Monday, December 26, 2016

It was awesome to get to see you guys yesterday! 

Church yesterday was awesome! It was super hectic and crazy because there were so many people there. We had five of our friends show up to Sacrament. It was awesome! We even had one girl that were teaching who is nine and her whole family came. The reason why that was so cool is because they are less active family and the mom is a single mom and there are four kids. The amazing part, however, is that she was working until 7:30 in the morning on Christmas Day all the way over in Corvallis. She texted us in the morning and said that she was going to try and make it but that the roads were icy. Five minutes before the Sacrament, their whole family walked in to the chapel. It was really cool to see how she made it a priority to be there. We have been teaching her daughter for a couple of weeks now and she is preparing to be baptized on January 14! It is been awesome to see how the Gospel has been changing the lives of their entire family. Other than that, we had a few other people at church which is super cool. Another lady that we are teaching came with her two-year-old son for the first time. It was amazing because one of the sisters in the ward basically watched her son so that she could pay attention to the sacrament meeting. It has been amazing to see how awesome the ward has been in helping us out. We had an organ/piano duet as well,  so it made me think of you, Mom
and Staci!

By the way, grandma's book about her history is awesome. I had no clue about some of the stories that she wrote down in there. Especially the story about her and the talent show. That is really cool. I love family history work! It is awesome to be able to see the history of th
ose in our family, especially when you keep an eternal perspective and know that through the temple we can be together forever.

This past week was super crazy. We were flying around teaching a bunch of lessons. We also had a talent show for the zone which was fun. We definitely saw a lot of miracles this week. For example we came home from the talent show which was in Salem, and headed straight to the church because we had some business to take care of. As we pulled up to the church there was a man in the parking lot with his little brother teaching him how to ride a bike. We were able to teach him about the plan of salvation and about how families can be together forever. It was super cool because Heavenly Father literally put him in our path. How often can you say that you found someone to teach that was literally waiting for you in the church parking lot?? That was really sweet. We also had a couple really good lessons. It has been awesome to see how some of our friends have been keeping their commitments and have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying. You can definitely tell the impact that reading the Book of Mormon has on people's lives. I also was reading a talk by President Hinckley the other day, and he mentions how Christ was his friend. I think that that is something that we all need to strive for. Being able to know Jesus Christ well enough so that we can truly feel like He is our best friend. And even when we get to that point, there is always more to learn about His love for us.

I can't believe that it is already the day after Christmas. It seems like just yesterday I reported to the MTC. Time is truly flying. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Miracles Happening

I really can't believe that next Sunday is Christmas. It has really flown by since August. I can't believe that I have been out for four months already. Time flies!  It has been super cold up here! We even got snow, which never happens out here apparently! We got probably 4 inches of snow where we live. For about three days our cars were grounded so we couldn't drive at all! It was pretty crazy. There is still snow and ice in some places, but it is starting to warm up (warm is about 37.. ) but I am doing good. 
This week here was crazy. Between the snow and not having our cars and some other stuff, it has been a weird week. But the best part of it all has been that we have seen a ton of miracles. On one night, we went through all of our plans with about 30 minutes to spare. The crazy thing is that it gets soooo dark out here so early, so it isn't always easy to talk to people on the streets at night. We decided to say a prayer to know where we should go. We prayed and felt prompted to go in one direction. After about 20 minutes of no luck, we decided it would be best to head back towards the church where the car was parked. We felt prompted to go down one more street and then take the back way to the church. We started to walk past some apartment complex, when we saw some big scary looking dude come out of nowhere. I have learned that you should talk to everyone, so we just started talking to him and were able to talk a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon! It was really cool. We definitely didn't need to be in that part of town at that specific time right as this man walked outside of his apartment, but we know that we were guided there by the Spirit and that Heavenly Father truly placed that man in our path. 
The entire week has been full of miracles like that. It has been really amazing to see. We had some really good lessons yesterday as well. The work is definitely picking up here in Stayton. I know that obedience and diligence are the only ways in which we can truly see those tender mercies in our lives! The ward here is awesome too. We are really starting to work well with the members. Brother Graham, our ward mission leader, is an amazing man. He is really motivated to help out. I think he appreciates that we are excited about doing the work here as well. We even set up a combined third hour on the first Sunday of the New Year in which we will help all of the members, age 12 and up, make tabbed Books of Mormon that answer the questions of the soul and then challenge them to each hand the one that they made out within two or three weeks! It should be awesome. 

It is amazing to think of the faith throughout the stories of the Book of Mormon and then that faith that continued with the early saints, as well as those who faithfully follow Christ and His restored Gospel today, even when it is not in line with natural man mindset that most of the world has today. I think that it is cool that faith is really a central theme from the very beginning of the Book of Mormon. Nephi wanted to know if what his father was saying was true, so he had the faith to pray and ask God and the faith that he would get an answer, which of course he did! And then the faith of Lehi and Sariah and taking their family into the wilderness to follow where the Lord wanted them to go and leaving all of their personal stuff and worldly riches to follow in faith! Faith is such a huge part of the Book of Mormon and really everything that we know to be true at all. I think that there is a reason that the first principle in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith, because when our faith increases, then we are willing to repent, follow Christ's example and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority and continue on the path on following Him! During an exchange in my last area I remember talking with Elder Christensen about faith for a really long time. We talked about how our faith doesn't ever stop growing, as long as we are continuing to try and allow it to grow. Once we become complacent with our faith, then we start going backwards. There is no such thing as having "enough" faith! As we continue to follow Christ and are obedient to His commandments, our faith will ALWAYS grow, which allows us to bear those trials with patience and hope, and also allows us to help others through their trials. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Cold!

