Monday, December 7, 2015

November 23, 2015: Service service SERVICE

An Elder emailed me this, and I love it! Couldn't have said it better myself!
How can we better balance our lives and being able to cope with the
varying complexities of society. I sometimes find it hard for myself
to task things down, it can easily defeat peace and Harmony that we
are indulging for. Throughout this week I was able to learn that for
myself. I was able to come up with ways that I found valuable to
meeting life's demands and helped me stayed effective and
well-equipped for any challenges. To me personally, we can enhance our
effectiveness as individuals to develop a sense of accomplishment if we

*Establish Priorities*. Think about your life and set goals. Ponder it
out in your mind. Jesus our exemplar, in the book of Luke "withdrew
himself in the wilderness and prayed".

*Set Goals*. Plan out short-term goals that you can reach. Write down
your attainable goal and work toward the important ones. Don't forget
to pray for divine guidance. *Budget Wisely*. This is something I am
guilty at. We all face financial challenges in life. Through wise
budgeting, control your real needs and measure them according to your
wants in life. Don't forget to pay your tithing.

*Build Relationships*. Stay close to your parents, relatives and
friends. This will help keep your life in balance. Built trust and
good sense of communication with families. *Study The Scriptures*.
Reading the scripture helps you feel the spirit of the Lord.  One of
the ways I have gained my sure knowledge that Jesus is the Christ is
through my study of the scriptures. The Apostle Paul said "All
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in

*Take Care Of Yourself*. I find myself guilty of this. Sometimes I
have difficulty finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise, and
relaxation. Good Physical appearance enhance our dignity and

 *Live The Gospel*. It's necessary that we should always accept God in
our life. Drawing closer to him give us a reassurance of our purpose
in life.

The last important step is to *Pray Often* .  My last suggestion is to
pray often as individuals and as families. You can know the right
decisions to make each day through constant, sincere prayer. With the
challenges that we face our Heavenly Father will continually help us.
Just do the very best you can each day. Do the basic things and,
before you realize it, your life will be full of spiritual
understanding that will confirm to you that your Heavenly Father loves
you. When a person knows this, then life will be full of purpose and
meaning, making balance easier to maintain.

