Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Emmy Award

October 27, 2014

A real Emmy award! The guy we had dinner with won it for a documentary he did the research for and directed.

I never really know how to start these things, so I'll just start listing off how this week went.

This week was a lot better than last week; kind of getting into the groove of things, the Spanish is becoming more understandable, and I can at least communicate about the gospel now in Spanish. I might have already mentioned this in a previous email, but apparently my mission is the mission with a lot of people with emotional or health concerns, like anger issues, depression, etc., which makes me wonder, "what is my problem?"

We had a stake conference this last week, where we heard from Richard G. Scott, David A. Bednar, Cheryl Esplin, and Craig C. Christensen. It was awesome. I heard a longer variation of the same talk by Scott for the 3rd or 4th time (pretty close to the one he gave in conference, I think), so I guess I really need to work on my prayers and receiving answers.

I learned to never get an older Spanish lady talking unless you absolutely have to or else she'll go on for about 45 minutes out of the 50 that we had for a lesson, but it helps me understand more Spanish, so that's good.

I love service! I have never been able to say that before, but it's so true. Not only does it take hours out of the day that could be spent tracting (it's not actually that bad), but it also is a nice break to get some exercise (which I need...I might be getting fat...154.4 lbs...) and to help people with things they can't help themselves with. Our main service activities are going to an old folks home and singing hymns for an hour and doing various charity work at the food bank and a similar place, the House of Neighborly Service. 

I had my first experience tracting, and it was actually fun (though it was the first time)! We went right during the CSU game, so a lot of people weren't interested at all. One house said, "We're smoking dope and watching football, go away", another opened the door, saw us, and said not interested before we could say a word, and only a few would listen to us say more than "hey we're missionar---". In the end though, we had a good night, because we found a potential of 4 investigators! 1 we saw on his bike, and he told us to come back, and the other 3 were at the last house we visited. They were 18-22 year-olds that were drinking beer while we were trying to talk about the gospel, but I think they were still sober when we were discussing life after death, resurrection, the premortal life, etc. It was actually a really awesome lesson, just finding out what they believed and sharing our beliefs. They seemed to see the truth in what we were saying. Then they brought out the hooka full of tobacco, and it was like a scene out of Lord of the Rings with the shapes they were making with the smoke. Really hard to teach like that, but we'll go back another time when it's not so hazy.

All in all, it was a pretty good week, and I'm starting to like the Colorado weather and people. It was in the 80s this week, though today it got cold. I have a feeling the Word of Wisdom is going to be a more difficult and more frequently taught lesson, but with the Holy Ghost present, they'll feel the truth.

The nutrition information for part of the pie I ate...

Just one of the beautiful lakes around here

The masonic temple near one of our investigator's houses

Gorgeous sunset

The most glorious sight ever
(I wonder if he chose Buffalo Wild Wings or Chick-fil-A.  Kennon loves both of them!)

Have a great week!

First week in Colorado!

October 23, 2014

This week was....incredibly difficult. I lost track of how many times I thought of coming home, and not just thought about coming home, but seriously considered it. I never thought that being in the mission field would be so difficult, but really what it comes down to is me battling my selfish desires to go back to an easier life. 

Quick synopsis of everything:
My mission president is a self proclaimed zealot of the white yeah.

It also turns out that our mission is one of the more disobedient ones. Ironic how that works. I believe Gordon B. Hinckley said "if the church weren't true, the missionaries would have destroyed it a long time ago".

We don't currently have iPads in our mission, but I'm quite convinced our mission president has them and just refuses to give them to us. It might be wise on his part, since who knows what they'd actually be used for, but it's still frustrating. 

I had P-day on Thursday this week since my companion is at the temple right now. The reason I didn't go with him is because if I did, it would have counted as my "year mark temple trip"...I'm not particularly fond of that ruling. My P-day will almost always be on Monday, and every time I get transferred to a new area I can email that Wednesday.

We've actually had a lot of success this week, thanks to my so called greenie fire (that's not what I think it is, but my companion is giving me the credit).. I insist that I actually would rather sleep than go out and try to understand what the heck is going on in Spanish, but my comp says it's my burning, greenie fire. We've added about 5 or 7 investigators this week, and so far I haven't had to go knock doors because we've had enough appointments.

Cool thing about everyone having the light of Christ and foreknowledge of the gospel: one of our investigators, a 17 year old girl that has relatively little Bible or scriptural knowledge and doesn't know hardly anything about our church asked us, "How did God become God?". Not "why is God God", but "how did God become God". I was amazed that she had even thought of that question. It's kind of hard to answer that in a first lesson, though.  Also in another lesson with her, I'm 95% sure that a certain legalized drug was being used just in the other room of the trailer, the smell wafting around us as we are trying to teach about the Savior. Good 'ol Colorado.

