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Monday, November 30, 2009


That's really sad about Bro. Ewell. I remember him driving us everywhere on the Church History tour. He was a really cool guy. Is Sis. Ewell still going to do the church history tours?

That's pretty sweet that I'll get two packages. That will be cool. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't gotten the one sent to the mission office yet. That's pretty sweet about the BYU game! I hadn't heard yet. I probably would have heard if I wasn't in Canada, but people are like only into hockey up here, bunch of weirdos. That is awesome that Drew and Cameron got to see each other. I need to write them.

Well, it's been a pretty good first week in Whitehorse. It's been a really different week as well. It's just a small branch here, and it's weird to be in a branch again. I like branches because there are less people so you get to know all of them really well. Not much has gone on actually. I'm not sure if I told you already, but I got bit by a dog before I left Wasilla. A stupid little dog clamped onto my thigh and I got a hole in my suit pants and some blood got all over. Stupid little thing. I wasn't sure If I told you guys yet or not. So Whitehorse is pretty cool. It hasn't gotten as cold as I heard it would, but It will get there I'm sure. My trainer served here, and he said to expect -55 F. Yay. So this first week here has just been busy with getting to know everyone and just doing the work. The work is really slow here, but hopefully that will change. It kind of stinks to be away from all the other missionaries again. District meetings and zone conferences are over the phone again. It's hard not to see anyone from the mission except your companion for a long time. It is really easy for missionaries to be disobedient here because it's so far away from everyone, and no one from the mission sees what you do. Some things have happened in the past here with missionaries that weren't good. I've heard lots of stuff, but don't worry, I will always be obedient.

Whitehorse is awesome though. It's kinda funny to hear the way people talk here, and see how they act. They are definitely Canadians. There was a Canadian missionary in my MTC district, and I always gave him a really hard time about being from Canada, just messing with him. I'll have to write him. He will think it's hilarious that I'm in Whitehorse after all the grief I gave him. People say stuff here like they did in Fargo, like bag is beg, and flag is fleg, stuff like that. All their vowels sound like they try to sound Irish. There are also a ton of natives here, except you have to call them First Nations, not natives. Speaking of natives, on Thursday we did service at Salvation Army during lunch, and they asked me to say the blessing on the food. There was this crazy first nation walking around, and after I finished with the prayer, I turned around, and he put me in a choke hold from behind, and said "your coming with me," so I wasn't sure if he was just joking and was about to start punching him in the face when he let go and said just kidding. Then he threatened that he had two 9 mm's and was dangerous, which I thought was stupid because no homeless native person can afford that. We also did service at a senior home, and I crushed an old lady at scrabble. Elder Smout said she was really good and always beats them. I defeated her, but she has Alzheimers so I'm not sure if I should take pride in that haha.

Well, Whithorse is definitely going to be a challenge, but I know I will love it here. I'm am doing my best to learn and grow and have the Spirit with me. It's tough to do in an area like this, and I feel empty after the growth I was having in Wasilla, but I guess I just will grow in different ways here. I'm excited to say I'm serving in a foreign country, and after all the making fun of Canada I've done, it figures that I would be serving here. I love you all and in a few weeks we can talk on the phone! Love Mat

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things are a little bit different now eh?

How's it going eh? How are you all doing eh? Can you guess where I am right now eh? C-eh-N-eh-D-eh. I'm in Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada right now!! So crazy!! Things went a little differently for transfers than I thought they would. I got my transfer call on Saturday, and President Dance told me I would be coming to Whitehorse. I was so shocked! I thought I would be staying in Wasilla for at least one more transfer, but both me and Elder Vailea were transferred. He went to Palmer. I had to talk to the assistants about my travel information right after I talked to President Dance, and they told me I had to be at this gas station in Palmer at 6:30 AM Sunday Morning, and that I would be on the road for 16 hours. I had to say goodbye to all the members pretty quick after my transfer call, and I had to stay up late finishing all my packing so I could leave on time.

I will leave out details of my van ride over here. To put it short, if there was a way to experience hell in this life, I pretty much went through it during the van ride. I drove till about 1:30 where we stopped in Tok, and I met the missionary leaving Whitehorse, and then we went opposite ways, and I drove down the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse, and he drove to serve with Elder Vailea in Palmer. I guess I can share one thing about the ride. It was a professional bus line called Alaska Direct, and I switched onto a different van at Tok. When I got in and we started driving, I noticed that the check engine light was on, and remembered how I had heard someone on the ride earlier say that they had broken down one summer on the same bus line. I just said some prayers that the van would make it because it was below zero outside. We made a lot of stops on the way, and the van was fine, and then when the driver dropped me off, he got back into the van and the van wouldn't drop into gear because I think there was a problem with the engine. Crazy! I know the Lord was watching over me that whole way. That's all I'll say about that ride.

