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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coming Home

Mat's plane arrived in Las Vegas this morning at 8:55 a.m.  It was so exciting to watch him coming down the escalator and we were all emotional.  He was released at 10:15 a.m. by President David Day, a counselor in our stake presidency.  What a wonderful experience it was to hear our son describe his experience and love for his mission to a priesthood leader.

Mat looks great!  We all had a few tears of happiness at being reunited as a family.  If I could describe how it feels to see my son again after his completing a successful two year mission I would use the words joy, relief, pride but even that doesn't do it justice.

Mat with his three siblings:  Daniel, Ryan and Valerie.  Mat met his nephew Ty, who was born a few months after Mat left on his mission.  Brother-in-law Tyler couldn't be there with us today, but we will see him this weekend.

Gotta love the Vegas airport.

Walking to the baggage claim.  We are all excited to get home and relax and talk about Mat's experience.

I don't know why Mat made this funny expression.  It's quite an amazing thing to go from being a missionary 24/7 for two years and then in a snap it's over and you're back to living in the world--but not "of it."  Mat's mission to Alaska will be part of his life forever.  "Well done thou good and faithful son!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Final Email

Again, another great week in paradise. This paradise has a lot of angry people though. North Pole is great, our jackets are off, and it's a peachy 60 degrees today. Elder Bunch and I worked hard this week inviting others to come unto Christ. We found three new people to teach: two through tracting and one from a dinner appointment with a member. We have found so many people to teach these last few months, and it has been a blast. Many baptisms will occur in the near future here in North Pole. I might not be here to see them, but the Lord has started a great work here, and has been preparing the hearts of His children to receive His gospel. I'll continue to work hard and make the most of what the Lord has given me. Love you all!

Love Elder Squires

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Very Good Week

Elder Bunch and I had some great experiences this week. Besides it continuing to get warmer, we were very blessed with more people to teach, and very spiritual experiences. On Wednesday we tracted into a 90 year old man named Hardy. He let us right in, and after offering to delight us with some hot beans, we got talking about the church. He mentioned a member's name, and I thought that maybe he was a member that we just hadn't met yet, but he said he was not a member. Then he told us that he has wanted to be a member for a long time. We taught him the first lesson, and let him tell us some life stories, and we left. We taught him again later in the week, and hopefully we can prepare him for baptism. We invited him to do so, but with his health he is not sure. We will help as much as we can!

This week we also contacted a man that we tracted into over a month ago. He told us to stop by in a month, and we gave him a Book of Mormon. When we contacted him this week, he was very interested in coming to church and learning, and had already read over half of the Book of Mormon. We also taught a lesson to our 11 year old investigator on his trampoline and jumped around after. This week was a blast!

Love Elder Squires

Monday, May 2, 2011


Here are some great pictures from Mat's last transfer in Anchorage as an AP.  We haven't received any pictures from North Pole yet--we may not see them until Mat gets home.  Three more weeks and counting!


So I have absolutely no time to email today! All I have time to say is that has been a great week as usual, and it just keeps getting warmer. We continue to find people to teach, and we are preparing some great people for baptism. The other news is that I'm speaking on Sunday. My farewell was on Mother's Day in 2009, I spoke in Whitehorse Mother's Day of 2010, and I'll speak this Sunday as well. Crazy!

Love Elder Squires

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Can Almost Take Off My Jacket!

It is getting warm in Alaska, and once it hits 60 degrees I can finally take off my jacket. It's been in the 50's this week, and it's way too warm for a jacket. That sentence just reaffirms the fact that I am going to burn up when I get home. The members keep looking up the temps in Vegas on their iphones and it's always really hot. Darn technology.

Well, this week has been pretty good. The work has been great, and Elder Bunch and I have been having a blast teaching and finding. Easter was a good day. You'd think most Christians would have no problem talking about Jesus Christ on Easter, but some people were really angry to see us out working. We even tracted into an Easter party for another church at their pastor's house. There was a house on the street that had a bunch of cars in front, and so I told Elder Bunch we should knock it. I figured it was a party or a family get together. I thought it would be a good experience for Elder Bunch to share our message in front of a larger crowd. There were a few men standing outside the house, and they told us what the party was for. Elder Bunch started talking, but after hearing they were all from another church, he froze up and just turned and looked at me. I started talking to them, and as I did a bunch of people started coming out of the house for an egg hunt. I was just waiting for the pastor to come try and talk to us, but he never did. We finished talking to the three guys outside the house, and left. They didn't want a copy of the Book of Mormon, and they didn't want to be taught. Good times!

