Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Monday, December 28, 2015

God anticipates our shortcomings

God anticipates our shortcomings, and he integrates them into our plan
perfectly. It was late one Tuesday night, and we didn't know what to
do. We didn't want to do anything. The other elders in the area came
over randomly, and then we got to talking about potential things to
do. We decided on visiting Sacajawea's grave. So off we go late one
cold, December night, and then we see a car on the side of the road. I
saw that someone was jumping up and down and waving, so we stopped. It
turns out that the passenger had had 2 seizures, and the driver was
freaking out. If she wasn't in shock, she was pretty close to it. So
we called 911 for her, waited for them to arrive, the guy woke up, and
everything was fine. But it was good to see that God had anticipated
our lack of desire to work and had used that to have us help someone
in need. Side note: we found her grave. It's pretty creepy being in an
Indian burial ground late at night on the reservation where gangs will
mark your house and give you 24 hours to leave before they burn it
down. We were fine though.

Last week for P-day we did some rock climbing in a member's garage for
an hour or two, and my forearms have never been so sore. It was fun
though. Today we're going sledding with the youth in the ward, and we
told them to invite their non member friends so that we can fellowship
with them. Speaking of fellowship, one family in the ward is awesome.
Sis Anderson has been working with this family from Guadalajara (I'm
finding the diamonds in rough out here) for 2 years, and she decided
to tell us about them since I speak Spanish and all. They seem really
ready. The dad has already read the Book of Mormon, they are such good
people, they work hard...I can go on about the vibe I got from the
family, but I'll just say that I think they're all solid individuals.

I also met another ward member there, and we had a crazy connection.
She was my student teacher for a semester in my 9th grade English
class, and I even remembered an assignment that she made up. Small

The free hot chocolate idea didn't happen. Neither Safeway nor Mr.
Dee's was ok with the idea of us being there. Christmas was good, of
course. The family we had dinner with invited us to help them butcher
a turkey this Friday, so of course we're doing that. The dad is into
martial arts, and he has a legitimate replica samurai sword. He uses
it to behead sheep, and he says it cuts right through bone. He
wouldn't let me touch the blade with my finger to see how sharp it
was.  On Saturday, we made a traditional Mexican dish that I can't
remember the name of with this family who had a daughter serve in
Mexico. It's hollowed out peppers with meat and a walnut sauce topped
with pomegranate seeds and served with rice. It was really good, but
stripping the walnuts of all of the brown took about an hour and was
really tedious. I've never worked for a meal so much. I understand why
they only make it about once a year now.

The Wind River Mountains.

Driving from Hudson to Lander.

A statue of Sacajawea.

Supposedly her grave.

I didn't realize illiteracy was still a problem here in the US (this was an entry in the area book).

That delicious dish.

Why did no one buy me this?

Flash cards.  I think my brain is done learning new words.

Monday, December 21, 2015

I Wood That Ye Serve One Another

December 21, 2015

It was a week full of service. In addition to the normal 4 hours per
week at the food bank, we also spent an additional 2 there this week
and chopped/moved wood for 5 hours with a member. He has a log
splitter (which was such a blessing), but I decided to give the axe a
swing to warm up a bit and vent some frustration. It was nice. I was a
little bit sore afterwards. During the additional 2 hours at the food
bank, kids could come in and pick out gifts for their parents while
the parents got food. We helped out to reduce the chaos. 2 girls from
the local Catholic college were also there volunteering, and it was
good to talk to them. I didn't know that one of the 3 (small) colleges
in town consists just 150 Catholics all studying liberal arts. Another
one is for outdoor leadership or something, and the third is a typical
small town community college.

A dinner was set up for us this week with members and some of their
Spanish friends, so I'm really excited for that. I'm assuming that
this area won't have another Spanish missionary for another year or
so, so I'm trying to cover all of the bases while I'm here. It
honestly won't be too hard, since there are probably 5 families in the
whole town and I will know 3 by Tuesday. I also found out that Lander
is apparently 10% Mormon, but obviously the majority of them are less
active or inactive. That's the large majority of work that we do out
here. We invited all of the families we met with this week to come to
church, but none of them did. That's pretty typical.

