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Monday, December 28, 2009

First Christmas as a Missionary

Hey, It was weird this week to not be home for Christmas, but we still had a good time and got to celebrate just a little bit. On Monday there wasn't much to do for p-day. We kind of just relaxed and slept. That night we made some cakes at our branch mission leader's house to take to our investigators and some less active members for Tuesday. Tuesday night Elder Smout and I delivered the cakes secret Santa style. Our mission president told us it would be a good idea to get people excited about things, and think it was from other members. It was kind of exciting to doorbell ditch after we put the cakes down, and see if you could get back into the truck without slipping and breaking yourself on the ice and before they opened the door. We did a good job. We ran a lot too.

Well the rest of the week was kind of slow. Most everyone we talked to just told us to come back after the holidays, so we didn't have much to do at times. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day visiting less-active members and trying to contact investigators. I also got to call home! It was fun to talk to everyone. It doesn't seem like I have been gone that long, even though I know I really haven't, but a lot has happened at home since I left. Daniel's voice sounds a lot deeper, but beneath the voice you find a man, and beneath the man, you find his...nucleus. haha. Well, yesterday Elder Smout and I both spoke in Sacrament meeting for a "missionary Sunday" they do every couple of months. Our branch mission leader spoke also. I think it was a good sacrament meeting. Well, there's not a whole lot to say today since we talked about everything on the phone on Christmas. I'm really starting to like Whitehorse, and it will be exciting to start a new year, and get ready for the baptism on the 9th. I appreciate what everyone sent me for Christmas and for all your support! Love Mat

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas phone call

Elder Squires called home on Christmas day around 2:00 p.m. Our whole family was home to get to talk to him. He is doing well and sounds the same and it felt to me like he had just left. His mission is already starting to go by quickly. He's had some great experiences and loves his mission. It's challenging to serve in the "bush" where there are very few Church members and no other missionaries beside Mat and his companion. If anyone is up to it, Mat is, and we have faith that he will continue to work hard and be an obedient missionary. He is looking forward to the January baptism of their investigator, Nicole. I'm looking forward to his next call on Mother's Day which will be right around the time of his one year mark. We love him and are proud of him!

Mat's Mom

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ready for Christmas

Hey mom! Sounds like you will have a full house for Christmas. That's awesome that Grandma and Grandpa are going to go visit Aunt Carol for Christmas. They are amazing people. I'm definitely going to miss all the traditions and being with you guys, but I'll try to have fun here too haha. On Christmas we're not sure what we're going to do. We have dinner with members but that's it. We don't really want to tract or anything because people don't want visitors on Christmas, so we are planning on going to do service at Salvation Army, and maybe a member will let us chill with them. I'll probably call in the afternoon sometime before our dinner. Thanks for everything!

I had a really good week this week. Last week was really frustrating, but this week things got better. At the beginning of the week the work was extremely slow, and we weren't able to get much done. We've been helping this one girl move out of her apartment, and this week we finally finished. It's not fun moving people when it's freezing outside. It's been getting a lot colder everyday too. The last few days it's been around -25 to -30 Celcius, and it's only going to get colder. I'm not sure what that is in Fahrenheit, but I think they even out and then Fahrenheit passes Celcius when it gets this cold. We are going to have to start plugging our truck in at night because it barely started this morning on our way to email. On Saturday Elder Smout was really sick so we had to stay in most of the day. I got a lot of reading done, and slept a lot too. That night the guys in the apartment above ours were jumping around and yelling until like 4 or 5 in the morning, so I didn't get like any sleep. Elder Smout took Tylenol PM so he was knocked out, but I had a terrible night. On Sunday church went well, and after church we went to a lesson with some potential investigators, and had a really good lesson about the Plan of Salvation. They had some really good questions, and want us to come back and teach them more. We are really excited about that. They seem really curious about what we believe, and they were interested about the Plan of Salvation. We also had our ward party last night, and that was pretty good. There was lots of food there, and we sang a lot of Christmas songs as a branch. Pretty much the whole branch was there. We are hoping to have a really successful next few weeks. Things are starting to look really promising here, so we are going to work hard to take advantage of all the opportunites we get to build the kingdom. Well, that was my week pretty much. I'm really excited to call home on Christmas Day. It definitely will be weird not being home, but we will have some fun here. Talk to you in a few days!! Love Mat

