Monday, June 30, 2014

Amish in Schoharie Area!

This past week has been good. Tuesday was my goodbye tour, where I got to go visit the members and people I taught during my time here. That was bittersweet. I was excited about going to a new area, but I wasn't excited to leave the people I had come to love in Scotia. I definitely hope I will be able to visit NY again after my mission. That would be sweet. Wednesday was my last day in Scotia, and then off to Schoharie. Schoharie is sweet and very different from Scotia. Scotia was like back home when it comes to the business and how many people are there. Schoharie is like living in Fairview or Mt. Pleasant. The ward here has pretty good attendance. Less than Glenville ward, but more than Schoharie. It was also kind of weird to not have 2 wards you are working in. We email from the church. Elder Thompson is sweet. He is from Colville, Washington, and grew up on a farm with 400 acres of land. He's really funny. The apartment isn't quite as nice as Scotia, but it still has a dishwasher and a washer/dryer. I'll be sending home a lot of pics today from both my goodbye tour in Scotia and a few days here in Schoharie. We have a few investigators and less-actives we work with, but there is a lot more finding in this area than the last. Elder Thompson said that we get fewer lessons here, but they are usually more meaningful. In the city you get a lot of people who are lonely and just want to talk and aren't truly interested in the gospel. I'll write more next week after I learn the area a lot more. Schoharie is in the Albany Stake, so I'm still in the same zone, so I might not get to go to every zone in the mission. Especially if I stay here as long as I did in Scotia. Although that probably isn't the case. Love you mom and hope you have a fantastic week. 

This week has been great. If you want to look up on google earth where I am at, my new address is 547 main St. Cobleskill, NY.  DO NOT mail to this address! My new companion Elder Thompson is boss. He's only been out a transfer (6 weeks) longer than I have, he is from Colville, Washington, and has a dry sense of humor. For example, when I asked him what type of shirts he has, he said "white ones." We get along pretty well. The Flood damage from 2011 is still here, and we do service every week repairing the damage the flood did. Schoharie is quite different from Scotia. Scotia was a very small geographical area with a lot of people, and Schoharie is a huge geographical location with not so many people. But I'm enjoying the area so far. Elder Thompson is a good guy, and I look forward to working with him. Scotia was like me living in Taylorsville or Murray (Not as nice though) with Schenectady being similar to Salt Lake City. Schoharie and Cobleskill remind me of Mt. Pleasant and Fairview. The town of Cobleskill has about 5,000 people. The members here are really cool though. We are going to do service at a farm (haying) tomorrow. So it will be like working at the barn all over again. Well, I'll ask about David letterman if I remember. Love you dad and have a great week.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Off to Schoharie!!!

So, I am leaving Scotia this Wednesday. It's crazy how time flies. It seems like only Yesterday I was saying goodbye to you and the rest of the family in Provo. This wednesday, I will travel to Schoharie and work with Elder Thompson in the Schoharie Valley ward. I've heard many exciting things about my new area. I was told that the Schoharie valley is the richest farm valley in the State of New York. It's all farmland. Very different from Scotia, which includes the city of Schenectady and suburbs similar to Murray. But I'm very excited at the new challenges and opportunities that await me there. I've had a very cool experience this last couple of days. Zone training meeting was last Thursday, and President Wirthlin challenged all of us to sincerely pray each morning and tell the Lord what we want to accomplish that day, and then at the end of the day, to report to him what we did. As I have done that the last few days, I have seen miracles that strengthens my testimony that God does hear and answer our prayers, but it has also helped me see that President Wirthlin truly is inspired of God. On saturday, I prayed that Elder Koyle and I would be able to teach powerfully and simply to the lesson we had with Mandy Douglas and her 5 year old son Andrew that day. Sister Douglas is Chinese, and speaks a little English even though it is hard to understand her sometimes. She wanted us to involve Andrew a lot, and involve him in the lesson as well. We needed a male member with us, and mid way through the day, he had to cancel. Luckily, Elder Koyle and I were able to find another member last minute, Brother Grandon, who has two little kids of his own. As we taught, I knew I would have to teach very, very simply so Andrew could understand the message we had come to share. Brother Grandon was able to teach very simply, and I followed his example and taught simpler than I ever have before on my mission. The amazing thing is the fact that Andrew, being only 5 years old, sat down and listened through about 95% of the lesson, and has probably the best attention span I've ever seen in a 5 year old. I thanked God for the wonderful blessing it was to be able to find Brother Grandon and get him to the lesson. I'm so grateful for all of the many blessings I've been able to receive as I've served here in Scotia. I've seen miracles. My testimony has grown immensely. I'll let you all know how Schoharie is. It's in the Albany zone still, so I'll get to see Elder Koyle at zone meetings. Love you mom, and have a great week!!!


