Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mission Letter Week 32 - 24 February 2014

Feb. 24th:
Short email time! Just got here! Will hopefully have time in the morning to type up more and will be writing a letter tonight to mail tomorrow or Wednesday. I still have time now to type up a shorter email (in comparison to what I will be writing overall,) so I’ll get to that now.

YES, I got the Valentine’s Day package! It was very nice! :D We enjoyed it very, very much. Thank you! :)

The V family is doing well and S (mother) and A (middle daughter) are getting baptized this weekend!! WOOP WOOP!!

The R family is well but they have been out of contact with us for a little while. We are going to work our way over there this week.

Elders F, J and I are doing well and are pretty much over the spiritual trauma of the whole thing. Elder A has been emailing us regularly and he is doing just dandy with his steak and hot tub......and Netflix.......and TV.......and get the idea. XD

Spiritually I am doing just fine but temporally I could use a little help in getting....something....but I can’t remember what it is.... so it may not be that big a deal......I'll let you know if I remember. I don't really think about material things here. They just have no significant bearing on....anything. At all.

YESSS!!! :D I used the Traumeel on my knee right away...OH! THAT’S what I was going to ask for!!! I need to get a $15 knee brace at Walmart and an ankle weight at a sports store for IDK-how-much. Brother/Dr. P in the AV Ward here (sister ward to ours) is a chiropractor and has been giving me therapy this week as my knee has been super achy. So yeah. That's what I needed. lol!

Unfortunately I am not allowed to shop outside of Monday unless it is an emergency. Which it is not :( I have had a couple blessings and it is just some easy simple chiropractic therapy that is going very well. :)

Tennis shoes??? :D OHHHHHH!!! OKAY 'cuz I was gonna be like COOL! But I have no packing space for them ._. hahaha XD  I don't know of anything off the top of my head really that I want or need.....except for tie money, but I wouldn't recommend that cause it can get a little silly. lol!

OH, YES, A BELT!!! I have punched 3 new holes in mine and had to cut off the definitely that. Cause it’s not really doing its job. haha. Again with me not thinking of my physical things. Ugh.This is why families are a good thing. XD

Well my current one is a Dickie's 44 from wally world. So I am assuming a 42 should do the trick just dandy. :)

I already picked up a brown belt from another Elder out here so a reversible one wouldn't be necessary and wouldn’t be as sturdy anyways.

Letter-writing paper wouldn't be too bad either. haha.

And Old Spice is the way to go!! WOOP WOOP!

I am going to focus on sending pics right now and save the writing for the letter/emailing at a later time. :D I’ll send them now, but separately. Love you guys!

(Details for pics just put on Drop Box coming!)

We have to go to dinner now so we will finish this hopefully tomorrow morning as Elder F didn't get hardly anytime to email at all. And I’ll write a snail mail letter too.

Love you! BYE!


Feb. 25th:


OTAY. Let it begin.  Since we have about 2 hrs, I’ll just write it all in here instead of snail-mail.

Mama, you mentioned a concern about Elder A and how he got a hold of "deep doctrine". We are allowed to read talks, and one of the books we can read is Jesus the Christ, which can be very deep if you make it. These things and some conferences we have been to are the things I am talking about when I say he studied deep stuff. Cool beans? :D Cool beans.

As for when this all went down it began really around the 10th but didn’t get crazy till the 12th-ish, and wound down just a handful of days ago. I am not surprised that it "matches up" like that though, (with how you were feeling at that time,) in the least. You and I, dear mother, we have a connection....and the Spirit. haha.

When I talked about the things that the four of us were talking about, that was just a fancy way of saying we were talking about the simple doctrine of Christ, and going over some of the discussions and talking about what we had seen applied and cause-and-effect and such. We learn the lessons and then start to truly understand them as we teach them more and more throughout our missions. That’s all. I cannot recall in detail what we talked about but it’s not of great importance in all honesty.

As for when I prayed and learned how to apply that knowledge and so forth, that's all it is, I learned the simple doctrine of Christ, the pure teachings of truth and during my prayer I realized how I could apply it personally to the people we were teaching. That is the goal we shoot for at all times: How can this thing help this person?

Along with all this knowledge, both missionary-minded knowledge and not, comes great responsibility to LIVE it. When we learn about eternal truths, we are personally responsible to live according to the knowledge and wisdom we gained through the grace and power of the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth.

