Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016

Hi Everyone!

Like you said it has been pretty busy leading up to the change. So President Johnson flies in on the 30th so his first day will be July 1st. We also will officially be receiving the Annapolis Stake from the Baltimore Mission on the same day. So between those two things and loosing s group of 24 in a few weeks, this mission is going to change
a lot really quick. But change is good, so we are excited to see what is in store. I'm so excited for you to meet the Cookes!! They are just the best. They are going back to Utah for a little bit then taking a vacation in California for a while. Then they will come back here and live in the Kentlands ward. They have already bought and moved into

Sounds like St George was a great time! I'm pretty jealous of you guys getting to relax by the pool and everything, that sounds so nice. But we will just keep going go go go here in the awesome DC humidity!  But sounds like you got a ton of good stuff in. 

Well this week out here was another super good one. In some ways it felt super long, others it went by really short. On Monday after P-Day ended Elder Jorgensen and I went to give a blessing at one of the DC hospitals. It was for a lady actually in the WP2 Ward and it was for her non member husband. Her visiting teacher is Sister Vance and she's the one who set it up with us, small world!! But it was so amazing, a really awesome spiritual experience that had a really big impact on both her and her husband.

Wednesday we had our last interview with Pres and Sister Cooke.  Not much needs to be said about those cause I could just go on and on about how amazing they both are. But you guys will get to see for yourselves in a few weeks when you meet them!

Throughout the week we had tons of success in our area. We are really picking up speed with investigators and now have 2 on baptismal date! We have some super awesome investigators as well as some that are gonna need some work and progress.

Then the last hi light of the week was on Saturday.  So remember JS the guy who takes us out to lunch? So he is like the most amazing man. He's super Christlike and just loves the missionaries here so we jokingly call him John the Beloved cause he's like ancient and doesn't do anything besides serve missionaries. Well Saturday was his birthday and we wanted to throw him a surprise party! I guess missionaries have surprised him the last 2 years so we had to get creative. So we tricked him into coming to the Visitors Center thinking he was giving s ride to one of our investigators. And then we led him out the back door to where tons of Elders were waiting for him with cake, ice cream, and a Brooks Brothers tie was all pitched in for (since he buys all the Elders one before they go home). And he was so grateful for it all! He is one of those guys who I just can't wait to bring you back and have meet! I'll attach the pictures and video of us surprising him!

Well, busy week this week with the official change and then the 4th coming up. (Super excited about that one). I love and miss you all!! 

Have a great week!


June 20, 2016

Hey all!!

Pretty good week here in DC. Sounds like Youth Conference was super great!! I loved all the pictures! I'm glad that Garret is getting back in the swing of everything at home. Does he have a little accent? Haha Just like you mentioned We are getting closer and closer to the change of mission presidents. We entered into the transfer where it will all go down.  Just about a week and a half left.  I got to meet President Johnson this week and he is AMAZING. 

This week was just busy with all of the transfer and helping the missionaries adjust with it all. But Tuesday was sweet! Started out with the last Zone/District meeting of the transfer where we had our testimony meeting, as always it was pretty great. Then there was a late arrival missionary and the traveling assistants were assigned to get them. Elder Herring was going home the next day so Elder Coombs needed someone to go with him. So he called me up and I got to go to the airport for the day with Coombsy. It was a road trip out of the mission and it was tons of fun. It is pretty sad that he is leaving on only like 5 weeks.. He's like an older brother to me out here but I'm glad you guys can meet him soon. 

Wednesday was transfer day and so we were just cruising around in the man van all day dropping off stuff to the city elders. And then Thursday was a follow up day where we just had to run errands for the Zone to get everyone set for the new transfer. 

Friday was Leadership meeting and that was where we got to meet Pres Johnson. So far we have heard just amazing stuff about him. So we skyped into the meeting and he is just such a great guy. He is so so spiritual. When he first came up Pres Cooke gave his opening statements and then Pres Johnson just said "I don't know you all, but I do love you" and it was just like bam, spirit. His farewell was yesterday and then he will go into the MTC on Wednesday and then come to us. The rest of leadership meeting went really well, I'm pumped for the training plans we made for the transfer. 

