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Friday, August 28, 2009

Pictures! Valdez part 2

Elder Squires and Elder Norton

I don't even want to know.

I don't even want to know about this either.

Zone Conference

Elder Wood and Elder Squires

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fastest Slowest Week

Hey Family! This week was the fastest slow week ever! P-day was really lame because the silvers weren't in yet and it was really rainy all day so we kind of just bummed around. Boring! Tuesday was an interesting day. We had a lesson with Amanda, and it had been a couple weeks since the first discussion so we watched the Restoration with her (the 19 min one). Some friends came over right as the movie started and dropped one of their kids off for her to babysit, so that interrupted the first 5 minutes of the video, and the kids were running around screaming so it was a little distracting. After the movie was over, we started talking to her about what she thought and if she had any questions, and a saleswoman came to the door with cleaning supplies. She was way too hyper and really annoying, and came in and cleaned like five things to show why her product is so great. It was a big long demonstration, and she didn't mind that she was interrupting anything so we waited. When she finally left we talked for a little bit and the rest was ok. We won't be able to teach her again for a couple weeks because of her schedule but hopefully she can progress and keep her commitments. She had kept her previous commitments so that was a good thing.

Wednesday was a really good and disappointing day. We taught a kid named Adam who is around my age. We went with this girl that is a member that is his friend, and the lesson went really really well. We could tell the Spirit was there, and he had kind of been introduced to the gospel already by the members here his age. He has been to church a couple times with his member roommate at his college in Arizona, so it was fun and exciting to teach him. So why would this be disappointing, right? Well after the lesson he said that he was leaving for college in Arizona the next day! Both me and Elder Wood were positive that he could have gotten baptized if we had a few more weeks with him, so we were a little bummed that our first really promising investigator was leaving the next day, before he could really ever be an investigator. He said he would get in contact with the missionaries there, and the member that went with us will help with that, so hopefully the elders there can meet up with him. We weren't able to reap the fruits of our labors, but it is just as important to be the sower.

Well, that's about it for this week. I hope you are all doing well! I am still loving Valdez! Love Mat

Monday, August 17, 2009

Service for the week: Tree Cutting

This week was a pretty interesting week, not super exciting but still a good week. The past few days it has rained harder than I've seen it here and constant like normal. The days are getting darker as well. Instead of never getting dark, it gets dark a little after 10 30 when we go to bed. Monday was the most boring p-day so far. We played a little tennis and drove to a glacier, but we couldn't fish because the silvers aren't in yet. Wednesday Elder Wood and I spent the entire day up in the mountains with Bro. Christensen cutting down trees for firewood. It was tough work but I like tough work so it was fun. I was pretty sore the next day. Lifting weights doesn't work you the same as hard physical labor. We would cut down the trees, de-limb them, and then drag them out of the forest with a 4-wheeler. Then we would pick them up by hand and load them into a big trailer. I think we got like 3 cords of wood, which is a lot. It took from 8 AM to 6 PM. It was good to have some service.

Tuesday we had another appointmet with Amanda but she wasn't home so another one fell through. We are working hard, people just aren't interested. Elder Wood thinks that we will be the last elders here before they close the area. Maybe they will open it before I go home and I can help in that since I know the area. We'll see. Friday we ate at a less-active's house--the one whose house smells like ammonia because of the dog, and it was tough to get the food down. I didn't feel good that night. Well I have to get off. Sorry this wasn't very detailed. We usually don't have this time limit but we are using different computers. I love you guys!!! Love Mat