We actually had a blue sky this week!
It has definitely been pretty cold this week! It was so cold that it even snowed last week! It never really snows here in the Valley, but on Thursday as I was up in Newberg for a conference that I was invited to, we got some snow! It was pretty crazy.

The week here has been pretty good. there have definitely been some slow days. We are trying to work hard and press forward. We know that if we do our part, then the Lord will do the rest. Our ward mission leader came up with a way that we can get the ward involved in the work though. We are inviting each member of the ward, ages 8 and older, to hand out 5 of the Light the World pass along cards! We are going around challenging families in the ward to do this and providing them with the cards. We really believe that this will lead to more people to teach, so we can't wait to see how it works out. Brother Graham, the WML, is awesome. He is really fired up about the work. I have been blessed with two really good Ward Mission Leaders. Definitely different personalities, but both focused on the same thing. Helping others find the happiness that comes from accepting Jesus Christ and living His gospel. On a side note, he handles the sale/shipping of Christmas trees all over the country, so he said that the Fry's Christmas trees down in AZ are the ones that he is sending down there. I thought that was pretty cool!

I read a scripture today, I think it is Acts 17:27, which talks about the Lord not being too far from us. Because we all have the Light of Christ, He truly isn't *that* far from us! It is just a matter of helping people to understand that! Regardless of where we are at in our lives, Christ isn't that far away. He is ready and waiting to pick us up and help us to move forward and do better, but it all comes down to recognizing that He is there and turning ourselves towards Him! I think distraction and deception are the two biggest ways that the adversary tries to not allow us to find joy through the divine nature of Christ. There is so much out there that keeps us from focusing on what truly matters in this life. The way that I have truly come to recognize us here in this Earthly life is that fact that we can only be going one of two ways. We are either making progress towards Christ, and moving towards His love and towards our Heavenly Father, or we are moving away from them. Complacency, or just moving through life with no real worries or cares, is really just moving further away from Christ. Luckily for us, His nature is one of eternal love and compassion. Regardless of where we are at, He is there to help us because He loves us, and His Heavenly Father, more than we can imagine. It is cool to think that no matter what, He will be there for us. He just wants us to be happy. It is cool to see that as people put Him more at the forefront of their lives, it increases their happiness and their entire lives.

I was able to go to a conference in Newberg this week, which was awesome. I really try and listen every time that President Tateoka speaks. He said some really cool things this week that helped a ton. We also had Brother Donaldson from the missionary department there training us. It was really cool. We have some really cool opportunities that are arising in ways that we can use technology to further the work! For example, we can now use Skype! It will be cool because it gives us an opportunity to make daily contact with the people that we are teaching. It is going to be interesting to see how it goes, but I am excited.
Our District

Monday, December 5, 2016

This week has been extremely long. After I got transferred, I had to stay with another missionary for a couple of days until we both got our trainees. It was actually Elder Fisk that I was a companion with in the MTC. And he is serving in the Salem 2nd ward, which is where Chris' companion Sam Bybee grew up. I had a chance to go to their home and meet them! 
With the Bybees

 Since then, it has been a very long week. Training and coming into a new area at the same time has provided some unique challenges. This week we spent a lot of time trying to meet the members, build relationships with them, and gain their trust. This upcoming week we will hopefully be able to start finding some people to teach. There weren't many people being taught in the area when we got out here, but we know that there are people that are ready to hear, it is just our responsibility to find them.

Elder Pinkston is from Draper, Ut. He grew up in Seattle for most of his life though, so he is pretty used to this type of weather. He is excited to be serving so I am looking forward to serving with him. I am grateful that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to train. Hopefully I will be able to do all that He needs from me. 

With Elder Pinkston
The area is very nice. It is definitely more rural, but I like that. We actually inherited a car that was over 50,000 miles, so we get to get a new Chevy Malibu 2016 this week! I was invited to go to Newburg for a Missionary Leadership Council on Thursday, so I am going to switch out our Chevy Cruze for a new Malibu, which will be sweet. 

Elder Hala'eua is still in madras as the District Leader there. It is weird, because I definitely miss him, but I think that he and I both grew as missionaries and disciples of Christ as we were together, so I am glad that we had the opportunity to serve together. 

With Elder Hala'eua
The First Counselor in our ward who we ate with last night lived with his wife and family in Phoenix for three years right around the building and dedication of the temple. They actually went to that church building right there. Its crazy how it is such a small world. 

My studying is going well. The chapters in Mosiah that King Benjamin is talking are some of my favorites because there is so much in there that is helpful to us today. I am in Helaman chapter 2. I just read about the Lamanites attacking the Nephites and taking over the city of Zarahemla and it was because all of the chaos in the lives of the Nephites were distracting them from protecting and securing their city. That is so true for us today. The adversary won't wait to attack when times are most convenient to us and we are most prepared. We must constantly be preparing ourselves to face that opposition and press forward. Distraction is one of the adversaries biggest tools because it pulls us away from staying focused on Christ. We have to make sure that we are always putting Christ first so that those distractions don't lead us astray or vulnerable to opposition. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting Transferred

 I am getting transferred to Stayton. My new companion will be Elder Pinkston. I will meet him on Thursday at the New Missionary meeting. I am definitely a little anxious. I am excited to be training and to be going into a new area at the same, but the situation will definitely present some challenges that I didn't have as a trainee missionary in Madras. I know that the Lord will qualify me as I work to do my best and to help Elder Pinkston the best I can. I think it is going to help me continue to grow as a leader and speak up, because I am going to have to take charge more in correlating with the ward and starting the work up. I will leave tomorrow and go to Stayton and then I will have a temporary companion for the two days. It will actually be one of my MTC companions, Elder Fisk because he is going to be training too! It will be a lot different going back over the mountains into the valley. The zones are a lot bigger out there in terms of the amount of missionaries, but it should be exciting. I am still trying to find my address and then I will let you know. Like I said earlier, Elder Hala will be staying here in Madras. Everyone was kind of shocked that I was leaving instead of him. I'm definitely going to miss Madras and the people here. 

