Timpanogos Temple

Timpanogos Temple

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Late Thanksgiving!

Hey Everybody!

Happy late Thanksgiving to everyone! Sorry for not writing a post last week, I completely spaced it and didn't even think about it until it was too late. A lot has happened in the last two weeks, probably too much to write about, but I'll make sure and give you the highlights.

A week ago last Saturday, we had Stake conference in one of the three Stakes that we cover. We were able to go to all three meetings, and they were all very uplifting. We got up bright and early Sunday morning so that we could be at the 7 a.m. priesthood leadership meeting. In that meeting, the Second Counselor in the stake presidency had my companion and me come up to the front and share a two minute testimony about becoming God's gentlemen. I decided to share a metaphor that my mission president shared our first day in the field about seeing all of the white on a piece of paper rather than just the big black dot in the center. Everybody loved that, and it was brought up at least two more times in that meeting and then a few times in the general session of conference. Elder Fairbanks and I couldn't help but laugh because of all the attention it got.

Later Sunday night, we got invited over to a members house for waffles. We were visiting the family earlier that week asking for referrals, and they brought up that it was one of their sons birthdays on Sunday, and he always had friends come over for waffles. They invited us over, so of course we accepted. It was really awkward at first because they were all grown up and we didn't know any of them, but we got more comfortable as time went on, and we had a good time.

The beginning of this last week was pretty much the same. It snowed once on Wednesday night, but it wasn't cold enough to stick to the roads yet. There was plenty of snow on the grass though, and it was still there the next morning when we had our Turkey Bowl. I had been preparing for this all week. I love football, and having the chance to take a break and play against other missionaries was very appealing. Like I said before, it had snowed the night before, and it was still there when we got up in the morning to play. So we bundled up, and by bundled up I mean wore long sleeves and two pairs of socks instead of one, and hit the snow. We couldn't tackle, so it wasn't as fun as it could have been. We also weren't allowed to keep score so that it wouldn't get competitive. The most difficult things to deal with were the football constantly getting wet from hitting the ground and not being able to change direction at all without sliding around. Overall, it was a great time, and I had a ton of fun.

After the Turkey bowl, we started hitting dinners right away. We ate the first time at about 1:30, then again at 3:00, then a third time at 4:00, and then one last time at 5:00, just for dessert. We made another visit at 7:00, but luckily we weren't forced to eat anything. The day went by really quick, but we felt terrible most of the day because of the constant eating. I almost took a nap on one of the members' couches that we visited, but I stuck it out and didn't give in to the temptation. I know now how much I'll need to prepare myself when Thanksgiving roles around again next year.

After Thanksgiving, the rest of the week was pretty normal. It starting snowing early this morning, and has been pretty steady so far. By the time we were able to go shopping, it had accumulated a good amount, and it was kind of frightening driving to Walmart. We got in and out pretty quick, and then made our way to our zone activity. We played speedball, which is kind of a mix between soccer and basketball. It was pretty fun and kept us moving quite a bit. After that, Elder Fairbanks and I just stayed at the chapel and used the Family History center to write emails. That brings me to where I'm at right now.

It's been a good last few weeks, and I'm looking forward to the week to come. It's good to hear from everyone, and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Orchard

Our Zone after the Turkey Bowl. We all got matching shirts.

The view from inside our garage this morning.

Our Zone today after our Zone activity. The Sister being held up was here for two transfers and is going back to the Temple Square mission Wednesday.

One of the many families that we had dinner with last Thursday.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Life is Good!

Hey everyone!

This last week has been pretty exciting with transfers. We got to stay in the same apartment, but since we whitewashed two new Stakes, there were still plenty of changes. My companion, Elder Fairbanks, was made the new district leader. It's been interesting seeing him handle that change. All in all, it was a fun week, with a few exceptions.

Wednesday morning was the day of the transfers. Since we didn't have to pack anything up or move, it was pretty relaxing for us. For other missionaries, not so much. We drove the Elders whose Stakes we were adopting to the mission office because they didn't have a car, so we still got to see all of the transfer fun. It's always great when a lot of missionaries gather together in one place because you get to see some of your friends that you haven't seen for a while. It's nice getting to catch up with everyone before we all have to separate. The days following the transfer were pretty great. We have a car full time now, so we don't have to walk up and down all of the hills in Orem anymore. Also, we have restaurants in our area again. That, combined with a car to get there, is a big plus. Our favorite restaurant, Kneaders, which is practically Panera Bread, is in our area, so we can go whenever we want. The best part is that we almost never have to pay when we go. There are so many friendly members around here who are more than willing to help out the missionaries.

We found out early this week that the Elders had been scheduled to talk in one of the Wards that we picked up. Luckily, we didn't have anything going on during that time, so it worked out. I've actually been looking forward to the opportunity to talk in a sacrament meeting since I left on my mission. I was excited because whenever I'd had the opportunity to talk back home, I'd sloughed it off until the last minute and never really put any effort into it. I took the bull by the horns and really put a lot of effort into it. And by that, I mean I started working on it the day before instead of the morning of. Surprisingly, I was actually over prepared. All went well, and I feel pretty confident in how well I was able to convey the message and help the Ward feel the spirit. Someone was sweet enough to tell me that I sounded like I was three months from going home, rather then three months out. It was a great experience that I look forward to doing again.

