Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. -3 Nephi 5:13

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October 6, 2016 Hoorah for Israel! (Handwritten letter)

Dear Family,
It's about time I write you guys huh? I'm really sorry, hopefully you aren't disappointed in me or bummed in anyway. It's just been crazy busy lately. I don't even remember the last time I sent a letter home. Elder Ht time? Boy this mission is amazing! I've learned so much and I can truly say that I've become a better servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and a better son of our Heavenly Father. I've had so many experiences and so many miracles witnessed that have really strengthened me and my testimony! It amazes me how much the lor's hand is in this work and it's not even me. I'm just lucky that I get to witness all of it! I feel I learned the most in Sudbury, especially when I was with Elder Ht. He was such a good person and a great missionary. We had so much fun together. So many memories will be kept. One of them I will never forget was when we were walking to an appointment in the freezing cold, snow up to your shins, and snow piled up on the sides of the roads 8 ft high! And we would just mess around and throw each other in the snow and just wrestle and have fun! We killed it missionary work wise! We worked so hard and it paid off! We had hit standards of excellence 14/18 times we had together! Found so many investigators, I just wish he could have experienced McKenna's and Chris' baptism. He deserved to see to see the fruit of his labor the 10 months he had been there! That ice castle crew was fun too! Elder M is another one of my buddies, best buddies that is. Elder B too. I can't believe he's been home for about 2 months now! I had so much fun being banished up there. District meetings were fun over Skype, will never forget those! They were a pain to be honest… but cool experience haha. The Sudbury Ward was probably my least favorite to be honest, but they're nice people. There's always the people in the Ward that you gain really strong relationships with in each area that you serve in. I would say that the R's and Brother Bn , oh and also Bro Bt (Ward Mission Leader), they were all so cool! I got they're emails and they emailed me last Monday which was really cool. Oh and someone else that emailed me the other day was the J's Family. I don't know if you remember them or not but me and Elder Ht helped reactivate them. The family of 6 that sadly moved to a whole new area but apparently they are doing really well and they are preparing  for the temple to be sealed!! That makes me so happy! Have I ever told you how much we drive in Sudbury? Holy cow, seems like everyone was all over Sudbury so we would go from appointment to appointment, we also covered Manatullin Island and that's 2 hours out there and don't forget the meetings you go to as a missionary, there's another like 2 or 3 hours depending on where it is! I'm surprised that I'm not fat right now, me and Elder Hz pretty much rode our bikes all last transfer to save K's. So we rode our bikes where it is reasonable, it was quite  the work out and very hot! Elder Hz sadly was my least favorite companion. He didn't work hard but at the same time he thought he deserved to go up in leadership. He thought  way to much about what people thought of him and he wasn't very Christ-like to be honest. I felt like I was babysitting him and carrying him and the area on my shoulders but that's ok I learned a lot. He's a funny guy and was pretty charitable believe it or not. That's one thing that I liked about him was that he was willing to help and give. Elder P who was the zone leader for the 2 transfers I was last up there, was really cool. He has a pretty thick Haitian accent. He's the one who knows 5 different languages, gave tours in the Amazon, pro soccer player and a convert to the church. Me and him became the best of friends. He's one of the most humble people I know. Always think about others. We love talking with each other and have lots of inside jokes. We were really sad to have separated to our different areas. He went back to Toronto, and really that's where he is suppose to be. Elder V my best friend from Mexico got transferred to Toronto as well! Elder Ht did too! I don't know if I'll ever make it to Toronto Haha! I might just be in the outskirts all of my mission! Before I move on to talking more about Napanee and Elder Hn I wanted to mention one of the investigators we were tracting. She was the one in Manatullin Island who was referred to us by one of the member in the branch. We were over to her convenient store and would teach her the lessons and I would always have a special feeling about her. She's something special that's for sure. She has great Faith. I mean she was a pastor at her own church, but the things that she would bring up, the concerns that she had, the things that she held close to her heart was all highlighting  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the gospel! I would just be in such aww and astonishment of how prepared this lady was. And now from what Elder Hz told me over email is that she has a baptism date!  