Tuesday, May 3, 2016

4/11-4/17/2016: I thought my apartment was dirty....

"We often try to solve guilt problems by telling one another that they
don’t matter. But somehow, deep inside, we don’t believe one another.
Nor do we believe ourselves if we say it. We know better. They do
Our transgressions are all added to our account, and one day if
it is not properly settled, each of us, like Belshazzar of Babylon,
will be weighed in the balance and found wanting.
There is a Redeemer, a Mediator, who stands both willing and able
to appease the demands of justice and extend mercy to those who are
penitent, for “He offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the
ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite
spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” (2
Ne. 2:7.)
Already He has accomplished the redemption of all mankind from
mortal death; resurrection is extended to all without condition.
He also makes possible redemption from the second death, which is
the spiritual death, which is separation from the presence of our
Heavenly Father. This redemption can come only to those who are clean,
for no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God.
If justice decrees that we are not eligible because of our
transgression, mercy provides a probation, a penitence, a preparation
to enter in." (Boyd K. Packer, The Mediator, April 1977 General

Earlier in this talk, President (then elder) Packer give his famous
parable of the debtor, the creditor, and the mediator. He talks about
how Christ is our Mediator; he pays off the debt that we have with our
Heavenly Father of any sins we may have committed. Heavenly Father
wants justice; we want mercy. Both cannot be fill filled, unless there
is a mediator. Christ is our mediator. He paid our spiritual debt, and
extends mercy towards us. His terms aren't easy, and they can't lazily
be fulfilled. We must work to meet the terms of our mediator, and as
we do so we show appreciation for the mercy that we have been
Use the atonement. Get rid of those guilty feelings you may have.
Because of Christ we can live again, both physically and spiritually.
Settle that account that you have with your savior. He wants you to be
with him again.

