Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From: Elder Andrey Pearce Dated: December 29, 2008

Dear Family

i am so thankful that i got a great while to talk to my family. It was a great experiance trying to remember English. Wean i got going i could remeber it just fine.
It sounds like all is well and evryone is groing. I cant belive how much has changed.
Well the lord blessed us trumendously this week. THe members had a little welcome party for us. WEll sharing testimony and thanking that we were there to work harder. It Gave me a desire to work harder and give all that i have. THe members told us we came in like a huracane and started to pout things together. THe lord has had his mericle waiting for this little town of Mateares. Before we came it was falling apart and the members were scared that it was going to fall all apart. THe asistence (attendance) at church was going down it came down to 14. As we got there we changed the room how it looked pout some pictures up of christ cleande all the rooms well. Organized our gospel library called a librarian and went to work to make all looke well. Last week the asistence (attendance) went up to 31. THis week we got up as usual 5:00 in the morning to get to work walking our missionary team (or the members that help us out) we left to envite all we could to church. The members of Mateares set a record of 52 people coming to church. WE didnt have inof seats to sit down. I had the lovely time prisiding and anouncing the meating. It went realy well we had a lovely spirit. We had talks about reading scriptures, Praying and going to church. My companion gave a talk about seting goals as we finished the last song. YOU could feal and hear the spirit and the change in the way that the last hymn was song. 10 of the poeple that came to church were envestigating the church so we have alot of work to do. The lord has given me a great apertunity to grow and stretch. Then we split for clases. My companion taught the yung men and i gave the gospel doctrin class. I gave about the plan of salvation. It went very well we had great questions and i had the chance of explaning well that we can become Gods. Its a subject a little harder to explain Here to members and invetstigatores. The spirit was present and they captured it well. The secratary from Nagarote came to see how all is going. Gave us the great news that the Branch President will be coming next week. I had apertunity to give a interview for a yung man to recive the rank of a priest. I am over whelmed how much the lord has blesed me to learn. We as members and missionarys worked realy hard this week. I feal tired but ready to rise and give all again this week. I have come to love this poeple here. In not a very long time. I feal like i have so much to learn and over come i hope i can give all i can. I love my Heavenly Father and his beloved Son Jesus Christ. I cant belive how fast the time is flying by. I love you all. I hope to here from all of you how your doing. From Amy, Lydia, Emily, andrea, Dan those are the ones that told me they will write. Thank you mom for your lovely talk. Thank you dad for your letters each week. Well its almsot time to get back to work. Love Elder Pearce

Feliz Navidad 2008.....Transferred

From: Elder Andrey Pearce Dated: December 22, 2008

Dear Family
Feliz Navidad
i am sorry i didnt wirte to last week i had changes. I have bin given a great apertunity that the lord has called me to serve in mateares. Its a place were the church is starting out this week we had atendance of 31. I am so exited to work here. I was a bit nervous to preside this meating and was greatful for the help of my comanion. Hes name is ELder Oscal and he has 5 months on his mission. I had the apertunity to give a talk this sunday i have it about my life and navidad that the lord has blessed us to have Jesus CHrist in our lives. Whos birth we selibrate in this great time. I then had a chance to give the class and not knowing that i was going to give. As missonary we are always prepared to teach something. So i taught about the 2 Great Problems that we have in our lives. The Sin and Death and that the lord was born that he was chosen and he humbly came to this wold to solve this two problems in our lives. I taught that the gospel of Jesus christ is that He Was Chosen before this world. That he Came here on earth Paid for our sins and that he resurected and that he lives and loves us. It was a great lesson. Then after church we had all the men meet together and we talked about presthood and what it means to have pristhood it went well. Then at 3:00 we had a meating with the sisters of our ward as we talked about unity and planed a activity in wich we are together going to give christmas to a family here in this part of the world. I am so tired but i love wokring here. I have bin working hard studying and given my all to help here. I have one week here and have a geat love for this poelpe here. I have come to know them. Well i love you all and wish you the greatest christmas and i am thankfull to the lord all that he has done for me. I am thankful for this time in wich we can give and feel the same love that the savior felt. I am thankfull for his example in my life.
Mom happy birthday i am sorry i am a little late. I love you and thankfull for the time that you have spent helping me understand my life and my perpose here on earth how greatly i love you. Mom and Dad thank you for the packedge and the mony will be pout to great use. Mom i still havent got the packedge in wich are the garments or the chip for the camera. Happy Christmas i looke forward to talking with you i have lost a little of english and i have an acent will see how it goes. If you could call me on 25 december you can choose the houre it would be best at 12:00 or at 5:00 nic houre 930-1628. Mom if you could do me a huge favor and envite willy to this call i feal that i need to talk to him a little bit. I love you all and looke forward to the call that i will be resiving. Loves

Baptizing two new families

From: Elder Andrey Pearce Dated: December 8, 2008

Dear Family
My hart is swelled with all the love that i have recived from my family and from my loved ones. Heavenly Father has blessed me so so much this week. I feal so joyful i feal like crying with joy. ( i am in cyber so i wont) This week the greatest news is that we had 5 baptizims. Familia Sanches and Family Sevilla. What a week saturday we had a baptizim pland for 11 in the morming as it fell through we saved it to do at 5. We got to there house 4 and started to see how we can help them get ready and how there were with evrything. We got there and Pedro wasent there so we were woried we saw him come home with his son whos a pastor or a preacher for another church. We talked with pacions and peace and they got ready ate and we went of to the stake center to baptize. The greatest part of this day that the members of Nindiri saported us in all our strugles as they changed there plans to be there 5pm. The baptizim went well the maria has 53 years and husband Pedro 62. Then we helped them get on transpertation for there house and we tooke a taxi to 21 for The family Sanches. We got there and the family was ready. As we were walking to there friends who were going to give them a ride who came from managua. Lisa told us she didnt want to get baptized she had some chalenges. So we started to talk to her. She reminds me of Lydia alot. She has 14 years old. We talked and i let her know that she will have the chanse to talk to the zone leader who will interview her again if she wanted. So we got to the chapel it was 7 y 30 then we helped her to meat with the zone leader as he talk to her. The family got dressed ready to take pictures. She got back and sat down saying no. so we as companionship desided to talk to her one more time. It was a very spiritual lesson that we gave her that i will remember good part of my life. As she told us she will get baptized. She asked if she could make a call she made the call got dreased and the whole family got baptized. What a mericle that the lord gave ua. Albin who is her step dad thanked us for helping her. What a bryte happy family they are. The part that they live there isent many members so they will be one of the first family there i know they will help the work move along. Love the mission and all the work that my Heavenly Father has helped me to be part of. I hope that i have a chance to serve him all my life. Well my thoughts are not all together i am a bit tired from last week but realy happy. Another great thing hapend we went to the christmas devotional as the stake president pout his arm around me and told me that he was very thankfull for all the work that we are doing in Nindiri and for teaching his poeple. I could feal a great spirit with the stake president. I am thankful to the lord and my mom and dad for all that they have tought me. i am so blessed in my life. Hope to honer my Heavenly Father in this life work hard to do all the good that i can. Thank you for all your letters i love you all. I cant belive that i am 21 i feal a little old. I love my sister carissa and the great example that she has given me in my life and the apertunity that i had to share the same day with her. I know that she is happy. I thank my Savior Jesus Christ for all that he did for me. Love you all have a great week.
mom & dad i havent goten any of the packedges i think they are waiting to give them all for christmas. Thank you for all that you do for me

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Elder Matthew Courtright: Christmas week :(

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 3:30 PM
Subject: Christmas week :(

so this week is christmas and my companion and i are keeping score of presents and letters we receive. currently it looks something like the following table:

Elder Courtright Elder Walker
Letters | Packages Letters | Packages
2 0 1 7!!!

Come on now guys. that makes me sad. By the way, my 2 letters are from the Mission president and brother reid! man, this is gonna be the best christmas ever. i dont have to worry about getting better stuff than my comp, cause you cant beat getting nothing :) well, i have full confidence that this pity letter with help motivate some of you. Now lets recap the things that I, Elder Courtright, find joy in.

