Tuesday, May 3, 2016

3/14-3/20/2016: Spring? But what about second winter?

"In the Church, the goal of gospel teaching is not to pour information
into the minds of God’s children, whether at home, in the classroom,
or in the mission field. It is not to show how much the parent,
teacher, or missionary knows. Nor is it merely to increase knowledge
about the Savior and His Church.
The basic goal of teaching is to help the sons and daughters of
Heavenly Father return to His presence and enjoy eternal life with
Him. To do this, gospel teaching must encourage them along the path of
daily discipleship and sacred covenants. The aim is to inspire
individuals to think about, feel about, and then do something about
living gospel principles. The objective is to develop faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ and to become converted to His gospel.
Teaching which blesses and converts and saves is teaching which
emulates the Savior’s example. Teachers who emulate the Savior’s
example love and serve those they teach. They inspire their listeners
with eternal lessons of divine truth. They live lives worth
emulating." (President Thomas S. Monson , "Learn of Me", Ensign, March

I feel like the principle President Monson talks about here goes not
only o teachers, but to student as well. While sitting in church, or
Sunday school, or relief society, or priesthood, or whatever it may
be, are we listening to what the teachers say as a way to absorb
information? To have more information ourselves to be able to teach?
Or area we taking what the teachers say and using it in our lives to
become more like Jesus Christ, and to grow closer to living the
celestial laws of heaven? This concept reminds me a story about three

There once were three birds that had just been born. Three brand new
baby chicks. Sadly, their mother died just after they were born.
Having no one near them to teach them, the did not learn to fly.
Determined, the three birds went and found the eagle and asked him if
he would help them learn to fly. E eagle agreed! For the next week
straight, the eagle spent all his time teaching these three birds to
fly. After the week, the birds could fly beautifully! "That you so
much mr. Eagle" the birds said. Now all set with their new abilities,
they walked home.

Are we taking what we learn in church, seminary, institute, or even
school, and walking home with it? Or are we going to fly home? Take
what you learned and use it- without application the scriptures are
just a compilation of words! This week, I invite you to take something
that you learned p,mane apply it to your life as often as possible.
Everyday, if you can. As you do it I know that you will see your life
improve and your days get happier.

