Timpanogos Temple

Timpanogos Temple

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi there friends and family, it’s good to get to talk to you all again. Well some of you. Kind of. I guess with these I’m the one doing all the talking. But anyway, its been a good and busy week, which is always nice. Transfers happened and I’m up in Riverton now. It’s a zone, but it’s also small enough that it’s only one district, so it’s been interesting getting used to that. I did my Mother’s Day call on Saturday evening since it worked better for my family, so Sunday was kind of just like every other Sunday, hour after hour of church. I did get to give a talk in one though! Well, it was more of a testimony by the time my turn came around. I was told to prepare for 12 minutes, but after two testimonies from former members of the relief society who got released, four youth speakers, a special musical number from the primary, and my companions talk, we were already over time and I didn’t want to take too much more. So yeah, another week in the books. They keep going faster and faster. It’s crazy whenever people ask me what my plans are after the mission. I’ve been able to say that I’m going to school this fall, which is still crazy to think.

So for my talk, we were asked to share about the influence that the Spirit of Motherhood has had in our lives, or something like that. While I was preparing, I decided that the spirit of motherhood, at least to me, could be summed up in three characteristics: love, nourishment, and example. All three of them are important things I saw in my own Mom growing up, both in spiritual and physical ways. I’ve also seen them in my step-mom Lisa as she’s taken on the role of mother in our family since my Mom passed away. From Lisa’s example, I also noticed that motherhood isn’t reserved to those with biological children. Motherhood, in my opinion, is determined by a desire to care for and cherish a son or daughter of God. Because of that, I am deeply grateful for all of the Mother figures in my life, both before my mission and my mission. I’ve changed and grown so much from the influence of those women in my life and I am forever indebted to them for their selfless services to me. I hope that I can at least in some small part repay them through my service to others.

That’s it for this week folks, remember to go out and hug a mother or two and make their day. Even if you don’t know them. Just make sure you get their permission first. Have a great week!

Elder Orchard

Only picture this week is a Nativity LEGO set I found in our apartment and built. Sorry guys, I’ll try to have more next week!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Shakin' Things Up

Hey there boys and girls, it’s Monday again. That means another week has come and gone, and let me tell you what, it’s been a riot. Forget the formalities, I’m just gonna jump right into the details.

First off, we started the week strong with MLC on Tuesday. It was a really long meeting and lasted from 9:00 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m., but really the only part that mattered was the first hour and a half. To be honest, I didn’t really pay that much attention to the rest afterwards. Elder Brian K. Taylor of the Seventy came and gave a training about being bold and giving both the blessings of obedience and the negative results of disobedience. He used Doctrine & Covenants 33:1 a lot and even had a real life sword to get his point across. Needless to say, he made a big impact on all of us. I just wish I would’ve heard that training 21 months ago because now I feel like I’ve been doing missionary work all wrong. We even got a sword ourselves to use in our Combined District Meeting, so we got to have a lot of fun with it.

We did a lot of service throughout the week, things like weeding a garden and building a chicken coop. We built the coop on Saturday before going to one of our ward’s Cinco De Mayo parties, which was an event you’d have to be at to truly appreciate. Not because the chips and salsa were special at all, but because of our new friend Josh. Josh was visiting his sister that lived in the ward. He’s from somewhere in the southeast United States. Josh stopped attending church a while back, and since it was a holiday, Josh had had a few drinks. After talking to him for a while about how he believes there’re more than one Savior and a pretty entertaining game of pickup basketball with members of the ward, we decided it would be best to walk Josh home. The whole way back he was giving us a pep talk about how we need to make sure and do something meaningful with our lives and how the church has truth, but not all of the truth. He was very adamant about us searching for more truth. He kept using the logic of “Do we know who killed Tupac? No, so we don’t know everything and we need to keep searching. Don’t stop flipping searching!” (Disclaimer: He didn’t actually use “flipping”, I just figured it’d be best not to use his actual words). That whole experience was an adventure, and I will cherish it forever as I continue to look for who actually killed Tupac.

To wrap it all up, we got our transfer calls on Sunday night. Sadly, I’m getting transferred out of Saratoga Springs, and out of Utah County completely. I’m heading up to Riverton, which will most likely be my last area since it’s the start of my second to last transfer. I’m pretty pumped about transfers, but a lot of other missionaries aren’t. President Killpack is shaking a lot of things up, whitewashing a lot, moving people around, and a lot of people aren’t real happy about their new companions. But oh well, life goes on and we continue serving the Lord, not ourselves. I’ve been reading a lot in the New Testament, and the early apostles, especially Peter and Paul, suffered a lot for the sake of spreading the gospel. Those two considered themselves lucky to suffer for the Lord, and while I don’t think I’m quite there yet, and I’m not really suffering that much, I still like to think that I’m getting there. I hope everyone tries to get to that point, because anything we suffer for the Lord is only a token sacrifice to Him who suffered everything for us. Think about that this week. I hope y’all are able to be a bit more Christ-like, cause I’m trying to be myself and I need some accountability buddies. That’s all I’ve got for this week, enjoy the extended edition and God bless!!

Elder Orchard

“Hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, whose word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword” -D&C 33:1

Monday, April 30, 2018

Jordan River Temple

Hey Everybody, it’s been a good week. We went to the Jordan River Temple Open House. We did a lot of yard work. I didn’t get as burned as I thought I would, so that’s a plus. We also had exchanges with one of our district leaders. So yeah, lots of excitement this week. I’m still charging along through the New Testament, I just read all of the epistle to the Romans yesterday. Life is good. I’m really tired, so I don’t really feel like writing any more. Peace out.

Elder Orchard