I am getting transferred. I'm going to Schoharie. Which is very different from Scotia. Scotia is city and suburbs, while Schoharie is all farm country. Sounds like a very fun thing, taking apart VCR's. Elder Koyle and I currently have around 10 investigators, but none are progressing. We've had a few weeks struggling to get lessons, and have done a lot of knocking on doors as well as OYMing. OYM is the acronym we missionaries have for "Open your mouth." It's street contacting, walking around on the streets and talking to people as they walk by and see if they would be interested in hearing the message we have to share as missionaries. I will keep in contact with converts. Hannah and Whitney both have facebooks, so I'll befriend them when I get home. A less-active member (Marlene Witts) who Elder Koyle and I have taught everything because she had forgotten absolutely everything about the gospel after a 30+ year absence, she is now re-activated and gave me her email and also has a facebook. Glad you are enjoying all the fun things you can do at home during the summer. You could be an engineer someday. There's lots of them in the Glenville and Schenectady ward because of the GE plant and Knoll's atomic power laboratory in the area. Love you nicknick, and have a great week.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Mohawk River for Real this Time!!!

 The Mohawk River for
REAL this time!!! And some
Guinea Pigs of some 

Glad to hear you and the family had a great Father's day!!! I did get my package. Thanks for the new tie. Haha. This week went really well. Elder Koyle and I got 4 new investigators, so our finding has paid off. One was a former named John who practices Hindu. It was interesting teaching him because a lot of the things you don't have to explain to most investigators because they are Christian we had to explain to him. He's very nice though, and gave us orange juice. The work is progressing, and I'm truly blessed to be a part of it. The 4 new investigators we got, we've only taught once and I'm not certain how things will turn out yet. But we did see miracles. In addition to the 4 new investigators, Elder Koyle and I called a less-active member who gave us a referral. She said she wants to get back to church, and she thinks her friend could be open to the gospel since he just went through a divorce. The last member referral this member gave was the Maronies, who are both baptized. Another good thing about the 4 new investigators is that 2 of them are from the Schenectady ward, and Elder Koyle and I have been wanting the work in the Schenectady ward to pick up. We also started teaching some less-actives in that ward as well, so that was really good too. It is such a blessing to be a missionary and teach by the spirit and help others find the true happiness the gospel brings. When I got to Scotia, I was excited for the mission experience, but I didn't realize how much I would come to love the people here and the wards. I'm excited at the thought of being transferred for the fact that I will get to experience something new, but I know I will miss Scotia once I leave. The call comes this Saturday. I have come to know that as you serve people, you truly begin to love them. It is such a blessing to have the gospel and share it with people.  As a missionary, I've learned a valuable lesson. As we teach people, we can only invite. We can't force them to do anything. We know how much we love the gospel, and sometimes we want to force it on others. But they always have their choice. As a missionary, my role is to explain carefully the facts of the gospel and help them make the correct choice by inviting them to live the gospel. I don't need anything right now. This week's weather was interesting.It rained harder and longer than I have ever seen it growing up in the West. It didn't stop raining for probably more than 3 to 5 hours for 3 days here. But because of that, it is really green. Also got to have Duck for dinner with the Schenectady Brooksby's this week, and it was very good.  This week in Preach My Gospel, I studied chapter 13. It is amazing how true it is. Members are a missionaries greatest resource, and as the missionaries and members work together, great things happen. Love you mom. Hope you all have a great week.

First off, sorry it's a day late, but Thank you so much for everything you do. Happy Father's Day!!! You are the best Dad a guy could ask for, and I'm so grateful for your example and kindness. Thank you for all the game updates as well. It was very hard one day when Elder Koyle and I were tracting. We walked up to the home, and I could see the game on the TV. It was very hard to ignore. Send me pictures if you get to see the cup again!!! Hope everything is going well. I love you so much Dad. Take care and have a great week. 

Sorry, I totally forgot to tell you about the exchange this week with Elder Lords. Haha, that's my 3rd time going on exchange with him. It was awesome. When we reviewed the exchange, he told me how he thought I did really well of teaching people, not lessons. So it was really good. It's so important to teach to people's needs. They don't care how much you know, till they know how much you care. Can't believe I got to go on exchange with him again though. He's been a zone leader here since I got here, so we have both been here a long time. Haha. Take care everyone!!!

Hey, so I forgot to tell you guys about a powerful insight I learned this week from a fellow missionary in my district Elder Tidd. He shared John 15:16 and shared a powerful insight. He talked about how his Dad went on a mission and had no baptisms, so how could his "fruit" remain. He then said that the fruit isn't the converts, that's the Lord's fruit. Our fruit is the change we have within ourselves, the Christlike attributes we develop on our mission that need to remain with us the rest of our lives. I thought that was an awesome and powerful insight.

