Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015: The Wonders of Ennis

I almost caught a frisbee in my mouth after this shot!

Man, different week this week. I began to process of conversion to a soul that everyone thought was lost, saw some moose, and almost broke my leg! I mean... Just look at our schedule! 

(Elder Potter recently discovered that he loves the Emoji keyboard...)

We got to spend more time in Ennis than usual this week, spending only two days in Three Forks actually! We were here on Monday and Tuesday, went to three forks on Wednesday, and then came back to Ennis on Friday and have been here ever since! Lots of time here and now I think that both my companion and myself are beginning to understand just how to do the work in such a small town!

To answer questions- no Lexi, my companion is not like me. In fact, the only thing we have in common is that we are both on a mission. He's the school-hating nothing but sports loving basketball jock. He's a great guy, but recently I have noticed I lose him often in my "higher vocabulary rants" as he calls them, as well as the Wallgren curse of Movie quotes and Song relations to just about everything in life. 
Curse my nerdness. 
 Mom- we are watching conference at different members houses each day. We have breakfast with someone both mornings (German pancakes with sausage and then Carmel cinnamon rolls... Hehe) and then I think we actually are being required to go to Bozeman to the stake center to watch the general priesthood session, but we're not quite sure about that yet!
And murder trees at a wedding?! Alexis, you better take pictures, cuz dat sounds like da most off da chain wedding partAy I'll ever not go to! But really, take a lot of pics!

That was all the questions I noticed in my emails, sorry if I missed any from anyone!

So this week.... Oh boy.
Monday- well...... Everything significant that happened on Monday I was able to include in last weeks email.... So I don't have much to add there! >.<

Tuesday- Tuesday was probably the slowest day this week, and we actually had lots of time where we kinda sat around and attempted to find things to do. SO many people cancelled on us, so we spent lots of time in the church trying to find people to teach, and trying to find areas hat we haven't tracted yet. 

Wednesday- we got to help one of the pastors for the local Lutheran church move, and that was a great experience! He seemed super interested in the beliefs of our church, and he seemed like he wanted to know more! We were sad that we couldn't teach him, because he's moving to Tennessee . :( we told him about and what not and how he could find missionaries, and we're crossing our fingers that he'll look stuff up! Besides that we got to go teach a cook dinner lesson with a part member family, and even though the dad said he wasn't interested, he asked a lot of questions and seemed to like participating in the lesson! 

Thursday- Thursday we had a zone training meeting, with both Assistants to the president there, and towards the end president Wadsworth was actually there too! We talked a lot about working with members and with the ward council and how member referrals seem to help so much more! We had a great time and then president Wadsworth actually met with me personally and we talked for a bit about my area and what's going on! Super excited, feel like the work is hastening!
Thursday was the day that we were able to teach the lost soul. Little background-this is a family where the husband loves the church, but doesn't feel like he's worthy to go to church because he smokes and drinks. No one else in his immediate family is a member, and his wife actually hat s it when we come over, and I'm pretty sure she just hats Mormons! Well, we went to visit this family Thursday, expecting the usual 15 minute talk on the porch that we would usually have. We had a member with us, and he was ready to be with us! When we got there, he invited us in, which I guess he had never done to anyone before! We then went into his house, said hello to his wife, and then found out that his wife knew the member that we had brought with us, and she opened up. She told us EVeRYTHING about her life and about everything that was going wrong. All her kids were into bad things and Weren't where she wanted them to be. She talked for almost 2 hours, and it was great! We gave her a priesthood blessing and by the end of it she was crying, and told us that she felt like she was getting hugged, like she had never been hugged before. She told us that if we always had this feeling with us, she wanted us to come back as often as we possibly could!
Speechless as a missionary could be at the time, we bore our testimonies and went to our next appointment... Yikes that was great!

Friday- we helped out Claudia in the thrift shop for a few hours, and she let us borrow some golf clubs so we can go to the driving range either this week or next week! We traveled to Ennis after lunch and then we got to go to both the volleyball game and the football game that night, an inactive member payed for us so we could go watch and talk to people! Really fun to watch high school sports again, and we made a ton of return appointments! Ennis high school isn't big enough for 11 man football, but I guess they're the BEST 8 man team in the state! The three games they played ended 58-7, 64-12 , and 76-0!