Now for the week:
Pretty chill preparation day in Ennis. Got to relax most of the day
and get lots of small things done that definitely needed to be done.
I'm finding Jerry Seinfeld's theory on the activity level of adults to
be true- the older and older we get, the more and more appealing doing
nothing seems to be! Haha but really just emails, cleaning the
apartment, and working on some stuff for investigators and what not.
Definitely a well-needed day of rest from the normal hustle and bustle
of missionary work!
A day to relax among the many is surely needed. I can see why after 6
days of making the universe as we know it, the Lord needed a little
rest. Yes- he could have kept going. No- he didn't NEED to stop. But
to provide that example for us, not only to show that we don't work on
Sunday's or anything such like it, but to show us that-even though
working hard everyday is great-we need to rest. I'm growing more and
more grateful everyday for everything Christ did, and everything that
he does, for us. The example that he provided- whether you are Mormon,
Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or anything in-between- is an
amazing example for us all to follow to be able to become a good
person; the BEST person, that God knows we can be! (Weird that I got
all that form a day of sitting around doing nothing, right? Haha)
Taught a few rock solid lessons! Helping Talon work his way toward
getting the priesthood, and we can tell (we think) that he is excited
for the opportunity to have it! It's weird to me that some people are
SUPER ready to receive the things we have, others are at the tipping
point of being ready, and everyone else is being prepared in their own
way- even if neither they nor ourselves realize it!
Working with a TON of less actives and part member families in Ennis.
A lot of people who seem to have a testimony of the gospel, but for
some reason they don't yet realize the importance that Heavenly Father
has given to church and following the specific principles given in it!
Trying my hardest not get too discouraged (disappointed? Angry? Sad? I
don't know what is in store for me at this point!) and just love
everyone I teach, and love the experiences they have, and learn for
myself how to better listen to those I teach and teach to their
specific needs and concerns!
Fun day today, a lot of work moving forward in non-traditional ways!
We are working hard with Molly and her family; they seem to be having
a hard time coming to church, and we are starting to get a little sad
that they don't realize the full blessings that they can receive from
attending church each Sunday! The branch president tells us that we
can only shove is so far down their throats, and after that it's their
choice on whether or not to swallow. Kind of a different analogy, but
it gets his point across! Haha I really do hope that sooner, rather
than later, we can help them realize the importance of worshiping God
in the best ways that we can, and of going to church to build, hold,
and sustain those beliefs that we have!
Still working hard to clean up the ward list, as well as our area
book. With transfers coming up soon, we don't want to leave any other
elders or sisters with huge lists of uncontacted people! We are trying
to find as many new investigators as we can, and as we are obedient
and diligent we seem to be finding the most success. The Lord can only
bless us according to our obedience, right? I realize only now that
the Three Forks ward has had more convert baptisms in the past three
months than 8 year old baptisms all year!
Everyone tells me that the only reason we have so much success (7 of
the 12 baptisms in our zone since I've been here are from Three
Forks/Ennis!) is because this area seems to have a "culture of
obedience" as everyone has been calling it. That is, each set of
missionaries that have been here for, who knows how long, have been so
obedience that it seems as each new set gets here, the blessings and
miracles are only magnified! I thought for the longest time that me
and my companion weren't disobedient, but we weren't the most obedient
missionaries in the world. I came to find out, however, that the
issues that the two of us have pertaining to disobedience are tiny
compared to what a lot of other missionaries are doing! Haha I know
that it is bad to compare yourself to others, but it seems that our
obedience, compared to theirs, is definitely shown in the
investigators we have and the baptisms we have been privileged to take
part of! I'm just so happy that we get to not only be obedient and
receive blessings from that, but that we get to have fun while we do
it! There are A LOT of missionaries that try so hard to be obedient
that they have almost no fun, and there are even some that feel like
having fun IS being disobedient.
Let me say this- nowhere in the scriptures does the Lord say we can't
have fun. The Lord needs us to obey and listen, but BY FAR does he
want us to be miserable doing it!
We got to help organize and facilitate the Young Men's activity. The
young men's president is discouraged often, as it seems like none of
the young men come to any activities he has planned, let alone church!
We both hoped that by having someone else plan and publicize the
activity, maybe more youth would show up! We planned to play board
games and work to help the young men grow closer together; however,
out of 7 young men invited, 2 showed up. Man.... So with no board
games actually AT the activity, we went and grabbed the chalkboard and
played pictionary for almost 2 hours! We had so much fun, and  I can
definitely tell that the young men had fun too! I hope that our
efforts to help the branch are working, and that we are progressing
towards their goal of becoming a ward as soon as possible! Like I said
earlier- progressing the work and doing the things the Lord wants
doesn't have to be miserable! Be a deciple of Christ, but be a fun,
happy one!
District meeting & a bunch of unusual appointments seemed to come up today.
District meeting was great! We had an assistant to the president
there, and he was going to talk to us about planning! Unfortunately,
one of the other elders in the district is super sick, so the
assistant took him out to the couches to go take a nap and to get
better! Haha so our district leader ended up talking about planning!
