Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Time to get to work - July 27, 2015

Well the MTC time is done! I have lots of good stories I wish I could share but don't have the time. You'll just have to wait for the mission video! Just know I whistled Utah Man with honor and dignity!

Looking back at it I kind of miss the MTC just because of the friends I made there and the family I got to see, everything else kinda sucked. Lucas compared the teaching fake investigators to the Monsters Inc. movie where they do the scaring/training thing with the fake kid.


It really was a cool place though, spirit was very strong! My teachers were cool, but nothing like Brother and Sister Vichrilli (sorry for butchering that name). Thanks again for mission prep class, it helped so much. ANYONE even considering a mission, go to their class. Goal is to wife a RM so I can teach mission prep Sunday mornings. I want to help future elders/sisters as much as Mike and Hillary helped me!

So Tuesday we packed up and headed out! We took Front Runner to the airport and this sparked a slight emotional breakdown as we stopped at the Murray station. This was hard, REAL hard. Seeing the school (go sprntas), the park (#OperationABRO - greatest slip-n-slide ever - sorry for the damaged grass), the hospital, just made me think... It hit me that I'm leaving this place, like a hard hit too. Talking about a Brian Blechen - Devin Funchess type of hit.  Got to the airport, called mom and she added Lala to the line. I got to say hi to Z - it was rough, but I know he's got my back!

Like I said, it was starting to hit me. After a whopping 54 minute flight we got to Billings and to the mission home and once again I couldn't help but think of my family EVERYWHERE I looked. The rest of the day was being grilled on rules. Apparently I can't even a wear a Utah shirt to sleep in, whatevs. It was a hard day but that next morning we went to the Temple and it was awesome, exactly what I needed. Power of prayer is absolutely incredible, I have truly learned that out here.

Really some cool experiences whether it's promptings for someone else or for me. Pray peeps, I promise it'll help.

Then came the Wheel of Revelation. A wheel with the different zones of the mission. Didn't actually determine where we were going, but just a fun way to see if we spun the right place or not. I got the Bozeman Zone, Belgrade 1st Ward. I was pumped!
Next day we all we went our separate ways, I drove 4 elders to Bozeman. It was fun driving even though I couldn't jam to Kenny Chesney and wasn't in the sex Panther with Lola (Hawaiian dancer on my dashboard), beautiful drive though, only about 3 hours. Got there, met my comp Elder Jaques and we headed to our.......residence....which was in the middle of nowhere, gravel road and everything! On the way there he made a distinct effort to drill a gopher. He let out a blood curdling laugh as we heard the thud, never seen someone so happy to kill something.  I was laughing hard!!!

So yes, the residence... An old, small yellow trailer. Surrounded by chickens!

I thought it was awesome! Not the ideal living conditions but I didn't care! That's what a mission is all about! Heavenly Father must have noticed my good attitude cause later we found out we will be in a different trailer. And this one is sweeeeeeeet, so nice!! Freakin awesome. Air Force 1 of trailers!  Still a little tight but I love it.

We did a little training, a member bought us some pizza then we went tracting!

What an experience!!! I have never had so many people tell me I'm wrong and bash on my testimony! The whole time I was smiling cause I was like wow... I'm actually doing this! They looked at me like the one shop manager dude looked at Buddy the Elf because Buddy was smiling.  I was having legit fun with it! We were standing on the porch in the pouring rain getting grilled by some dude, I had my UA rain gear on so I didn't really mind it. If they aren't ready for the gospel then that's ok, our job is to simply offer it to them. Lots of doors slammed in my face but I was having fun with it. This one lady had a SICK R2D2 cooler that we talked about. She didn't want to hear about the restoration, but that's ok, she was still fun to talk with! It was a fun first day, we even got 1 investigator out of it! So that was the first day summed up!

Fun things that happened since then:

I saw a cow

We made homemade fries, first potato we pulled out was covered in mold... It was from Idaho... SO SUCK ON DAT KURT!

I saw a cow

We were standing in the trailer and heard a giant bang, went outside to find a bunch of kids shooting rodents with legit shotguns about 10 yards from the trailer. #WelcomeToMontana

I saw a cow

Made chili flavored ramen AND added microwaveable hot wings to it....MIND BLOWN. So good.

