Monday, April 28, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Hey, so this week was a really fun week just because we were able to stay so busy! It seems like when we are crazy busy we are able to have so much FUN out here on the mission! I was thinking a lot this week about missionaries that just get so discouraged to where they don't even get up in the morning on time and they just try to lay around all day rather than GET TO WORK! I do not know how they deal with it. Missions are super hard in every way, shape, and form, but I know that if I just sat around all day long it would only be harder. Part of the reason that we are always able to stay so busy is because of the members and the leaders in our ward. It is so awesome when we go out to a member's home and receive some names to go by! (even it the people are members) Sometimes when we are feeling a little bit discouraged we will go over to a members home and share a little spiritual message with them and it always, without fail, makes me HAPPY again. I LOVE THE WARD THAT I AM IN RIGHT NOW! I am going to be here for at least a few more weeks and then I bet that I will be staying for another 6 weeks as well to finish training Elder McMichael. So it will be awesome.

Another huge blessing that we put to use on our mission is the ability that we have to PLAN AHEAD OF TIME! We take time every night to do some planning for the next day. I never thought that planning would be so important, but it really makes the difference between a GREAT DAY and a BAD DAY. Without a plan of what we are going to to we can for sure go and try to visit people, but if we have a plan written down, then Heavenly Father also has that plan and he can place people in our paths that need to hear our message, or just that we can help! I HAVE GAINED SUCH A STRONG TESTIMONY OF THAT FOR SURE!!!

This week our ward also had a really fun Ward Chili Cook-off that Elder McMichael and myself were able to go to for our dinner. It was super awesome because we got to see a ton of the members of the ward just being themselves and we also got to see some people that we have not seen before (members and non-members). It was AWESOME! We had a ton of different kinds of chili and all of them were super amazing! I don't think that I had 1 that I didn't like which is always a good thing. However, I am really surprised that I really haven't been fed many things that I don't like. That is probably just because I am a 19 year old boy who just loves eating anything and everything! I'm not too picky on what I put in my tank! :) But it was super fun for sure to get to hang out with some of the members.

Oh,  and there is a super cool thing going on two Sundays from now! :) I bet you don't know what that is!!! MOTHERS DAY!!! Which also means that I get to call home! I need to know what time to call you guys during the day on Sunday so that I don't call when you are at church or something. Just let me know in your next email on Monday what time would work for you guys and I will be sure to call during that time! On Sunday church for me starts at 9am and goes until Noon and then we usually will have our dinner appointments at 5pm so really any time for us between those times would work perfect! It is super crazy how fast this has come up and it seems like I just barely saw all of you guys on Skype for Christmas! Time is FLYING!

At church yesterday we had a really good experience because we were able to have some of the people that we are teaching or just getting started to teach show up! It always feels so good to know that people are actually willing to come out to church and then when we get there we all just get such a good feeling inside! I love it! Before sacrament meeting started though, we were going around and talking to some of the members that are in the ward which is always super fun to do! One lady that I started to talk to, also had fed us earlier in the week which was fun, and she pulled me aside and told me how she thought that I was just a solid missionary. She said that she was talking about it to some other ladies in the ward and some of them were wondering why and how I got to be like that. Then she said that someone guessed that I had some older brothers. haha So I told her that I for sure do have 2 older brothers and a dad who all went on missions! I never really realized how much that example helped me to get out on my mission. There are so many things that can distract us from what we need to be doing as a missionary, but having brothers and a dad who went through the exact same thing that I am going through makes it a lot easier for me for sure! Plus I know my EGO would be hurt really bad if I didn't do everything that Jason and Ryan did and BETTER! Just kidding! But I am very happy that she told me that because it made me start thinking about that.

That is super awesome that you and Emily were able to go and attend Wicked. I still remember when we went and saw that play in London! That was probably the coolest thing ever. They had some really cool effects and stuff that went on. :) I didn't even realize that Emily never got to see it. That is crazy! Anyways make sure to tell everybody hi for me and that I love you all tons! GOOD JOB IN BASEBALL TOO CALEB! :) YOU ARE AWESOME! KEEP IT UP IN TRACK TYLER! Emily I don't really know what you are doing with your life right now BUT KEEP DOING AWESOME AT WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING! ;) LOVE YOU MOM, DAD, JASON, KATIE, RYAN, RYAN'S FUTURE WIFE, ASHLEY, BOB (BRANDON), TYLER, EMILY, CALEB, COLLETTE, AND IZZY! :D Bam I still remember all y'all!