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Monday, June 9, 2014


Downtown Schenectady during the warm time of the year!!! And the Mohawk River again.  (Will check with Elder Richins on the Mohawk River pic because I think it looks like a road...not a

Love the Green of Ny

The celestial kingdom on exchange with Elder Lords!!!! 
(It's a really nice apartment)

Wow time just gets quicker and quicker. This week was great.. I don't know if you and the family have had time to study the new teaching method I sent in the Package yet, but the first part of this letter is referring to a lesson we had with the "1st cornerstone experience." It was so awesome, and I would encourage you and the family to study "How to Teach Preach My Gospel" if you haven't had the opportunity yet. Anyways, we picked up this investigator named Quan. He was in our records as a potential for over a year when Elder Koyle and I finally managed to teach him last week. We went in not too sure how it was going to go, because we had scheduled a few appointments prior to the one we had last week that he didn't show up for. But he was there last week and it went great. After we taught him, we had him pray and had the moment off silence. When he broke the silence, he said that after his prayer he "truly felt at peace for a moment." I then promised him that that peace was the spirit, and he would feel it more if he got baptized and confirmed. We then asked him if he would be baptized, and he said yes.  When we asked him why, he said he wasn't sure, it just felt like the right thing to do. It was so awesome. He asked for a restoration pamphlet for his fiance when we said we were going to head out. It is so crucial that the people we teach feel the spirit and have those spiritual experiences. Now I just hope that Quan continues to have those experiences as we keep meeting with him. Saw another interesting miracle this week. You know how our front door has the glass door in addition to the main door? Well, Elder Koyle and I were trying less-actives and potentials in Rotterdam this week, and we came up to a house with just the glass door closed. There was a huge German Shepherd at the door. I was cautious going up, but the dog reared up and opened the door. Thankfully the owner grabbed the dog's collar just in time. Haha. Don't worry about me though, I am completely fine. We also had dinner with the Lee family yesterday, and they invited the Smith's over as well. The Lee's are from Thailand, so we had Thai food. It was so good. We had Green Curry, egg rolls, and some other dishes. But it was good. We also talked about mission's alot, since we were there and Sam Smith is going on his mission to Argentina in August. Brother Smith and Brother Lee talked a lot about China and Thailand, since they have both been in that area. Brother Smith told me an interesting fact that blew my mind. He said they went to a church conference in China with the prophet and two apostles. At the time the church had just barely gotten started, and there were like 400 people there. Brother Smith then said that one of the apostles said one day every person in that room represented a mission president for a mission in China. So that was really cool. That would double the amount of missions the church has today. So now for all the questions. The next transfer day is June 25th, and I think I'll go to a new area since 5 transfers is such a long time. It's kind of bittersweet. I'm excited for a change, but I know I will miss Scotia so much!!! Elder Johnson in not back to NY yet. I emailed him last week and got a reply, so I might find out more today. Hannah Dauignault, the person Elder Johnson and I taught that was baptized, gave us those pajamas for Christmas. Elder Johnson cooked us the steak. We did crack the coconut, but I didn't really like the milk. Elder Koyle's toes are blistered, and I think that's an old abandoned barn. It's right in Scotia, so it might be a house now. love you Mom. Hope you and all the family have a fantastic week.


Some Pics From the Last 6 Months

Elder Johnson cleaning the font!

Hannah gave us pj's for Christmas

Elder Johnson made steak for dinner!
Steak dinner.....mmmmmmmmm

So much SNOW!

Bacon flavored Pringles!

Old abandoned barn right in Scotia. (might be a house now)


Elder Koyle and some awesome food!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bunnies and Birds!

Baby Rabbits at the Smith's house

There are a lot of Cardinals around here, and they're really pretty and have a sweet call. It sounds kind of like a laser gun.

