Monday, September 22, 2014

Mission Letter Week 62 - 22 September 2014

EMILY YOU ARE GOING ON TREK!!! WOOOOOOO! That is so exciting! :D Trek is STILL one of my greatest memories of my time as a youth in the church. It will teach you a lot of good things. Including how to sweat a lot. ;)

Crazy to hear about all these people growing up, doing what I did and many others have done before them…it's good stuff.

You got to see Brother Evans!!! (Author of the Michael Vey series of books) THAT WAS SOOO COOL!!! I wish I could have been there with you guys to meet him. He sounds like a really nice guy! Way way way cool! :D

Thank you also for your words of love, Emily. They mean a lot to me, really. I love you too, so much. It is always good to know that my family is at my back, and side, and everywhere to help me out…That's part of what a family is all about!!

 I love you, Emily! Take care!

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Thank you for being awesome. The healing is already well underway, especially with support from you guys and other missionaries, whom I count as good, wholesome friends. The biggest support of all in this however, is, of course, the Savior. He has been my guide and friend in moments when I couldn’t email home or talk to close friends. When I was alone and afraid, He was IN THE ROOM. At my side. I have an announcement… A new favorite scripture. Alma 36:27 ( "
And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.")  Yea, God has delivered me.

Sounds like Trek is going to be great! and I didn’t know Brother C has a pretty daughter?? I'll be a good boy, I promise! :D

*Ahem* Moving on...

I am excited to see how Trek goes!! Will I be home for that btw, or no??

Thank you. For everything. Love you, Braak.

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Things are coming along. We are back in working condition and I’m just holding on tight and honestly just waiting to transfer. Still working hard, but there will be a relief when things change. I did talk to President about everything and he was a big help. BIG TIME. I haven’t gotten a blessing but I am thinking about it. Maybe today sometime. :)

I only got one letter so the other probably will show up today. :) Can’t wait!! I will try to write a snail mail tonight and send it off tomorrow!

No hug from Brother W yet, but I’ll get it form him. ;P hahaha

I sure do love you guys. So much. Thank you... I think the most valuable thing I have learned this week is in Alma 36:27  I will always trust in my Savior and He will always deliver me. It is very comforting. I love Him in a very personal way and that cannot be removed from me. I won’t let it. Thank you for bringing me up in a manner in which I could have this opportunity to learn. It is literally the World to me. I love you all, and I wish you the best!

Till next week!

~ Elder 9 

I got this sweet hat with this weird patch thing on it... don't know what it means.... hmmmmm

(Mom's Note: This is the 3rd Infantry Division, Marne Unit, which Elder Nine's father was in when he served in the Army, stationed in Germany at the time. Elder Nine knows this and is just yanking his daddy's leg. So cool he found a hat with that patch on it!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mission Letter Week 61 - 15 September 2014

(Mom's Note: The first half of the letter was private, so we pick up with the second half)

Besides all THAT...This week has still had its good stuff. We got to help some people move in, the pro movers that we are haha. They know the W's because he (Brother W) works at the same place as he (the man moving in) does. So we are friends now. :D We will see how it goes! L, T and J are in a tight spot still, looking for work and holding on tight. Not much we can do for them these days.

E is taking the new member lessons and is doing quite well, fitting into the Church and all that jazz. :D He's a stud. We haven’t been anywhere super cool yet but in a couple weeks, Brother B is going to take us on a tour of where he works....the expensive juice-making and carrot-packaging place. They apparently package a million pounds of carrots in a DAY; like process and pack them, and even more in the juices, which we will get free bottles of. It's like a better version of the Naked juices! :D Not much else in the way of cool things or places though...apparently that’s all on the West side of Bakersfield haha.

Daddy Monster,

I know the W's quite well! I love them a lot too. :) Good to hear you guys are around each other. It’s fun to be around people like that and end up forming a relationship. Like Elder Flint and I have because we have almost always been in at least the same District! Small world indeed. :)

Way to go Emily, for speaking up (in Stake Conference)! It's a great thing to be able to add and participate. That's why we have those kinds of events. :)

Those are some good life rules to go by (that President Rast shared in Stake Conference) …some ones that I will be using as of right now. Tell President Rast thank you for me, eh?