We had a good weekend after thanksgiving. We had a couple of cool experiences. One was with the man that I met on the second day of my mission, who rode up on his bike and told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true. He had been struggling with some word of wisdom problems, so he disappeared for about 10 weeks and we had no clue what happened to him. Well, on Friday we were walking to go contact some people. We were going to cross the street to go talk to some lady, but she changed directions so we continued to walk down the street that we were on. A minute later, we saw a guy walking toward us.. And it was that same man! He had been going through some classes out of town to help him with his struggles. He looked like a totally different person! It was amazing. He said that he was going to start meeting wit us again and start going to a class that the stake has at the church every week that helps people with that stuff. It was really cool. Definitely another testimony builder that Heavenly Father is watching over us and guiding us and others into each other's paths so that we can all have the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our talks on Sunday went well! Shane talked as the youth speaker before us as his first time speaking in church after his baptism. He did awesome. 
It is so essential to gain that testimony of Christ from a young age, especially during today's times with all of the distractions and deceptions that have been placed before us in all different forms.  We need to all ask God first. In the missionary handbook it says a few times, your loyalty is first to Heavenly Father, second your Mission President, and third your companion. That is true about all of us. Our loyalty should always be first to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. With any questions we have or challenges we are facing or temptations that we are faced with, we need to put our Heavenly Father and our Savior at the front of our minds. Prayer is something that is so important and truly is essential for us finding happiness and guidance. 

The church came out with a media campaign called "Light the World" on It's 25 days of service in 25 ways that Christ provided service to others. There are 25 videos, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. I'd invite you guys to watch the videos each day for that specific day and find a way to serve in the way that it suggest! I know that it will make the Christmas season even more meaningful because you'll be serving like Christ did! I know that you already do a ton, but there can never be too much service! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! For dinner we are going over to a family in the wards around 2. They invited us and the Spanish Elders over to eat, so it should be pretty fun. They're having a lot of people over so it will definitely be interesting, but I am excited. As I have gotten older I have come to more fully appreciate the times when everyone gets together for dinners and family things. It is a blessing that we have everyone so close and the opportunities to have everyone get together. We truly are blessed with so much. Today is a great day to reflect on all of those things. The list is truly never ending. I know that the most important and the reason that we have all of these blessings is because of Jesus Christ and His gospel. There really is no other way to find true joy! 

This week has flown by! I can't believe that it is already Thursday and that we haven't had a p-day for 10 days because it feels like we just had one. It has been a pretty good week. Yesterday, we went on exchanges with the Spanish elders because Elder Hala is the district leader and he's supposed to go on exchanges with older elders in the district once a transfer. I was with Elder Kersten. We had a really good day. It was weird because he has language study and we both have new missionary training (this is the last week of that), so we had studies until 12! After that, we ate lunch for a few minutes until we met Bishop up at the church at 12:30. After that, we delivered some thanksgiving meals to some families in the ward and some of the friends of ours that we are teaching. It was really cool to see how appreciative all of these people were! It was cool to be able to see their humility and thankfulness to Heavenly Father for those blessings. After that, we had an appointment at 2:15 with a friend of ours that we have been teaching off and on since the time I have been here. One of the members in our ward took us, so we went to his house and as we were driving out of the neighborhood I saw a man working in his backyard. This guy is someone that we met on Sunday night when all of our plans fell through and we prayed to know where to walk and we eventually ran into him at 8:45! He told us to come to his house the next day, but when we got to the neighborhood, his address didn't exist, so we weren't able to find him. It kind of stunk because we thought he was interested but now we had no clue where he lived! Then yesterday I saw him working in his backyard! I asked brother Barnett to pull over and then hopped out and talked to him and set up an appointment with him Friday! He lived in the neighborhood that he told us, but just at a different address. It was a miracle that we ran into him! I know that Heavenly Father put us and him in each other's paths. 

Now back to that appointment that we were heading to... It was an awesome lesson. She has struggled with a lot of stuff in her past, but loves when we come and talk with her. The Spirit was really strong in the lesson. She even prayed out loud for the first time ever! We have met with her off and on for months now and it was the first time. It was really cool! The light in her attitude was different than ever before. She told us a story about a time, probably my 2nd week here, where we saw her randomly walking in town one day as we were on our bikes. We pulled over and walked with her back home. We never knew this, but she told us yesterday, that she was really thinking about falling back into temptation that day, but that when we pulled up she knew that we were sent there for a reason. I know that Heavenly Father puts people in each one of our paths that we can all help.

Today I read a talk by Elder Devin Durrant and he was talking about invitations. As a missionary, we invite people to do things all of the time that build their faith in Christ. Invitations are something that I really want to work on more as a missionary both to the people of Oregon and to the people at home, so I am going to start leaving invitations to you all! My invitation to you this week is to look for small opportunities to serve with a smile to someone that you have never met! If you pray for an opportunity to provide an unplanned act of service, Heavenly Father will give you that opportunity and that person will need your loving service and smile.

