Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010 - Week 50

This is me at "Make a Difference Day." That's the swing set we painted at the women's shelter.

Hello Everyone!

I don't know if anyone knows this, but since I came into the mission at mid-transfer, I will probably leave a little earlier than I am supposed to. I will leave at the end of the transfer. So my leave date will probably be July 27, 2011. That is one year from today. How weird is that? I cannot believe that in one year I will actually be home. Time has gone by so fast for me. Even though I will be home in 1 year, I have not yet hit my year mark. That is still August 12th, so I am still an 11th month missionary. That is something I promised myself - is that I would not say I have been out longer than I actually have.

This week was not completely exciting so I'm not sure how long this email will be. We are still trying to find new investigators. It is very difficult. Our ward is fantastic. They support the missionaries so much. They feed us and are so grateful for the work that we do. They are happy to fellowship new people that we are teaching and do a great job at it. We have been tracting and trying to find people on the streets. Elder Williams and I are still working hard. We have faith that more investigators will come through our own efforts and hopefully we can find more through the ward members.

We had an alright lesson with Caysie this week. She is on date for baptism, but she is not willing to come to church right now. We actually had Sara Huxoll come out with us and bear her testimony on coming to church. We are going to continue to work with her. Lorns is doing great. That is Caysie's friend. He promised his mom that he would try out her church. He said that he was going to try it out, but if he didn't like it he would be happy to come to our church. I guess his moms church is highly anti-Mormon, which I think is a good thing. Lorns is really learning a lot from us and he really likes it. His faith is increasing greatly. I think he will go to that church and if they say anything anti against the LDS church, he will recognize that it is not true. Hopefully we can have Lorns come to church as well.

On the 24th of July they had a thing called, "Make a Difference Day." The whole stake got together in Pendleton, OR and did a ton of projects through all of the town to fix it up. We first went to this women's shelter and painted their swing set and benches and patio. It was really a lot of fun. We got a tour of the womens shelter after. It was a nice place and I'm sure a great place for those women to go to when they are in danger. Later we went to the animal shelter and fixed some stuff up there. There was the cutest puppy. He was a mix of a husky and something else. Man if I was not on my mission, I probably would have bought him. Then we did work at the cemetery. It was a great day. The Huxoll’s and John Janovich also came. They really enjoyed it too. It just goes to show that service does strengthen us and is so important for long time members and new converts.

Last night Sister Janovich gave us a call. Sister Janovich has had cancer for a while now. She has gone through her treatment and it has been a large trial in her life. Well she called to tell us that her cancer is gone and that the doctors have found no trace of it anywhere in her body. She was so happy. She has received many blessings from us. She then asked if non members could get blessings. We told her yes. She said her friend Tammy would like one for her daughter. We have actually met Tammy before. We were going to start teaching her and then something came up with her kids and we weren't able to. Tammy was just never really interested after that. Well her daughter has been having some health problems. It has been causing her a lot of pain and the doctors think it could harm her chances of having children in the future. She is only 12 years old. We explained the priesthood and what blessings are. We then gave her a blessing. Sister Janovich was there and she bore the most pure and sincere testimony on the power of the priesthood and on blessings. Tammy and her daughter leave for Spokane today for some testing. Hopefully all is well with her and that we can share more of the gospel with them.

I thought I would answer a couple questions the family had. Lynds I have not gained any weight. I lost a bit at the beginning of my mission. I have put enough back on that I am at the weight I was at before I left on my mission. I have been working out pretty hard lately. I think I'm definitely getting stronger and more toned, but as for the weight gain, no dice. I'm workin on it though. I needed to go Spanish speaking or to Hawaii where they feed you a ton. That just doesn't happen a whole lot out here. Elder Williams is doing great. He will be a great missionary. He does not have a lot of confidence right now in his teaching, but he does pretty well. Out of the new missionaries in our district he is definitely doing the best. We are getting along really well. We have become really good friends and are already talking about life after the mission. He is going to be my St. George buddy and we are going to go to concerts in Vegas. I am going to be his Salt Lake buddy and we are going to go to concerts in SLC. He is learning. I'm really trying my best to help him. Dad I read your scripture you sent me in 2 Kings and it made no sense to me haha. Was it in 1 Kings instead? Because the one in 1 Kings is really good and applies to what you were saying haha. I am serving Elder Williams as much as I can. Training has been really good for me. I realize how much I actually know about the gospel and about missionary work. It also helps me focus on other people, especially my companion, rather than myself. All the news about my friends is exciting. Good to hear everyone is workin hard.