Thank you guys, for everything. For being MY family. I love you all dearly. Take care.

~ Elder 9

PHOTOS that were shared with us by local members of the Church - We are SO THANKFUL to these thoughtful people who share these with us!

At a 4-Ward BBQ after having served some folks in Bakersfield.

 Emailing Home!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mission Letter Week 60 - 8 September 2014

Okay first things first........I THOUGHT SOMEBODY DIED WHEN YOU DIDN'T SEND A LETTER!! :O YIKES! Okay, done freaking out. :) But seriously though, I've already said, I love getting your letters and emails!! The only time its "too much” is if it’s all in emails. With snail mail I can just read it over a couple of days and write some notes about what I want to reply with (although I seem to keep forgetting to bring my of these days I’ll get it...) So please, keep mailing me! :D

Next, I LOVE the cliff notes and thoughts and other things you wrote about that talk from Bro Hinckley. He IS a great a guy. I love hearing from him. :) All those things (re: the parable of the Ten Virgins) are so very true. We have to be ready, wise, and patient...and the best way to do that is by trusting God. Just like you said. :)

Daddy had the sad panda face on in the shelf-moving picture!! D: #sadpandaface

I wish I could be there too, for the good the bad and the ugly! But at the same time there is nowhere else I'd rather be than here right now. I will always cherish those memories I had back home, and though I will be coming back, as you guys mentioned, it'll be different. It’s sad, happy and exciting all at the same time!!

I, too, am thankful for my family. As nuts as you guys are... ;)  But seriously, I have noticed out here more than ever before and maybe more than ever in my life, the blessing that you guys are to me. I am so thankful for the wonderful life that I have had and the opportunity to share that with you. It is sad to see how many people are lost and don't know what they are missing to find eternal joy, but then I smile when I realize I have that! And I think that that is, or should be the reason why most missionaries are always smiling when they are about dying from heat exhaustion, freezing to death, climbing a mountain, driving a car, riding a bike and teaching a lesson. Thank you.

Also, Mama, that is great to hear about what you are doing to exercise and eat and stuff! I can personally testify it really does make a person feel better...I'm still not where I want be at yet but I am much closer. I think a lot of it came just from having a more physically active lifestyle. :P So good on ya! Keep it up! :D And if anybody DARES to laugh, you tell me where they're at and I’ll know.....beat them up until they bleed...and keep going until they stop bleeding...........sorry. That was violent. I should be more Christlike... :)


Emily!! Wow, the opening social sounds like it was a lot of fun!! I remember going to those and I LOVED them! I also really really liked SCONT and the people and everything!!! It’s pretty exciting to see you get to do a lot of the same things I got the chance to do. :) And that was very nice of Alex and Thomas to say that about me. :D Makes me feel good - haha. HEY! Can you also ask Alex why in the world she hasn't mailed me back?!?! :P

I REALLY like the new dress you got btw! IT’S AWESOME! And fits very well too. :) It’s bright and happy, just like you! And yes, you do have dibs on “dueting” with me when I get home! >:D And it will be MOST glorious!! I cannot wait! Gotta go soon so I gotta keep it you bunches!!

Brak-a-paloosa....I like it. XD Yowza. Big changes. But you are THE boss at ALL things, so I know you'll be just fine...and looks like you're already on track with that! Showing up everybody with your tech skills, and humble as always. ;)

So, it was funny. This week I had the opportunity to do some service...IDK if you remember when we put in stuff in the car stereo, like the iPod cord and all that, but I seem to remember everything when I need it...there is a Brother S in the ward, a young father, and his car stereo broke and through some random conversation he found out that I had done some very minor electrical work and car stereo stuff with you so he asked if I could help. It was fully installed and operational in about 10 minutes. :D It was fun...but also another show of your awesomeness. Every time I do service by doing something unique that someone else needed special help with, I don’t bother thinking about how cool I look because I’m busy thinking about the good times you and I had learning to do that exact thing together..... BROMANCE moment. Love you! :)

 Six Years Ago This Week - just one of many "learning opportunities" where Elder 9 was taught

I am very short on time now so I will sum up the rest. Our investigators, ALL of them, have been out of contact with us this week. It’s been nerve-racking. L is having a tough time with some financial things and is working and praying hard for things to turn out well. E is doing well though and we are starting the new member lessons tonight at his home! :)

Okay, I’m getting booted off. I know the gospel and the restoration are all true...and I love it with all my heart.