Well, I'm out of time for today, but I love you all, and have a great week!

Love Elder Squires

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Springtime in Alaska

It's definitely spring time in Alaska. Still two feet of snow...about 40 degrees during the day, a little under freezing at night--Warm stuff! It's been great for the work because it makes proselyting more fast-paced when it's not freezing. Elder Bunch and I had an awesome week. We taught more lessons this week than we have ever taught together. It would have been a great week teaching-wise in any of my past areas. It has been a great atmosphere for finding lately. We have been contacting a lot of members, and doing quite a bit of tracting, and it's been very successful. I think Elder Bunch and I are both getting used to the area and the work, and all the people. It's been a blast.

We are teaching a couple of people that will hopefully will be baptized soon. We're teaching a nine year-old boy that will be baptized in a few weeks. He is really cool. Anyway, Elder Bunch and I have been receiving a lot of tracting revelation lately. It is a really cool experience. On Monday we did not have a dinner appointment, and we were about ten miles from our apartment and didn't want to drive back. I had a really strong prompting to tract a certain street, and we tracted into some great people, and are teaching two sisters that are praying about baptism right now. A few days later, Elder Bunch really felt we should tract a street, and the second to last door we knocked, we met a really cool guy that is excited to read and pray and be taught.

The Lord's work is a great thing, and He is leading us to those who are ready to receive His gospel. Anyway, I hope you all have a great week. Don't have too much fun in the sun.

Love Elder Squires

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All Is Well in Paradise

Well- it has been a great week, a fast week, and is now the beginning of my last transfer in Alaska and on my mission. Transfers are today, and Elder Bunch and I are both staying put-a pretty obvious one this time.

I'm not even sure where to begin with what happened last week, and everything that's going through my head right now. All I know is that this past transfer was awesome! It has been great starting a new area and a new ward, and getting to know so many great people. It's been a challenge for sure though. Elder Bunch has his first transfer under his belt, and he is doing great. He keeps getting better and better each day. This last week we found a couple more people to teach, and we even have someone on date to be baptized! He is a nine year-old boy, and he is really on the ball. We are teaching his mom as well, but she is not quite ready to accept the commitment to be baptized yet. They are the family I wrote about last week that we felt impressed to see and started teaching.

Elder Bunch and I have been tracting and finding like crazy. We've placed A LOT of Book of Mormon's, at least more than I've ever placed before. We just ordered out third 30 pound box of them from the mission office. Yesterday we did not have a dinner, and decided to tract instead of take an hour break. We knocked on just a handful of doors, and have three solid teaching appointments set up. The Lord is blessing this work in this area greatly! We've also had a lot of really funny tracting experiences, and have met a lot of angry people. We've even starting keeping a log in our area book of places to not visit for future missionaries so they don't have to risk getting yelled at, or worse.

Well, all is well in paradise, I mean Alaska. Everyone have a great week!

Love Elder Squires

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Lord Answers Prayers

This past week was a very difficult and very rewarding week. Elder Bunch and I have been working our tails off trying to find the elect, and it has just been difficult to do so. We've tracted quite a bit, and have talked with many members to try and find the elect here in the Badger Road area. We had taught fewer lessons during the week than ever before. I knew that the Lord would guide us, but inwardly I was getting a little frustrated. I just didn't let Elder Bunch see that. Yesterday, our lessons had all fallen through, as they had all week. We had some tracting planned in the afternoon, but I didn't feel like that was what was needed at that time. We stopped and called some people, thought about our options, and then decided we'd better tract. As I was trying to find a place to park our truck, a name of a part-member family came into my head that we had talked to before, but hadn't seen in awhile. I told Elder Bunch we were going to see them (they lived just a couple of minutes away). A couple of weeks ago we ran into the member's mom at the post office, and she told us to see them. When we did, they weren't that excited to see us, but when Elder Bunch and I went back this time, they were really excited, and invited us right in. The member-husband told us that his non-member wife had lots of questions, and he didn't know how to answer them. He had tried to look for our phone number we left last time, but couldn't find it. They were just talking about calling us a few minutes before we showed up. They were a little busy, so he asked if we could come back in a few hours. Obviously we said yes, and we went back that evening and taught his wife the first lesson. She really wants to come to church, and their nine year-old son is interested in getting baptized.

