Monday, August 26, 2013

Dear Mom!!!

Well, that is awesome to know that I am in so many prayers. The bishop here is asking all of the ward members to not only pray for the missionaries but to pray for me and my companion, Elder Forson, by name so that we get that help to find those that we specifically need to find and teach. I thought that was super cool. 

We baptized a family of 4 on Saturday and also one of our investigators we have been working with for a long time.  They were working with him before I came. The service was awesome but the building lost its power and so it was burning hot in the church during the baptisms. That was kinda crazy. Our mission president came to the baptism and after I was done talking for about 10 minutes about the Joseph Smith story we had him and his wife, Sister Toone, share a message with us, and it was super cool. There were a ton of non-members at the baptism! We were able to find 8 new investigators to teach and we are working with them so that they can take that step of baptism too! Yay!!!

Oh, and all of the stories are just beginning about how crazy it is here in Arizona! :) Yesterday there was another shooting that was in our apartment complexes and some guy knocked on someone's door and then as soon as the guy opened the door the other guy shot him 3 times. When we got home from church there were cops all over the place and our whole complex was roped off. So, we just went over to a member's house and made dinner and brownies and taught a lesson until we could at least get into our house! hahahaha super funny!

Also, yesterday at church I had the opportunity to give my first priesthood blessing ever and it was in front of the whole congregation for a confirmation in the church. That was super nerve-racking!!! Then on top of that I got a call from the first counselor in the bishopric that morning and was asked to give a 7 minute talk on the Plan of Salvation. I ended up giving a 22 minute talk and they had to almost kick me off of the stand! ;) Super funny because usually I have the problem of being too short on talks rather than giving super long ones. hahaha  It was a super busy Sunday for us.

Well, other than that good luck with everything back home.  I cant wait to hear back from you guys and so far I think I am fine with supplies and stuff, but I am cool with anything that anybody wants to send me! I will be excited to receive some letters in the mail from all of you!!!

Love you all!

Elder Brandon Wallentine

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hello Mom and whoever else is reading this!!!
It is awesome to hear from you and it is always great to read about all of the stuff that is going on with Collette and Isabelle!  My two favorite little girls in the whole world are driving me crazy not being able to see my two little nieces. Hahahaha! I told Emily that I want them to be able to say my name so that they don't forget about me when I am gone. That would STINK!!!
Tell the Griffin family that I will be thinking about them constantly and that I wish that I could do more, but it is hard when I am a few states over. Something that I have really learned is that being specific in prayers and studies is really important and it will bring miracles.
In Arizona it is crazy hot. They said that is was going to start to cool down by the end of the month but I don't think I believe them because for the past week it was 110+ degrees outside and I was burning. hahahaha. The day that it got to be like 117 degrees, me and my comp couldn't find a member to take us around in the car so we rode our bikes all day long and got to a total of about 9 miles by the end of the day. That was pretty crazy. But, it is not bothering me too much. I think I am handling the heat better than I would have thought I would handle being tossed into a frying pan like an egg. :)
There has been some crazy things that have happened this week and they were all within two days and right by where we live. So, first we were in an investigators house a couple apartments down from our house and right on the other side of a brick wall we heard something that sounded like gun shots. Then we went outside to leave and head back home and everyone was looking at the house and telling us to get back inside because someone was shooting out of the house. So me and my companion decided that we were just going to continue on and go home. (We found out that there was a shooter). Then when we got back to the house there were fire trucks and ambulances and someone had gotten hit by a car right outside the gate to our apartment complex which was super crazy. 

Then the next day we were driving down the road and cops were all over with a big huge setup thing and a whole neighborhood was roped off because someone had gotten pulled out of a car and shot. It was a ridiculous week and I am going to have tons of stories for sure by the end of the two years. Especially since I have only been away from home for a month.
Oh, hey by the way, I love to get real paper letters because then I can read them right when I get them and they make me so happy because then I know for sure that nobody is forgetting about me while I am gone. hahahahaha ;) I am going to be going to the temple this Wednesday and I have heard a ton of good things about the new video so I am super excited!

Well I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you guys!!!!
Elder Wallentine

Oh and P.S. apparently I have to go and buy a card reader in order to send you guys pictures so I will go get one so that you guys will have more pictures of my mission life!!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hey Mom and anybody else who is reading this!!!