Fun stuff! I got to play the piano again, and I can definitely see
myself getting a little better. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me
something, or teach me something, or whatever. Either way, I am happy
for the opportunity to be able to develop my talents and help others
feel the spirit of the whole thing.
After district meeting we went to Wal-Mart and printed some more
pictures, and went to Wendy's and spent some of Elder Potters birthday
money (he got a gift card. He shared. I wasn't disappointed.). We came
back Three Forks, and we kind of hung out in the apartment for a
while; unpacked, relaxed for a few, etc.
Then we went and did some service in the thrift store. Serving there
is always an experience. The volunteer that always works there,
Claudia, is a self-proclaimed "pew hoppin' Pentecostal" who is the
biggest Jesus-Freak I've ever seen. Gospel radio is always playing in
the store. She wears like 4 necklaces, all with crosses on them, and
then one ring on each finger, each having something or other to do
with Christ or Christianity. Like... I know it's wonderful and all
that she loves Jesus and wants to follow him, but c'mon lady! Haha no,
we both love being around her, and everyone calls her aunt Claudia! We
as missionaries don't (some standard about titles of family members
needing more respect than that. I dunno the reason behind the rule,
only that I've been asked not to call anyone by mom, dad, aunt, etc.
so I just follow it!) but I can definitely see why some do!
We were riding our bikes back to the apartment..... And I fell. Let's
just leave it at that. I said something jokingly about breaking the
rules, and then the Lord shows me who's boss. I was in pain... But okay.
If you want to know more... I guess you could email me. It's a pretty
funny story if you want to hear it!
Then we took Seamus Rumelhart out tracting with us, which is always a
great experience! I remember when Saun and Peter used to take me out
tracting with them- a great experience in fun, and a great experience
to learn and to grow! I've always thought that the youth are our
biggest resource, and I think I might be right!
Anyway, we went tracting for an hour, but funny enough we only knocked
on like 4 houses. The first house was an older lady named Iris Young.
She was raking pine cones and leaves in her front yard, so we offered
to help and got to help her for a little. Turns out she used to be
VERY active in her ward in Tennessee, active enough actually where
missionaries used to be housed with her and her husband! She says the
only reason she doesn't come to church is because she doesn't know
anyone, so we are excited to help her get to know some people and get
her back into activity!
The next house we knocked on the person (sitting right in front of the
window, in plain view to anyone outside) I guess just decided not to
come to the door. We knocked and rang the doorbell twice.... And he
looked at us, then didn't come to the door!!!! Haha. The experience of
being a missionary, I suppose!
The next house we knocked on the lady let us in. Now I'm not gonna
lie, she wasn't the ugliest person in the world.... And she was
wearing nothing but a bath robe. I looked at my companion and at
Seamus... I could tell that we were all equally as nervous when she
told us to come in...
Luckily for us (lucky...more like blessed!) as soon as we came in she
told us to sit and talk to her son while she went and put some clothes
on. Man... You could feel the tension in the room leave faster than a
turkey on thanksgiving! (I dunno... Something someone said over the
pulpit a few weeks ago!) So we got to talking to her son, and it turns
out they they are once active members of this ward! They've lived in
the ward most of their lives, and they were active when they were in
town! Once the mom came back out she explained to us that they moved
so far away that traveling 45 minutes to get to church wasn't really
affordable, so they just kinda stopped coming. So when they moved back
into town, they just already hadn't been coming to church for almost
10 years, and so they just kept not coming. The mom said that she
really did want to come to back to church, she just needed the right
kind of motivation! She said she thinks that maybe the Lord sent us to
be her motivation, and we definitely,y couldn't disagree! She said her
parents recently got sealed in the temple, and that she kind of wanted
to start to work to get her and her husband sealed in the temple, as
well as herself sealed to her parents! We could definitely tell that
she has a testimony, and that all she needed was the right motivation
to become a very strong member of the ward! Man... The Lord is just
throwin people at us!!
After that we had a dinner/lesson with a referral that the Bishop gave
us the previous week. That was very interesting.... All I'm allowed to
say (lots of personal issues that I probably shouldn't talk about) is
that he recently went through some family troubles and he now feels
like he needs Christ in his life. He is doing research on a bunch of
different churches, as he is just trying to find the church that most
closely follows the things Christ wants us to do! Haha GOLDEN or so it
seems! He's super interested in the Book of Mormon, and he really
wants to know more. We are super excited to teach him, but also
nervous because of what's going on in his family!
Actually a pretty normal Thursday. We did lots of service, lots of
teaching. Planned to go on splits, but one of the members called us
and cancelled- his wife went into labor. O.o Haha so we taught two
lessons with the three of us. Lessons went pretty great, and even
though we got home super late I could definitely feel the love the
people had for us and to have us over!
Didn't have a ton of plans to fill, but we seemed to be able to keep
ourselves busy for most of the day!
Our studies we SUPER slow, which seemed to me to be the first sign
that today was going to stink! Reading was hard, planning was hard,
and keeping focused just in general was pretty difficult. We tried to
do things that would keep us up and alert, but everything we did just
seemed to make us more distracted and less focused! I guess I can't
expect every study session to be perfect! Haha Hopefully
before the next time it's like this I will have found a way that makes
it easy to stay focused and on task!
