Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hey Everybody!

 JB's baptism was for sure one of the highlights of this last transfer! I will remember that day and the time that we have taught him for the rest of my life! I totally agree with you when you said that you felt like you were more in tune with the Spirit when you bring non-member friends with you to the temple open house and to church and stuff. It is so true! If you can feel the Spirit now, then if you actually get out there and begin to do missionary work then it just enhances that feeling by 200% easily! :) It is so awesome and that is one thing that I have come to know as I have been out here in the mission field!

As for contact with JB now, the ward takes over most of it, but we still go over there every once and a while just to check up on him and share a message really fast. He can come with us to lessons and stuff now so that is super cool. Last Monday he took me and Elder Watters to Dillards! They had an amazing sale over there! Everything in the store was 65% off with another 50% off of that price! So I bought a pretty cool tie that was priced $60 but got it for $10! It was awesome! 

With the new members though such as JB it is for sure a huge culture shock at first! Our mission president talked about it at the beginning of my mission and the Zone Leaders talk about it a ton! WHICH PROBABLY MEANS IT IS IMPORTANT! But they compared it to if you were to go to a party that you didn't know anybody, and nobody talked to you. If that happened you obviously would not feel very comfortable staying. I would just walk out of the party just as some people walk out of the church because they are not used to that feeling. That is why it is so important for the members of the ward to make sure they stay involved and make sure that those people who come do not feel left out or like they are strangers there. I did not even notice in the ward back home if there was a non-member there, which is kind of sad that I was not in that mind set back home of making sure that everyone is comfortable. But I guess that is one thing  that I will need to make sure that I take home from my mission! 
Oh man the mission is going so good right now for me!!! :) This week was probably the best week in the transfer so far! We had tons of lessons and taught so many people that it was keeping us way busy! It was amazing! It really helps when you have these experiences together of teaching Gods children that are here ready to learn! Pretty cool! I have also been learning how to better serve him. I definitely think it is the little things that help the most.  I have learned some things that have helped our companionship, too.  Every once and a while I will do his dishes for him, and last night I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed, and I even cleaned the bathroom--which anybody in their right mind would say that I was crazy for even touching a bathroom that had only been used by 18 and 19 year old boys! hahaha  But I got through it! :) 

Anyways it was so awesome to hear from ya and I am so happy that you shared those experiences and stories with me. I think that is exactly what I need to do and work on with my companion as well! :) Thanks Again!

Love you all,
Elder Brandon Wallentine

P.S These pictures are just from a few weeks ago.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

So, we had a really exciting week this last week. It was awesome! First, we had JB at church with us again and he was ready for baptism.  He chose me to baptize him and he also wanted me to speak at his baptism! The service was so awesome and it was so cool to be able to have the experience to baptize him since I have been teaching him almost every day for the past 7 weeks! It was amazing! :) 

That night we got news that rather than not being able to go to the Gilbert temple open house, we are able to go once with an investigator and a member, so I am hoping that we will be able to make it! I am sure that we will! Then yesterday on Sunday JB got confirmed and then that night we were able to go with him to the Mission President Devotional where two very recent converts spoke and then the mission president and his counselor! It was so awesome and then after it was over JB told me that he wants me to talk to President Toone and ask him if he can speak at the next one coming up next month! It was awesome!

Thank you so much for all of those experiences that you shared with me and also for telling me that story about the missionaries! I love you guys so much and I am so happy that I chose to come out here on a mission even though some things are kinda crazy and really make you wonder why it is happening to you.  I know it all works out in the end and will be for the best!  Anyways, thank you a ton for everything!

Love you guys,
Elder Brandon Wallentine

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello Everybody!!!

So this week was a pretty good week and it was for sure a busier week for us than the other weeks have been. Transfer calls were last night and we were almost positive that one of us would be transferred out but it seems that both of us are staying for at least another transfer. This will be the very first transfer that I am not being trained or training which will be a little bit weird. I really liked training and was kinda hoping that I would still be training again :) 

We continued to go over to that guy's house that we have been teaching, and he is doing amazing and growing more and more every single day! It was awesome because we got him interviewed and set up his baptismal program this last week.  He said that he wants me to speak at it and baptize him. :) I am super excited, especially because this is someone that I have been working with this entire transfer! He's awesome! 

We also had another really cool experience this week.  I was on exchanges leading out my area with the district leader and we were going around to some apartment complexes looking for some of the less-active families that live around there.  As we were walking back to the car, I heard someone yell, "HEY ARE YOU GUYS MORMONS?"  So I turned around and said, "YEAH WE ARE!"  So, she told us to come over. They told us that they have been looking for a church to attend.  They had been going to another church, but her boyfriend is a member of the Mormon church but just less-active. So we talked to them then and every day since then. They were able to make it to church yesterday and me and a member went and picked them up! It was a super cool experience and it was an awesome day yesterday!

