Tuesday, May 3, 2016

4/26-5/02/2016: Seeing Double

"All this won’t just happen in an instant. Great marriages are built
brick by brick, day after day, over a lifetime.
And that is good news.
Because no matter how flat your relationship may be at the present,
if you keep adding pebbles of kindness, compassion, listening,
sacrifice, understanding, and selflessness, eventually a mighty
pyramid will begin to grow.
If it appears to take forever, remember: happy marriages are meant
to last forever! So “be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the
foundation of a great [marriage]. And out of small things proceedeth
that which is great.”
It may be a gradual work, but it doesn’t have to be a cheerless
one. In fact, at the risk of stating the obvious, divorce rarely
happens when the husband and wife are happy." (President Dieter F.
Uchtdorf, In Praise of Those Who Save, April 2016 General Conference)

When I read his statement- If it appears to take forever, remember:
happy marriages are meant to last forever!- it got me thinking... Well
that is definitely true about marriages, but can that also be true for
our goals in life? One of our greatest aspirations as a human race is
to strive for perfection. Perfection seems to take FOREVER to get! But
remember: perfection is meant to take forever to reach! We are not
meant to reach that goal in this life, only to strive for it. Just
like a happy marriage, the "perfect life" is something that we have to
work on, pebble by pebble, brick by brick, until we have a beautiful
and "mighty pyramid" beginning to grow!

We spent a majority of the morning Monday morning finishing up writing
the music down on the computer. It is nice to have the sheet music
down now... But it took us from like 11 to 2:30 to be able to write it
all down! we had it all down though, and it actually felt really
good to be able to look at the piano and three part harmonies we wrote
work together (and it also felt pretty good to have Arr. Braden
Wallgren at the top of the piano piece haha!) We really felt like this
piece was going to be a sweet success!
After we finished writing all that music and then sent some emails, we
all went outside to the park just by the stake center, and we spent
like 2.5 hours there doing different things around the park. Some of
us played soccer, others flew some kites, some played wiffleball, and
some even just sat around and enjoyed being out in the sun! Elder
Hansen and I played soccer (or... Futbol I suppose for some people)
for the whole time, and we really found out just how out of shape we
are! Haha it was so hard because even though we were only playing half
field, just running from one goal to the other made me so flippin
tired! I need to start exercising more....