That makes me so stoked and excited!  Napanee is beautiful!! "God's Country". It's definitely not like Toronto! It was pretty fun adjusting to this area trying to get to know everyone in the church of only 30 and then trying to build the teaching pool up from really nothing. I found out the other day from Elder Sh (the Elder who served here before us)that he was struggling with depression here and that he also had a companion who was going home. And so he said they really didn't do anything cause the Elder who was going home didn't want to and he was a very controlling and 'do it my way or the highway' type of Elder and so nothing got done for the 3 months they were here! Isn't that so good!??? It's sure fun and very educating being here so far, and it's making Elder Hn a man! He's such a good guy! He's made such great progress so far. My baby! He played football all of his life and he's pretty funny! We have a good time, he gets a little stressed out and trunky but he's getting a lot better. This whole training and district leader think really reminds me of Georgetown!! It's pretty freaky how similar of experiences they are. Napanee looks a whole lot like Georgetown. We've seen that pizza place that you told us that Avril Lavine went to and is her favorite. Haven't gotten to it yet but it's something we plan on doing very soon! We've got a bunch of crazies in the Branch but that's alright, it gives it character. I would say 75% of the Branch are old elderly people! but they sure are kind and know how to cook and feed us! Never been more fed in my life! They sure are kind and I'm starting to get to love the people here in this Branch! District meetings are great, a lot different than being over Skype! Sister D, Sister G, Elder C, Elder C, Elder O and Elder and Sister H. They are all awesome and so kind. I love them all, I love helping them as well. Love learnig from them. If there's one thing I've learned about being a leader in the church is that the best leader is the best follower! One who is always willing  to learn and to be humble and to follow the footsteps of the best leader, Jesus Christ. Going exchanges is pretty fun as well, you get to learn from each other! The other day we were on exchanges with the sister missionaries, JK JK! Oh mom, calm down! We don't go on exchanges with sisters! Haha but if you are wondering if sisters ever go on exchanges, and Brooke you may want to know this for you mission pretty soon, that there are sister training leaders that go on exchanges with the regular sister missionaries! So it's pretty cool! And they're pretty much sisters that look over and help the other sister missionaries! Hmmm I wonder what else you guys might like to know. The apartment is nice, clean, and in a nice area as well! Not like Sudbury where we lived in the most sketchy and ghetto area! The church building is small! Lots of old retired people here that like to go out and eat. President and Sister Clayton are awesome. I like President Shields more than Elder Clayton but I like Sister Clayton more that I like Sister Shields! Haha but they are all great. We are helping 2 LA's go to the temple this fall, so that's exciting! The leaves are beginning to change! It's going to be very pretty here. Everybody loves Tim Horton's here still! Poutine is delicious! Everyone makes pie or cheesecake for dessert here in Canada! Random thought: So as you know, I've gotten a 23 on the ACT. And I keep thinking about it and really want to get a better score and I know I can. And I'm not really sure why it keeps popping in my head but I heard you can take it again after the mission for BYU-I. I believe you have to get at least a 25 and a 3.75 GPA to get quarter tuition. And I really don’t want to pay for everything or have you help pay for everything. I know there are little scholarships that you can apply for as well but would that help? I keep hearing about people and even missionaries that they have an academic scholarship or a athletic scholarship and I know that I could  get better, but BYUI doesn't have school sports. I don't know, I'm in a pickle. I just want to save as much money as possible but I feel that BYUI is still the place for me. Any advice? Obviously being away from school for 2 years and then taking the ACT isn't the best idea, but at the same time I feel like I'm just as smart and athletic! But it's not bothering me enough to distract me from the work at all. One thing that has changed about me is that I know how to talk to people in any situation and then relate it or steer it to talking about the gospel! It's a good skill to have in life talking to people you don't know and having conversations with people. I