I had an idea to give out free hot chocolate at the ice skating rink
while having "A Savior is Born" playing and have copies of the Book of
Mormon to give out as well, and that will hopefully happen this
Wednesday. Since the ice rink sells hot chocolate, we'll probably do
it outside of Safeway, and we're just waiting to hear back about
permission for that. Fingers crossed.

Also, Star Wars came out this week, which I'm sure none of you already
knew. Not missing that or anything.


Picture in a member's home

Picture in a member's home

Monday, December 14, 2015

Down to the Riverton

December 14, 2015

So much happened this week, and I don't even know where to start. I
just have a bunch of random notes, so here goes nothing.

Monday: Pday, nothing overly exciting happened. I mainly just packed
and did emails.

Tuesday: got up pretty early to get ready, load my stuff, catch the
transfer van at 9 in Windsor. I was then on the road for 11 hours that
day. Passed some friends along the way when people would get on and
off the transfer vans. Got to Riverton, met a few people and my comp,
got all of my stuff situated. It's nice that now I have literally
about 4 times as much space.

Wednesday-Thursday: Blur. We did service at the food bank, helped and
met a few families. The work out here I was told is mainly less active
and inactive work, and that's turning out to be pretty true. There are
so many people on the ward roster, and only about 1/3 or a 1/4 of them
are active. Anyone will let us in and be really friendly, but no one
really wants to progress from where they're at. We also helped put up
sheetrock for 3 1/2 hours one day.

Friday: zone conference, which was just the Casper zone. Got up at 5
to get to the transfer van and make the 2 hour drive to Casper, got
there too early (so annoying), had a letter or two (yay!) had zone
conference. It was really good. I felt bad for all of the greenies
whose first Christmas on the mission this will be. There were some big
rule changes at this zone conference. 1) no Disney, PG/G rated movies
on Christmas. No movies at all. Which was offset, I guess, by 2) the
music rule is now the white handbook standard (wow, isn't that a
marvel idea? It used to be just music that could be played in
sacrament meeting). At lunch, we had a white elephant gift exchange. I
was so mad. My gift was a poem to be read aloud about sister brown
(mission president's wife), and it told whomever got it that they had
to read it out loud or they couldn't open the other package, which had
$5 in it. Well, the girl that got it was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO Sister
Brown, looked at it, read it, and then put it in her pocket and opened
the $5. I was so freaking mad. At least give it to her! I got gummy
bears. I actually had 2 gifts I gave, and the second one was a bunch
of old clothes I didn't want but had to give away. So now someone else
has to deal with them.

Saturday-Sunday: helped the Nelsons pull out all of their Christmas
stuff. They are kind of hoarders. They had box after box after
freaking box of stuff. He also had a real Olympic torch from the 2002
Utah Olympics, so that was pretty cool. Had church, met a lot of
people whose names I can't remember, heard 1000 bacon jokes in all
their variations, met a guy whose wife is from Mexico (I've been
talking to everyone trying to find Spanish work, and that's about all
I've got. It's slim pickings). He let us in, we talked for about an
hour, and then we found out that he was in the huge plane in the 60s
that did a barrel roll over the ocean (apparently this is some huge
event?). Actually, I think I remember Elder Palmer telling me about
it, but I didn't care then at all. It seems I can't evade airplanes
since being with him even though the only plane I care about is the
one taking me home. Anyway. We'll have Mexican food with them tonight,
so I'm thoroughly excited. He also life, so he
has a 59 year old son and a 17 year old son.

Sorry I wrote so much. That was my hectic week. Since that sister
missionary refused to share the poem, I'm sharing it all with you now.
For the record, my actual mom is more caring.

I scrape my knee, my throat is sore, I have a little cough
But someone dear to me can fix it all, now don't you scoff
She's always there, for all of us, no matter hour or day
She always has a remedy to wish my woes away
I've only met two women in my life with so much carin'
One's my mom at home, the other's Mission Mama Sharon.

Elder Baum and I on transfer day. 

My MTC comp.

After a 2 hour ride filled with Liars' Dice.

Elder Sell and I. He goes home in 3 weeks.

