Timpanogos Temple

Timpanogos Temple

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

Hey Everybody!

This week has been pretty good! Some days seemed kind of slow, but overall it still felt like it went by pretty quick. The regular week started off Tuesday morning with our annual Zone Conference. This transfer was one of the combined zone conferences, and it felt so long. The seven hour meeting (which already sounds extremely long) felt like it was about twice as long. I guess there was something I needed to hear and pay attention to. I think I might've figured it out, I guess we'll see!

On Wednesday we had exchanges with our Zone leaders. Elder Kentish, one of our Zone Leaders, came to our area with me, while Elder Davisson went with our other Zone Leader, Elder Pittman. I learned a lot from Elder Kentish and I'm grateful to have him as a Zone leader!

We were finally able to finish digging up a stump that we've been working on for what felt like an eternity. We went back and added up the total amount of time it took to cut down the tree and dig up the stump, and it added up to somewhere around seven hours! At least now I feel like I have somewhat of an idea how to take out a tree stump without any power tools or other things like that. Which, you know, will come in handy so often.

We capped off the week on Saturday with another baptism! Once again, the baptism went off without a hitch and we had a great time. The girl that was baptized was Kylee. Her younger sister was baptized the same day. We got permission to do both of the confirmations at the baptismal service, which was so spiritual. I know I sound like a broken record, but I love baptisms so much. The spirit is always so strong and it is such a faith building experience. With the exception of seeing a family get sealed in the temple, baptisms are the most influential decision a person can make. They truly stand as a witness to the truth and importance of this work.

Those are the highlights of this week. I hope all of you had a great one and have a great Memorial Day! I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Orchard

A sweet picture we got of the sunset coming into the Salt Lake valley

The tree stump we dug out

A big stack of cups we made when we were bored

A picture from Kylee's baptism

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another Fantastic Week

Hey Everybody!

This week has been pretty fantastic, as always! To start off, we finally got some good service hours going. We hit about 10 hours of service this week, which is more than I've ever done in a week since coming on my mission! We did a lot of manual labor, including moving a family into a home, chopping down and digging up the roots of a tree, and laying a bunch of sod for someone. It was pretty exhausting at times, but it was nice to serve in other ways than just teaching people!

We also had the opportunity to see three people enter the waters of baptism. Let me tell you what, baptisms are what missionaries live for. Sure, it's great to be able to report it in our key indicators on Sundays and get our picture in the mission newsletter, but easily the best part is seeing the gospel have such a profound influence in the lives of those who make the commitment to be baptized. It truly is a testimony to the importance of this work. I am so glad that I made the decision to serve a mission because the joy that comes from seeing others come closer to our Heavenly Father is matchless!

One of those that were baptized was Tammy. Her husband converted to the church when he was young, but fell away because he didn't have very much support. In the not too distant past, Tammy had a spiritual experience and decided that she wanted to be baptized. With the full support of her husband, who decided to reactivate himself in the process, she was able to work towards baptism. The best part was that it was her husband himself that was able to perform the baptism!

The other two, Gage and Karma, were two siblings of parents that aren't active at all. They've been wanting to be baptized for a few years now, but haven't been able to because of some difficulties. When we started meeting with them, it was a bit of a struggle to get them to church. Soon enough, their Ward completely embraced them and they were able to start attending consistently. They were so happy when the day of their baptism came!

The last bit of exciting news that I wanted to share with everyone is that the Orchard family welcomed a new baby girl into the world this last week! Her name is Amara Lynn Orchard, and she is probably the cutest little baby in the whole world! I may not be able to hold her for another year still, but at least I'll get pictures from time to time and will get to see her grow.

That's all the news that I have to share, I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Orchard

A picture of our zone after our zone activity this last Monday

While taking a short break between service projects, we found a bagof marshmallows in a chapel and decided to make s'mores

A picture from Gage and Karma's baptism

Amara Lynn Orchard

A picture from Tammy's baptism

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Hey Everybody!

This week has been pretty great, and a lot of awesome things happened! I'll try to hit on the highlights and get the most important stuff. To start out the week, we had interviews with President Killpack on Tuesday morning. We had to be there about an hour early because we gave other Elders a ride, and we had to be there about two hours longer than we were supposed to because we got behind and had to wait for the rest of our district to finish. While, we were waiting, Elder Davisson and I decided to play some Scripture Pictionary. I attached one of the drawings I did, see if you can guess which scripture story it is!

We had a few opportunities for service this week. We helped a guy move a bunch of rocks on Tuesday, then we pulled weeds for about an hour and a half on Saturday night. While we didn't do as much as we would've liked to, we're still content with what we were able to get done! We also spent a lot of time setting up other service opportunities for this coming week, so hopefully we'll get a lot done!

