Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Family and friends

There is so much to say today, so here we go. Last Tuesday I got a new companion. His name Is Elder Joshua Paget. He has been on his mission for 17 months and he has spent most of his mission serving in San Bernardino. An irony of us being comps is that he was comps with Elder Sevison at one point as well. :) Things have been very different since Elder Sevison and I split up. There have been many good things that have come from it. including Me stepping up to be the senior zone leader, It has given me a new boost of motivation, and Elder Paget has taught me an amazing way to find new investigators! I was a little skeptical at first when Elder Paget told me that we were going to pray, a random street name would pop up in our heads, and we would proceed to put it in the gps to see if it was in our area. Every time we have done this a street that neither of us new existed in the area has come to our minds. Every time we have done this we go to the street and we find the reason that the Lord has lead us there. It has been miraculous. So far we have three new investigators from doing this and a building list of potentials. In this area that is a feat that requires divine intervention. One example of this was when we prayed and the street "Martingale" popped up in my mind. We put it in the gps and it was just around the corner. when we arrived there we had no clue what we what to do or rather what door to knock on. We saw a man parked in his car and we went up and offered him a dvd. He responded with "wait, are you guys missionaries?" We said "yes." He then asked "so do you guys knock on doors?" We again responded "yes we do." What he did next I did not expect. He flipped around a badge and said that he was under cover looking for a fugitive on the run. He asked if we would go and knock on the fugitives mothers door and do our missionary thing, and if we see him or signs of him to let him know. We agreed and we went to the door not knowing what to expect. The woman who answered began talking with us and she has studied with the missionaries before! She lets us in and we teach her the restoration! We stayed for awhile. When we left the agent wasn't there. Keep in mind that we were led to that street through prayer and in our time of need it seemed that God had a way to lead us to the very door that we needed to knock on. This was a more dramatic case of being guided, but we have been seeing miracles like this for days. I pray that they do not stop. Another great strength for me lately has been to go the Redlands temple twice in the last week. we first went on Saturday where Elder Sevison and I were able to temporarily be comps again to go and see a couple of our recent converts go do baptisms for the first time.  I had the chance to do some of the confirmations. It was another one of those experiences I hope never to forget. Keith was especially wowed by the wonder and the spirit of the temple. Today we went to the temple as a zone. and of course we went to Cafe Rio afterwards. I have been wondering a lot lately if I will be remembered in past areas I have served. I have thought a lot about if I am remembered and appreciated in the Running Springs Branch. In answer to my concerns The Branch President Craig Davis and his Brother Brian Davis were there at Cafe Rio! In our conversation he told me that I was still remembered and appreciated. I told him I would be by to see him in about eight and a half months :) Well it is about time I draw this letter to a close. I love the Zone. They are working so hard. I love the Summit ward. We have a lot of work yet to do here. and I love my mission. I can't believe It has been sixteen months since I left home. Most of all I love my family and my friends.
Thanks for reading,
-Elder Roos

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear friends
It was a Saturday like any other. We were at a baptism for the Spanish ward because Elder Sevison was called upon to play the piano. We were in the hall before it started where we received a call from President Godwin. The second I saw his name on the caller ID I knew what was happening. President Called to ask Elder Sevison if he would be his assistant. My Comp is the new AP! After the baptism and dinner we were rushed to our apartment to pack his stuff. We had it done in about fifteen minutes. (which is quite the feet considering he has been there for six months) In a whirlwind my companion was gone and I am currently with a couple of Elders in the Baseline Ward. Despite the craziness I still had the chance to go to sacrament meeting in our ward. During the testimonies Elder Sevison sends a text asking if I would stand and bear my testimony in his place. It was difficult to hold back the tears as I told the ward that he had gone. I expressed the love he had for them and I proceeded to bear one of the strongest testimonies I have ever given about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I haven't been that emotional speaking at the pulpit since my farewell. :) The spirit in that meeting was so strong. Keith, one of our recent converts, arose and bore his  testimony in sacrament meeting for the first time. After the meeting, many visitors in our ward came to him in awe asking for his email to ask him more questions about his conversion. It reminded me how much of a miracle his life is. A memorable line in his testimony was "It takes me about 12 minutes to get to church, but the first time I came here it took 40 years." In Priesthood meeting we laid hands on his head and gave him the Aaronic Priesthood. Brother Walker his new home teacher had the chance to do the ordinance. I look forward to this coming week. I will get a new companion tomorrow morning and I have six more weeks of working hard in the Summit Ward in Fontana. Until next week,
-Elder Roos 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hello people, Among many other things, I am thankful for the week I just had. On Wednesday we helped for a big event called "Eat and Be Well" hosted by the city of Fontana and a lot of different churches. The event was to help homeless and needy people get a thanksgiving meal. Though there were many volunteers involved, The guys in the white shirts and the name tags stood out. :)We had our entire zone come to volunteer serving food. It was an awesome opportunity for missionary work. It was funny to see 'higher ups' from other churches staring at us like we had come from a distant planet. :) Though a few tried to razz us a bit, we didn't have any problems. :) On thanksgiving day we had two full blown meals! Luckily they were spaced out a bit. The first was at one and the other was at six. One O' clock was with the Taylor family. Sister Taylor was just made the head of the School board here. She was the one who gave us the idea to help with the event. The second dinner was with Keith and his awesome family. That was one of my favorite dinners I have had. During dinner we were laughing so hard at different stories everyone had to tell. After dinner we got our Keith's nice telescope and did some star gazing. We were also able to watch a mormon message with the family, which is the closest Keith's family have allowed us to teach them so far. I am thankful for so many things. My mission hasn't had the grandeur that Ammon's did, nor has it been enjoyable all of the time, But there is no way I would give up the experiences I have had. They have shaped my perspective in astronomical ways. I do not see through the same eyes.(alma 32:40) I hope you gave thanks to God this week as I was able to. Until next week. Elder Roos

Monday, November 19, 2012

Drum roll please.............................................................. This week the San Bernardino Mission broke our record for the most baptisms in a week! we ended at about 28 baptisms! (eight of those coming from the Fontana Zone) For us Saturday felt like a baptism marathon. At eleven a family of five got baptized in the Palmetto Tongan ward! I loved that baptism. Elder Sevison and I taught Koko and her family the first two lessons. and then when Elder Allen came to be Elder Pauga's Companion we stepped out of the picture. I have never been to a baptism where more tears where shed. The Tongan people are so loving and so sensitive to the spirit. Towards the end of the baptism Bishop Tu'itupou got up and brought a young girl with him. He told us that she was the one who invited Koko's family to the Luau, which put them on a fast track to baptism. Think again if you were under the impression that a single invitation to a seemingly uninterested family will not make a difference. Of course we had to stay and eat a lot of food after the baptism as well. :) Towards the evening there were three others baptized in the Randall Spanish ward in the Baseline Ward. It is great to see how well our zone is doing in taking those with baptismal dates all the way to the font. We had a fast a few weeks back that we would be able to do so. I feel like our faith was a factor in this successful weekend. On somewhat of a side note Keith told us something that he hadn't before that almost grounded me. He told us that one night before he met us he was reading and pondering the Book of Mormon. He told us that he thought to himself and to God "well how do I know if this is true." As he thought that he opened the Book of Mormon to a random page. He turned to precisely Moroni Chapter 10 verses 3-5, where he read Moroni's promise. He prayed and now knows it is true. He is currently having some financial problems with his law firm, so please pray for him. We are teaching him a lesson tonight with a future missionary who was called to the Omaha Nebraska mission. We were able to be at the Wildons while Daniel opened his call. That brought back the funny memory of me opening my call. Anyway I will have more to report on next week. I am still loving my mission. I am where I need to be for me and others. Thanks for reading. -Elder Roos