Monday, November 14, 2016

We Truly Are Blessed

This week was interesting. We had exchanges on Tuesday so I went down
to Redmond to be with one of our zone leaders, elder Christensen. It
is my 2nd exchange with him so far. They are always fun because we
keep all of our conversations focused on the gospel and it is always
really good. When I got back to Madras, I found out that during the
exchange, one of our friends that we have been teaching, Chuck, blew
up on Elder Hala and Sawada while they were talking about the
priesthood. He yelled at them and told them to leave and never come
back. It was really sad to hear because we loved Chuck and became
close with him. But I know that we did all that we could and he had to
exercise his own agency.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience. We were able to go up and
speak at the branch that they hold in the prison in Madras. It was
really interesting, but very cool. I was asked to speak on the Book of
Mormon, so I thought about it a lot and studied it out a bit but still
wasn't sure what I really needed to say. I started to get nervous when
we got there because I wasn't sure what I was going to share and what
they really needed to hear. It was a cool experience to allow the
Spirit to guide my thoughts and my talk. I ended up telling that story
about Grandpas teammate and the basketball hoop and talked about
Christ and how He is at the center of everything that we do. The Book
of Mormon is such an essential tool to help us truly come to know our
Savior. The talk went really well. I hope that they were able to feel
the Spirit and hear what they needed to hear.

We had some other cool experiences this week as well that just add to
my testimony that Heavenly Father places us in the paths of those who
we need to meet and talk to. His timing and His hand in our lives is

I found out that Elder Kersten one of the Spanish missionaries in Madras, his grandparents lived in Strawberry for awhile! They were the Murphys. We thought that it was crazy! Small world!

The more that I study every day and teach
eve day the more that I appreciate our family and the Eternal
happiness that comes with the Plan of Salvation. The knowledge that we
can all live together forever is so sweet!

Today I studied alma 37. My plaque scripture is Alma 37:46. The path
to Eternal life with Heavenly Father, Christ, and each other as
families is not super complicated. It is relatively easy to
understand. We have to make sure that we don't get complacent because
of the "easiness of the way". Reading the scriptures, especially the
Book of Mormon, praying, and renewing our baptismal covenants are SO
important to keep us moving forward on our path to perfection. I am
definitely grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation and the
fact that Christ's church truly has been restored with the proper
authority. We truly are blessed.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Great Week!

My week was pretty good! It was kind of a weird week. We were down in Redmond and Bend a couple of times, so we spent a lot of time in the car this week. So on Tuesday night we were in a lesson with our ward mission leader, Brother Robinson and we got out of the lesson at about 8:57. We looked at our phone and we had a missed call from President Tateoka!! We were super confused because transfers aren't until the 29th or 30th of this month! So we listened to his voicemail and he wanted to go on an exchange with us here in Madras on Wednesday! We were shocked!! We had a zone conference in Bend on Thursday so he was going to be on this side of the mountains anyways and wanted to come all the way up to Madras to go out with us for a couple of hours. It was such a cool experience! We were able to teach a couple of lessons with him, even though we didn't have any set lessons, and it was just really cool to spend time with him and that he wanted to come up here to be with us. Definitely an experience I won't ever forget!

And then zone conference on Thursday was good! We learned about the Book of Mormon and responding to objections through the Book of Mormon. It was a good zone conference. We also talked about how the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul. It is something that I have thought about a lot since then. I know that regardless of the questions in anyone's life that they may have, the Book of Mormon can help them find answers. 
We have a ton of people here in Madras who have fallen away and are struggling. Sometimes it is hard to broach the subject with friends and family without offending them, but at the same time we know how important the message of the Restoration is and how the gospel can truly change the lives of those who live it. Sometimes you have to be "Sweetly Bold" as Elder Maynes told us when he spoke to us at the MTC. I have been able to see the impact that scripture reading has on the friends that we are teaching when they actually do read and when they aren't keeping that commitment. I know that we will be blessed as we continue to read every day and read with that purpose of trying to learn something each time we read. There is so much in the Book of Mormon for each one of us. I love reading it!
At the Ward Trunk or Treat

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Hey. Everything is going well. It is definitely starting to get colder, but it isn't too crazy yet. Tonight we have to be in early. We have to be in by 6. There is a trunk or treat at the church at 530 so we are going to do that for a little bit and then go back home and do weekly planning for the upcoming week. 

Our search for people is going alright, but this week was a little tougher than usual. We are doing a decent job at finding people but it has been a real struggle to help people progress. It is hard to see people accept us at first, but not truly recognize exactly how important the message that we share is. We know that our message is true and that the same church that Christ established is on the Earth again today, and we know how extremely important that is for our life on earth but also for our eternal progression, but it's pretty hard to help some people understand just how important it all is and what it really all means. It's been a pretty frustrating week in that sense, but we know that if we do all that we can and are being diligent then the Lord will bless us with prepared people. 

We studied the importance of the Book of Mormon today because we have a zone conference this week and President and Sister Tateoka asked us to study chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel. The Book of Mormon is so vital. Literally everything in the gospel relies on the Book of Mormon because it is the keystone of our religion and everything that we believe in is directly related to the book. We know that whoever reads it with a sincere heart and asks God in faith will receive a witness of its truthfulness. And if you gain that witness then you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that we have a prophet on the Earth today who gives us direct revelation for our specific day, and that this really is Christ's church once again established on the Earth today! Daily, sincere study is SO important so that we can always be increasing our testimonies. 

