Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Transfer Day Photos! Yipee!

Well, after being in Palmdale now since August 2013, Elder Nine has been transferred to Ridgecrest!  He is very excited for the new adventures awaiting, but it's also a bit painful for him to part with Elder P.  They became quite close as friends and mission companions and shared many things in common. He told us once he was been very spoiled and blessed to have excellent mission companions so far. I must agree with him.  God speed, Elder P.! (At least we have the comfort of knowing that we've made life-long friends with both Elder P. and his mother!)

Now, enter Elder L.

Elder L. and Elder Nine were in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) together, in the same mission "District" together in the MTC, in the same mission "District" in Palmdale, and now they are mission companions. It's like a long-lost buddy just about! ;)

So here are some photos that my wonderful, fantastic, new friends took at the Transfer Meeting.  I needed to see this boy tonight! He warms my heart, though I miss him greatly. He always bring joy to my soul!

Left: New missionaries in the MTC
Right: Ten months later, new companions in the mission field
Elder Nine and Elder L

And here are Elder Nine and Elder E. 
Elder E., we found out, just happens to be BFFs with Elder H. who is currently serving in our ward here in Plano!

The world keeps getting smaller!

I've only been asking for him to get this next picture for 10 months!
And in all honestly, he wasn't the one who took it, or even thought of it!
Brother W. (a member who was present at Transfer Day,) is the one who captured this one!
Thank you, Brother W.!!

From left: Elder L., Elder B., Sister W., Brother W., Elder O., and Elder M.

Elder Nine has served in the same District as Elder O. and we posted a CUTE video of his laugh a couple of months back. It is a contagious laugh! Too fun!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mission Letter Week 45 - 26 May 2014

As watching too much Star Trek taught me, all good things must come to end...including serving in one of the best areas in the mission!! I LOVE Palmdale and I WILL come back to visit after my mission. :D

I found out, yes, I am getting transferred, and apparently they put on our missionary portal now where we are going and who with…. soooo I'm going to Ridgecrest 1st Ward, area 2, with Elder L from my MTC District! We will be biking again. YAY FOR HEALTHY!!!

Yes, 3 of us are getting transferred and it is sad to leave...but exciting too! I think the hardest part about all of this is leaving Elder P.

I will be happy to buy something in my new area even though you know where it is now! XD haha.

We did sing in a quartet on Sunday, singing “Abide With Me ‘Tis Eventide”. It was SO GOOD!....not to brag or anything...

That is a little...........different to think that there are people asking if I'm single or not....I'm practically married to my companions and girls are hardly a thought at all right now so when it’s brought up I’m like.... "......." and that's pretty much it.... XD

That is cool to hear you guys are involved with the missionaries a lot! And sad to hear that a good one is leaving...I have a transfer journal too! There are a lot of people I am definitely going to see again and visit afterwards. :)

We have spent this last week getting ready for transfers as we both felt very strongly we were going to get transferred. So we perfected our area book, prepared all our investigators for the new missionaries, tied up loose ends and kept working our butts off. Quite successfully! We are tired and excited and bummed all at the same time!

If there is one thing that is vital for all missionaries to remember its that transfers are 100% inspired and it has nothing to do with President. It’s all 100% God's will, simply being executed by President... I tell myself this every few minutes when I think how much I want to be in a car area. XD

I don't have much else to say as this week can be summed up in one word.... AAAAAHHHHH!

Yes...very accurate if I do say so myself, Dear Watson...

And with that I will leave you with pictures on Drop Box!


~ Elder 9

P.S. - I’m sorry my emails are shorter than you’d like - btw, I saw that in the letter. Truth be told I’m a less-than-average typist and we keep getting our email time cut shorter and shorter. Hopefully in my next area that will change... we will see.  And… I got the pic of B&J! :D It was good to see them again and in front of the Temple too! Good one! :)

If we go to Cali after my mission we need to come to P5!!! haha

Oh....btw....when I get need to give me a back scratch!!!!!! Companions are nice but not mamas! :P

I’ll send an email describing a couple pics… (10 total)

4246 and 4247 are us with the E family (one of my favorites in the Ward along with the L which I will have pics of tonight and send them next week!)

4249 is N.V.

The one after that (4251) is J.J.  (recent convert of about 7-8 months), N, and RJ from left to right

4253 is M.J., in our Ward and the next (4254) is his fiancé

4255 is B.H. and he got called to the Colombia-Bogotá Mission!!! He and I will keep in touch over email. :D

The last two (4256, 4257) are Elder P (Comps with Elder M in the YSA Ward here. Elder M is our DL ‘till tomorrow.)

