Timpanogos Temple

Timpanogos Temple

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Force for Good!

Hey everybody!

Another week is in the books. Most of the week was pretty uneventful, doing the same things as always, but there were a few shining moments that really stood out from the norm. I'm thankful for these opportunities, and I'm grateful that I can share them with all of you. The blessings that come from missionary work not only have a positive influence on us and those we work with, but I know that they can be a force for good in everyone's life.

As I mentioned earlier, most of the week was the same as always. We had to give up the car again Wednesday, so we've been trekking to and fro trying to make the most of our time. We continue to get better at walking and biking up the hills. One thing I look forward to down the road is coming back to flatland and being able to take deep breaths again. It's one of those "you never know how good you have it until it's gone" things. Nonetheless, I know that the challenges and trials, physical and mental, are Heaven sent to help me grow and develop. I can't help but be thankful for the love Heavenly Father has for me giving me opportunities to improve.

In complete contrast to the rest of the week, Saturday was actually quite eventful. The morning started off great with the baptism of a young investigator from my old area. That's one of the great things about serving in Utah, it's incredibly easy to go back for the baptism of someone you've taught previously. The baptism was a small event with only a few close family and friends attending, and the spirit was very strong throughout. I'm so glad that I was able to be a part of it.

After the baptism, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend a sealing. The family that was sealed was one that had been meeting with missionaries for a while, and I came in on the tail end of the lessons. We were able to get permission to go to the sealing, which was in Payson. The Payson temple is beautiful, and I was honored to be able to attend. The family that was sealed is an awesome family and I loved being able to spend time with them. They took us to eat at a place called Chuck-A-Rama and told us we were part of the family now. It was an awesome experience overall.

That is about all of the highlights of the week. I am continuously grateful for all of the love and support provided. I look forward to writing again next week!

Elder Orchard

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ups and Downs

Hey everybody!

So another week has flown by, and not a whole lot has changed. Pretty much just doing the same thing every day, trying to find people to teach, having more dinners then there are days of the week, and getting honked at by people we've never met. It has its ups and downs, but being a missionary never ceases to be a blessing in my life.

The week started off pretty good. On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to have lunch with one of the several bishops in our area. We went to this place called Galilee Grill, which had legitimately authentic Israeli food. It was a really good lunch, not only because it was really good food, but because the bishop we ate with is missionary minded and was very beneficial in helping us find more work in his Ward. We will definitely be working with him more often, and I'm excited for the progress that will come because of it.

After that, the week kind of went downhill. We already didn't have a whole lot of lessons planned, and a lot of the ones we had planned ended up falling through. It kind of bummed us out. Fortunately, we had a fair amount of unplanned lessons pop up here and there, so we were able to save our week. Even with those teaching opportunities we had a ton of free time, and we spent most of it unsuccessfully trying to contact any nonmembers in our area book that might be interested.

Sunday turned out to be a really good day. My companion and I decided that we were going to fast for opportunities to teach people, and it was definitely effective. We got to go to three different sacrament meetings, and one of them was a primary program. The last Ward we went to, we decided to stay all three hours. In the second hour, we ended up having a lesson with a lady that is trying to work back towards activity. We ended up having three more lessons that day, which is the most we've had in a single day since the the beginning of the transfer. We also had two dinners that day because we forgot we'd already planned one and set up a second one. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

This morning, we decided we wanted to go hiking again. I think we are going to make it a weekly thing. We had to get up and leave by 5:00 because the guy that we go with had to be to work at 8:00. It was tough because we're still out of shape, but it was worth it. Unfortunately it was too dark to take any pictures. That led into the rest of p-day, which is the same as always. It's been a good week, and I look forward to next Monday when I can write again. Until next time!

Elder Orchard

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hiking, Biking, & Blessings

Hey Everybody!

It's been a pretty good week. A lot has happened and I'm excited for the next week to begin. I know that even though some of our numbers were lacking last week, we are set up for a good week to come and our prayers are being answered in very obvious ways.

This last week started off pretty slowly. We didn't have a lesson until Wednesday, and then we had half of our weeks lessons in that one day.  Monday and Tuesday were pretty dull. Not much happened, and not many people seemed interested in listening to what we had to say. It was our last day with a car for a week, so we tried to make the most of our time. Unfortunately, like I said before, we weren't able to make much happen.

Wednesday was pretty eventful. We didn't have a car anymore, so we had to make do with biking and walking. I wish I could say it was easy, but with my area being mostly located on the foothills of the nearby mountains, it seemed like it was uphill everywhere we went. We've started biking for a bit in the mornings so we can condition ourselves and get used to the climb. It's been slow progress, but we're getting better, and by the end of the transfer our calves and thighs will probably be huge.

