Timpanogos Temple

Timpanogos Temple

Monday, July 16, 2018

Backs Against The Wall

Well, I’ve only got a few of these left. It’s been driving me crazy thinking about it, and the conflict in being really excited to finish but dreading it at the same time just outright sucks. So, I’ll keep this short so that I can get back to living in denial.

Donovan got baptized Thursday night, it was a sweet experience. I know that he’ll be the catalyst for getting his whole family to the temple. It’s still a ways out, but he’s a special kid and if anyone can do it he can. Elder Johnson and I gave talks on Sunday about miracles. They’re all around us and happen daily, we’ve just got to have the faith to see them. We’ve finally been able to get in contact and start meeting with some of our investigators. They’ve been some of the hardest people I’ve taught up to this point, but they were wonderful lessons and the spirit was present. I know they know it’s true, it’s only a matter of time before they accept. Really, it’s only a matter of time before we all have to make that choice. President Benson once said “Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand”. Ask yourself, are you ready to make that stand? I hope I am. I’m not 100% sure though, either because I’m trying to be realistic or because I’m just paranoid, but I’m doing everything I can so that when the day comes and I’m given my ultimate test of faith I’ll be able to pass with flying colors. It’s my hope and prayers that you all are doing the same. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Orchard

P.S. For those of you in or near Nebraska, you all are welcome to come to the airport for my grand entrance. I’ll include some of the finer details next week, but it’ll be probably sometime in the afternoon on Thursday, August 2nd. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there!

Donovan got dipped!

Elder ‘Aisea over here about to drop the hottest album of 2018.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Greatest Country on Earth

God Bless America.

I was tempted to leave it at that, because its pure doctrine. But I’m sure some people actually like hearing about my week so I’ll write some more. In general, it was really long and really hot. Tuesday was decent, we had a few lessons at night. Wednesday was a glorious day. It was hot, no one was home, and we had to sit in suits in a hot chapel for a few hours for a training meeting, but that couldn’t take away from the blessing of celebrating freedom. After we got home Elder Johnson and I watched a family across the street light off fireworks for about half an hour, and then we stayed a bit and watched some of the other ones across the valley. We spent Thursday morning cleaning our apartment for inspections, and we had a few lessons that night as well. On Friday, we started the morning with weekly planning. After lunch is when the real fun started. It was one of the hottest, sunniest days of the year so far, and we figured it would be a great idea to spend the afternoon leveling dirt in the backyard of a recent convert. Don’t worry, I only got sunburned a lot. The exhaustion from that carried over into Saturday and Sunday, both of which were suuuper long. But it was a great week, and I’m constantly learning new things!

I once again had the opportunity to finish the Book of Mormon this last week. I think that was probably the fastest I’d read it. I finished it in about 5 weeks, or 45 days, give or take. I thought about trying to power through it one more time before I finish up, but I need to catch up on the Doctrine and Covenants so it probably won’t happen. Once I finish the Doctrine and Covenants, I’ll be able to say I’ve read the entire standard works. Elder Holland said something along the lines that we as a body of saints are grateful for all of God’s words, both received in the past and that we will receive in the future. I add my own witness that all of God’s word is valuable to us. There are lessons that we can learn from every book of scripture. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It is the word of God and has the power to change our lives for the better. I am looking forward to when we are able to receive more scripture as well.

Once again, God bless America, the land that I love. Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

I almost forgot! I’m trying to figure out some scripture verses that I can “ponderize” over the last stretch of my mission, I want to try and memorize a scripture a day until I head home, and I need your help. If y’all could reply with your favorite verse or passage of scripture along with a reference that would be amazing. Thank you all so much in advance!

Elder Orchard
I’m in the business of making my own clothes now. Hit me up if you wanna order something.

Dirt + sweat + wind + socks = some interesting results.

According to our car, it was really really hot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

One Month!

What a fine summer day here in the Salt Lake South Mission. Except it’s super hot, so it’s not really that fine. It’s okay though, it helps build character. It’s been a bit of a rough week, but I’ve learned a lot and I’m constantly being humbled by the Holy Ghost. I guess there are still a few lessons I need to learn before I kick the bucket.

