Saturday, August 5, 2017

April 18th 2017

My first few days in Bountiful!!!!!!!!! This place is awesome!!! There's so many members here it's ridiculous!! Our area is also really huge, and we don't have a car, but members almost always stop to give us rides. Like every other car that passes by honks at us!! It's almost annoying because our arms get tired of waving. But it's still cool that we get so much support from members. Elder Griffith is super cool! I wish you could meet him. He's 22 and a convert of the church. He has a powerful conversion story. He almost always tears up when he shares it. He's awesome.
So how do you guys like Salt Lake?? If you ever want great pizza go to the Rusted Sun Pizzeria. So far it's the best pizza I've had since I been out here. And I had a lot of pizza too. I've been to Papa murphys, the pie pizzeria, Litsza's pizza, pizzeria limone, big daddy's pizza, Sbarro, and mellow mushroom. And none of them compare to rusted sun. It almost tastes like our home made pizza which is my all time favorite. I guess that's why it tastes so good. There's a ton to do in salt lake though. I've been to the church history museum, the family history library, the Joseph smith memorial building, all of temple square, city creek mall, the church of the Medellin, the mason temple, ensign peak, and liberty park. Btw If you visit the the Joseph smith building go and find the chapel. It has the most amazing chapel. You should go see it. It's on the Mezzanine floor or the "Mez" if you use the elevator. The elevators are scary fast too! It feels like you're taking off in a plane if you go just two floors up. I kind of miss salt lake. But I think I'll love bountiful.
Guess what happened my first day in bountiful? So there was a mutual happening at one of the churches and we were invited to be the main speakers at the activity. It was basically a question and answer "face to face" type activity, but with missionaries instead of apostles. And we were the two missionaries that were to answer any questions the youth would ask. It could be gospel related, mission related or neither. We bore our testimony at the end. It was a lot of fun. Especially when I saw a familiar face back in the audience. He was partially bald and had short orange hair. Probably 50s. Can you guess who it might be? I later found out that he was the ward's organist and pianist for basically every meeting. Super cool to meet him. In the youth priesthood class, we went around the room to share a spiritual experience that had happened the week before. And we got to the guy that I described, and he said that the mutual activity that happened a few days ago was one of the most spiritual experiences he's ever had. What a cool thing to say right? That made us happy when he said that.

Well, I'm excited to be in Bountiful and I can't wait to see what we can do these next 6 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry for the late email, our new apartment doesn't have any wifi, so we had to find a church building!!!!!! Dang it!!!

April 11th 2017


Sorry for the late email! Our wifi in our apartment went out!!!! Dang it!

Hey everyone!!!! I'm getting transferred to Bountiful!!!! Yay a new
area!!! Finally!!!!!! Gosh!!!!!!!!
7 1/2 months in the same area is crazy. I'll definitely miss this
area, along with the awesome members that live here. I guess we won't
be able to "accidentally" bump into each other now. I'm excited to be
somewhere new though. I heard that there are more members up there or
a higher concentration of them at least. Cool. Hopefully I'll find
more awesome members like Michael and Wade and Stephen. I don't think
I talked about Stephen before. Stephen is in his fifties and a convert
of about three years. He grew up in Boston while making a few bad
choices. He's been a drug addict for most of his life and was homeless
for many years. Eventually he decided to change his life and joined a
drug recovery program. After graduating the program he got his life
back on track. Later he started a company of his own and brought the
business to 40 million and sold it. So he became very wealthy at the
time. After searching for different religions he came across the LDS
church and started to investigate. He then decided to be baptized and
later became a service missionary in SLC. He has an amazing story.
After seeing so many homeless it's hard to imagine that he was
actually there at one point.
So my companion is going to be Elder Griffith. Luckily I know him
pretty well. I've seen him ever since I came out here. He also served
in his first area for 7 1/2 months like me!! I think we'll get along
with each other. He says the area is really good. He has 4 people on
date and lots of potentials. Funny enough I actually have 4 on date as
well!