And, with that, I gotta go! I'm super late now. Love you, bye!!!

Below are photos which Elder P. emailed his mom and she forwarded to me.

Elder Nine and Elder P. with Bishop S. on their last Sunday in that Ward.

Elder Nine and Elder P. with J.J., a member of their Ward, on their last Sunday as companions and in that Ward.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mission Letter Week 44 - 19 May 2014

Well...we are getting transferred...we haven't gotten the call yet but I am convinced we are both getting transferred if for no other reason than that we have TOO MUCH companion the point where we are finishing each other’s sentences and become this strange, single entity that just rolls around on bikes and demolishes devils and proclaims the gospel on every street corner......sorry. I get carried away easily...So that is why we are both convinced we are getting transferred. And who knows, maybe I'll get a car this time! XD

Braky (Mom's note: "Braky" means “Daddy” or "Jonathan" depending on who's saying it; term of endearment between them), that is good to hear you and L are getting out and getting some real man-work in there. A lot of my favorite memories include us working...and usually with something very manly like a chainsaw or pickup truck...or both. :D

And that ward talent show sounds like a ball! XD Especially with you and D dancing know that's one of the sketchiest places right? No one knows what goes on backstage...unless they catch you and put it on a video for the whole ward to witness… I wonder when that's ever happened… lol!

Emily! You performed on piano in front of the ward!! How did that feel?? I’m sure you were a boss up there! :D

It sounds like you just keep having one adventure after the other! Keep building your testimony and let other people see it! It is the best feeling ever when you can share your testimony with someone and then they change themselves for the better because of it. :) Keep being awesome, use your talents to do great things and remember that I LOVE YOU!! :D

Also, Elder P is healing up quite nicely and really the only thing worth talking about is that he has to wear a cast on his left hand for a few weeks. It really ended up not being a big deal at all.

I did hear about L and V getting sent home (for medical purposes)…really sad to hear. They are good guys…

For the pics, Elder P sent them to his mom and so I thought maybe you could get them from her… because that's all the pics...and it will save time for me to write more. :) (Mom's note: Elder P only sent one photo. Here it is - with his "Get Well" balloons his mom sent him after his surgery. What  a thoughtful mom!)

We found out we couldn't go AirSoft shooting after all so we never did go. That was truly a sad day.

Most of my mementos will be in my journal and study journals...we were actually encouraged not to buy a whole ton of souvenirs and the like sooooo I might make an exception every now and then but the important stuff I will already have. :)

The rules for dinners have not changed...I assume you ask because you want dinner pics? Will do. :)

YES! JustServe is a new missionary program that is just now starting up and it’s about keeping track of hours for proselyting, service and weekly planning so we are even more accountable for our time and to encourage community service! Which happens to be my favorite type of missionary work. :)

If I’m going to send it back (the Christmas stocking) I will need money.... :P

So guys, I want you all to know how much I love you. I really truly do. And nothing in this world could mean more to me than the love of my family (besides that of my Savior of course), and I want to say thank you for being such a great support to me in this time of my life. I see miracles, I see devils, I see saints and I see lost people (that could be a song almost) and the most intimidating thing to know is that we are the front line units...not the missionaries… US - The members of the Church of the Lamb. We must be valiant and steadfast because NO shortcomings will suffice… and we can only meet that standard with Christ helping us the entire way. Stay strong and fight the good fight. I love you all! Have a good week!

~ Elder 9

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mission Letter Week 43 - 12 May 2014


So, in all fairness, the whole head-leaning picture with Elder P, he gave in first, and for the sake of companionship unity I HAD to follow... :P hahaha - but we had a TON of fun skyping with you guys, and the Ps! :D We were laughing at it for a little while after as well. 

(Mom’s note: Elder P had laid his head on Elder Nine’s shoulder while we were on Skype with them and we missed the opportunity to take a photo. When we asked them to redo the position for a photo, they both declined. Pretty soon we hung up and they called to Skype with Elder P's family. Next thing I know, Elder P’s mom snatched this photo and sent it to me, saying that Elder Nine told her ‘now my mom would be upset because we didn’t do it for her.’ Haha! Yep! I’m upset! Those little stinkers!)