remembered it bothering me so much  before I came out, especially when me and Dad went home teaching. He'd be the one to do the lessons and I would always be really nervous and wouldn't know what to say. It really did frustrate me. I think you could remember Dad the conversations we would have about it after. But now I can participate and be fully engaged and truly love being there! I can't wait til we go again! I thought I would write a quick story that well, by the time you get this letter you will have already heard this a little bit in my weekly emails, but I'll try and go in more detail. So me and Elder Hn were driving and I got a distinct impression to turn around and we were driving back the way we came from and the HG told me to turn on this street in Newborough, an area in the outskirts of Napanee. So we got out and I assumed God wanted to have us tract that street… and the very first door we knock on Angie opens the door. And so I start the convo and get a basic understanding of her beliefs and I was able to go from there. Elder Hn gets nervous and deer in the headlight in contacts like this so it's basically me and her talking. And so I pretty much taught her the Restoration on her doorstep and gave her a book of Mormon and told her to look over the Restoration pamphlet and the book and to pray and ask. Cause in the convo she had mentioned how her life wasn't good at all and how the world is more wicked each day and how there are so many churches today. So it was easy to teach the Restoration to her and to testify. I could literally see her eyes sparkle and see something click. We went back about a week later since she told us that she would like some time to read it and to pray. She had read 20 chapters of the book! Which is pretty rare that an inv would do that but she hadn't received her answer yet! So we went back a 3rd time to talk more about how to receive an answer and we read 3 Nephi 11 with her as well and she really enjoyed it. She said give her one more week and we can come back and see if she got her answer! But holy cow she was telling us that she had a really hard life. She was raped 2 times when she was younger, her parents were killed at a young age. She was into drugs and was living in the streets for awhile, tried to commit suicide twice but failed both times and she knew that she was supposed to be here for a reason but didn't know exactly why. But we told her that this is the reason why! The gospel! She says that she truly want to believe  us but at the same time there are so many other churches that are saying the same thing and how Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door and such. So she's had a huge trust issue her whole life and she says she only has two friends that she can count on! But I think she really likes us and is beginning to trust us! I sure hope she gets her answer! She's amazing, truly prepared. Well I miss you guys a ton! Brooke I can't believe you are a junior in high school. Seems like yesterday I was a junior playing basketball and such. I miss you and I hope we can do more stuff together after the mission! You can show me how to make a true delicious drink since you are the maker of it! Amber I can't believe you are a teenager and your birthday is coming up, that's crazy! Some of my favorite memories with you are sleeping outside and talking! And looking for the big dipper! Everytime I look up into the night sky I think of you! Keep  being an example and work hard! Maleah, I can't believe you were baptized. You are getting so big, you are going to be bigger than me when I come home! Promise not to beat me up? I can't wait to play with you again and watch movies! Remember  when you would give my piggy back rides!? you were so strong! I can't wait to see you again! Love you sisters so much. I wish you could know how much I truly do! I wish I could write you everyday but a mission is busy! Well Mom and Dad. I can't believe I'm more than half way over with my mission! I think often of you guys and how I couldn't and wouldn't make it out onto a mission without you and the things that you taught me. You are beyond generous and kind and I know that the Savior is  pleased with the way you raised me and the way you are raising the other 'chillens'. I wouldn't change the hard times we experienced for anything cause I wouldn't have learned and become the man I am. I wish constantly that I would have shown more appreciation and respect to you guys and I hope you can forgive me! And a BIG THANK YOU guys for the examples you are to me. I love you guys more than words can describe. Love you all forever and always, even into the eternities!!! For the gospel makes it possible through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus! And Hoorah, Hoorah, Hoorah for Israel!!! God bless you all!
Colten, Coco, Coltyboy, Jojo, Jojonator, Dudes, and Elder Beddes

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