Archive for October, 2009

It Definitely Has Been Quite a Week!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

It definitely has been quite a week.  Let  me tell you that you weren’t the only one who was shocked about being switched to a different mission.  Just to give you a little background of what happened.  We knew that stake conference was coming up and that there was most likely going to be a new stake created in the area.  This change had alot of missionaries and ward members very anxious to find out.  We got a call thursday night before stake conference and was told that president moldenhauer was holding a meeting right before the adult session to let us know what was going on.  We figured that mission boundaries were changing after hearing that wards from the other mission were attending our stake conference, but we didn’t know exactly what that intended.  We rode with the zone leaders (who are in pasadena 2nd ward, we are in first, and we were going to be in completely different stakes) to Baytown and waited for president Moldenhauer and the Assistants to show up.  We were all waiting and there were a bunch of missionaries outside waiting for the adult session and they were all joking with us about being kicked out of the mission (because there were only 10 elders and the zone leaders invited to the meeting) but we did not even expect that.  We sat down in the relief society room and President came in and you could tell by his face that something was up.  He was waiting for otheres to show up and started making small talk and said that we were such a handsome group and stuff like that, so we thought that was suspicious.  We then saw Sister Moldenhauer walk in and she had teary eyes, so we knew something was happening but didn’t know what.  They had me say an opening prayer and then president told us that he was so excited to tell us that the church is growing rapidly because of missionary’s hard work and efforts all over the world.  He told us that the Houston Area was getting a new stake created and how exciting that would be, and it would be effecting mission boundaries.  We figured that they were going to take all 10 of us out of our areas and move us into other areas in the east mission, and then just fill our areas with south elders.  President started crying and read a paper from the 70 that said in order to accomodate the changes being made, 9 of us (because one was going home in two weeks) had been reassigned to the houston south mission and that we were to meet our new mission president the next day after stake conference.  It felt like the someone had just stabbed me because i didn’t expect it.  We all started crying and not really able to talk.  They told us of the love that they had for us and that President Saylin was a great man.  We closed the meeting with hugs and with that Picture (elder beck is in front of me i think, he has short blonde hair and is little.) .  We walked out of the meeting and saw some missionaries and told them what happened and that was really hard as well.  We rode back with the zone leaders that night (who were staying in the east mission) and everything felt so surreal.  We said our goodbyes to them and went home that night not being able to sleep much because we didn’t know what was instore for us.  We went to stake conference the next day and while we were waiting for stake conference to start,  we were tracked down and found by president and sister saylin, another guy in the mission presidency, and several missionaries welcoming us into the mission.  They were all very nice.  after the meeting we met with about 20 south missionaries, us nine, and president saylin and his family.  They were all very welcoming and did whatever they could do to make us feel welcome.  they invited us over for dinner at the mission home on monday night in Sugar land.  We still felt a little uneasy but monday morning we had our first president interview with President Saylin.  He is such a great guy and he just got to know me.  He also really wanted to know my opinion on pasadena and what it’s needs are and what I think he should do to make the area continue to grow.  He wanted to know how i felt about putting another companionship in pasadena and what the ward was like and everything.  He really valued my opinion.  We went over that night to the mission home and were greeted with hugs from all the mission leaders and everyone there.  We had a little orientation at the beginning and then had dinner and then we had a testimony meeting after.  The whole time I thought they were going to be treating us like we were the new guys and this is how they do it and we need to get with it fast, but that’s not what it was like at all.  In the End President Saylin got up and bore his testimony about how every 6 weeks they get to send missionaries home who have served their two years and are the leaders that the mission needs and are the experienced one, and how that same day they get new missionaries starting their missions that they have to train and start from the beginning.  He told us how lucky he was to get 9 missionaries to come into the mission that are at the caliber of those he just sent home and how the mission needs us for some reason that may not be known to him or us at that point.  He testified that there was a reason we were placed in our areas that we are and that the Lord wanted us to serve in the South mission for some reason and that is why Pres. Moldenhauer was inspired to put us where we are when he did.  Sister Saylin got up and welcomed us all into the mission expressed with us how they all know what a hard situation this is for us and that they understand that completely and that they will do whatever they can to make us feel welcomed into the mission family.  She also said something really cool, that it doesn’t matter if we where our houston east pin or our houston south pin, but all in all we all wear the same name badge and we are all doing one work.  That is so true.  We went home that night feeling really good about this new experience (even though we still feel kinda lost and like brand new missionaries again because we have to get used to new rules and how they do everything).  We thought all of the welcomes were over but while we were studying the next day, we heard the doorbell, so we went to the door and one of the assistants to the president and one of our zone leaders for the new mission was standing there with donuts and kolaches and asked us if they could study with us.  It was so cool to have them study with us and help us understand how they do things but they also asked us for input on what we have found successful.  It was awesome.  