Another cool thing that I thought about during studies today was a quote by Ezra Taft Benson about how the 3 ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.  One of those ways was that it is a witness of Christ. When you think about it, Christ is our cornerstone. Like it says in Helaman 5:12, we need to remember to build our foundation on Christ. Which as a church we do. But I never really thought about how the Book of Mormon was a keystone to our witness of Christ. As I thought about Christ in general and everything we know about Him, I started to recognize more about how the Book of Mormon truly gives us a more complete ability to see the true Character of Christ and his Atonement. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people view the Atonement as simply the crucifixion and resurrection. But through the Book of Mormon we come to a more complete understanding of just exactly how HUGE the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemene was for each and every one of us. My thoughts are a lot easier to explain in my head than in the way that I typed them!! Sorry! I just think it is awesome how the Book of Mormon, when paired with the Bible, truly give us the complete view of who Christ is and how much He loves us. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sifting the Wheat from the Tares

This week was good! It was a really interesting week. It was another week that felt like it was full of meetings. Transfers were on Tuesday and although Elder Hala'eua and I didn't get transferred, we did get a set of Spanish elders put here in Madras! They are living on the other side of town, but it is nice to have some other people here with us. They are serving here in Madras and in a town called Prineville, but they go to the Spanish branch down in Redmond so it is about a 45 minute drive for them each week for church (It's only about 26 miles to Redmond, but Oregons speed limits are super slow!) So we helped Elder and Sister Brandon move some of their stuff into their apartment on Tuesday. One of the Elders is from Augusta! I thought that was funny. 

This week was tough because we had to really work on sifting out the wheat from the tares. Back at the beginning of the year, the old stake President of the Redmond stake set a goal of 75 baptisms for the stake. He didn't know how or why, but that was the revelation that he received. So far, we are at 29 I think, so we need like 46 more before the New Year. Our zone is really motivated to get there, but we know that it will require diligence and finding prepared people that are ready to hear the gospel. Because of that, we had to drop quite a few people from this week. It is crazy because when you first meet with people, you think that they are SO ready and prepared, but then they don't follow through with commitments, which makes it impossible to gain a testimony of the Restored Gospel. We spent a lot of time with our friend Brother Watkins. He is a 61 year old man that has some struggles, but is honestly seeking the truth. We had a couple of lessons with him where the Spirit was really strong and he truly understood what we were discussing. There were some issues that arised that softened his desire to be baptized, so we invited him to pray in the lesson and ask God if what we were saying was true and if he still felt like he couldn't be baptized then we wouldn't move forward. He started to pray to himself (so Elder Hala and I started praying to ourselves!) and then a minute later looked up and said "see you tomorrow". It was super cool! He is an awesome man and I really hope that he continues to find his answers through study and prayer. 

We talked about the Book of Mormon a ton this week during trainings and studies. It is amazing how simple the concept is. If you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, Heavenly Father WILL let you know that it is true, through the Holy Ghost. If. You receive that witness, then you KNOW that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that this really is the Lord's Kingdom on the Earth today preparing the way for His Second Coming. All that you have to do is read and ask with sincerity and with the intent to act on the answers that you receive. I think that that is something that we should ALL do, whether we are members or not, frequently. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion and it really is true! I don't know all of the stories by heart, don't have a million scriptures memorized, but I know that it is true and I am so grateful for that

Monday, October 17, 2016

Great Week!

There was a really big storm that hit the coast these past few days. We haven't gotten too much of it because Mount Jefferson sort of blocks us from everything. It slows the storm down a ton. We did have some crazy winds and a little bit of rain over the weekend. I can't imagine how it is in the valley and closer over to the coast though! 

That is crazy to see all of the changes that are taking place at home in the Stake! It sounds like both stakes are going to be in good hands. The fact that those leaders are called through revelation makes it comforting to know that they are called of God. That's cool that dad got to meet with the general authorities. It sounds like they were really good people. It's pretty amazing to see the Spirit that is always around people like that. It's definitely something that I want to work towards. There are some missionaries that just have that Spirit with them every time you see them. I was on exchanges with Elder Christensen a couple of weeks ago and he was like that. That is how I imagine Chris was on his mission. 

That is a great thought on repentance. That's something that I have been learning too ever since entering the MTC. Repentance is something that we need to embrace every day because it is a way that we can come closer to Christ and get to know Him more every day. His Atonement was made for each one of us so that we could all progress from wherever we are. A lot of people think of repentance as something you only do when you have big sins, but it is literally for every one of us to improve. I love what President Winters said. There are no breaks! Serving the Lord is a lifetime work. It's who we become and it's our lifestyle.

This week was pretty good. It was really busy though. I feel like we spent more time in the car than anything. We left Tuesday afternoon for Newberg because we had a tech training and me getting my iPad on Wednesday. We had Elder Smith and Elder Pratt with us because they had to go too and they're in our district and it's a 3.5 hour drive so we needed to save miles. It was fun though. We stayed at the APs apartment on Tuesday night, but their power was out that entire night so on Wednesday morning President and Sister Tateoka let the 6 of us use the showers in their home and Sister Tateoka even made us breakfast! It was awesome! I finally got my iPad Wednesday. It's great to be able to plan and use it to help study. It is a lot more effective than I ever thought it would be. 

We had some really good lessons this week. We met a couple who are married with 3 kids that were really interested in finding truth. The Spirit was so strong during our visit with them. They are honest seekers of truth. I can't wait to meet with them again next week. This week I read a talk from last year's October conference called What Lack I Yet. It talks about asking Heavenly Father in Prayer what we can individually do to improve and then ponder and listen for what the Spirit prompts you to do. For me, I was prompted that I need to get up and walk around for a second before I pray. I've done it the past couple of days and have seen the difference in my morning prayers and in how it invited the Spirit in the mornings for me. I would challenge you all to read that talk and take that challenge! The Spirit really helps you know what you need to do to improve. 