After that, the day was just FILLED with finding opportunities. We
contacted referrals, visited less actives, visited part member
families, and TRACTED. lots to get done, but after a while getting
doors shut in our face and slander thrown at us, we starts to get a
little tired of trying to find people! Haha it was hard work, but I
can see how in the end it was definitely worth it!
Had just a few lessons- one with Andy and one with the Rumelharts. The
lesson with Andy went as well as a lesson with an eight-year-old could
go; we tried to keep his attention and tried to teach him these
things, but by the end of the lesson we seem to have to drag him along
with us! Haha hard work, but the happiness that I can see it's
bringing him and his family is definitely well worth it!
Dinner with the Rumelharts tonight went about as well as a dinner
could go! We have a great relationship with that family, and they seem
to love us too! Their oldest son, Seamus, invited a "friend" over, and
we got to teach her about the restoration! She reminds me a lot of
Brooke White, except she isn't a member and she has bubblegum pink
hair! She seems like a really awesome person and we could definitely
tell that even if she hasn't realized it yet, she is looking for the
We got to hang out at their house for a while, and do things that a
family of 5 does (reminded me so much of home it was unbelievable!)
Sister Rumelhart showed me the pictures of Ethan in his Captain Hook
costume; Sad enough it took me about 30seconds to realize that it was
him, then there's the fact that I have no idea what is going at home
right now- I feel so out of the loop!
Sister Rumelhart made my favorite pink lemonade pie- well her daughter
did, actually- and it reminded me of home so much! So many fun, silly,
dumb memories seem to follow me with that pie! So many 12-minute
thanksgivings, fights over who ate the last piece, and many, many
sneaks in the middle of the night! Haha definitely love my family,
wouldn't trade them for anything in the world!
We then played an intense game of pterodactyl, which was probably the
best thing I could think to do to relive some of this mission-related
stress. 35 minutes of crying due to laughter definitely put me right
back on track to being de-stressed!
After that great experience, the day did not much but slow down. My
companion and I were so beat that trying to set anything else up
became a chore! We ended up really just going and hanging out at the
church; I played the piano for a bit while Elder Potter sat and read
his 4,000,000th email for the day. Haha I exaggerate, but man it does
seem like he gets too many emails for his own good!
"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the
service of your God."  I felt amazingly the power and spirit of this
scripture today! We started the day with almost NOTHING planned. To be
completely honest- I think all we had planned to do was walk around
and try super hard to find someone to teach! We have two investigators
on date right now- but one is eight and the other one we aren't really
quite sure about her motivations! Our teaching pool is slowly getting
depleted as we find those listed that we find really don't want us
over, and so the list of people for us to teach is slowly but surely
shrinking! Anyway, like I said service seemed to play a great role for
us! We started out by going and helping a very potential, very
promising, potential investigator. Kelly Harmons mother seems to be
getting more and more interested as we work, and so she invited us
over to her home to have us help her with some things. First, we
scraped and brushed all the paint off of her smoke shack (the room
where she smokes cigarettes). That was definitely a job that seems a
lot easier than it actually is! Then, she had us go to her big tool
shed (probably about the size of our house in Phoenix!) and help her
organize and move stuff around- lots of high places and lots of heavy
things! Last, she had us rearrange her furniture in her front room,
and move her tv to a more convenient position. Less glare, better
light, whatever it may be. Haha we spent about two hours over there,
and then we had lunch with her and were able to spend a short little
while visiting and getting to know her! She seems like an awesome
woman, and I can feel the Lord working in her and softening her heart
as we work with her!
As we were leaving her house to go tract and find people, one of the
ward missionaries called us in need of our truck- oh heck yeah. We
rushed right over there, and we worked hard moving things- heavy
things. We moved two cement mixers, half a dozen solar panels, two oak
doors, a tool box that weighed more than I did, and a wood stove! That
definitely was hard work, not to mention that we had to move it up and
down a hill!!! Tiring work, but we could definitely tell that this
family needed the help. They had one last day before they moved to
California for the winter, and the only form of transportation they
had was a little 1998 Toyota Corella (Corolla? I dunno....) with no
trailer or anything! We could defining feel his gratitude, and we felt
amazing (sore, but amazing) walking away from a great opportunity like
Got transfer calls.... Another satisfying but lame call. Both myself
and my companion are staying for another 6 weeks. Yay!! We are super
excited because that means we get to spend thanksgiving here and
Christmas AND New Years! At the end of next transfer, me and Elder
Potter will have been together for 18 weeks! Getting to know each
other REALLY well!!
Then we went to dinner- oh boy dinner. We dinner at Sister Searles
house. (Pronounced like Sears the store (without the s) and then like
lllls lol) We had this pretty good stroganoff-roast-soup thing, which
she kept swearing was super bland, but both my companion and I LOVED
it! Then, just like with Peter and Saun a few years ago- she whipped
out the gingerbread houses! Oh heck yeah! Haha we spent a little while
working on those with here kids- we kind of just took her three kids
off her hands! She seemed super appreciative, and we definitely had
fun! Win-win right?  Lol Elder Potter took the 2 and 4 year olds, and
I took the overly intelligent 7 year old. We were able to build some
pretty good lookin houses if you asked me- or at least better then
gingerbread trailer park from a few years ago! Hahaha