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Presents

Hi mom! Well I opened the packages. Sorry I didn't wait til Christmas, I thought you said open it at zone conference, and then I just checked the old email and you said not until Christmas. I was going to wait, but my companion kept bugging me so I just opened it. Thank you!!!! I hung up the two stockings, and Grandma and Papa sent me a stocking so I hung that up, too. It's good to have some decorations. I tried to use one of those McDonalds cards, but they wouldn't accept it because they said they only work in the states. It's ok though. I'm saving one for when I go back, and I'm mailing the other to Elder Vailea, because I know he likes McDonalds, and I'm not sure if he will be getting a package from his family for Christmas, so that's my Christmas present to him.

This week has been a pretty good week. It's been slow, but we have had a good time, and are trying to help our investigators as much as we can. On Moday we went to a Pilates appointment with Nicole and her mom that they set up for us. We kept saying how Pilates would be a piece of cake, so they challenged us to a real appointment, not what you see on TV, but with the hardcore machines and everything. It pretty much worked us over. My abs were really sore for a few days. It was pretty funny to see everything we couldn't do because we were out of shape. The rest of this week has been pretty uneventful, we are just trying to help the work move forward. On Friday, we had Zone Conference. I am in the Juneau zone now. In our zone we have the 3 areas in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and us in Whitehorse. It's pretty cool to have all of us meet together for that. All the areas outside of Juneau had to call in and listen over the phone. They called on me to give a talk, but it's pretty easy when you can just sit back in a soft chair and you don't see anyone that's listening. Not a bad deal. I also got called to speak in our sacrament meeting here. I imagine I will probably speak quite a few times here since the branch is so small. When I was sitting up on the stand, I looked out over the congregation, and I was really humbled to see everyone there. It's really hard for the people here to stay involved and active when they are so far separated from the rest of the church. It's amazing to see people that want so badly to stay involved and active regardless of that. The gospel is amazing.

The cold hasn't been too bad here yet. It stays between -10 and -20 degrees Celcius usually. Whitehorse is kind of a melancholy place in the winter. It's tough to get people interested in our message, and it's really easy to get tired because it's dark all the time. Soon it will start to get light again though. I'm doing pretty good here so far. The area is starting to grow on me, and I'm sure that when I have to leave it will be hard. But while I'm here I'll give it my best. I love you guys! Love Mat

Monday, December 7, 2009

Things to Look Forward To

Hey! This last week has been a pretty good week. P-day we didn't do much, but On Tuesday we got to go sledding with the young men and women for their mutual activity. Elder Smout had never been before, and it's been awhile for me, so it was fun. My tail bone is a little sore because it was really hard and icy. Those hats really came in useful though, and they were really warm. Well, we put someone on date for Baptism this week! This 17 year old girl Nicole has been investigating with the missionaries for awhile, and she is going to be baptized on January 9th. President Dance is letting Elder Smout stay an extra week after transfers so he can baptize her. He's excited about that. This transfer is almost half over already, crazy! Time moves fast. This area is really slow, but the work is still moving. We have 40-50 people at church every week, so the branch isn't too small, but compared to the population of Whitehorse it's tiny. I calculated it in my head, and with 50 people active in a city with 25,000 people, only 2 thousandths of the popualtion are members, or 1/500 of the population. We need to baptize like crazy here so we can change that ratio.

There's not a whole lot to report on this week, because not a whole lot has happened. The Christmas Devotional was really good. We had a couple investigators there so we were happy about that. Oh, and if I didn't mention it before, we ended up having Thanksgiving here with Nicole's family. It was good to have one, because I didn't think I would coming to Canada, but they were nice and decided to cook one for us. Today we got sucked into going to a Pilates session with Nicole and her mom. They have a private instructor ready for us. We are going to get worked over. We were saying how Pilates would be really easy and we would have no problem with it, so they challenged us to a real session. I'll have to let you know how that goes next week when I can barely walk. Alright well that's it I guess. I hope you're all having a great week! Love Mat

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pictures from Whitehorse

Elder Smout and Elder Squires. They bought matching hats at Wal-mart.

Pictures from Wasilla

Elder Squires.

Great view.


Elder Vailea and Elder Squires.