Saturday was Stake Coordination so I sat and plugged numbers into a spreadsheet for about 6 hours. So that was fun, NOT!

Sunday was super awesome, church went super great. And then Why I Believe was last night. It was the Cookes that talked since it was their last one of the mission. It was so spiritual and just awesome. I will miss them so much, they have been amazing. But I know Pres/Sis Johnson will be awesome too. I love you all and miss you!! Have a good week!!

End of transfer District picture.  The one and only frat 
district (only district of elders)

End of transfer Zone picture

So Jorgy went to his departing Arlington trip.  For pday look who I slept 
over with and am getting to hang out with for the first time in like 3 months. 

June 13, 2016

Hi all!!

Well it sounds like it has been a crazy busy but awesome week at home. A little like that here.  It was a pretty good week! We had exchanges with the Elders in our zone this week and last week so it flew by. This week was the best week of the transfer work wise for us.  We have put lots of hard work into this whitewash to get this area going again and we are seeing the work really pick up. 

Transfer call came out and I will be staying with Elder Jorgensen here in DC3 North for his last transfer. We are pumped and will be a great time. But there are lots of changes going down in the mission.  We transferred out half the zone and in the DC 3rd Ward that has 12 missionaries we lost 8. So we are pretty sad to loose guys like Elder Cowan. So we will find out tonight where everyone gets placed and we heard they are re-aligning zone boundaries so we will have changes coming this week for us. 

As far as the mission president change, the official change off day is July 1st. So as you can imagine we are crazy busy to get that all prepped. Along with the potential to be adding another stake to the mission, (which still is up in the air I guess?) the Zone Leaders and APs will all have their hands full for these next few months. But the mission I think is getting more excited for the changes even though we will miss President and Sister Cooke so much! 

Like you Dad I was mindful of Grandma this past week.  Wednesday's was the missions temple day and it was easy to think of her with it being the year mark of her passing. We all miss her so much, but I'm so glad to know she is still part of our lives. It was a great blessing to be in the temple since that is the place that allows our eternal family to happen.   

I'm glad it was such a great week at home with having Garret back! I'm sure it is a little surreal at times but I'm way happy for you guys! Yeah having Garret home has made me miss home more these past little bit.  Kinda hard knowing the rest of the family is now together but I'm glad to be here and next summer will great!!  Sounds like the homecoming went great! Did you guys by change record Garret's talk to send? If not its all good.

Let me know how Youth Conference goes! Sounds like it should be tons of fun!! Also if you guys have any pictures from the week you should send those.  I can't watch the videos until I get to a computer so I haven't seen anything from Garret getting back yet. 

Love and miss you guys!!
The crew got all back together for the temple trip!
McDonald, Me, Jenks, & Mellen

It was like 3 guys birthdays this month so we all saved up and 
went to Texas Roadhouse.  It was amazing!! Ahh just like home.
The aftermath....

June 6, 2016

Okay so sorry for how late or a reply it is from me!! So today was the Zone Activity, a PDay where Elders and Sisters can get together and hang out.  So we have been crazy busy today and I have just been able to get to the computers and be able to write. 

So this week was a pretty rough one, no lie. It had quite a bit of rough stuff happen and then there wasn't really any great stuff to counteract things. But I mean that is just life, there are ups and downs even here out on the mission we are going to have some tough times. I am looking forward to this new week and to try to get things turned around. This Saturday will be the transfer call out of staying/going. We are safe to bet that I will be staying here for another one with Jorgensen. We also have the temple trip this Wednesday, I was looking through the pictures you have sent and noticed the date of Grandmas passing, and that will be this Wednesday. I thought it was pretty special that I will be able to be in the temple to mark that date. I will for sure be thinking lots of Grandma and all of you that day.