Things are going to be a little weird for a little bit but President and Sister Saylin are really doing whatever we can to get us transitioned and feeling at home as fast as possible.  They are wonderful people.  It’ll get some time to get used to the different rules and guidelines, but it’ll go well.  For example, we can now listen to more music.  We can listen to motab, classical non-vocal music over 100 years old, anything with the church seal on it, and also the “EFY” cd’s.  That adds alot to our musical selection so that has been nice.  Like you already know our p-days are on mondays now so that is when i will be emailing.  Their transfer schedule is a week earlier than the east mission, and they do transfers a little different.  We will get a call this next monday morning (before i email you on pday which is good) to tell us if we are being effected by transfers.  If we are we have all of monday and all of tuesday to pack and then we go to a church by the mission home in sugar land on wednesday for “transfer meeting.”  While there, we will have a devotional and mini conference and then president will read off the new companionships and send us off to our new areas.  I think it will be a good way to meet more people and see what it is like.  OH AND GUESS WHAT! remember be telling you that Jordan Oliver was going to be in the mission right next to me, we are now in the same mission!  This is his first transfer so he is still training, but I can’t wait to see him again and surprise him! We may even serve together!  President Saylin told me that since I have been in pasadena for a while, I am definitely a candidate for transfers next week, but he will know by today what the lord wants for me and where that is.

Well that has been most of the event in the past couple of days.  Pretty crazy i know, but it keeps me on my toes.  I know that everything happens for a reason, and even though it’s still hard to leave our friends in the other mission, this is where i’m supposed to be.  They tried to tell us that they split missions every so often, but that is different than what we went through.  Everything that we went through happened in a span of about 3 days (even the presidents knowing) when the other is planned out in advance by the mission presidents, and even then the mission is split in half and more than just 9 elders go.  But us 9 have really gained a close relationship and are excited to see what is in store for us.  I kinda feel bad for elder beck because he has served his whole mission in east and only has 4 months left and he has to finish it in a brand new mission with people he doesn’t even know.  But he is really positive about everything.  

Thank you for sending off my halloween package! and tell dad to lighten up that missionaries still have to have fun!  He would be shocked at some of the stuff we are allowed to do!  We’re not like monks!  

I’m glad you had a great time at the halloween party and I can’t wait to see those pictures!  Tell everyone what is going on and that as soon as I get back in the swing of things, i’ll write them asap!  

I have to email 2 mission presidents this week so i gotta go, but i will be sure to keep you updated if i am being transferred next week or not.  Love you lots and tell everyone the same!  

I miss you,

 Love Blake

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New Mission!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

Blake has been released from the Texas Houston East Missions and is now serving in the Texas Houston South Mission. He is still living at the same address, stay tuned for a new mission home address!