The rest of the week went pretty quick. We had a few lessons here and there, and we tried to contact as many of the more promising names in our area book as we could. With it taking us nearly half an hour to get from place to place, there was only so much we could do. But, we made the most of our time and actually got a good amount of work done. We met some more great families, there are no shortage of them out here, and they were kind enough to help us out when they could. I think the help of the members really made up for our lack of mobility, that definitely being an answer to our prayers.

Sunday was pretty eventful. We ended up going to three different fast and testimony meetings. We were sitting in one chapel waiting for the third to start when we got a text that there was a nonmember couple attending sacrament in the other stake, and the ward mission leader wanted us to go to their meeting, meet them, and bear our testimonies. We were about a 20 minute walk away, and we had 15 minutes to get there. We booked it over and made it just in time for the meeting to start. The best part is that the nonmember couple just decided to go to church. We hadn't taught them before, or even met them. I believe that they have certainly been prepared by the Lord to be taught, and their change of heart has been an answer to our prayers.

That brings me to this morning. We got up extra early so that we could go hiking with one of our member friends before the sun came up. It was a difficult climb, by far harder than we had anticipated, but it was well worth it. Not only was it a great workout, but it provided an amazing view, and I got some great pictures. After that, we came home, showered, and commenced p-day as usual. That's been the highlights of this last week. I'm always grateful to hear from family and friends, and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers dearly. I look forward to hearing from you all, and until next Monday, have a great week!

Elder Orchard

Monday, October 3, 2016

Transfers, golfing, and Samcakes!

Hey Everyone!

Once again I was slacking last week and wasn't able to get a post up. I promise I'll do better in the future! These last few weeks have been pretty eventful. Last Tuesday was the two month since I've left, and it feels like it has flown by. I can't help but feel like it is in part because of everyone's thoughts and prayers, which I am ever so grateful for.

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. First of all, the weather is finally starting to cool off. It went from being 90* one day to about 45* the next. That was a little over a week ago, and it warmed back up to the mid-80s last week, but it is starting to cool off. That day it got down to 45* it rained a lot, and there was a ton of snow on the mountains. It all melted since, but the temperature dropped again today and I can tell that is snowing up on the peaks again. I love it when it does because the view of the mountains is so beautiful.

Last Wednesday were transfers and I got moved to a new area with a new companion. His name is Elder Fairbanks, he is one of 17 kids, 12 of which were adopted from Russia, and he is one of those 12. He is a really great guy and we get along really well. I was sad to leave my old area because I have grown really close to a lot of the people there, but I am looking forward to the changes that lie ahead. Wednesday morning before the transfers we were able to stop by one guy in particular that we have been meeting with a lot and we were able to give him a blessing. It was a really special experience and I am glad we made the sacrifice of getting up extra early to make it work.

This new area is called a "car-share area". We have a car, but we only have it every other week. Fortunately, we had it the first week I was here. Unfortunately, we are going to lose it for a week on Wednesday. At least there is no shortage of members in the area who are more than willing to tote us around from appointment to appointment. It will definitely be an adjustment, seeing as I'm used to having a car the whole time last transfer. I know though that many blessings will come from the sacrifice of traveling on our own and I am actually kind of excited to see how it goes.

A few weeks ago we were able to go the Timpanogos temple. It was such a great experience. I love being able to go back to the house of The Lord and feel the spirit there. I never get tired of being able to go and I am glad that we are able to go at least once a quarter as a mission.

With the transfer coming to a close, we had to squeeze in our district activity during the last p-day available. We went to a golf course on the very northern part of the zone and hit some golf balls at the driving range for free. I had maybe one or two good hits out of about 50 swings, but it was a good time nonetheless. It was great being able to spend some quality time with the great Elders in our district.

On one of the rare occasions that our dinner appointment cancelled, my companion and I decided to try out a restaurant called "Big Island Sam's". Being a missionary in Utah, of course someone was generous enough to pick up our bill, which made our meal even better. We both got the "Samcakes", the restaurants variation of regular pancakes. The waiter told us they were bigger than our heads, and I figured the waiter was just using that as a way to say they were bigger than normal. When he brought them out, they were quite literally bigger than our head. Neither of us could finish them they were so big. It was probably one of the best meals we've had so far, simply because of the sheer size of the pancakes.

Well, that's all I have for now. I hope there is enough to make up for slacking last week! I greatly appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers from everyone and look forward to hearing from family and friends. Until next time!

Elder Orchard