The lesson from this story is 1) the Lord is aware of His children and answers their prayers, and 2) Many times we have to work as hard as we can to our limit's end before we see the Lord's blessings. Sometimes I think that part is a sick joke, but I know it's a trial of faith and a character builiding experience. Anyway, general conference was great, and we spent a few sessions at member's houses, and one session at the church. Priesthood session was great, and I got to see a lot of the YSA members I knew when I served in Fairbanks. The general authorities are called of God, and this church is true. The Spirit witnessed that to me very strongly these past few days. We have a prophet on the earth, and the Lord is guiding His church through him.

Love Elder Squires

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello from the not quite finished Winter Wonderland

This week was a warm one. It was a blazing 30 - 40 degrees all week and the snow is all starting to melt. I almost wish shorts were allowed right now. Mom said this week it will be in the 90's in Vegas. I don't even know how hot that is anymore. 50's would be perfect. The week almost ended perfect, but then yesteday it started snowing, and we woke up to 6 more inches today. It can't snow when it's -40 because there is no moisture in the air, but now that it's warmed up I knew we would get some before it all melted. Oh well, winter will end someday. I'll enjoy it while I can.

Elder Bunch and I had a really good week, and we taught more this week then we ever have here in the past. We are still tracting a lot and trying to find the elect. I read a verse in 2 Timothy 2 yesterday where Paul says, "I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." This kind of became my anthem for this area after I read it. The work here is definitely different from past areas, and takes a lot of faith and prayer, but we will endure all that is required of us to find, teach, and baptize the elect.

This week we had a specialized training where President and Sister Dance came up with Elder Piiparinen and Elder Starkie to do some training. It was good to see Elder Piiparinen again even though it's only been a month. I also had an interview with President Dance, and those are always great. Anyway, things continue to go great here in North Pole. I hope you all are doing great!

Love Elder Squires

Monday, March 21, 2011

"No Solicitors or Mormans"

It's been another great week here in the freezing North Pole. This week though it's been really nice. It might sound crazy, but anything above zero and sunny is really nice. Things are slowly starting to melt and get warm. It's good and bad. It's easier to be outside and nicer weather for the work, but there will be a lot more dogs outside instead of inside soon. Elder Bunch and I have been working our tails off trying to contact everyone we can on the membership records for the ward, and we've also been tracting quite a bit. The other day we were knocking on doors when we came to a house with a sign that said "Keep Out: No solicitors or Mormans." I thought it was pretty funny, and it was spelled wrong. According to her neighbor, she had a gun, and the police had been over there before. When we walked up to the sign in her drive way that said "keep out" on our way back down the street, she opened the door and started screaming and yelling at us, and Elder Bunch just booked it and left me hanging in the driveway. She asked (yelled at) me if I could see the signs, and I just said, "Yeah that's why we're walking away." I was laughing about it, and thanked Elder Bunch for leaving me there alone. It was funny--he was laughing too.