The last few days of the week were a bit rough. I started to get congested, and that contributed to a nagging headache. I finally realized that I most likely had a cold, so I decided to take action. I pumped vitamin C into my body like crazy. I think I had about 8 packets of Emergen-C, each of them having an insane amount of vitamins and such. I'm starting to feel better now, so I think it's working. I'm glad I can get back to 100% and focus all my energy on missionary work.

I would say that, overall, it's been a good week. It went by pretty quick, and we've got a lot of teaching opportunities coming our way in the near future. I am constantly edified by all of the support and prayers. I love you all and hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Elder Orchard


My companion, Elder Fairbanks

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another Exciting Week

Hey everyone!

It's been an exciting day with transfers coming up this Wednesday and every body trying to figure out what's going on. All I know is that there are a lot of changes that are going to take place all throughout the mission. For instance, Elder Fairbanks and I are both staying together and staying in our apartment, but we are losing one stake and whitewashing two others. Other missionaries around the mission will be working in just a few wards, while others in some places will be covering more than the average two stakes (such as us). We should have the car full time now, so that will be nice. Finally, this next transfer will be 5 weeks instead of the usual 6, and the one after that will be 7 to make up for it. The reason for the odd transfer lengths is that this next one would have ended the week before Christmas, and plane tickets for Elders going home would be a lot more expensive and the travel would just be a nightmare.

Today was also pretty fun because we had our zone activity. We decided to go hiking as a zone, and we were prepared. Having hiked all transfer, and those hikes being much harder then this one, it was pretty easy. We made everyone else look so slow. Eventually we had to get called back by the zone leaders because we got too far ahead and everyone else was ready to turn back around. We ended up playing a game called "signs", which was pretty fun. After that, we hiked down and went our separate ways. The rest of today was pretty relaxing.

The only other thing that happened this last week was the Missionary Musical Fireside on Friday. That was a lot of fun because we got to spend the whole afternoon together as a mission, and I got to see a lot of my buddies from the MTC as well as some other missionaries that I know but hardly get to see. Throughout the Fireside, there were several missionaries who had the opportunity to give a short testimony or story, and some groups got to sing a musical piece. I wasn't able to do anything myself, but I hope I get the chance at future Firesides. The keynote speaker was Kevin Worthen, President of BYU, and the guest singer was Dallyn Bayles. I got to shake both of their hands and even got a picture with President Worthen. It was an awesome experience, especially since everything was centered around the wonderful message of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, and the blessings that have come because of that. The turnout wasn't as good as we had hoped, but there were still a lot of people there who were able to partake of the amazing spirit that was present.

Other than the Fireside and transfers, this last week was pretty mundane. Not a whole lot happened out of the ordinary. One interesting thing that did happen was we accidentally double booked our dinners for Sunday night, and we ended up having two appointments. I just hope the second dinner didn't think we didn't like the food because we were too full to eat. Other than that, it was really pretty much the same as always. It's good to hear from everyone and know that I have family and friends who support me in my calling. I look forward to writing again next week!

Elder Orchard

Hiking with the "Zone"

With President Worthen at the Fireside

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween

Hey everyone!

It's Monday again, that means it's time for another mission update from everyone's favorite Elder! It's Halloween, and everybody is in the spirit! There were actually a bunch of people who wore their costumes to Wal-Mart and then at the restaurant where we ate lunch. Is that normal? We figured it was probably just a Utah thing. Either way, it was fun to see all of the costumes. We've been able to go to a lot of ward Trunk-or-Treat parties, so that's kind of been the norm this week.

In total, we went to about five parties. There was one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, two on Friday (we ended up having to go on splits to go to both), and then one more on Saturday. They were all pretty fun, and the food was pretty good too. I was pretty impressed with how much people put into their costumes. I wasn't there to see it, but my companion, Elder Fairbanks, saw someone dressed up as Hagrid. They stood on stilts or something of the sort, so they looked like they were about 9 feet tall. I wish I could have seen it!

On Friday and Saturday night we had the opportunity to go to this Halloween attraction that this family sets up every year in their front yard. It was pretty elaborate for a homemade thing and it was a lot of fun. It was also really special because the creator does it every year and never charges for it, but this year he is taking donations to help a man that has cancer. The fund raiser is gaining a lot of popularity and it is really inspirational to see what one person can do to help out someone in need.

Other then the usual Halloween festivities, not a whole lot went on this last week. We didn't get to go hiking this morning because the kid that always takes us had to work early this morning. It was kind of relaxing being able to sleep in though. Hopefully we'll get to go again next week before it gets too cold. Today has been the normal p-day activities of shopping, laundry, and email. It doesn't get much better than that. Usually p-day ends at 6:00, but since it's Halloween, we aren't allowed to go out proselyting after 5:00, and have to stay in a chapel the rest of the night. It's really nice being able to relax all day and not worry about filling the last three hours of the day.

Well, that's everything I've got for this week. I am continually grateful for the love and support that I receive from everyone. I look forward to writing again next week!

Elder Orchard

Doing Companion study the right way!

Getting into the Halloween spirit.

Elder Fairbanks doing some weekly cleaning.