Elder Halaeua and I are both going to be in Madras for this next transfer! Our next transfer I think is the very last week of November. I love Madras so I am excited to be staying.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Wedding and Two Baptisms

The week for us was a really crazy one. I honestly can't even remember everything that we did. The wedding and the Baptism were both really good though! It is really cool to see how the Atonement can work in everyone's lives. As long as we are trying our best and striving to follow Christ, then we can all be changed and become more like him every day. We helped out a lot with setting up and taking down for the wedding. It was really cool to see how the Relief Society rallied around each other and did an awesome job of making sure that there was enough food and everything. Some of that stuff was kind of last minute, but that is just a testimony builder of the truthfulness of the church, because most people don't work the way they did to make sure everything went perfectly. The Baptism was really good too! There were probably 25-30 people there, which was awesome. It is really cool to see how the ward really came together to support Shane and Cortni. We have a lot of younger couples (Staci and Tiffany's age) that are all awesome in being supportive and accomplishing all that they are asked to do. 

On Sunday, the confirmations were done. But it was also really cool because the four kids were all given blessings after church so that they could be put on the records of the church. It is really cool to see Shane and Cortni have a desire to go to the temple and be sealed for eternity in a year. It is also really cool because Shane can't wait to baptize Eva, the oldest, next year in June. He always talks about being able to baptize them and how he can't wait for that. 

Friday was also a really cool day. We had Zone training meeting down in Redmond and then New Missionary Training right after that, so we didn't have a ton of time to proselyte, but in the afternoon we saw some really cool miracles and met a lot of people who were interested in learning more! 

I studied Alma 5 today and it was awesome to read. It really makes you put things into perspective of how you are doing and how you can more fully follow Christ. It talked about deciding whom you are going to follow and how Christ is always going to be the Shepherd calling out your name. It also talked a lot about being able to stand before God and how great the joy will be if you are righteous, and how terrible it will be if you are not. It is all about repentance and becoming clean through the Atonement of Christ! One thing that I think Elder Bednar talked about was "knowing Christ" not knowing about Him. That is one thing that I really want to continue to work on. 

I am grateful that Christ was perfect in all that he did and that he never gave in to temptation of any kind. He is the perfect example in every aspect and I come to realize that more and more every day. In the MTC we saw a talk by Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ, It is so important for us to act rather than be acted upon. At the end of the day, we all have the opportunity to act and to choose for ourselves, but it is up to us to be diligent in making correct choices and keeping the commandments. When we are being casual about making those choices and acting in accordance with God's will is when we begin to slip backwards, even if just a little. 

This week will be interesting. We have District meeting down in Redmond tomorrow and then drive all the way out to Newberg on Wednesday for our Tech meeting so that I can get my iPad on Wednesday. I can't wait for that! Then we have transfer calls on Saturday or Sunday. I am pretty sure that Elder Halaeua and I will both be here still.

Monday, October 3, 2016

This week went by super fast. It seems like every week does. That picture that Dad got from Bishop Earnest is because we were eating at his parents! The Earnest family has been around the Madras area for a very long time. Multiple Stake Presidents, Bishops, etc.  They are an awesome family. Their daughter is married to Brother Lark, he is the one who sent the picture to Bishop Earnest. Brother Lark and Sister Lark are really cool. They are probably Tiff and Mike's age. He is the Young Men's President in the ward and is a big BYU fan. We are actually having dinner with the Lark's tonight! 

General Conference was awesome. We actually watched it up here in Madras. We asked Bishop Neff if we could set it up and he was okay with that, so Elder Hala and I set it up! It was actually a pretty big miracle that we figured it out. We were planning on trying to stream it from bishop's computer through the projector onto the screen that we found in the library. But as you know the wireless never works reliably.. So by some chance we hit a button for the satellite audio in the building and figured that there was some way that we could stream the video satellite as well. We got it to finally work literally about four minutes before the first session of conference! So that was definitely a miracle. Conference was awesome though. I think that my favorite talk was the one by J. Devn Cornish. on Saturday morning. He talked about not comparing ourselves to others, but rather asking Heavenly Father what he thinks about us. He also talked a lot about repentance. And one of my favorite parts of his talk was when he talked about how Heavenly Father truly wants us all to make it back to him and he is not going to be looking for excuses to kick us out. I also liked Elder Uceda's talk at that same session. He talked about how prayer is a sacred moment and we shouldn't take it for granted. His talk helped me to realize that prayer is a very special opportunity that we all can have to be able to more fully know how to listen to the Spirit. If we are praying by the Spirit, then we will be able to learn how to listen to the Spirit in other aspects of our life. Overall, Conference was just sweet. I can't wait until next week when I get my iPad because I really want to go back and study some of these talks!It is amazing to see how much of President Monson  has dedicated his life to serving the Lord. Definitely someone that we all should strive to be more like. 

At conference we had a couple of our friends show up. A man that we just started teaching, Chuck, came. Chuck is a man who we met on the street a week or so ago. He was riding his motorized scooter thing and we were able to speed walk to keep up with him and gave him a Book of Mormon. We went by his house this week and found that he was a lot more ready to hear the gospel than we thought and so we invited him to be baptized and he said yes! It was really cool. He ended up going to two of the sessions on Saturday, which was great. 

This week we also had the opportunity to provide service to a lady who runs a ranch. We helped her with vaccinating her cows... Essentially, it was our job to funnel the cows to the chute and then get them up into the spot where she could lock them up and get them vaccinated. It was pretty fun!  