1) music
2) ties
3) pictures of you
4) number 3 especially if you are a girl
5) Starbursts
6) Cheeze its
7) stephen colbert "quote a day" calendars
8) love
9) lots of long letters
10) Edible AIDS
11) all the above individually wrapped so it looks like i get alot of stuff in a giant box with bubble wrap :) (bubble wrap!!!)

okay now for a recap of the week. on tuesday we had a christmas devo in Greeley colorado. we each had to get a white elephant gift. i got a fireman and cop rubber duckie and bubble wrap (see, its awesome, i got it for free from dollar tree. they love me.). we had a white elephant gift exchange. the gift that i originally ended up with, cause i am infinitely lucky, was a box of..drum roll...peanuts and lots of candy bars with peanuts. then we played a game and passed the presents around and my final gift was even better. It was a tiara and earings and a big fat ring...too bad it all cut the circulation to my head and fingers off but it was good stuff. wednesday we went to the temple. i forgot my temple recommend which kinda made the day start poorly but president ely got me into the temple and then to brighten my day, there was a....little person in the temple. out of respect for the temple, they can be little people for a day, but he was there. the day was then perfected! that night we went to a mexican restraunt and i had some good orchata. yum! i drank like 5 glasses of it. thursday we set a 10 year old kid for baptism. he is so cool. he is like a red headed step child. literally. saturday we spent 5 hours on base and it was so cool. the military base families are so awesome. sunday we had dinner with a multi racial family so that made my day. they adopted 3 black boys who are 7, 6, and 5..i believe. they all have the same mom and different days, who would have thought? then we went to a stake christmas devotional which was amazing. hope all is going well with you all wherever you are. have a merry christmas and remember, i am important! haha. just kidding...not really though

--Elder Courtright

Elder Matthew Courtright: ether 12:4...my favorite

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 12:57 PM
Subject: ether 12:4...my favorite

so this has been the most terribly cold week of my life. fortunately we roll in an '06 Carolla now! so monday was transfer day and that was crazy. i quickly learned that we, as missionaries, are really nothing more than pawns on a chess board and at any minute we can be go and told to do something that is 100% opposite of what we were told an hour ago. not fun. anyways, got a car. when my new companion, elder walker, and i first sat in it we had a moment of silence. it felt so good. then we commenced meeting the ward. we spent all week pretty much meeting the ward council and that kind of thing. i was one again being swept into an area so neither he nor i new anyone. we have 40+ part member families in this ward so thats where we are starting as far as the work goes. we have met about 5 of them and atleast 2 have real potential to no longer be part member families. there is a 10 year old who we are setting for baptism this thursday. his parents are seperated and it took 2 years for her to agree to let him be baptized. i am so excited for him. (also, everytime i think the word "baptized" i hear it the way Bro. Sagastizado says it. lots of emphasis on the 2nd syllable). uhh, well lets see if i can think chronologically. on friday we had weekly planning and i was looking through the ward list (it was really old) and (everyone who has lived in the olde oaks ward for more than 3 years will be suprised/amazed by the following) i saw a name that jumped up and punched me in the jugular. Ben Isom. Holy small world. for a little background on that, brother isom lived in the ward about 3 years ago and was in the air force. he confirmed me a member of the church. he was small, really small, but athletic, and in the Young Mens program. Now, you might be thinking like i was thinking. what are the chances. so i kinda ignored it and just kept on going. well sunday at church, the Relief Society president asked me where i was from and i told her houston. she said "oh, we just had a family from houston move about 3 months ago. did you know the Isom's?" i proceded to discribe him and turns out they are one in the same. ben isom and his family moved from houston to wyoming (i remembered that part) but i didnt know where. and in august they got transfered down to odessa (i think) which is back in texas. that was really sad for me. but one of the air force guys emailed him on his black berry and is gonna get back with me with a response. he lived in the ward where i now serve. crazy! also, the bishop of the ward, 25 years ago, lived in oak creek village which is also in the ward boundaries...crazy small world.
In other sunday news. the high for sunday was a high quality 1 degree. most of the day was spent at about -2 degrees. morally of the story: who the fetch willingly lives in wyoming?!

I heard it snowed in houston. REPORT!

love you playas!
--Elder Courtright

Elder Matthew Courtright: transfer!

Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 1:13 PM
Subject: transfer!

so as the subject might suggest i got transferred. but before i get to that let me give you some back ground

So this week i got to go on exchanges with one of the zone leaders because my companion is the district leader so thats how we roll. the ZL's work in the young single adult branch so i got to meet some of them. One guy is working on putting his papers in. His room mate is not a member but listens to all the lessons. His roommate is also training to be a UFC fighter. he had his first fight on thursday. he won. Anyways, all new missionaries who go to there house have to help him train. what that means is you hold to pads infront of your face and he kicks them....oh my gosh! IF he straight kicked me in the face it would a) hurt more than being stabbed in the shin and b) kill me. The dude was huge. it was so fun. we went to some other appointments that day. On thursday we went to district meeting and then walked back to our house throughout the day stopping for several appointments along the way. I was being stubborn that morning and didnt put on a heavy coat cause i am a Texan and thats how we roll. there were no clouds at night and about 5 the sun went down and it got to -7 degrees. Needless to say i was really cold and possibly (probably) near frostbite. Luckily a member saw us on the way home and picked us up. I sat infront of a fire for an hour before my hands stopped tingling (a painful process) but my thumb didnt regain full feeling until the next afternoon. needless to say, i wont make that mistake again. then on friday night we had dinner with one of the members of the bishopric. his wife, for dessert gave us ice cream (on the same day it snowed 3 inches). this ice cream was really good at first but about half way through i found a fun suprise! peanut butter cups! luckily it got no further than me biting into it. i went to the bathroom for awhile and then we left. we had an appointment later that night which i was so excited for but my stomach was cramping and jumping and all that fun stuff for the rest of the night...which leads to transfers. so i knew that i was getting a transfer like a week before and as the week went on it got more and more obvious. i was hoping for Boulder or Aurora cause they are the crazy cities. However, i got transfered to literally, 5 minutes away. In a neighboring ward in Cheyenne. I am excited for it though. half the ward lives on a military base so thats always fun. and...even better, we get a car! yeah! no more frostbite for me. I told the sister who gave me the ice cream that they were transfering me cause she poisoned me. And quickly told her i was kidding. We had a good laugh for awhile about it. SO thats been my week. Crazy? i think so! We are having alot of success and things are really starting to pick up....as i leave. oh well. i am needed elsewhere

--Elder Courtright

Elder Matthew Courtright: I sting like a butterfly and baptize like John the baptist!

From: Matthew Courtright <theilliterateone@myldsmail.net>
Date: Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 1:25 PM
Subject: I sting like a butterfly and baptize like John the baptist!

So it snowed like 4 times this week! who thought that was a good idea?

Well, this has definately been a week of ups and downs. We set a lady for baptism on the 27th of december. however, one of our investigators babysits 3 boys and those boy's grandmother said they arent allowed to go to "mormon services." thats a real drawback because she babysits them like 5 days a week. including but not limited to sundays. man, we went to pick her up and everything and then she couldnt find someone else to babysit. Depressing. but baptism on the 27th!
also, so as some of you know, goals are part of missionary work. you set daily and weekly goals. i set a goal of baptizing 1 midget (or little person for Rufus) in the next 2 years. if i dont make that goal, then i will be sad, but other baptisms will make it all better. However, if i baptize a black midget/little person, then i dont care how many others i get. 1 black midget will make all 2 years perfect!
On a serious note, missionaries arent allowed to discuss politics, and wyoming is super conservative. one day this old toothless lady told me how obama would destroy the country and he is evil. thus i have decided that anytime someone mentions how obama will ruin the country, i will retort with "but he is black, what could go wrong?" its great because i dont think anyone in the city of Cheyenne has ever met a black person..let alone talked, smelled, or high 5'ed one. they really should get around to doing that.
Thanksgiving was great. we had it with the members who we live with. they are really cool. their names are sam and maureen zimmerman (not jews =/). We call Maureen, Mama Z and I call Sam either Uncle Sam or Brudda Z. That was what they said to call them. well, i invented the Brudda Z name but whatever. We had turkey (suprise?) and potato, and corn and stuffing (yum!!) and root beer. oh, it was snowing really hard on thanksgiving so for awhile we couldnt go outside so we played clue. i won 2 times. yeah! i love winning.
i also lost 5 pounds on the "eat lots of turkey and play dodgeball for 2 hours last monday" diet. Its a good diet cause turkey makes you think you are full and dodgeball is a man sport.
Baptism the 27th!
We have a bunch of part member families we are gonna start work on. who knows how that will go? i mean my first transfer is in 1 week and i could easily be in a different area. infact, its pretty likely. who knows? not me. take care all.
ps. christmas is coming up. i like ties. and anything from colbertnation.com and letters. send me your family christmas letters fools!

Courtright out! Get to work

Elder Matthew Courtright: Emailing like a ninja

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 1:19 PM
Subject: Emailing like a ninja

Haha. so not much time to email today. we started this new thing where we email Pres so that takes up like half of my email time. I will say that we got the most golden refferal to date. It was for a guy named Ray Filer. He is less active. we went to talk to him and he lives with his girlfriend (not a good start) but he had been looking to come back to church but didnt know where to go and had looked at buying scriptures online. that was exciting. his girlfriend is a non practicing catholic and is willing to listen to the lessons. Ray came to church sunday so that was super good. Unfortunately, one of talks on sunday was one of those that you want to pull all Less Actives and investigators out of. it was super morbid. The lady who gave the talk is like 50+ and is married to a 22 year old Excommunicated member. The beginning was all about this mother bird who saved her kids during a fire but died in the process. it was about a 5 minute story and she spent 3 1/2 talking about how the bird was burned alive and crazy, nasty, morbid things. Then she continued to talk for 25 minutes. the entire time i wanted to make her stop. and punch her in the head. uhh, what else? we got 5 new gators (investigators) this week. all on like the last 2 days of the week. still not really snowing. had a couple of flurries but thats it. OH! we met a lady this week and she used to live in Champion Forest area and in Humble. You wouldnt believe who she used to work with. Adele Puffer! that was so awesome. i showed her pictures i had of Leila and Cyrus. she asked if Cyrus was my kid. totally wanted to say yes. But we talked about Adele and Leila (sorry to talk about you leila. sending your mom a letter with all the details) for like 20 minutes. good stuff. yea. thats the most of it. Just keep on trucking. i will probably be in a new area next transfer because of the massive influx of new missionaries. not really looking forward to that. oh well. bring it!