So I got my tax returns in the past week, and I had some stuff I
wanted to get so we went to wal-mart, target, Best Buy, and other
stores like that in which I could get everything I wanted.
I am having many experiences on my mission so far that are helping me
realize how big of a nerd I really am; one such experience was today.
I walked into Best Buy, and I physically felt sad. I felt almost as
homesick as I ever had on my mission so far. I took a breath of air in
and smelt the nerdy-ness, the smell of the sweet plastic coating of
computers and other tech, and oh man I honestly think I was about to
start crying. In all seriousness, it kind of made me sad. I know, I
know- worldly things- but oh man it felt just plain.... Weird to be in
that store!!!!!!!!!!!!!
then we to the institute building and I Played a bunch of ping pong.
I'm starting to get better at it- I only lost by between 4-5 points
per game! Practice makes perfect, right? We also practiced our song a
little bit more, starting to come together and actually sound like a
song! I feel like I probably know my part of the song the least.... It
staring to make me feel bad, but that is just giving me more
motivation to get better! My talents are slowly starting to develop,
and I am really enjoying it. Elder Hatton made an interesting comment
though today- he talked about how he learned in his vocal anatomy
class in college (I know) why children who have just gone through
puberty and in the years after usually kind of suck at singing. It is
because your brain just developed a new voice! And so let's say I
finished going through my voice changes (mentally and chemically
speaking) when I was like 15. Being now 19, my voice is only like 4
years old. So just like you have to teach a 4 year old how to
correctly talk and say certain things, we have to re-train our voice
after it goes through all the chemical changes. That is why most men's
voices do not finish developing until they are like 22-23; their brain
has re-learned how to use the new voice that it has been given. That
is also why voice lessons help so much. Extra specific training helps
it develop faster. Makes me feel a little bit better about stinking at
it. At least a little bit on confidence goes a long way, right?! Haha
Well after that we headed back to the apartment to finish cleaning- we
didn't do much before. Dishes, the rest of our laundry, and other such
things that needed to be taken care of. It feels really nice to have a
clean apartment (thanks to the old man... And not-as-old woman for
teaching me all the crap I know about how to pick up after my crap).
We had dinner with the Yules- had a really good stew that was full of
elk guts. Liver, heart, intestines, stomach, the whole nine yards. I
thought it would be gross, but sister Yule actually cooked it pretty
good and made it so it was actually very, very desirable! I think I
had like 3 bowls!
Sleeping in Seeley Lake tonight, with President and sister Fife.
Looking forward to the next few days to be spent here in Seeley Lake,
even though there has been some drama that has popped up that has
started to put a bad spin on the Mormons in town, but I'm hopping that
by us being here, doing some service, and maybe getting ourselves out
there we might be able to clear up some of the crud!!!
Had a good day in Seeley lake today. It's pretty cold up here compared
to Clinton- and I'm not just saying that because it's still snowing up
here haha. Woke up this morning and didn't believe it, but sure as
heck it was, in fact, snowing! still taking me a little bit of getting
used to- snow in March. But that's Montana for you I guess!!!
Had some pretty good lessons. First we visited the friede's and shared
the new Easter video whir them. #Hallelujah is a really good video
that quotes a lot of scriptures from Isaiah (same scriptures that are
used in the Messiah....... Coincidence? I THINK NOT). Talked a lot
about the need to follow Christ in our lives today, and remember what
he did for each of us individually. Sister Friede is also a pretty
good cook, and so having lunch with her was pretty sweet. She also
gave me some cool recipes from my new recipe book thing, so that is
pretty fantastic! After that we had a few appointments cancel, so we
decided that it would be well worth our time to walk from the place we
were to our dinner appointment and visit all the people that we could
along the way. We area walking around a lot lately, which is good
because I'm starting to feel in a little bit better shape than I did
before, which is always nice. So we walked for probably like 2.5
hours, and with that came a lot of visits!! A lot of people
uninterested, and a good amount of people that I think we're just
trying to make us think that they weren't home haha. But after that we
went to the Daniels/Whitman/snider house. We had a good dinner and a
lesson. The Branch president was there, and so we had a good time and
a good members t5here with us to be able to help us teach and testify.
I love member presents!!!! :D after that all we had time left to do
was to visit one lady in the area who had recently broken her arm. Had
a good visit with her and encouraged her to come to church and feel
the fellowship.
We went back to fife's house to get ready for bed, and as I was
getting ready Elder Hansen noticed that the Fifes had lord of the
rings risk. Well, apparently that game was to his family what phase 10
was for mine back at home. Haha so we decided that we had to play!!!!!
I thought it would be bad, because that game always took like 4 hours
back at home, so I didn't know if it was okay or not. Well I guess
there is a version of the game in which their game is over in like 19
turns, so we played that. It only took us like and hour, but after
that amount of time I was done with life. I forgot how much I stink at
that game haha. But we got done with by like 10:15, and then rushed to
finish getting ready, and I think I was in bed by like 10:35, so I'm
glad I could get that over with and still be in bed pretty close to on
time hahaha. Good day though, super tired at the end of it!
Long, tired day today. For some reason we were both super, super tired
today. Maybe it's the Lord biting us in the butt for playing games
last night.... Who knows but it was sure hard. Either way, we spent
the majority of the morning helping Sister Fife come up with ideas for
her talk on the beatitude "pure of heart" coming up this Sunday. We
talked a lot about what having a pure heart really means, and what
scriptures and or talks help us to begin to understand that. We had