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear fan, The zone did an amazing job this week. And what I hear from the APs the mission as a whole took an unexpected jump in almost everything we report on! For us in Fontana we had very high member present lesson and new investigators. Those are two of the most important things we do. One reason our finding efforts have been so solid is that Elder Sevison and I instituted a game for our zone. We have a giant white board with a football field drawn on it. For the amount of Contacts, Member referrals requested, and new investigators you get you gain yardage towards the en zone. We also have surprise plays and hail marys etc. during the week to gain extra yardage. Everyone has been working hard to gain yards. Aaron you would love it. :) Sadly for the Elders in the zone the one sister missionary companionship is winning! The winner gets to go on an extra temple trip with lunch at Cafe Rio on us. :) This has really spiced up this transfer. Speaking of sister missionaries when we were at stake coordination our mission president filled us in on some interesting statistics from Salt Lake. He said that it is predicted that in a year we will have 90,000 missionaries throughout the world and fifty percent of those will be sister missionaries! Those statistics will be reflected in our mission as well! He went on to say that every ward in our mission will have multiple companionships. It will be interesting to see how those predictions pan out. Either way there are going to be a lot more sisters in the coming months. The first nineteen year old sister will be in our mission in about a month! As for my area we are on the search for new investigators. We have been sifting through the area book like we are looking for the tiniest speck of gold. We have found a few that ended being a little on the iron pyrite side. :) These efforts have not gone in vain. We found a family that took the lesson two years ago, and who want us over again. They have amazing fellowship in the ward and after our first lesson they committed to come to church. Guess what, THEY CAME! We hope to invite them to baptism this week. I pray it goes well. Thank you for the unfailing support. that one guy in california, Elder Roos

Monday, October 29, 2012

Breaking news!

For the last month I have been writing about Keith Seagull and his amazing conversion story. On Saturday Keith had an equally amazing baptism. Keith and Brother Dean dressed in white and we took pictures in front of the font as it filled up to the final step. The program ran more smoothly than any baptism I have been to. Our ward mission leader brother Rambow gave a simple talk on baptism and then it was time for Keith to step into the font. Elder Sevison and I stepped up to be witnesses for the baptism. We warned Keith that the baptismal ordinance can sometimes be a little anti-climatic. We prepared for a month for an event that takes maybe thirty seconds. For me it seemed that everything slowed down when he entered the water. The prayer was said with feeling and Keith was fully immersed. Later Keith described the experience saying: "It was as if for just a moment I didn't exist." It was not anti-climatic. While they were dressing we watched a short video from "the district" and Elder Sevison bore his testimony. When  Elder Sevison was talking about knowing if the Book of Mormon is true or not, Keith walked in, back in dry clothes, and exclaimed "It's true!" with full confidence. With the zone, we prepared a musical number. The title of the song we sang is "Oh Lord my Redeemer." Many including myself were in tears. the lyrics speak of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the chorus goes: "Oh Lord my Redeemer thou hast done so much for me, Oh Lord my Redeemer all my love I give to thee." When Bishop Dow arose to welcome Keith into the ward he wisely called on Keith to speak. Keith told of his experience with The Book of Mormon and his relationship with Jesus Christ. It was one of the finest sermons I have heard. Later that night we ate mediterranean  food that Dina, Keith's wife, prepared for us. She is from Bangladesh and her religion is Muslim. The food was amazing. I couldn't pronounce anything that we ate. :) One of the best things that have come from the baptism was that she was able to attend. through the service she was in tears. Considering her background there is still quite a haul for her to join her husband, but I feel that Saturday was the start. I feel honored that the Lord entrusted Keith to us. Well there are other things I could ramble about but I won't. I hope you all have a great week. Our teaching pool has been down of late so we will be knocking doors like crazy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Luau:

So we have been planning and preparing for a stake luau hosted by the Tongan ward for a couple of months now. and now it has come and gone. It was so much fun. Food and other provisions were prepared for an army. Many pigs died in the name of missionary work. :) It was all well needed with a crowd well over a thousand in attendance. After all of the food was served and eaten it was time for the performances. Polynesian wards from all over the valley had a performance prepared. there was even a couple of performances from a catholic church! Every island was represented by a few performances. When It was time for the Maori performance to begin Me and my two companions got into our Lava lavas and joined the Tongan throng for the Hakka. With all of the tongue flashing and war screams we could muster we changed the atmosphere from the Hawaiian beach to an island battlefield. :) Don't worry not every child was crying by the end of our performance. (all of this was approved by the mission president by the way). Towards the end of the night they actually called our mission president to the stage, as well as the stake presidency. There they had a dance off. I now know that my mission president is a little better at giving motivational talks than he is at moving his hips :). We filmed the entire thing. :) He was good to let us participate to such an extent. Now was that all for nothing? I say unto you nay. This last week we set five baptismal dates with a family that started going to the Tongan ward because of the Luau. We will be teaching them again Tonight! This is going to now be an annual event. Maybe the next time I come I won't be known as Elder Roos.

This mission Tour:

We had the chance to have Elder C. Scott Grow of the seventy visit and instruct our mission. We had a Zone leader council before he spoke to the mission where he was able to instruct the twenty of us. After he trained us the entire mission had the chance to be taught. A few days before he came to our mission he was in a meeting with The first presidency and The Chorum of the Twelve. He told us that every time President Monson speaks to the general authority's in this setting he speaks on The Rescue. This is President Monson's central message for his time as a prophet. Elder Grow wants us to spend as much time looking for and teaching non members as we do with less actives. He promised us that as we do we will baptize many more than we have. He explained that the less actives are the ones who know the non-members and they will refer them to us as we teach and reactivate them. The second part of his training dealt with the way we planned. This was the most inspiring training on planning I have been given. He showed us a new way to plan which used our mission averages and which forces us to have more faith in setting our numbers than we have. He used Ether 12 speaking of an "eye of faith." We have already seen some great things come from planning this way. The trick will be to maintain this new way of planning when the times get tough for the missionaries. Well that sums up what we were taught. It impressed me that Elder Grow had a scripture for everything... literally.