Love you all!! BYE!

PS. Elder Ruiz, next to me, in the Spanish Ward was born in Nogales, Sonora!

~ Elder 9

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mission Letter Week 59 - 01 September 2014

Hi GUYS!! :)

Wow, you’re starting another school year and already there’s a bunch of cool stuff going on! :D Remember these years...they go by quickly and they are really good and important ones!

TWO foreign exchange students?? Wow! Sounds like Noe (IDK how to do that little dash thingy/accent thing above the E haha) is a good lookin' guy. XD Careful of the French though. ;)

It’s good to hear about all the fun things you are doing! The cotillion got changed to a social instead?? :O NOOOO!!! You gotta do da dancin’ thing!! Gosh dang it. Hahaha, but it is what is!

I love you too Emi! Have a good one, and thanks for just being you!

Septiembre!! This is nuts. Holidays have begun to repeat and after this General Conference, I only have one left...... NOT. OH. KAY. !!!!!!!!

I'M excited FOR Emily! SCONT and taking those co-op classes and stuff are some of my very best childhood experiences!!

Hey speaking of childhood experiences, could you do me a favor and let Jessica (sister) know that I heard “UP” by Shania Twain on Saturday in a restaurant and thought of the early summers we had and always listened to Shania Twain and the like...I think that’d be a good thing for her to think about...just a thought. :)

Bro P is a champion. I love that man, I really do. He is a super hero and a great example. I learned a lot from a lot of different people back home and I can’t thank all of them enough! Speaking of thanks, besides the W, who else helped/is helping out with my mission fund again? It’s about time to say thank you again. :P

Can’t wait for that cooler weather! Hahaha. Good luck with starting another official school year. :) (Though, with me not there, it will most likely be a lot smoother! ;D You know how I roll!)

BTW, I didn’t get a snail mail this week...but today’s mail hasn’t come yet so I am wondering if you sent one or not? Just curious. :P

Okay da questions now!

I had to buy jeans with my mission card on Friday because I needed them for service. :P So I was just going to draw out the $40 today from my home card to "pay myself back" haha. It’s a nice pair of Wranglers...40x32 regulars, and still a TINY bit loose fitting...but a 38 waist was too small :P Working my way down haha.

My pillow is doing great...and I may not need a new one after, but if I do. then yes, you described it quite right :) Sheets and towels are doing even better. :)

I hate Carl’s Jr. now… (Mom's note: he said this after he learned of their pornographic commercials)

I don’t have a particular desire or need for anything...however lovely those tortillas would be, I fear they would be stale by the time they got to me haha.

I am definitely on a plateau right now, but not a bad one. Just staying steady yet optimistic. I think it’ll go up from there, but for the moment I can definitely feel that level-off effect haha. It’s almost a monotonous feel in a way...but at the same time everything is so unique, so also yeah!

I will say, the biggest obstacle I have seen for myself or others have to accepting the gospel in its fulness, is Pride. As you taught me many times, it always boils down to pride. Now when I look at people I just see good people that are being silly and stubborn and can’t give up their pride...yet. There will always come a point where they all have the opportunity to get over themselves and accept their Savior...for this limited time I get to be a full time tool in God's hands to help them do that. Humility is a Christlike attribute and one of the most important. It leads to repentance. So Pride is the opposite and leads us to sin, and more sin. So to sum up what the missionary handbook and all counsel I’ve ever received on this topic says about it........DON'T BE DUMB.