I saw a cow

We go jogging in the morning and it is incredible. Out in the middle of no where, just a few homes, animals everywhere, the fog, the sun rise. SOOOO cool.
I saw a cow

Jimbo (the dead rodent) is still sleeping peacefully on the gravel....We drive past and/or over him everyday... I had to name him!

I saw a cow

At church I felt prompted to go sit by a deacon during priesthood...sat down and he has drum and feathers plastered all over his tie....CHURCH IS TRUE. Cool kid, likes to golf too. Told him I'll grab some field passes for him in 2 years

Met a kid named Nate while tracting who plays competitive basketball on a Special Olympics team!!! He's awesome! Dad wasn't interested about the gospel but we talked a lot about Nate and he started to open up to us! My comp feels like it was a total bust cause we didn't meet any goals with him but I gained a good relationship with him, he's my new friend! Hopefully I'll be here in October so I can watch Nate ball it up!

I saw a cow

Went to visit a member Sunday night and met a D-lineman and QB for Montana state at their house! QB said he knew Nate Cloward while serving in New Mexico! Good talking football with them, talked about the upcoming season, fall camp, Utah - MSU '11, offensive schemes etc..

I'm out here to bring others closer to Christ, and in some cases that's simply starting off by being a friend. That's what I feel I need to do.  My missionary purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ and sometimes that means simply showing you care.

Well that's about it. I still miss my family a lot. I see them even in the littlest things. Mornings are the roughest cause I dream about them all night long! I know that it's this experience that will shape me into the father I need to be so I can have a family like ours someday. This is hard work, but rewarding work. No better feeling than climbing into that bunk at night, taking off that name tag, and knowing you gave it your all that day.

Coach Scalley said back in 04 - before the holy war - that "if you aren't giving it your all - if you aren't getting up early - if you aren't pushing yourself - if you aren't studying the playbook(and/or preach my gospel) then you got it all wrong. This stuff doesn't happen to everyone.... this is a dream, a dream come true."

- yes that's a ULegacy reference, go watch it -

I'd a never thought that living in a trailer would be a dream...or constantly being shot down about my religion (almost as bad as coach shooting me down on Twitter about the date... #AskCoachWhitt) but this really is a dream come true. I'm doing His work. And as hard as it gets, I know this is where I need to be.

I miss shootin hoops under the stars, I miss the late night frosty runs, I miss being able to go poop without telling someone... Most of all, I freakin miss my family.  But someone out there needs this gospel. They are missing something FAR greater than  jamming to Kenny Chesney and making highlight videos. They are missing the gospel of Jesus Christ, the key to eternal families and happiness, so despite how hard it may be, I gotta remember that.

I love you all so much. I can read emails throughout the week on the iPad but can't respond. KEEP the emails coming.

A lot of missionaries get homesick from hearing about home, but it's my friends and family that fuel me to do this work, so thank you. I can't respond to all of the emails but please know how much I appreciate the support!

Love ya guys! Watch ULegacy and my Disney vids for me, wish I could watch those!

- Elder K

Pics include some MTC fun (Elder Thompson is the one in shades) and my first week In Montana!






Monday, July 27, 2015

Montana! July 23, 2015

Hello! We didn't get a p-day with the way our MTC p-day worked out but they did give me permission to write ONE quick note!

Tuesday I hung up with mom and was feeling a bit better, but still a freaking emotional wreck haha. I honestly was doing fine but that front runner ride ripped me apart big time. After a long, grueling 54 minute flight we (28 new missionaries)arrived in the treasure state, got our bags and went to the mission home. Not gonna sugar coat it, this was the hardest day of my life! I walked in and instantly felt like I was at grandmas. The smell, the carpet, the pictures. It was starting to hit me that I'm out here without you guys. We went to the stake center and did more orientation and going over rules. RULES RULES RULES. Apparently I can't even wear a Utah shirt to bed. We went back to the mission home for dinner and testimony meeting.

Aaaaaaand I had another breakdown. Everywhere I looked I saw our family.

That night I was in a hotel room, felt good sleeping in a legit bed and the entire time I just stared at the phone. I just wanted to talk, I needed someone to talk to, but knew I can't. I have a job to do.