North Pole is a blast, and we have some great experiences. On Wednesday we taught the Restoration to a lady named Melanie . She had been reading in the Book of Mormon a chapter that we had left before. She loved what we taught, and we will be teaching her again hopefully this week. We're excited to keep teaching her. The ward is still coming together, and each week more people are called to different callings. It's been fun to work with the members and get to know everyone. We've started to build up some great relationships, and the members here are great. Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Squires

Monday, March 14, 2011

Knocking on Doors

Well this week was so fast, and was great. Elder Bunch and I have been meeting tons of people, and working as hard as we can to find people to teach. We found three new people this week that we have started teaching, and we're excited about having more opportunities to teach. We've also been tracting a lot trying to find people. Elder Bunch loves to knock on doors, especially the ones that look more run down and dangerous. He loves having crazy stories to write home about. We've had a few experiences being yelled at, cussed at, and threatened, but that happens everywhere. Even so-he loves it. A few days ago we tried to contact a less-active member, who ended up not being home, and so we knocked on a few doors. When we started walking towards the first couple of houses, I pointed to one and said, "you take that house, and I'll take this one," and started walking towards the other house away from him. When I started walking away, he was confused and worried, and said, "aren't we companions?" I just laughed and turned around. It's all fun and games until you're without a companion! He thought it was pretty funny.

Yesterday at church, more callings were filled, and I imagine that the next few weeks will go the same as the new ward continues to get settled and organized. The people here are great though, and it is an awesome place to serve. The houses are a lot more spread out than other places, so the work is different, but it's a blast. I hope everyone is doing great.

Love Elder Squires

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dogs and Guns and Boonies

So I'm serving in North Pole where it's Christmas all year round. I think I sent home pictures awhile ago of me and Elder Piiparinen in Santa's sleigh. I live down the road from there basically. On Tuesday we had our big transfer day, and I was officially released from being an assistant. The Lord has sent me and a new missionary to open a brand new ward in North Pole. I'm now serving as a district leader and trainer for this last bit of time.

At about 4:30PM after transfers on Tuesday, Elder Bunch (my new companion), another new missionary, and myself took the journey from Eagle River to Fairbanks, and then North Pole. We got in to North Pole around midnight, and slept over at another missionaries' apartment. The next morning we went in search of our apartment and when we found it we opened the door and it was completely bare. We've been relying on members a lot lately, and they have been helping us get the furniture and food that we need to get by. They have been extremely generous and helpful.

My companion, Elder Bunch, is really excited to be out here. He is from Salt Lake City, and has been in Alaska for less than one week. We've been spending most of our time these past few days either tracting or trying to get to know the leadership of the ward. When we got here, only the bishop, his counselors, and the secretary and clerk were called. No one else in the ward had callings, because it is all brand new! Yesterday was the first meeting of the Badger Road Ward. MANY callings were extended, and the stake presidency was there to see over the process. I knew the stake president from before, and it was fun to see him again and talk with him. The ward here is just getting on its feet, but so are we as missionaries. We finally got an official roster of who is in the ward yesterday, and so we will be working hard to get to know everyone and build Heavenly Father's kingdom.

It is great to be here in North Pole and to witness and take part in the growth of the church. There's more to write but not enough time to do it, so I'll have to leave it at that. I'll just add that North Pole has a lot more dogs and guns and boonies than my other areas. It keeps us on our toes!

Love Elder Squires

Mat and Elder Piiparinen on a side trip to North Pole while serving in Fairbanks last year.  This picture does appear in a previous post.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

North Pole, Alaska

Hey Dad,

I'll write more next week and in a letter, but President told me yesterday that he had called you. He is an amazing mission president. I'm glad he was able to call. Thanks for supporting me so much and helping me in every way that you can. I definitely have the best parents on the planet.

I drive this afternoon with two brand new missionaries, one of which I am training. We won't get into North Pole til late. If you could forward this to mom that would be awesome. There isn't enough time to write today, sorry. Love you Dad!

Love Mat

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Very Special Phone Call

Report from Mat's Mom:  Last night we received a phone call from President Dance, Mat's mission president.  He called to tell us what a wonderful missionary Mat is and that he has served well as an AP these past four months.  He said so many nice things about Mat and we were very happy and grateful to hear from him.  President Dance told us that Mat is being transferred tomorrow and that he will be training a new missionary.  The new missionaries arrive today and Mat will be helping with the process of assignments.  We may not get an email from him today.  We are very anxious and excited to find out who his new companion is and where they will be serving.    Mat had a feeling that he would be transferred this week and would be given the assignment as a trainer as President Dance likes to send his AP's back into the field as trainers during their last one or two transfers.  What a blessing for the new missionary to have Mat as his trainer.  We are so proud of the exemplary way in which Mat has served during his entire mission and we are grateful that he will have this new experience.  We are also grateful to President and Sister Dance.  Mat loves them so much and it has been a great blessing for Mat to serve with them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Holy Cow!