This last week was kind of busy and eventful. At some points it felt like we had five places to be at once, while at other times during the week it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to find something to do if we were given specific instructions. It was a rough one for teaching, everyone was either on their seventh vacation of the year, working three different jobs, or trying to recover from the swine flu. In other words, lots of cancelations. We did have a long zone conference on Thursday and were in church  from 8:30 to 4:00 on Sunday. Those were DEFINITELY the highlights of the week, I TOTALLY love meetings. If you haven’t picked up on the sarcasm, I’ll just sum it up by saying that most of the meetings, with the exception of the three sacraments we went to, could’ve been better summarized in an email. Haha nah, I’m kidding, they were all good and I learned a ton!

I’ve slowed down a lot in the Book of Mormon these last few weeks. I finally finished the Book of Ether, which took me way longer than it should’ve. One interesting theme of the middle chapters of Ether are the actions of the Kings and their alternating between righteous and wicked. I think there’s a lot we can take and learn from them that applies to our lives, which really strengthens my testimony that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. Two examples in particular are their polarity from a parents choices and the examples they are to others. The first one, the polarity, comes from the fact that one king might’ve been super wicked and evil, and the next in line (usually his son), might’ve been a paragon of righteousness. It doesn’t matter what our situation or upbringing is, it is our choice whether we follow our Savior’s example, live the gospel, and keep the commandments. I’ve heard lots of stories of people whose parents have shunned the gospel and even been antagonistic towards the church, but have chosen for themselves to start on and stay on the covenant path. A few of those I’ve actually met, two in particular, are still serving in the Utah Orem Mission. The second one, the example they lead to others, isn’t seen on so large a scale in our own lives but is important to remember. Often times throughout the Book of Ether, when the king was righteous the people were too, and vice versa. Our example affects others more than we know, even when we can’t see it.

Well, I am running out of time and didn’t realize it was so close to 6:00. A few other things we’ve done this week: I got to go to the Salt Lake City temple and hike the Y at BYU as part of departure activities; we moved apartments; we almost ran out of gas because the Orem Mission took our gas card and the Salt Lake South Mission hadn’t given us one yet; President and Sister Killpack finished their mission (super sad); and we got to go to the baby blessing of the son of a recent convert Elder Johnson and I baptized when we were companions last year. All were awesome experiences! I hope y’all have a great week and stay safe on the 4th of July! Light off a few fireworks in my name!

Elder Orchard

Master Chef PK doin' his thing.

Sunset from the Y trail.

The van was full, so Elder Somma and I were alienated in the back seat.

Our salamander friend we found on the trail. We named him, but I forgot what it was and I don’t want to guess wrong and offend him.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Final Transfer

Hey there everybody, I don’t know what happened last week but for some reason I ended up not having enough time to write a blog email. Anyway, it’s been an eventful last two weeks and I have plenty of material to choose from, but I’ll probably only go into the real important things.

First off, we had a “Specialized Mission Training Meeting” this last Thursday. It took the place of our weekly district meeting and was a pretty big meeting. It was actually two meetings, the northern half of the mission went in the morning and the southern half went in the afternoon. It was a really good meeting, even though I feel it was kinda just an excuse for everyone to say bye to the Killpacks. We took pictures and had a couple trainings/talks from some of the missionaries. It was really cool to see a lot of the missionaries I knew. It was also super trippy knowing that the Killpack’s time is up as mission president and wife, and that means that my own time is running short as well. Where did the time go?

Last night we got our transfer calls. I was told I’d be moving to the Herriman and Herriman Rose Canyon stakes. With that, it’s official that I’m transitioning to the Salt Lake City South Mission. I’ll only be there for four and a half weeks, so my job is to just help the transition go as smoothly as possible. I volunteered and was told I’d be going earlier this transfer, but it is still a big pill to swallow. One of my missionary friends in California is going through kind of a similar change where she’ll be in a new mission in a week or so. Their’s is getting dissolved, whereas ours is just transitioning a few areas and companionships, so I can’t say I know exactly how it feels, but I do know that it really is a little heartbreaking to have to say goodbye. Goodbye to missionaries, previous areas, friends and former people you’ve taught. I am very fortunate with regards to the fact that I’ll be back here for school in a little over two months, so that’s nice and makes it a bit easier, but it’s still hard. However, the only constant in life is change, and I’m excited for what that change has to bring!

