Monday, June 30, 2014

Hello Everyone!!

Well, the baptism went super well! We ended up meeting with the girl who got baptized 2 times before the baptism and it was super cool to see how excited she really was to get baptized. I think that it relates perfectly to what was happening at Temple Square. She was so ready to hear the gospel, and she was truly searching for it. Even if those protesters at the Manti Pageant did end up getting baptized just because they felt like it, if the spirit wasn't there to teach and testify to them it doesn't really do much good for them. It is really sad to think that there are really people out here that are just here to manipulate, and break people down on their beliefs. I think that it is a huge waste of time for people to do that. Oh well! ;) If you have a firm foundation, and know what you believe, then it is best to share what we believe with all of the other people around them. Tyler is super brave to go up and talk with those people in my opinion. I have come across people like that several times now, and it is really never a very positive experience unless you take a good laugh out of it. :D

Well, this was a super cool week for Elder Bono and myself! We had set a goal that I definitely believed to be a faith-filled goal to teach some people this week. We met our goal! I was so happy to have finally really accomplished this huge goal that we had set before in my previous areas and finally meet it! This area had very little work in it before I came here and was placed with Elder Bono, and now the work is BOOMING! It is a great time to be a missionary! One really cool experience that we were able to have this week in a teaching opportunity is when we went and talked about the restoration of the gospel with some teenage kids who are looking into the church. We brought some of the young men from the ward over with us so that they had some friends in the church! It was such a powerful lesson, and they are on date to be baptized on July 19th! I am so excited for them!

One of the boys asked a really good question to me this week though! He said, "Why do I need to be baptized again, if I was already baptized?" Meaning that he had been baptized in another church when he was younger. I always love it when people ask that because it just shows that they are so willing to ACT on what they believe! They have already taken such a great step of faith in the other church to know that baptism really does cleanse us. Then we talked a lot about Jesus Christ and the Priesthood that He and the Apostles held. We explained that if that power was in the old church, it would make sense that it would be back now in the restored church. It totally makes sense! I love it how we can trace our authority straight back to Jesus Christ. It is a huge testimony builder to me that this CHURCH IS TRUE!!! I love this gospel and I love you guys so much for helping me do the things that I needed to do to get out here on a mission. I know that as I keep a smile on my face that it will not only help me, but everybody around me. I have had so many people so far say to me, "ARE YOU EVER NOT SMILING?" It still puts me in shock when I hear that. I just say, "Well I can’t really think of a specific time that I don't smile for sure!"

Elder Wallentine

Oh P.S. we went bowling last Monday and the pictures of the lizard is because we caught a lizard the other day! ;) #ARIZONASWAG

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Wow!!! That sounds like it was a super good experience for everybody that was able to go out on Trek this year. I was so happy and blessed to be able to go just a few years ago. I think that it really helped me to really gain confidence in myself that I am able to do hard things. It really has helped me on my mission when there are hard times and I catch myself thinking that it is "Too Hard" for me, and that it would be easier if I just went home. I just think about all of the hard things that I have done so far in my life. Such as when our family moved to Belgium and we had to go to a Flemish speaking school and church also. That was one of the hardest things that I personally have done. I know that without family at that time I would not have made it through that for sure. I think the most powerful thing that I remember from that trip to Belgium is the missionaries that came by the hotel that we were staying at for the first 2 weeks. The missionaries said that they had been praying that they would have a family come that would be at church every Sunday who they could count on. Then we came! :) Awesome experience.

The other experiences that help me may not seem super big in the eyes of others, but they were for me. One of them being my experience with football in high school. Countless times I would come home from a hard practice or a game that I thought went wrong, and I would tell you and dad that I just wanted to give up. But I remember a promise that I made to you guys at the very beginning of every season that if I were to start, I would make sure to stick with it until the end. That really helped me. I stuck with it for all 4 years of high school, and by doing that I was really able to learn discipline, and really how to just get down and work! I think it relates perfectly to the part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is "Enduring to the End." Although things like missions, football, moving, high school, and work may be super hard and frustrating at times, I know now that as we just push forward with a good attitude, everything will be totally worth it in the end.

I love this gospel and the opportunity that I have to be here as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I am really happy that I have had the chance to serve in the Maryvale, Ahwatukee 2nd, and now the Shalimar and Del Rio Wards. I have really come to love how in each area that I serve in, it is a new chance that I have to learn and grow from each of the people there. I know that each of the areas have played such a big role in my life already. In Maryvale it really tested me to grow my testimony to the point that I could really stand up for my beliefs. The members of the ward really helped to encourage me to keep on going, and always told me how nice it was to see me each Sunday. Brother Hansen in that ward would always come to me and say that I reminded him of his grandson, and just how he was always so happy when he saw that I was always SMILING!