Saturday- we taught a bunch of less active members, visited some of the elderly that couldn't come to church, and then we were able to do some service for the branch president!

Sunday- we got to speak in church on Sunday, when both a member of the first quorum of the 70 and the stake president were present (branch president claims it was a coincidence...) so that was fun! Elder Pino came and talked to me about how being a missionary will be the fastest, best, worst, and most full of growth two years of my life! 

Monday- we were playing ball this morning and the court was wet and I slipped and hit my leg on the pole and ground. Bloody mess and lots of pain to start but I got everything clean and I'm good to go now!

Hope everyone has a good week and I look forward to hearing from you all!!

Ether 12:6
 6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Elder Braden R Wallgren
Montana Billings Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015: Busy week

Sorry for the late weekly email.... We did some service today   that made it so we couldn't     email first thing! I guess if I just do it period it doesn't    matter when does it?!
Well this week was cool,         definitely getting more used toworking in a small town, getting more used to the people and    their...... I'm going to say    idioms. Don't be disappointed in me family.... But the local,   musical entertainment is slowly becoming more and more     appealing to me. I guess with guitar & banjo in my musical capabilities it would eventually happen whether I want it                             to or not right? >.<

To answer some of the questions that have been asked: We're usually in Ennis two or three days during the week, and in Three Forks the rest of the time. We spend Monday's in Ennis doing laundry, shopping, and other fun stuff, even though every few weeks the zone leaders put together like a hike or game day or something for all the elders in the zone which usually takes place in Bozeman.... About 90 minutes away from Three Forks, 45 minutes from Ennis. I think I'm going to send you guys a map of Montana eventually where I will circle my current area and then as my mission continues we can circle all my areas and get my full mission map going on! 

The baptism was cool, but I didn't get to do too   much with him before. I taught him once, & I don't even know if it counts because I just went to his  interview!!, >.< Talon is the oldest kid in his    family, only of 4 kids baptized. Mom is a member,  and we think that mom's boyfriend is a member.
We weren't in a parade..... Idk where you heard    that. We went to the homecoming parade and were    able to talk to some people, but we weren't in the parade!

Like I said, this week has been pretty cool, some fun stuff going on
in our area! Lots of service being done, and I think I'm starting to see
some rewards from our efforts, so it's good to know that I'm not
fruitlessly digging for people to teach. The Lord has definitely
blessed me in my work and continues to show me where I need to be and
what I should be doing.
Monday was a little different. We still hadn't quite figured out yet that tracking in Ennis was pointless, so we tracked for like 6 hours....... And we found one less active that said we MIGHT be able to come by. Well... We found the one and I hope this week we can strengthen his testimony in whatever needs to be strengthened! Tuesday was a big travel day, we traveled out to the farthest part of Ennis, where the houses are sometimes literally 5 miles apart. We had a couple people to visit out there and we saw an awesome amount of deer and antelope and whatnot that seemed to just like to chill in town. We almost hit a few a couple of times... But I mean live and learn right?! XD Wednesday also started as a travel day, traveling from Ennis back to Three Forks for the rest of the week. We tried to visit a lot of the less actives in the wards and in the area to find out if there is something that we could do better as missionaries to keep people active. A lot of people that we had on our list were actually excommunicated and that actually scared us a bit, but not enough to stop tracking right?
Thursday.... Oh Thursday...... So SUPPOSEDLY we had a Mission Conference on Thursday in Helena. Our zone leaders called us on Sunday to let us know, so we were super ready. They came and met us Thursday morning at like 6:40 at this AMAZING breakfast place called Wheat Montana. I had a cinnamon roll the size of my head for $2. So that was great. Then six of us hopped inside a 5 person truck and began to make the 2 hour trip to Helena. We listened to a cool LDS country band that does hymns and such for the "folks out in these parts" and actually sound pretty good (this is where I realized its growing on me). So nice, cramped, tired car ride to Helena. Once we got to the building in Helena...... NO ONE WAS THERE. Our zone leaders, being confused, called both the zone leaders in Helena and two of the four assistants to the president. Not one of them had any idea what they were talking about with a mission conference. So, at about 9:30 they gathered everyone together and said, "well, it was a nice trip to Helena! Now it's time to go back!" So.... Two hours back to Three Forks. We had planned to be in Helena until 5pm that night, so we had nothing planned for that day, let me tell you, I learned why we plan every day. We were so lost and confused until, like 7pm. Friday, we got to go to the homecoming parade (lasted about 15 minutes, and they went down the street and back) which was cool, and Elder Potter caught enough candy for the two of us! Filled his pockets, mine, and my bag! Fun times, reminded me of being at home... Made me miss having a good band program, and a good ROTC program. I guess with a small town comes a small school right? We got to go to the homecoming game that night, and just as the parade we handed out a couple Book Of Mormons and a few restoration pamphlets. It all worked out I guess, maybe one of those will actually go somewhere!