The next morning we went to the temple and if I wasn't head bopping from the lack of sleep I was on the verge of tears.... BIG SURPRISE! I couldn't wait for the celestial room because I knew I was going to have an experience like what happened in Provo. I actually rocked it at the veil, only needed a little help. Then before I could even sit down the tears were flowing. I said a prayer to Heavenly Father, most sincere prayer I have said, more like talking than praying. I told Him how much I love you guys. How grateful I am for you, how awesome you are, but how hard it is for me to be away from you. I also had a little chat with those Angels I talked about last week. Mainly I was thinking of the grandparents or stick to the task. This was the last time I'd be In the temple before our new friend (Lindsay and Kasey's baby) arrives this Christmas, I was hoping to get a vibe for a boy or girl but never got one! I told her (leaning towards a her) how much I love her and that she better come before Christmas. I told her to give you all a big hug for me.

I looked up after and found Elder Hendricks standing in front of me with open arms. We hugged and cried. Then he whispered "he knows how you feel". Love Elder Hendricks, he and I will be companions some day and that zone will explode.

I felt a lot better after the temple, got a pic with the president and his wife too. I wish I could send it but this is from the iPad. I'll send it Monday along with others when we email from a computer so I can upload. I really love President and Sister Wadsworth. He and I talked basketball for most of our interview!

Afterwards we went back to the stake center and spun the wheel of revelation. No joke, a legit wheel with the different zones in the mission. They made the assignments before hand but this was just a fun way to find out. We'd spin it then they'd tell us if we were right! I got Bozeman, Belgrade 1!! I was pumped, only 2 zones have football and I got one! After we found out we went to Golden Corral which was amazing (tells you what mtc food must have been like) we got to spend the night just tossing the football and talking. I talked with Elder Potter quite a bit, got some solid pics including a Heisman pose!

Got up the next morning and the AP's threw a set of keys at me, told me I'm driving! I was pretty nervous, but felt good they and the pres trust me. It was about a 3 hour drive. Just gorgeous, gave me time to think while the other elders napped!

Well here I am now, Bozeman zone in the Belgrade 1st Ward! My comp is Elder Jaques. He is the district leader, good dude. On our way to our..... Residence... He made a distinct effort to run over a gopher in the road. Never seen someone so happy to kill rodent! He's from Vernal, Delene Jaques is his mom so add her on FaceBook. So we pull-up to our place and it is a trailer!! Apparently this is what we have for a couple weeks. I'll try to take a pic of a pic so you can see it. Yes I'm holding a chicken. Montana baby.

Well that's kind of it, I'll talk more in my big email Monday. I still miss you like crazy, I'm just worried that I'll forget how much I love you these next 2 years. Mornings are the hardest because all night I dream about you guys. Some things will still be the same when I get back and a lot of other things won't, that makes me sad. I love you all so much, I'm doing better, when I get discouraged about being away I just remind myself this is shaping me into the father I will be someday so I can have a family like ours.

I have so  much more to say but no time!

Love Ya guys! I can read emails on the iPad whenever but can't respond till p day! Love you all sooooooo much!!!

- Elder K

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 15, 2015

Hi good family!
I am supposed to be doing personal study right now but because I barely got to tell you about my first week I figured I would write a quick note.  Anyway, I LOVE IT HERE!  I am having the time of my life, I really am!  I want to tell you a quick run down of my days since I arrived.

Wednesday-said goodbye to mom and dad and then it all began.  It was like I just popped up through a glass tube into an unknown arena.  I went in, got a name tag, and I was FIRED UP! I wanted to do a Shooter McGavin "double pistol, pop collar" but I refrained.  I met the district. Elder Hendricks-super theatre dude, nice guy, gets super into the role plays. Elder Williams-nice quiet dude from Ohio.  He looks a lot like Matt Weaver. Elder Sowards-District Leader which makes him a stickler but a really good dude who reminds me a lot of Dave Rustad. Elder Ellis-funny elder from Texas. Sister Freeman-the only person who has a sense of humor remotely close to mine. Sister Wagstaff-nice girl from Washington. Elder Thompson-my companion who wears his sunnies all the time so I feel like I am with a secret service agent.  After we met the district we watched orientation videos and then went to a big introduction meeting.