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Good Week

Hey! This week has been a good week! Slow of course but good. Monday Elder Wood and I hiked with a couple of members to Gold Creek so that was good. Not much else that day. Tuesday we had a teaching appointment with Marissa (our investigators aren't sisters) and we took two returned missionary sisters with us as our members. So basically we had 4 missionaries there to teach her. I bet you're wondering how the lesson went. If the lesson would have happened I'm sure it would have been great. Another lesson fell through. Our investigator is native (Inuit) which means they are flaky so she wasn't even home. We got in contact with her the other day though and she said maybe in a couple weeks. So frustrating! We were a little disappointed by that. That day we helped the two sisters pour concrete for the foundation of a house their dad rents to people. Their mom and dad are not members so it was a good opportunity for service and show them we are normal people and want to help. We had dinner with them after and I shared a spiritual thought with them afterward. the daughters told me their mom gets defensive when you mention Jesus Christ so to try not to mention Him. I gave the thought on how you can show faith through prayer and develop stronger faith through prayer, and I didn't realize how hard it was to not mention Jesus Christ when you're teaching His gospel! There were a couple times when I wanted to mention Him, but had to find a way around it. The sisters said it was perfect for the parents so hopefully their hearts can be softened by the Spirit. Wednseday we had another teaching appointment with our other investigator, Amanda. We took a Hawaiian member with us to fellowship her, and when we got to the door Amanda said she was busy and it wasn't a good time. Two days in a row that lessons fell through! The only two investigators we have keep flaking out. I still haven't had an opportunity to teach Lesson 2 yet. Every time I re-study the lesson and prepare to teach it, the lesson falls through. It's hard keep studying for a specific person and then get turned down, but I guess when I finally get to teach Lesson 2 I'll be a pro because I will have studied it so much.

After our lesson fell through, Elder Wood and I drove up to Wasilla for Zone Conference. We spent the night with the Cottonwood elders, and the next morning we had Zone Conference from 8 AM til about 4 PM. It's so awesome to be around other missionaries! We are a 5 hour drive away from the nearest set of elders so I never get to talk with other missionaries hardly ever. Most elders serve really close to others missionaries, but we are isolated in Valdez and have to have our meetings over the phone instead of in person like most missionaries. Anyways, Zone Conference was awesome. Talk about spiritual nourishment! Last Zone conference Elder Norton and I had to sit in our apartment from 8 to 4 and listen over the phone, and we couldn't hear much of anything, and sometimes they show clips of movies, so we were kind of left out. Being able to be around other missionaries and hear from the AP's and President and Sister Dance is really awesome. Interviews with Pres. and Sister Dance after were awesome as usual. Sister Dance can stare into your soul. A lot of times when you say something or she is feeling the Spirit, she will stare into your eyes for what seems like a long time, and you know she can see into your soul. I also witnessed President Dance receive revelation in our interview. We kneeled down after and he said the prayer, and as we were standing up after he said it occurred to him while he was praying that we need to focus on getting the members to invite instead of just opening their mouths about the gospel. It was amazing because it was something Elder Wood and I had been discussing for awhile. He really is close to the Lord and receives revelation and inspiration for the entire mission.

Well, we are back now in Valdez and it is foggy and colder today. We are going to play some tennis or raquetball and maybe try to catch some silvers. I don't think the silvers have made it close enough to catch them from the docks yet but we'll try. Probably won't be sending home fish this week. Hopefully next week! Yesterday was the women's fish derby, fishing for silvers, and we saw some pretty big fish come in. A couple 18 pounders won the derby. I can't wait to get an 18 pound salmon on the line! Well I need to get going but I love you guys! Have a good week! ----Oh ya, I got pooped on by a seagull the other day. It hit the guy next to me, and did kind of what happened in that Seinfeld episode where the spit hit Kramer and then turned a corner and somehow hit Newman to the side of him. The guy next to me got hit, and the poop bounced off, turned a corner, changed directions, and ended up on my shoe and pants. Good thing there isn't any dry cleaning here. (put that on the blogspot) (watch that Seinfeld episode to see what it was like)

Love Mat

PS- Mom I didn't get the package yet but hopefully it will be here today. I'll let you know if I ever need anything.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Transfer 2, Week 3