Well, my new companion's name is Elder Smout. He's from Dallas, Texas. He's been here 4 and a half months, and our visitor's passes we get at the Canadian border only allow us 6 months in the country, so I'll only have one trasfer with him. I'm really excited to serve here. I've heard a lot of good things. I don't think I will be getting Thanksgiving, though. The Canadian Thanksgiving was in October so that is already gone. Oh well. I guess I will have a Canadian Christmas. My companion said it takes a couple weeks for packages to make it here so just a heads up. It might be a little tougher to write letters every week also, but I'll do my best. I was pretty sad to leave Wasilla, especially after I was just starting to get close with the members, but I guess that's how it goes for missionaries. I hope I can stay here for the entire 6 months so I can get to know the people really well, and so It will be longer until I have to go back on the van ride through hell. It's really crazy to be one of the only two missionaries in the Yukon Territory. Very few missionaries get the opportunity to come here, and this is one of places I wanted to serve, so I'm excited. We also have a brand new Silverado. It's an extremely nice truck, and I'm not really sure why they give one to missionaries, but I'm not going to complain haha.

I would give you all the details of my last week in Wasilla, but that would make this email very long so hopefully I gave enough info about my trip and everything. I'm really excited to serve here and get to know the Canadians. I've heard there is a member here with a drum set, and the missionaries go over and play guitar with him, but no one knows how to play the drums. I'll change that haha. Well, I hope you are all doing well, and next week I'll fill you in on my experiences here in Whitepony, I mean Whitehorse. See ya! Love Mat

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Big One

Hey everyone! Well it's been an interesting week. There have been a lot of ups and downs this week. On Monday we had a good pday and played dodgeball and volleyball as a zone. On Tuesday we had interviews with President Dance so that was awesome. We had a great conversation, and he handed me a letter from my old roomate Mark in the Dominican Republic. I was pretty happy because I wanted to send him a letter but I didn't know what his mission address was. He is doing good in the DR. We are moving by the way. We already have the apartment and the keys and everything, but haven't moved yet. I'm kinda bummed because at my apartment now there are lots of moose and open space around it, and I can see Mt. McKinley from my window, and the new apartment is just on a street with a bunch of houses and is halfway under the ground. I don't want to move. Oh well.

On Wednesday the Valdez elders drove up and we went on exchanges with them the whole day. It was my old companion Elder Wood and his greenie Elder Kelley. I went with Elder Kelley and Elder Vailea went with Elder Wood. Elder Kelley and I had a fun time. I showed him Sarah Palin's house, and we got to shovel snow for this guy we tracted into. We shoveled a lot of snow and built up some trust with the guy, so hopefully we can teach him eventually. We also visited a less active, and there was a drunk guy in his house who was in his 50's and thought he was part of ACDC. He was jamming on an invisible guitar and it was pretty funny. After he finished jamming out, he looked at us and said he loved us, and started to walk towards us to embrace us or something, and he tripped over some boxes and fell on Elder Kelley. It was hilarious. We decided we weren't in the mood to hug drunk guys so we left haha. Thursday we had Zone Conference and it was awesome. It was a very spiritual Zone Conference, and I got to stand and share some of the awesome experiences Elder Vailea and I have had being guided by the Spirit. It was a good day.

One of our investigators, Shawn, came to church yesterday so we were excited about that. She is the one who wants to get baptized but doesn't know when she'll be ready. This week was a good week. We had to drop two of our investigators this week, so that wasn't good, but we picked up three new investigators so that makes up for it. Well, last week of this transfer. We get our transfer calls on Saturday and I think I will stay here for at least one more transfer. It's getting COLD! Last night Elder Vailea and I tracted in -5 degrees fahrenheit. I don't like it when it's that cold. Your nose hairs freeze and stand on end and it just feels weird haha. Ok you'll here from me next week! Love Mat

Monday, November 9, 2009


Well, We finally have snow!! People were pretty shocked it took so long this year. It was over a month late compared to last years snowfall. It started snowing last night around 8:30 and this morning there were about 3-6 inches. Still not very much, but it's freaking cold, and the skies will open soon I'm sure. All the lakes and rivers are frozen over.