Monday, December 7, 2015

3rd Banishment in a Row

December 7, 2015

I'm leaving one corner of the mission and going to the other.
Seriously, I'm making the farthest trek on transfer day in the history
of the mission. Unless someone goes from Dubois to Yuma or possibly
Dubois to Boulder, no one can beat my record. I'll be driving or on
the transfer van for about 11 hours. The biggest twist of all: I'm
English speaking this transfer. I have no idea why, and I'm honestly
pretty upset about it. An important event these next few days will be
getting a confirmation that this is actually what the Lord wants and
not just my mission president lashing back at me for something by
banishing me...again. My companion will be Elder Duda, about whom I
have heard nothing but good things, and the area I have also heard
nothing but good things about. The housing is automatically better,
though I will definitely miss some families. I took pictures with a
few favorites.

As far as events go this week, we said bye to Misicel on Tuesday as
she heads to Chihuahua to renew her visa. Going to do donuts at the
church parking lot on P day after some snowfall, we drove up to find
it almost completely plowed (so disappointing), but the snowplow guy
had gotten stuck in his own pile. We helped bail him out and used that
as our excuse for being there. About two thirds of the set lessons
this week cancelled, so that was typical but disappointing. On
Saturday we helped clean out 2 barns for 5 hours. Our branch president
pointed out that these were very similar circumstances to those that
the savior was born in. That was humbling. I've also never shoveled so
much crap in my life. In church yesterday, I was perfectly content
just sitting there and listening to the other testimonies and leaving
semi quietly, but the branch president got up and told everyone it was
my last week and asked me to come up and bear my testimony. The rest
of Sunday was good, just saying bye to families and spending time with
them for the last time. We helped decorate the Shelleys' Christmas
tree and had another amazing dinner with them, followed by going along
with Will's imagination and messing around with him. All in all, a
good week to finish a good run in this area. We'll see what this new
area in the other middle of nowhere holds.

My new address for letters (and USPS packages?):
P.O Box 1462
Lander, WY 82520

 Playing Liars' Dice as a district (and with a friend)

A branch family

Another branch family

Monday, November 30, 2015

In Some Hot Water

November 30, 2015

The title is just a pun, because actually, we haven't had hot water for 2 days. The hot water went out late Saturday night, so we couldn't shower Sundaybefore church. We showed up to help shovel the church sidewalks, and it was already done. Then we helped move some things in the shed with the branch president, and so our meeting with him about our work that week was blown off. Then after sacrament meeting, I put on my beanie to cover my gross, unshowered hair. A lady came up to me and told me to take it off because "it's very disrespectful and offensive". 20 minutes later, a bald lady that was visiting came in with---a beanie on her head. The audacity! Thankfully, that lady didn't tell her, too, to take off her beanie. I'm glad that she (hopefully) learned something about the spirit of the law that day and also that karma was on my side.

Sorry, I just had to vent. this week was pretty full of trials. First, it snowed. What the heck. Second, I had to pay $14 for a meal, 1/10 of my monthly allowance, for a pretty shoddy meal at the place where we have always eaten free. The waitress told me "you have to pay for any steak or tilapia that you order, like you know", which I didn't know, and told her it wasn't even worth an argument. The owner is the same lady that owns the motel, so she seems to be out to get me. I guess I should be grateful that that's the only meal I've paid for...Oh yeah, we ate with 3 families for Thanksgiving. It was delicious.

I'm pretty much done with this area. I feel like I've done more than my part here, and me staying any longer would just be a bad thing. I need some changes. Maybe I'm just rambling and justifying my feelings, but I'm really hoping for a transfer this next week. 7 out of 9 of our hopeful, set appointments fell through, including a family we found this week. And the family I bought a pool stick for I think has subtly dropped us. There goes $18. Misciel also leaves to Chihuahua tomorrow, but hopefully she will be back in 2 weeks. Yeah, not the best week. What is that, 3 in a row now?

Yuma Main Street (I'll try to get a better pic. I meant to send this last week).

The Jehovah's Witnesses knocking all of the doors that we just knocked. I forgot to mention that in the email part.

My very empty 1st plate of Thanksgiving. 