Elder Matthew Courtright: Holy No Snow!

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 1:04 PM
Subject: Holy No Snow!

I was freakin out all last week cause it was supposed to snow. and it did. for like 10 minutes. man, they need to tell me it is going to snow only when it is actually gonna snow hard. However, there was a bunch of wind this week. My companion and i were riding downhill and the wind was so strong that it was overpowering gravity. I dont like having to pedal hard to go down hill. that is unnecessary. And apparently they have "wind storms." I have never been in a storm i hated so much. The wind was gusting at like 50-60 miles an hour. i had on like 4 layers of clothes and was sure i was about to get frostbite. i lost feeling in my thumb for awhile. And we were walking everywhere. i have never been more sad in my entire life than i was during those 5 hours that we were outside in the bitter cold. Anyways, so other than the wind everything is going well. the family we live with is super cool. they say that i remind them of their son because i like simple things. like shiny objects, soft things, flashing lights, and i sleep with a penguin. And apparently he and i have similar sayings, motives, and thoughts. i love this kid and i probably will never meet him. he is serving a mission in japan and wont be home until may. its sad that i wont meet him cause 2 me's are awesome but i dont wanna be in wyoming in the deep winter.

Oh, so big kinda news. i had my inteview with Pres. Ely (the mission president) and then i was talking with his wife afterwards. (1st off she really likes me cause i was the only convert in the group that i came out with and they are converts to) So she asked me how much spanish i knew and i told her i took 3 years, but lived with a spanish family for awhile and can hear it really well, but i only speak a little bit and have a hard time with the verbs. we talked about how much i knew and all that and then (this is the best/worst/scariest part) she gave me an El Libro De Mormon. which if you cant spanish says Book of Mormon. She told me to start studying it. I might end up being a spanish missionary before too long. That is an excitingly scary thought. i love the language and all that but i dont think i know enough to teach in it and i definately did not get 6 weeks in the MTC to learn it. Oh well. Well, i read 1 Nefi 1 this morning and i understood it pretty well and i can read it outloud without sounding horrible gringo-y so who knows? thats super exciting. uhh, as for teaching people. We have 1 really solid investigator which i think i mentioned last time. she is super good. she wasnt there last monday because her friend made her go see a new born baby. However she had every intention of being back by our appointment. we are going again tonight. hopefully it will go really well.

so the cheyenne stake had its stake conference yesterday and it was a broadcast from salt lake. 2 of the speakers were Elder Hales and Pres. Eyring. they were both really good talks. I took notes for the first time ever and i actually reread and used them. Crazy. Who would have thought that i would do such a thing? certainly not me. well, hope everything is going well in whatever city you may or maynot be in. Take care

--Elder Matt Courtright

Elder Matthew Courtright: Cheyenne

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 1:18 PM
Subject: Cheyenne

Wow. What a week. So as i mentioned last letter i was opening this area. it pretty much is crazy cause my companion and i had no idea where we were or where anything is. After the first day though, we had a map, and just went to work. We figured out that our ward boundaries are about a 1/2 mile wide at the largest point and about 7 miles long. just to top it off, we live on the very southern tip. so to get to the top of the boundary, on bike, takes about an 45 min to an hour. fun. Also, i am pretty sure that to go anywhere you have to bike uphill. its retarded. Uhh, lets see. so we have 3 people already preset for baptism. two are on the 22nd of november and the last is one isnt until marchish. Thats pretty exciting to only have to teach them and not find them. We also found an older lady who we just started teaching saturday night and we are going back tonight. I am pretty stoked for that. my companion decided for me that i am going to commit her to baptism. Not sure how i feel about that but you have to start somewhere. uhh, as for the current weather forcast. tomorrow calls for snow. not gonna enjoy being out in that. snow is alot nicer when you arent outside.

Some of you have been asking what my address is so...

Elder Matthew Courtright
Colorado Denver North Mission
11172 N. Huron Ste. 21
Northglenn, Co 80234

No matter where i am, Amah, for the next 2 years you can send me stuff there.

the ward here was pretty tiny. like there was 1 family per pew. but everyone i have met so far is really nice and super faithful. Even the people who dont wanna talk to missionaries are nice. Its so different that i am currently facing climate and culture shock.

Ha. so my funny thing for the week is...

We went to visit a less active in the ward at this really ghetto apartment complex. the apartments used to be hotel rooms but the turned them into apartments and all they have are a bedroom and bath. They are smaller than most dorm rooms. anyways, so knocked on the door and the guy across the hall opened his. He asked if we were knocking on his door. The funny thing about this guy is that he was definately high on a super drug. and by his demeanor i would guess meth. anyways, he like ran back into his room and hid. then the guy we knocked opened his door and instantly a wave of marijuana and incense hit me. I have smelled lots of weed before (i went to a journey concert :) ) but this was so concentrated and the incense just made it worse. The Less active we were talking to was high as a kite. it was different... So we left and probably wont be back. i had to wash that shirt 2 times to get the smell out.

Hope you all are taking good care. If you get a message saying i lost 2 fingers to frostbite, dont be too suprised. Stay Safe

--Elder Courtright

Elder Matthew Courtright: week 2

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 3:07 PM
Subject: week 2

wow! what a week. I realize that some of you wont know the names i use but just know that they are important people.

So i am gonna do this all really fast because i have less than 25 minutes to write but here it goes

So on tuesday, we had the BYU devotional and you wont believe who came to speak. If you were thinking Elder Richard G. Scott then you are absolutely correct. And i had amazing seats cause our district joined the Missionary choir so we sung a Be Still My soul and then had bleacher seats to watch elder scott speak. He was amazing. He is also really funny. Afterwards he offered to shake everyones hand. Heres probably a little known secret. He is so short, with piercing blue eyes, and super soft hands. It was awesome. And when his spirit is like a punch to the face. So the week passed, not much happened. We got new missionaries. That was a fun day. Uh, bonded with the district who is leaving right before us so that was cool. Oh, i taught my first lesson to an "investigator." Not a real investigator, but still, close enough. i think me and my companion did really well. the Spirit here has been amazing and that was no different. i loved it. I have only been here almost 2 weeks and i feel like i could come home and write a super inspirational talk with a bunch of stories and take an easy 20 minutes. Wow. Then last night at the fireside we had another amazing speaker. Sister Sheri Dew. In case you dont recognize that name she used to be in the Relief Society General Presidency and is now CEO of Deserett Books and Is the US ambassador to the UN Womens Council or some fancy title like that. she also had an amazing talk. Everything here (except the food) is amazing. I got my flight plans to denver and i leave a week from today at 8:10 AM. So it will probably be 2 weeks before i get another email out but fill my inbox up :) uhh, what else? i dunno. if anyone of you guys have any questions just put it in an email and i will definately answer them. i am hoping that when i get to denver i will be able to use my Gmail account but i will let you know. until then send any email here. also, i will be sending pictures to someone so that you guys can see my district and the stuff that we do...sometimes we are very unproductive. Hope everything is going well with yall. Send me letters, i think i am losing in the letters received department. Kimmy, send me baby pictures! i know its gonna pop any day now if it already hasnt :( write me fools. if you need my address its on a note on facebook. The rest of this email is for sis freeman but you are all willing to read it.

Sis Freeman!
Thats so exciting about paul being home. It sucks that i miss him by just a few weeks but oh well. He is really blessed since he served a mission. I cant believe that i was ever hesitant on coming. The feelings, inspiration, and answers that i have gotten in the last 2 weeks are incredible. Everything happens alot faster because i need it. i love coloring my scriptures. i am so anal about it. i hope all is going well in houston with the ward and what not. I miss the crying babies. and i must say that when you cant hug a girl, everything sucks. Guys just cant fill that need for attention. Ya Know? At least i know i cant be gay! :) Not that i didnt know before but..yea. just stop there before i dig a bigger hole. i love you and thank you for your advice and help over the years. I probably am not supossed to write except immediate family but the ward is immediate family to me.

Elder Courtright

P.s. still not used to that name

Elder Matthew Courtright: the real beginning

From: Matthew Courtright
Date: Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 7:00 PM
Subject: the real beginning

well currently i am sitting in the Colorado Denver North MIssion home writing this email. Today has probably been the most overwhelming day thus far. I got up at 3:30 AM to get read to get on the bus to the salt lake airport at 5. the plane left at 8:40 and we landed at about 1015. This afternoon we had lunch in the mission home and then had interviews with the mission president. I found out where my first area will be...i am in so much trouble. I am gonna be in Cheyenne, Wyoming. From the stories that have been told it can get down to 30 below 0. not looking forward to that but i think i wont be there late enough to feel that much cold. This is the highest baptizing mission in the central US and Canada. and Cheyenne is one of the highest in the mission. My companion is a district leader and we will be opening an area. The church here is expanding rapidly. They are getting 40 extra missionaries this year so i might literally be training on my second companionship. That is a scary thought. I am so excited. I might die of frostbite but I will be stronger for it. Uhh, what else? I dunno. i am so excited to get started tomorrow. i have to get a bike because my area is an all bike area so i will lose all the MTC weight. i hate these 5 pounds. Love you guys all so much. thanks for everything you do. Y'all are my heroes. Be good.