In Ahwatukee so many of the members had such a big affect on me. I was there for 6 months and all of the members there really loved to serve the Lord. They really wanted to do missionary work. I really look up to each and every member of that ward! :) That ward will always have a special place with me because of how welcoming they were to me when I came into the area. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

I really am excited for these next few weeks being here in the Shalimar and Del Rio wards. I am hoping to be able to make this ward one of my favorite wards to be in just as the other 2 that I have been in so far have been!

This last week we were able to go over and teach this 12 year old girl that is going to be baptized on the 28th. I am super excited for her because she has been coming to church for the past few weeks and is really into all of the classes! Every time that we meet we always have to make a comment on her shirts because she always wears like all of these Dr. Seuss shirts. They are super funny! :) We are going to reach some crazy goals this next week which I am really excited for! When we meet these goals it will be the best transfer of the mission so far. Elder Bono and myself are doing all that we can to meet our goal of instead of covering 2 wards, getting each ward their own sets of missionaries! I am super excited!

We recently had a Zone Meeting and there were some really cool things that were discussed! One of the things was talks about service here in the mission field. The missionary program in Salt Lake is working with the Bishops and Stake Presidents on making a web site where the church is going to post any community service opportunities on it. Then they are going to post that they have a huge group of young men and women (missionaries) that could come and help out! It is going to be strictly no proselyting so we don't even get to wear our tags, but it is going to be super cool. We are able to just show by example that we are hard working and that we do actually practice what we teach. I am super excited! I don't have enough time to go into the other thing that is changing. But remind me and I will let you know in my letter next week!

Elder Brandon Wallentine

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hello Everyone,

Hey, so this week was a super good week! All of the sudden all of the weeks seem to be going by even faster than they were just a couple of months ago! It is super crazy. It is really nice when the week goes by fast though because then you know that you were busy. Which this week was one of the best weeks of my mission so far, which is also one of the busiest weeks of my mission.

Since I am the District Leader, I get to work with all of the Elders in my district for one day out of the transfer. So I got all of the exchanges all finished and I was able to go out into the other areas and see how the other missionaries in my District are doing. One of the exchanges was super fun! I went with a missionary named Elder Auna from Hawaii. He is just one of the coolest guys that I have ever met. We got along so well and were able to have a super fun exchange. We started off the exchange with a service project that we did for some members of his ward. His yard hadn't been covered with rocks yet so it was just dirt. So he bought about 4 tons of rocks and our job was to take the rocks with shovels and wheel barrows, and spread them all over the yard. That was super fun! It was just Elder Auna, the member, and myself doing all of the work and we got done in about 3.5 hours. It was a job well done for sure. That is one thing that I love out here, service. I love just getting down to business and getting a good physical job every once and a while! :) It is really relaxing, as weird as it sounds, for me to just go out and WORK!!! I LOVE IT!

Other than the other missionaries areas, our area is BOOMING right now! This week we set some pretty high expectations for how much we want to teach, and how much we want to find. But we didn't only meet the goals that we set, we EXCEEDED them! It was super awesome! I love the feeling that we get inside when we have a goal set and we are able to accomplish it!

On that note I gave a training to my District on Wishful thinking, and setting faith-filled goals. I realized that most of my mission so far I have been more wishful thinking. I noticed that the goals I have been setting would be really nice if I was able to meet them with my companion, but it probably wasn’t going to happen based on the background of the area. So in this new area in Tempe, I decided that I was going to learn how to set good faith-filled goals. I have done that and I looked to the past results and how all of the goals have been pushing us just enough to where we are growing. We started out teaching only about 3 lessons with a member present this transfer. Now 2 weeks ago we taught 9, and this last week we taught 16!!! :) It was so awesome! I love being a missionary! One thing that has really helped me so far is that President Toone has noticed a problem in the mission of missionaries calling their areas "Dead Areas" meaning that there is no work to be done there. But he counseled with us and told us to go into our areas and think POSITIVELY! So I did, and it has brought great results!

I have really grown these last couple of transfers and I know that it is because my Heavenly Father is really helping me to keep on moving forward with a positive attitude that I am always trying to have! I am so glad that I was able to know how to keep a positive attitude back home (most of the time). I think one thing that really helped me was working at Wahooz, although it sounds kinda weird. While I was working there we are always supposed to look excited and happy. So that just kinda got me in the habit of smiling! Then on top of that they always wanted us running around and staying busy everywhere that we went which really got me to work hard! It was AWESOME!!! :D

Happy Fathers Day Dad! Thanks for being the best dad that you could possibly be! I know that I am kinda a pain to deal with sometimes, but you did what you could to help me. I know that if it wasn’t for you teaching me discipline, and showing me how to work hard that I would have a harder time on my mission today. I know that at the end of the day it was my choice to come out on a mission, but it sure made it a lot easier for me when I had an awesome Dad that served, and two brothers after you! Thanks for everything and I love you Dad! :)

Elder Wallentine!