So that meeting that we had on Saturday where Elder Holland was going to show up and talk to us and the two other missions still happened, but Elder Holland wasn't able to make it because he got called to be on another assignment that day.  Instead, we had Elder Wright from the Seventy come and talk to us as well as his wife and the three mission presidents and their wives! It was really cool because I also got to go and see Elder Erikson and Elder May again which was super fun! Me and Elder May have our futures all planned out already. We are both going to go to BYU-I, work on a potato farm, and then live in Idaho for the rest of our lives and be the classic Mormon friends that met on the mission! Its going to be awesome! :)  It is so much fun when we get together as a mission though! I love it! 

I am for sure getting way less homesick than I thought I would out here on the mission though! Every once in a while I get a tiny bit homesick, but when we are busy (which is all of the time) it is a ton easier to keep that off of my mind.  Anyways, thank you so much for all of the stuff that you guys do for me and all that you have done for me! 

Elder Wallentine

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

Hey, thank you so much again for all of the treats!  It is lasting me quite a while, so it is awesome! Me and my companion got moved again this last week, so now we live on the other side of our area!  I also received a little package of letters from the primary the other day! That was so fun for me to read the little notes that Caleb and the other kids put inside of it! I didn't even realize that some of those kids would even remember me! haha 

That is really cool about the ward fast you had for missionary opportunities because that is something that we are trying to work on right now as well--finding people to teach! We are still teaching the guy that we have been visiting for a while and he is so awesome! I cannot wait for his baptism and it is exciting me so much! He is so awesome! Last night when we went over there he told us that he's noticed that ever since we have been coming over, it has changed him.  He didn't think he was selfish, but he realized that now he is putting other people's needs before his.  Even in little things like cutting someone off in the parking lot of a store.  It is really cool for me to  see how people become better once the gospel of Jesus Christ is in their lives! It is such a blessing to have people like that in your life to make everything else worth while! 

This week I was thinking about things I miss about home--my family and friends, and wearing my basketball shorts and t-shirts every day.  But there is nothing better than being here right now!  It is awesome! Our church schedule got changed to 9 o'clock so we have some early meetings which gets us up and ready really quick! :) The members here in the ward are super nice and we went over and visited some of them this past week.  We walked into one and they gave us some apple pie, ice cream, and ice cold water! It was awesome!  Then we went to Ross today, and I found this nerf gun which is really fun since the whole zone basically has them so we can have giant nerf wars! 

There are not as many stories for me to tell like I had from Maryvale! Everybody here in Ahwatukee calls Maryvale Scary-ville! Hahahah It is so funny! I love it!!! Well, I love you guys and I will tell you guys how this next week goes! I am doing a training to the zone tomorrow and then on Saturday, Elder Holland is coming and he is going to speak to all of the Arizona Missions! So that will be super fun!!  I am super stoked! Have a FANTASTIC week parental units and family!!! Oh and everybody else that read this!!!

Elder Wallentine

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dear Friends and Family!!!
Christmas was awesome being able to talk to all of you guys and to see your faces again! Isn't it weird that it has almost been 6 months since I left home for the MTC? Time has flown by. Oh and by the way, if I email home in a few weeks saying that I've gained a ton of weight--that is all thanks to you guys giving me all the candy and good food for Christmas! Luckily I have been able to make them last a week so far, so I am doing good, but I am sure that I will cave in one of these days and eat them all! :)

That is kinda cool that Emily was able to give a talk on Obedience yesterday after having that experience happen to her so recently. It really helps when you are teaching people to have an experience that can go along with and kind of help you relate to the other people that you are trying to teach. My companion and I taught the lesson in Young Women yesterday at church about standing as a witness. We used a talk from 2008 and an object lesson about being in the world but not of the world. It was really cool for me because we talked about how 2 of the biggest ways that people view us is through our language and the way that we dress. So, with the language I was able to share an experience about football and how my teammates were trying to get me to swear! I'm not sure I ever even told you guys about that and what all happened.  But, that was a really good experience for me!  It was helpful to have an experience like that to share, plus I brought suckers for all of the young women, so it made it all the better! ;)

Other than that this week has been pretty busy and we were able to teach that super awesome guy again this week and he came to church with us! That was awesome! We went over to his house last night and we have been reading from the Book of Mormon with him.  We read 1 Nephi 8 and I drew out Lehi's vision and shared with him what all of it meant and it was a super awesome lesson! Not to mention he told me to sign the picture and that he is going to hang it up on his wall! hahaha MY ART IS FAMOUS!!! :)

But, yeah it was a good week and I look forward to another awesome week in the mission field! I love you guys tons and don't worry. . . I am safe here, especially now that I got my new guard dog! Oh, and I got Avengers Socks!!!
Elder Wallentine

Oh and by the way, the lamp in the picture is what I used as my own personal Christmas tree this year! hahaha