That's pretty much it for me. Next week our p day will be on Monday because of some training going on in the mission. So it will be on August 2nd. After that we should go back to normal p days on Tuesdays. I keep on hearing that there are new lessons. There will be 8 lessons. I'm not sure if this is for the missionaries to teach investigators to, or if the 8 lessons are for mission leaders to train missionaries. I have heard both. I guess I'll find out sometime. Anyway, have a great week everyone. I love you all.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010 - Week 49

Elder Wagner, Laurel and Jim Bob Bloomfield at Laurel's baptism
On the way to the Bloomfields house with Elder Wagner

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well this week. It was a very big week for me. We finally had our transfers and Elder Wagner left for Vancouver for his very last transfer. It was really fun serving with him. And there at the transfer site was my "son," or my "greenie." Whatever you want to call him, his real name is Elder Williams. He is from Hurricane, Utah and graduated in 2009. This kid is great. He is fairly tall and a little bit heavier than me. He has such a desire to work and do all he can. It is so funny because it just reminds me of when I came out into the mission field. He keeps saying, "Man you have been out for so long. You are so experienced. I can't even imagine being out for as long as you have." It really has flown by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was coming to this mission. He is a lot of fun to work with. We get along great. He is really down to earth and just wants to have a good time. He always says, "I am your ball of clay, so just mold me." I just tell him that is Gods role not mine haha.

It is a lot of fun being a trainer. I feel so knowledgeable right now. All the greenie's just have absolutely no idea what is going on. Its fun to be able to help them and practice things with them. We had our trainers meeting this week as well. President Greer said that one of the biggest compliments that a mission president can give his missionaries is to have them be a trainer to a new missionary. He said that he trusts us to get these missionaries started right, because it will have an impact on them for the rest of their missions.

We met with Caysie again this week. Her friend Lorns was sick so we weren't able to teach him. I think that she is so stressed right now with her daughter and her house and her fiance. I feel so bad for her. We have set a date for her to be baptized on August 14th. We set it out a little further because there is a lot that we still need to teach her. Sarah Huxoll actually knows her very well so she is going to come with us tonight to help teach. Its really cool that we are able to bring some of our recent converts out to teach our new investigators. Sarah has missed church the past couple of weeks because of vacation. I was really starting to worry about her, but she came last Sunday and when we talked with her she said that she missed church so much. She just felt so much better when she got home.

We have a couple new investigators that I don't know if I have told you about them or not. There is a couple named James and Danika. James is actually blind. He has cancer and he has some problem with his feet. They have kids together, but for reasons unknown to me right now, they have been taken away and are currently living with foster parents. One of their kids is being adopted this week and will be moving some where on the east coast. They are pretty sad about it. I guess the adoptive parents are LDS and they thought that they might as well learn more about it. We found them while we were just walking on the street and we stopped to talk to James. Even though he is blind he gets around. He has memorized the town by how many steps and turns he has to make. We have taught them a couple of times. Yesterday we had Danika pray at the end of our lesson. She said in her prayer, "I'm thankful we could have the missionaries come over and teach us more about the Mormon church. It is different from what I have been taught, but it sounds like it is the truth." Darn right its the truth. I love hearing investigators pray. It is always so sincere.

We also found a new investigator named Sam. There is an older lady in our ward that we were going to go see. They live in a retirement community. Her neighbor was out sitting on his porch so we went up and started talking to him. He said that he lived in Utah for a while. We talked to him a little more and asked if we could come back another time to meet with him. He said yes. Well Elder Williams did not have a lot of hope for Sam. He kept on saying, "Ya we can try Sam, but I don't know if he is really interested or not." I just told him you can misjudge. So we went over to his house one night. He of course forgot we were coming over but he invited us in. We talked with him for a while and then started to teach him. Poor Elder Williams forgot the first vision. He was teaching it and he goes, "And then Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. Ummm.....Elder Garrick do you want to explain what happened?" So I took over and taught the rest. Man I love being a trainer. The spirit was very strong and we asked him to read and pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He is going on vacation this week, but hopefully we can meet with him again next week. We told him that he now has reading material for his trip haha.

Well that's about it for me this week. Have a great week everyone. Hope to hear from you sometime. Take Care.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010 - Week 48

Hey Everyone!