Elder Sevison and I are going to be together for another six weeks! Sadly we will no longer be in the Tongan wards, but we will remain in the summit ward. I am happy that not much is changing for us. only a fourth of our zone is changing so that is good as well.
I am happy. I am having many great experiences. Many of which show me that I still have much to learn as a missionary. Maybe by the end of my mission I will finally be who I want to be.
-Elder Roos

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear Everyone,

CONFERENCE! and a historic one at that. I'm not sure if I would have ready at 18. In fact I know I wasn't. It would have compelled me to prepare a lot more in High school knowing at graduation I could be off on a mission. So it my opinion that psychologically it will help a lot of young men take church a little more seriously at a younger age. As far as mission presidents saying:  “Give me more 18 year- olds. They’re sweeter; they’re purer, they’re smarter.” My retort to that statement is that they haven't experienced American eighteen year olds yet. :) It will work out for the best. I hope that more missionaries come out all over the world. Maybe China will open soon or something cool like that where we need to double our missionary force. I bet President Anderson is as giddy as Holland was in the press conference. :) The Lord is hastening his work. Speaking of the work it is going well in our respective areas. We set two baptismal dates this last week! The first is a young man named Justus who has been dating someone in the Spanish ward. He lives in our ward boundaries so we get to teach him! He is solid. He came to conference yesterday with us and ate with the Tongan ward after. :) The second was for the Tongan ward. Her name is Desire and she is about college age. She also came to conference. I look forward to teaching these new investigators and the others we have. It still amazes me how the blessings of the Lord can be thrown at you. The Summit ward is being blessed. Going back to conference my favorite talk was Holland's. He gave a very similar address to the MTC a few years back. We watched it recently at a zone conference. The words "Lovest thou me" will be something that I will say ask myself throughout my life. The moment that hit me the hardest was when he said: "To every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said: 'having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.' That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but is was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well." I know that this commission has changed me. I also know that I need to let it change me more. It is a commission I received long before my mission. It was a commission I have failed to live up to at times. I am grateful that when we deny Jesus Christ for me a lot more than three times, He gives us an equal amount of chances to say "thou knowest that I love thee." We say this by acting according to the commission given us when we were baptized. Anyway I'm done with my rant for today. I love conference because it gives me an extra push as I know it did for all of you. We especially liked the theme of missionary work throughout. :) I hope all is well for you. Thank you for your support.

-Elder Roos 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear world,
Valeti's baptism was a great experience. The Tongans know how  to throw a baptism or any other activity. Valeti has been such a wonderful lady to teach. She has been full of smiles and tears since we began teaching her, and her baptism was no exception for her. the majesty of this occasion was matched with a chapel full of beautiful Tongan voices. I have never heard better singing in any chapel before. I only wish I knew the words.of the hymns :) We proceeded with the baptism with Valeti in tears and my companion Elder Pauga ready to perform the ordinance. He worked on the baptismal prayer before hand so that he could say the prayer in Tongan. There was a hush among the spectators as she was immersed in the water. talks were given she was confirmed. Following her confirmation she bore a sweet testimony. Many scriptures echoed through my mind about those who received the Holy Ghost speaking with the tongue of angels. The closing hymn was sung louder than the rest. It felt as though the walls would burst. Then it was time for the feast ,which is seemingly a requirement for any function in the Tongan wards. We had the rare chance to sit at the table of honor with Valeti. They brought in more food than the table could hold. There were three pigs (bwaka) just for those at our table. :) There were many foods I have never seen before but they tasted great. The only thing I was used to was the piles of fried chicken. :) Let's just say I left feeling much like a balloon when all was devoured. To my surprise, after sacrament meeting we had another feast after church, because there was the primary program. :) I have begun to realize how sad I will be to leave the Tongan wards.. We taught Keith(our super golden investigator) the hardest lesson we have taught him yet. Keith suffers with Leukemia. He has been fighting it for some time now. He is doing all he can to keep himself healthy. One way he is fighting it is by drinking green tea, which contains 'egcg' a known fighter of this blood disease. We taught the word of wisdom to him focusing on green tea. We had to explain that we often follow commandments only because we have been asked not because it makes sense to us logically. He said he would stop drinking green tea. He told us that the pain in his spleen was getting bad.  He mentioned that this may be a sign his disease was going to be back in full force. We gave him a blessing promising him healing. He texted us after we left telling us that after the blessing the pain in his spleen had gone. He attributed this  to the blessing and thanked Jesus. He received results from a blood test later in the week. The doctor told him that his results were stable and he was doing fine. He has learned so much in the past few weeks that he has now moved on to deep doctrine with one of the smartest guys in the ward. :) His baptism is set for the 19th of October. Well I hope all is well for you. I miss home, but If I left I would miss it here almost as much. 
-Elder Roos

Monday, September 24, 2012


I have decided that I should never expect an uneventful week. A missionary in our zone was sent home for surgery and we have a new companion named Elder Pauga. Elder Sevison trained him when he first came on his mission and now we are all in a tripanionship! An added twist to all of this is that we will be covering three wards now! In addition to the summit ward we will be covering the palmetto Tongan and Rancho Cucamonga Tongan Wards! Since I came out on my mission I have always wanted to serve in the Polynesian wards, and now I have my chance. The cultural difference between the palangi (white) wardsthat I have served in and these Tongan wards is something I need to get used to. On Sunday a non-member family showed up for church to sing for the ward, and they held a feast for them after church! (a big feast) After the non-members got their food they asked usto come next. They treat Elders like we are royalty. One night we were eating dinner with a lady named Mafi who was recently baptized. when we showed up she went into her room to get into her Sunday best. It is humbling to see the amount of respect they show towards us. This week we will be fed by a Tongan family every night. I will need to get the stomach expansion. :) This week we started teaching a lady name Mele, who will be baptized this week on Saturday! She only knows Tongan so we have to share a simple principle and then wait for one of the members we bring to translate for us. At the end of each lesson we have with her she cries without fail. She expresses her gratitude to God for the chance she has to be baptized. She understands the lessons better than many I have taught without a language barrier. It is amazing to see so many prepared by the Lord. The next item of news I have is back in the Summit ward. We got a text-referral on our phone for a girl named Cora Kane. We knocked on the door and the high school aged girl named Cora answered. She is very eccentric and she has a love for musical theatre. We asked why she was interested in having us come over. She told us that she had just went to L.A. where she saw The Book of Mormon the musical. :) She told us that after she had seen the musical she felt like she wanted to learn more. I wondered if that musical would effect my mission. We taught her The Doctrine of Christ and committed her to be baptized. Despite her concern about her parents being obstinate she agreed to set the date for the 10th of November. Her little sister is interested too; her name is Kathryn. I think it is awesome that I can relate with Cora, seeing that I know a few musicals myself. :) I hope she stays as enthused about the church as she was in our last lesson. We have been blessed in so many ways this last week. I am happy. I just hope that my mission doesn't go too fast.