Saturday we got to go out to Clarkston... A small town in population, but definitely not in size. The city itself consists of 4,200,000 acre ranches (that's 800,000 acres for those of you following at home!) and each ranch has maybe 6 families living on it. Each house is at the smallest 7 miles apart, and everyone seems to have built their own place. We think we got shot at once while we were leaving, and we know that we heard a shotgun behind a door once. Well... Montana I guess! All the roads are run-down dirt roads and we were traveling with a member in his minivan. That was a...... Humbling experience! Sunday we had one of the assistants to the president come and visit with us and go in exchanges with us. He gave us some great advice & even traded one of his ties with me! Taught like 4 member lessons on missionary work, and through out the day we got like 15 or so referrals. Keep giving those to the missionaries, you have no idea how much it helps! Today we went to Ennis and helped this older widow clean her garage out and move some furniture. (Hence the late email) She fed us tacos for lunch...and gave us some stakes and lamb to take home. Neither of us have ever tasted lamb or know how to cook lamb but I guess we'll find out! And then I'm here in the present! :D

So we,volunteer at a food bank once a week, and they always have us go into the basement, which is a retired nuclear bomb shelter. We had some fun.

I got a little picture happy win the scenery this week... So I have a lot of sky         pictures >.<

September 20, 2015: Surprise Visit!

Mom received a text from a good friend in our Taylorsville, UT Ward saying she was in Montana for a reunion and ran into Elder Wallgren! How exciting. She sent several pictures and stories. I won't include host family and apartment, for privacy reasons.

From Sister Manwill:

Grandma Wallgren told me he was there. Brother Manwill looked online and thought maybe he'd be in Ennis, but when I saw the Elders at the parade, I was pretty sure it was Braden! The Elders both got to talk for a minute at church yesterday since the youth speaker didn't work out. I probably shouldn't have grabbed their arms, but I'm Grandma. They could have been my grandboys!

Three Forks is a town of tree-lined streets 

This is part of Main Street.
The Golf Course.

On the side of a home in Three Forks. Sacajawea and birds. Lewis and Clark came through this area.
I was the only LDS person in my class of 30 students, in Jr. High. There are lots of denominations in my class, but with a common Christian denominator. As I visited with classmates at the reunion, I loved the faith and gratitude they freely expressed in conversation. As they told about their lives, difficult and happy times, they told how blessed they were and how grateful for Jesus. They were kind, so warm, so friendly, which was amazing, especially since I only attended their school 6, 7, 8 grades, so they didn't know me well. Back then, they even were kind to the kid who got the worst grades, who was poor. They have taken care of this guy as a brother. Even the most popular kids were always kind...still are. During the parade, as we rolled down the street, a classmate pointed out to the the Mormon Bishop with 10 kids. (He knew the Bishop's name!) He pointed out the missionaries and one or two other Mormon people. I asked about his church too. I had a hard time driving away from Three Fork yesterday! I don't know if other classes and the younger people are so filled with faith and positive attitude, but I'd love to be a missionary in Three forks, and figure out how to add to the fantastic faith in the Lord that they already have. I think an important attitude for us LDS members to have is to know, to acknowledge in conversation with these people, that they are incredible, that we are fellow Christians.
Thanks, Sister Manwill! Your pictures and words have brought this Mamma Bear so much joy today!

(Take 2) September 14: Ennis

This is a cool thing that a lot of the elders are doing on fb that I
think if you guys did would be cool! It's the 5 BOM "Benchmarks"
1)obtain a copy
2)open it
3)read it
4)ponder on it
5)pray about it
You find a new park bench everyday for 5-6 days, and then you take a
picture of you doing what've it is the benchmark is and you post it n
FB!!! This picture is of my benchmark #1!