There is so much to write about today. So much! I will start off with transfers. I am staying in Dayton once again. This will be the longest that I have ever been in an area. It will have been about 6 months there at the end of the transfer. Surprisingly Elder Wagner is already leaving. He is going to the west side of the mission to serve there for his very last transfer. It’s been good working with Elder Wagner. He is very laid back. He didn't really talk a whole lot so I kinda had to take charge most of the time, but he definitely prepared me for my new assignment. That is right, I will be training a brand new missionary. I am getting a greenie. In our mission we call our trainers Father and the trainee is the Son. Our trainers trainer is our Grandpa. Really stupid I know. I thought it was so dumb when I first got here, but I've gotten used to it. So I am going to have a son haha. Man I am really excited for it though. I think it will be really good for me and also for the new elder. I can train him right and help him as much as I can. I was thinking how I can finally be the missionary that I always wanted to be at the beginning of my mission. This new guy isn't going to know anything except for what I show him, so I plan on working hard and anything that my old companions disagreed with before, we can try it out now at least. Anyway I'm real excited. It will be a new challenge, but it will be great.

On Friday, we had Laurel Bloomfield's baptism. It was probably one of the best baptisms I have ever been too. We set everything up perfect and weren't in a rush. We didn't have to worry about anything. They have had a lot of involvement with the ward so all the speakers were members of the ward. Her husband baptized her. That was the coolest part of the baptism. Both Laurel and Jim Bob were both very nervous about the baptism. They are both don't like a lot of attention. Jim Bob has never given any blessing before, let alone baptized anyone. Elder Wagner and I got to be the witnesses. So they step into the font together. And rush into position. I thought they were just going to do it and I had to stop them so everyone could come into the room and see. Then Jim Bob starts to say the prayer. He is reading it on the wall so you don't forget. He is so nervous he actually forgets to say Laurels name, but he quickly realizes and stops. Then he closes his eyes and takes a big breath. It was like he was praying for help in that moment. Then he slowly says the prayer for the ordinance with his eyes closed. The whole time Laurel is looking up at her husband and smiling. He then immerses her in the water and when she comes out they hug each other. It was so amazing to see those two take that step together. They are both on the path together now and because of that night they helped each other come closer to God and to eternal life. It was amazing. The following day Jim Bob confirmed her and we got to be in the circle during the confirmation. It was so great. We had a lot of people at the baptism and many of the recent converts came out to see her get baptized. I'm sure it was a good reminder for them of the step they took to be baptized not that long ago.

This week we also taught Caysie and Lorns. They are friends and Caysie is actually engaged to a member named Darrold. Caysie and Darrold live together and have a 1 yr old daughter together. Lorns is their best friend and is always there so we have been teaching him too. Well this week we go and see Caysie. She is just sitting on the floor crying. We ask what is wrong and she said that her and Darrold got into a fight and he left her. Caysie has muscular dystrophy and is usually in a wheel chair. We sit down and start to talk with her. She said that ever since we came into her life, things have just been going great. She is reading the Book of Mormon and she said that nothing has ever made so much sense to her. She has been praying a lot and felt like this was the right thing to do. That night she was planning on telling us that she wanted to be baptized and she was very excited about it. That was before Darrold left. She said that she is questioning her faith now. She doesn't know what to do and she can't take care of her daughter by herself. She is not able to physically, mentally, and spiritually. Gosh, I felt so bad for her. We read the scriptures together and talked. We went to Ether 12:6 and talked about how this is just a trial in her life. It is a way for her to confirm her faith, not to doubt it. We then turned to Ether 12:27 and talked about weak things becoming strong. The spirit was very strong. We then gave her a priesthood blessing. She said that after the blessing it was the most calm she has ever been since the breakup. She then said, "You know, I still want to be baptized." We are meeting with her tonight again and we will probably sit down and set a date for her to be baptized. She has been talking to Darrold again, but she doesn't know what is going to happen.

I guess these two experiences I have had leads me right into the scripture that I wanted to share with everyone this week. I have been studying Matt 19 this week and I have been reading Jesus the Christ and this chapter hit me so hard. It’s Matt 19: 3-6, 13-15, 27, 29-30. I know that is a lot of scriptures, but they are all one to me. The Pharisees come to Christ and ask when is it okay to "put away your wife." Christ talks about the sanctity of marriage. He stands up for women and shows how important they are in the great eternal plan of Heavenly Father. Women then bring their little children to Christ and he blesses all of them. This shows how important the family is. Jesus Christ knew how important the family was. It is what brings us together and keeps us safe. Our families help us to return to God someday. Later Christ talks about giving up all one has and following him. He says that it will be easier for a camel to enter into an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of god. The apostles wonder at this and ask what they will receive. They have left their families and all their possessions and followed Christ. That is where verse 27, 29-30 come in. I have seen this in my own life and I know that it is true.