--Elder Matt Courtright

Monday, November 24, 2008

Life in Nicaragua, Wonderful Family

From: Elder Andrushka Date: November 24, 2008

Dear family.

Well dad asked me to let you know about the travels and food and all that kind of stuf so i am going to start letting you know some what about nicaragua. Well travels is by taxi evry where or busses. As taxis cost alot we travel by busses. The Buses fill up so much that you dont have room to move and sometimes leave the bus. The food here is rise with beans whats called gayo pinto. They like fryed chees that is the most tipcle food. There is alot of cocunut and bananas and lots of difrent froot. We eat alot of fruits. The people are more humble here and get by what they have. IT is normal to just start a fire and walk away and leav it burning. There are other parts were we walking realy long were its contry and the poeple are realy humble in this parts. Ah there is also three wheelers its like carissas bike but two wheels in front one in back and they give you a ride and charge you mony. Um what els. Over all it seams normal to me and like its my home. this week we had our prayer awnsered as we are working with family Sanches and its second time that they have gone to church. So we will be setting a date to get baptized. .They are understanding evrything realy well. The other day we taught them plan of salvation and the mom was so exited to learn that she tooke out a notebook to take notes. The daughter remindes me of Lydia a bit. We asked her after teaching the plan of salvation and was it nessesary for adam to eat the fruite and she said yes if he didnt we coudlen exist. There are realy prepared and chosen. So i will back up a little and let you know how we found them. We have a part in our area that is far a way we take the bus there to teach. We know that the missionarys have tried many times to start a branch there. Having sacrament there and atendece but all the members there are realy young in age. So we got there and thouaght Elder Garza and I. If we want to help here we need to find a realy good family. So we walked and found a house were only the mom came to the door she was intrusted and here husband came home at the same time as we were talking he let us in and we taught about the ward of wisdome. Wich led to asking for coffe and taking in away from there house. Familia Sanches. They are very prepared by Our Heavenly Father. Well another great news is that the stake President came to our ward and the greatest part is that we had a great atendance. Wich made me realy happy that the stake president could see the progres there is so much more to do. Ah we had a elders chorum meating and we had so many people there that we could not fit in the room what change we can see. That is only doing little changes not the greatest. We had a bonfire as a branch last week as i learn how to cut treas down with an axe. Also how to work on the field. It was great getting ready. It brought lots of unity the atendence was 75 wich is great for a ward here. This branch is progresing but much to be done. I hope that i will send good amount of time in this area. Love the poeple here love the members. I have come to know them and there chalenges and disires. Thanks for all that you do for me. Oh this week i also had a great study session learning about the atonement and how its posible. It has awsnerd alot of my questions of how and whys. I love the mission and feal proud to suffer some times for such a great cause. That its rewarding but it costs to have succes. LOVE YOU ALL.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Working, Teaching, Baptizing

Working Hard and More Teaching and Baptizing

From: Elder Andrushka Dated: 11.10.08

Dear Family
It sounds like all is going well. What a family we have there is never a doll moment. It sounds like all is as normal. Evryone working hard to make things hapen the best. What a great mom and dad we have that are great examples and work to have all the most perfect in our lives. This was a great week as we helped two more enter the waters of baptisim. I realised this week that my english is getting realy bad i dont know if to worry about it or to just keep going. I think i will start reading my scriptures in english. Well last week was A sisiter named Julissa that has 22 years old and is a wife of a member. This week Is a mom of another member that we have worked for a 2 months about Sister Leda Ortega. Other is a son of a family that are all members that got baptized in 2000 and inactivated promtly after we activated the family and he got Baptized Luis Ortega but no relation to Leda Ortega. How hard we worked this week i feal like my mind my hart my evrything feals realy tired. I hope that this day i will find some rest. I am exited to go back to work and give it all i have. I feal like my spiritual strength is growing. I cant imagen the aposltel that work all there lifes what strength they have. I am more greatful for the prophet and apostles bishops and all that serve the lord what strength it takes. We finished our paper this week i will try to send a copy of it to you guys if i can. I am sorry that i havent send a picture of my self. I hope that i can next week. For the rulls i can not reaturn inles i ask special permision to do so. How i love evryone of you. Send my congratulations to nick and crystal let them know how proud i am of them. Let Crystal now i am honered to have her as my sister in law and that i hope that she will take care of my brother. Let nick know i love him and that he will make sure that crystal will reaturne to the presence of our heavenly father. Love evry one of you and thanks for all. Mom no i havent goten the packedge. Thank you for sending them to me i will let you know if i got them. Loves Elder Pearce

Becoming a Ward!!!

From: Elder Andrushka Dated: 11.03.08

Well Dear Family
This week we pushed realy hard to reach our goals. this week we also had a baptisim and it was a very spiritual. I have seen the meetings that we have to get better and better. From each one we get more and more experiance. How i love the mission and all the experiance i have had. THis week we came up with the idea of monthly paper for nindiri of the church and we are working on desinging it. The branch we just got the word that it is going to made a ward and that they are starting the proses of building the chapel they have the land. So we are looking in about 6 months this branch has grown so much. As we grow there comes new chalenges. How i love chalenges because that means more work and more succes and more growth. I love serving here i hope with all my hart that it is the will of the lord that i may serve here 6 more months to see the chapel go up. THis change we have worked realy hard with the members. You could see the spiritual change in the meatings. You could see the revrence during the sacrament. How i love the work of the lord. I pray and hope that i will grow more and that i will be able to help more poeple. Heavenly Father has pout so much confidence in me. Lets see what els hapend this week. We had a chaleng in the church in elders chorum. We had a special meating after and talked things out. As the work progreses the enemy pouts his couple sentences in as he can. May we all keep pushing forward in this work of the lord. May we never set our sword down. May we keep it sharp and ready at all times. With all love Elder PearceT he work go´s on.

Working to Become a Ward

From: Elder Andrushka Dated: 10.27.08

Dear family
well i dont have much time to write this week. We have bin working realy hard and had a great succes. Santos who had 82 years old got baptized last week. This week we have another baptisim. We are working realy hard on all little by little we have reached almost our goal were we would like to be. I know that this week we will work harder and reach more. The atendance this week reached 105. The ward is starting to work and c ome together. I think that we arnt that far away to become a ward. The church has the land they are just waitig that we reach a goal of 30 elderes to start the church i hope that i am here to see that church go up. The people here have bin waiting a while to see the church. Love this work i love the lord and hope that all is well mom i will send a picture next week. Love you all

Shining Shoes

From: Elder Andrushka Dated: 10.20.08

Thank you for your letter Dad.
Dear Family well this week i have learnd alot as always you see whean you have more presure if you realy have become a better person and a better missionary the lord ask us to do the work with a chearful hart. This week we had the chance to go to the market and to shine peoples shews and to ask for refrence. It was a realy good experiance that we did as a zone the poeple came to realize that we practice what we teach as we were humbled to bring about this work and the poeple were humbled also they at first thaught we were trying to get somthing but it was awsome experiance. My camera is full but i will send some pics all that i have. I only have of the other activity that we did. We worked realy hard this week. I feal joyfull to see the result of our work. THis week we filed our rented chapel full that there wasent anyamore room. What a joy it was as 96 or so asisted the church i love this little town with all my hart. We have pout a project in to action and hoping that it will double the asistencia i dont have much time to epxlain the plan. We devided Nindiri in 11 sectore. Each sectore we called al lider and he has a team of 5 people or so. They are 2 with pristhood and 2 of sociedad de socoro. Evryone is realy exited to work with this plan as we spent some time working with branch president and chorum president to get this plan going. We as missionarys will be helping suprevise this work. Its to help retain our efert. Love this work and i am exited for the next week. We had a baptism he has 88 years old and he is just needs to go to church one more tim e he has 2 in the church and he needs 3 to baptize some one. The reason he cant go to church is that he has bad health.This week we will try to get permission from the president to baptize him. Also found two new familys i will let you know how thats going next week. Love you all. Be ye all strong in doing good and keeping the commandments.
Love Elder Pearce