This week will be super busy. Tonight and tomorrow, we are going on exchanges again with the Zone Leaders. So I will be with Elder Christensen up here in Madras so that'll be fun. Then Thursday we have the Wedding for the couple that is getting baptized on Saturday! It is going to be a jam packed week. And then the next week we are going down to Newberg for the iPad. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Growth outside of our Comfort Zone

I can't believe that the stake is getting reorganized! That is really crazy! One of my favorite things that I heard at the MTC was "there is no growth in a comfort zone and no comfort in a growth zone". That will definitely be true for you guys back home when the changes take place, but I am sure that it will be for the good. I know that that is definitely true for me. It is not always easy to talk to everyone that you know, but I know that each time I open my mouth, I am growing a little bit more and more. I am still not perfectly comfortable doing it, but I know that I am growing by doing so!

I really can't wait for this weekend to be able to sit down and watch all 5 sessions of conference! Ever since listening to talks every day at work at 3G I have really come to appreciate conference talks more. They are so good and so inspired for us. It is literally scripture for our day, which is awesome to think about. (I can't wait to get my iPad in a couple of weeks to have a little more access to talks so that I can read them and listen to them). We actually had a cool story with the Women's Conference. We were at an appointment with a girl named Tracie and her future mother-in-law Pearl. They had heard about the session of conference earlier in the week and wanted to go. Keep in mind this was about 3 oclock and conference started at 5. And the Stake Center is in Redmond, which is about 40 minutes away. So we called one of the members in our ward, and she ended up taking them down there. It was awesome to see how willing our ward members are to serve! Tracie and Pearl ended up loving it and came to church the next day. Our ward is super cool. The Bishop is an awesome guy and it really sprinkles down from there. 

We have been super busy this week. We have started to walk and bike more, and this has given us an opportunity to talk to a lot more people on the street. Like I said earlier, it isn't always easy to open your mouth, but I am starting to realize how important it is. At a lesson yesterday, our ward mission leader made a comment to the couple that we were teach that "Heavenly Father promised you that he would give you an opportunity to hear the gospel". That really stuck with me. I know that if I don't open my mouth, I am not allowing others to get their chance. So it is definitely a goal of mine going forward to talk to everyone. We had splits on Wednesday with the Zone Leaders, and Elder Sawada who I was with was awesome at that. I know that over time, if I put my trust and faith in the Savior, it will become more comfortable. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Talk to People!

Madras is cool. It is definitely different though. There are only about 6500 people so it has a really small town feel. Our area is super huge though.  The members are really cool. We have been fed almost every night that I have been here so far, so that has been awesome. The biggest issues in Madras are drugs and homelessness. It is kind of sad to see how much those two things have played a role in the way that the town is. But we have been super busy! This week, we met a guy who was playing basketball at the park. We had about 10 minutes until dinner at a members so we decided to walk over to the park for a few minutes to try and contact some people. We saw him shooting by himself so we started to talk to him and invited him to church on Sunday. We didn't really expect him to show up to church, but sure enough, he was there! He is a college age kid so it was really cool to have him there. The members in the ward play basketball at the church every Thursday night so he is probably going to go do that this week. We are meeting with him tomorrow, which will be awesome. 

We are also working with a couple that is going to be married on the 6th of October and baptized on the 8th. They have been working with the missionaries since before I was here and have been on-date to be baptized for a while, so we have been working towards that and are excited to see that. We have a really cool appointment with them yesterday! Our ward mission leader Brother Robinson, who is pretty new to the ward as well, came with us. He is really cool. He and his wife just finished serving a mission in Chicago, so he is very active in helping us. He is in contact with us almost every day and helps out whenever we need him. He has an extremely strong testimony and is really powerful when speaking. Last night we talked about prayer and how essential it is for them to pray every day before they are baptized and also talked about faith. It was a really cool lesson. 

This past week we went to Newberg for a mission conference. Elder Schwizer of the 70 was there. It was a really cool experience. He talked a lot about being yourself and relating to people. For p-day today, we went rock (thunderegg) hunting with Brother Robinson and his son. . He made a cool analogy to these eggs that on the outside they don't look great, but on the inside they look really amazing. There are a lot of people out here who don't necessarily look like they may be ready to hear the gospel, but on the inside they are prepared and ready. Here in Madras, I know that that can definitely be the case. President Tateoka and Sister Tateoka talk a lot about opening your mouth to everyone, so I know that that is the only way that some of these people are going to be found. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

First Week in Madras, Oregon

This week has been crazy. Leaving the MTC was a lot harder to do than I would have imagined. As a district, we became really close, so leaving was tough! But I am excited to be here. Our first day here was pretty long. We got to the airport and then took a 2 hour drive to the beach to see the 4th largest "haystack" rock in the world out in the ocean. They talked about how Christ is our rock and how if we rely on him with faith then we will be able to withstand anything that Satan throws our way. We also "buried our fears" in the sand, which was a very cool experience. 

The next day I got my companion. Elder Halaeua. He is Tongan and is from Murray Utah. He is a really cool guy. Very fun loving and outgoing. I am serving in a tiny town called Madras. It is about 4 hours from the mission home. There are only about 6000 people out here! But it is cool to be in a smaller area. We have been really busy. And we have had some awesome experiences that have come from listening to the Spirit. 

On Friday, we had a little bit of extra time to spare so we said a prayer to know where to go. After praying, we felt prompted to walk down a certain street. We made a couple of street contacts but with no luck. As we were walking back to our car though, we found a guy in his front yard who wanted to learn more. As we were teaching him, a random guy on his bike pulled up and said, "I have read that book cover to cover. I know its true! I have been looking for you guys in the white shirts for 6 years!" That experience was such a testimony builder that Heavenly Father listens to us and guides us through the Holy Ghost! 

I am really excited to be serving out here in Madras. We are teaching some people and have been making contact with a bunch of others. . 