Here is the quote I was talking about, by Grant Von Harrison (I don’t know who that is):

"Until you learn to discipline your mind and have complete control over it you will be limited in your capacity to exercise your faith. The full power of mind is only realized when it is focused and directed to a specific end. If you allow your mind to dwell on incidental or mundane preoccupations you will be limited in your ability to draw on the power of faith and your mind will not be a source of power for you. You will also discover that as you attempt to control and focus your mind the devil will bring things to your view to distract you. When you can control your mind, and not allow it to be distracted, you will be able to exercise unlimited faith and unlock the powers of Heaven by your faith."

This is the source of everything right here. The point of this whole email, the past two to three weeks, my mission, our lives. Control of our minds. It is directly relative to our control of our faith and power and reliance upon God. Elder A recognized this and wanted to apply it but tried TOO hard and looked beyond the mark in a way. This lead to taking things out of proportion and thinking too deep about things. Taken the right way, however, and used appropriately, we can literally unlock the powers of Heaven by our faith. We see it time and time again in the scriptures when a prophet or someone else exercises their faith and controls themselves, they see God face to face or someone is healed or something is learned or taught. The power of God is real and we need it in our lives. This is how we do that.

I love this time in my life. It is the most stressful, there is more drama in missionary life than I think anywhere else on the planet, no joke, and it's a crazy time, but it is glorious and magnificent and I wouldn't miss this ride for the UNIVERSE!! Thank you for supporting me and helping me on my path to this point. Parents have the most important job of anyone else on the entire planet and you guys did great! :D Not to brag or anything. ;)

I am a different man already and there is more change to come as I learn of my Savior and live according to the testimony within me. My very soul has been changed for the better.

I don't have much else to say at this point other than to mind your mind. Don't rely on it, but keep it focused so you can use it as a source of power, or rather, a conduit for the power and wisdom of our Almighty Father in Heaven. Stay focused on the target and you can achieve it. Vary but a little bit and it will damage your progress and growth. But, we WILL vary. We do that, we are human. So when we do, use the Atonement, which again, by controlling your mind and exercising your faith, you can do with ease. I love you all very, VERY much and hope that this week will be a great one for you and all will be well. Go kick Satan in the face! (New motto for our Zone lately!)



Well said, Elder Brak.

I see a lot of references on the internet to this author, Grant Von Harrison. Be warned of anyone that talks of “self mastery”. If we could master self, we would not need the Savior. The very reason we have the Savior is because we can not master ourselves.

We can exercise faith, and then The Lord will help with the rest. We can not control our minds. But, we can and should try, and we can follow the simple teachings we have been given.

Do not lose faith if you lose control. That is the teaching of the adversary. Pick yourself back up, repent, and keep buggering on. HE WILL CARRY US when we can not do it ourselves...if we have faith.


You are exactly right. That is exactly where Elder A took a slightly wrong turn. He did not completely rely on his own self-mastery of his mind but he also didn’t rely on Heavenly Father quite enough. The whole key to control, is Heavenly Father, His power, and the enabling power of Christ's Atonement. Good stuff. Just had a chance to reply shortly while Elder F finished up. Gotta go. Love you guys. Brak.

Elder 9

PICTURES:  A P-Day In The Life of Elder Nine (Specifically, 24 Feb. 2014)

The day begins...

Driving in beautiful P. It's not as pretty as it looks though. hahaha.

LAUNDRY DROP OFF! We do our laundry at the E Family home as they are kind enough to us do our laundry there! :D  They are SO COOL too!

 Brother E. :D  He's catching up on some work with his MacBook. :P

 ML. He is painting the E's home inside and has been coming with us almost every day for 2-6 hours at a time! He is getting ready for his mission and is doing GREAT! He's really cool too! :)

Personal Study Time at the H's Home (Elder F does his laundry there, and they are not usually there, so it is a nice quiet place to study) I am reading Jesus The Christ in this one. :P

Joey, the H's dog. :D


Walmart time! Getting groceries and that jazz.

 BURLINGTON!!!! Tie shopping for Elder C and Elder Kimball.  K is the shorter of the two unfamiliar ones, and he's from L, and he and I LOVE MUSIC! He actually has an album on iTunes and is a recording artist! You should check out his stuff...since I can't, haha, He is majoring in music and can improvise like CRAZY and wrote a song called "Carthage" which is a mix of "Praise To The Man" and "A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief" and other stuff and tells the story of Joseph Smith in Carthage and stuff!

 In Burlington, tie shopping.

 In front of PRH going in to give a guy a blessing whose brother is a member of the church. He had a heart attack. :(  But he seems to be doing great now!