We haven't heard a whole lot about the changes that will be taking place here. I do know that we will only have Zone Conference every other transfer now. There are new Preach My Gospel DVD's for us to watch and be trained by. We are actually having Elder Baxter of the 70 come to our mission this next transfer and give us the new training on missionary work. That should be really exciting. That’s about all I know. That’s it for me this week. I hope everyone is okay and safe. I am going to try and write some letters this week. Hopefully I can. I love you all. Take care.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010 -Week 47

Here is the Walla Walla Zone with our new Mission President, President and Sister Greer
Me and Elder Buchanan next to the Welcome to Dayton sign
Me trying to do the Jolly Green Giant pose. I guess Dayton used to be the place where the Jolly Green Giant would make all his peas.

Hello Everyone,

Well I had a pretty good week last week. I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Ours was pretty good. Well I guess I'll start off talking about our new mission president. On Wednesday we drove down to Walla Walla and met President and Sister Greer. It just seems so weird to me because they don't know anything about me whereas President and Sister Belnap knew everything about me. They were really nice though. They told us of their MTC experience. They were only there for about 3 days. They said that for the first 2 days they were with at least 1 member of the 1st Presidency all the time. They were trained by almost all of the Quorum of the 12 except for 2 of them. On Sunday they had sacrament meeting and the whole 1st Presidency was there. They said that there was such a power when they all walked in. You could feel the spirit as the prophet and his counselors walked in. That would be an amazing experience. Well President and Sister Greer told us about themselves. Sister Greer is awesome. She is very outgoing and funny. President Greer is great too. I think he was just on a spiritual high from the MTC because he was very emotional haha. He will be great for this mission. They did tell us that there were going to be some changes that were going to take place that are coming out from the 1st Presidency. Unfortunately, they didn't tell us what any of those changes are going to be. There is a rumor that the Mission home and office might change to the west side of our mission over in Vancouver. So if that were to happen I wonder if they would change the name of the mission to the Washington Vancouver Mission?

Later that day I went on exchanges in Walla Walla with our district leader, Elder Denny. It was way fun. We work well together. We had a good talk that night too. And I just barely finished my exchange with his companion in Walla Walla, Elder Sabe. I don't know if I ever told you guys, but Elder Sabe went to Cottonwood. We didn't know each other, but we know all of the same people. It's pretty crazy. We had a way fun time last night. Its always fun to go to a new area and be with a different companion for a while. Plus you get to see how other missionaries do missionary work.

Well stuff that has been going on lately,.....hmmm......we have been doing a lot of service. Its been really good though. Missionaries are always asking if there is anything that they can do for someone. People generally are just like, " I think I am okay." Well we know that there are a few people who have been needing some help around their house and yard. So we decided to go with a more direct approach. There is this less-active lady that we have been trying to meet. Her 5 year old son has epilepsy and it has been really hard on her. We want to help her, but every time she has just said, "no I'm doing fine." So the other day we go up to her and say, "Hey your dad told us that you need your drive way dug out. We have Thursday open and wanted to come help, could we come do that for you?" She was much more willing when we actually brought something up and told her we wanted to do it. So we have done that with a couple other people and it has been great because it's people that we have wanted to get in with and haven't been able to. We are able to actually talk to them while we work too. So I hope that we can get some good results from it. In other good news, Laurel Bloomfield is getting baptized this Friday!!!!! She finally made the decision. Last week we went through the baptismal interview questions and she knew everything and said that she would be willing to live all the commandments, because she already does. Her husband will be baptizing her on Friday. I'm so happy for them. They have come to church every week for all 3 hours since we met them. They have been great. I'll definitely take some pictures and send them to everyone.

Our 4th of July was pretty good. We had church that day. We had dinner with a less-active couple. Its actually the parents of the lady who's son is epileptic. They cooked us steak and salmon. It was way good. We have gotten to know them really well. The wife is having a real hard time with her grandson going through all of this. She just can't understand why god would do this to a young innocent boy. We have talked to her about it a lot. The doctors have tried everything they can for him and he just doesn't get any better. Well we were having dinner with them and we usually leave a spiritual thought. I was planning on leaving something that would strengthen their faith and give them encouragement, but I had the strongest prompting to talk about obedience to god's commandments. I talked about how they have done everything known to man for her grandson and right now they need Gods help. I brought up all the commandments and invited them to church. I pretty much called them to repentance. I have never done that on my mission before. I just had the strongest prompting that I knew I couldn't back out from it. I was pretty dang afraid to do it. Man I hope they do come to church. They really need it right now, they just don't realize it. I told how I love them and their family and how I just want the best for them. I think she started to get a little offended, but then I explained what I meant and everything was alright. Pretty intense though. Since it was the 4th of July we had an early curfew. We had to be in by 8. they were doing fireworks all over in Waitsburg so Elder Wagner and I got on our members roof and watched them for a little bit. It was pretty fun. Made me miss the fireworks back at home though.