Elder Braden R Wallgren
Montana Billings Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

We received another update, the same day about Ennis:

Well... My first time week in Ennis. Not too bad, but super small. Too small. We've been here for three days and we've already tracted all of everything. EVERYTHING. Being in a small town is, well different. Everyone knows who we are, I don't know anyone, and we ran out of work, fast. I have recently realized that all of the towns in the mission are small towns... So I feel like maybe the lord is trying to tell me something. Maybe, I dunno. If so I hope that I can learn the lesson that I need to quickly and be able to learn to work with it. If anyone has any ideas on how I might be able to more quickly spread the work around this small town, Elder Potter and I are open. We have just kind of been walking around looking for service as of late, and I mean we think it might be doing something for us, but who has any way of knowing?!

Elder Potter and I get along a little too well if you ask me. There seems to be often times that we find ourselves lost in having fun in the work and we feel like we need to bring ourselves back to reality and get back working. I mean.... We flipping caught a bee, named it Phil, then proceeded to catch a spider, name it Steve, and then put them in a bowl and provoke them with knives into fighting each other.... we think the spider won but neither of us are quite sure. Both are dead, but the bee is all wrapped up in a web cocoon thing. I'll let you be the judge. XD We do feel like we work well enough with each other to be able to build off of one another's weaknesses and strengths throughout the week.

A couple cool experiences this week:
While tracting, we ran into a LONG inactive member. Didn't even have his records in our ward, but he invited us in and we had a short chat with him. His name is J, and apparently he loves the missionaries!!! He had just gotten back form a surgery when we got there, so we were able to give him a priesthood blessing to help him feel better. He seemed to love having us there, and he set an appointment for us to come over and teach him and his non-member family. Lots to do in Three Forks!

The stake over here had dark(area? regional?) conference this weekend, and we had Elder Pino of the first presidency of the 70 come and speak with us. He gave a really cool message, especially considering he fact that he spake in Spanish for everything but his testimony. He had a really cool translator, a really funny guy that I think made the talk a little more entertaining than it actually was. Elder Pino's testimony was super powerful at the end of all of his addresses and I could definitely tell that he is a man of God!

I sent most of the pictures I had already to you guys, but what I have here is just some pics of me and my companion having some fun!

Ether 12:6
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Remember, you don't get better at the piano unless you mess up once or twice!
Elder Braden R Wallgren
Montana Billings Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015: Lost & Found Puns

The lost letters from the MTC arrived...postage due. It made me laugh that in this technical day and age, we don't teach our kids about postage and how the post office works.
Dear Family,
I hope you guys are coming along just fine without me! (even though I doubt it.) 5 days into the MTC and I've learned more than I ever thought I would be able to in this amount of time. The spirit that I have felt here is something that I hope to never forget, and something that I would wish for every soul on the earth. I know that missionary work is ordained of God, and that he will support anyone willing to open their mouth. I hope all of you will strive to spread the word to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
Inside this envelope are letters for each of you in which I hope I will be able to touch your hearts and help each of you grow closer to Christ. I know that the love he feels for all of us cannot be quantified and is ever increasing.
With these letters and my simp testimony I invite you to read section 100 of D&C and remember what the Lord promises you if you will remain faithful as I am gone.
Remember that I am always just a prayer away.
With love,
Elder Braden R. Wallgren
Today, updates and pictures!
Found this in our apartment in Ennis.... He's about as big as the palm of my hand (we measured him.... From front to back he's about 1.5 inches o.o)
I walked out of our apartment in Ennis just     after lunch today and saw both a jackrabbit and some deer... So I thought I'd take a picture!
I learned a new pun! :D

