Monday, May 21, 2012

Hello everybody!

Well, things are going great up here in Alaska; the weather is awesome
right now! Just have to say that. It has been a solid 50 degrees here,
man it just feels like heaven! I cannot, however, imagine over 60,
that is way too hot, no thank you. I remember being back home and when
it would get down to 70 it was uncomfortable for me, now I shake at
the thought of it :)

Due to some early moving around in the mission, we now have another
member in our companionship, we are in a trio now and the new Elder's
name is Elder Fina'i. Travis will like him, he is from Melbourne,
Australia, not sure if his mission covered that or not, but he has the
awesome accent and everything :) He is Samoan, born in New Zealand,
lived in Samoa for a little bit, then grew up in Australia, played
rugby the whole time as well. He is the oldest of eleven kids. He will
be with us until the end of the transfer.

Since transfers are coming up, my mind has been drawn as to what will
happen (I said that pretty poetically, that was kool) I am hoping I
will be transferred out of Anchorage, not because I do not like the
area or companions I am currently with right now, on the contrary I
love both of them, I just want to see and experience more of Alaska as
a missionary. If you think about it, the whole time I have served my
mission I have been in Anchorage and Whitehorse for a little bit. One
of the main reasons I have been in Anchorage for so long tho is
because President told me during interviews that it is the closest we
can get up here to normal missionary work. Outside of Anchorage you
are pretty much in small towns or bush areas, it is a really unique
mission. I do not have a preference where I want to go, just wherever
the Lord wants me to, but I got a good vibe from President during
interviews (we had interviews on Saturday) that I will be leaving
Anchorage this upcoming transfer.

Elder Fina'i asked me last night 'how has the Book of Mormon changed
your life?' I thought for a little bit and replied 'it told me how to
live it.' So many blessings and valuable teachings come from reading
the Book of Mormon, I love it. One of my favorite parts of the day is
personal study, I absolutely love studying, I never thought I would
like it as much as I do now - back home I was not the biggest fan of
it. It is a great book, I love it.

I had a Dan Jones experience the other week. We were stopped at a
railroad crossing, due to a train going by. As we sat there, I looked
and tried to see when the end of the train was coming up so I could
anticipate how long before it would pass and we would be able to cross
and get to our next appointment. I looked down the tracks and could
not see the end of the train approaching, thus giving me the
assumption that we were going to be there for a decent amount of time.
I sat there pondering about fun missionary stories and how I would
like to do something bold on my mission, something different to
proclaim the gospel. We were on a two lane road, filled with cars
around us, also waiting to pass the tracks. I realized that everyone
was, in a way, trapped in there cars, like us and had to wait and that
this would be a perfect opportunity to proclaim the gospel. I got the
idea to read from the Book of Mormon, out loud and walk in between the
cars up and down the lane. Elder Butler told me to read from 3 Ne. 11,
a chapter that talks solely about Jesus Christ. I grabbed a copy of
the Book of Mormon, said a prayer, and stepped out of the car and
began to read out loud while walking up and down the lane, where the
white lines are so I could walk in between everyone. Man could I feel
their stares, everyone was looking at me. At first, I was really
uncomfortable, but the further I read, the easier and more calm I
became. It was not much, but it was something. It was a great way to
use time wisely :) that is the cool story I have for the week. If
Terra, or any of my awesome bro-in-laws, have cool Dan Jones stories,
I would love to hear them :)

Love ya'll, have a great week!

1.  What are you doing for p-day this week - and what did you do last
week?  I sure hope you are doing some serious playing!  Remember all
work and no play makes a dull boy....

We are not quite sure yet, usually we play some basketball for the
activities, but we are trying to go on hikes right now, do something
different. Since the weather is a lot nicer, we are able to do more
things outside, hopefully we get some football in or something, I
would love to just play outside - especially Soccer, oh how I miss
that sport....but the plans for today are looking like basketball for
a little bit, then a hike, or just something outside :)

2.  What is your greatest stress in being a zone leader?  What do  you
do about it?

In all honesty, is it not all that stressful, but I think that is due
to our awesome zone, they are super easy, all of them obedient and
just little problems arise. I would say the biggest stress would be
consistently doing exchanges every week. I am not sure how many
missionaries like exchanges, but most are not too big of fans of them.

3.  Now that you have out for a 3/4 of your mission what would you say
is your favorite thing to do on your mission?

Testify of Christ hands down. Nothing brings greater joy then to have
the authority and power to testify of Him. It feels good, you are
doing your part on bringing souls closer to him, and best of all, it
is rewarding, maybe not in outward results, but always inward you feel
great about yourself :)

4.  Now with your new good eating habits - if you could have any meal
you wanted what would it be?  Complete with drink and dessert.

Oh man......well if I had to choose healthy I would say: salad - no
dressing - with cut pieces of chicken breast, some fruit - preferably
bananas and oranges, strawberries too, I like pretty much all fruit
:), and probably some pasta perhaps? You know how bad I am at coming
up with things on the spot, oh and no desert, because that is a
healthy meal; water to drink :). Now an unhealthy meal would consist know what I really do not know, but it would have a desert
at the end, either apple pie or brownies, both with ice cream, man
that would be good...

5.  What would you consider your greatest life skill you have learned
on your mission?

You know how I am at evaluating myself.....I would say it would be
diligence, forgetting myself and going to work. A mission has taught
me one of the greatest and most valuable traits anyone can ever learn
and that is hard work. I will always be grateful for learning this
invaluable trait. At times, I have had to really push and press on in
order to not get discouraged. I found the greatest anti-depressant for
any missionary, hands down, is work. Before my mission, I was a little
scared of hard work, as I am sure you know, but now, I have really
come to truly value it.

6.  Next Monday is a holiday there I believe - Memorial Day - does
that mean you can't email next Monday and what will you be doing since
it is a holiday?

Most likely yes, but I am not 100% sure on it. If I do not e-mail then
you know why :)

7.  Looking back on the past 17 months of your mission - what would
say was your favorite time?  What was your least favorite time?

My favorite time was while I was serving in Whitehorse. Reason being
is because I was completely focused on the work; I was not distracted
by other missionaries and their influence; I was Senior companion, in
no leadership position so that made it a ton easier to focus on it;
most of all, I found myself out there, I was tested and tried and
greatly refined thro the whole process, and now here I am as a result.
The least favorite time is whenever I am disobedient, like we read in
Alma: 'Wickedness never was happiness,' how true that statement is. It
is NEVER fun being disobedient.

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