Elder Halaeua and Elder Klima

Friday, September 9, 2016

Arrival in Oregon!

The new Oregon Salem Mission missionaries arrived on Wednesday morning.  The mission president and his wife, President and Sister Tateoka, took them to the Portland Temple. We can hardly wait till Monday to hear all about it!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Special Experiences at the MTC

This past week flew by. It literally feels like I was emailing just yesterday! The days seem so long, but then all of the sudden you look at what day it is and it has been a week. It is pretty crazy. This week was good though. On Saturday, we were able to finally get our TRC investigator to pray for the first time in a very long time. We met with him 4 times and each time all we really talked about was prayer and its importance and how he can receive answers for himself, even if he had bad experiences in the past. It was really cool when we got him to pray on our last visit with him before we left. It was probably the strongest that I have felt the Spirit since being here, which was a really sweet experience. He was a really good guy, so it kind of stunk that we weren't able to teach him any more after that visit. 

On our Tuesday night devotional, Elder Maynes of the Seventy came and talked with his wife. It was a really good talk! He talked about the Restoration and about Joseph Smith. He mentioned how Joseph Smith the man could not have done the things that Joseph Smith the prophet was able to do, and that is all because of the power that God gave him to accomplish the work. In his talk he also mentioned how, as missionaries, we need to be "sweetly bold" when talking to people and that we need to talk to every single person that we can. He spoke a lot about the worth of 1 soul and how important it is that we don't miss out on opportunities to let that 1 soul who is ready to accept the gospel to miss out on all of the blessings that we receive from accepting Christ as our Savior through baptism. It was a really good talk. 

We went to the temple this morning and it was really awesome. It was really good to be able to take that break from everything and enjoy the Spirit that was in the room. By the way, I forgot to tell you that I was able to give a blessing on like my fourth day at the MTC, which was a cool experience as well.

Friday, August 26, 2016

First Full Week at the MTC

This week we spent a lot of time focusing on teaching people and following the Spirit to teach people by their needs. We have 2 TRC (training resource center) investigators that we have each taught 3 lessons to. They are both most likely LDS, but it's important that we treat them as any other investigators. One of them, Kai, has had a really hard time grasping the concept of prayer. He is afraid to take that leap of faith, out of fear that he won't get an answer to his prayers. We haven't got very far into the doctrine with him, because we haven't been able to get him to pray yet. But teaching him has been awesome. We have been able to just sit and talk with him and really get to know him, which helps us to know how he is feeling and his thoughts about everything. We have 45 minute lessons with him, but they always fly by. He is a really cool guy and hopefully we can get him to pray tomorrow, since it will be our last time meeting with him! 

Our other investigator hasn't opened up to us as much. It stinks because it always feels like we are just reciting doctrine to her and teaching her and we haven't been able to really get to know her and how she is feeling. It makes it a lot more difficult to teach that way. We only get 25 minutes with her, but the 25 with her always feel like longer than the 45 we have with Kai. 

We have practiced teaching the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation in 3 minutes, which really helps to simplify it in your mind. It is still sort of nerve-wrecking teaching though just cause I'm not used to it! 

It is crazy to think that in 2 weeks from today I will be in the mission field. It is kind of a scary thought! But I know that all I can do is my best, and Christ will help take it from there. 

We got to go to the Temple again today, but when we got there, one of the Elders in our District forgot his temple recommend, so I waited in the lobby with him and let his companion go through the session. We watched a movie in the lobby 3 times about the construction of the SLC temple! If you need to know anything about that, let me know... I also got some study time in there, so that was good.

Last Sunday, the Nashville Tribute Band played at our devotional. It was good. But definitely not as good as it was when we went to the one at that church because that one was so much more intimate! We also watched a previous devotional by Elder Bednar called Character of Christ. It was really good. I learned that regardless of our circumstances, we need to look to others and turn outward first and foremost. 
MTC Rommates

MTC District

Friday, August 19, 2016

First Few Days at the MTC

 The first couple of days have been a whirlwind. I have two companions, Elder Partridge and Elder Fisk. They are both coming to Salem with me. Elder Partridge is straight out of high school. He isn't as big on sports or anything like that and is sort of reserved, but he is a good kid. Elder Fisk is 19, soon to be 20. He spent the past four years living in the Kansas City area near where Staci is sort of. He is a little more outgoing, at least more so than me. In our district, we have a total of 7 Elders and 3 Sisters. The Sisters are all going to the Portland mission. The other Elders are going to the Salt Lake City Mission. I am definitely the oldest in the district though.

The first day was a ton at first. We went straight through some orientation stuff and to a meeting. The Spirit was definitely present in the meeting, especially when we were singing. After that we got to know our teachers a bit. We have two teachers who will rotate off and on. Yesterday, we taught our first lesson to an investigator (which was our teacher). It went alright, but it is definitely something that I am not used to. I hope that as I continue trying to study and work I will be able to teach by the Spirit and not worry about things. I am trying to allow the Spirit to guide my thoughts and studies.

 And I am exhausted! I am sure that that is not going to change over the next 2 years though.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Officially a Missionary!

Last night Jake was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to serve the Savior, Jesus Christ, by serving in the Oregon Salem Mission. He will be a fantastic missionary and leader as he provides service to those in the Oregon Salem Mission. 

This morning we leave for Utah and tomorrow he enters the Missionary Training Center. He will be leaving for Oregon on September 7th. If you wish to write to him while he is at the MTC, the address is:

Elder Joseph Jacob Klima
2005 N 900 E Unit 141
Provo UT 84602

 Good luck, Jake! We love you!