I'm Thankful For...

November 25, 2014

Hey family!

Yesterday we had Mission Leadership Council so we have preparation day today!  

[What was the highlight of your week?] I held a snake last week! That was pretty cool. We had a great time with the Ault family last night for family home evening as well. It made me miss playing Monopoly even more but I can deal. 

[What are your plans on Thanksgiving Day?] For Thanksgiving we are going to play some football of course! We have a couple families that invited us over for dinner which was really nice. I am eating Thanksgiving dinner with the Nissen family in the evening though. Holidays are such great days to do good work! There are so many families together and we can just share messages of gratitude for days!

[What are you thankful for?] I am thankful for many, many things. My prayers have actually become a topic of discussion throughout the mission. I was going to tell you about that when I got home :P So I tried to make prayers really meaningful by being thankful for things that people might take for granted. For example I am grateful for drywall, cardboard pizza boxes, and a functioning postal service. (Life would be much less great without them, right?) Anyway, it became a distraction in the mission and missionaries would start saying prayers like me "to be seen of men" President Porter feared, so he asked me to knock it off haha. 
Elder Tanner

I am most grateful for lasting friendships, for eternal families, for peace that comes from the Gospel, for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and for our Savior and a loving Father in Heaven. That is definitely not a comprehensive list.

Bishop Foister and Bro Robertson in the ward have been showing us their sweet 1820's replica dictionary which helps define words in the Book of Mormon because of Joseph Smith's language in his time and their "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" which shows original meaning in the greek and hebrew words in the original old and new testaments. They are really cool! Does anyone know what I am talking about?
Elder Sunderland

[Do you have any experiences with investigators and family history work?] I have a little experience with showing investigators family history work. One of our mission's goals is to have every convert meet with a Family History Consultant before baptism. We went to the temple with some recent converts after helping them find their own [family] names to take. A new rule is that we actually can go to the temple once a month with new converts if they have never been to do baptisms for the dead. That is an exciting twist! 

[What are some responses you've had when investigators understand temple work for the dead?] Investigators are totally stunned most of the time when they learn about baptisms for the dead. It's a pretty unique thing to Christ's kingdom, isn't it? Once they go to the temple and feel the spirit of the work it solidifies one's testimony quite well. President Porter teaches us that 80% of recent converts that go to the temple in the first 90 days after baptism, stay active. I haven't been around ever to see any of the recent converts I have taught make it to the temple while I was still there.

Elder and Sister Wilfred Anderson
President and Sister Porter
[What was this "mission tour" with the Anderson's I saw on Facebook?] Elder and Sister Anderson of the Seventy came to our mission. It was a neat experience for sure! The spirit rebuked and humbled me quite well during the leadership meeting. I had stopped asking God for forgiveness. I tried really hard to be better as a person and representative of Christ, but it's pointless if we aren't relying on the Savior for help to do just that. So I started asking for forgiveness in prayer and peace has once again been restored :)

I sure love you mom and dad! The Thanksgiving package is great! Gifts like yours and Nana and Andy's and the Woods sure warmed my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Elder Fivas

2015 Ford Fusion, baby!

November 17, 2014

Hey, so I have time to write your answers this week haha!

"It was my companion's birthday
this last Monday!"
This pass week was a good one. We had people come to church that we weren't expecting and the Partlow family did an awesome job at friendshipping our investigator family. The Partlows take care of us ;) 

We also got a new car this week! Haha 2015 Ford Fusion baby! I have been so blessed. I drive better cars here than I ever will in my life haha (It's my third brand new car.)

2015 Ford Fusion
55 miles
[What is your monthly budget?] So we get $140 dollars a month but we are given $70 at a time. I have never run out of money until last week because I bought the PVC pipe to make the blow guns for the nerf stuff. Usually gift cards or the Woods or Nana ensure that I don't run out of money ;)

I just try to live off of coupons and the dollar menu and I usually turn out fine. [How often do you have dinner appointments?] We'll have dinner appointments about 3 times a week here which is the best I have ever had. Some members are trying to rally the troops to get us more though. They do love :P I do love member dinners. It's nice to have the time with member families to get to know them and have a spiritual experience together over good food. 

Elder Tanner
[How often do you eat at home?] So I eat at home maybe... 2 or 3 meals a week? Haha I am actually kind of famous for how much I go out to eat :P I will buy pb and j material as a back up and then eat out with the good stuff :P Sister Porter told all of the Sisters in the mission to NOT eat like Elder Fivas haha I just love eating out, it's the closest thing I get to a break :)

[How many lessons do you usually have scheduled in a week?] You still have to remember that I am only 20 years old and still can't plan very well :P But for lessons actually taught, it is Standard of Excellence to have 20 overall lessons taught.
"$.50 corndogs at SONIC, BABY!"