Elder Brandon Wallentine

P.S The picture of the Waffles is from Sunday! I got a brilliant idea to make waffles out of the funfetti cake mix! They were delicious, but I think that will be just a one time thing due to how unhealthy they probably were for me and Elder McMichael! Then the missionary picture is a mission "Family Picture." Elder Forson (my trainer) is on the left side of me in the picture. Then all of the missionaries that I have trained are off to the right side of the picture. The ones on the far left are the ones Elder Forson trained. Then the two below are some of the ones that Elder Erikson (my first trainee) trained. SUPER AWESOME!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hello Everyone! 
That is super cool how that turned out so well for G & G's anniversary! I am super happy that you guys were all able to go and that I had a picture there to represent me! :) That sounds like it was a blast! Those pictures of the quilt look really cool too. That must have taken quite a bit of time. But looks like it was totally worth it so GOOD JOB mom! I love that picture that is on there of our family because I think that is the picture that I have of us out here on my mission as well! I haven't looked at the pictures that I have in a while but when I do it is really fun to see everyone again for sure! I just recently looked at some of the pictures that the Elwood's have of me the night before I left for the MTC and it is so funny to me because I can remember like everything that we did that night and what I did in the MTC, but I cannot remember what happened like last week. ;) I must be getting old already! haha That is super scary about what happened to Jackson though and I am super happy that he is ok. I remember one time I was out on a camp out for scouts and we were going fishing and trying to catch frogs in a little pond. Under the water there was like a broken barbed wire fence and I just so happened to step on it. That wasn't even fun to feel going into my foot so I can't even imagine how it felt for him running into it. 

This week was pretty fun for me though because it was my first week that I actually did things that a District Leader does. I got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Wednesday night this week to Thursday night and it was super fun. At the very beginning of my mission I always thought that when you have to go with the Zone Leaders it was always a bad thing and it meant that you are in trouble or something. But it was super fun because I have some really cool Zone Leaders and we went and were able to find a few people. For dinner that night we went out to a members house in the singles ward where the Zone Leaders serve and we had some Macaroni! It was super good just to have some of that since I haven't had it in quite a while! :) I remember when you used to just make some Macaroni and cheese with some hot dogs in it! That stuff was DELICIOUS! I just wish that I would have known how much i really liked it while I was home so that I could have eaten more of it! But the members in the ward that I am serving in are super cool and we get fed about every night here! They make sure to try to get us nice and FAT!

Then on Friday we went on exchanges again with some of the Elders in my district which was super fun. I let my companion take a break and he got to leave the area and go into the other Elders area so he didn't have to worry about knowing directions and stuff. But he is learning his way around really fast which is super awesome! :) But we went out and we were actually able to get into some houses and it was super fun to be able to share messages with some of the people that we have not even ever met before! That was a blast! Then what made the night was when we were heading back on our bikes to the car in the apartment complex we were in we saw some chairs sitting next to the trash can. So we went over and made sure that they were not broken or anything and that they didn't stink or have anything gross on them. They were perfectly good chairs and so we took them and carried them on our bikes to the car and took them home! :) It was a great find! It was pretty funny!

I am still loving the mission even though it is super hard to be away from all of you guys (family & friends). Oh and you will be happy to know that we were well taken care of for Easter dinner and stuff yesterday! We got invited over to a families house in the ward who usually has had us over for the holidays! :) They had a fun little game that they did instead of the Easter egg hunt. The mom hid all of these clues all around the house that led them all over the house and also all the way down the street and then once they find the last clue then they get their Easter baskets! It was super fun and I think that is something that I want to try to do with my kids when I get older and stuff! :) I think the classic Easter egg hunts are for sure best for the little kids and I always loved them when I was little, but this is really cool with the teenagers and stuff! :) Anyways I love you all and I am so happy that I have this chance to come out for 2 years to be able to spread the things that I know to be true! You guys are all awesome and I cant wait to hear back from all of you! :)


Elder Brandon Wallentine

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

I miss you guys SO MUCH, but it is good to be out here doing the Lord’s work for a while so that not only do I get this experience of continuing to work hard, and work with all sorts of people, but it is really nice to also get to know God a little more. It is amazing how much you can tell that God plays such a huge role in our lives. 

This week there was something really cool that happened to us in particular. We had been teaching this really cool investigator back when I was with Elder Watters who was super interested. But then after about 2 lessons we found out that one of the other members of the family doesn't want us coming over anymore and that they are not really interested. That was super sad because the family was super cool and super open, too. 

Then we were out visiting people this week and our investigators name popped into my head randomly. One thing that I have learned so far on my mission is that when someone’s name pops in your head you better go over there as soon as you can. So we rode our bikes right over to their apartment and the door was wide open! :) I knocked on the door and someone said, "Hello?" Then I said, "Hey Hey! It’s the missionaries!" Her reply to that was "Oh come on in!" That was super surprising! So we walked in and found our investigator and the other family members were all there. We asked if there was anything that they needed help with, and they said no like most do. But we said, "Well hey, could we come by another time this week and share another one of the messages with you?" They said, "Yes! Tomorrow." So we went over there yesterday after church and had a really good discussion with them and they said that we could also come back again this next week and talk to them more! It was AWESOME! :D

It is really crazy that Elder Roberts is already over in India and that I am training again. I have only had 1 "normal transfer" my entire mission so far and all of the other ones I have ether been training, or being trained myself! Everybody knows me in the mission basically now because I have already been a trainer for 4 times now and I am only 9 months out. :) It is really cool to be able to have such a good experience so early on in my mission and I hope that I can continue to have good experiences while I am here for the 2 years! It also really helps that I have another pretty cool Trainee! His name is Elder Sean Michael McMichael ;b! Pretty funny because he is also from Idaho and he lives up in a town west of Nampa where it is apparently just complete country and he really enjoys talking about trucks, and basically anything else country! It is pretty funny.