Thursday-today was a typical MTC day.  That night I was laying in bed, kind of asleep but not really, and I felt like I needed to pray for a friend of mine and her family.  I was dead tired but I knew I needed to get my butt out of bed and kneel and pray.  I don't know why, but I felt like I needed to.  I've never really had an experience like that before.

Friday-I saw Walton at President Packer's funeral.  After I saw him I saw Bethany and Karly at lunch.  There is a sign on the Coke machine that says "obey your thirst".  I need to get a photo in front of that machine for sure.

Saturday-Pretty basic day.  I saw Elder Walton again.  Good day.

Sunday-It was a Sunday, MTC style

Monday-I went to play Frisbee and saw Walton so he and I just sat and talked.

Tuesday-I got to play basketball!  I was ballin like Steph.

Wednesday-Pday. It is so stressful to trying to email.  I felt so bad not being able to say everything I wanted to.  I can't even say everything in this letter.  I was feeling bummed about going to the temple, not because of the temple itself, but I knew that at the end I wouldn't walk into the celestial room and see my family and that made me sad.  I remember how happy mom and dad were in the SL temple and hugging them.. I knew that it wasn't going to happen this time, they weren't going to be there.  I made it through the session and sat down and prayed.  I prayed that you would all know how much I love you.  How much I love being a son, little brother, big brother and being Uncle K. I love you guys so much, I just wish I could have had someone there with me.  Lindsay talked about feeling someone at her side when she went to the temple on her wedding day.  I felt that too after I prayed.  I don't know who.  Maybe it was Nana or my other grandparents.  Maybe it was Uncle Dave.  I was missing Z pretty bad so maybe it was his soon-to-be little sister/brother.  Maybe it was my future kids.  How cool would that be, being comforted by my kids on the journey that will shape me into their father?  I've really gained a testimony of prayer this past week and I know I'm being blessed with strength.  I used to get homesick flying to Michigan, Stanford, Oregon but I haven't felt that.  I miss you, but I know what needs to be done.  I already have a "go to" scripture for when I miss you, D&C 100:1-2. (I put the photo of Z and I holding hands on the page of that scripture).

Last night Elder Thompson asked me to give him a blessing.  He and I are really different but I have learned a lot from him.  I've learned a lot for myself.  Last week he was struggling and he said he didn't know if he could do it.  I took him aside and we went for a walk.  We talked and I said things I didn't know that I knew how to say.  I felt like I was Coach Shah before the team runs out of the tunnel. Pray "(play) like it MEEEEEEEEEEANS something to ya!"  Well, I didn't word it quite like that but it was close.  I told Elder T about Kasey and his mission story, Brady and Kurt too.  I talked to him about what Grandpa Phil said, that someone in Montana needs him, only him, right now.  Much more came out of my mouth and I know that it was the spirit talking, not me.  When he asked me to give him a blessing I wasn't scared but I did have butterflies in my stomach. This was going to be my first blessing.  Brother Bliss said we should use oil and we did. Elder Soward did the anointing and then I was up. I remember President Lundquist telling me to never think about what you want to say and to let the spirit guide you.  That is what I did.
The words flowed out and once again the spirit spoke to Elder Thompson through me.  This experience has made all of the hard work worth it.

That's it for now, barely even scratching the surface on the experiences I have had here in the MTC.  When I'm off studying I look at the watch Annie got me and I listen to it tick.  I know that I am running out of time. Before I know it the expiration date of my time in the mission field will be here and I must make every second count.  I WILL make every second count.  I love you all.  Thanks again for all of the letter and emails.  I really wish I could respond to everyone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Greetings from the MTC

WHAT IS UP EVERYONE!!! I cannot believe I have been out for a week already.  This is going to be a lil nuts so just hang with me here.
So lets start with the night I got set apart, I was freaking out. Honestly don't remember what happened, all a blur. I was so nervous I just wanted to lay on the couch and take a nap. I was praying for Heavenly Father to help we with good byes and maybe that was his way of helping me.  