Elder F was never our District Leader he IS our Zone Leader along with Elder J…it's like a Stake President, and a District Leader is sorta like a Bishop.....but not................yep! And yes, Elder M is our District Leader. :)

Yeah, you're telling me! I was WAY surprised when I thought of a medical career! I had NEVER considered that before and now it seems like a total possibility...who knows? Anything can happen...literally.... :) So that was an exciting moment.

Elder P: Is going to need surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb. Pretty minor but a cast or brace will be necessary for a couple months at guess is he is going in a car area next transfer. XD It turned out it wasn't a dislocation but a torn ligament like I said, so we ended up going to a "hand and upper extremities" guy. I was surprised by how young a lot of the doctors there were. Like 32 yr old or less...maybe I never noticed but they just seemed a lot younger...maybe I’m just that much older haha!

So that's the scoop!

I shared mostly everything else during Skype, so this email may be a little short.

I want everyone to know that I am SO happy to be out here in the California Bakersfield Mission doing the Lord's work and I wouldn't be anywhere else!!....Unless I got reassigned of course...... :)

And with that I leave my testimony that God is Real, God is great and God is Love. Trust your Heavenly Father to have what’s best for us in mind, and lean on your Savior.

I love you all a TON! Have a great week! :)

~ Elder 9

These photos were texted the following day to us moms by Brother M when Elders F, J, P, and Nine all went for dinner. (The Elders had skyped from his home on Mother’s Day).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day SKYPE Session With Elder 9!

These may not be of as much interest to the viewer as they are to our family, nevertheless, they are still handsome men to behold, so enjoy! 

These are the photos I snapped while skyping with Elder Nine and his companion, Elder P. What lovely goofballs!

 Once I remembered to snap photos.... it began...

 "What? What did I do?"

 Telling us about chasing after the two guys at the abandoned home! Crazy boy!

 Yes, they had just gotten back from Church, and evidently were hungry. So thankful for great people in the ward that feed them, care for them, and open up their homes, ON MOTHER'S DAY no less!, to let them Skype home!! I pray God will bless them greatly!

 In the middle of the conversation, Elder Nine hops down onto the floor, disappears, and then next thing we see are two big soles staring us in the face. Meanwhile Elder P is like photo-bombing the picture with "Hello!" in the background!   

Now, Dr. Martens are known to last - These are wearing thin on the soles already after 9 1/2 months in the mission field. Partly from walking, running through abandoned homes, jumping over brick fences, and riding bicycles (the peddles tear up shoes).

He wouldn't smile naturally, always making joker faces. So I snapped this one real quick to catch his lovely NATURAL smile!  Silly boy of mine!  (That I love and miss SO SO much!)

 Trying to look at Emily's iPhone case... and all the stickers she has on it.

 Here, they had finished eating, and Elder Nine decided it'd be a great time to put a cube of ice in his mouth and then spit it out. Always the one to make goofy faces! :P

 Brother M came in to tell them the last 4 minutes were up. Time to hang up and then turn around and Skype Elder P's family! So they all said goodby and "I heart you".


I am so proud of our son - not just because of what he is doing. Anyone can do what he is doing. I am proud of him because of the WAY he is doing it. He chose, early on, and thanks to the influence of the Spirit, his parents, and some great friends who set a great example before him, to serve God with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. He chose it. Of his own free will. That is amazing to me. Amazing that someone of his age, who could easily be out there choosing "the world and its ways," instead chose to serve God, fully and completely, and devote two whole years of his life as "tithing" on his life, forgetting and sacrificing and leaving behind his entire life to become a disciple of Christ in the fullest sense and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who (majority) don't even care to listen, and to those who spit upon them, curse at them, chase them, throw things at them, and try to harm them, and let's not forget the ones that just slam the doors on them. 

Do you know what it's like to live with that 24/7 and still keep up your enthusiasm, your hope, your faith, and your desire to go out and serve more people and teach more people the truths of the Gospel?  It is HARD.  I've tasted that life, and it is HARD. 

What a testimony it is to me to see my son doing this. He could not and would not do it if the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not real and truly THE Gospel of Christ. That faith and testimony burn within Elder Nine's heart and soul. THAT is what makes him strong enough and capable of being able to do what he does day-in/day-out..... spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ to a world who needs those teachings above all else, yet a world who largely rejects the very Balm of Gilead that the Savior is offering them through His servants.