From: Elder Andrushka Pearce Dated: 10.13.08

Dear Family
Well lets see what hapend this week. We had a very good turne out on our mutual night for the whole ward. We also got to help a family get merried and it was a very lovely time. I got to learn a little how to decorate and plan for a weding. I remember at the end i gave a little advice and i could give an example of my lovely mom and dad. Also this week we had a meating with the stake were all the missionarys got to teach all the bishops counsler and all about Preach my Gospel and it went realy well. It amazed me how much experiance we have with preach my gospel. Not only we read it i could see how we live. I got to teach about camitment and i got to learn realy well about camitment. THis week has gone realy fast we are working realy hard. THis week we have a 81 year old brother he lives with his son who is mamber. He is very faithful do to not having much strength to go to church he has walked and sacrificed to go. I have come to realize that the spirit dose the work we live worthy to fallow the spirit and to be in the presence of him. I HAD SOME mericles hapen this week as we got on a bus a brother told me he has bin looking for me. He said elder pearce i have bin looking for you to prepare my wife to get baptized he told me in english. We started talking and i found out he is from nicaragua he lived in maiami and that he has served a mission and has 41 years. I could feal the spirit tell me and testify that i have seen him before and that i was ment to be in this area at this time to help him and his wife. I love this work i love seaing mericles. I will let you know what els hapends. Oh another quick mericle. In nicaragua there is a lot of home shops. They sell candy and lots of stuf. We past by one and my companion baught a loly pop one for him one for our mission lider and one for me. As he gave me mine i felt like i shouldent eat it and that some one needed one. It was amazing because the spirit was clear what he wanted. I could feal like some one needed it so i pout it in my pocket and kept on walking. At the same time looking in the streets like who needs this. I pased by some small children nothing. Then we past by a les active person and a little boy steped out with a black eye. We asked what hapend and found out he has some sicknes in his eye. I then new that it was for him. The spirit is clear if we are prepared to recive it. This week we also got to have a zone confrence in wich presindent Fraatz talking about repentance i love the talks about repentance that he gives they are realy clear and motivate to do better giving up not only the big things that you do but also the little things that you dont do and do. Love this work love evry single one of you keep up writing. Elder Pearce

uno mas año

From: Elder Andrushka Pearce Dated: 10.06.08

Dear Family
The time is just pasing by like a rushing river. We got in this are and started to work hard we had a mutual with all the members. We watched legasy and talked about sacrifice it went well as the branch president caught our vission and is ready to help and work hard. We are starting a project were we can help with home teaching feloshiping and retaning new converts i am exited to work on it. We had a set back this week thinking that i could do it with out the lords help. I had to be humbled and ready to work harder this week. We have had many meatings with the branch president and our mission leader and the elders chorum president. They are starting to catch the vission of what we are doing. We had a baptisim this week in a old church baptisimal font as we cleanded it out it lookes like a swiming pool it was a great experiance. I have come to love this are i know that there is so much work to do. Also this week we went to the market with all the missionarys and started singing to get atention of all then as we had a box we one by one got up on the box to share with all the message. Not many stoped by to leasten we gave away pamphlets and it was a great experiance to get up and loose the fear in the work and share with peopel why we are here as misisonarys. I loved standing up and sharing with all a desire to come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ i know this is the work of the lord it moves and will be sounded in evry ear. The work is growing here. Our mission president has a very big vission. I am so glad to be here and to be part of this work. The best part as you loose your slef in the work you come to find awnsers to what is measing and what needs to corected in your life. Congrats nick and crystal i love you dearly and will next week send pictures. oh all my family is going to be together. Know dearly how much i love each one of you. Loves Elder Pearce

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Week

From Elder Matthew Courtright, dated October 13, 2008 (edited for punctuation, capitalization, and sacred or personal third-person content)

Hello Sister Freeman!

If you haven't assumed as such yet, this is Matt, or Elder Courtright, as I have been called lately. This has been one crazy week since I left Houston 1 week and 2 days ago. Uh, I got to Salt Lake at 3:30 on Friday afternoon and [a couple newly affianced] picked me up. Awkward! I have never had such a desire to scream and explode. We picked up Bro. Steward at the Church offices and drove home.

Saturday was [General] Conference. so we just watched that and that's it. Sunday, [a brother and sister and their respective fiances] and [the female fiance's] brother and I went to the Sunday morning session of Conference at the Conference Center. We had the most amazing seats. We sat on the floor 50 feet from the prophet. If I had sniffed hard enough, I could have smelled him. It was amazing. We also saw [Elder Groberg] (or however you spell it), the missionary from the movie The Other Side of Heaven. He's old now, as you might assume, but I saw him.

Then Monday and Tuesday happened. And Wednesday, Sis. Steward and Daina brought me to the MTC. I met my companion, Elder ----, who, outside of being super weird, is a great man. He is really passionate about this work. He encourages me to do things I wouldn't normally do because I am too prideful. My other 2 roommates are Elder Hiatt and Elder Albino. Elder Albino is from Hawaii, so we are learning lots of Hawaiian words, and Elder Hiatt is from N. Carolina.

We met the rest of our district Wednesday night. Only 3 out of the 12 people in our district are from Utah, 0 from Idaho. Pretty amazing huh? We have a really close, spiritual district. We bonded closely within 2 days. Unfortunately, 7 of us are going to Denver, 3 to Washington, D.C. and 2 to New Zealand. It's gonna be a really hard day when they split us up.

Uhh, what else? The lessons have been amazingly spiritual. I remember everyone telling me that, but I never would have imagined the magnitude of it. It's incredible. I love it. I have learned more in 1 week and felt the Spirit more than I did probably the entire time I was home this summer.

Today we went to the temple and that was a really good experience. I [participated in a prayer] and the lady [next to me] was bawling throughout the entire prayer. I felt such a love for her and when we were in the Celestial Room, I was impressed to thank her for her faith and testimony. I dunno why, but I was. Also, turns out in the MTC rules, elders aren't supposed to [participate because] it's holding a lady's hand. I plead ignorance this time.

I have been super lucky here because I forgot some things at the Stewards' house, but Hannah has brought them to me. If you think of it, ask Sis. Lyon for a Houston Temple Recommend holder. I asked Hannah to call her, but I forgot. My box number is 120 in case Daina didn't give that to you. It's great having friends work at the MTC.

Also, I think I am the only one in my district who hasn't been homesick. I don't think I can be since I have already lived away from home for so long. I am the 3rd oldest, and older than most of the missionaries here. It's weird cause I graduated a whole year before them.

Well, time is almost out. Just so you know, THE GOSPEL IS STILL TRUE! I WOULD KNOW! Send my love out :)

--Elder Courtright

Monday, October 13, 2008

The End of One Chapter, the Beginning of Another

Editor's note:

Dear Reader: This week marks the end of an eight-year saga for the Freeman family, that of experiencing the joy of a son's missionary service. It has been nearly four years since we have not had a son serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Words cannot express the great joy and rejoicing I take in the decisions my sons have made to serve the Lord in preaching His Gospel, and I know that service will bless them their entire lives.

The change this will bring about in the lives of the Freeman family will be a significant one. However, I am not removing my eight-year-old 'missionary mom' tag from my key chain just yet. Since the loss of correspondence from my sons leaves a vacancy in this blot, I have recruited a young man in our ward who himself is a convert to the Church. Matt Courtright was baptized when he was about 16 years old (if I understand correctly), and is the only member of the Church in his family. I have watched him grow and mature in the gospel over the past four years and know he will make an outstanding missionary.

Elder Courtright, called to serve in the Colorado Denver North Mission, has graciously agreed to be my surrogate missionary son and I hope I can be of some support to him while he takes these two years to serve the Lord. While he is not in the Tarbet-Neves family and unknown to any but the Freeman branch of it, he is definitely in our ward family, and his contributions, like this blog itself, will continue to share faith-building experiences and hopefully instill in members of the Church a greater zeal for missionary work.


Penny Freeman

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last Email as a Missionary

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated October 8, 2008

Dear Mom,

You said it yourself. It's hard to think of something to write. But, you didn't have to worry yourself about sending me a "trunky" email. I don't get trunky. I just have a hard time sleeping at night when I get to thinking about not knowing what direction my life will take me. It's not that I'm worried so much as struck with wonder. Then I realize this wonder is going to accomplish nothing but a groggy morning when I wake up. It's an exciting time. But, just like you and Dallas have been telling me I look forward to making the most of this final week.**

Friday, there is a baptism for a lady we started teaching up in Victorville and had to hand her over to the english missionaries. She kicked her boyfriend out, moved her kids in, and quit smoking. As far as I know she's been going to church every week for a few months now. Her name is June. It was so cool to teach her and now she will be baptized on Friday and confrimed Sunday at the Samoan sacrament service.

This week, we are working in Rancho Cucamonga with Elder Krebs and Elder Johnson. They've been without investigators for a while, so they could really use the help. Yesterday we taught like crazy. Elder Krebs and I went tracting yesterday morning, and the very first person to answer the door invited us in. His name is Patrick and he said he's muslim.

This guy is really cool. He is the nicest and meanest guy ever. He talked about how he used to pride himself in being bigger and badder than anyone else. He wasn't just cocky either. Seriously, this dude is big and bad. He said if he ever got caught and convicted of everything he did, he would be in prison for 200 something years. But, one time he was seriously beating this guy in the face, saying all kinds of foul stuff to get him into submission, when an old guy came up and said to him "Boy! Leave that man alone". That made him angry but the old guy told him something that hit him like a ton of bricks, he said "A weak man can never show mercy". He said what that old man told him just played over again and again in his head and he finally realized how weak he really was.