Wednesday we packed up and left, parents dropped me off, and I couldn't help but smile. Saying bye to mom and dad was rough, but hearing them say how much they loved me and how proud they were made it impossible to be sad! Met my district, love em!! 2 sisters, 6 elders. Only 3 elders aren't a part of the Montana crew, good group.  I'm constantly throwing out Ron Swanson references and Sister Freeman is the only that gets em. I need some humor people, this place is so freaking dry when it comes to laughter. I walk around whistling highway to hell and Utah Man while Elder Hendricks sings church hymns at the top of his lungs. I love my district. 

Well I wanted to give a daily breakdown but seeing I'm nearly out of time I guess I better hold off. I have a lot of good stories, looks like they will just have to wait for the mission video.

Other funny things... ughhhh. Sister Freeman saw a bunch of ones in my wallet and asked what I am doing with all the ones. I thought I had a female @TeamBetaAlpha sitting next to me, scary thought. 

Jared has touched my butt several times

Saw Karly, Kyleigh, and Bethany (no hug rule sucks)

Basketball is fun! I hit 3 straight threes to win a game to 9 (if we were keeping score..) and if you know anything about me and basketball then you are as shocked I am writing that, church is true.

Nancy, your blue paisley tie got the most compliments so far!

Only cried once, had a dream I was playing with Z and he said "Bye K" then my alarm went off. Haven't been home sick! But that plucked my heartstrings

Thank you so much for the letters and emails, I wish I could respond but there isn't enough time. I love you all, I love it here... but cannot wait to get out, ready to do the real thing.

I don't get time to tell you all the fun I have had, don't even have time to write in my journal. This will be the best two years and I want to be able to remember it.. I have heard that in the field you get more time to reflect so I'm looking forward to that.

Love you all, I know this all over the place, I have a lot more respect for the missionary's that found time to email me! cya!

Also may not get to email next week since I leave Tuesday and my MTC PDay is Wed. Dearelder works great too ;).


- K



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Just a "quick note"

What's up Fam!!!

Well, our branch pres insisted we only say positive things in this letter (that I have been "allowed" to write), but I don't think it is fair to be told what I am to write to my own family so I am going to be completely honest with you.....
It's hard work, freakin really hard, but the satisfaction of slipping on that name tag or climbing into bed after an exhausting day, is well worth it! I've gotten a little more homesick since Wednesday (it is Friday, BT Dubs).  I miss you guys, like I knew I would.  I honestly could just use a hug so you can understand the agony I must feel when I saw Kyleigh and Bethany.

My district is rockin!  Elder Ellis, Elder Scoward, and Elder Williams are heading to SoCal, while Sister Freeman, Sister Wagstaff, Elder Hendricks, Elder Thompson and I head to the Big Sky.  I love all of them.  Elder Hendricks will be a rockin elder.  I really hope we have a chance to be companions.  My companion, Elder Thompson is a nice guy but at times tries too hard to be funny or calls you out for being wrong when you aren't.  Oh well, I think it's funny.  He claims that we aren't playing basketball on Pday but we'll see about that.  He's a good dude.

The Sisters are awesome!  Sister Freeman has enough sass to dish it back to me which is nice.  She isn't quite as good as Alexis but she'll do for now.  She quoted Ron Swanson at dinner "I don't eat food my food eats" aka, salads, she quoted Vince Lombardi, talked about Harbaugh opening in the RES and she understood what "Bdubs" meant.  Not gonna lie, I was impressed.  So, that's my district and I love em!

I better get back to work, I love you guys.  Please know that!  I see each of you everyday throughout the MTC and I miss you. You are all amazing and when I climb into bed at night I think 4 things:
1-How much I miss my bed
2-How much I miss my Swoop pillow pet
3-Praying Elder Thompson doesn't break the top bunk and crush me - he's a big dude.
4-Would my family be proud of me today?

I love you so freakin much.  All of you. I know this is where I need to be.
I love it here but I can't wait to get out and do the work. 

Tell everyone hi for me, someone give mom a hug for me!


-Haven't seen Jared yet....President Packer's funeral is today so this may be my chance.
-I went to President Packer's funeral and just saw Walton.  Elder Thompson insists on wearing sunnies indoors and it took Jared roughly 5 seconds to give him crap.  We saw each other, had a good bro hug.  It was great!  I needed to see him!
Alright, that's it, cya!