Glad that Dad loved his hat. I was hoping it would be a good gift for him. I'll send you the pictures that Sister Smith said she was going to send you. She said she would send it last week, but maybe she forgot or something. This week was ok. We've had to drop a lot of investigators recently, because they aren't keeping any commitments at all. So we have been focusing a lot on finding. It's cool how nice the people are here in New York though. Even though it's hard when talking to them on the street or on the porch to let them have us back sometime because they "already have a religion" I can't tell you how many times my companion and I have been complimented for the fact that we've given up 2 years to preach the gospel. They often express their respect for us and think what we do is awesome. And it is. We visited Marlene in the hospital this week (She had back surgery) and it was really funny. Marlene acts tough even though she is really a sweetheart, but she didn't act like herself at all at the hospital. She was on oxycontin. She's doing really well and wants to go to the temple. That's amazing because when she started meeting with us and coming back to church after a 30 year absence, she said she would never get to the temple because of all the rules. Haha. But now she has a desire to go. It's truly amazing how much the gospel can change lives, and what a blessing it is for me to be an instrument in the Lord's hands in helping people become converted to the gospel. One thing that I really like in PMG is in the finding chapter. It has a whole section called the importance of members. And that is so true. Members the greatest resources we have as full-time missionaries to find people to teach, because investigators who were introduced to the missionaries by their friends already have a support system. I've come to learn that that is so true. Both Hannah and Whiteny have close friends in the church that they knew well before the missionaries ever met them. I hope you and the family are doing all you can to help the missionaries back home. It's also a great way for members to feel the spirit. It's cool to hear members tell me that they love the spirit Elder Koyle and I carry.  I'm grateful to be a missionary, and I'm so grateful for my privilege to share this gospel with the people here in New York. It's a great time to be a missionary. The weather is warming up here The leaves are out in full bloom on the trees, and there is so much green. It feels really hot here because of the humidity too. I've been out on days were it's been 80 degrees and sweating more than I ever did back home. The cold and the warm really get to you. Glad you got that note from Ben. He's in Orlando now, and I'll probably talk to him today. Elder Tidd, Elder Summers, Elder Koyle and I also got to have pizza this week with Elder Rymer. He went home before I came out, but he was back for a visit and this was his last area, so we had lunch with him and their family. It was fun!! What was awesome is that before I even knew he was back, the tye I put on that day was his tie that he gave to Elder Johnson that Elder Johnson then gave to me. Haha. So that was funny. Love you so much Mom, and hope you and Dad have a great week.


Hey Mom. Sorry I forgot to tell you about another cool thing that happened this week. We got an investigator who I didn't think would ever progress. He won't read the Book of Mormon or pray about it. But we gave him a church tour, and he came to church. And after church, he said he would probably come back!! It was cool to see how much church can help us feel the spirit and open hearts.  I'm telling you, he was totally different and much more interested after he came. Love you all and hope you have a great week.

6 Month Mark! :)

This week was great!!! I sent home a package today with the letters I've gotten, the new teaching method, my SD card, and Dad's belated birthday gift. I'm still looking for Nicknick and everyone else. But I forgot to put a note for Dad. Tell him happy birthday. I love him and miss him so much, he's the best dad a guy could ask for. Now to the week. Since the sisters came back, our teaching pool (number of people we teach) went down quite a bit. So Elder Koyle and I got to do a lot of finding this week. But finding is an adventure in itself. You try to talk to people about the gospel, and you don't know what response you are going to get. Haha. Glad you guys enjoyed the cabin. I miss the good old times at the cabin. But the Albany Stake had a memorial day picnic at River Road park, so that was awesome. We got to play ultimate frisbee and just hang out with the members of the Stake. Hannah said it was weird to see me without a tie on. It was cool. I don't know if you got the email from Sister Smith, but we had dinner at the Smith family and we got to hold their baby bunnies. They breed them. They are so cute!! I'd send you pictures, but I forgot my camera this week. Haha. So life is going really well here. The work is really progressing. Elder Koyle and I have found a lot of potentials who we knocked on or talked to in the street who said we could come back and share a message with them. I've realized this week what a blessing it is to know the importance of family and how families can be together forever. Elder Koyle and I used the idea of eternal families and how the gospel can help our families with all the evils in the world today, and people were really receptive to that. Families are so important, and I'm so grateful for our family. It is crazy how fast time is flying though. Yesterday was the 6 month mark in the field. Time flies so quickly. I'll have to send home a few pictures next week via email. I got a cool one of a cardinal. They are really pretty, and very common here. Marlene, the less-active who's now come to church for 3 months, and I talked at the barbeque yesterday. Since she is pretty much active, Elder Koyle and I thought it would be good if we came every other week or even less, because her home teacher is great and visits her every other week as well. She liked the idea, then found out that I'm probably leaving in 5 weeks, so she wants us to come every week till I leave and she wants to stay in contact because I'm the one who "helped her come back." It is so cool to see how close you come to the people you serve. When I told her it was the spirit who helped her come back and not me, she threw her water on me, which was really funny and felt good since I was all sweaty from Ultimate. Elder Koyle and I also waxed our car yesterday, which wasn't fun at all. Elder Koyle put the wax on and I took it off. After he finished, he helped me at the end and said he liked putting it on a lot better. Haha. I also met Elder Rymer. He was a companion of Elder Johnson in Scotia.. He went home before I came out. What was funny is he gave Elder Johnson a posterity tie. So Elder Johnson gave it to me. And before I even knew Elder Rymer was in the area again, I put on his tie. So we laughed about that. Love you all so much. Hope you had a great memorial day and are still loving studying PMG. Take care and I'll talk to you all next week.


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