That’s a great Bytheway quote by the way.....oh man. I am FUNNY. XD

It’s very true though...and that can tie into the Pride vs Humility I was just mentioning. :) When we humble ourselves we can see God's love for us...just like when I was young and stupid and voted you guys the meanest parents in the whole world (which you still are, consecutively, every year ;) ), but when I got over myself, and looked at the REAL picture in front of me, I could see the reason behind it all. Behind the reprimands, the lessons taught, the spanks I received as a child...all of it...because of love. :) Same goes for our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t WANT to do anything MEAN to He does everything out of LOVE. And it is a perfect and ETERNAL love too. :D The best kind, followed closely by that of a parent's love. :)

Mama, I love you.. Dearly and with all my heart. Thank you.

End with a bang...I shoulda seen that coming...or heard it... :P

Wowza. That is a POWERHOUSE Bishopric etc. Hot dog! (said like Jimmy Stewart on It's A Wonderful Life.) You guys are going to all be fantastic! :)

WHOA. iPad day. YIKES. I was talking with a brother in a ward yesterday after church and something I didn’t event think about is how the new missionaries after the iPads come out will not have a total "cutoff" experience from technology...this will be good and bad...good because they will be fluent and adept in technology, but bad because there are valuable lessons to learn when living with minimal or no technology...but it will help the work. So we move forward.

I love you all very much! I hope all goes well for you! I will forward some pics Elder Ray is going to send. We took them several weeks ago when Elder Hjorth was still here, and they are SUPER cool! :D You will like them a lot and will probably think that we should start a missionary band… and you may be right... XD Love you guys! BYE!

~ Elder 9

Mission Letter Week 58 - 25 August 2014

ELDER PETERSON! :D Good to see his face (in the photo)! :) And Elder Hull's too (left of Peterson in the picture. :P)

J. is going to France!! That’s super cool :D I’m really happy for him!

And for Lindsey Stirling! That’s super cool! Well, her whole motto this entire time has been "be who you are supposed to be no matter what". I mean that's why she’s even doing what she’s doing...hopefully she makes it! :)

Didn’t feel the earthquake but heard about it! Wish I could feel one sometime. :( haha

I think buying jeans here would probably be better, plus no shipping. :P

OH MY GOSH THAT CHOCOLATE MILK DOH. He (Elder Bennett) makes crazy think but crazy good chocolate takes me back to my childhood when I would put a little milk in with my chocolate syrup haha.  Bennett is a good guy. I like him a lot too.

I don’t know how the other guys feel about the ice bucket challenge but we'll see what happens. :P

YOWZA. That’s a lot of changes. Sad to see Sister N. get released :( she is a good person and I love her lots…

Lkqjdgaelwkjjjj vlnvxjslvvc! WHAT, DADDY? YOU ARE GETTING RELEASED!?!?!? That day wasn’t ever supposed to come! :O WOW. IDK how it’s going for you right now but I am sure it is a big deal. I am sad for both of you to have these changes now, but I’m sure something great will come of it too. :)

Emily, sounds like a lot of things are going on these days, a lot of changes! It can be sad, but also exciting to see people go in and out like that, but it’s always for the better. :)

Braky, I am sad to see you get released. I know you have changed those young men’s lives for the better, as you have mine. I thank you for what you have done, for them, for me, for scouts. We are all the better for it, and for the efforts you put out.

I'll tie in all these changes to my testimony as well. As a missionary we experience a lot of these kinds of changes. You see people come and go, you come and go, and all along the way you are making friends, brothers and sisters, and learning and growing together. One of the hardest things is to see someone you love, leave. Whether it’s a calling, a location change or choices they have made that take them far away from you. But the thing that one can learn from all this is to trust in the Lord that He will care for all of us, including ourselves. It doesn’t make things easier sometimes, but we are strengthened and lifted up, to meet the demand. The Call. If we rely on Him, anything is possible. A quote from a movie that a member in the ward shared with me, from the movie God's Not Dead: Person A:"God is Good”;  Person B:" All the time”;  Person A:" and all the time…"; Person B:" God is good”...

I love you guys. Thank you for everything. I love you dearly. I'll talk to you next Monday!

~ Elder 9