P.S. TOMORROW IS MY 11 MONTH MARK OUT HERE IN THE MISSION FIELD! CRAZY! Oh and the picture of me in a pink shirt is of when we had a zone activity! We went and got super hero socks, V-necks, Bandannas, and we wore a tie! It was awesome!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hello Everybody,

I am so happy that you told me that story about Valentine. That is a super huge comfort to me that I am out here doing the same work that those two Elders were doing and I am not going through nearly as much trouble as they went through. Of course there are some things now that they didn't have to worry about back then, but at least I don't really have to worry about being beaten. That really just strengthens your testimony of the power of the gospel, and how much it can really impact people’s lives. Valentine could have easily given up the two Elders in fear for himself and his own family, but he didn't. I think that is a great example of not fearing man more than God. In a very literal sense. When I put that story into my own head and think about it, I just think of all of the members here that are so willing to stand up for us, and also just in little ways help us so that we can continue in the work as productively as possible.

Back when I has in Ahwatukee I had a really good experience with someone standing up for me even though they didn't even know who I was. Elder McMichael and myself were biking down this street called Knox where our church building was, when a car drove past after being stopped at a stop light and yelled, "#@*% Mormons!" I am already pretty used to stuff like that just because it has been happening my whole mission so far. But then something really cool happened. There were 3 teenagers in a car that was behind them and they said to us out the window, "Hey, sorry that those guys said that to you." It was so nice to know that there really are people that will just be good people rather than do something that they are going to regret in the future. I love when things like that happen.

This week was another super good week for Elder Bono and I. We have been really good these past few weeks at setting goals and actually FOLLOWING THROUGH with the goals that we have set. This past week we really wanted to focus on inviting people to be baptized and also making sure that we have members out with us to every lesson that we have. It brought so many miracles to do that. We have one girl that is 12 years old that is looking into baptism and she is actually going to be baptized on the 28th of this month! I am so excited! Then, I also was able to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders this past week which was super fun! I got to live with the Assistants for the day! Elder Jurgensmeier, Elder Kloepfer, and my trainer Elder Forson. Then the name of the Zone Leader I was with is Elder Bressler. It was such a blast because I brought my giant fluffy dog with me on exchanges and put it on Elder Forson’s bed before he came in for the night. That was a big surprise for him! ;) Then when the exchange was almost done we went back and tossed the dog in the trunk of the car (it took up like the entire trunk), and went on our way. We brought it to the institute building and took pictures with it and some of the investigators and members! It was AWESOME! Then to finish the night we went on like a little road on ASU campus and did a CHINESE FIRE DRILL! That was super fun! Then right after that we went to a place called "Joe's Italian Ice" and got free Italian Ice because we are missionaries! Super good week and Exchange! It was the best!!!

Well, I am for sure still smiling, and doing awesome out here in the mission field. I am eager to make this transfer the best one of my entire mission so far! It will be awesome! I know that this Gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is really another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that as we read it and continue to study the words of the prophets we will grow to love Christ and know him even more!

Elder Brandon Wallentine

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Man, this week has gone by so fast. It is super crazy that I never really believed that the mission would be going by fast, and yet here I am and I am almost halfway done with my whole mission. That is super crazy to think about. But, we had a really good week and as we were out we had a few funny little things happen to us! :D NOBODY GOT HURT SO DON'T WORRY.

One of the things that happened was super funny.  We were biking around an apartment complex trying to find some people to visit and this guy drove past us and yelled, "GET A REAL JOB YOU FREAKS!"  That really surprised me, but we didn’t think too much about it.  We just continued around the complex looking for one of the member’s apartment numbers. Then we see the guy again. . . this time out of his car. He started walking up to me with a raised voice. But it was really crazy because he probably got a good 2 inches away from my face and he was yelling "WHAT! WHAT! WHAT!" at me like he was going to do something. But, I just stayed calm and kept smiling at him just saying that we are here visiting some members of our church. He then proceeded to say a bunch of useless things, so then we just said well you have a great day and headed off. It was really funny because all of those experiences really just come to help me learn that even though not everybody is going to accept the message that we share, there are always people who will and we just need to continue in DILIGENCE to find those people.

Another really funny thing that happened this week when we were just biking on one of the busier streets. ;D There was this older guy at one of the bus stops and he was smoking a cigarette and as soon as he saw that we saw him and waved to him, he threw it on the ground and put his hand behind his back like he was hiding it from us! It was so funny! Me and Elder Bono got a good laugh from that! Elder Bono is doing awesome now as well! We met a ton of our goals for this past week and are shooting to achieve the Standard of Excellence in the mission that is super high! I am super excited! We are going to work harder than ever and we will get it! :) Well, I will keep you all up to date on everything and I am super happy that I am here on my mission even though it is super hard and I am about half way done already. CRAZY! Tell everybody that I love them!

Love ya ! You guys are the BOMB DIGGIDY!

Elder Brandon Wallentine