Testimony (10/21/09 Letter)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

Things are great here in texas!  Elder Beck  and I are doing really well together!  Things have slowed down a little bit with investigators but we still have some progressing ones.  We met this guy on Saturday who was a referral from the Spanish elders.  His name is R… and he is 28 years old and has a 1 year old daughter.  His daughter is with his ex-wife so he only gets to see her on the weekends.  We were over at his house on Saturday when his baby girl “D…” was dropped off.  She reminds me sooo much of Abi.  She’s mexican so she’s got dark brown hair and it was pulled up on top, and she was just a little thing but would wave to me just like Abi would.  I’m not gonna lie, it made me a little bit trunky playing with her, but all is well.   The coolest thing about it though was how much D…. meant to R… and how she is his life.  I could tell that it was really hard for him to be away from her that much and he insisted that he had her for the weekend because the mom was going to a party with alcohol and he didn’t want his baby girl around that.  It was amazing.  Anywho, R… met the spanish elders and they taught him a lesson and then referred him to us that afternoon.  We went over there saturday night and taught him another lesson and he has accepted the invitation to be baptized.  He was so insistant on coming to church that it kinda shocked us because that’s where we usually lose investigators, but he knows it is true and can’t wait to start his life over!  He’s a great guy!  Other than that we have been working lots with less-active members trying to reactivate them and helping actives do there member missionary work.  It’s been busy!

What did the letter say about Christmas packages from president?  Was it telling you not to send too much stuff that we don’t need because we don’t have room?

I got your package yesterday and the coat is great!  I hope it didn’t cost y’all too much money, because that will make me feel bad, but it is really nice and it will be great down here! Tell dad thank you for the jerky as well, that is Elder Beck’s and my favorite!  I really do appreciate you sending it you me?  I am excited to get your halloween box!  It makes holidays on your mission that much more exiciting!  Can you believe Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up?!  Another crazy fact, we are in the middle of the fourth week out of this 6 week transfer… I could be leaving Pasadena in a couple weeks, i’m hoping i’ll stay here for thanksgiving, but i’ll go where i’m needed ;).  Transfers are the second week in November.

As soon as the H1N1 shot is available they want us to get it.  There have already been some sick missionaries so they are taking every precaution available.  They did announce though that they realized how hard it is for missionaries out in the field to not have contact with members or people we are teaching, so they lifted the no contact rule but told us we need to be washing our hands constantly.

I am looking forward to hearing from Ashley, and i’ll be sure to let her know how thankful I am for her writing me.  

Coley told me about what was going on at work and I’m so excited to hear that she wants to go back to school!  I have some exciting news for her on my career occupation choice as well!  I’m sure she’ll do great as long as she sticks to it and turns to Heavenly Father first when she is struggling.

((From Nichole’s Email)”I’m sorry to hear about that job, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I love the idea of you going back to get your Early Education Teaching degree!  Since i’ve been on my mission my eyes have really been opened and I don’t know if I want to go to Law school right away anymore.  What really does interest me is teaching.  I always said that I would never be a teacher, but I love doing it so much!  I am thinking about going and teaching high school though, and then I can coach debate and teach either governemnt and politics or some sort of history or something like that… maybe even english.  I don’t want to do that forever though, I would like to go on to be an administrator because that really interests me as well.  We could be teachers together!  We’ll see what happens.  Whatever you do , you have my love and support and more importantly the Lord’s!“)

Thank you so much for bearing your testimony to me… it’s what keeps me going.  Elder Ballard in the priesthood session of conference told us that we as missionaries need to bear our testimony often to our families to help and assist them, so I know there was a reason that you felt to bear yours, and that is to help and assist me.  I too have a testimony that this is the only true church.  There would be no way that I could go from the point where I am now and the knowledge that I have, and still be able to succeed in life if I forgot all of that info.  The Book of Mormon is so evident of that and it goes over time and time again that when we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and commandments of god, and the do the small and simple things in life such as go to church every week, pray often and read our scriptures daily, we are that much stronger to avoid the temptations of Satan.  I could never survive in life without a belief in God and without the testimony I have of this church and all of the wonderful blessings I’ve received from it.  This i KNOW to be true.

Well that is just about it for now, things are going really well and I can’t wait to hear from you again soon!

I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK! (10/14/09 Letter)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

How are things going back home in Utah!!!  My bishop down here went there for conference and it was weird talking to him about home.  Are things still cold?  It is starting to cool off here.  It has rained every day this week and since it is humid, the cool air can really get to you.  I prefer it this way rather than the hot weather we had this summer (don’t get me wrong it is still alot warmer than Utah! haha).  