Ofa Atu

Monday, September 10, 2012

Read this,

It is going to be difficult to write with clarity about the miraculous weekend I just experienced. Serving in this area has been a unique experience. The Summit ward is well known throughout the mission as being a very slow area (or dead). The average income is quite a bit higher here than the rest of the mission, therefore the humility level may be somewhat decreased. This area has had some amazing missionaries in past years, and even then there were no baptisms. Recently they took missionaries out of this ward altogether. This weekend the ward had it's first baptisms for a very long time. On Friday we held a baptism for Addison(14) and Alexia(10) Shindling. Their dad was less active and we have been teaching them since I got here. They are the sweetest girls and they had a baptism to match. Addison couldn't hold back her tears as she was baptized by her father, and Alexia was beaming as she entered the water. There were so many in attendance that we had to move the service to the chapel. The other baptism that we had was on Saturday for Aaron Percy. As I have mentioned before Brother Percy has been meeting with the missionaries for years. The ward was stunned when he made the decision to be baptized. We taught him the lessons and then he was interviewed by President Godwin last Tuesday. The baptism was as spiritual as the last. Many came to support Brother Percy as well. The Stake President, President Sears, performed the baptism. While they were getting dressed our ward mission leader caught me off-guard and asked me if I would bare my testimony. I bore my simple testimony that Aaron Percy was following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ by being baptized by a man who held the authority from God. When Aaron Percy and President Sears came back from the dressing room, Aaron was surprised by a special musical number by his two kids. It was touching to see his two children singing "When I am Baptized." The meeting lasted longer than expected with additional talks and testimonys given. Elder Sevison and I were able to be the witnesses for the baptisms and we participated in the confirmations of all three the next day. The ward deserved this success after not seeing baptisms for three years. I'm sure no one was expecting to have three in one weekend. :) Now as if the hand of The Lord was not apparent enough the last few days, there came another miracle on Sunday, which is one of the greatest miracles I have seen on my mission. We met Keith Seagull because another set of missionaries told us that someone came to there church one Sunday who wasn't a member. He also lives in our area! We met him at the church building where he explained to us why he was coming to our church. He explained that he has been going through different religions his entire life. from Catholicism to Hinduism. He recently took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Him and his family stopped at two Marriott Hotels on there way there and back. He told us that he has been trying to get a hold of The Book of Mormon for some time now out of shear curiosity. He found The Book of Mormon in the drawer at both Marriott's and when he asked the front desk if he could have the copy in his room both Marriott's responded "no." Continuing on their road trip they went to Zions Canyon. In one of the rock shops there was a stack of Book of Mormons with a sign attached saying "take one." Keith took one. He told us that he has been reading The Book of Mormon since August third. He told us that since he has been reading it he has felt closer to Jesus Christ more than he has in his entire life, and he said that he has been more happy this last month than he has ever been. When he went into these details I couldn't stop tears from coming to my eyes. I have never met anyone on my mission more prepared by the Lord than Keith Seagull. We taught him the Doctrine of Christ and set a baptismal date for the 29th of September. We met again with him last night with Brothers Rambo and Weins from the ward. It seemed everything that Keith said blew me away. Like when he said that he felt he knew Jesus' personality more by reading of him blessing the children in Third Nephi, and when he said that his entire life he has been walking through a desert looking for water and that The Book of Mormon was a tall glass of ice water that he has finally found. I feel like I could go on and write about that lesson for pages upon pages. I hope that when I read this down the road my memory can fill in the rest. I am excited to see how he progresses further in The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is clear that God is at work here in the Summit ward and throughout the world. It seems all that I am doing is standing as still as I can as I witness the salvation of God. This will be a weekend to remember. I hope to have others like this and I hope to be worthy of them. I should stop typing before this gets included in The Journal of Discourses. :) I love ya all. This Church is true!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well I've been on my mission a year,

and what an amazing year it was. It is incomprehensible to me how time has gone so very fast. I am told that it only picks up in speed from here. This has also been an amazing week. I had part in my first Zone Leader Conference, which happens once a month. We received some great training that Elder Sevison and I will be passing on to the zone tomorrow. On Sunday Elder Sevison and I had a chance to speak in the Tongan Ward! I haven't heard hymns sung that well in sacrament meeting in my entire life. :) I spoke on The Atonement and Missionary work. It went well. I was told by many men, quite larger than I am, that my loud assertive voice woke them up from their weekly nap. :) I have grown to love their culture even more on my mission. The greatest miracle of the week happened yesterday when I met with a man named Aaron Percy. Brother Percy comes from a family of members. He went to seminary as a teenager and later married a member of the church. Through all of that he has not been baptized. For the last, who knows how many years, he has chewed up missionaries and spit them out. No one has ever gotten close to getting him baptized. A few weeks back Brother Percy was sitting in Sacrament meeting when he said a voice came in response to a friends testimony and it did not come from his head. He said it came from his chest. The words he heard was "this is true." He looked around to see if someone said something to him. He now knows that The Church is true and that he needs to be baptized. Yesterday we set a baptismal date with him for the eighth of September. Don't get me wrong, I can see why no missionaries were not able to get to him. He is a very intimidating man who works with sarcasm like other artists work with clays or paints. :) It seems we just happen to be the missionaries here while his heart has changed, and I am grateful for that. We are still working with several others whom we hope will be baptized. It is nice having a companion who isn't a young missionary. I don't feel like every responsibility rests on me. The Fontana Zone had a great week with many new baptismal dates and new investigators. It is neat looking at the work from a bigger perspective. On the Tenth of August we got the zone together for a commemorative burning of shirts and ties etc., which signify you reaching a landmark of time on your mission (6,12,18, or 24 months). I burned a shirt for hitting my year mark. As it burned I couldn't help but to think that the fire of my mission is still burning. I will have many battles, many losses, and a few precious victories still ahead of me before It is time to clean up the ashes. I hope all is well for you as you finish reading my rant-like weekly email.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away,

So when I entered the MTC one of my roommates was Elder Sevison. We became great friends while in the MTC. When we arrived in the mission we were made roommates again serving in Hesperia! It wasn't long after that we were both in the San Bernardino Zone. He is probably my best friend in the mission. Guess who my new companion is. :) Elder Sevison and I are serving as Zone Leaders in the Fontana Zone! The day of transfers couldn't have been more nerve racking. I knew that there was a chance that he would be my companion, but he had only been a ZL for one transfer. It wasn't too likely that we would be put together. The City of Fontana is very diverse it has it's higher end neighborhoods (similar to Rancho Cucamonga) and it has it's more Ghetto areas(like San B). The entire place is covered with palm trees. The area that Elder Sevision and I are working in is the Summit Ward. It is a very rich area with a lot of young families. They haven't had a baptism in this area for three years. Luckily Elder Sevision has worked hard here for the last month and we currently have four people lined up to be baptized on September eighth! (Alexia, Addison, Teola, and Jen) We also met a family yesterday that has been taking the lessons for six years. The family is ready for baptism, but the husband isn't ready to commit just yet. I am excited to see what we can do for that family. Being a ZL isn't much different than normal missionary life. There are a few more meetings and responsibilities that we have, but all of our other time is devoted to our area. I was worried about going ZL because a lot of Zone Leaders serve in YSA wards where they do not have much work. I am glad to be in a regular ward. The work here in the valley is quite a bit different than my time in the mountains. You almost have to take a completely different angle with the missionary work in the mountains. Down here the houses aren't mostly rental or seasonal homes! I am excited for what lies ahead these next few months. I hope I rise to this call I have been given. This has been a major change for me, and it will assuredly stretch me.