Well, I take that back. There are a few constants in life. Change is just the most obvious. Some of the others, although they are harder to see, are so much more impactful and meaningful. One of those is our Father in Heaven's love for us. In my opinion, President Monson puts it best: “God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.” Another constant in our life is our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his Atoning Sacrifice for us. No matter how often we sin and lose our way, we can repent and return. There’s no limit. There isn’t an upper cap that prevents us from repenting again once we’ve hit a certain number of times. It is constant and there for us whether we decide to use it or not. Like God’s love, it is simply always there. The last constant in our lives is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Unlike the other two, this one is dependent on our worthiness and willingness to listen to His promptings. However, there is no one else who is more loyal to us in our times of need. If we can qualify for it, his companionship can be as constant as the love of God or the Atonement. I personally don’t know why you’d want to risk going without it.

There’s my input for the week. I hope I didn’t bore anyone to death. That’s usually my assumption since I don’t hear much back, but I’m sure someone will get something out of it. Next time I talk to y’all, I’ll be in a new area, and hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share. Until then, have a great week and enjoy your summers!

Elder Orchard

Monday, June 4, 2018

Strengthen our Faith in Christ

Would you look at that, its Monday again. I swear, each week goes by faster and faster. I figured I’d try and get this letter off early this week so that I can free up some time in the afternoon. Like every other week, this has been a good one. It went pretty much the same as every other one, except our Thursday meeting was extra long since it was a combined zone conference. I’m running out of things to talk about because I feel like everything I do during the week I’ve talked about at least a dozen times before. We are now over halfway into this transfer, just another testament of how fast time is flying.

The highlight of this week probably happened last night. Elder Aisea and I didn’t have anything planned in the afternoon, so we ended up at a chapel watching President Nelson’s youth fireside. I liked it so much because even though it was directed at the youth, I felt like the message was tailored specifically for me. It probably helps that I still feel like a youth half the time. I was also super excited throughout because I was expecting him to announce the opening of China for missionary work. But one of the main reason I liked it so much was because of how straightforward he was with the youth. One of the challenges he gave the youth was to break their constant reliance on social media, and his invitation to do that was to participate in a seven day social media fast. He described it as “taking a break from the fake”. The reason this struck me so much is because it rang true with a principle that I’ve been pondering a lot, which is the principle of being spiritually minded and giving up the things of the world. So many people I know, myself included, put so much weight into things that have absolutely no eternal value, and really not a whole lot of temporal value either.

One thing I’ve been trying to develop over the course of my mission and hopefully over the course of my life is the ability to have an eternal perspective of things. I think one of the biggest things that keep people from having happiness and embracing the fullness of the restored gospel is their inability to get past things that hold them up and that they think are so important right now. I promise you they aren’t going to matter in the long run. We won’t have time to think about how much we miss our coffee or cigarettes when sitting at the feet of our Savior. It won’t have seemed like such a chore to go to three hours of church on Sunday when He tells us that we have been good and faithful servants. The dirty looks or snide remarks some prideful member made won’t bother when your in the embrace of Jesus Christ. The point I’m trying to make is don’t worry about things so much. I know keeping the commandments can be hard, but when we understand that “the [commandments]...serve to strengthen [our] faith in Christ” (Alma 25:16), they don’t become such a chore.

The question we should be asking ourselves is “What am I willing to do, or not do, to know my Savior?” If you ask yourself that honestly and with the intent to act, I promise you, you will seek Him, you will know Him, and you will love Him, all because He loves us so dearly Himself.

Have a great week y’all!

Elder Orchard

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Happy Memorial Day

Hey y’all! I know you were probably scared when you didn’t get an email yesterday, but its okay, there’s no need to panic. Our p-day was changed to Tuesday this week due to an opportunity to attend the temple this morning. Such a blessing! I wish I could go back more often, but unfortunately thats not my calling right now. I’m really looking forward to going whenever I want to when I come back after my mission though!

This week was pretty decent. We’ve been doing a lot of service and trying to meet with leadership as much as we can. It was really nice yesterday with it being Memorial Day since a lot of people were home. We’re still working on finding people to teach, but they’ll come along. I’ve got a good feeling about this week, I think we’re going to find a lot of success and hopefully I’ll have too much to write about next week! Something really surreal did happen this week. We had mission president interviews with President Killpack. With my departure date coming up and his departure date coming up even sooner, most of the time was spent talking about what’s going to happen this next transfer, what’s going to happen after the mission, and just stuff like that. I’ll admit, it made me a bit homesick. August will be here before I know it. But there’s work to do! Minds and hearts to prepare and ears to hear the word of the Lord!

