|I really wanted to make sure that as I went to the funeral, people knew what I was all about|
1/4-1/10 2016 Jesus'? Jesuses? Jesusi?
This is a little thing the stake presidency invited the missionaries to do in our email home this week, so here it is: 5 things that I love about missionary work: 1. Meeting new people- companions, investigators, members, and all other sorts of randomness that comes with being a missionary. 2. Teaching lessons- I love that feeling that we get when the spirit teaches through me. I have recently found that I can know I had a successful lesson if I walk out of it having learned something from what I said. Often times I seem to say things that I didn't even know I knew! 3. Learning to work with someone 24/7- everyone says that married life is different. Well, I feel like (and everyone tells me that) learning to be with and learning to be unified with my companion while being with him everyday is helping me. I just hope that I can carry it on into the rest of my life! 4. Studying the scriptures- not only am I learning so much, but I find so many little dumb things that are not-so-serious within the scriptures. If you try to tell me that some of the prophets didn't have a sense of humor than you haven't read the Scriptures yet haha. 5. Growing closer to God- each day something happens. EVERY DAY. Some days are a lot more intense that others, but everyday I grow closer to him in some way. 5 things that I'm surprised I like about missionary work: 1. Talking to people- talking to EVERYONE. For some reason I love talking to random people on the street. 2. I'm surprised at how much what my parents taught me is coming in handy- both in the field and in the apartment. Cleaning, manners, etc. Thanks M & D! Love you both! 3. Planning- the act of actually planning, no. I hate actually doing the planning. But I love the rewards that come from planning: those weeks that we plan super well seem to be those weeks that so much more gets done, and those weeks that we seem to have less time to sit and be bored. 4. Cleaning- yeah............. It feels great to have it done. I love the feeling of having a clean apartment. 5. Not having wordly distractions- I love Star Wars, TV, video games, and all that other crap that comes with being in the world. However, I have really begun to realize that, even though at times it really stinks to not be able to do stuff like that, not having those distractions is helping me get so much more done, and it is helping me begin to realize what things really matter in life! 5 things I would recommend to a perspective missionary: 1. Don't slack on your reading of the scriptures. Yes, we have a lot of time to read and get to know them while we're out here, but if you were to come out with a super good understanding of the scriptures imagine how much better of a teacher you could be! 2. Start now. Don't wait. One thing that really helped me was going out with the missionaries often. I really got to know what teaching lessons was like, and what sort of things you actually do as a missionary. That definitely helped the beginning of my mission not be as scary as I saw it was for some elders. 3. Get in good habits now. Daily scripture study, waking up at a decent time, go to bed at a decent time, daily prayers, and all that jazz. It is super hard to just start those habits when you get out rather than already have them down before you go. It was super difficult for me. 4. Don't worry too much about mail/emails. I did for a while, but as I've started to not care as much my day to day life seems to be A LOT less stressful. 5. Work hard to develop interpersonal characteristics. It may seem a little obvious, but I went on an exchange with a elder a few months ago who did not like talking to other people. He wasn't a bad teacher, in fact he knew a ton about the gospel (they think I don't know crap about the gospel.... But I dew!) but in lessons and on the street he wasn't the most open to talking to people. Your life and the life of your companion will be so much easier if you can already be comfortable with just talking to people. This email is probably going to be pretty scatterbrained, I apologize. My mind is all over the place and focusing is super hard. I think preparation day today is going to be full of naps and recuperation time haha. 1/4 Transfer preparation days are always weird... Mixed feelings as elders and sister leave, but little pieces of excitement as we get to become acquainted with more and more missionaries! Following the pattern, it was a little weird to go to preparation day with the zone. There was only like 4 elders and sisters leaving, so not too many people, but still weird haha. Either way, preparation day was pretty awesome! We went bowling as a zone, and if any of you know how good I am at that, you will definitely know why my excitement decreased a little about preparation day hahaha. I feel like it was probably a little successful... Seeing as I scored about 85 on my first round. I did better than most, but definitely worse than a lot haha. After that I played pod ball in my Sunday best (without a suit coat of course!). Everything is fine, but I am realizing now that it is a blessing that I didn't tear all of my clothes! A few lessons followed, one with Brother G, and one with Sister N (the house with the cat.... Yeah, THE CAT). We got to study a few great chapters out of the Book of Mormon, and I am loving being able to get to know not only the book better, but being able to learn and grow as I get to know the prophets of old SO much better!