Yes, I am proud of our son. Truly no greater joy could come to a parent's heart than to see their child choose such a path, and to see the great knowledge and experience he is gaining, and to see the spiritual and mental maturity that is coming upon him. I stand all amazed at this miracle happening before our very eyes!  Oh how grateful I am for Elder Nine serving valiantly! How grateful I am for a God who watches over him, guides him, and blesses him. How grateful I am for his very existence and for "tithing" his two years! He fills our hearts with joy and thanksgiving!

Mission Letter Week 42B - 05 May 2014 (Handwritten)

Sink of the Mayo, 2014 :)

The Book of Elder Nine

Chapter 1

My Beloved Family,

1. I speak unto you now, to share with thee, my beloved family, yea, even the details that I could not share during email, as the natural man, even the imperfections within, enticed me to forget my notes for email.
2. And behold, my family, I now have these notes, even the very ones I forgot; And as I sit here upon mine bed, I recall now that the desires of my heart began even with wanting to talk about our many journeyings and adventures into abandoned homes/yards… :D
3. Yea, the spirit constraineth me to tell you, my beloved family, that when we did see those two people in that very abandoned home, yeah, when I, Elder Nine, did chase after them with all urgency, I did look at my companion beforehand and even did ask him if he would join me and, with all diligence, pureness of heart, and the spirit of the Lord burning within or breasts, we did agree to do this thing of insanity TOGETHER!
4. For behold, our only true desire, being the same as that of our Father who is in heaven, was to teach unto them the things of the Gospel, yea, even these same things that our Savior, Jesus Christ, did teach the people of His time, which we knew within our hearts would bring them true purpose, even an unshakeable faith in their Redeemer.
5. But, it came to pass, that we were not of the opportunity to catch these, our brethren, and teach unto them these things in our hearts, which had been given us through the Spirit.
6. And our hearts were much grieved…. So we ate lunch…

Chapter 2

1. And now behold, my beloved family, I do change subjects to that of the M family, that I did see them at that, the great day of service where people in the land of P Stake and even the people of the L Stake, our brethren, and other of our brethren from the lands round about.
2. Yea, remember, remember my family, that they, the Ms, were the same awesome peeps that did let us skype from their home at Christmas.
3. But I do also warn you of the error of thy ways, my beloved family, that ye may know it was not Brother M that did attend the Family History Center to assist the missionaries there, who were in the land of L Stake, but, rather, Brother M.
4. But behold… no worries. :)
5. And it came to pass that I did remember a thing which brought much joy and laughter to my heart.
6. Yeah, this thing that happened that did bring such joy to my heart, did happen at emails when I was talking with my beloved district leader, Elder M.
7. Yea, and again, this thing did occur when he, Elder M, showed unto me some pictures of his family, who are super cool by the way, and I did chance upon an image of his younger sister, K., and I did spaz greatly at her adorableness…
8. And it came to pass, that after I did spaz so greatly, he, Elder M, did ask me if I wanted her email address… DUH! OF COURSE!
9. Yea, and I did email her, and, by Elder M’s permission, did say unto her something like: Hey! This is Elder Nine. I’m in your brother’s district and he gave me your email because I wanted to email you because you’re cute!
10. And now, my beloved family, calm down, because Elder M told me to do that because he said it would make her day…we shall see.

Chapter 3

1. And it came to pass, in the sixth hour of the writing of this letter that I, Elder Nine, did speak with my companion, Elder P, and did inquire of him what I should write.
2. And it came to pass that as he did ponder upon my words he did say unto me, thou shouldst write unto thy family of how AWESOME your companion is!
3. And behold, I did just that. Yea, even I did, and do now, write of my companion, Elder P, and his awesomeness!
4. For behold, my beloved family, my companion is great in the sight of the Lord our God, even that he is a wondrous example of humility, diligence, and Christlike love.
5. And now, my beloved family, I do desire now to give unto thee the wisdom and knowledge that the Holy Spirit of the Lord has given unto me.
6. Yeah, I say unto you, seek first, above all else, to come to know your Father in Heaven, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Seek after this knowledge through thy faith, and exercise thy faith even unto repentance and a love of thy God.
7. Seek to gain a great love, also, one for another, that ye may feel the Holy Spirit of Promise abide more fully and abundantly in thy home.
8. Look unto the Lord thy God for ALL things..even help with the silly things in life….and trust in His redeeming love, and try His words to do…wait…dadgum hymn lyrics…..
9. I beseech of the, my beloved family, that thou wouldst do these things, that we may join in rest in the heavens above, after this mortal doth pass by.