The next three pics are of the car wash, the "Lavacruz Wash" XD

Me, holding SWEET swords! :D

The next four pics were taken while I was on exchanges
with Elder L
("Exchanges" is when a missionary from one companionship trades places with a missionary from another companionship and the two "new" sets of Elders are "companions" just for that day. Sometimes it helps the work to have a new set of eyes, new set of ears, and new personalities.)

Elder L 

 Elders J and P being goofy after picking us up for dinner. XD

 Elder L again XD

 Elder J "plating" us! lol!

And that's all the pics for this time around! :D Hope you like 'em!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mission Letter Week 31 - 17 February 2014


Wow, this week has been a giant miracle and a living hell. Sad news first, Elder A has returned home. But on the upside of that, his mother wants to get baptized! However, the reasons for his leaving are not related to his mother.

Unfortunately, you have a fool for a son and he forgot his camera and the quote by Elder W. I will make sure to bring those both next week.

Allow me to tell you the story behind Elder A and I'll fill in the rest after. (Elder A said it would be OK to share.)

Elder A is a very intelligent man. He has finished college and even had a business he left behind for his mission. He is also a convert and newly reactivated and has very few members of his family who are members, and none are active. He came out on his mission and was very, very excited to learn more and be awesome. He and I actually came out at the same time, were in the MTC together and everything. In that short time, he has learned everything that would normally take 20 years to learn. EVERYTHING. From the littlest details to the grand scheme of things. Phase there. Remember Elder W? Well, he is also a very deep and intelligent man. He started out very, very "dark" (in Spirit) and has fully experienced the change the Atonement can give you. He also studied VERY deep doctrine. He never taught with it though, and he knew how to control it. His greatness came from his love, and his knowledge and understanding of the Atonement. Nothing else. Elder A did not grasp that. He went deep...and it broke him. He has returned home now because he came to know God so closely and because he did so, (well, not ‘because’, but as in all things there is opposition, so…) he also ‘got to know’ the adversary very well. It terrified him and broke his mind. Literally. It was scary and not Holy. He is receiving 'In-person" help from the Area Seventy, Elder Davenport, who is in charge of all the medical stuff here.

The only reason I give you such a detailed report on all this is so you can understand the spirit we have felt all week. Powerful, Glorious (on one hand), but TERRIFYING (on the other hand). Deep doctrine is not what teaches us. It is not how we come to know our Savior’s love for us. It is through SIMPLE MEANS that we do this. Simple obedience (though not blind). Simple love. Simple studies. See the pattern?

It IS possible to hurt yourself by thinking you are doing something right and good, if it is given to you by the adversary. That sounds harsh as that seems to accuse Elder A of working with the Devil. This is not the case. Rather he relied on his own logic and understanding to learn of God and then tried to use the power of God to call down understanding and miracles. God gave it to him. And he found out it wasn't what he wanted/expected.

One thing he missed out on is the quote I will have for you next week. An important detail that makes a big difference. Sorry to leave you hanging on that little one again I just don't want to ruin it.

Everything above is really what I wanted to get at (since last week). Trust in God, don't ask for more than what He knows you need, and trust in God…Yep… Said that twice.

With that, everything is going SUPER well in our area, and we are now working with Elder F in a "tripanionship" and have a car at least till the end of this transfer. :D The V family is doing great right now though there are tensions in the home and we all know where that comes from. The adversary does NOT want this family to join the church. Too bad he's (the adversary) on the losing team.

We have had a hard time finding other people because we spend so much time with the V family and the R family (don't know if I have mentioned them yet) and we are convinced that is why there are now FOUR Elders in this ward not just two. So we have a handful here. Which is good. It's great actually. The way it's supposed to be. We will be taking some time to heal this week but hopefully we will get some good work in too. We shall see.

I hope I got everything out that I needed to...I don't really even know right now. My brain and spirit are FRIED and all I can say is thank you for bringing me up right because I am on auto pilot right now and am just trusting in the hand of God because I can't do it right now. I'm okay overall though, so I'm not giving cause to worry or anything. Just a trial I'm meant to go through. I feel it is not my worst one either.

I love you guys a bunch! I actually had a thought earlier today. Since we email at the end of P-day, I am going to take videos and pics all Monday next week and send you a “Day In The Life” worth of pics and vids! >:D We'll see how it turns out - hahaha!

Trust God. Don't do anything dumb. Keep the faith, fight the GOOD fight. Talk to you next week!