[How many of those lessons are member referrals?] Member referrals are very exciting to get because they are very rare haha. The best missionaries are less actives. That's where I have gotten all of my member referrals. So referral lessons in a week from a member? Once every two months if you're good, and that's from semi-active members ;) Maybe I just don't know how to work with members very well?
Elder Tanner's $.50 corndog

Elder Sunderland's $.50 corndog
[What is your mission's Standard of Excellence? Does it ever change?] Our Standards of Excellence don't really change. For leadership you need 20 lessons overall, at least 4 member present lessons, 4 new investigators, and 2 at church. 

Elder Day finished his $.50 corndog
[How often do you meet with your Zone?] We see the whole Zone more than most because we are a small zone of 8 companionships. We all meet at the same building for District Meetings so we have opening exercises together. And then we have a zone fun day once a month. And either Zone Meeting or a Zone Conference with the Assistants and President Porter.

I love you too family!! These questions make it easy to email, thank you! For some reason emailing makes time go by so quickly! I don't understand how an hour can pass that quickly!

Last week all of the trees were in beautiful technicolor. Now they are covered in snow and dead haha.

Backyard Bonfire

November 10, 2014

This week was full of exchanges including one with the Assistants! SO MUCH FUN. We learned well and had a fun time. We are preparing for a nerf war today so I will send pictures first and might talk later today!
Elders Whitmer, Christensen, Sunderland
Stoddard, Beckman, Fivas

Elder Fivas and Elder Stoddard who
is an AP and is from St. Anthony, Idaho
which is about 25 miles from us.

Bonfire at a recent converts yesterday

Elders Tanner, Fivas, Day

I spent my time nerfing and playing basketball! Sorry mom and dad, you are worth my higher priorities. I love you and hope you enjoy the pictures!

Halloween Week

Halloween with Elders Fivas
Sunderland, Tanner, Day
November 3, 2014

Happy 25th Anniversary mom and dad. I am sure grateful for that day! 

Me rocking out with my Halloween bling
I wanted to give you a special thanks for your thoughtful Halloween package that you sent me. It filled my heart with the spirit when I opened it and saw the time and resources you put into making me happy. You really touched me and surprised me with extra generous gift cards. I am just really grateful.
Glow-in-the-dark glasses and mini pumpkins

And happy birthday to Logan! I said happy birthday out loud to him that morning but I am not sure if he heard me... haha Just know that I did remember!

Glow-in-the-dark glasses
[Tell us all about your new companion.] Elder Sunderland is awesome! I was his Zone Leader back when I was in Anderson. He was in Richmond the whole time I was there. Then he was my Zone Leader when I went to Western Hills. I was so excited to hear his name called with mine. I really do enjoy transfer meetings, they are so much fun! He is from Rupert, Idaho and graduated in 2012 like me. He is a total farm kid and he ran track at Idaho State University. He has been teaching me so much already and bringing me back to really solid fundamentals. 

It's getting pretty frigid cold out here
[How was making the transition from AP to Zone Leader difficult?] The transition from being an Assistant to Zone Leader was way hard. It's pretty different and I just wasn't used to it anymore. I was used to other responsibilities for some reason, with a little more perks ;) Plus I went from a ward where I took part in 6 baptisms and was close to that ward to a ward that Elder Day had already been in for 8 months or so. So I was used to a little more attention. But I am still hitting my groove.

There is a family that we are teaching here that just fed us a turkey dinner last night and it was awesome! I bet they'll be baptized real soon ;) The dad is from Mexico city and the mom is from Ohio so I feel very comfortable teaching them both haha.
Elders Tanner, Sunderland, Day

[What was the highlight of your week?] The highlight of the week was when I got my package from you and when Bishop Foister and his kids taught the family with us. They did so great and answered their questions and was inviting them over for dinner and mutual and church. It was glorious!
Elders Tanner and Sunderland

We did some community service this week for local seniors and we raked leaves like madmen! Then we hit up a Chinese buffet after haha yeah! 

I forgot to mention that Elder Day is still in this ward! He just got transferred to Hamilton 3 with Elder Tanner! haha so we have tons of fun at dinners and such still.

The lesson that I have been learning as of late from God is that of prioritization. The idea of "making it happen" has been etched in my heart but now I am learning what needs to happen above other things. It's a hard lesson but I will figure it out. 

Life here is good family! I love you tons!
Elder Fivas

p.s. At leadership council for lunch, we had a taste test of the local pizza chains surrounding the nasty Nati and it was so much fun. Little Caesar's came in third overall. haha I think that our taste buds have been morphed by frequent eating occurrences of cheap food.  

Because of God's grace, a McDonald's monopoly coupon, and a new cashier lady, I got two quarter pounders and a sundae for free. Yeah baby