ANYWAY after that we went to practice our song a little bit with
Sister Hodgson and Elder Hatton so we could get some sort of feel for
what it should sound like. While we were practicing, we got a call
from Sister Heilison inviting us over to do some service and then get
some dinner! "I know you're already in your P-day clothes, so you
might as well just hurry on over to help and then get some food!" We
went over there, and she said that she wanted to feed us first. I know
I've been on a mission for a while now because I felt SUPER weird to
be eating at a member's house in a t-shirt and shorts. We got finished
eating and got ready to work, when Sister and Brother Heilison both
said that they realized that they really didn't need any help at all
with stuff... And that we were good to leave. So we really just got
invited over for a last minute dinner... To eat in our preparation day
clothes... Oh great. Hah it actually was kind of relaxing oddly, and I
think the kids also enjoyed it because one of their daughters started
screaming that she didn't know who we were because we weren't wearing
ties haha. Little ones make me laugh.
The only other thing we really did was go and teach our normal Monday
night lesson to Brother Gowey. Talking with him about the priesthood a
lot right now; preparing him to take further steps in the gospel! He
is learning at a very slow rate right now, but slow is better than not
at all, right?
Tuesday we gave a lot of service at Sue's finally finishing cleaning
out those bins from her back room and working to get it all organized
and whatnot. It felt super good to finally be able to walk through
that back room. We got rid of all the stuff in the first round that
Sue wanted to get rid of, and then even started on round two! She says
that if she goes through all the stuff multiple times, she will be
able to get rid of more stuff, taking it all to good will. We are
hoping so, because at the rate we are working that room is still going
to be full when I am 35! We are getting a lot done, but there is A LOT
more to do!
Sue decided that she wanted to feed us for helping her, so she put a
pork roast in the slow cooker with like 3 different kinds of BBQ sauce
to make some tender meat for pulled pork sandwiches! The downside? She
didn't know how to pull the pork! She asked the other member that was
there if she knew, but she didn't. She asked us if we knew how, and I
jokingly looked at Elder Hansen, knowing that he doesn't even know
about cooking enough to make Mac n' cheese! I joked around with him a
little, suggesting that he really did know how and was just pretending
to not know how to cook. After that got old I let Sue know that I
really did know how to pull the meat, so I went into the back and
grabbed a couple of forks and began pull the meat apart. It hadn't
cooked quite as long as it needed to in order to be tender enough to
just fall apart, so it was a little more work than I was used to.
However, I was able to get it all mostly shredded, and we had some
pretty bomb sandwiches. Great Value honey BBQ sauce and famous Dave's
rich and sassy sauce apparently work really well together haha!
We spent the rest of the day just kind of walking around West
Riverside. Knocked on some doors, tried some potentials and less
actives, but not a ton of work. Just spent some time wearin out our
"Batmobiles" (Brother Gowey said that when he was a kid they used to
call their dress shoes their batmobiles. So he says that when we walk
around we are just riding our Batmobiles!).
We had an interesting district meeting today. Elder Bozue and planned
some discussions and stuff, but we didn't get to any of them. We just
spent a bunch of time talking about our areas and getting some help
for those people that we need help with. It was good, but also a lot
different than I am used to. I was able to give some advice that
people said helped, but I don't really know where it came from haha.
The spirit works through me I guess! We went to Taco Sano as a zone
after district meeting, the one place that we went after helping at
that really bad apartment for the first time. Elders Hatton, McMiller,
Hansen, and I were the only ones who had been there before, so we had
to really let everyone know how stuff was gonna go down. Everyone
loved it, and I think we even gave some people a new favorite place to
eat in Missoula! I tried the spinach wrap with the BBQ brisket and
then a few different types of salsa. It was super good!
We visited an investigator after a little bit of music practice next-
Steve. He has the mindset that "every person has right in their
religion, but I choose the right of all the religions!" And has come
up with his own pidgin religion (ha! I rhymed) that just kind of takes
whatever he likes from all the different religions he has seen. So we
had kind of come to a decision that it was timed to drop Steve. When
we went into the lesson, we planned on talking with him about why we
probably wouldn't be coming back, but when we got in there I was
prompted big time to read the Book of Mormon with him. So I brought it
up before my companion could start the "we're dropping you" speech. I
asked him if we could read, and he said yes! My companion was prompted
that Mosiah 4 would be a good chapter for Steve, about charity and
caring for the less fortunate. The miracle? Steve absolutely loved the
chapter, and he even started to ask us some questions about the
priesthood and other stuff! He seems to be slowly be accepting the
gospel, and the invitation that our Savior is handing to him through
us! It was sweet! When Elder Hansen was writing to the zone message
board that we post miracles to, he put #don'tleavesteve at the end of
it. It made a lot of the missionaries in the zone laugh, giving them a
good reason to. Elder Hansen has some funny stuff that he comes up
with. The Sisters all love listening to him, and all the Elders think
it's hilarious to see that he doesn't realize that the Sisters are
kind of laughing at him... Oh well I've told it to him and he says
even though he doesn't see it he's okay with it. Se la vi!
We also visited with the Goerge's later that day. We are reading the
BOM with them, and they are getting to the Isaiah chapters in 2
Nephi... We are crossing our fingers that they will just kinda push
through it. We are gonna try to help them get through what's
happening, but they also have to keep goin on their own!
We got a text from the Sister Training Leaders during studies for some
service help. We thought it would be nice to go with the rest of the
zone to do some service, so we typed the address into the GPS and
headed out....
Then we got there
It was THE apartment that we had cleaned with Brother Yule...
Hahaha we are so scared for life from that apartment
However, this time there was no hauling of grossness to the dump. This
time, all we were doing was tearing staples out of the floor, tearing
floorboards off, and also door frames. I also got to instal a few
doorknobs, because apparently I was really the only one Brother Yule
could trust out of all the Sisters and Elders there to actually put
the knobs in the right way. (I don't know if it's because I'm like the
only one that was there that he really knew, or maybe he was just
telling me that, but either way it was sweet) So it actually felt nice
to be wrecking the place instead of cleaning it for once. The other
members that were there also said it was super cool to see like 12
missionaries all showing up to one place to help clean an apartment
We practiced a little bit more of our music for a little bit after
service, during which I pulled about 2 dozen staples out of my shoes,
and then another dozen out of elder Hansen's haha.
We had a lesson with Sue today- we talked about space and how it
relates to the Book of Mormon haha. It was an interesting lesson to
sat the least! It started because when we walked in she was watching a
tv show about space and something about lost NASA files... I dunno
what it was all I know is that somehow we related it to the Book of
Mormon and started talking about that with here instead of what was on
TV. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and apparently so do his
servants haha
We had dinner with the Starks that night, but as we were on our way we
came to a realization- Elder Hansen didn't have a name tag.. Oh shoot.
He left it at the apartment because we had to change super fast! Well,
luckily I had magnet tag on my suit coat, as well as my clip tag on my
shirt. So I took my clip tag off and gave it to my companion, because
we didn't have any time to be able to wander back home to get his own
name back. Everything was going fine until just before we started
dinner- he looked Elder Hansen dead in the face and said "Elder
Walgreen, will you give us a blessing on the food?" He looked at him
in confusion when he took a moment to respond. And then later while we
were giving them a short message, Elder Hansen testified of something
I had said by saying, "Well when Elder Wallgren Said..." And the look
of confusion on Brother Stark's face was priceless. He just looked so
lost! Haha it was pretty funny, and I don't know if they even found
out that we had the same name from that day, or maybe they just passed
it off as an age thing on their part.. All I know is it cracked me up!