Keep in mind- you have a 7 year led designing and telling a 19 year old with 
depth perception issues where to put stuff. Considering: I think it looks 
flipping AMAZING. Haha
After dinner we planned to go to the Blanchards to teach a lesson to their 
family, but plans change! Ha they actually called us and invited us over to 
the house that they are currently building, and we got to sit and chat with 
them for a little, then we actually got to help them stain some of their 
floors! We laughed after we were done at a few things 1- how much stain I 
had in my arms. 2- how good I was at it considering I had never even seen 
it done before. And finally 3- that fact that as a city boy going to UHigh 
school, that was probably the only time I'm ever going to be staining our 
floor (although brother Blanchard is a dentist, so I guess you never know!) 
It was pretty late after that, so all we really could do was head home! 
Sunday as pretty awesome! Slow day, but awesome! Sacrament meeting we had 
the old stake president come and talk with us, and learned a lot about 
being thankful for the things we have and the things we get around this 
time of year. 
During priesthood, I got asked to ordain Kelly Harmon (got baptized like 
a month ago) to the office of priest, as well as confer the priesthood on 
him! SUPER special experience, and I can't think of anything else like it! 
After church we went and sang with the ward choir, practicing for the 
Christmas sacrament meeting concert thing. Haha in a small ward like this I 
was actually quite surprised at how big the choir was! Not too many people who 
could sing great, but the spirit that was with them made the music so much 
more beautiful! After practice though, I was standing next to the pianist 
who was practicing the song we were singing (a few I've never heard!) and 
then the choir director asked me if I would sing the solos for the first 
few songs... O.O 
Haha I guess my talents are shinning?! Lol I dunno all she said is that she 
thought my high-ish voice worked for what she needed! I told I didn't know 
if I could, because they are planning on singing at a stake concert thing 
that I don't think we can go to. I haven't talked to my zone leaders yet, but 
I am kind of crossing my fingers that they will okay it!!
After that we had dinner with our ward mission leader, (5 kids and another 
on the way!) which is always great! Then, after about 4 appointments cancelled 
on us, we decided to go home and take a nap (we were tired as flip) and then 
we went to the church and continued to work down the ward list and our area 
book and find people to teach! 

Highs and lows for this week, but overall it was pretty good! 

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

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth 
not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, 
thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, 
endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; 
whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, 
it shall vanish away.

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