Love ya guys,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Well have I got some news for you,
So much has happened this last week! We went to the Redlands Temple on Wednesday and went to Cafe Rio afterwards. The Temple is always the boost I need. There is a spirit there that I don't feel anywhere else, and the spirit is in no short supply as a missionary. Cafe Rio also is also a well needed support. :) (pork burrito, black beans, mild, enchilada style, with a side of house ranch :) This last week we also said goodbye to our two-weeker Ami Latu. As we went our separate ways we yelled "Harrah for Israel" once more across the crouded church parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. The biggest bit of news I have share this week is that I AM BEING TRANSFERRED! We found that out on Saturday night. Elder DeVaney will be staying to take over the area. It seems every time I leave an area we finally get a good teaching pool going. :( That makes it even harder to leave. Another thing that will make these next few months interesting is that I was called to be a Zone Leader! This came as a shock to me. If I were President Godwin I probably wouldn't have picked me to fill one of the two zone leader positions open. Let us hope for my next zone's sake that the statemet " who The Lord calls he qualifies" is a true statement. After my nine month stay in the mountains It will feel strange leaving. I love it here in the mountains so much. Driving through thick pine trees on curving mountain roads off to my next appointment has quite literally been the majority of my mission so far. There are two things that I will love about being a zone leader: I am guaranteed a car and I am guaranteed a hard working comp. The thing I am not looking forward to is dealing with disobedient missionaries that require reproving. It is amazing that so much has happened on my mission and I still have a year to go. I am happy that I had my three month stay in Big Bear. The people are wonderful and I had so many great experiences here. I love my mission. I hope that continues despite a drastic change of circumstance.
I love ya guys

Monday, July 16, 2012

Well on Wednesday night we got a call from the APs. They asked if we would take on another two weeker! He is also Tongan! In fact he is our last two weeker's cousin! his name is Elder Latu, and he is big. :) I tried to wrestle him, and it did not turn out so well. :) We have a couple of fun weeks ahead of us. I hope he gets something out of his missionary experience. I know I get something out of every two weeks I am out here. In other news we picked up a new investigator yesterday! His name is Jason and he is friends with a young man in the ward. It just so happened that we were planning to teach the restoration to there eight year old nephew Joseph and Jason was able to come to the lesson too! He has agreed to read and pray about The Book of Mormon and we will teach him again this Sunday! He is a well needed addition to our teaching pool. We are definitely in the building stage at the moment. I hope that our building will lead to additional baptisms here in the Big Bear Ward. It is our last two weeks for Elder DeVaney and I. We are not sure who is leaving yet, but we know that one of us will probably go. It has been an eventful three months for us, I hope it continues for both of us no matter what happens. You know missionary work isn't easy. (big surprise huh) I heard a talk from Jeffrey R. Holland this week that changed my perspective on why missionary work is as hard as it is, and that is what I will close with.
"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul."
Elder Roos

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ello Chaps!

This week just flew by! As they seem to always do. On Tuesday I received six letters from family and friends! So I felt very loved this week. Elder Brown now has less days than I do months left being a missionary. :) I hope I get a good next Comp. I'll let you know how he is when I do. :) We have had some good teaching opportunities lately. We are preparing a Jason Rogerson to be baptized on the 18th of February. He has progressed so fast in a short amount of time. When I first met him I thought "yea.. we won't have much luck with him," and now he is more active than many members in the branch. :) There are things to be happy about here in Running Springs. On Saturday we had Interviews with President Godwin. I always look forward to meeting with him. He can be a little long winded :), but he always has great advice. This morning I went to a members house for a voice lesson! This has been in the plans for a couple of weeks now, and It will continue every p-day at ten. Sister Brady teaches singing a lot different than what I am used to. I wanted to do it so I can keep this voice of mine exercised, and hey maybe I'll learn a few things. :) I wonder what my average ":)" count is for these weekly messages. I'll have to count them up at the end of my mission. :) Oh, and there I go again. Well I'm still alive, I miss y'all, and I love y'all

Dear you,
Lehi Taught us that there is oposition in all things. this week I have seen some great times, and I have also seen a few things that haven't been so great. Lets get the not so great stuff out of the way now. Our investigator Kaylee who is 14 informed us that her dad won't allow her to be baptized until she is eighteen years old. that makes four people attending this ward who want to be baptized but cannot due to court or parental restrictions. Frustrating, to say the least. I hate it when there are factors, which are out of my control. Now that we have that out of the way we can talk about my birthday! I AM 20! Isn't crazy how time flies right on by. My birthday was a great day. I had presents to open and I had friends in this ward to celebrate with. I also received a pretty nice gift from God on the night of the fourth. We were getting ice cream and we got a call from Mathew, a priest in the ward. just down the road there were two of his friend who were asking questions about the church. We walked down the street and had an hour long discussion focused on The Restoration of the Gospel. When we all of the questions were answered one of the girls said "we need to talk again!" So this week we are setting up a return appointment! Two new investigators was the best present that I got on my birthday. :) Another event that was significant this week was saying goodbye to our two week missionary David Kaufussi. We had all grown close over these last two weeks. I am glad he was there for my birthday. We dropped him off at the stake center in Rancho Cucamonga. At the meeting held by president Godwin Brother Kaufussi gave a short talk on his experience with us. when It was time for him to leave he yelled "harrah for Isreal" across the parking lot, and Elder DeVaney and I echoed the same. It is goodbye for now to my Tongan friend. I wanted to thank all of you to who sent me a package or a letter for my birthday. It meant so much to me. I will work on getting replies out to all of you. As far as birthdays go this one was probably the best one that I could have had away from my family, though I do miss them terribly. I hope you all had an amazing week.