Later, he got into the Nation of Islam but they kicked him out for "being too radical". He was telling everything he thought about how Islam is messed up. He made a lot of interesting points. The only thing is the subject matter and his language isn't appropriate to repeat, but he had a valid argument. This whole time he was commending us missionaries for the work we do. He seemed to admire it. He also seemed curious about what it was that motivated us. Elder Krebs said a few things that impressed him and after we taught him about the Book of Mormon he said "There most be something to that book". Then, he sent us on our way with a couple of Oreo cookies and we left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon.

After lunch, we didn't really know where to go and I suggest we go to a certain area. Elder Krebs led the way and determined the street we should track and we ended up spending the rest of the day on only one side of that street. Several people weren't home, other weren't interested, but there were like 5 houses in a row where we taught good, meaningful lessons. We ended up with one new investigator and a few potentials. It was nothing short of miraculous. We ended up teaching 7 lessons on that one half of the street. It was amazing. What an amazing way to spend the last week of a mission.

Thank you both Mom and Dad for making this possible. I don't think I could ever do or say enough to show you what it means to me. Without your love and support it never would have been possible. I am so looking forward to seeing you next week, and especially getting started on your to-do list.


Elder Freeman

** Editor's note: Elder Freeman will be arriving at the George Bush International Airport on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, at 2:14 pm. He will be flying Sky West from Salt Lake City.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated October 1, 2008

Dear Mom,

I appreciate your email very much. I'm glad the power is back on and you and Dad can get back to regular every day living. And, these pictures are amazing. The new Park has a volley ball net?! That is terribly exciting. Ever since I got transferred out of the Samoan ward I haven't played volleyball.

Oh, as far as jury duty goes, I might as well stick to that date and get it over with. I'm not sure if you read about it in my last letter, but I checked my application status online a couple weeks ago and it said I had been denied to BYU Provo. I'm not really sure where to go from there, but going to school in Idaho doesn't sound all that appealing. I check out both the University of Texas and Sam Houston University, but still I'm not convinced one way or the other. I've got the idea that I can start out like Adam did in community college and see where it takes me from there. Especially because I really don't know what career I want. I know I've got plenty of time to figure it all out and only two months at home doesn't sound nearly enough to get grounded before heading out to school. I'll leave it at that for now.

I always say there is plenty of time to think about those things on the plane ride home.

We've spent the last week here in Upland, searching for new investigators. At times it feels like we're not doing as well as we should be. That just means I need to step back and remember that this is the Lord's work. All I have to do is make sure I'm focused on doing it His way. Whenever, I try to take over to do it my way it hardly ever works out. We've talked to really great people who are sincere about learning the gospel. I feel so blessed when we finally find someone like that. Each time is a miracle and a breath of fresh air. It feels like I've been out forever, but I really wouldn't have it any other way because I know I have been about my Father's business.

I'm so grateful for everyone who has made this possible. Especially my parents.

Thank you both Mom and Dad.


Elder Freeman

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Area

From Elder Andrushka Pearce Dated: Sept. 29, 2008

Dear Family

Noooo I changed area and now I am in Masay. I love this area but miss the old one. It’s called Nindiri. My companion has 6 months and his name is Elder Garza. He is a very good missionary. We went right down in planning what we are going to do for this branch. Yes, it’s my first branch and I hope and pray that I will have 6 months here.

We got to know the branch president. He is a returned missionary and knows what missionary work is like. We have to do a lot of work to win the confidence of all the members here. I think the missionaries have a not very good reputation.

It is a very beautiful department (area?). The weather is colder and drier. I am starting to get used to it.

I have got a feeling that in this area we are going to reach miracles. I have been thinking a lot how fast my mission has passed me by. This area I hope to arise to a new sense of urgency. Believe me when I say I do have it. One year more is not enough time. I want to bless as many lives as I can. I have become a little hard. Meaning I preach repentance but this week I have put a goal to teach with more love.

I think sometimes it’s hard to make all the difference with love but that is what makes all the difference. I have come to realize the work of Mom and Dad. That it was hard. I have been feeling lately how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. I love you all. Thank you Dad and Mom for all that you do.

Oh, we also opened this area. It was closed. What a wonderful experience. This life is full of experiences. The only thing we do is choose what we do. Will we rise to the challenge or will we run and hide?

I love my Savior. I love this work. It is truly the Lords church.

To you all who can read these words, Love You!
Elder Pearce

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Three Weeks

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated September 24, 2008

Dear Mom,

I love being a missionary. Yesterday we went around talking to people looking for someone to teach. We talked to many people and taught many lessons, but no one could see how much this gospel can bless their lives. Last night we talked to a man that had basically pulled himself out of the gutters of LA. He supported his family in a nice home by working cement. He's a tough guy but you could feel his frustration when he talked about losing everything. I wanted more than anything for him to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He flat out rejected it. I told him that if came down to his last ditch effort, that reading the Book of Mormon is what he should do. I don't know if he'll ever consider it. All I know is that if he does, it will change his world around completely for the better. He will have more hope, and more strength, even more love. But, that is a big if.

The rest of the night I thought about how troubled the world is. I longed for nothing more than to see people turn to God in a way they only talk about.
We talked to a young man who said he would never follow a prophet of God at the risk of missing the mark. He said that no man should stand between us and God. Then, when we commited him to read the Book of Mormon, he said he would have to ask his pastor. No wonder the Savior said that they honor him with their lips but their hearts are far from them.

Just know that I am finishing strong. This is the greatest opportunity I have to teach the Gospel. I appreciate every minute of it. I hope you all are doing well and if the power's not on that it will be soon.

May the Lord bless and keep you.


Elder Freeman

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Dry Desert

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated September 10, 2008

Dear Mom,

This new assignment has started out a little bit more challenging than I had hoped. We've been going out every day since last Friday looking for people to start teaching. Our goal is to find 15 new people who are willing to set up appointments for the missionaries in this area to come and teach them. We go out tracting and ride around on our bikes talking to everyone, which of course is what missionary work is all about, but we seem to be coming up short every day. There is very little to show for our efforts.

We do report how many hours we spend specifically finding new people to teach, and that shows our efforts, but the number of new people that we actually find shows the fruits of our labor. So, we have a lot of hours to report but not a lot of people. The main reason it concerns me is because that is our main responsibility. We don't have a ward and we don't have to worry about a lot of others things, so it should be simple and straight forward enough. I think the key is being in the right place at the right time and knowing it. All that depends on being obedient and following the Spirit.

Yesterday, we spent all day finding, and I was getting frustrated because we taught some good lessons and even handed out copies of the Book of Mormon. They could have counted as new investigators only if they would accept a specific return appointment. But, they all said they were busy. We were on our way to dinner when we saw this lady in her garage and decided to stop and talk to her. My companion did most of the teaching and she turned out to be our only new investigator that day. We felt really blessed.

I began to understand better about how this work is the Lord's and it will be done His way. I just need to continue to be diligent and steadily improve and strive to follow the Spirit. It's a challenge but I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's definitely is keeping me focused and busy, so I don't need to worry about slacking off.

Thanks for writing to me about everything that's going on at home. I'm super excited for Matt and it's great to hear how much support he's getting from the ward.

Dallas wrote me and said he's excited about the idea of me going to BYU, and I am too. I just checked my application status and sure enough, they received the ecclesiastical endorsement and believe it or not, I've already been admitted to BYU-Idaho. Now, I just have to wait to receive word from BYU. There could be a letter in the mail before I get home. If it does come, go on and rip it open and you can email me what it says.

Thanks again for everything you do.


Elder Freeman

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bus Contacting

From Elder Andrey Pearce Dated September 1st 2008

Thank you so much Dad for the talk that you send me. I have realy come to
learn what it means to teach by the spirit because wean i dont have the
spirit i couldent teach not knowing spanish. It helps now knowing
spanish. This last week we had a 70 come and talk to us Elder
Clarke What powerfull serventsh he is. Leaving that meating i felt like i
was ready to talk to the whole world. This week i have had quiete the
experiance. The first one Elder Clark chalenged us to stand up and contact a
bus. So i told my còmpanion i am giong to do it. So heres the story. So we
get to the bus station and i am already nervous. So we enter a house write
were the bus passes and teach the man that was there. Then we left the
house and came the bus. So i let my companion pass by then i got on the bus
write in front of the buss driver and i asked him if i could talk to
the whole bus. He said sure. So i braiced my self and started talking i
started out hi then i asked a question as all faced me and my hart
started to beat boom boom. Then i made the mastake to ask a question and
a lady in the back replied wich made things easier i talked about the
booke of mormon and envited all to church. The hardest part was walking
back to my seat as i didnt have anything to brace my slef. Hahah i thaught
to my slef next time i will prepare a talk to give on the bus we will see
if i will have the couredge to preach on onther bus there wasent more
then 20 people but all that know me i dont like talking in huge
grupes ahahah. Well then we had a mutual in ruben dario. We set a
goal to have 30 poeple there and as we didnt have time we chalenged the
members to invite all and they did we had a lovly mutual or meating. I
taught about unity i have come to love this ward alot. I have come to
realize a trick to life i am the happiest wean i serve. Wean i forget about
my slef and go to work. I hope that i can learn how to better forget about
my slef and work. We also had a baptisms this week wich was a mericle.
Cesar he has 26 years we called him over the phone because he works far a
way and we can only teach him saturday and Sunday he goes to church by him
self o evry other sunday because of work. Each time he came he came with a
friend. So we called him and asked if he was ready to be baptised thirsday
and he said maybe. We told him if he pased the in terview he said yes.
Sunday morning we had scedualed the intrerview for 6:30 in the morning and
he showed up. at 7:00 we envited all members and they came he passed the
interview then we baptized in sacrament meating was confirmed and i could
feal the spirit strong as i sat with him testify to me that it was write.
I love the work i have to much to wirte So i will end with my testimony.
I know that the savior is center of this life we cant do anything or go
anywere without him. May we see his will each day and do what he would
have us do. I love him with all my hart. I know that with his help i will
reaturne in the presence of my heavenly father. Love you All
Thanks for your prayers. Congrats Tomi 3 kids is it a boy or a girl?
Thanks mom and dad for all you do!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Foxes Have Holes