1/5 We had planned to go to Drummond today, but things didn't quite work out the way that we wanted them to, so we ended up staying in Clinton..... With no plans. Days like this really help me realize the importance of planning. Days like this when we have no plans really show me how helpful having detailed plans for our day makes it run a lot smoother, but it also makes it move SO much faster. No plans and lots of Tracting seem to be a package deal. Those days that we have a lot of free time are those days that we visit a lot of less actives and those days that we attempt to find a lot of people to teach. The day was pretty full of such activities, haha. Besides that, we really didn't do much of anything. A few lessons we were able to squeeze in as we made visits, but no big noteworthy events! 1/6 Wednesday...... Oh Wednesday. I found out that bikes and myself apparently do not agree with each other. Like, AT ALL. We had planned to spend most of the day in East Missoula, about 4-5 or so miles from our apartment. We wanted to save miles, so with the short distance we decided that riding our bikes would be a good idea. Was it? No. At least..... Not in the end. So the day started out fine, we made it to east Missoula with really no issues. We were a little tired, but that could be expected after riding a bike 5 miles uphill. We took a small water break, and then we tracted out most of the little section of the town we were in. Got a few solid return appointments, found some of our old potential investigators, and met some really awesome people! The day seemed to be going great...... Then we rode back. So remember that experience I had in Christmas Eve when I fell into the road off my bike and ripped my pants? Well...... None of my clothes are torn this time! However................... Okay so here's what happened- we were riding under a bridge, and the road curves as it goes under the bridge. Being so, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to see any cars coming from around the bend. As such, it is very risky to be riding into oncoming traffic as the bend comes. I WASNT. I was at least attempting to be smart. But like I said, it has become be apparent to me that my bicycle does not agree with me. Keep in mind this next part happened all within about 10 seconds: As we turned the bend, my bike decided it wanted to slip into the lane with oncoming traffic. Well, there was a car behind me so I thought that maybe I could make onto the other side of the road instead of jumping in front of the car coming up from behind me. As I did so, I remembered that with the turn and the bridge in front of me, seeing any sort of oncoming traffic was almost impossible! All that I am fully aware that happened is this (and mom this is where you skip ahead and not watch me die)- I heard a very VERY loud scream: "ELDER!" And as I looked around the bend a very..... Wide semi-truck was rounding the bend..... As I was in the middle of the lane. My death, I could see it. But seeing as both I am still able to type is email and no one received a call about ad sort of hospitalization, I think that one might conclude that the lord definitely is watching out for his missionaries. Anyway, as I saw the mode of my impending doom approaching, my legs seemed to do what my mind couldn't-MOVE. So in a moment of extreme Unknown athleticism, I did what I only wished I might have been able to do on the track. I jumped onto the top frame of my bike, and then used its forward momentum to propel myself off the road into the snow bank 15ft away. Covered in snow and scared out of my brains, I turned around to see the condition of the scene behind me. Here is the picture I saw- Elder Mika standing in front of semi pulling my bike out from underneath it, my bike 3/4 of the way underneath it, and then a truck driver who almost looked more terrified than I was. After a moment of quick discussion between the driver and elder Mika, Elder Mika was off the road with my bike and the truck was on its way down the highway. By the time elder Mika got to me I realized that I was still lying in the snow, even though it was probably only about 20 more seconds after my moment of adrenaline-rushed acrobatics. On an attempt to stand up (I have concluded that this was likely cause by both the sudden rush of adrenaline plus the accumulative shock to my mind as I registered what happened) my legs buckled under me an I feel, right back down to the snow. Once my companion reached the place I was, he leaned my bike against the guard rail and attempted to help me up. Once I had regained my bearings and was able to stand up, the whole of what just transpired seemed to hit me all at once. I should have died..... Like I said earlier- I found out very quickly that the lord definitely is watching out for and caring for his missionaries- don't forget it. After slowly making our way back to the apartment, I was able to collapse into a chair, and with an exhaustion that only comes with riding 10 miles plus a "deadly" (HA!) amount of adrenaline, instantly fall asleep. Elder Mika let me sleep for about 45 minutes, and upon awakening we decided that the best way to get our minds off of the subject would be to go teach. The rest of the day seemed like a pretty big bore, but we did get to teach a few pretty good lessons to some people. 