We hiked up the Missoula M again today, with the "new" zone. We only
had 3 elders and a sister leave at transfers, so the zone is mostly
the same. It feels weird though because now there is only like 6 of us
that still in the zone that have been here longer than 2 transfers.
I'm getting to become an experienced "zoo zone" missionary I guess
haha. But we had a fun time- hiked to the top (wasn't any easier than
last time... Only worse) and told stories from home for a while; zone
bonding, I guess. We ate a lunch that the zone leaders at prepared for
all of us, and then we went back down to go play some pod ball. I got
somehow pushed into the front, and then even worse I got pushed into
running down the mountain. It was actually quite a fun run, but I
could tell that my knees did not like it... Oh well you live and you
learn, right?
Like I said, after everyone had gotten down from the mountain we went
to the stake center and we played podball for the first time in like 7
weeks haha. I was cool, but I can sort of see why the zone leaders
didn't want us to play it. It does get super comets time super fast,
and the aggression levels in that game are intense. I guess that's
what happens when you play a game that involves a bunch of young
adults throwing things at each other. It was fun, and it felt good to
do a "mission tradition" again (or at least that's what one of the
sisters called it haha).
After that we went shopping, and then we went over to brother Gowey's
to have a short lesson with him. We have jokingly been talking with
him for the past little while that we are trying to find him a wife,
and so we spent a good hour teaching the principle of eternal marriage
and eternal families, and then related it to how we could find a him a
new eternal companion. We think brother Gowey enjoys our dumb humor,
or at least we hope he does!
We started off today with a cool lesson at Bruce Fuge's house. We
hadn't seen him in forever, but we got a prompting to try him and so
we walked down the street to his house. He was there! (For the first
time in like 2 transfers) we went in and started talking with him
about the Book of Mormon and the restoration and stuff, and he started
to tell us all of his "theories" about the bible and what God wants us
to be doing in this life. He didn't quite get it when we tried to
explain it to him, but every last one of the ideas he talked about are
elementary versions of our doctrine!!!!! We were so flippin excited
that I think we overhyped and didn't even explain to him very well
that we believed that same thing. It was super sweet!
Then God gave us another miracle- we (a few weeks ago) had
accidentally bumped into a garbage dumpster thing, and so for the last
like 8 weeks we have had a big blue paint rub-off spot on the back of
out car. With no avail, my companion and I have been trying to get it
off; and then God gave us this miracle: we got a call from a less
active member, who works at a body shop in Missoula! He said he had
heard that we needed some help, and so he told us to come by and he
would help us with no charge!!! We drove out to Missoula, and then he
took one look at it, grabbed some sort of liquid paste thing and a rag
and he was able to wipe the blue paint off like it was a freakin white
board! It was super cool, but kind of frustrating to watch. He was
able to get it off so easily, even though after 7 weeks we couldn't
figure it out. Haha well all I could do was laugh and move on so
things worked out, I suppose.
Later that night, as we were walking from west riverside to east
Missoula (about 5 miles) we were stopped in our tracks by yet a little
small miracle form the lord- the bus that travels back and forth
stopped on the side of the highway (which its not supposed to do) and
asked if he could drive us. When we agreed, because out legs hurt like
crazy form yesterday, he said he didn't know why he a stopped, but a
though popped in his head that he needed to stop and pick us up. If
there is nothing else I am learning this week, it is that the lord
watches out for his missionaries. He wants us to be successful.
Because we got to east Missoula so much earlier than we had planned,
we were able to get in 2 lessons and a little bit of Tracting instead
of just the 1 lesson we had planned on having that night. The lord
blessed us with ease in the trip, and with the opportunity to be able
to teach more people!! We got to help a less active sister fix a bike
for her granddaughter, and we got to talk with another less active
lady about how secular history relates to the bible and how it
actually supports the bible as a we know it today!
As we were walking home, somehow our conversation turned from a free
gross recliner we saw on the side of the road to me suddenly giving
dating advice to elder Hansen. I didn't even know I knew how to date,
but apparently I do. Either that or i was being lead by the spirit,
because there was some stuff that I said that I didn't even know I
knew. I hope I wan't making it all up, because what I was saying was
sound enough haha. It was just an interesting conversation for two
missionaries to be having, talking about things we aren't even
supposed to worry about until after our mission.
We did weekly planning today this week, as we have s revive project
planned to do for most of the day tomorrow. We went down to the church
to help us stay a little more focused; it worked a little but but not
as much as we would have hoped. We just chugged along because we knew
that planning was a necessity, no matter how much neither of us wanted
to go through it. It helps, we know, so we try.
After planning we head a sweet lesson with Steve, who neither my
companion or I thought was really interested in the restored gospel.
However, when we started talking about the restoration (for like the
4th time with him) he started to realize a little bit more how this
might actually be something worth looking into. He asked us some
questions, and we were able to use the Book of Mormon and pamphlets to
be able to address his concerns. We think he is really starting to get
how the gospel we proclaim might be the ONLY truth on the earth today,