April 3rd 2017


Hi again!!!!!! Conference was really great. I'm glad I was able to
attend a live session of conference, something I'll never forget. One
talk that stood out to me in the Sunday sessions was President
Uchtdorfs talk. I remember when he talked about how we shouldn't use fear to
control people. I like it when he says that we can condemn others for
bullying without knowing that we sometimes do it ourselves. For
example we could be driving a little recklessly, cursing and honking
at people calling them slow idiots because we might be late for a
meeting. But at the same time we could also be that slow idiot causing
others to become impatient because we feel no need to rush. I think
there's a lesson to learn from that. We need to recognize our own
faults and to not waste our time pointing out other people's flaws. I
think that it can be really hard to do, I know that my companion
struggles with this even though he may not feel that he does. I've
been with him for three transfers so I should know! We've talked about
it many times. I think he's improving though. Another talk or talks
that I liked was President Monsons talks. I like how they were short
and to the point but pretty powerful. It's sad to see him get old like
that(He should have taken protandim!!!). But he still alive and
talking so that's a good thing to hear. Of course there were a few
other talks that I really liked but off the top of my head Uchtdorfs
and Monsons talks stood out. Which talks did you guys like? Tell me
about it!
  Transfers are coming up soon and I'm getting nervous!! Next
Wednesday I could be heading north. I've been in my area for 7 1/2
months (which is super long in this mission) and I don't plan to stay
for 9! That would be crazy! Also it could be a mission record in a
long time. In one of my past interviews with President he kind of
hinted that I would be staying for one last transfer, but we'll see
what God says about that! I'm getting sick of this area!! (Quite
literally!!! I've been sick sooooo many times this past winter!!) If I
leave I'll definitely miss the zone and the all the members I know.
There are so many good members like Michael in this area. But if God
wants me somewhere else then I know I'll be okay.
  GOOD NEWS!!!!!
This morning I bought a bike!!! Yay!! I can ride again! My companion
is kind of excited about that too. When I lost the donated bike I felt
like I was put in the same boat as a lot of other elders that were
looking for bikes because of President's email. Using the donated bike
really helped me to appreciate lower end bikes, I learned a lot from
it! A $400 bike isn't that bad at all! It might be because it's more
my size, but it's definitely a much better ride!
  The whole bike experience has definitely taught me to be grateful
for what you have and to not take things for granted which is
something that a member tells us all the time. He's one of the "Good"
members that loves to take care of the missionaries. What's cool about
him is that he gives missionaries rules to consider. The first is to
never take him for granted, and the second is to never lie to him.
Surprisingly a lot of missionaries don't care and abuse the blessing
of having a member like that. I don't want to see that coming from me,
I'm trying my best to be grateful for what I have.

Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS: if you see a charge of $455 just know that it's the bike

March 27th 2017


I feel a lot better now!! I've been super sick with a 102.5 F fever
for the past few days with my infection going on. I don't have a fever
anymore but I still a a small lump on my neck. It's gotten smaller so
that tells me that the antibiotics are doing their job. I got the
probio you sent!! I will definitely start taking them!!!! I've been
sick way too many times this winter and I'm sick of being sick all the
time. It makes being a missionary very miserable. I also need to eat
better more wholesome food! Sadly I can't afford much so I think I'll
"sick" to the ramen and pop tarts! I appreciate those little healthy
snacks you gave me!!! They're awesome!!
Even though I was sick for a long time and wasn't able to do much we
were still able to baptize josleyn and commit one other person to
baptism. Her name is Michelle. She literally called us saying that she
wanted to be baptized! That's crazy! There's so much going on in our
area! We have a few other potentials that seem like they want to be
baptized but we'll see.
BAAAAD NEEEEWSSS!!!!!!!!!!!
MY BIKE GOT STOLEN!!!!!!!!!!! So we were at our appointment and we
locked our bikes to a post before the lesson. Then just 20 minutes
later they were both gone!!!!! We called the Police an....
Just kidding! My bike wasn't stolen but it might as well be!! So
apparently my bike was actually owned by another missionary but it was
given to me because no one claimed it when they found it. And since no
one claimed it they just assumed that a missionary gave it away to the
mission before going home. But just the other day we got a call from
the missionary saying that he needs his bike. It all makes sense
because a couple weeks before we got a letter from the mission
president saying that since the weather is warming up we'll all need
bikes now as a requirement to the mission rules. Even missionaries
with cars are required to "own and maintain and use a bike". Anyway
president is saying that we'll be a lot more productive and efficient
with bikes and so he made it a mission rule. I am currently without
one so now the search is on. I found a couple good lasting bikes at
$400. I think I can afford it, what do you guys think? I know a member
that would probably buy me one but I don't want to feel like a mooch,
and I especially don't want others to think that I just get everything
for free. A lot of missionaries aren't blessed with the same
opportunities as me and that makes me feel selfish. It's also
discouraged that we accept money or goods from members or church
leaders, so I want to make buying a bike my responsibility.
  GOOOO NEEEWS!!!!!!!!!
WE WENT TO COSTCO TODAY!!!!  This Costco was huuuuuuge!!! The isles
were twice as long and the ceil was higher. There was a ton of stuff.
I bought a huge thing of organic soy milk and pop tarts. After we
shopped we of course bought a slice of pizza to finish the day!!!
Wow!! I really miss Costco!! I remember I used to shop with Mom there
all the time! I miss begging Mom to buy everything I touch! I guess
that's Kaylee's job now!  Lol I miss those days!! Anyway I'm happy I
have something organic to eat! Thank you Costco!