Well we find out about transfers this Saturday. Since we have a new mission president no one knows what is going to happen. It has been that on Saturday President Belnap would send a voice message to the whole zone telling everyone the changes that were going to take place and then we would leave on Wednesday. Now it could be so different. He could tell us the night before if he wanted to. So we will have to find out. I have no idea what is going to happen to me. We always have transfer predictions in our district and everyone predicted that I would be leaving and going to the west side of our mission. I kinda hope that happens. I haven't been on the west side yet and I heard its really cool. If both Elder Wagner and I stay then I would probably be there the following transfer to get someone new going into the area. That would be about 7 1/2 months in Dayton! That would be crazy. I'm hoping that I go to the west side, but who knows. Well that's it for me. I hope everyone is doing great and having a fantastic summer. I love you all.

Elder Garrick

Monday, July 5, 2010

June 29, 2010 - Week 46

Hello everyone!

I'm sure you all started to get a little nervous that I wouldn't be emailing today. It was our Temple P-Day so we have been in Kennewick all day long. It was a lot of fun. I am exhausted though because we had to wake up early and Elder Wagner and I had to wake up extra early to drive from our area to Walla Walla. The Mullens drove us into Kennewick and Sis Mullens took pictures so I'm sure that you will be seeing those in the near future. I gotta tell ya, I still love going to the temple. It seems like every time I have gone to the temple on my mission I have had some type of problem that I just really need an answer to. Now I'm doing pretty good so today I was just able to relax, learn, and feel the spirit. I do that every time, but this time was just better for me. After we went to the church book store and I got a couple more talks on cd. I love them. I used some of my birthday money people sent me. Thanks again to all those who sent me birthday stuff. Then we went to Red Robin and guess what? I did not get the clucks and fries! I decided to get the Banzai Burger and it was really good. So ya, we've had a good p-day today. We literally just barely got back and now we are emailing.

Well not much has gone on. It is now official that President and Sister Belnap are back in Utah. President and Sister Greere are here. They are coming to Walla Walla tomorrow and we will be able to meet with them. Then I will be going on exchanges with our district leader, Elder Denny. So that should be fun. We are actually going on exchanges again on Monday because we missed one so I’ll go on exchanges the following Monday. I'm excited for it. I get to go to Walla Walla for both exchanges. It will be good for Elder Wagner to take the area for a couple days. It was good for me to take it over. We talked to the office Elders today and they said that with President Greere, there are going to be a lot of changes made. They said it’s not really President Greere, but it’s the First Presidency who are making the changes. We aren't sure what they are right now, but I bet we find out pretty soon. Maybe even tomorrow.

I thought that I would give you all an update on the people we are teaching. We are still trying to find people to teach. It can be difficult but we are trying. For the past two weeks we have been teaching this less active man, his non-member fiancée, and their best friend. They are so funny. They were actually a referral from the missionaries in Walla Walla. The less-active man thinks that he was excommunicated because he got tattoo's. That probably isn't the case, but he refuses to come to church. He really likes us though and he is a nice guy so I think we can get him to go in the future. His fiancée has some bad health issues and is in a wheelchair. She was told she wouldn't live past 18 and she would never have kids. Now she is in her 30's and their little girl just turned one, actually on my birthday. She doesn't understand why God would make her this way. She was also told by her past church that she is like that because of the sins of her mother. She has had some horrible experiences with religion, but she is really soul searching. She said that she has really been thinking about going back to some church and that’s when we showed up into her life. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that for the first time in her life, she understands the scriptures. The best friend is very sincere. I know that he has felt the spirit. I have great hope for him too. Laurel is doing awesome. We actually set a date for her to be baptized on July 10th! That is right before transfers so I’ll be there for sure. Her husband is going to baptize her. It happened last night and it was great. She has been really nervous to get baptized so last night we went over the interview questions and she passed them with flying colors. I'm really excited for them.

Well I just found out that the library is actually closing pretty soon, so I better sign off. Sorry about that. Not a real long email this week. I hope everyone is good. I bet Bailee and Rylin's Birthday was a blast. Have a fun 4th of July. I love you all.

Elder Garrick