Hey! I'm emailing a little later today because we decided to go on a hike today with a couple members from Utah that are here working for the summer. It was the Shoup Bay Trail that we went on. It was pretty awesome. I only got a few pictures because a lot of it was walking through high brush, but we hiked to a pretty big waterfall, and Elder Wood and I went really high up the side of the mountain and were looking down onto this big waterfall. It was pretty sweet. It was good to get out and do something more physical than fishing for once. The Silvers aren't in yet and the pinks are are all spawning and getting big humps and dying off, so they aren't that great to eat anymore, even though they aren't in the first place. It stinks that most of what you guys eat in restaurants is pink salmon. I've had Red Salmon from the Copper river, and supposedly they are the best, but I've heard that Kings and Silvers are great too. They are all better than pinks. It might be a few weeks before I can catch some to send home because they haven't made it into the harbor yet. I'll keep you guys posted.

Well, this week was still slow, but we have one new investigator, and one from the week before, so we are teaching two people right now. They are two women; Marissa and Amanda. We have only taught them each the first discussion, and have appointments to teach both of them the second discussion (the Plan of Savlation) this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm excited because I haven't been able to teach the second discussion to anyone yet besides role playing with my companion and in the MTC. I didn't think I would go one and a half transfers without teaching anyone the second discussion, but it's just that slow here. I think things will pick up a little though this week and next week so let's hope. We have been working with a less-active member lately. His name is Bro. Warren, and I think I have mentioned him before. He was baptized about a year and a half ago, and right before him and his wife were about to go to the temple to be sealed his wife died. He then got offended by some members and went less-active. We had a really awesome lesson with him last night. He opened up a little when we asked him about his conversion story, and he said that his home teachers have started to visit him again too. He said he is ready to take a step back and get his life back in order. He even showed us the pictures of him and his wife when they were baptized together as we were leaving. He was going to move and live with his daughter at the end of the month, but something happened and now he is moving to Washington. I think he feels kind of alone and unwanted, and he said he doesn't want to leave Alaska but he is moving to start over his life. He isn't moving until next May now. I think Heavenly Father did that for a reason, because I had been worried that if he moved at the end of this month, we wouldn't be able to work with him and help him become active again. Now we can spend time working with him and he can apply the Atonement and become active before he moves. I think the hardships he's been going through with finding a place to move to will actually turn out to be a blessing.

So last Monday I told you that our Branch Mission Leader and Assistant Branch Mission Leader were released, and yesterday a new one was called. It confirmed my worst fears of who it could be. He is one of the garbage men here, and was baptized like 5 or 6 years ago. He's been the Melchezidek Priesthood group leader for the last 5 years. He has 8 kids that are obsessed with Pokemon, and jump all over us when we eat dinner at their house. He is still very overweight, but has lost over 120 pounds in the last year, and his wife is big too. He is very eccentric about his gospel beliefs and pretty much everything else too. He honestly is planning to set up his daughters with a Missionary serving in Valdez when they turn like 12 or something. Good thing the oldest one is 6 so I don't have to deal with it. Too bad for the missionary that serves here in 6 years haha. He thinks that eating corn is against the Word of Wisdom, and when I suggested hot chocolate for an activity he told me that he doesn't drink it because it's also against the Word of Wisdom because it is a "hot drink." I've heard from other missionaries that have served here that when they have taken him to lessons he starts teaching false doctrine about the W of W so they have to kind of stop the lesson and correct him. He's a good guy though, and he is very sincere in what he does. We will defintiely get a lot done because he takes his calling very seriously, but we just won't have as much fun as we did with our last mission leader. Oh well. I'm not complaining, because he is always really nice to the elders and serious about the church, I'm just informing you of the circumstance.

We have Zone Conference this week, and a couple lessons with investigators so it should be a busy week. My memory card in my camera is full so I'll need you to send back my other one please so I can send you this one. Mom tell Lindsey and Lane that I'm still waiting for the package they promised to send me. I love you guys! Love Mat