I figure I will end by sharing a pretty cool experience I was able to have this week. It was for sure the highlight of the week. On Saturday we went on exchanges with the APs for the day and I went with Elder Tanner. The mission had gotten a call requesting a blessing for a man who was in the hospital, the area was in NE DC where sisters cover so President asked if we would go cover it. So we went to visit a man named Allen who is from Virginia. His wife is a member but he has been investigating for a while. He has Multiple Sclerosis and it has worsened having him bedridden in the hospital. When we entered the room he just brightened and was so glad to have visitors, he was very thankful for the blessing and the spirit was very strong as Elder Tanner gave the blessing. After we ran to the car to get him a Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and copies of the Ensign. He said he was excited to finally have something to do that was worth his time. He is a golden one, he may not be able to be baptized in this life but he will accept it in the next life. He kept thanking us and telling us to not get discouraged with the work and told us that we had brightened his day and to try to come back and visit.

Like you mentioned in your letter, we never know the good we do throughout the weeks. There are things that may seem normal to us that go noticed by others. I am glad to try to do the best I can every week to help others. That really is all we try to do everyday, is help all those around us. The people here in NW DC may be some tough ones to love, but I do.

Have a great rest of the trip! Take more pictures and send them! I will see them tomorrow on my new iPad hopefully!!

Love you!!
On Memorial Day, pday, we walked downtown and walked 
by the Memorial Day parade

This is JS.  He is the mission executive secretary and we call him John the Beloved because he is just amazing.  He was a pretty wealthy lawyer so he takes a group of elders out to lunch about once a month.  Then he's always there for us with anything we need.  

May 30, 2016

Hi all!

Well I'm gonna keep it short as I'm sure you will have a busy day. I hope you all had a safe travel and good trip down there. How's the Spanish for you Dad? Mom how confused are you? We went to a Spanish baptism yesterday and it was all over my head haha.

Well I'm glad to be remembered and missed as you did all the mulch and truck runs! It sounds like it was a great week with Alyssa's graduation, the rugby games and everything else.

It has been another pretty good week.  We have been crazy busy, like always. So Wednesday we had our last Zone Conference with Pres Cooke and it was a very mixed feeling moment. But it was an amazing day, the Cookes both had amazing talks. Then I felt like the training Elder Rowley (one of the Rockville ZLs) and I gave went really well. It was a lot of fun. They then ended it and had all the missionaries leaving in June and July bare their testimonies.  And that was like the roughest time. Cause the July group has a ton of friends like Elders Tanner, Porter, Jorgensen and then Coombs. And man I lost it. I was crying when Coombs was talking.  It just hit how soon they will all be gone. But hey life goes on. 

I'll speed through the rest of the week to keep it short, we had some great lessons and really were able to work in our area. Then Sunday was another hilight of the week. After church we were able to go to a Spanish baptism in our zone. We are trying to go to all of our Zones baptisms to support the missionaries. And it was so sweet to see all the Spanish sisters just crying during the service. It means so much to all theses missionaries as they put all they can into this work. They are all amazing and I love them. If only sometimes they could see what they are doing from a different perspective.  I think lots of missionaries, myself included, get caught up trying to be prefect and we are too hard on ourselves. But from my perspective I see all the missionaries just trying so hard, and it's rough to see them get so discouraged sometimes with how tough this mission can be sometimes. But they are all great.  Love them and they will keep doing amazing things.

After the baptism was the non spiritual hi light cause we got to go to a BYU FOOTBALL FIRESIDE!!! It was so awesome!! We just found out last week then got to go.  And you'll see all the pictures.. It was Taysom, Coach Sitaki, Coach Niumatalolo (Navy Coach), Vaa Niumatalolo (Son of Coach, BYU line backer) and Coach Detmer. Let's just say me and Jorgy were on Cloud 9!! Like I miss football so much and all those guys were so cool to the missionaries after the fireside!

Well I hope it is an amazing week with Garret!! Send all the pictures you take. It is amazing it is already time for him to be done. I love you all, and miss you! Take care and have a great week!

Love you!!

                         Vaa                                                           Coach Detmer

Bronson Kafusi was there too since                              
     he's playing for the Ravens                                      
                                                                                            Coach Niumatalolo

                  Coach Sitake                                                    Taysom