and that he needs the priesthood in his life. Progression? Yes.
Quickly? No. Hahah but we are happy to help him slowly realize the
gospel is truth!
After that we went and had our daily little lunch nap, but both elder
Hansen and I forget to set alarms, so we WAY overslept; instead of
taking a quick 40 minute nap, we slept for almost 2.5 hours!
Missionary work is super tiring, and sometimes I forget that I just
kills me! So because of this oversleeping, we had to quickly rush to
get out of the apartment so that we could make it to the Bishop's
house for dinner. We were able to make it in time, and sister Nystrom
made some of the best caramel I've ever had!! (It even rivals
grandmas!) And so we proceeded to glut ourselves on that poor slab of
candy (she said help yourself.... Big mistake!) And it was good, but
it made us kind of slow after dinner and made the motivation levels
drop super low haha. We tried a bunch of people after that with no
avail, but we kept trying until like 8:50 when we had to get back to
the apartment.
We gave a huge service project today, cleaning the grossest apartment
I've ever seen in my entire life. A member of our ward was the
co-owner of the property, and they just had to kick out a small family
for not taking care of the place. The apartment itself is one of the
nicest apartments I've seen- five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big
kitchen, ands fairly good sized living room area. However, these
people had not taken care of it. When I walked in first, there was
literally trash almost halfway up my shins covering most if not all of
the floor. Through the whole excursion of cleaning we found 9 mice (2
alive) and then the cat found 5 more. The members were so worried
about disease that we had to wear CDC professional-grade dust masks
just to keep us form getting some form of lung thing that comes from
dead mice and dust.
After we picked up most of the trash, the member wanted to sanitize
the carpets, walls, and furniture before we started moving it
anywhere, so he gave me this backpack thing full of a mystery
sanitation liquid. (See picture below) So I walked around for a good
hour inside that gross, haunted apartment, by myself, for almost an
hour. My companion was just outside working on the outside of the
house, so I was still in sight and sound, but I was left alone to my
thoughts, the smell, and the feel of the soaked (I don't want to know
what with) carpets under my shoes.
After that we had to move all the furniture out to a big dump trailer,
and that we had to pull all the carpets up and throw those out, then
clean the floors underneath the carpets. We though we were done after
that! (It had been like 3.5 hours, mind you. We had the Missoula 4th
ward elders come help us, and they left, and at this point the
Missoula 2nd ward elders had joined us to help) But alas, we were not.
After the initial cleaning, it was time for us "agile young folk" to
crawl into the crawl spaces under the roof and pull stuff out of
there. Tube TVs, DOZENS of mattresses, magazines from the late 80's,
boxes labeled "Adult Only" (of which I was happy we're at least mostly
sealed with packing tape) and just MOUNDS of trash. We spent another
good 3 hours emptying that stuff out, and then, with two trailers and
two trucks full of trash, we headed to the landfill. Our before/after
weight difference? 3.5 THOUSAND pounds of trash. THOUSAND. The member
was super happy the charged by the yard, not by weight. The lord
definitely taught me a lesson- CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR CRAP. I never want
to see anything like that again... Ever in my entire life.
On the upside, as payment for our work the member took us to this
super good Mexican place called Taco Sano. It's basically subway, but
with tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. But the stuff there is SO GOOD!
I had a double-stuffed burrito on a spinach tortilla, with BBQ roasted
brisket, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, a fruit salsa, and then with some
brown rice and pinto beans on it. It was literally the biggest burrito
I have ever seen in my life (yes, even bigger than any burrito I've
seen at Chipotle) and it was friggin amazing! Then we also got some
churros that they made with fresh after we ordered them, so those also
tasted good. It honestly made the whole cleaning thing worth the
grossness haha.
After that we had to take care of some stuff at the apartment, and
then we went out and did other missionary-type things for a while. We
had another fun lesson with brother Gowey were he made predictions as
to what we were going to do for a career when we get older. Brother
Gowey thinks I should be a doctor... Oh boy...
We had zone "council" today. It was basically zone training, but the
zone leaders were trying hard to make it more of a discussion based
thing rather than a training. I thought the zone trainings were fine,
but I see the idea behind the concept so I just went with it. We did
this really cool activity about burying our weapons of war where we
got to write all of the weapons that are keeping us from being
obedient or are keeping us from doing missionary work on little
card-stock swords and then the zone leaders when are buried them in
the park. Kool ideas, and it really made me think what I had to do to
be a better missionary. We also had a musical number by elders Hatton,
Hansen, and Hoschouer, with sister hodgson at the piano. They have e
little group name I guess (H^4?) and they sounded pretty good, so I
yet again just kinda rolled with it haha.
After that we went out to the George's and did a little bit of service
for them. We just picked up some small little pine cones, mowed their
lawn a little bit, and then we gave sister George a blessing so she
could get over a sickness she had been with for like 2 months. It was
cool to be able to give a blessing again, as I haven't really given
one in a while now. It was also nice to be able to help them again, as
it always feels good to be in the service of our fellow men. Lots of
service this week!