If you thought one of me was bad... How about two?!
We spent the rest of the night Tracting out some places in Clinton,
and then we went to the church to practice a bit of our parts and
hopefully get them down for Saturday. We got tired of hearing the same
thing over and over again so we took a break for a few minutes and
somehow began writing theme songs for everyone in the zone. We were
only able to get like three done, but it was kinda fun to play around
and write them out haha.
We spent a good part of the morning situating our Daily Vehicle Report
to be able to send into Billings- the form we fill our all our miles
on. It was that time of the month, and it always takes longer than I
expect to check all our math and to make it look pretty haha. So we
got that all situated and then we went out to brother Gowey's house
only to see him not home. We tracted out around his house, but because
it was like 2:30pm on a Friday, no one was home.
We went out to rock creek to try to contact a referral that one of the
Sister missionaries gave to us after we finished in Clinton.

Rock creek is kinda pretty....

 Rock Creek is one of those places where all the houses are like 400 miles
apart, and if you miss the house you're looking for you don't even
know until like 3 houses later haha. So we wandered around out there
for a good hour and a half or so looking for this guy, and when we
found his house, either no one was home or no one came to the door. Oh
well. Now that we know where it is, we can get out there a little more
often. Rock Creek is right before Beavertail and just before Clinton,
so we decided that we wanted to go out to Beavertail to visit the
Egberts and family. We started at Dusty and Clifford's house, visited
with them for a while, and then we found out that Abby and Destiny
were home alone, so even though we were physically capable of visiting
them... We probably shouldn't. So we ended up just spending the rest
of the night at their home, talking with them about different gospel
topics, and we even sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" for Dusty's mom! It
was super cool and she seems to REALLY like it. She talked with Elder
Hansen for a good 30-40 minutes about religion and how it relates to
life. I would have join in the conversation, but I had a few little
young distractions running around and climbing on me so even though I
tried, I had kinda left Elder Hansen laying in the dust. I'm so sorry
Elder. I'm not gonna lie, I was having a little bit of fun playing
with a little 2 year old crazy girl and her 4 year old brother, but
man they are crazy! I went home that night almost as tired as I was
after 2 hours of soccer!!!
When we got home that night both Elder Hansen and I had the munchies,
but there was nothing to eat that we didn't have to make. And then I
remembered- Elder Hansen said he didn't know how to make macaroni and
cheese. Therefore, I felt the obligation to teach him! Haha so we made
two boxes of the stuff- I made one and Elder Hansen made one. I worked
with him step by step to show him what needed to be done. I hope he
retains at least a little bit of when I tried to teach him, I guess
we'll find out later when he tried to make Mac n' cheese for is
companion one day!
We sang at the relief society conference on Saturday. It went pretty
well, I think. Even though none of the three of us could hear the
piano and Sister Hodgson at the piano couldn't really hear us,
everyone said that we sounded great together. It felt kinda weird when
someone asked her who wrote the piano accompaniment and she pointed to
me....... I just arranged it okay! It was simple chords to start and
then I made something from that with help from Elder Hansen telling me
if it sounded good or not!
We got voluntold to be models for a hair cutting class that one of the
ladies was giving, and so we spent a majority of the morning at the
women's conference waiting for our turn and watching the class.
(Majority of the morning... We were there until like 2). We didn't get
to chance to get our hair cut, but Elder Hansen did get the chance to
cut another Elder's hair. It was super entertaining mostly because all
of the Sister missionaries in the zone were there, and many of them
took dozens of pictures. They all seemed to really enjoy it, and Elder
Hatton's companion and I (Elder Hatton was the one getting his hair
cut) were having a pretty good time in the corner watching it happen.
Fun times.... Fun times.
We also helped out with the lunch that they were having, setting up
and taking down, moving stuff around to wherever Sister Parke told us
to put them! Then after we also took down, then found out some of the
tables needed to stay for a baptism, so we set back up again! Haha it
was cool, and was actually pretty hard to do. I was working up a
pretty good sweat by the end of it!
After that we ran over to Sue's house to mow her lawn. Elder Hansen
had done that WAY more than I ever had, so I left him to work on that
while I tried to figure out what went wrong with the riding lawn
mower. I had to push that thing all over the place to get it to where
it wouldn't be in Elder Hansen's way while he moved the push mower