10. Yea, and I give unto you my love, that ye may know I think of thee often, and do pray for thy welfare and happiness.
11. And behold, my family, I bid thee farewell and God speed. May the Road (life) rise to meet you, may the wind (Spirit) be always at your back, may the sun (Son) shine warm upon your face. May the Rain (blessings) fall soft upon your fields; And until we meet again, may He hold you in His hand. May God hold you in the Palm of His hand. Amen.  [This last part, where he quotes the Irish Blessing, is a very tender and sacred blessing which Bob informally invoked upon Elder Nine when we hugged him goodbye in our home one last time, prior to leaving for the airport so Jonathan could leave for his mission. Both Bob and Elder Nine have been members of Barbershop Choruses, plus we have Irish in us, so this poem-song has always had meaning for us. Bob was not able to finish it all. The lump in his throat and the leaky faucets impeded him from doing so. There was just a silent, long, heart-felt hug, and then "God speed." So reading this was quite emotional for us, as you can imagine.]

So, hope you liked that. Thought I’d spice it up a bit… I hope you can read it okay, haha.

Love you guys!

- Elder Nine

P.S. Yes, I totally free-styled ALL of that! :D

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mission Letter Week 42 - 05 May 2014

WOW!  Lots of stuff to share and very little time. The manager at Best Buy actually super duper loves us and we actually give good publicity for them, haha - But we can only have 4 of us in here at a time so between here, the library and the family history center we have to cut down on time and have assigned times which might change every week...we will see.

So, Hi guys!

Emily, that is so AWESOME that you got to share your testimony in church!! I did too! :D I started out by saying, “ALOOOOHA!!” Like I was from Hawaii!! XD There is a guy in our ward, KL., who is from Hawaii and he is SUPER cool and he did that in his talk a few weeks ago and so since I was the last one up to talk and everyone looked like they were about to fall asleep I thought I’d start it out with a little wake-up call. :D It was a lot of fun haha. I REALLY wish I had been there to see you go up and do that! :) It feels good doesn't it?! Scary at first, but awesome!

Keep bearing your testimony, not just in church but in easy ways to your friends and stuff because that's how it gets stronger! We have to live it and say it all the time. :D NICE WORK!!

THE Z's ARE SERVING ANOTHER MISSION?!?! That's what I wanna do! :D Serve two or three senior missions… I’ve actually seriously considered that- haha.

And LS. is going BIG!! WHOOOOO!! Good for her. :D Another random thought that popped into my head was maybe I could do something musical outside of choirs and stuff when I get home. Whether it be a local group that does fun shows for people or bigger than that, either way, it could just be a little adventure. haha.

That is SO SAD to hear about the M's :'( Tell them I love them and am praying for them! A LOT! They are very good people.

WE DID GET THE SINK OF THE MAYO PACKAGE!! :D We all had a blast with it! haha. It was short-lived with few pictures though because it was the middle of the day and we had to get back to work (middle of the day as in lunch haha.)  (Here's Elder F with one of the goodie bags that was included in the care package.)

We forgot to bring Elder P’s camera though, so we will send the pics next week...I also didn't actually have the time last week to send the camera back but I will do that today!

I did not meet Elder T cause I reported to the MTC July 24th, so I missed him by a week or so.

I got your letters...forgot to bring my notes to emailed though. I’ve been carrying a notebook around like you said, just a 99 cent composition one and write things in that that I want to email home about...but we were in a rush today and I forgot it as I left out the door. :P

RJ is NOT getting baptized this Saturday anymore because he hasn't been letting us give him the full lessons. :(  He will get there though! So that has been postponed for a while now.

P and T are still not married.... One day!

C and A we haven't been able to meet with in a while and it’s kinda scary because they say they are "confused about things.” So we need to get over there ASAP!!

R is doing well but needs a testimony of the Great Apostasy before we go any further. :P

Brak, I do like the should get it!!

Man, That Gladys Knight event sounds awesome and I wish I could have seen that! :)

With that, I will leave you with this. Firstly, I LOVE that article from Stephen E Robinson. It is AWESOME and very, very true! In fact that last portion you sent really helped out with a recent convert, J, and some issues he was/is having!! It is so vital that we focus on the CORE of the gospel of Jesus Christ and not just the little peripheral stuff. The Atonement is what it is all about. We have to see that we can be healed. That we can be MADE perfect. Christ already was and is perfect. We can be made like Him and our Heavenly Father through the Atonement. We can BECOME Celestial material if we LET HIM IN. I love the love that He has for us.

With that I must close...I love you all very much!! Have a good week!

~ Elder 9