A teacher one day asked one of her students what the symbol for the chemical makeup of water was. 
He then answered- "h-i-j-k-l-m-n-o"
confused, she asked to clarify- what did you say?
Well what makes you say that?!-the teacher asked
The student said- that's what you told us it was! H to O!
Here's a few missed experiences I think would be cool for  you guys toknow and to share with everyone! (I might have  said some of these, butI thought I'll say all of them just in case) On the ride from Provo to Billings, the travel    leader of our group gave us a challenge: every one of the  30 of us had to hand out a Book of Mormon either in the    Salt Lake airport, on the plane, or in the airport in      Billings! He gave each of us a Book of Mormon, & basically set us free to go spread! I found a man sitting near the   smoking area and could tell that he was debating on whether ornot he wanted to go in and smoke. I took the opportunity to talk with him about how God could help him quit, & gave him the Book of Mormon for help! It was quite easy to     place, and I'm super happy that I was able to have the     spirit with me and be able to teach, even with no in-field experience!
Then, while in the plane, I was able to sit next to a heart surgeon,
who actually specializes in pacemakers and congenital heart defects!!
I was able to strike up a great conversation with him about you guys at
home! He seemed super surprised when I told him that all four of us
boys were born with heart defects and asked in awe how my parents were
able to get through it without depression..... If that's not the lord
screaming at me with a missionary opportunity I don't know what is. I
told him that even though we were scared as Carson has gone in for his
surgeries and as each new boy was born with something, having the
church in our life has helped us know that even if they didn't make it
we would be with them again and be eternally happy with each other! He
then began to ask some questions about the plan of salvation, why I
was going to billings, (which lead to A short conversation about the
restoration of the gospel), and a little bit about commandments and
obedience. I got off that plane and felt like a million bucks! I gave
him a pass along card and then invited him to go to and
search up any other questions he had and maybe even have missionaries
come over! I felt absolutely amazing.... But then as I left, I swear I
saw garments under his shirt. -_- well.... He was a great role player
then... At least I got a little bit of practice right? Lol whether or
not he was a member doesn't matter, I know that the lord put him in my
path so I could gain confidence in my ability to talk to others and in
my ability to spread the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

My first day in the field was kinda nuts.... Sept 3 and everyone had
to restrain from calling me a greenie (according to the mission
president, no one is a greenie here in The MBM). I had a baptism on my
first Saturday, a set of two brothers that were 9 and 11, but because
they were taught everything before I was there didn't feel much of a
connection with them. funny thing is, we showed up to the Baptism in
the morning, and I found out I had to give a talk about the Holy
Ghost..... Hit the ground running I guess >.< So I gave a small talk
about the Holy Ghost being a map, and then moved into talking about
something that I don't remember what I said, but apparently it was
awesome and great and meant a lot to the people in the room. The
spirit works real strong in missionaries I guess!!!!!!!!

This past week I've had a couple really cool ones, but I think I'll
save those for my normal mass weekly email!
Elder Braden R Wallgren Montana Billings Mission 2015-2017 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

*My first baptism! (Second really but this one  was a bit more    meaningful)
His name is Talon, and he's a    GIANT. He's only 13, in eighth   grade, & he can bench like 250lbs... And he's bigger than I am.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7, 2015: PDay change?

We thought his P-Days were on Thursdays, still. Guess not. That is good for us. Our family can email him on Sunday nights! Yay! I think he still is wanting to hear from home more often. I can do that. I just keep thinking that I should wait until I hear from him, so that I don't interrupt his work.

9.5.15 3:30pm Temps
So in the supposed "lost letters home" I gave each person a scripture
to read, one that I felt each needed, some I don't know why... But the
gifts of the spirit I guess XD I invite each of you to study these
selections and ponder and pray about them as much as you can
Wallgren family- D&C 101, find out what will happen to you while I am gone
Mills family- D&C 33, work hard as member missionaries
Alex- Moroni 10, idk why I has prompted, but apparently you need it
Chuck- alma 32, see above
Carson- 2 Nephi 31, one of the most important sections to know as a missionary
Ethan- Ephesians 6, stand strong
Jonah- ether 12, weaknesses v. Strengths
Mom and dad- D&C 76, remember what we are working towards as a family!!!!

Elder Braden R Wallgren
Montana Billings Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
9.5.15 New Training Companion: Elder Potter

I'm glad he told us. We've all been kinda waiting around for this. I hope it comes via snail-mail, still. Maybe he added the wrong address. He also sent another note of just stuff he needs: non-logoed tshirts (per Pres Wadsworth) for service days, emergency money and MORE LETTERS! He says,"I love you so much and can't wait to hear from you again!"

We miss him tons. Both Steve and I had different moments of missing him this weekend. We couldn't be more blessed than we are to have such an amazing kid in our lives. It's hard to believe Heavenly Father loaned him to us for this short time. I'm not done learning from him. I, too, can't wait to hear from him again!

I wish I were a fly on the wall to see and hear every detail. What's for dinner? What did you read about today? Who was the funniest character you've met this week? I know. Mom is learning patience!