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated September 3, 2008

Dear Mom,

There has been a most unexpected development in my mission carrier. Not only have I been transferred out of my last area, leaving my companion behind, but I've been assigned to be a Traveling Elder. My companion, Elder Futch, and I are responsible for going to certain areas in the mission and strictly find new investigators to be taught by the missionaries in that area. We're starting off here in Rancho Cucamonga with two elders who just whitewashed into two wards.

To make things even more interesting, my companion and I will be relied on for our language skills. Elder Futch is a Spanish-speaking missionary. President Sanchez mentioned sending us to English, Spanish, and Samoan units. We'll be doing this for the entire transfer and will be my last assignment. It came as a complete surprise. I was expecting to go back to the Samoan ward for this last transfer, but it turns out the sister missionary from Samoa is training a new sister missionary and they put them in the Samoan ward.

I don't know how that is going to work if we are to help them find new investigators, especially since we don't have a car. But, the idea of at least visiting for one last time is exciting enough for me. I'm a bit reluctant though on account of how much out of practice my Samoan is. Hopefully Elder Futch and I will get some study time.

It's also something that will keep me busy and focused. I don't expect it will feel any shorter but at least I have strong motivation to work hard until the end. Also, finding new people to teach is not one of my strengths. Hopefully I'll be able to grow. I look forward to working on a bit of Spanish too, but not at the expense of my Samoan. It'll be a lot of fun too, going around to all different areas in the mission.

Oh, I did get your box. They did deliver it to the mission office by the 26th, but it took another day for them to forward it to our apartment. I actually got it Wednesday after we did our shopping. Thank you so much, it really was a party in a box. I regret not making the cake though. We didn't have any vegetable oil and it was the end of the month. The CD is fantastic and we listen to it all the time. Thanks a bunch.

Thanks also for the emails and the prayers.


Elder Freeman

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated August 27, 2008
Note: Elder Freeman's birthday was August 26, 2008

Dear Mom,

What fantastic things you've been up to! I so appreciate everything you've done. I'm very impressed with the website and thank you for all the neat video clips. Unfortunately, the computers at the library don't have speakers and missionaries don't have headphones, so I'll have to figure out something.

But, I want to let you know that I have re-applied for BYU in Provo and Idaho. I was super excited to find that they still had my application from 2005 when I first applied. All I had to do was long on with my user name, after calling for help with my forgotten password, then I found all the information was there from 3 years ago. I only changed a few things, the ones that have to do with serving a mission, and revamped my essay. They still had my ACT score and my high school transcript.

The only thing that was no longer valid was the ecclesiastical endorsement. So I printed off the form and sent it to President Sanchez. Hopefully he will send a positive endorsement :) . The deadline for applying for winter semester in January is October 1st.

Exciting still was the 30$ I payed last time to process the application is still good. I thought about taking a shot at Hawaii, but just decided not to. You were absolutely right on the family blog when you said I change my mind with my socks. But, there are a lot of things that are drawing me to BYU and really only one thing keeping me back and that's finances. However, I'll continue to pray about it, and if BYU is the place for me I won't worry to much about money. I don't want to be impoverished, but I know that money isn't everything. I'm not even sure what I want to study.

Anyway, that stuff will all work itself out in time. It's more difficult than I thought putting it to the back of my mind. The last thing I want is to lose focus this last transfer and bum out like so many others. One of our roommates complimented me on my lack of "trunkiness" and now I feel frustrated because 1) he spoke too soon and 2) now I have to live up to that :) . But seriously, there is so much to enjoy while still engaged in this work.

Thank you for sending the package. No, I haven't received it yet but yes, I just barely got a CD player from a garage sale for 5$. And my companion can't wait to send me home so he can have all my stuff.

Thanks again for everything mom, you're the greatest.


Elder Freeman

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me!

From Elder Andrey Pearce Dated: August 25, 2008

It’s been a treat to read the letters from Mom and Dad. This week has been really hard as we worked super hard. I feel like some times on the mission my faith is tried and if we pass, we gain a stronger testimony. We pushed hard this week to accomplish our goals and hope to see the progress in the future.

Dad, I started my mission 22 de Agosto. I think I am starting to learn how to be better in Spanish than English. I was thinking the other day it’s easier to write.

This week we found a lot of new converts and we had conference which was very well done and spiritual.

The other day I had an experience that led me to understand that my Heavenly Father loves me so much. So, we are walking to our appointment to eat. We are just tired, the rain is coming down and we don’t have anything to cover us. I really didn’t want to get my shoes wet. As the street are like rivers, I am jumping around, dodging the puddles. I come to one part that I have no where to go. So I start thinking, “What am I going to do?” I walked back and forth for awhile. It’s dark, I am looking for rocks to cross and nothing. At the moment that I was about to jump, up rides a man on a bicycle and tells me to jump on, so I did and he passed me through the water without getting wet. I jumped off and thanked him. He drove off and I didn’t know if he was a member or not.

I just remember what he looks like. I was thinking at that moment what love my Heavenly Father has for me, that He provided a way for me to cross the waters.

We are still working with the Munoz family but they’re having a hard time. They don’t want to change their Catholic beliefs so we are going to meditate a lot this week to see what we can do for them.

This week we had another Mutual with members. We talked about unity and it went very well.

I love this mission and all the opportunities that I have to serve, to learn and to give of myself. I hope this next year that I can give more and do better.

I was thinking the other day, when we first start out mission, we just jump in and start swinging our sword but not really hitting anything, just making noise. Then as we gain experience we sharpen our sword and with every blow we make a difference having strategy how we battle. I know this is the work of God. I love my Savior and hope to come to know him better and shape my life after Him.

Elder Pearce

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lehi's Dream

From, Elder Paul Freeman, dated August 20, 2008
[note: Paul's paternal grandfather died on Saturday, August 16, 2008, at the age of 94].

Dear Mom,

Your latest letter was very much appreciated. It was masterfully composed. I found it most uplifting and reassuring. I really enjoy hearing about everything that is going on.

I found out about Grandpa's death when I called President Sanchez on Monday to ask him about something unrelated. He told me he had news that Grandpa passed and that you wanted me to know. I appreciated it very much and thanked him. The thought didn't even cross my mind to grieve or feel sad, because I know the plan of salvation. That's how amazing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Grandpa was a good man and Grandma had been waiting, and it all makes the plan that much more real. I'm eternally thankful for the power and mercy of our Heavenly Father that allows families to be sealed for time and eternity. The last time did talk to Grandpa he said he wanted to try to make it to 100 yrs old. He came pretty dang close.

I also got excited to hear about Eric and Leanne's new arrival, even though I could have been spare a few details. :) And Adam and Ariane are finally moving in. I can't wait to see it all put together.

I'm also excited to hear about your efforts with Dallas and Lynda. I hardly know anything about want went on over the past year. But, I look forward to staying in contact more when I get I'm. I still haven't settle on what school I want to go to. I'll take a little time now to look at application deadlines for BYU.

Thanks again mom. I Love you.


Elder Freeman

Monday, August 18, 2008

Touched by the Spirit

From Elder Andrushka Dated: 08.18.08

Dear Family,

Yay! I can’t wait to get to know my new family members (He just found out about Amelia being born and Eliza being imminent).

The work goes on and it got more intensified as we dedicated to work harder here and in Leon.

This week we had an amazing baptism. His name is Guillermo. I remember the first time we talked to him. It was four months ago. He didn’t want to hear about baptism, letting us know that he was baptized and he didn’t see a reason to change. He is the husband of a lovely lady that is a really strong member and has wanted to go to the temple and to be sealed as a family for awhile now. We have come to learn that when the Spirit touches someone’s heart, they get ready to be baptized. As much as we spoke as much as we could do, without the Spirit, we could not have helped him.

The baptism was lovely as lots of members were present. This ward each Sunday looks stronger and stronger.