Well, it's another Monday, and I don't know what is happening to time. Every week is a blur. This week Elder Piiparinen and I were in Fairbanks for a couple of days, and we got to see a few of the recent converts that we taught.  It was great besides the fact that it was -37 F haha.  It was so fun to see them again and to see their progress. One will be going to BYU-I soon, and another has applied to BYU Provo. I love seeing the change that the gospel makes in the lives of those we teach.

After Fairbanks we spent a day in Wasilla, and it snowed the whole time we were at zone conference. On the way back we counted 8 cars within about a mile of each other that have run off the road into the ditch or on the median. I didn't share that to scare anyone, just to share how crazy Alaska is. One of those 8 was not me so no worries. Just another day in Alaska. Saturday and Sunday were really the only two days that we had this week to work in our area, and they were a great two days. We taught eleven lessons in those two days, and found some amazing people to teach.

Yesterday we started teaching a lady named Naomi. She was so excited to hear the lesson, and the member that was there was like, "holy cow she's ready to jump in the water." Then Naomi said, "no really, I'm ready to jump in the water!" It was a fun lesson because she was touched by the Spirit and understood what was taught. We also found a great part-member family that we are teaching. The work is going very well, and the Lord always provides for us. Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well. Seeya.

Love, Elder Squires

Monday, February 14, 2011

Zone Conference in Juneau

Hello everyone. It's already the middle of February and so much has happened this year. This past week was great. Eder Piiparinen and I spent a couple of days in Juneau for zone conference. I always love visiting Juneau. It is a beautiful place. Everyone came in for zone conference, like I did when I was in Whitehorse and got the privilege of going to Juneau. It was a blast to be there.

Now back in Anchorage, there is lots of work to do, and Elder Piiparinen and I teach as much as we can with the time that we have. Eloy was not baptized on Saturday. We are working some things out with him right now, and hopefully we will see his baptism in the near future. Other than Eloy, we have a few more great investigators that we are working with. Last Sunday we went tracting during the Super Bowl, and had some pretty good success, even though we thought most people would be angry that we interrupted their game time. Last night we tried to contact some people and we were having a tough time with it being the night before Valentines. Everyone was getting their celebrations in before the week started. Now that all of that is over this week should go well! I hope everyone is doing great!

Love Elder Squires

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Well this week was so fast. Elder Piiparinen and I spent a few days in Kenai and Soldotna with President and Sister Dance for a zone conference. It was great to be down there again, but also a little stressful because we had so much to do in our area as well. We finished teaching Jennifer Unger all of the lessons right before we left, and then coordinated her interview while we were in Soldotna. We got back Friday night and then went to the church early Saturday morning to fill the font for her baptism. It was a fantastic day, and her baptism was a great experience. She asked her fellowshipper, Brother Black to baptize her, and then I had the priviledge of confirming her in sacrament meeting Sunday. She will be, and already is a great member. I have been so blessed on my mission to see so many great people come into this gospel and be converted through the Holy Ghost. This week will bring great things with more zone conferences, and a lot of work in our area. Have a great week everyone!

Love Elder Squires

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Full Week of Proselyting

This week has been fast and full of proselyting. This was the only full week of proselyting Elder Piiparinen and I would have before zone conferences so we just worked and taught as much as we could. We are teaching some fantastic people right now. Jennifer is on date to be baptized this Saturday and we are looking forward to that. She is awesome, and her sister Jamie being a recent convert has really helped her along.

If you remember I think last week I wrote about a man named Eloy that Elder Kerecman and I found knocking on a door. He came to church again yesterday and is so excited about everything. He is hilarious, and is going to be a great member. At church yesterday he was already introducing himself as Brother Galvez. We've worked really hard in this area the past few months, and we are definitely being blessed to see the fruits of those labors. These next two weeks will fly by getting ready for those baptisms.