On Wednesday we were able to go to transfer meeting and they called the entire mission there which is really out of the blue and does not happen very often at all. We were all kind of wondering what was going to be so special about this meeting and what was going to make it so different from all of the other ones that we have had so far since I have been on my mission. It was really cool though because President Toone just felt like all of us needed to get together to hear all of the training that he had for the trainers this transfer. It was a giant training meeting by President Toone which are always really good and really enjoyable to listen too! Also, another good thing about the meeting is that I was able to see Elder May, Elder Erikson, Elder Forson, and a ton of my other friends from the MTC and stuff! It is always fun for me to be able to catch up with all of those guys and see how everything is going!

Well, that is about all that I have for now other than THIS WEEK IS GOING TO BE THE BEST WEEK EVER! I have made a goal to make the district that I am serving in right now the closest district in the entire mission! My first area in the mission in Maryvale we always did fun activities whether it was basketball or hiking we always did something. So I am going to try to get an activity set up for every week on P-Day so that we are able to have fun and we are also going to be the MOST OBEDIENT missionaries in the entire mission! It is going to be way cool! We have set our goals high and we are going to hit them! :) I’m super Excited! Well I love all of you guys! 

Elder Wallentine

Oh and the picture with all of the missionaries in it that is attached is all of the mission "Posterity" (trainees) that Elder Forson and I got going!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

It is super good to hear from you!  It is super awesome to be able to hear what is going on back home and how you all liked conference! Conference definitely had a super different impact on me this time than I think it really ever has before! The first day on Saturday was super good talking about technology and repentance! It was super cool! :D I wrote down some really good notes so I will be able to post up on Facebook some of my favorite quotes from conference! I especially liked Elder Bednar's talk about the "Load." It gave me a completely different outlook on my struggles and my short comings here in life. I never really thought about us not really being able to do anything without our own personal "Loads" in this life. Even though sometimes we can be so heavily loaded that it seems like we cannot even get out of bed in the morning. It is nice to know that not all of the load has to be on us as long as we just let the Atonement into our lives! As we do that then our weaknesses can be made strong! 

I had a really cool experience with the scripture Helaman 5:12 this weekend. On Friday night we were meeting with someone that we are teaching and she was talking about a disaster that had happened and how it made her just feel awful. We talked for a while and I felt like I needed to share that scripture with her. It has always been my favorite since seminary, which is why I also chose to put that one on my missionary plaque back home! :) But then when we went to conference that scripture was repeated 2-3 times! It was really cool to be able to see how important it is to have Christ as our "FIRM FOUNDATION" and even though it is really hard to do that sometimes we will always be better off as we do it!

Early on this transfer we found out that Elder Roberts, my companion, had recieved his Visa to go off to India where he was originally called to serve! It is so crazy how fast time went because Sunday night I had to take him to the mission home to drop him off so that he could go and catch his flight this morning at 6:30. CRAZY!!! So now he is on his way to his mission field and it was so cool to be able to serve with him! He was a really cool companion! :) Right now I am in a triple companionship with the other 2 Elders that live with us for the next couple of days until I get my new companion at transfer meeting! GUESS WHAT!!! .............I......................................................................................AM..................................................................................TRAINING.................................AGAIN..........................................AND.....................................I...................AM..........................................................................................A...............................DISTRICT..................................................LEADER................................AT........................................THE.........................................SAME...........................................TIME!!!  It is going to be super crazy and it is really cool that I am able to have the chance to be able to train so many new missionaries! This is my 4th "son" (trainee) on my mission! :) I love training because all of the new missionaries always have something that the other missionaries call "GREENIE FIRE" to where they are just pumped up and ready to go out and work! It is also really fun because then I know that I have to be the best missionary that I can possibly be and make sure to keep all of the rules so that the missionaries that I train are the MOST OBEDIENT missionaries in the Arizona Tempe mission! I am STOKED! :)

Before Elder Roberts left we got a call from President Toone on Tuesday night and he wanted to know if since Elder Roberts is leaving soon, if we would like to join him and the other missionaries who are leaving this transfer for a session at the GILBERT TEMPLE! :) So obviously in a really not excited voice we assured him that I guess if nothing else comes up that we would come with him to the temple! ;b JK We were super excited!!! When we were driving over to Gilbert it was super cool because you can see the angel Moroni from the freeway! So you know exactly where to go to get to it! It was the most beautiful Temple that I have ever seen and I am so grateful that I finally had the opportunity to go inside it and perform ordinances so that everybody is given the chance to ACCEPT or REJECT the truth! It was super awesome! Well, that is about it that went on this week and I am just looking forward to meeting my new companion here on Wednesday! :) 

Make sure that everybody back home knows that I am doing awesome and I am for sure keeping a smile on my face! I miss you guys, but I would rather not be anywhere else other than here right now! :)

Elder Brandon Wallentine