Elder 9


** OH! and my neck size is now 18.5 :D

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mission Letter Week 30 - 10 February 2014


SO SORRY I keep emailing late. President should just get us a car so we don't slow the zone leaders down and vise-verse hahaha! It has been a really good week so far. I wish I could reply to everything you have written here but I am very short on time. The River Walk looks AWESOME! And thanks for the pics! :D It’s good to see you guys every once in a while. :)

DAS ES CRAZY that K is home already!!!! WHHHAAA!!! I already feel time slipping through my fingers and I am just trying to VOMIT out as much effort as I possibly can. Every day is high energy and high output and we are just racing back and forth non-stop. The V family is doing amazing and H is still coming leaps and bounds, though still baby steps... if that makes any sense. Anyways, N is still holding back and saying church is boring so this week we might drag him to church... or his mother might. Yeah, she probably will... which is awesome. :D Bro V is still resisting too and apathetic to everything. D:

GET THIS.  So I got rid of what I thought was ALL of my "bad music" but these last few days I was feeling just drawn out and spread thin and just out of energy. Then this morning I was going through my CDs to pick something out and I saw Scotty McCreery. Well, my burned CD of Scotty, lol. Anyways, Scotty is not evil. It’s good ol' country. But I knew I couldn't keep it. This morning we went over to Elder A and F’s apartment, our zone leaders, whom we dearly love, really and honestly, and I sat over their trash can for several minutes just trying to snap the CD. There was a literal force trying to stop me. This is a CD. A CD!!!! Nothing evil about it! But there was something evil there. I finally snapped it and I felt all the energy RUSH back into my body. I had done it, I had released the last physical thing holding me down. (Mom's note: "...they forsook all, and followed him." Luke 5:11) Next step, my mind. I'll explain more in my next email home. Suffice it to say for now that lately the four of us Elders have had some painful growing experiences. I'll force my way into getting more time next Monday to elaborate. The topic needs it. I can testify that even a CD with cool music on it can drag us down. I love Scotty, nothing against his music, and I'll listen to him when I get home. But a simple thing can pull anyone down to a place of helplessness and weakness. Why let something that small get in the way? (Mom’s note: Story of Naaman, “…My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” 2 Kings 5:13… a small simple thing is simple to do.)

Last night we gave Elder F a blessing and ended up getting back to our apartment at about 11:30 at night. It was a strong spiritual experience in which we shared our understanding with one another. Understanding of the simple doctrine of Christ. Again I'll elaborate more next time. After we got back, I prayed. When I was done, it was 2am. I had a new light and understanding as to how we should work with our friends (investigators) and what I can do to get rid of everything that could possibly be in the way of my faith and the power of God that I can receive through that faith. I have a quote that I will share with you guys next week that Elder W (gone home now) shared with me and that I didn't understand until last night and started to apply this morning. I love you guys, no pictures this week, sorry. :'( I'll take some this week, hopefully some with the V family. :D

I don't have any more time so I have to go now. LOVE YOU! I can't even express to you the seriousness of the gospel and how it important it is. The more we know the more we are responsible for...once again, more next week on that. I might even hand write the first part in a letter. I have to get this down into words. Possibly in my journal as well. It is explosive. It is huge. It’s the most glorious thing, but also the scariest thing that has ever happened to me on my mission. And with that cliff hanger, BYEEE!

Elder 9

(Mom's note:  Not cool, Elder Nine. Not cool to leave us hanging like this!) ;)

PHOTOS were sent to the Nine Family by a kind Sister L. She lives in one of the LDS Wards in Tehachapi, CA. She had to bring Elder H and Elder A up to P for something. Since Elder H and Elder J used to be companions prior to this last transfer, they thought it would be cool to get together with Elder J and his companion for lunch. Luckily they were open for lunch that day.  One big happy family! ;)

From left: Elder J, Elder H, Elder A, Elder Nine
Currently Elders J and Nine are companions, and Elders H and A are companions

Cool fact: Elder A and Elder Nine were born in the very same hospital 3 months apart, lived in the same city, in the same LDS Stake, and knew many of the same people, but never knew each other. It took 20 years, and each of them moving away, Elder A eventually being called to serve in the California Ventura Mission and Elder Nine being called to serve in the California Bakersfield Mission, Elder A being "transferred over" to the Bakersfield Mission when the Mission first opened on 7/1/13, and them both being assigned to the same Zone in P/L before they would meet. Now what are the chances of that? Pretty awesome!