We got a call just after dinner from brother Stoumbaugh, and he
surprised us with a curveball- "Elders, I've had something nagging my
mind for a while now. It's been like a month, so I think the man
upstairs is trying to tell me something. Stop by when you can, and
bring a tithing envelope." My jaw hit the ground. This guy has been to
church once in the past 10 years. He smokes like a train, and has
almost no desire to stop. WE WERE SO EXCITED!!!! We ran from our house
to his, and after talking with him for a while we found out that the
spirit has just kind of been nagging on him to start paying tithing
again. He seemed super happy to be able to get the envelope all filled
out. He gave the envelope back to us and said that because he had to
work he wouldn't make it to church, but that he wanted us to give it
to bishop so that it would be paid. We as so happy that he is taking
steps to get back to church, top making the gospel a part of is life
We had a zone breakfast at president Lindsay's house this morning. He
is a super cool guy, 2nd councilor in the Stake Presidency. He always
talks a lot about working in the temple, and how we all should be
trying to do it when we get home from our missions. I went to him
afterwards and told him how I had already worked in the temple, and
how I definitely planned on doing it again. Those 3 or so months have
probably been one of the best experiences I've had in my life so far.
I was so lucky to be able to have had that opportunity to do what I
did, and I definitely plan on doing it again!!!!
We found out at the breakfast that we had two sisters that were
leaving- sister Crossland and sister Nielson. The St. Ignatious area
was being morphed into the Ronan area, so now Elder Bozue and Elder
Ross (who got doubled into Ronan at transfers) have two areas. Sister
Nielson was in Missoula 1st ward, and she is getting transferred to
Billings. Sister Holm from St. Ignatious is getting transferred to M1,
and sister Crossland is getting transferred to Wyoming. So now the
Missoula zone is down to 18 missionaries instead of 20. We now have 10
sisters and 8 elders (we are slowly catching up!!!) We were all super
sad to see them go, but also we all knew that we would see them again
some day. So I think they left right after the breakfast to get to
billings, and now they're gone!
After the breakfast we went over to Sue's to help her move some heavy
groceries around. Water bottles, weed killer, grass feed, and all
sorts of other heavy stuff that she just count move on her own, and
neither could Winnie. So we went over there for a good 15 or so
minutes and we just kinda moved stuff around. It was good to be able
to help her, she seemed to really appreciate it.
We then had to go home and pack for a bi-monthly trip to Drummond. We
packed our bags for a day trip and then we headed out to Drummond. Had
a good day out there; a lesson with a few investigators, a really good
lesson with Dan Wells in a member's home, and we were able to walk
around and be seen a bunch in town. So all in all, it was a good day.
Stayed with the Laceys, and as per usual when we stay with them we
were able to play on the really nice piano that they have.
In church today, we had a really REALLY good gospel principles lesson.
They have a recently returned missionary reaching the class, so she
knows just how to teach it to meet the needs of those who are in the
class. We talked about our heavenly family, and it think it was good
for the less actives and the few investigators we had at church. And
then after that Dan asked a question to Brother Pippo and Brother
Martin, and then the two of them acted like a missionary companionship
and for the next hour, instead of going to our third hour classes, the
five of us stood in the gym and talked, answering all of Dan's
questions. It was really nice that we had some members teaching him
about the Holy Ghost instead of just us, and it felt good to be able
to just kind of sit and agree with what the members were saying haha.
After that we had a member give us a referral and wanted to go contact
him with us, so we went into town and tried to contact him, but with
no avail. It was good though, because we know where he lives, and we
know that he is interested, so now we can try him every time we come
to town.
We left town soon after that, and started to head back home. We
stopped in beavertail on our way back, and visited with the Egbert
family for a while. We had dinner with the Tarvers, who have a RM son
and another son who goes to Spain on his mission in July. It was cool
to talk with them about missionary work, and about how even when you
aren't serving a two year mission you can still be doing missionary
work with your friends.
We got a call just after that from sister Parke in Drummond, the stake
relief society president. She told us that there was a relief society
dinner coming up soon, and that she wanted us to do a musical number
at the dinner. She heard the number that Elder Hatton, Elder Hansen,
and I did at the zone conference thingy and she apparently loved it,
so she wanted us to prepare something for the relief society to hear.
So elder Hansen and I went to the church and tried to figure something
out so that tomorrow we could talk with Elder Hatton and actually have
something to do. Our talents are really being used, and I don't know
about the other elders, but I sure am loving it!

Elder Braden R Wallgren

Montana Billings Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Alma 37:6
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, 
that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means 
in many instances doth confound the wise.

(We took a zone picture when we were at the top of the M. You can see
everyone but elder Hansen and my new zoneleader elder Hoschouer (as
well as sister cox and sister Nielson, who weren't there)

Cleaning that dumb apartment... I got the fun job of spraying it down
before anyone went in.... BLECK

We saw this sign just outside of brother Stoumbaugh's house, and it
made me laugh (for my old grannies and grand-pappaies)  )

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