Friday, July 6, 2012

This week was a lot of fun. We fed Lamas, we went bowling with the Elders Chorum, and we played with the endangered desert tortoises that a member owns. :)But more important than all of that, we set a date for Kaylee to be baptized! Kaylee is Suzanne's daughter. She is fourteen years old and has made the decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I really hope we can keep her on track to make that happen. In contrast to that news we found out that the court won't allow our investigator Mario to be baptized until he is eighteen.(He is fifteen now) This was very unwelcome news. He is a ward of the court so they make the decision if he can be or not. They do not understand what there decision actually means for Mario. He bore his testimony on Sunday expressing that he knew that this church is true but that he could not do anything about that knowledge. We will continue to teach him and read the Book of Mormon with him despite this news. This work is full of ups and downs. It is a good thing that the ups stick with me for a lot longer than the downs. In other news It is my birthday this week! I never thought I would live until twenty but here I am. :) I hope all of you have a great fourth. I'm going to go and get some food now. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear family and friends

I cannot describe how incredible this weekend was. I had the chance to be a part of two baptisms. Suzanne was baptized on Saturday and Bronson Luce, a young man I taught in Running Springs, asked if I could baptize him on Sunday. Suzanne's baptism will be a cherished memory for the rest of my life. The entire program ran perfectly including a talk on baptism given by her three children Taylor, Riley, and Bryce. The only thing that went wrong is that the Big Bear building does not have a working water heater at the moment. :( The water was cold. When Suzanne and I stepped into the font both of us reacted to the cold water. She said " wow it is cold," and I replied "don't worry it will be worth it." After we were dried off and in our seats, Sister Jo Ann Holm gave an amazing talk about the The Gift of the Holy Ghost. During her talk Sister Holm asked Suzanne how she was feeling. Suzanne replied saying "There is just so much happiness, so much joy." The spirit was a lot stronger than I had anticipated. After the service I asked "did you enjoy your baptism." She said "yes, It was so worth it." As I have thought about, that my mind was brought back to my home, where a picture of Christ is displayed with the words "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." The sacrifices we make to follow Jesus Christ are so small compared with what he has in store for us. Bronson's baptism was an amazing experience as well. In April I had the opportunity to baptize his mom. He too has finally decided to take that step. It was great to see everyone in Running Springs again. I keep telling them that they won't see me again, and I am always happy to be wrong. When the baptism was finished his mother was in tears. I hope Bronson remembers the spirit that he felt for the rest of his life. On a complete side note there was a lady at the baptism that I tracted into seven months ago! She is now investigating the church! It is cool to see how even the planting of the smallest seed can grow immensely down the road. Something else happened this last week that is worth mentioning. Before the baptisms we picked up a two week missionary from Rancho Cucamonga named David Kaufusie. He wanted to give mission life a try, and they chose Elder DeVaney and I to be the missionaries to show him the ropes. It is times like these that I wonder if President Godwin knows what he is doing. :) He is Tongan! We have had so much fun these last five days. I now have a Tongan name. It is "pālangivai". It means White Water!! :) I think you can figure out why this is my Tongan name. :) Well Until next week. I love my mission, and I'm sure Nate will love his too!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello from the battle front,

Yesterday we had a great lesson with Suzane Cuaz. We are making the some of the final preparations for her baptism this Saturday. Since I have met her I have said that I haven't seen anyone this ready to be baptized on my mission. She recently read the entire Gospel Principles book, she reads the Book of Mormon with her kids daily, and most importantly she prayed and received an answer that this is church is true before we even met her. Her experience has been the miracle of my stay in Big Bear. At the end of the lesson we just had she asked me if I would baptize her and she asked Elder DeVaney if he could do the confirmation! In my eyes there is no greater honor than participating in these holy ordinances. I am happy that Elder DeVaney has the chance to  see success early in his mission. In complete contrast to what I have been just talking about Elder DeVaney and I have been battling the last few weeks with an ant colony that lives in our walls. When I they ate my fruit loops and brownies I wasn't too upset, but when they tried to break into my Nuttella.......... IT BECAME WAR. :) We have since acquired all manner of poisons and ant traps to deter them from a complete take-over. I am happy to report that the scales are tipping and our flag is rising. I will give you more updates on the epic war between man and ant next week. :) Last on my agenda of things to report is express some of my feelings for my father. On my mission I have seen many broken families. I have seen many priesthood holders not rising up to their responsibilities. My mind has been drawn back to my own father who, in his patient yet powerful way, has been a leader for my family in the good times bad. Just as our heavenly father does for all of us, my Dad has set a high bar for me. He was a missionary in Norway, He was married in the Logan Temple, He is now a worthy priesthood holder, and now I am led to follow and do the same. To avoid any cliche connotations that this message may Carry, my Dad does have his share of follies. It is because of those that he has been able to help me when I have too fallen. Dad, I love you. Happy fathers Day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

So Guess What!
It was just another Wednesday night. I was winding down after a day of seeing people, when I got a text from my last comp in Running Springs. It said: "hey Lisa just got out of an interview with Pres and she is getting baptized this Sunday at five! She also wants you to baptize her" That text message blew my mind! :) I had set a date with her before I came here to Big Bear and that date came and went. Finding out that she was really going to do it  and that she wanted me to baptize her was one of the greatest pieces news I have received on my mission. The baptismal service was sweet; The Spirit was strong. Lisa has gone through a lot in her life. It was incredible to see her fears washed away by the cleansing power of the atonement, through baptism and confirmation. We had special permission to have her confirmed right there after she had been baptized. I hope I never forget the happiness I saw in her face when she was feeling the spirit so strongly. She has many obstacles ahead (as we all do) but she is through the gate that leads to Eternal Life. Not to mention she has a "trail guide" now, which is the Holy Ghost. President and Sister Godwin head the chance to attend the service as well. I told to President that I was grateful that the spirit has inspired him to keep me in the mountains. He replied "don't get to used to it," or something to that effect. :) President Godwin is a great man. I feel like the blessing of seeing this success was undeserved on my part. I think of the missionaries elsewhere giving it their all and not seeing much success through their missions. The Lord is doing a great work here in So. Cal. I'm just glad I can hitch on for the ride. :) On a completely different note some of the zone came up here to Big Bear for a hike called Castle Rock. You can see the lake from the top of the trail, so beautiful. Well that is all for this week. More miracles always are on their way ....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

MY Good People!
Another great week in the paradise of big bear! We had one of the funnest lessons I have taught on my mission this last week. It was with Suzane and three of her kids. Elder Devaney and I went to the church about a half an hour before hand to set up a maze/ obstacle course with anything we could find. The course spanned the entire cultural hall. :) When the kids showed up we blind-folded them with ties and they had to make it through the course listening closely to "the still small voice"(us) guiding them through the twists and turns. We taught them a lot about the Holy Ghost and how we really need to listen closely to the promptings we get. We then led them to a big chalk board that had The Plan of Salvation drawn out in detail across it. The kids seemed to learn it well enough to turn around and teach us when we were done explaining it. For the final portion of our lesson with them we showed them a big bowl filled with water. We sprinkled pepper across the waters surface to represent sin. To represent baptism and repentance we added dish soap which forced the pepper to the sides of the bowl. The kids love the church and what they are being taught so much. It is a shame we don't have permission to get them baptized yet. Another fun event this week was the ward party on Saturday night. It was held at the LDS Youth Camp here in Big Bear. To entertain us after dinner was a performer called Farley The Fiddler, who has a show at Disney Land. It was very much a kid oriented show, but man that guy can play the fiddle. :) I had him play The Devil Went Down to Georgia when his show was done. :) All in all it seems that each and every week I have memories that will stick with me for a very long time. The ward loves us, I'm doing well and I thank you for all of the support.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Zion
I've come to realize that a good week for a missionary can come down to five minutes of success out of the 10,080 minutes we live each week. A few of those minutes of which I speak were on Friday. We had a lesson with our investigator Steve. As I have done many times before we had Steve open his Book of Mormon to 2 Nephi 31, the chapter on baptism. We read the chapter with him until we reached versus 9 and 10, where we come across the famous line "Follow Thou Me." Elder DeVaney then invited him to be baptized. After only a moment, he replied "Absolutely!" I have been on my mission long enough to know how important that moment is. I have also been on my mission long enough to know that this was the easy part. :) Steve will have many hurdles yet to face before we can make baptism a reality. The difference now is that we know that he is willing to take that hard road. Another couple of minutes that made this week successful were the ones we spent with Suzane Cuaz. After discussing the details of the restoration I committed her to baptism for the 23rd of June. We hope and pray that her kids Taylor and Riley who are of baptismal age can join her as well, but without there father's consent it will not happen. I have a feeling that baptismal permission has been the bane of many missionaries trying to baptize many of the broken families here in California. Well I hope there are a few minutes next week that will make it another success for the ward here in Big Bear, and ultimately for the Lord.
Until next week