So this week at the end of the sacrament, the first counselor asked me if I could give the Gospel Doctrine class or the Book of Mormon class. I looked at the manual and I don’t know why I said yes, but I did. I was given 5 minutes to prepare for class. As I started thinking to myself “What am I going to teach?” The Spirit came to me and let me know what the lesson was about and what I should talk about and teach. As I stood in front of all, I started to tremble, thinking how am I going to teach in Spanish? So we sang a song and started off into the lesson. I know that the Spirit was present. The class was lovely and interesting. I know that Spirit helped me a lot.

I also learned that’s why we plan on our mission. I love the work and each progression. I hope this second part of my mission will be just as great or greater. I hope that I will learn all I need to help the kingdom of God here on Earth. Love the Savior and His work. Love being a representative of Him. Hope to be a better one. Thanks for your prayers!

Noche De Hermanamiento"

From Elder Andrushka Dated: August 8th, 08

Dear Mom, Dad and the family,

This week was an awesome week, with the ward, not so much with the investigators. The ward just seems to have come more together in the last 4 months that we were here. We started to do, “Noche De Hermanamiento”. It’s a gathering for everyone to learn the gospel Friday nights. We have come to form the ward together more. My comp and I have been switching off from area to area each week. It has energized the ward more. We are ever happy to be part of the work.

The other day I was driving back in a bus from on of these activities that we were in charge of. I thought to myself, “What an experience of my life to be in Nicaragua, to be speaking Spanish and to help this group of 24 feel the spirit, sing with them, and share their difficulties.” I thought, “How did I end up here?” and was ever excited to work harder in the Gospel to help more people.

It is very true out here there are many experiences to learn from Bishops. We have come to learn how each position in the church works. How truly inspired the organization of our Savior is. I know he leads this church. I have come to see the results each small part in the church has to do.

From the smallest assignment comes out the great life saving result. I have excitement to become better, to learn more. At times I get down thinking to myself how I wish I took life more seriously when I was younger, when I had all the time in the world. Instead of dibbling the ball outside for hours wishing being in the NBA. That I would have ready my scriptures, prayed more. Then I realize, I get up and do all that I can do.

I have come to realize how awesome my companion is. He supports me. All that I can’t do, he can. We have become a great team together and I have grown so much just this change. His name is Elder Flores. We have some activities coming up that we have planned out and are so excited.

The Munoz family have not yet made the choice. There are others that are just waiting for their answers to prayer.

I too can’t believe that I almost have a year on the mission. I did get the package. As I read Dan’s talk, tears streamed down my face and I had to walk outside so everyone wouldn’t see me crying.

I have come to be stronger on my mission. At times there is a lot of pressure to stand and talk to all. Through all the pressure I have come to know more who I am. What my Father in Heaven wants me to be. Stand up and be bold to this pressure.

As with my vitamins, I am great taking some almost every day now. Thank you mom for all the work you put into sending me this. Thanks Dad also for all that you do. Hope all is well at home. Seeing the photos of all the family together just missing me was sad. Don’t you worry. I love working in the Lord’s kingdom preparing for the second coming. Inviting all to partake of the atonement of Our Savior. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

3 is the Magic Number

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated August 13, 2008

Dear Mom,

It has been and excellent week for us. Saturday three people were baptised into the Church. We struggled to organize two separate baptismal services, but everything turned out fine in the end. The key to having a good baptism service is preparation and good ward members. We organized the program last Wednesday with the ward mission leader and made all the phone calls and coordinated everyone for the baptisms. It was truly a miracle to have everything fall into place the way it did. Then, at the services you could tell how supportive the ward members are. They really did own those baptisms as a ward. President and Sister Sanchez came to the first baptism and that was good.

The only the we really should have done better is filling out those stupid forms. We should have just taken care of it all at one time, but I kept forgetting to bring them. First, I left them home for the baptism, and then left them again for the confirmation. But, now we've got them mostly finished and we should send them in today.

We're also working with many other people who are learning about the restored gospel and it's exciting to see those who exercise their faith and strengthen it through study of the lessons. Elder Lestarge is doing very well. He will probably end up assistant to the president.

Anyway, the Library is terribly distracting today and I'm struggling to get anything else out. Thanks again for your love and letters.


Elder Freeman.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another Week

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated August 6, 2008

Dear Mom,

It's been another excellent week as far as the work is concerned. We've got two baptisms coming up on Saturday. Actually, it will be a total of 3 people being baptized but on account of scheduling conflicts there will be two separate services. We're excited. It truly is a blessing to come into the area with 3 people already prepared and committed. All we've got to do know is get other people moving and progressing in the gospel in preparation for more baptisms.

We're currently working with several people and the traveling elders came through and provided several more new people for us to work with. Elder Lestarge is doing very well also. He's far more helpful than I was when I first started. We're having a good time too, even though we're on bikes out here in the arid desert of Victorville. We've developed pretty good tans. I also like to think it's helping shed the extra pounds. Even if I am or not I still had to end up buying two new shirts. So, thank you very much for the additional funds.

I also couldn't resist a book called "The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration" by Tad R. Callister. It's pretty amazing. He paints a pretty clear picture of what happened to the primitive Church. His primary source is the scriptures as well as modern day revelation from prophets. Even more amazing is the cherry on top he includes as writing from first century saints. President Sanches actually approved it as well.

It seems to be one of the major concerns that people face when learning the restored Gospel. It's difficult to accept that the authority to teach the gospel and perform its saving ordinances. People see it as God turning his back on the people, or refute it on grounds that there have always been Christians since the time of Christ. What is difficult to explain is how the people in the early days of the church actually turned their backs from the original teachings of Christ and polluted it with their own philosophies. It's hard for people to accept even when the majority of the New Testament was written because of that fact. The epistle were written in hopes to bring the people back in line with the original doctrines. Even the Book of Revelation starts off with the Lords admonitions to the Seven churches of Asia. He even warns the saints that if they don't repent he will take away their church.

But, still no matter how much evidence we produce, people will never believe the truth until they are humble enough to rely on Heavenly Father to show them the truth. The Savior Himself taught us to rely on our Father. That's the key to everything we do, and if I haven't got it then I wouldn't have made it this far.

Thanks again Mom for your constant support and prayers.


Elder Freeman

Addendum by separate cover (response to questions posited):

1. You already dumped more than enough in my account to qualify for a birthday present. [note: Elder Freeman's 21st birthday is August 26th).
2. I'm almost positive they have purchased a plane ticket for the 14 of October. (That means hold off your birthday festivities for at least a day). I am positive I finish on the 14th and the secretary did call and ask about which airport.
3. I took 6 pair of unopened garments I've had since I left and traded them in for a size bigger at the Beehive clothing in Upland. I'm fine mooching off my companion for sunblock, and yesterday I pulled out 3 sticks of Chapstick from of my bag.
4. I've lost the cable for my camera. So, I've got to go get prints from Walgreens. And buy stamps and envelopes.
5. You're the greatest. Love you
Elder Freeman

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Church is True and Life is Crazy!

From Elder BJ Bernards, dated August 4, 2008

Dear Mom,

I don't want to put any undue stress on you but I really need garments. I heard that if you put what you really want in the beginning of the letter it shows how important it is.

Thank you for supporting me on my mission. It is going great! We are really working hard and feeling the Spirit guide us and inspire us every day and this district were leading is doing better than ever, and so is our area. We have been able to find two more families to teach as well as a couple individuals that are really neat, spiritual all, and we got to watch them teach themselves with the Spirit.

I am excited for the move thingy but sad too. Not sad like I'm gonna mope around all the time kinda sad, but the sad that it's the end of a beautiful phase kinda sad, like you wish a awesome day or time would never end but you've got to say goodbye I guess. I say goodbye, I committed my life into the hands of the Lord and just like He is preserving you and Dad and the family from day to day and even though I miss your goodness and all the changes that are happening I know that I will be fine. God has never ever ever let me down yet and I don't think he plans on doing so anytime soon. Life passes me by, and I will wave bye-bye with sweet gratitude for my Savior and this most compelling and mind-absorbing work of his. I leave my life and give my life so that others might achieve theirs, and in doing so I achieve mine. It's true that the more you sacrifice the more committed you are to it.

Can I get some pictures from you? I would want pictures of the house, the changes made to it inside and out, my bedroom please as well as the loft and pictures taken from the windows looking out at the vista of Alpine. Pictures of all the kids and you and Dad. That may be the only time I'll ever have to look from those places with those people ever again. Would you do that for me? Or assign someone else to do so? To tell you the truth and to be frank and honest with you, I feel like my requests get sucked down a black hole and never get back. I have to fight so hard in the short space I have to get what I need. I know my problems may not be as bad or as dire as some other people, but if I could get those things I would feel grateful to you and the family.

And I always do. You have given me the things that really get me through. The supplies that never run out and the nourishment that never ceases.

I really have to go.

Thanks, Please send me that stuff if possible?

Ben sent me some pics which was really awesome, I saw Kiki had a camera. Maybe Kiki can send me some too. Don't forget!


Elder Bernards