Love you family!!!!!!
PS: we got conference tickets for both the Saturday afternoon session
and Sunday morning session!!!!!

March 21st 2017


It really looks like the Lord is blessing you guys with great
opportunities! Thanks for informing me about all of that. I pray that
things will work out. That's very exciting!
Things in SLC are great!!! The people are soooo nice. There's Mormon
taxis everywhere!! Just act like you're all burned out from walking
and POOF, free ride haha. But anyway some of the members are just
amazing. You can really tell when someone is truly humble trying their
best to live the gospel. They're always offering us food, medicine, or
a ride if we mention an address or anything that would even cause
somebody to be curious about our transportation. They're always ready
to serve you as soon as you call them. And the best thing is that they
don't expect anything in return, because they do it out of service.
One of those members has been an amazing person
ever since I've arrived in the mission. He's gone through hard times,
very very hardship times. He has three different types of cancer and
is being treated for them. He takes a million bottles of medication
and is in the process of chemotherapy every week. Right now he's
dealing with kidney stones, which he's kind of worried about. And he
also has bone spurs growing in his spine. The crazy thing is that they
can't remove them because they have developed in the inner side of the
body. So he is obviously in tremendous pain because of all of this,
and if it isn't physical pain is could very well be emotional pain of
having to go through all of this. What makes Michael unique is that he
chooses to ignore all of it. He won't let it take away the joy he
feels when serving others. If you we're to meet him you would never
guess in a million years what he could be going through. He been an
amazing influence for me and the many missionaries he's served in the
past. I'm excited that you'll be able to meet him soon! Remember to
not let yourselves instinctively judge people for who they appear.
He's nothing like who I expected!
   I'm really enjoying my time here in SLC. I really can't wait to see
what happens in the next year in a half!
   Today wasn't the typical pday where me and my companion and a few
other elders go to the bowling alley to knock some pins. I haven't
felt very well in the past few days. I have this lump under my neck
that is really really sore, and it's been making me nauseous and
feverish. I went to the doctor to have my blood tested to see if it
was anything to be worried about but the blood tests came out
positive. So apparently it just a bacterial infection causing a gland
swell real big. I was very worried at first and I still kind of am
because of what it looks like. I've been prescribed antibiotics to
help with the infection if there is one, so hopefully things will turn
out good!!
   It's amazing that I used to think that getting sick meant that I
could just cough my way out of doing work, but now when I think about
it, I just see myself wasting time knowing that many blessings and
opportunities await me. I'm really afraid that I'll get back into old
habits when I get home. I really don't want that to happen. It's
happened to a LOT of missionaries I heard. I'm working my best to
change that.

Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS: sorry for the late email, that something I need to work on.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 13th 2017