So over here in Arizona my life is definitely starting to see a fair amount of struggles and also blessings. I am having a really hard time connecting with the people here because they are more serious and all of them have been through a ton of big things.  Most of them are recovering from drug use or they are all waiting to get off of probation and stuff like that. Mostly everybody that I have talked to here have tattoos all over their bodies and have gone to jail.  Some of them were in there for kinda scary things that I won't go into too much detail about. It is really weird for me to be in this part of town on the west side of Arizona because, like I said before, it feels more like Mexico than Arizona.  About 50% of the people that we talk to on the street don't even speak English, so obviously it is kinda hard for me to get my point across.  Hahahahaha!  Today we are going into the south side of Phoenix with the Zone Leaders who are our room mates to go to Kohls and get some tan pants since they are now allowed in the mission! I also found out a big thing that i do not like.... MEXICAN CANDY!!! That is the most disgusting stuff I have ever tasted on the face of the earth. It tastes more like rotting vegetables than it does candy. It's Nasty. But, the Mexican food that we have been eating has been really good.

So, we didn't buy enough cereal and milk to last us all through the week so I decided I would get a little creative with the waffles and the waffle maker! Instead of just making regular boring waffles that still taste pretty good I decided to mix some Oreos in the mix and then we put peanut butter in the mix as well. They tasted delicious! Or maybe they were gross and I was just starving. One of the two! It doesn't help that I am still an 18 year old boy and I want to eat everything that I possibly can. All of the other Elders that are in my apartment are 20+ years old and I am the young 18 year old that has all of the energy in the world! Its awesome. I love being able to eat anything because I am biking all over town!

We met with a family last night that we are trying to help learn the gospel and they are really progressing but they don't know if Jesus is their Savior. Which is kinda a big part of the whole thing that will bring us through the rest of everything. When we went over there we were trying to get them to understand and then they brought up some really weird subjects and we had to just sit and listen for a while. After that the feeling in the room was super strong but it was not a good feeling at all. It felt more like something had just come in and taken my heart right out of my body. I asked the investigator how he was feeling and he said he was felling the same thing.  We both just felt completely empty inside and it was awful. My companion and I were talking a little bit after and he said it did not feel like the good feelings that come from the Holy Ghost. So,  we are going back tonight and we are going to give them some Priesthood Blessings and try to get that good spirit in the home. It was scary.

Other than that though my mission has been nothing but positive and I'm sure that I will even think of a way to make that moment in my mission a positive one! I am smiling everywhere I go and I am keeping my energy high--drinking lots of water in the 100 degree weather and I hope and pray that all of you back home are doing okay also. I love all of you guys and can't wait till I have more stories to share with all of you guys. Can't wait to hear back.


Elder Wallentine

Monday, August 5, 2013


Hey so my first week was super cool. I got an awesome trainer and i got placed in a part of Phoenix called Maryvale. It is a ton like how Jason would describe Phili to us. There are gangsters everywhere and everybody smokes and drinks and in a lot of the houses that we visit we can smell marijuana.  It is really gross. But anyways the members here are really nice and we all tease each other already even though I have only been here for one Sunday! Its awesome.

So far here we have done a ton of cooking for ourselves just because there are like 80 active members and like 300 inactive members.  It’s crazy. It has been like 110 degrees since the day that I got here to Phoenix and it is supposed to be starting to cool down to like 90's for the next month. I am super excited! I’m doing fine adjusting to mission life.  It is really not that hard. By the time you have to be back in the apartment and stuff at night you just want to lay down and pass out.  Its crazy.

We teach so many people and there are so many people here to teach. In our ward there is maybe like 80-100 active members and then there are 300 inactive members. So we have some work cut out for us to do here. It is super exciting to know that all of the boys in the ward are stepping up and trying to set a good example now that I am gone. I really hope that Brenden and Riley get on missions soon so that they can write to me from where they are serving!

The mission field is definitely a lot different than how I expected it. I thought that it would be like so strict that it would ruin all for the fun.  But it is the exact opposite. Some of the rules are actually there and they make it better and of course safer for us to be around. Where I am everybody has their bikes duct taped just to make them look like they are really crappy bikes so that they wont get stolen. But I haven’t done that yet so as of right now my bike is probably in the hands of some Mexican Gangster downtown or something. It is really weird to think that there are places as poor and dirty as this place is here in the US. It’s crazy to think about. everybody lives in apartments and we get fed very little by the members. Almost all of the members are recent converts also.

Well it’s been amazing so far mostly because I haven’t been mugged or beaten up yet so that is the upside along with every other part of my mission.

Elder Wallentine

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Brother and Sister Hoopes housed and fed the new elders breakfast the first night and morning in the mission field.

New missionaries that arrived in the Tempe, AZ mission.

Elder Wallentine with President and Sister Toone.

Elder Wallentine being. . .. well. . . Elder Wallentine!

Elder Wallentine ran into his cousin, Elder Barber, on the last day he was in the MTC.  A happy reunion!