Sister L, Elder Nine, & Elder A
We love Elder Nine's "stupid smile face" he makes! We just wanna grab his face and smack it! ;) lol! With kisses of course! ;)

Elder J and Elder H

Any day we receive "surprise" photos from people in CA, is a HAPPY DAY!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mission Letter Week 29 - 02 Februrary 2014


So I'll apologize right now for the rest of this transfer because since we are on bikes the zone leaders are our "car support". Elders A and F do the best they can but sometimes we will be short on email time. The sacrifice of leadership. :P So I have limited time today more than ever before. As far as videos, I just haven't had time but I promise I will get them on there asap. For example, today is a day I wont be able to. XD

Cool news, the baptismal pants you guys sent me that were small enough that I couldn't fasten fit me quite nicely. >:) Oh yes. Speaking of clothes, my white shirts are no longer white, especially where my backpack straps go...I'm not too worried about it but a sister in my ward made me promise to tell my mother about I am. :D

The Nutella was about halfway gone by the time I left RV ward but unfortunately I had to leave it with Elder S because I couldn't pack it in. :/ But it was, and is, being put to good use. :D

Yep, I email Elders N and S occasionally still and we see each other at larger mission meetings! It's like seeing family when you see an old companion. Haha.

We have a LOT of investigators but the ones that are truly progressing right now is the V family (to avoid using their name). Sister V is SO converted already and has set March 1st as her baptismal date and her youngest son, RJ, and middle daughter, A, as well! The youngest daughter is only 2, so she's okay for now.....and SUPER CUTE! XP Like, you don't even know.....but she does, hahaha! So the oldest son and daughter, N and H are kind of our main focus right now even though we are working with the whole family. N is just more concerned about his 3 point shot than church right at least I can relate to basketball, and he has been softening up to the idea of coming to church more often. H…wow, H. She really needs a lot of help right now. Spiritual help. And a lot of prayers. N as well, but H is having a tough time right now and struggles with some things. She has made HUGE progress though and even came to church this last Sunday. She didn't want to go to Young Women’s though for 3rd hour so we just watched The Restoration video with her and talked about questions she has. The stories are endless and I could go on but long-story-short she just needs love. From God, from family, from missionaries, from good people. It makes me cry at night when I think about the V family and the pains they are going through. They really do struggle and I really do love them SO MUCH. Sis V at least is a good strong support but even still they have their bad times. I guess we all do, though. I just love them.

I wish I could go on and on right now. I have seen the Atonement LITERALLY change this family's life around just in the last two weeks. Do you remember Elder W? He was my first Zone Leader. I sent a pic of him and Elder M in service clothes during my first 6 weeks out. :P Well Elder W just left for home at the beginning of this transfer (as in, he is done with his two years) and this is the last area he served in. I wish you had known him because then that would mean a whole lot more to you guys. When it comes to a testimony of the Atonement, no one I have met has ever "beat" his. He came out as an emo punk that listened to screamo. He went home an entirely different MAN. Not a boy, a MAN. Again, I could go on. He really touched the V family's hearts and has opened up the pathway for them to come to the gospel. I count it a blessing and a miracle that Elder J and I were counted worthy by the Lord to be the ones to come in and help them on their way. I know that the Atonement can change everyone. It has changed Elder W, it is changing the V family, it is changing me. Only through Christ can we be made perfect. I am sure you will hear me more than hundred times testify of the Atonement. Over and over and over and over and over. It is the greatest thing on the earth. The greatest thing EVER. I love this church, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the always-inviting-change-and-improvement nature of it.

Changing topics, in reply to Daddy, that is very sad and happy to see Dawson moving on. He is a great young man. I understand your missing him but also the joy in seeing him grow. I feel the same way about my friends (investigators) I have met out here as I help them and grow WITH them. :)

25TH Anniversary!!??!??!?!?!?!?! Yep. Old......I mean me of course...... <3 ;)

Thank you for the prayers guys. I really feel them and the love of my Heavenly Father. I am just trying now to help everybody else feel that love. GAH! I wish I could just literally hand it to people!!!! THEN THEY WOULD SEE HOW HAPPY YOU CAN BE!!!!!! AHHH!

Okay time for me to go now. LOVE YOU GUYS! I leave my testimony with you and everyone else. God LIVES. Christ LIVES. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can CHANGE YOU  and make you  more, make you better and make you happy, with and EVERLASTING joy. I love the word "everlasting". Especially when talking of the Plan of Redemption.



These are some great selfies of Elder J and me. >:D  Love ya! And yes, those are the hats that Nana sent me ( she sent us matching hats she crocheted) and yes we are matching ties too...... judge me. :D