 How are my little fairies doing?  Halloween is coming up isn’t it?!  Columbus day was this Monday and we didn’t even know it until half-way through the day when someone told us that no mail was coming… haha sad day.  There is no such thing as holidays as a missionary!  

I am really learning how to cook.  Elder Bollwinkel used to do most of the cooking when I was with him but Elder Beck and I both don’t know how to cook that well, but i’m learning really fast!  Good thing I can read directions! haha.

Will you ask Coley to get on to Facebook or look through the pictures folders on the computer and see if she can find just random pictures of my friends that I can show to companions while i’m telling stories.  Plus I would like some of my friends just to have and to remind me of home!  I can’t wait until you send the ones of the family.  I’m sure the girls are growing really big!

I had to get my flu shot this week because the brethren have instructed the mission presidents to strongly recommend us to get it.  If I didn’t get it and I got the flu they would be mad at me so I decided i would do it anyways just in case!  I also feel like i’m back in the MTC, because the brethren have carried the “no contact” rule to all of the missions in the US at least while the flu is going around.  We’re not supposed to shake hands or hug or anything like that… it’s not very easy but some people just don’t understand!

Well that’s what has been happening this week, we have Zone Conference tomorrow so i’m really excited for that.  Today is my 17 week mark out of 104 weeks!  Time is flying by!  Well I miss you all and love you lots and make sure you read the story down below.  I can’t wait to hear from you again!

Love Blake  

Here is the cool story of the week:
Things are going well down here in Pasadena! It has been a little bit slower than usual with our investigators, but they are all still doing really well! We are still working with the W’s and helping them keep their faith strong as they get the divorce underway. We are also still working with our baptismal date J… and his wife to get them to the waters of baptism! It’s great! However, because of the slowness, we have really been able to spend some time teaching a couple of less-active families that the ward council has asked us to work with. It has been a great blessing to work with them. We have been working closely with the G… family. The mother is semi-active, the two daughters are in-active and the father is a non-member. All of them enjoy us coming over and feeding us and us teaching them, so we have a wonderful time. The oldest daughter, A…, is 19 and has a 2 year old son. She keeps on saying that she is going to come back to church but keeps on sleeping in, but we are not giving up on her. The younger daughter, A…, is 13 and is going through a really hard time right now with school and everything and just that age. She stopped coming to church and the more her mom pressured her, the more she would rebel. Everytime we would teach a lesson with the family or have family home evening with them, she would either stay in for part of it, or none at all. This past saturday, we had a great opportunity to catch A… while she was awake when we had dinner with the family.  While the Mom was gone getting pizza, we sat out on the porch and just had a chat with her.  It was a great time for her just to talk to us and tell us her concerns. I feel that the biggest thing that she needed was for someone to listen and show that she’s not alone. We were able to use the book of mormon to answer her questions of the soul and to really resolve some of the questions she had. We ended the night with her super happy and really excited to go to church and her promising that she was going to get back on the iron rod! On Sunday, for fast and testimony meeting, she was able to get her non-member dad to church as well as her inactive cousin to go with her and her mom. She bore her testimony and it was truly incredible. Her dad was crying and may have opened his eyes to the gospel and her cousin is going to start coming more as well, but most importantly, she is back at church and is so excited. The ward greeted her back with open arms and she felt at peace. We later explained to her that the good feeling she has is the spirit telling her that she is doing the right thing and that is where she needs to be. She agreed.
It was such a wonderful experience to see her go through that and to come back to the gospel. It was definitely the highlight of the week. I was pondering the story of Abinadi and how the only person that softened their hearts out of all of the wicked priests of Noah was Alma. Alma later baptized thousands and his posterity did the same for many generations. I know that if A… stays close to the rod and does what she needs to do in her life, then she will be an incredible instrument in the lord’s hands! It definitely was not me saying the things I said or helping her realize the things she did , but it was the spirit. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!

