Monday, January 4, 2016

December 27, 2015: The spirit? No.... The cat!

12/21-12/27 2015
Is it worth it?

"Is it worth it," I said, as I reached our place,
"to get the door slammed in our face?"
"Is it worth it?" I said with a heavy sigh,
"To wear this stupid shirt and tie?"

"Is it worth it?" I said, "when it's 40 below,
To walk for miles in a foot of snow.
I wonder what my friends would say
If I were to go home today?"

It's not the things your friends would say,
But what the Lord would do today.
What if the Savior would have said,
"I think I'll quit before I'm dead!"

"Is it worth it Father? To do this thing,
For a bunch of people I've never seen?
To sweat my blood from every pore,
So that man can live forever more?"

It's funny I'm not struck down,
For being such a selfish clown.
My trials aren't so bad, after all,
Compared to Christ's, they're kind of small!

So if you're feeling kind of sore,
Because somebody slammed the door,
Try sweating blood from every pore,
For people you've never seen before.

Missoula District
12/21 Preparation day with the zone was great today! We got to play volleyball and soccer, instead of the usual boring pod ball haha. A lot of fun, and I got to remember my many days of playing volleyball back at the church- how for some reason the young men seemed to always beat the young women, even none of us played, and all of them played! Hahah I don't know how it worked, but it was definitely hard not to get super competitive playing! Especially with all the sisters there, I couldn't really get as rough or competitive as I usually would with soccer or other sports. Got to keep the best distance I can apparently to keep the relationship appropriate between us haha. I did, once during soccer, fight for the ball from a sister, and one of the sister training leaders started yelling at me to get away and let her have the ball. I got yelled at for like 4 minutes because I was "too close to the sister" haha well I probably was, still not used to the distance I have to keep (as the playah I truly am inside). All I learned is that having a run-in with a sister training leader is definitely bad ju-ju! After that, we had a lesson with a very less active older sister in the ward. She lived with about 4 other women and one of her sons, as well as 13 cats, 9 chickens, 5 birds, 2 dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Haha The house was nuts. There wasn't much cat hair around, and the house didn't smell, so that was good; however, there was definitely some sort of aura about the room that definitely denoted that there were cats present..... And many of them.

I think it really started to hit me as I was standing there trying to help the sister figure out Gospel Library, and a cat jumped from the floor to my shoulder. Then sat down on the back of my neck. Mom, I assume you have felt this feeling of cat on your neck... And maybe even the feeling that came next. Warmth. Fire? No. The Holy Ghost? No. Sweat?! I only wish...... Oh no... The realization hit me- I have been marked. After becoming "marked" we used our best judgment to decide it was time to go home, so we abruptly ended the lesson, and I showered..... Twice. 12/22 The weather report lies. I hope you know. According to the weather report, there was supposed to be a snowstorm during the night causing 15-20 inches of snow to be in the ground. Lies. All of it. We showed up to a couple older members homes to attempt to help shovel... But there was so little snow in the ground that our shovels didn't even pick anything up. Oh boy what a waste of time! Studies were a little weird, we started late, and then after about 45 minutes both myself and my companion had fallen asleep and then proceeded to take about and hour nap. I'm starting to realize what my dad said about mental exhaustion furthers physical. I seem to always be tired, even on those days when we don't do much that is physically exhausting! I thought for a while that maybe I was losing motivation to work (which I really do think I am) but I am starting to think that maybe it is just part of being exhausted! 12/23 We spent most of the day seeking out potential investigators, as well as Tracting. We taught A LOT of Christmas lessons, and we have a few great new investigators to visit and to invite and teach. The work is progressing hard, and the days are getting shorter! We got my first investigator from Tracting today though!!!!! We couldn't find a potential investigator, so we tracted around their house, and then about four doors down we found a teenage girl super willing to listen to us and to have us over again! We are super excited to be bringing the Gospel to all the world, and to be proclaiming it to all 2800 people in town!! We got to read the Book of Mormon with D E and her husband and kids. She definitely was able to feel the strength it brings her and the spirit! I can't wait for her to continue investigating and growing closer to Christ! 12/24 Weekly planning- yay. Haha we took it today as well as we do every week. With sarcastic enthusiasm. Attempting to build our enthusiasm, I decided it would be great to ride our bikes to the church to plan! Well.... There and back is almost 30 miles. We did it, but definitely regretted it. Haha I made it through almost perfectly, except for the fact that, well... I ripped my suit pants. Haha icy spots and dumb lack of coordination I suppose! We had dinner with a recently returned missionary and his family. It was great to talk about his mission experiences and compare them to ours. Definitely cool to see that we are still allowed to be normal people after we get off our mission! We read Alma 12 with Brother Gowey, and that discussion as INTENSE! I think Brother Gowey taught me more in that lesson than what I could ever hope to teach him! He is going to make one AWESOME member of the church! Apparently... Elder Mika has this tradition of opening all his presents on Christmas Eve. So he spent about an hour opening all his presents. It felt super depressing to see the pile of 30 presents go down to 4... Ouch. Haha well I have been able to open a lot of gifts from my family over the past little bit and it's been pretty awesome! 12/25 Christmas!!!!!!! Skype home- depressing, happy, short, and every other thing that most missionaries stereotypically say it is! After skyping we spent most of the day visiting as many singles as we could- those who were spending Christmas alone. Very sad to see how many people have no one to spend such a wonderful day with, as well as super exciting to see the faces of those same people once we walked in! Missionary work is amazing! We had dinner with the Egbert family, and oh boy it reminded me oh the Wallgren clan Christmas gatherings. 30 people- a bunch of kids, plus cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends galore! Craziness going around as eveyone plays with their toys, and lots of food! Haha it was crazy, and especially with my companion coming from a small family it was great to see his reaction to the chaos that is a big family gathering!

