turns around. The next part is just so crazy and hilarious to me. He says to me, "Oh... and don’t ever knock on my door like that again! You can knock, just not like that." I had to do all I could to keep myself from busting up laughing right in his face. I hadn’t knocked any different then I usually do, but no one has ever said anything like that to me before. I have been told that I have a "cop knock" but no one has freaked before. So just a fun little tidbit for the week.
A good thing from this week was that I am back to interviewing baptismal candidates. It is a little strenuous because our district is extremely large, but the traveling is just something that has to be done. It is always an memorable experience to meet other missionaries’ baptismal candidates. I think that is my number one favorite part of being a District Leader.
We have increased the Spanish work here a little. I spoke Spanish for basically a whole night teaching lessons and contacting people. So I got stuck in Spanish mode the rest of the night and it was hard for me to switch back and forth to English. We found out that one of our Spanish investigators that we hadn’t seen for about 5 weeks was up in the Tri-Cities for about a month. They usually go up there during the summer and work in the orchards and things; the husband actually is still up there. It was pretty random to talk to them about the Tri-Cities and that is where I live. It was pretty shocking to them as well. Who knows, maybe I will see them after my mission up there.
This weekend was pretty rough. As missionaries, it is a little hard for us to understand holidays and things like that since we don’t get them. I know a lot of people go camping and things on Labor Day weekend, but here it is exponentially worse. We seriously couldn’t find anyone home for 3 days straight. All of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday no one was around. The only people we could find at home were members that had to stick around because of the football game here this weekend. So we went there because that was where the people were. We contacted people and got to know some people down at the football game.
On Sunday, we went to the Spanish Branch for the first time in a month. It was so weird on how much more comfortable I felt just hearing a Sacrament Meeting in Spanish again. It was amazing! We also joined an all men's choir for a special Stake Conference. There is supposedly an Apostle coming to the Stake Conference, so we are using this as a ploy to be able to have a certain seat and one that is on the stand. J  It will be an interesting experience, so I will let you know how that goes in two weeks.
NEWS FROM HOME: I am happy that you got out and experienced Seattle. I am sure that it was amazing and a highlight for you two. I am glad that spending time with family was possible. (Darin and I were able to "escape" to Seattle and Lacey and go to Pike Street Market and enjoy a ferry ride and visit with Family.) I am glad that Turk is still as crazy as ever, and tell him that I will see what I can do to take a trip back to Hurricane and St. George with him after my mission.  (Brother DeMille mentioned that a trip back to Hurricane to visit some young ladies might be in order upon Chad's return from the mission field.  Always teasing and joking, Turk is!)  I am thankful for all the support, and everything you do for me! Have a great week!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!

Con muchismo amor,  ELDER D   (no pictures this week!!)