Talking about the Atonement?? Pfffft!! What an easy subject! lol I bet
you could talk for 30 minutes if you wanted to haha. I hope it goes
well!
  The first thing I've learned as a missionary is that the MTC was
REALLY boring now that know what REAL mission life is like. They do a
good job on teaching us how to teach, But they focus too much on what
we have to do to be a missionary and too little on how to STAY a
missionary when things get tough. When I'm trying, rejection is the
least of my worries. I don't care if somebody doesn't want to hear our
message, it's their choice on whether they want to listen to us or
not. And if they don't then so be it! They miss out on learning about
faith and repentance which gives you hope and makes you feel 1000x
better about yourself while changing your whole perspective on life.
Staying on a mission is the biggest struggle for a lot of
missionaries. I say this because I know a lot of missionaries that
either went home because they missed their family too much, or that
they felt like that they were wasting their time, or that they felt
they weren't prepared, or that they did not know the gospel, or since
now they've learned the gospel they then decide to go back to repent.
I came to the conclusion that a mission is hard. Especially after
experiencing the things I've experienced.
  The thing that got me the most and many other missionaries I knew is
having to deal with your weaknesses everyday. I never felt so
inadequate in my life. There were days where I didn't feel like being
a missionary because of how much I sucked at talking or how much I
sucked at keeping up with the schedule or how much better my was
companion is than me. I came out here on my mission totally unprepared
both physically and spiritually. I knew a few missionaries that were
in the same situation as I was. They ended up giving up and going
home. I never prayed or read the scriptures, I never payed attention
in Sunday school and seminary and I've never had a real testimony of
anything at all. And because of all that I never understood why we had
the gospel in the first place or why we read the scriptures or why we
even went to church. I faked a lot of things and I regret doing it,
but I can't really blame ignorance.
  I'm really glad you pushed me though, to do things I never wanted to
do. One of them being a mission. You knew I didn't like to talk, you
knew I didn't like meeting people, you knew I struggled with learning
and most of all, you knew I would hate wearing Sunday clothes all the
time! But you pushed me to practice the piano anyway while telling me
"It might not be today, but you'll thank me one day!" You pushed me to
finish my school work, and one day I miraculously did! And now I'm out
here on a mission having fun meeting new people and talking with them
and learning the Gospel 24/7, reading the scriptures, teaching
lessons, giving talks. And I love doing all of it! Even while wearing
my Sunday clothes all the time!!! A lot has changed since the
beginning of my mission. I can testify that God does give us
weaknesses so that we can learn to overcome them and I know that God
doesn't give us anything we can't overcome. Either 12:27 is real, I've
seen it. I've seen it in me, and in other people. A lot of my
weaknesses did become strengths since I've humbled myself and "came
unto him". I still have plenty of weaknesses to overcome, but if I
continue to apply that scripture they will eventually become my
strengths.
  Thank you Mom and Dad too, for giving me this opportunity to serve
the Lord for two years!!! I've changed soooo much because of this!! I
would extend my mission if I could! I know a mission is hard, but it
will be worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know if I try my best to serve I will become a better person than I
ever thought. Here's your "thank you" you've been waiting for all
these years!

Love you Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ps: thanks for the package Mom!!!!! I still practice the piano! Lol
Look who we ran into!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

January 23, 2017

Thanks for the update!
This week me and my companion were asked to give a talk about the Savior. My companion chose to talk about hope and I chose humility. I think we did a great job. We had lots of complements from people. I think it was my best talk. It was a cool experience. We have a baptism this Saturday. Her name is Alayna. She married an LDS man and has been with him for 21 years. She knows a lot about the church but hasn't taken the steps to become baptized. She is excited for her baptism and so are we!
Last Wednesday were transfers. Me and Swalberg are still companions so that's awesome! I hope we can learn and grow from each other in these next six weeks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

December 12th 2016

Last week was transfers!!!! I'm no longer with Elder Hashey anymore!!!
He's dead!!! I killed my dad!!!!! So my new companion is Elder
Swalberg. He's 18 and is from Dallas Texas. He is a super awesome
missionary, and is very enthusiastic about missionary work. We both
get along really well are excited to serve together.
Last Saturday Sergio was baptized!! He's was really excited about it.
Also, Christine I forgot to mention was also baptized the week before.
It was great!! I'm really excited for them. Hopefully they'll
eventually become strong and faithful members of the church.

Today for pday I took my companion to the bowling alley. Is was his
first time in a long time and he really enjoyed it. After that we ate
lunch with an awesome member that he knows really well. His name is
Wade. He's loud, funny, obnoxious (he's one of those old guys that joke
about being fat and ugly) in his 60s, retired and pretty dang wealthy,
but you would never know unless you asked.  He drives an ugly Kia and
wears cheap clothes. But what's really cool about him is that he loves
serving the missionaries. He treats us like we're his own kids or
something. He's always offering to take us to lunch or dinner if we
don't have one scheduled. Or he's always offering to buy us things
like a new coat, shoes, a bike if we can't afford one, and things of
that sort. He's a great example of someone who uses his money for
something besides himself.
So after lunch, Wade dropped us off at a zone pday activity at the
church. We did basketball, cards, bored games and all that "fun"
missionary stuff.
Wade picked us up after. Wade calls himself the Mormon taxi driver
because he's always driving the missionaries around. We stopped by
temple square and walked around for a little bit because my companion
has never seen the lights. Wade took pictures of us and sent them to
my Mom. After that he took us to a restaurant and had a nice dinner.


Elder Brandon