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Family and Friends
Big Bear has been a blast so far. We have met a lot of great people, and I can see why it is a coveted area in the mission. I was pretty certain that Running Springs was the most beautiful area in the mission. Big Bear has proven me wrong. The work is going better than I could have anticipated.  The Lord has provided new teaching opportunities that we desperately needed. Meeting the Cuaz family has been one of the most exciting developments since we arrived here. Suzane Cuaz is a single mother with four kids. She wanted to join the church when she was very young but her mother wouldn't allow it. She has prayerfully asked what church she should attend and the answer she received is "you already know." Suzane and her kids have been to church twice so far and we will be teaching them later this week. I look forward to seeing progress with that family. On Thursday I went on exchanges with another missionary in our district. The reason for the exchange was so that I could do a baptismal interview for a Larry Crawford, who was just baptized into the Lucerne Valley Ward. This is the first time I have interviewed anyone for church purposes. When the interview was finished I knew that he was more than ready to be baptized. It is great to see someone so willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ. On a side note Lucerne Vally is a vast desert. It reminds me of "Tatooine" off of Star Wars, or more specifically "Mos Eisley" (you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy... I know I am a nerd:). So in short Lucerne valley is Spirit Prison and Big Bear is Spirit Paradise. :) While we were on Exchanges Elder DeVaney Contacted a media referral we got on our phone. Steve Close called the number on the back of a pass along card that he got from some missionaries years ago. (yes, a little thing like giving someone a card does matter.) Yesterday we taught him the Restoration and he is pretty excited about it. It is nice to not only get new investigators, but solid ones as well. Another neat experience started as we got a phone call from our Ward Mission Leader, brother Nielson. He informed us that there was a less active member who needed a blessing. It just so happened that this less active member was none other than Aaron Brinks who is a famous MMA Fighter. We met him at the church and it was clear to see why he would succeed in such a sport.  The blessing went well. He came to us in a lot of distress and left feeling at peace. It is amazing what the spirit can do. Maybe Aaron can teach me a few moves. :) Anyway! I hope all of you are doing well. I will try to get better at writing letters. I'm having fun out here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I have been transferred to.... 'drum roll'...
BIG BEAR LAKE CALIFORNIA! After spending six months in an amazing mountain area, I have the chance to be in the mountain area next door! Though we are building the work here from the ground up, I am happy to stay in the mountains. Especially when it will be one of the coolest(temperature) places in the mission come summer time. Though it is going to take some time to get work going, I know this will be great place to train. Speaking of which, my greeny's name is Elder Travis DeVaney from West Jordan UT. He spent eight years playing football back home and he has a fetish for studying and drawing dinosaurs. He is very well rounded. :) We have been getting along very well. In other news I GOT TO TALK TO THE FAM YESTERDAY! It is funny how long you look forward to that and it is over in a flash. It was a needed boost for me at this point in my mission. Like I said the work here is slow, but we do have a couple of things I am excited about. A young man in the foster program named Mario Barr has started taking the lessons from us and has committed to be baptized! Due to the complications of his family situation we don't know how long it will take to get the permission to do so, but fear not we will do our best. Tonight we are teaching him the Plan of Salvation. We are striving to be as obedient as we can be. We need all the spiritual power we can get right now to get this area going. Well I'm nine months out on my mish and things are going well for us in the great San B mission.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It is official, I am being transferred. I feel my stay here in Running Springs has been very well spent. Sunday was one of my last chances to see all of the people I have grown so close to in these last six months. It has been hard saying goodbye, but the spirit has called me another way. :) To add to the anxiety to going to a new area I found out that I am going to be training a new missionary! This is both exciting and scary. My greeny and I will be whitewashing into an area, which means it will be new to both of us. This puts a lot of pressure on me to get the work going as well as getting this new missionary up to speed. To add to that I was also asked by President Godwin to be a District Leader! So I will be a "White-washing-Trainer-District Leader". This will be a different missionary experience than what I am used to. It is one that will require all of the diligence to be obedient that I can muster. So I may need extra prayers this month with the added pressures I will have. God always gives us opportunities to stretch. I been stretched quite a bit as a missionary. I hope in this new challenge I won't have to many "growing pains." :) Lisa is still on track to be baptised! That will give me a chance to come to Running Springs in a month or so! Not much more to say than thanks for all of the support, and I will have a chance to talk to my mommy in a week. :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pics - 4/30

And it came to pass That It was another great week in the field with a few more stories to remember. On our way to district meeting on Tuesday we stopped to take pictures of the valley. A guy named Ted pulled off next to us and asked "are you guys Mormons?" We were like "..... yea :)" He said he had been going through some very hard times and he wanted us to pray for him right there. (a common occurrence actually) After finding out that he lived in Running Springs we asked if we could come over. Yesterday we had our first lesson with Ted. The spirit was strong and he has committed to be at church this Sunday! He is one of the most promising new investigators we have had in a while. We have been very blessed to pick up at least one new investigator each week. Another miracle that happened this week was when we set a baptismal date with Lisa Ornalez! It has been hard to get lessons with her the last couple of transfers, but when we did we were bold. We read 2 Nephi 31 and challenged her to baptism. These types of lessons are the ones I will remember for years to come. Her family has been going through some hard times. I know that the gospel in their lives can heal many wounds. For now Lisa the mother of four is the only one so far with a date, but we hope that her example will push her daughters along. In other news I find out if I am going to be transferred on Saturday. We had Interviews with President Godwin this last week, and though it was undetermined, He made it seem that I would be going. I have been here for six months, which is about the length they want missionaries in one area. I have mixed feelings about leaving Running Springs, especially with all of the great work we have been doing lately. But as they say "I'll go where you want to go dear Lord." I have seen a lot of good happen here In Running Springs. I will surely miss it. It's a good thing I would only have a five hour drive from home to get back here. :) Well nothing is for certain just yet so I will let you know next week. I miss you all soooo much. 