I have to apologize, I’ve been awful at taking pictures lately. I’ve been throwing myself into the scriptures. I picked up somewhere in the middle of 1st Nephi and am trying to finish the Book of Mormon two more times before I finish my mission. On top of that, I want to try and read the last half of the Doctrine and Covenants so that I can say I’ve read the entire standard works. A part of that is due to my prideful side (which I wish I didn’t have, but I’m only human), however I just want to be able to have experience reading all of God’s word to his children. One of the foundational lessons I’ve learned is just how much I took for granted before the mission, especially the scriptures. The Book of Mormon isn’t something that I can afford to take for granted, and even though it about bores me to death reading some parts of the Bible and I have a general idea of most of the stuff in the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, they are all just as essential. Gosh I wish I had a whole lot more time to study. But guess who does...yes you don’t try to justify it. Well, those of you who aren’t missionaries, which is like half of you. All you Elders and Sisters, just do your best with the time you have. As for the rest of you that actually have time, spend some of it reading your scriptures, whether you’re LDS or not. I can’t really followup with you, so just do your best and give it a shot. Well, I’ll talk to y’all next week!

Elder Orchard

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feed My Sheep

Well guys, I don’t really know where to begin this week. It’s not like its been particularly exciting, I just feel like there’s been a lot of growth and learning, and set up for success in the future. As far as teaching goes, we’ve got a few people we’re working with. One is a lady from a polygamist background, named Cheri, and her son, Xander. They both want to be baptized, its only a matter of going through some big long interview process and making sure they’re getting to church. They’re golden! We also started meeting with these two kids named Justin and Kylie. Both of them want to be baptized and we even set at a baptism date for early July as a goal. The only problem is that neither of them are too excited to sit for the lessons and aren’t too fond of reading scriptures, saying prayers, or going to church, the small and simple things that are like the most important things anyone can do in this life. So if y’all could pray for them, anything is helpful. There’s one more woman we’re trying to teach. Her name is Dominique. She wants to meet, but is always so busy working that it’s hard to meet. But I’m optimistic!

There were other things that went on this week, namely lots of service and finding, but the thing that really stole the show this week was the Jordan River Temple Dedication on Sunday and the Youth Cultural Celebration that preceded it on Saturday. Starting with the celebration, it was just a really awesome opportunity to learn more about temples and specifically the Jordan River temple. I have to admit, I was really jealous at a lot of points because I never had the opportunity to participate in a cultural celebration like it, and I was kind of jealous of all the youth who were so talented at things I could’ve been talented at but never took the time or worked hard enough. The Spirit kept prodding me with the same response to those thoughts that was honestly really comforting, and I hesitate because I don’t want to make it seem like you don’t need to develop talents or anything, no please work hard and keep working on your talents and skills that you can use to bless the lives of others. The impression that I kept getting was this: in the end, after all is said in done and in the judgement at the last day, it isn’t going to matter what skills I did or didn’t hone or if someone was better than me at something. The salvation, exaltation, and eternal life that I receive won’t be any less glorious than anyone else’s, at least as long as I am faithful. I am just as eligible for all of the blessings of heaven because Christ’s atoning sacrifice is infinite and God is no respecter of persons. The only thing we should be worried about in this life is how faithful we are to are Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

The next day during the temple dedication the session was really special. I won’t go into too much detail because it is a sacred ordinance, but I will say that President Eyring bore one of the most powerful testimonies I’ve ever heard of the sealing power of temple marriage and the promise of resurrection. It was all the more real when he mentioned the fact that his wife is in failing health. I won’t say that it made me cry, but I was honestly so close. Guys, the message and importance of temples is really so simple. We can be with our families forever. For those of you who have lost loved ones, I know what it’s like and I know it hurts now, but the “sting of death” is really, honestly, truly, and completely “swallowed up in Christ.” (Mosiah 16:8). I promise you that you can have greater peace and happiness through learning more about these things, so please let me know if your interested, we’ll get you set up. I’d love to hear from you, but until then peace out!

Elder Orchard

“Feed my sheep” -John 21:17