My companion is freakishly similar to me in some regards. He didn't particularly want to serve a mission, wanting to get married instead, he hated his mission the first little bit, he's a self proclaimed hopeless romantic, and then I got really freaked out when I found out that his birthday was also the same as mine. He keeps trying to tell me how my mission is going to go, that I'll hate it for awhile, go home for health problems, come back and love the mission, but really I'm just hoping to skip to part 3 of that and be happy. 

In summary, I'm glad to be in the US, but man has this week been hard to get over myself. I came up with the brilliant idea to carry around good scriptures in my pocket, and every time I think of wanting to go home to instead pull them out and read/memorize them. I encourage you all to try and think of ways to turn difficult times into ways to learn and progress. Hope you all have an awesome week! And I'd love it if you could keep me in your prayers. Second best option would be to send me some candy, since I don't think they sell strawberry sour belts here since there's no Winco...

If you want to send me letters or packages, my address is:
Elder Kennon Bacon
5285 McWhinney Blvd Suite 100
Loveland, CO 80538
That'll be my address for the whole 2 years, since they just forward letters to our current addresses. Also, if you send any packages, make sure it's via USPS, since that's the only company they can legally forward packages with. Thanks!

The pics: one is obviously my companion and I, another is the sunrise from the plane (the sun was on the opposite side of the plane), and the third is an aerial of somewhere over where we flew...sorry I don't have a lot of awesome pics.

PS.  Oh! I had dinner with this family called the Porters, who grew up in Orem. We got to talking, I said my grandparents are the Woolley's, and then he asked about Rebecca. I said that was my mom, and he freaked out. He went to a high school dance with my mom!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Colorado address

Kennon has arrived in Colorado and you may continue to email him, or send him a letter.  The address is:

Elder Kennon Bacon
Colorado Fort Collins Mission
5285 McWhinney Blvd., Suite 100
Loveland, CO 80538

If you happen to send a package, please send it by the US Postal Service to this same address and they will forward it to wherever he is serving.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Last day in Mexico

October 13, 2014

At long last...the time has come to leave the CCM. Here is how this last week went, in no particular order and with all randomness:

At one point this week, I finally hit the 150 lb mark. I know, I know...wipe those tears away and keep reading. 
It wasn't a very good moment for me when I was using my roommates toothpaste and I watched it in slow motion drop from the spot, off the counter, onto the toilet seat, pause tauntingly, and then fall into the toilet. He wasn't too thrilled with me.

One Wednesday this week, when the new missionaries come in, we acted like we were new, gringo accent, first day orientation papers and all. My companion acted like he was from Loch's Cove, Scotland (invented by me), with his pretty good Scottish accent. Everyone kept talking about that new kid from Scotland. Then we felt bad when one kid was bearing his testimony about how hard but amazing this place is ,how we can do it, tears virtually in his eyes. We decided not to tell him the truth, but I don't know how he reacted when he saw our district in the video for those leaving. 

I would like everyone to know to never, ever give up. Elder Enfield, who started losing Rock Paper Scissors 15-3, came back and won 39-38. As his coach, it was one of my proudest moments ever.

Another miracle this week involving Elder Enfield was when we had a devotional. Elder Azzarella had fallen asleep, 5 or so seats down and the next row up. We started throwing candy wrappers at him to wake him up, and Enfield hit him. Azzarella woke up instantly, turned around in anger and punched my companion who was sitting behind him, while we hid behind two hermanas and hid our laughter. Then Azzarella signaled to us that the wrapper was still in his ear. It was the greatest shot ever, and I witnessed it with my own eyes.  I can't blame Azzarella too harshly for falling asleep, though, since that was the day we literally had 8 hours and 45 minutes of meetings.

Today I did my laundry, and while it was still warm, I wrapped it around my body. It was almost like being loved. Then I realized I wouldn't be hugged by a female for two years and a tear slowly rolled down my face. That was almost as sad though as when I found the toilet paper and wipes I had hidden, waiting for a time when I would really need them, only to realize that that time had long past. I don't even know how I'll recover from this one.

I met Katy Perry in the CCM! I got a picture of her too. I think she's going to Provo for her mission, so say hi for me.

The three eternal questions here have been: where is my companion? where is my pen? and what is this so called food that I am eating?

Now for something spiritual. The one thing that I have learned the most here is how flawed I am. It was frightening for me. I thought before I left that I was a pretty good person, not perfect, but pretty dang good. Now I'm realizing how truly far I have left to go. The Christlike characteristics I thought I possessed I realized I only displayed when I wanted to get something in return. Thankfully, there is an Atonement that allows us to grow and change who we fundamentally are or have been. I guess it's a good thing that I have two years and the rest of eternity to work on that. Oh, and this isn't a plea for emails telling me how great I am. 