It is not often you get to shake hands with an apostle of the Lord. On Saturday I did just that. We arrived at the meeting in Fontana at two, an hour before it was time to start. As time grew closer My comp and I went to the restroom at 2:25. On our way back to the chapel we passed Elder Ballard and his security guards. :) I nervously looked at him and greeted him as I softly said "Elder Ballard" with the slight nod of my head. He replied with something like "how are you Elders today." When got back to the Chapel I turned to another missionary and told him That we passed Elder M. Russell Ballard in the hall, and my companion said "WE DID!?" Ha :) He didn't recognize him nor did he hear me greet him.:) After everyone was seated quietly we started with everyone lining up to shake Elder Ballard's hand. Accompanying Elder Ballard was Shayne M. Bowen and Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Seventy. We also heard from Douglas F. Higham who is an area Seventy for a part of California. All of their talks were amazing, but it was clear who the apostle was when Elder Ballard spoke. He was a lot funnier then I thought he would be. He got up to the pulpit and the first thing he said was "well.... let's go home!":). As he looked over all of our faces he said " you guys need to put on more sunscreen!... We don't want you comin' home with cancer!" :) He proceeded with his talk and the spirit was strong. He saved some time at the end of his talk to answer questions and address concerns. At the close of his talk he simply bore his testimony by reading 3 Nephi 11. If you have not read that chapter recently I suggest you do so. He got choked up as he read it gave us his Apostolic witness that Jesus Christ Lives. He called blessing upon us for the work here in The great San B mission. It is safe to say that this was the best meeting I have ever been to on my mission, if not my life. I am going to work on applying the wisdom they had for us in the coming weeks and months ahead. The work in Running Springs is still going well. We are getting new investigators and getting them on the path of discipleship. I hope my fam has fun in Mexico, but I would rather be here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Southern Utah,

This email won't nearly be as exciting as the last, but there are a few things to report on including the epic snow storm we had. The people of Running Springs never fail to tell me how fed up they are with the snow. I've never had this much winter in my life! The good thing about snow storms is it helps us get into more houses. Would you deny a couple of missionaries covered in snow at your front door with ice shrapnel filled winds laying siege upon their faces? I didn't think so.:) That actually did help us get into a couple of houses that normally turn us away this week. In other snow related news we got stuck! We got a truck A.D. (after destruction) that would supposedly keep us out of that kind of trouble with it's four wheel drive etc. But after an amazing lesson on the Book of Mormon with a couple of our new investigators Dean and Linda, we got stuck in the middle of a snow storm heading back to the main highway. After pushing, digging, sliding, and freezing for forty five minutes we finally called our Branch Mission Leader Earl Purkiss. With his help we finally got the truck we have named Bruce back on the road.:) We finally got home at 11:30, Which is a bit past our curfew. :) The work here has been going good, but we are definitely in a building stage again after those two baptisms. We are working with a few people now that I have high hopes for. In sadder new an investigator we started teaching recently dropped us after looking up a lot of "anti" on Joseph Smith. I told her that her reading the Book of Mormon and asking God is the ONLY way she can know the truth. She wouldn't listen. In happier news M Russell Ballard is coming to speak to the mission this Sunday! I am very excited for that. It isn't to often I get to hear an Apostle of our Lord speak in person. I will let you know how that goes next time. I have a firm testimony of this work, and every experience I have builds on that. I hope all of you are doing wonderfully. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hello World,

There are few weekends in my life that can compare to the one I just experienced. The combination of baptisms and Easter is more than any missionary could ask for. The first was on Friday, where I had the opportunity to baptize Diana. It has been such a blessing to know her. Through the entire program she couldn't restrain her tears. I do admit I was pretty nervous to do the baptism, but it went perfectly. As I was getting changed into my dry clothes, I felt the chills which I personally feel when the spirit is with me. I know that her baptism was of great eternal significance. After I was dressed I gave a talk on The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and then our branch president led in her confirmation. When the final prayer was said I asked her if it had met her expectations. She replied that "It was better than she could have imagined." Diana is a follower of Jesus Christ, which is a manifestation of her strong faith. The second Baptism was for A.J Lundgren. His baptism was on Saturday morning and it was as celestial as the first. I started teaching him the week we arrived in running springs. He has been seeing missionaries for ten years and he has finally taken the step of baptism. The change of heart I have seen with him has been huge. During the baptism he was the picture of sincerity. He is a man who doesn't express too much emotion, but with the Spirit of God unrestrained his emotion was also unrestrained. His father in law baptized him and we had the confirmation in the light of an Easter morning. The reason for the Easter holiday is the same reason we can feel the true joy that I have felt in circumstances like the ones mentioned. It is because of Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. On another note I would like to thank my amazing family for the box of Easter candy! I would also like to thank my dear Grandma Sandy for her package of sweets as well. The support I have received has been amazing. I love you all and I will see you all very soon. (I'm a third of the way through my mission:) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

To Everyone,

This mission has been full of firsts for me. It is the first time I have lived away from a sweet mother who cleans and cooks for me. :) It is the first time I have been personally involved in others coming to Christ. It is also the first time I have gotten in a car crash. For those who have driven with me in past years you are probably not surprised. :) Believe it or not I have been an overly cautious while driving, but it only takes one mistake to get into a car accident. I was driving down the highway here in Running Springs and I made a left turn and I didn't see the oncoming car coming. They hit our back end. If they would have swerved a foot they would have missed us. that initial hit pushed us into the bumper of a car turning right. So the first half of this week we were on foot while I car is being repaired. :( Ironically enough we were able to talk to a lot more people that way and we picked up a new investigator! on Sunday I was able to turn this into a great analogy for living the gospel. when I got to this area I drove in snow and on ice for my first time. I also have never experienced so many drivers darting down skinny mountain roads so fast that you don't see them until the last second. We also have had the experience many times to drive through fog so thick you can't see the yellow lines on the road. But it was the moment when I wasn't fearful of crashing that I made a mistake. At the beginning of this life God has handed us keys to the new car that is our bodies. Though at times we may be careful in keeping gospel principals, when we let our guards down by letting ourselves be distracted or deceived by Satan, we crash. Where this analogy falls apart is that there is no auto body shop on earth that gives you a car better than the one you crashed when they are done fixing it. The Atonement of Jesus Christ on the other hand does. Not only are our spiritual wounds healed but we are lifted even higher than we once were. Yes I just turned a moment of my utter stupidity into a gospel lesson.:) Another first for me in my life will be this Friday, when I will have a chance to baptize someone. Dianna called me one morning B.C (before the crash :) and asked me If I would baptize her. I am so grateful that I will have the chance to be a part of this sacred ordinance. another first for my mission is the fact that we have two separate baptisms this weekend! One for Dianna and the other will be on Saturday for A.J Lundgren. I have loved becoming his friend and preparing him for baptism. At the priesthood session he came to me and a member of the branch council and said that after ten years of going through different missionaries and wards, he feels that he is finally ready. He said that it was the right branch and the right missionaries (ME!:) that have brought him to this complete 180 degree turn. I loved conference. Holland's talk about the "11th hour" and Uchtdorfs talk about "envy and forgiveness" were my favorites. I felt there were many things that I could 'liken' unto myself. :) well thank you for your prayers and letters.:)