1/7 After a fun day like Wednesday, today was a pretty big drag. We went to Seeley lake, which is always pretty cool, but that is so small and we go there so little that there is very VERY little to do. That being said, we did have a few pretty good lessons and service opportunities. We helped an older couple out in the branch- we moved about three pickup loads of food storage across town. Cans, boxes, and all sort of good stuff. This couple lives on their own, but they DEFINITELY have enough food storage to last them the three months that they need! After that we visited a les active lady in the branch- a new mother! This sister was only about 7 months older than me, but she had one 4 month old baby, and another one on the way! D: it was definitely a big shock to me not only to see someone not that much older than me married, but with 1 1/2 kids! A real reality shock for me, if nothing else! After we had a pretty awesome lesson about the plan of salvation with her, we were able to go to our branch mission leaders house and "work for dinner" haha. We pulled out his two snowblowers and then after a crashcourse lesson on how to work it from elder Mika (I guess they work almost exactly like a lawn mower! Who knew?!) myself and elder Mika cleared his 1/2 acre front lawn of all the snow. Lots of work, but definitely not near as difficult as shoveling it all! We then had an awesome Italian dinner with them (or at least Costco's version of one) and I found out that he is probably the smartest guy that anyone is ever going to meet! He has the scriptures memorized, and he worked in the college chromosome research lab for 35 years! He was able to answer many of the questions that we had, and leave us thinking about the meaning of life lol. We had planned to teach the one family of progressing investigators we have in Seeley lake that night, but being as the mom of the group had just gone through a miscarriage, she wasn't quite in the mood to talk much about God. As we were out of things to do, we decided that rather than stay the night and risk getting snowed in the next day, we needed to travel home. 1/8 Weekly planning!!! With my new zeal for planning, I was motivated to do the best I could to fill our schedule to the MAX! And I was! For about 20 minutes..... Then it became as much of a drag as it has always been Haha. After we finished panning we had a funeral to attend for the less active mother of 4 of our investigators. She was very very old and we believe it was definitely time for her to return to her father. Sad, sad funeral. Many of the people didn't understand the progression that she was making. My dad once told me that non-member funerals are much more depressing, and I found out what he meant at this one. But besides that my companion and I just acted like the young men usual,y do at these types of funerals. We set up chairs and tables, served lunch to everyone afterwards, and then took down chairs and tables after the services were over. Nice reminder of home right?! ;) We had dinner at dusty Elbert's home, one of our investigators just outside of Clinton. She made taco stuffed bell peppers......... Holy goodness. She is a surgeon, but apparently she got her first minor in culinary arts! It was flippin good... We didn't get to stay to teach much of a lesson, as we had a lesson with brother Gowey, so we had to jet out ASAP. 1/9 President Lindsay (2nd councilor in the Missoula Stake Stake presidency) invited all the missionaries in our zone over for breakfast. It was a pretty good experience- we got to meet his family, as well as have a few great little devotional talks after we finished. Learned a lot about being a diligent missionary and about how to teach about feeling the spirit to our investigators. We taught a bunch of lessons today- sue, brother slabaugh, sister Nichols, and a few other less actives who I'm sure you won't recognize their names. We taught a lot about receiving revelation, and for two of them we actually read and studied out of the book of revelations. Fun stuff happening haha. The iPad's we have are an amazing resources. We had a lot of questions asked to us about things we didn't know, but having gospel library we were able to look at seminary and institute manuals, talks, guides to the scriptures, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Awesome lesson-filled day! 1/10 Just another sabbath day. We went to church, and then tracted and taught a bunch of less actives and potential investigators. We had one lady bash with us about the bible, and it was hard because she knew is so much better than us, and even as we tried to leave she wouldn't let step away. Some people work that way i guess. I'm real,y starting to realize the real meaning of the statistic about Montana having the worst drinking and drug problem in the US. We ran into a few houses where there was almost more alcohol bottles around the house than there was yard to have them in, as well as a few houses that when the person came to the door I had some definite flashbacks to my El Prado days. The people here really need the message we have and I am so excited to share it!!!!!!
Our new zone with the 2nd councilor in the stake presidency and 4 of his 6 kids. (He tells everyone that he has all girls except for 4 of them haha)
Elder Braden R Wallgren Montana Billings Mission 2015-2017 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 repentance.