some good discussion that we weren't expecting to have, and we talked
about some stuff we weren't expecting to talk about haha. Good times
though! After we got done there we headed home to Clinton. That drive
is always slow and gross, and the fact that we were both super tired
didn't make it go b y any faster!! I almost fell asleep on Elder
Hansen a few times, but even worse he started to doze off on me!!!
Terrifying experiences you above on a mission part 7- sitting in the
passenger's side seat watching a tree get closer and closer........ TO
THE SIDE OF THE CAR! Hahaha I woke him up and everything was okay, but
shoot I'm not gonna lie- I was scared!
We went to go visit brother Gowey after that, to help him start to
clean the tobacco smell out of his walls and floors. We were all
gun-ho for all of everything, but then we started cleaning. Never
NEVER have I seen the wall seem to get dirtier as we attempted to
clean it. But here's what happened- the nicotine has seeped into the
walls so much that as we sprayed and tried to scrub the walls, the
spray we used turned brown.... BROWN and brown spots started oozing
from the walls. Oh man 98t was so gross, but it did feel good to be
able to help brother Gowey start to get better and take more steps to
being completely done with smoking- he hasn't had tobacco in almost 3
weeks, but the cravings are still there for him. Hopefully that gross
two hours of cleaning helped.... If not I might hurt someone.....
We began to realize at this point one very crucial details; in our
lives in the current moment- the zone conference in which we are
performing in is tomorrow. And we still stink. Bad. So we made an
emergency call to Elder Hatton and ran to the stake center and smashed
the living crud out of the song. we smoothed out a couple of the rough
parts and used the time that we had to make the song sounding from
okay to pretty good. We just hope that tomorrow it will sound great!
Haha we had an older lady from Elder Hatton's ward come and help us
find out which pieces we could to the best with. She really helped us,
we aren't quite sure how, but some of the stuff that she did helped us
go form sounding like crud to actually sounding pretty decent! Hahaha
but whatever works to make us sound good right?
After that we had dinner out in Potomoac, so we spent 20 minutes
driving out there, getting lost, and then finding it amongst getting
lost. And after that we went and visited sue and talked about her
scripture reading and how that is going. She has been doing pretty
good and we, as well as just about everyone in the ward, is SUPER
excited for her baptism coming up next week!!!!!!!!
Zone conference today! Makes me pretty excited to see a bunch of
missionaries gathered together to learn and grow and become better. I
always love being able to see other opinions on things and see how I
can get better from what is said amongst the people that I work with!
I also got to see my past companions, Elder Mika and then the best
TRAINERER person ever, ya know. Hahah it was really nice to see both
of them, good to hear that the work is going very well for them. I
guess the situation I'm in right now is kinda weird- everyone else
that I came out with has had like 4-5 companions by now, and I'm on
number 3.... Either I'm doing something right or something wrong, but
either way I like it. I get to know the elders I work with and then
it's time for me to move on and get to new horizons! Haha I love it.
We learned a lot in the conference from the assistants and from
president about companionship unity and about how diversity is good.
We need to feel charity for those that are different than us because
they have been put into our lives a for a reason, and sometimes only
the lord knows that reason. Good conference, walked away feeling super
edified. Oh, we also sang our "Master the Tempest is Raging" song, and
we did.......... Well we did okay. It definitely was not our worst
we've ever sang it, but it could have been better. A LOT better. Oh
well, you live, learn, and then keep moving forward, right?
Great conference, and then as we were headed home we ran into a couple
of Jehovah's Witness missionaries. Hose moments are always awkward,
but I feel like we handled it like a boss. We wished them luck in
their mins terming, and they did the same for us. Politeness with a
hint of "I wanna kill you" I have a feeling we're on both sides of
that small exchange. However, in the end we did end up trading
pamphlets. We gave them a restoration pamphlet with the commitment to
read it, and they gave a us a pamphlet entitled "What Does the Bible
Really Mean?" Well, I had the full intention of getting rid of the
book they gave us, but Elder Hansen made a logical point- if we give
things to people we expect them to at least read it and find out what
they think. Even if they don't necessarily believe that what is in
there is true, we still are happy if they've read it. So, we spent a
little bit of time skimming the book we got. It was a hoot and half,
hearing what they really thought of the bible, or at least their
changed version of it. It contradicted itself in a lot of places, and
they changed verses in the bible didn't make too much sense. Oh well,
different views on God I guess!
We had dinner at the Egberts tonight, which is always a fun
experience. We had a some really good roast and potatoes, and then
afterwards we watched the kids run around for like and hour straight.
Holy crud kids never seem to run out of energy!!!!!!!! They just kept
going, and going, and going, and going, AND GOING!!!!! Haha we got to
talk with Dusty a little bit about the easter season, and also a
little but about how the imagination a don the energy of children
never seems to end and how fantastic it would be to have that kind of
energy our whole lives. Conversations, just like the visits there, are
always unpredictable, unplannable, and overall just ten types of nuts!
Good day though.
Had kind of a rough day today... And I think it all started with a
late start to the day. My alarms went off at 6:23, and I just kind of
subconsciously smacked them off. Not really realizing it was time to
get up- plus I wasn't really feeling too good- I slept in...... Until
9. Oh man from like that point on I knew that today was not going to
be a good day. And it wasn't really.
Because I didn't get up, neither did my companion. But when I actually
got up my companion was still asleep. I showered, and by the time I
got out he was up and sort of moving around. We slowly got ready, rate
and then did some short studies with the time we had left. We didn't