Golden Investigator!!! (10/07/09 Letter)

Posted in 1st Area, Pasadena, TX on October 21, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

I’m doing great!  I absolutely LOVE Elder Beck.  Him and I get along great.  He is such a great guy and because we get along so well, the work is going great.  We have another baptism scheduled for Halloween, for J….  He is 26 and wanted to start a new life.  He is married of 2 years and wants to better his relationship with his wife.  He is such a great guy.  We taught him the first lesson and he absolutely loved it!  We set that date with him on the first night that we met him!  He is one of those golden investigators!  We left him with a book of mormon and some of the Church DVD’s.  His wife wasn’t there but he said that they were going to watch them together.  We talked to him yesterday and his wife had watched the DVD’s and absolutely loved them!  We set up a time to meet with them both on Saturday so we are going to extend a baptismal invitation to his wife as well for the same date!  It’s so exciting!  We also have some others that are getting really close as well.  The work is going great!

Thanks for mailing off that package… i’m excited to get my blankey!!!  Thanks for keeping an eye on my account as well, i’ll try and not to get too spend happy ;).  

It had been cooling down a little bit but got really hot yesterday.  The weather is super tempermental here.

General conference was fantastic!!!  It made it for a long weekend at the church, but it was so worth it.  I got a lot more out of it this time than I have in the past, probably bacause I didn’t have the distractions of work and friends and also the temptation of sleeping. haha.  I did miss omelets, but oh well I guess everyone else did as well.  I don’t know if you got to hear it or not on the Sunday Afternoon session, but Elder Holland’s talk was absolutely incredible!  It was a super intense testimony of the Book of Mormon!  Oh man was it good.  I also really really enjoyed the Priesthood session.   There was a talk by Elder Ballard talking about Father and Son Relationships that was really good as well as a talk by President Eyring saying that we need to be both physically and spiritually prepared to exercise our priesthood authority.  It was great.

Random cool spiritual experience for the week.  We have this Sister in the Ward named Sister G.  She’s a super nice lady and will do anything for anyone.  For some reason, she had really been on my mind the past couple of days.  We were out on splits last night with another ward member, and we were trying to find someone to go to because the people that we were trying to see were not home.  Sister G…’s name came to my mind and so I tried to find her address but we didn’t have it.  I had her phone number but when we tried to call, she didn’t answer.  So we went and saw other people instead.  This morning, I got a phone call from her saying that she saw we called her last night.  She said that she appreciated us calling because she has been going through a really hard time.  Her 8 year old boy CJ had a ceizure on Sunday and also has double pnuemonia in his lungs.  He also has a high fever and isn’t doing well at all.  He is super sick.  When she called me she was at the Doctor’s office they were just getting things set to transport him to the hospital where he is going to be admitted tonight.  She is a single mom and has no priesthood in her home.  She asked us if later tonight we could come up and give CJ a blessing after he gets settled at the hospital.  So we are going to go and give him a blessing along with the Ward Mission Leader.  I know that it wasn’t coincidence that I was thinking about her and was prompted to call her.  

 Do you realize that by the time I email you next I will be at my 4 month mark and will only have 20 left?!  CRAZY!  I’m still hearing from quite a few people which is good.  I’m still talking with Nate which is good.  It seems like things are going well with him, so i’m glad.  I talk to Kyle about every couple of weeks or so, so that’s really cool to hear his cool mission experiences!  I’m still hearing from Jessica (the michigan girl) and everything is good with her.

I’m happy to hear that Breann’s doing ok, keep me updated on the baby status.  Oh I miss that little Abitude!  She is her mother’s daughter!  And I miss her mother alot too!  I’m glad to hear that Madi is doing well I miss hearing from Ashley and Mike too.

Well it was great to hear how everyone is doing!  Tell everyone I love them and I’ll talk to them soon!  Keep the letters and packages coming!

My New Companion

Posted in 1st Area, Pasadena, TX on October 5, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

I’m so glad to hear that everything is going well!  Transfers went well.  I did not get transferred, so i’m still with the Dimmicks in Pasadena!  Yay!  Elder Bollwinkel did get transferred and is in Beaumont, Texas.  He basically switched spots with my new companion, Elder Beck, who just left Beaumont.  Elder Beck is really cool.  He is from Blackfoot, Idaho and has been out for 18 months and goes home in march.  He is 5′ 4″ and weighs 130 lbs, So we definitely don’t have the scare tactic available for our use if we need it… haha.  P-days don’t change in our mission.  