What an awesome week it's been! We've had some pretty sweet experiences. On Monday we played dodgeball as a zone and it was really fun. It was a pretty good P-day. Today we are going to play volleyball as a zone. Elder Vailea is really good so as long as I'm on his team that's cool. I don't want to be on the wrong side of the net when he spikes it. When we play volleyball people are always afraid when he throws it at them because he throws so hard and leaves big welts haha. Well something awesome happened this week. On Wednesday our appointments and plans fell through right before dinner, and so we had about 10 minutes to kill before our dinner appointment, and we had no idea what to do. I knew there were a couple houses in this random spot, so I was just like, let's just tract these really quick and then go to dinner. There was a house and an apartment. When we were tracting the apartments, we ran into an inactive member that hadn't been to church in 10 years. He was excited to see us, and told us to come in. We told him we couldn't stay because of our dinner appointment, so we gave him our number and told him we would come back at a different time. He called us about 30 minutes later and asked if he could meet with the Bishop, so we set up an appointment for him. This is the cool part of the story--the day before he had been on the phone with his sister who is in Juneau. He told her that he had been praying and wanted to start getting back into the church, and asked her if she knew how he could get in touch with the missionaries. She said she only knew the Juneau missionaries so she didn't know how to get in contact with us. The next day we tracted into him at that apartment complex. He said that after we contacted him, he realized that was a sign and an answer to his prayer, so he said another prayer, and then called us to meet with the bishop. The bishop was out of town so he met with the 1st Counselor. His records have been in Colorado for years and no one in this area knew about him. I was amazed to have that experience of the spirit working through us and leading us to him at the exact moment he needed it. He sincerely wants to start coming back to church, and I know it's because of his sincerity that we were led to find him.

We also had a lesson with Shawn on Tuesday, and at the end of the lesson, we committed her to be baptized. She said that she would be baptized, but she won't know when she will be ready. She said she knows she needs to get baptized and that she knows she will be baptized, but she doesn't know when. We will be focusing on helping her with that the next couple weeks, and I really hope she chooses to be baptized while I am here so I can be here for it. Well, as you can see I've had an awesome week. I love this work and I'm excited to see what happens here in the near future. I love you all!! Until next week.

Love Mat

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween in Alaska

Hey! hope you enjoy this email...Well this week was a pretty good week. There wasn't a whole lot going on Monday for P-day, but Elder Vailea and I went to the gym with a member to play raquetball. I had never played before and it was really fun. After raquetball the member made Elder Vailea and I race on these rowing machines. We each had to row for three minutes without stopping, and whoever had the best calorie burn rate won. Elder Vailea won, but it was a close second. He got 18 calories a minute and I got 17. I don't feel too bad considering he's a monster and I'm really out of shape. We both felt like crap after. I almost fell over when we were walking away, and both our legs were shaking pretty bad. It was pretty funny. We were both tired and just wanted to sleep after, but we still needed to go work. Tuesday it snowed finally. It only snowed for about 30 minutes and it didn't stick but at least it snowed. It's been clear skies since then. I guess it's really unusual for it to not have snowed this late. It usually snow in early or mid October I guess. This whole week has been extremely windy and cold. The wind was blowing so hard that lots of trees were falling over into some streets. It makes it really cold when it's already in the 30's and the wind is blowing 40+ mph. When we tracted our faces were getting frozen and it's weird to talk to people on their doorstep when you can hardly move your mouth. We were tracting the other day, and after we knocked on the door, the house alarm went off, and it was extremely loud. We just turned and walked away. I thought a cop or security car would pull up, so we went down the road a little ways before we continued. The alarm turned off after like 10 minutes and no security showed up. I'm sure it looked conspicuous when the alarm went off and there were two guys in dark clothes walking away from the house haha.

On Wedensday we had a lesson with Shawn. It was a really good lesson. We taught part of the 2nd lesson (The Plan of Salvation), and she had lots of questions and comments, so we will teach the rest tomorrow. It was awesome, because she said how she enjoys reading the Book of Mormon, and then told us that she knows deep down in her heart that the Book of Mormon is true. I was pretty happy when she said that. She just needs to see the importance of baptism and when she does I don't think she will have any hesitation in getting baptized.

It's amazing to see the kind of protection missionaries are given by the Spirit. We are put into lots of situations that are dangerous and uncomfortable, and I look back on them and see just how amazing the protection is that the Lord gives to his servants. There is a different kind of protection as a missionary than there was at home. From things that have happened to other missionaries, and things that have happened to me, I can definitely tell that the Lord preserves those who are fulfilling his purposes.----Anyways....Halloween went really well. We weren't allowed to tract, and nobody was home, so our best option was to go to the ward party. We had an investigator that went, too so that was good. We spent a lot of the day helping set the party up, and running back and forth between appointments. Elder Vailea and I had pretty good costumes; we were missionaries. Not just missionaries, but I was Elder Vailea and Elder Vailea was me. We switched name tags for Halloween and threw everyone off. That's about the best we could do haha. It was really cold and windy Halloween night, and it was funny to see people trick or treating the same way we did when we lived in Fargo. The parents would drive their kids around between houses, and the kids would run back to the car after each house. If I remember right though there was snow in North Dakota during Halloween when we were there.

Well, I'm enjoying my mission. This transfer is already halfway over, and it's amazing how fast time flies. I am learning a ton in my studying and in our teaching and working. I read a lot, and it's really my favorite thing to do, but how you really learn is by teaching and serving. I hope everything is going well for everyone and that you are all happy! Love Mat