across the yard. Intelligent me- I forgot to take the thing out of
park when I first tried to move it, so it was the hardest thing in the
world! It wouldn't budge! Then I realized that it was in park.... I
felt SO DUMB! I put the thing in neutral, and it was still super rough
to push.... It didn't help I was pushing it uphill I guess. But it
felt like I was back on the track, trying to push the weights across
the field. 350 lbs of metal and wires.... No thank you!
We went and talked with Brother Gowey after that about priesthood
organization using a SUPER old chart that we had that still included
stake 70s. It worked for what he needed it for, and now he has a
visual representation of the priesthood in the church, all the way
from deacons to bishops to the prophet! We hope it'll help him start
to understand what the priesthood is a little bit better!
We headed out to Drummond after that, we planned to spend the weekend
there. We ate at the local burger place- Parkers- and the burgers
there are great! The ones we got are about the size Of my head (which
for all of you who know me is no small feat) with enough meat on it to
feed an African village! I'm so dumb....
Going to church in Drummond is always interesting... All the members
in Drummond are active enough for it to be a ward, but there isn't
enough of them for it to be a ward haha. Fast and testimony meetings
are also pretty cool, because everyone that bears their testimony has
basically already decided they were going to before they get to
church. We had some sweet lessons about "choice" kind of themed
throughout the three hours, which was pretty cool because it
definitely wasn't planned!
We had a couple cool lessons in Drummond, one with the Fellons in
which Elder Hansen's older brother (who was responsible for most of
the teaching for the Fellons 8 years ago) wrote a letter to them that
Elder Hansen got to read. It talked a lot about Christ and their
growth, and it was super cool to see that even the missionary from 8
years ago still feels love for those whom he taught! We then taught a
lesson about the law of chastity to Dan at the Parke's home. Even
though teaching the lesson is weird, the spirit was super strong in
their home and we were able to really see that the spirit was teaching
I also learned something myself while at the lesson with Dan.
Something about the spirit we carry with us causes people to trust us
like... A LOT. They seem to like to confide in us stuff that is going
on or stuff that has happened in their lives. Dan told us a bunch of
super personal stories and he even preceded with- "I don't know why
I'm telling this to you, but I feel like I should so I will" and it
just made me realize that no
other 19 year old really could have this kind of trust with any sort
of older guys. The spirit that we carry with us as the Lord's servants
is something special, something that I'm probably never going to have
again in my life. I'll have a lot of things similar to it, but I don't
think it's ever going to be the same in my life!
After that lesson we went out to the Martins for dinner. They live out
on a ranch in the middle of nowhere between Drummond and Philipsburg,
just outside of a little town called Hall. We tried to throw their
address into the GPS, but because they live in the middle of the
field, their address on the map is totally different than their
address in real life. When we put their address into the GPS, it took
us 8 miles down som Po-dunk road almost 7 miles past their house. We
got to where the GPS said was their house, and it was the middle of a
field. Not even a cow in sight! We called them and they said that we
had gone WAY too far, so we turned around and made out way back to
their house. These Montana ranches are starting to drive me a little
After that we went back to Clinton and we visited the Mitchells.
Teaching in their home is kind of difficult, because every time I have
gone over there he is playing on the Xbox, she is on some sort of rap
sight about her music, and their kids are just running around all
crazy! The kids really like having us over, so we have been trying to
go over there to help them figure stuff out. Their parents are okay
with it, so we keep doing it! It is kind of sad though, because their
7 year old daughter can't read, and she doesn't know her colors. We
think that maybe they just can't afford to get their kids to school,
so they haven't yet. They have one older daughter just younger than us
that is in middle school, but I think she also works her own way to
get to school. Being on a mission had helped me really see that even
though it may seem at times that the trials I am going through are
rough, there seems to always be someone who I can help, someone who is
going through a worse time than I am.

Elder Braden R Wallgren

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

Philippians 2:12-13 

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my 
presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation 
with fear and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Look at the beautiful flowers grow! This picture would be great...
those weren't dandelions

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