On Saturday we had a baptism! Those are always exciting. Her name was Tamee, she is pretty smart and has a really strong testimony! Not only did we have a baptism, but four other people passed their interviews, so we'll have quite a few more this coming Saturday. We sure are keeping busy!

Sunday, as you all probably know, was Mother's Day, therefore it was time again for Skype calls! This one was number 2 of 4, so I've only got two more calls before I go home! It still feels like forever away, but it'll be here before I know it. It's very weird to think that I'm almost to the halfway mark, just two more months. The call was pretty good, I wish the internet connection would've been a bit better, but its whatever. Honestly it feels like nothing has really changed since I've left, but maybe that's just what it looks like over video call. I do know that I look forward to seeing all of my family in person again before too long.

Well, that's all I've got this week! I apologize for making it a bit long, there was just so much that happened this week! I hope you all have a great week and I look forward to hearing from you!

Elder Orchard

A picture with Tamee and her sister and their grandpa

My new friend Cody that I sat next to in sacrament meeting

Figuring out our Rubik's cubes while filling the font

Guess that Scripture Pictionary!

The straw I built that reached all the way across the room

A screenshot from the Skype call

More straw shenanigans

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Whom the Lord calls He qualifies

Hey Everybody!

This past week has been pretty great! As you might already know, last Monday we got transfer calls. I was told I would be staying in the area and Elder Johnson would be leaving. Due to his departure, we spent a majority of Tuesday stuck in our apartment because Elder Johnson had to pack. We then spent most of that night running around to as many houses as we could so that Elder Johnson could say bye. It was pretty hectic!

The next morning was transfer day. I love transfer day because its pretty much an unofficial mission get-together at the mission office. You get to see all of your missionary friends, catch up with others, and sort of just stand around talking. It's a blast! In due time, my new companion, Elder Davisson, and I decided we should probably head to our area. Elder Davisson is a great Elder, he is from Indiana and is the oldest of eight kids. And I thought I had a lot of siblings! He likes sports a lot, so we get along pretty well. He's also a big nerd, but so am I, so it all works out!

Thursday morning was my first district meeting as a district leader. I thought I was probably going to have a heart attack, I was so nervous. Fortunately, whom the Lord calls he qualifies. I can say 100% without a doubt that I had some assistance from the Spirit all throughout the meeting. Our district is pretty great, we're a diverse group and we all get along pretty well (so far, at least).

Other than that, not too much has happened this week. We have a baptism coming up this next Saturday, which is pretty exciting! We also have Mother's Day calls this coming Sunday, which is even more exciting!! I'm not sure how that will work out on my part, I may have to wait until the Monday after next due to family circumstances, but whenever it happens, I'm super excited for it! I hope everyone has a great week, thanks for all of the support and prayers!

Elder Orchard

Getting some groceries

Snow? Nope, just spring-time tree blooms

 I stole Elder Johnson's glasses just to see how I looked in them

Monday, May 1, 2017

Serving the Youth!

Hey Everybody!

This week has been pretty good and lots has been happening. One common theme this week has been helping with youth in several ways. On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to talk to a group of young women about the Book of Mormon and share our testimonies. That same night we helped another set of missionaries, Elder Moffatt and Elder Livai, put on their "Elder Games".  On Sunday we taught two different classes of youth. One was a Sunday School class where we talked about the restoration, the other was a combined Aaronic Priesthood where we talked about serving missions in general. I love being able to help the youth, partially because I still feel like one, but also because I feel like I can really make an impact on their lives.

On Sunday night we had two wards that hosted "Walkabouts", where pretty much everyone in the ward just walks around their neighborhood and talks. There were a few host houses that had some refreshments out to facilitate. It was really fun because most of the people we were able to talk to we'd never met before.  Our only opportunity to meet the ward members is if they're in leadership, they fellowship someone we're teaching, they have us over for dinner, or we happen to talk to them after sacrament. I guess looking back that seems like a lot of ways to meet people, but I promise we don't meet as many as you'd think! All in all, it was a pretty fun social activity that I feel had a lot of benefit.

Two big things happened this morning: we had our district activity and received our transfer calls! For the district activity, we played "archery tag", which is pretty much Dodgeball with bows and arrows. I would recommend it to everyone, it was probably the funnest district activity we've had so far. The only downside is that our face masks got fogged up way fast and made it hard to see. I give it a 10 out 10 and would recommend it to anyone!

For transfer calls, we got some big news. Elder Johnson will be going down to Pleasant Grove and Cedar Hills with Elder Diamond. I'm sad to see home go, its been a great two transfers with him! I'll be getting Elder Davisson, who came into the mission the same time as me. The most exciting part is that our district is being realigned and I've been assigned to be district leader! I'm excited and nervous at the same time. It's a big responsibility that I'm looking forward to taking on.

That's it for me, I hope you all have a great week! I'm grateful for all of you support and prayers and I look forward to hearing from those who write!

Elder Orchard