I tell you, this General Conference is not going to be the same without omelets.  I’ve been trying to scheme of ways to have dad mail me one… but I’ve yet to come up with a solution, haha.  

 One of the coolest things that we teach about the kingdoms of glory is that they are all better than here (even the telestial kingdom) so all of us will be able to partake of His glory in someway.  We just want to be like him so our goal is the Celestial Kingdom.

We’re finally getting stuff rolling with the W…’s getting a divorce so in a little while they should be able to be baptized!  It’s exciting!  I can’t wait for you to meet them someday!  It’s incredible to see how much they have changed!

I’m getting my haircut today from sister Blevins, so that’s exciting.  We are excited to watch General Conference this weekend, and we get to go to the temple in November!  Things are going really well!  Only 20 1/2 months and I’ll be home!

Well I better jet.  I love you lots and tell dad thanks for all of the packages that he sends and that I really appreciate them!

Love Blake

Dr. Appointment and Transfers (9/23/09 letter)

Posted in 1st Area, Pasadena, TX on October 5, 2009 by Nichole (Blake's sister)

I can’t believe i’m already in my 4th month !!! It is going by so fast!  I am truly loving it though!   Transfers are Monday morning.  I am betting that I will stay in Pasadena and receive a new companion, but you never know, he could stay and I leave or the area could be flushed and both of us leave and they put two brand new elders in it (pray for that one not to happen).  But i’m betting i’ll stay.  We will find out Saturday night around 10 if we are being transferred and then we will find out Sunday night what time we have to meet at the church to be picked up by the transfer van.  We may also get a call on sunday night if President is calling us to a leadership position such as trainer or District Leader or something like that.  We will not find out where we are being transferred to until we actually get dropped off there and meet our new companion.  It’s kinda exciting but still nerve-racking at the same time.  I am betting that I won’t be senior companion yet (at least for a transfer or two more) unless they put me with a troubled companion… which is a possibility.  But It is possible that I could be called to train now, but i’m betting it won’t happen until another transfer or two.  I’ve still got stuff to learn but overall things are going really well.

  I did go to the Dr. last thursday, and we’re getting some answers at least.  He thinks it is one of three things, the highest priority being gall bladder disease.  He wants to rule that one out before he moves on to another.  He is setting up another ultrasound and I had some bloodwork done so we’ll see how that comes out.  P.S. the lady who was drawing blood was not as nice as you… at all.  I missed my mommy drawing my blood and giving me a sucker after… I didn’t even get offered a sucker!  haha I was also put on ProTonix 40mg instead of the omeprazole.  He said it’s a little bit stronger and it actually seems to be helping, so that’s good.  The second thing he thinks is IBS and the third is Gastritis.  All are treatable, so that’s good!  But i’ll be keeping you informed on the latest.  Sister Moldenhauer has been a huge help as well so that’s good too.

It’s cooling off here !  It’s been really nice this week being in about the 70’s and raining a little bit every day.  But in Texas when it rains it pours… literally.  It usually doesn’t last too long but after that it gets humid.  But oh well.  No Hurricanes yet!  

I do need something… in your next package will you send one of those tiny fleece blankets that I had all of the time?  All I have is my big blanket and it sometimes gets cold in the family room so me being like you,  i would like to have a blankie.  haha.  
Things are going really well here!  I’ve had three baptisms and some investigators that are close to setting a baptismal date!  I’m going out to dinner with the Pofelski’s tonight and they are taking us to Coldstone Creamery to get ice cream too!  They are super cool!  Conference is coming up so that’s exciting, and in november I get to go to the Houston Temple!!! Exciting!  Well that’s all I got for this week!  Tell everyone I love them and tell dad thank you for all the packages he sends me!  I really appreciate them!  Love you Lots

Blake