I'll be sure to tell you all about my area and companion and all of that as soon as I can! I hope you like the pics! Sorry that I don't have a lot, but I'll try to find more good ones.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Families are forever, and bears and boars and such

October 7, 2014

I cannot put into words how excited I am to leave this place in 7 days. I don't remember the premortal life, but there's no way I was more happy to receive a body and experience life than to leave this place. Ok, probably not really, but I am so excited for los Estados Unidos. Once again, I have a parable for you all concerning the food and the bathrooms here. This one was told to us by a missionary who for some reason was reading in Jeremiah (like, who reads the Old Testament anyway?) and thought of his girlfriend's complaining (who is in my district). If you can all handle it...:
Jeremiah 4:19-21

And once again for this week, I have to tell you the latest of our attempts to have fun in the Spiritual Prison known as the MTC/CCM. This week we all decided to sabotage each other's hopes and dreams of being able to walk anywhere without fear of having your nametag shot off your pocket, into the air, and landing into the hand of the assailant. The other thing that is somehow worse than the constant fear of physical attack is constant fear of emotional trauma. Certain individuals think it's hilarious to write up a super mushy love letter to an hermana that someone has casually mentioned looks not too bad, add their email to the bottom, and deliver "at the request of the sender". Either that or just a lame pick up line with someone's email on it. I don't even want to know how many girls there are, probably some of them very sweet spirits indeed, that have my email now. It was some pretty perfect poetic justice when I convinced an elder to deliver one to a girl that had his own email on it thinking it was someone else's. I can only imagine the look on her face as she opened it and read his nametag along with the terrible pick up line, with him beaming down at her with his own perceived mischievousness. 

There are some days that I really just hate Spanish and the complexity of language in general, but then I had a humbling experience. One of the teachers asked what to bear a testimony means. I said bear is to share, but past tense of bear is bore, not beared. There is also a bear that's an animal. And a boar. Then I realized that the story doesn't end there. There is to bear a testimony, a grizzly bear, to bear a burden, to bear down for something, to have bare skin,  to have borne a testimony, to have borne a child, a boar, to bore a hole, to bore regarding interest, to be bored, to be a wooden or similar board, and to be aboard a ship. So, English sucks. But pause and think about how unbearable English would be without puns, like about bears and boars and such. 

And now for the spiritual part of my letter. This week I got to play the investigator for our demonstrate teaching part. I played Chris Williams (if he weren't Mormon). There's a Mormon Message about him, and it is well worth the time to go watch. His car was hit by a drunk driver that killed his pregnant wife, his only daughter, and one of his sons. And he forgave him. Somehow, through the Atonement of Christ, he was able to forgive him. So I was playing him, about a month after the accident, if I didn't know about the Plan of Salvation. At the end, the teachers asked me to pray, sincerely and truly, and ask if what they taught was true. As I started to pray (as Chris Williams), I thought about my own family and how we would be without the Plan of Salvation. I prayed for the Lord to comfort me and my family acting as Chris Williams, but what I thought of was comforting my shattered mother and father who didn't think they'd ever see their son again. I thought of my siblings that wouldn't know 14 years isn't the end. I thought of how completely obliterated we all would feel not knowing our loved ones would be seen again. As I prayed about wanting so desperately to be able to comfort my family, I started crying a bit, to use some litotes. It's always fun to be the only one that feels the Spirit via tears, but it's alright. I want to bear my testimony of life after death. I have absolutely no doubt that there is life after death, and I believe with all my heart that we can live with our family members after this life.

Two final, mostly unrelated things, and I apologize that this, like always, is so long. First, Chris says in the video that he's grateful for trials, not because they're easy or because we want them, but because they help us love. Christ had the most trials, so Christ is capable of loving the most, infinitely so. Second, we were watching a video about the building of the Salt Lake Temple, and something really stood out to me. Our church has gotten a lot of criticism about how we do work for the dead, but in the video the prophet said "anyone that accepts the Atonement of Jesus Christ accepts the reality of vicarious work toward the salvation of others". How true that is! 

I hope you all have a good week! I'll be on again on Saturday evening since I leave early Tuesday morning (like 2 AM, it'll be brutal) as well as sometime Monday. Until then, here are some more pics! I forgot to mention we went to the temple visitor's center last Tuesday, so here are some pics. 

Of course, I had to include some graffiti and a catholic church (cathedral?) with a cop nearby, and some random square trees here in the CCM.