Thursday, August 27, 2015

Aug 27, 2015: MTC Email; One Week

Well.... when everyone says the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days, they definitely don't lie. Each day is jam packed full of study, learning, and teaching- but I feel like I got here yesterday. I've learned so much, I don't even know what to include in this email... but here goes nothing:

First off- y'all are makin me feel left out. As of yesterday, I am now the only one in my Zone who has not received any sort of package, letter, or even a notice from home. Thanks guys. Nah.... I kidd!! I really am actually sort of glad that I have not because that letters and packages seem to be distracting the elders more than it is helping, so I feel like it might actually be a blessing to help me stay focused on the work.

I absolutely love my district, the spirit that is felt among us is truly something special. Each day I get to learn more and more from them about things that I don't think I could learn anywhere else. I have the special opportunity to be in a district that has all elders, which I have only recently found out is not that normal. Having the opportunity to work with nine other elders who share that same desire to serve the lord as I do is a new experience and I love being able to learn and grow with them. We have four sisters in our zone, and they're really amazing. The four of them seem to have to strongest zeal in bringing others unto Christ, and often times they seem to be able to keep us elders in check; what else should I expect though right?! XD Attached is a picture of my district- (left to right) 
Elder A (Utah)
Elder C (Tuscon, AZ)
Elder S (Missouri)
Elder P (Utah)
Elder J (Utah)
Elder S (Utah)
Elder Wallgren (oh wait......)
Elder P (Mesa, AZ, My companion)
Elder D (Utah)
Elder T (American Samoa) 

My companion..... oh my companion..... Elder P is something different entirely. He brings to light many things that I never even would have a chance of thinking on my own. His knowledge of the gospel and his sensitivity to the spirit is something that I can only wish to achieve sometime in the future. He keeps me in check, making sure that I follow all the rules exactly. He basically has the handbook memorized front to back, and he makes sure that the two of us stay exactly obedient. Normally, I would find this at least partly a drag, but I have learned quickly that obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. He has been a great companion, and even though I was designated as the senior companion, I feel like he has taught me so much more than I could ever teach him. I know that the lord put me with him so I could grow to be a better missionary, and to help me become more converted to the lord. (attached is a picture of him..... kind of scary how much he reminds me of Jacob Johnson).

MTC Companion

Every day here I get to learn more and more, but the fastest way we get to learn is through teaching actual investigators. When I first head that brand new missionaries would be teaching actual investigators, i was in nothing but shock and awe- why would they let me go teach someone who wants to know the gospel, when I have no learning to back it up?! Trial by fire I suppose. Even though I went in terrified, and even though I know that my first few lessons didn't go well, I know that through the spirit of the lord I have been able to touch the hearts of those that I teach. I currently have three investigators and one less active member that I am teaching. My investigators are D P from Chicago, S N  from Florida, and K (apparently he doesn't have a last name) from California. Through the spirit of the lord and after a few lessons, both D and S have accepted the invitation to be baptized!!! The spirit of the lord truly works in mysterious ways. We actually don't have our first lesson with our less active (K) until tonight, so I am crossing my fingers that it will all go well and that we can bring him back to know the happiness that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

MTC Schedule
I hope everything is going okay with everyone back at home, and I hope you don'y miss me too much (I heard it took the boys a whole hour and a half to raid my room). I know that this is something that I need to be doing and I know that you all will be blessed for supporting me in the choice I have made to come out here and consecrate my time to the lord.


Love you all!!!

P.S. If anyone would like to send me a letter and not have to worry about dealing with the USPS, go the and you can type a letter for me which will be printed out here at the MTC and given to me either same or next day. Really cool stuff happening here at the MTC!!!!!!!!
Elder Braden R Wallgren
Montana Billing Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Mom's Note: Good grief, the guilt! I taught him well. I must have been writing my email to him at the same time that he was writing his notes and sending pictures. Hopefully, he'll get my email today. We were planning on the boys sitting to write to him today. Man! One box full of candy coming by Monday, son! Really? The only one in his Zone? Sheesh.

I'm grateful for such a good companion. I pray he is as good an example of hard work and love.  How exciting to see his endorsement and schedule. I love seeing what he's up to each day. How awesome to be able to attend the Provo Temple, too. It must be a little strange after only attending and working in the Phoenix Temple for several months. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever attended the Provo Temple. Hmmm...

