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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