Buster Bluth (that won't make sense to some of you)

Basically these could be used in a Nissan commercial.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Smooth and Polished Shaft

November 23, 2015

It was one of the harder weeks of my mission. To start, our most hopeful investigator cancelled on us about an hour before the lesson to tell us that her boyfriend was no longer comfortable with us coming over. She was the one that told us God told her to open her eyes and walk with faith. That was a letdown. We had a good lesson with the Duartes, but then they, too, cancelled on us for the second lesson this week. We should see them Wednesday. Our lesson with the Rascon family didn't go very well because they were all super tired, and so no one really paid attention. We'll be meeting with them tonight, and I'm hoping it will go a little better. I also had a thought come to mind that I could do something charitable for them, so I bought a pool stick online so that they would have at least one good one. I half regret it now that I have like $6 to live off of for the rest of this month, but I guess it'll work out. I'll probably be glad I did it when I see their reaction tonight. We also visited someone we hadn't seen in awhile (they weren't progressing), but instead of being glad that we came back, she chewed us out for stopping coming by and seeing her. Now I'm really incentivized to go there again...

On the up side, we had a really good lesson with Paige and her family. We had taught them all of the lessons (except lesson 5), and the parents still weren't on board or ok with Paige being baptized (before you get too excited, they still aren't). We decided to give a lesson on the talk called The Blueprint of Christ's Church, which pretty much proves our church is true. If you haven't read it, you should do that. We didn't want it to come across as demeaning or in your face, so I was really nervous for this lesson. At the end, Paige's mom opened up a ton and said that she is comfortable with where she is at and loves going to her church. I told her that she wasn't going to get an answer about the Book of Mormon if she's comfortable where she is at, and she didn't take it offensively.

We also both had the opportunity to talk in church on Preach My Gospel, so I decided to go ham about how it's the members' responsibility primarily to find people for us to teach. That was nice to get off my chest. It was a good Sunday. I also got some ties made for me out of that shirt I bought at a thrift store by one of the ladies that works at another thrift store. They're dope, in my opinion. 

Hopefully this wasn't too long and followed a coherent train of thought.

They have fishing line attached to their door that goes to ornaments hanging from the ceiling, so they all come down when the door is opened.




Paige's cat

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rough Stone (of Momentum) Rolling

November 16, 2015

We had such a sick week. First, we had an awesome lesson with one of
the new families we found this week, and then we set up a return
appointment for the next day. Shocker: everyone did the reading we
left except one person. We then had great back to back lessons on
Tuesday, one with that same family and one with 2 other people. The
boyfriend of those 2 wasn't too interested, but the girlfriend told us
that she had had a really spiritual experience a few weeks ago where
she was told that she needed to exercise her faith and open her eyes.
Then when we showed up on her porch, she said it surprised her and
made her really think. She said that she was excited to read the Book
of Mormon. I have a really good feeling about those two families.

The third family I'm on the fence about. The husband asked us a ton of
really weird questions, but a lot of them stemmed from the fact that
like 5 of his uncles murdered 2 of his aunts...yeah, I had to ask a
few times to make sure I heard him right. He has a lot of confusion
and doubt about repentance and forgiveness because of that (his uncles
claim they've repented even though they don't live their lives any
differently, so he wonders why they would get a second chance). Other
than that, we had another pretty good lesson with a family, but those
were the highlights. 

What a spiritual night. We had the whole thing in Spanish, with English translation for the members that didn't speak Spanish. We got a family we've been working with for awhile to come to the baptism, and Paige was also able to come. We wish her family had come, because Paige was telling us how differently this baptism felt compared to the ones they've done in her church. With the confirmation on Sunday, she officially became a member, and we have no intention of having her slow down. I had a feeling that she would make an awesome ward missionary (and we don't have one still), so I pitched that idea to the mission leader and branch president and they thought it would be good. For reteaching the lessons to recent converts, we had her teach us the plan of salvation. Haha it was pretty funny to see her teach it to us pretty much exactly how we taught it to her, complete with her stopping in the middle of her train of thought and saying "oh, I almost forgot, can we have to start with a prayer?"  That always slips my mind. But she taught it so well! It was awesome. She's also coming with us to our lesson tonight (member present lesson!) with the family of 6, and we'll be having dinner there. She's a cook, so...I'm stoked, to say the least.