More selfies! It's a must, young man!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MTC Letter and Call from Billings

August 25, 2015: MTC letter

I got a call from Elder Wallgren's mission secretary yesterday. She let me know they had received his paperwork and had a couple questions about Braden and a couple about me. They wanted to double check that he has his driver's license and a copy of his health insurance card. Both should be yes, but I let her know if anything was missing, I would send them right away. Then she added that in the paperwork, there was included some lab orders from the doctor...for me! It was for an u/s and mammogram. She was very kind to not fall on the floor laughing. I didn't hold it together so well. Steve had just grabbed a bunch of papers sitting all together to mail as Braden left. I had been looking all over the house for those papers and had my dr's office reprint the blood tests needed. Sister Secretary said she would just pop those in the mail, back to me. I thanked her. (There's not much call for 19-yr-old male mammograms? Huh. Go figure.) She let me know that she would check with Elder Wallgren for the 2 forms when he arrives at the office next Tuesday. I didn't know that was his arrival in Montana date!  Woo hoo! I better get started on an email through soon,

We didn't open the mailbox until this morning. Steve brought Elder Wallgren's letter to me, as he woke me this morning. Yay! It's so nice to see his handwriting (chicken scratches) and hear about his first couple days. He entered the MTC on Wed, Aug 19th. The letter was written on P-Day, Aug 20th. It was a form, fill-in-the-blank for speed letter:

Dear  Parental Units,

Here's my first report home..please understand that it is brief due to the lack of time. I will be able to write more to you next Thursday on my Preparation Day:

My Branch Pres. is ________ of Branch 67. (Then names the councilors as well)
My companion is: (Elder) P
My companion is from: Mesa, AZ (fellow sun-surface dweller. Yay!)
While I am at the Missionary Training Center, my mission will be "Provo MTC."
My unit # is 67.
My address is: (Provo MTC address)
My Mail Box is 146.
My District has 10 Elders and 0 Sisters in it.
My P-Day is on Thursday (the only day in the MTC I can write/email.)

Quick note to family:
I'm here, I'm okay, I'm alive. Crazy stressful first couple days, but I'm slowly starting to get the hang of things. My companion has a great spirit that compliments mine very well. His strengths compliment my weaknesses very much. He and I are the only two with musical talent in our District, Zone and Branch! As such, we have been called as Branch Music Coordinators. My district is great. All of us seem to work well enough together that we learn so much! We have an Elder from Samoa in our district and and Elder from China in our Zone! is a great way for you to email a written letter to your missionary. There is no charge and your missionary will receive a printed copy, delivered to his mailbox at the MTC the day you write.
So, info for MTC email:
Elder Braden Rex Wallgren
Sep 01 MT-BIL
Unit 67 Mailbox 146

I'm excited to find out if all in his District are going to MBM, or just English speaking missions. He sounds happy to have music as a part of his work in the MTC. All letters of encouragement are appreciated! Love that boy!
August 25, 2015:  Time to start a blog.

Well, here it is, a week later. My oldest man-cub has entered the Provo MTC, preparing to serve as a full time missionary in Billings, MT. Montana is not the big "showy" foreign place that some might dream about. But for our "live in the water" lifeguard who is used to the temperatures here on the surface of the sun (Phx, AZ) its going to be foreign enough! I just heard from a friend that there was another huge snow storm in Montana...YESTERDAY! I know Heavenly Father will look after him as he learns to navigate the wide, open spaces to teach others about Jesus Christ.

This is a first, for me. I never had close family or friends that served a mission while I was young. There were likely some that I should have written, but didn't. My father and my husband both served missions. I'm excited to hear about Braden's adventures and to watch his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ grow as he learns to teach others. I'm excited for my own testimony to grow! This will not come without trials, I'm sure. Getting over my own anxieties will be an interesting process. But I am sure that our family will receive much help through the next two years. 

I will try my best to keep things updated. I know that there are quite a few people that want to hear about what Elder Wallgren is doing. You will just have to put up with my meandering thoughts as you go. Likely, my posted thoughts will decrease as he continues his mission. 

Good luck, son! Write when you can. Be humble and teachable. Make your bed. Say, "thank you" often. Don't ask for seconds at the dinner table. Read your scriptures and manual daily. Stay open to promptings of the Holy Ghost. Pray always. We are all so proud of you!