Drummond weekend!
Weird situation this time around- we definitely had a place to stay,
but our branch mission leader didn't help us with dinners, even though
he made it sound like he did! Well.... The branch president was
luckily able to have us over, so we have a really cool potluck style
dinner with them, and we got to meet a lot of their family!
While Tracting, we ran into a guy working on his four-wheeler, and as
any good missionary would, we stopped to talk to him. Turns out, he is
one of the top-selling trappers in the state of Montana! So he took us
down to his shed, and showed us his "collections" for the
300 muskrats
40 skunks
20 foxes/coyotes
4 bobcats
2 otters
Hmmm.... Well. Lots of interesting people in Montana....
Turns out he had a broken washing machine in his basement that he
needed brought up. Being "large in stature" as missionaries are, we
decided it would be a bright idea to help him out. Bad idea. Bad. Two
words- dirty, mildewy, stinky laundry water.
Now my coat stinks........ Shoot
Haha after that we went Tracting in a more rural part of town (I think
the "urban" town has a population of about 250 people....) and we
totally had a Saratov Approach moment.
Now don't die mom.....
But as we were walking down an alleyway a dog started to chase us.
Missionaries+dog= terror. I don't know what it is, but dogs are so
much scarier when you are in a mission! But wait- there's more! This
dog was chasing us, and then behind the dog a man came running...
Almost faster than the dog.... Right toward us
Hahaha Elder Mika is either brave or dumb cause he went walking to the
dog, and as such the person. I though we were going to die! Elder Mika
was dumb, or so I thought. Turns out, this person is a potential
investigator that we have been looking for for almost the whole time I
have been here! Elder Mika met him with his older companion at the
post office and then apparently he gave him a wrong address. Good to
meet him! Terrifying, but good!
Great post-Christmas meeting in church. Had lunch with a family who
had a daughter visiting for the holidays from NY. We lacked
dinner plans again so we scoured our phone book to find someone! Haha
we did, but felt kinda bad about it. Oh well, Se la vi I suppose!
We got to teach a lesson to a new investigator we have in Drummond,
and his zeal is strong, but his scripture knowledge is very, very
weak. We learned very quickly that we need to simplify our teaching
and intensify our testimony. Strong work happening, both for me and
for the people in the areas!

Can you find Uncle Mike, too?
The temperature as we headed home in Saturday, the cat........ And then look who I found when watching the Christmas devotional a little late! Still feels weird to say that I have had family in the choir for many years!!!!

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

Alma 12:14-15
14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not 
be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state 
we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could 
command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and 
in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our 
everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his 
works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power 
to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for 

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