She's so short that she had to roll up the legs on this one since it was the smallest one that fit and wasn't a child's size haha.

More flattering, less expectant.

Gold found in the area book.

Thank you, Siri.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Field is Literally White and Already Harvested

November 9, 2015

It. Snowed. I was so upset. But then it melted, so all is good in the
world. I thought I wanted it to snow, but then it did and I remembered
how dark and dreary and cold the world gets.

However, the field is also metaphorically white and ready to harvest.
We found a family of "lost members" this week when I was on exchanges
with Elder Bingham again so he could do Misciel's baptism. At first we
went to their rental home, which was populated by 3 cats, 2 big dogs,
and 3 donkeys. I was sketched out the whole time walking up to that
house they they were going to bite or kick me, but fortunately nothing
happened. At the second lost member's house, we were walking up and
saw a completely naked man through the window. We quietly ran back to
the car, got in, flashed the lights, got out, locked the car twice so
that the horn would honk, and then knocked. He opened the door, and,
keeping my eyes fixed on his face and trying to not let my peripheral
vision betray me, I asked him if he knew anything about who we were
looking for. He didn't, and told us we weren't welcome, to "kick
rocks" (is that a figure of speech I've never heard before?), and if
we hit his dog we were gonna have problems. We left. Oh, he also put
on jean cutoffs before opening the door(shoutout to Tobias F√ľnke!), so
that was nice of him. We got ice cream with Misciel before the
baptismal interview to try and forget about that lovely scene. Her
baptism is this Saturday!

The middle of the week was pretty slow, having problems like the water
being shut off without letting us know first so that we couldn't leave
the apartment since we didn't bathe, but we decided to spend some time
digitalizing the area book. Holy cow, that's going to take forever. We
spent like 2 hours and got through maybe 1/10th of what there is to
do. Fortunately though, as the weather gets colder, I'll probably be
more and more keen to spend time inside typing away.

On Sunday, I finally mustered the desire to go tracting after the last
horrible rejection. Street contacting > tracting. It's just that there
are like 2 streets main in Yuma. Anyway, we actually had some success!
We met two awesome new families whose last names escape me, but
they're great! With one of them, we started talking to the kids and
challenged them to a game of pool that they had sitting outside on the
porch. For the record, I was 3-0. Also for the record: they were like
10-14 and 17 years old. We have a lesson with them tonight and the
other one this Wednesday, with a lesson on Tuesday with another new
family this week. Work is somehow picking up in this town I thought
had already been tracted out!

Random miracle: This morning when we were in Fort Morgan, I distinctly
smelled peanut butter in the air. Apparently to everyone else it was
the same smell as always, sugar beets/burning cow blood, but I got
peanut butter, so that was a nice relief. My nose was tripping.
However, in the afternoon it went back to cow blood for me too. Yay.

Monday, November 2, 2015

3 Times Unlucky

November 2, 2015

It seemed like the whole city of Yuma was dodging us this week. We had
so many set appointments, re-set appointments, and re-re-set
appointments, and we still seemed to hit less than half of those. We
would stop by, ask if we could share a message, they'd say now wasn't
a good time but come by at so and so time, we would, they'd be gone,
we'd stop by a few hours later, they'd say now isn't a good time, come
by at so and so time, and so the cycle continued. Pretty frustrating.
We also might be canceling English class until the spring time since
almost no one comes.

We only met with Misciel once this week since she was sick from work
for the other 2 days she had off, but we had a good lesson and a good
time taking about her baptism. I'll be doing exchanges with elder
Bingham for her interview, so that should be good. Hopefully some more
of these lessons go through. We attended the last quarter of the final
football game of the year for Wray, and that was also the final
football game for the kids in Paige's family after 18 years
of constant play, so it was kind of a big deal. They were really
impressed to see us there freezing to death knowing that we didn't
have to be there but that we legitimately just care about them as
people and as a family. At least we had that good note for a
semi-crappy week. Today we're going to beat, I mean play, Paige at
some pool, so that'll be fun.

Oh, my companion also dropped 3 toothbrushes on the bathroom floor or
in the toilet, so that was hilarious for me and frustrating for him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Riding Out the Storm

October 26, 2015

Again, hopefully this works since I know some emails haven't been sending.