really get the day started until like noon, by which point we felt bad
enough for losing a few hours of our day. Either way, the day started
off kinda bad.
Then we did our weekly planning... Or at least part of it. Planning
was super hard today, I think we kind of were having a hard time
inviting the spirit because neither of us felt good about waking up so
late. So we only got like half of our planning done, and then we had
to get to a scheduled appointment we had with Sue. Man, only doing
half the work in twice the time stinks. It took us like 2.5 hours to
get halfway done.
Then we went and had a pretty good lesson with Sue, read from Alma 7
and talked about the Atonement of Christ and how it can helps us and
those around us. Talked a little bit about becoming the Lord's
covenant people once we enter into baptism, and how the atonement
really covers us once we have become one of his people. She is so
ready for baptism, it's not even funny.
We had dinner with the Weavers, reminds me a lot of home- few kids
running around, nerdy computer and video games for everyone yo play,
and then they seem to have a. Lot of the same family traditions that
we had back at home. Talked about some cool memories I had, and I was
kind of nice to talk about us how the family relates to the gospel,
make the work that I am doing a little more personal! We tried to
visit a few people in Clinton, had a really
cool lesson with a potential investigator on her porch, and then we
visited with brother Gowey and read Mosiah 3, another chapter about
the Atonement. He is also insanely ready to enter into the waters of
As we were headed home from brother Gowey's, we had to pass over some
train tracks. When we got near them, the gate went down so we stopped
and waited for the train to came. 1 minute past. No train. 5 minutes
past. No train. 10 minutes past. No train. We didn't know what to do!
It was like 9:15 and we needed to get home! We had two options at this
point- either drive to brother Gowey's and park there for the night
and then walk home, or we could shoot the gap in between the gates. We
debated for a while- which would be safer, and which would be most
time effective. As we debated, another car came up on the other side,
then proceeded to drive across the tracks, in-between the gates. Both
a little shocked at what I'm sure was an answer from a loving father
in heaven, we knew what we needed to do. Both of us braced for what we
were sure was our impending doom- and elder Hansen went for it. Now I
don't know about him, but I was white-knuckled gripping the safety
handle. It only lasted about 4 seconds, but those were probably the
most terrifying 4 seconds of my life. I just knew that a train would
come by, and that this would be the end. All they would be able to
find is my arm. It wold get air-packaged home, and my family would
have to hold an arm funeral for me. A sad, hilarious, arm funeral.
But like I said the day was hard, it was kind of hard to keep moving,
as we both just seemed to be overly tired the whole day. The
scriptures are right when they say that those who are early to rise
are blessed. Oh man, are they right.
Saturday was another kind of rough day. We wandered around West
riverside for a while, and didn't have much success in trying to find
people. Taught a lesson to brother Gowey about eternal marriage and
the new and everlasting covenant. Worked hard to try to find people,
but not much luck. We seem to be having a lot of times like that, but
that is what one can expect on a mission, right?
Instead of taking one hour for lunch and an hour for dinner, we
decided to just take a two hour dinner break. We got a really nice nap
in, and we also were able to make ourselves something to eat. After
dinner we walked over to brother Stoumbaugh's house- he's a less
active in the ward. We walked over o his house and started to visit
with him, when suddenly he "coincidentally" got the idea that he
needed to go visit his friend. He got up and started to get ready to
go, and as he was headed out the door he looked at us- "are you
coming?!" Sweet. Let me tell you, it is pretty sweet when all the
sudden in the middle of the lesson the person that you're teaching not
only gives you a referral, but takes you to contact them right then
and there haha. We had a sweet lesson at the house of this friend of
his. She is a Hispanic lady, and she DEFINITELY knows God. She spent
probably a good 45 minutes talking about the miracles she has seen in
her life that she knows had to come form God. It was flipping cool.
Really helped me see that God helps everyone in a way that they
understand and a way that makes sense to them.
had a pretty cool Sabbath day. We sang in church with the choir- the
choir here reminds me of back home- no one shows up until the day of
the performance, and so the choir director has to fumble to try to
help everyone understand what's going on. And even then, there was a
handful of people who didn't even show up until the choir stood up to
sing. It worked out though, like it always seems to. Besides that we
had some fun because all the teachers seemed to be gone, so m
companion and I taught two on-the-fly lessons. One about the
scriptures, and one about Christ and his sacrifices for us. Good
After that we headed home and spent the rest of the day wandering
around, trying to find more people to teach. We found the addresses of
a couple of potential investigators, which was nice- even though none
of them were interested. Se la vi. Then we talked to sue and talked
with her about the importance of this next week; the week before
baptism is always super hard and Satan works on you like no tomorrow.
We encouraged her to read and pray OFTEN and to call us if she needs
help. Can't wait for this baptism coming up on saturday!!!!!!

(It snowed a bunch.... But only stayed in the mountains. It kind of
made me laugh to see a mountain only Half covered in snow!
Snow..... On MARCH 15 what in the heck... It snowed most of the rest
of the week along with it. Montana confuses me! Seeley Lake was
covered in Snow, but only the Mountains in Clinton have snow on them.
What. The. Heck.
EVER!!!!! Hahah Good times remembered with Elder Potter. Hope to know
that man for the rest of my life!
This picture is floating around..... WHAT THE?!)

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

Isaiah 61:1
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to
bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and
the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

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