We taught a man this week from Kenya. His name is Kenny, and he was a referral from some other missionaries that had tracted into him. He had been reading from the Book of Mormon that they left for two days, and he showed us a scripture in 2 Nephi 27 verse 9 that talks about the book coming forth out of the dust. He loves the Book of Mormon already and is getting baptized on February 12th! He is 29 though so the Young Single Adult missionaries are teaching him now. It was funny because we told him about Mormon.org, and he got on right away while we were there, and made a profile to meet mormons. The Lord is always preparing amazing people to hear the gospel! Hope everyone had a great week!

Love Elder Squires

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Great Week

This week has been great with a new transfer and again with Elder Piiparinen. It was a great start to a new transfer, but it was sad to to see the missionaries giong home. I was extremely close to that group. This week after transfers started out a little slow, and there were a lot of cancellations. Sunday made up for all of it. We were able to teach six lessons on Sunday, and we started teaching three new investigators. We also invited a man named Eloy to be baptized, and he accepted! He came to church and loved it, and we taught him right after church. He wants to be a member so bad, and he has great intentions. Elder Piiparinen and I had a great day, and we are looking forward to this week to continue teaching and finding. After this week things will be really busy with zone conferences, but I am looking forward to them. Alaska is a great place to be, and is definitely the best mission in the world. Hands down. Alright well I hope everyone is doing great. Have a great week!

Love Mat

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It's been a very fast paced week as we've been getting ready for transfers. They actually take place today in about an hour. We just had a few minutes to check our email. Well, Elder Kerecman has one transfer left on his mission, and has been called to train a new missionary in a ward in Wasilla. That means I have a new companion--but he's actually not a new companion. I've never heard of someone serving with their MTC companion 3 times, but Elder Piiparinen was called to be my companion, and he's here with Elder Kerecman and me for the day. Elder Kerecman leaves in just a couple of hours, and then it will be back to work. We're pretty excited to serve together again, and we're even more excited to build the work in the Campbell Park ward. Time for round three! Well, I'm running short on time so next week will be more of an update. Have a great week!

Love Elder Squires

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cool Finding Experience

Hey Everyone. It's been a great week, and a warm one too. I think it got up to 45 F the other day. It was sweet! Now it's dropped again, but it was a good little break from the cold. This week Elder Kerecman and I worked hard to find and teach, and we had some great success. We've been able to see some great missionaries this week with a few meetings that we had. Church yesterday was awesome. More investigators attended than we've ever seen here in the Campbell Park Ward in the past few months.

We also had a really cool finding experience yesterday. We had talked to a woman at her apartment complex the other day, and she said we could come back a couple of days later. When we went back yesterday, her brother was at the door, and he was really excited to see us. He said he knew some great LDS members, and thought the world of them, and that he's been wanting to attend the Mormon church for years. He also said he wanted to get his hair cut and a nice suit on so he could come looking sharp. I almost thought I heard a chorus of angels singing hallelujah in the background haha. Anyway, the work is going great. We'll be spending much of this week with President Dance so not quite as much proselyting will be able to take place, but we will work hard with the time that we have. Have a great week!
Love Elder Squires

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's Already 2011!

I can't believe it's already 2011! 2010 was a quick year. This past week was fun with everyone recovering from Christmas, and then recovering even more from New Years. This year was the first in I think 25 years where it was legal to light off fireworks at home on New Years. It sounded like a battleground all night. I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep very well, but I fell asleep quick, and mortars are no competition against a sleeping missionary.

Elder Kerecman and I had a great week. We had another full 7 days of proselyting, which we were thankful for, because this week is when the fun starts with lots of meetings around the mission. We were able to find a lot of new people to teach this past week, and we've taught a lot more than usual. We are hoping that because we are finding and teaching so much, baptisms will start to follow. We've definitely been greatly blessed so far. On Thursday we had exchanges with the zone leaders in the Chugach zone, and I spent the day in Eagle River. It's so cool to be able to see different parts of the mission and be around so many missionaries. The next two weeks ahead will be fast, and another transfer will come to an end. Happy New Year!

Love Elder Squires