It was a great way to end the transfer. We started out with a semi
confrontational lesson with Paige and her family about the word of
wisdom and other commandments, and the weather seemed to imitate the
intensity of the discussion by dumping about a 2 inches of hail on
their back porch. We weren't able to go to Spanish class that night
since we couldn't drive back to Yuma due to the hail, but playing pool
with Paige while we waited for the steam to clear was really nice.
Some not nice words were said by all due to the competition during
those games. However, Paige is still so awesome. She wants to serve a
mission eve though she's not even a member yet. And also, I'm a little
jealous because she's the best mission girlfriend; she always sends
her boyfriend on his mission packages, like one per week, with candy
that's decorated and letters and stuff. It makes me so jealous. But
good for him, I guess...

I also got to do exchanges with my long time Spanish rival and fellow
Spanish nerd, Elder Bingham. It was awesome. We went to support Paige
at her volleyball game, practiced a ton of Spanish, got BBQ and ice
cream, and then had late night pillow talk, of course. It was good to
spend some time with him after being separated for a few months and to
talk in person.

I'm semi-excited for the upcoming transfer. I will somehow be staying
in Yuma for a 4th transfer and I will again be with elder Baum. He is
definitely the comp I have been the most excited about being
companions with twice. I really don't know what additional work there
is to do here in Yuma, so it looks like we'll be spending the majority
of our day in Wray trying to find work out there to do. I'm excited to
be able to be here for Misciel's baptism though (I found out how to
spell her name haha...I was wrong before).

Other highlights of this week were when we got ice cream with Misciel,
courtesy of her, and when I beat Paige again in round 2 of pool. We
also had a delicious lunch with her and her family. They treat us so
well. At the branch party, we also were obliged participate in the
branch talent show. So...finding I have a lack of talent, I got
desperate and changed the lyrics from "do you wanna build a snowman?"
to "do you wanna do some tracting?"  I have it on video, but I don't
think I can send it. I'll send the lyrics though. Have a great week!

Do you wanna do some tracting?
Let's go and knock some doors!
We never go out anymore,
You're such a bore,
And now it's half past 4!

We used to be good elders
And now we're not
I wish you would even try!

Do you wanna do some tracting?
Or maybe street contacting?

Go away, Bacon.
Ok fine....

Bacon: Hello president.
Baum: Elder bacon, How are things going with elder Baum?
Bacon: Oh um....alright....
Baum: let's have a meeting.

Do you want do some tracting?
Or talk to people in the street?
I think that we have sat inside enough
We haven't done that much,
Why don't we use our feet?

I feel a little guilty
Just wasting time
When we could be knocking doors!
Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock (knocking on the
podium like I'm knocking on a door)

Baum: *answers* GO AWAY!!!

Baum: Elders, your numbers have been really low. Is there an
explanation for this?
Bacon: Well president, elder Baum has had difficulties feeling
motivated to go out and work lately.
Baum: Elder bacon, I remember a time when you had the same feelings.
Particularly when you first gotten to Yuma. You told me that every
door had been knocked, and you had doubts about how you were going to
like such a small branch. Do you remember that?
Bacon: Yes president.
Baum: And then what happened?
Bacon: Well, elder Navarro and I decided to go and do some work anyway
and knock some doors, and then we found someone, and she has a
baptismal date for November 14th.  Also, I found out that the branch
makes really good food and that the little kids are  adorable.
Baum: Exactly. Elder bacon, I know that there is work to do in Yuma,
or we wouldn't have missionaries out there. I invite you to try and
motivate elder Baum to go and work. You can do it because you're such
a great missionary and so is elder Baum, and the branch is lucky to
have you. I hope they all know that. You are the best missionaries in
the world.
Bacon: Thank you president, I know we are.

Elder please I know it's in there
People have called it greenie fire
I know it's hard to not just think of home
I know you miss your mom
But find desire!

We only have each other
It's just me and you
What are we gonna do?

Do you wanna do some tracting? *sniff*

(Pics:  I get bored on those long car rides.  Hopefully you all laugh as hard as I did.)