Right before School started we got to go to Disneyland once. Our passes have a lot of blackout dates but this was one of the few times that we could go that school wasn't in session.
We ended up crashing a Disney day that was planned by a bunch of other moms. It was quite the group!! Sadly it was much too big to stick together throughout the day but it was fun to meet up and do some rides and then see each other throughout the day.
We had fun at a fight night party at the Spongeberg's house.
All the women hung in the back and watch the men getting super into the fight and reacting to every punch.
Some of Taylor's trips with his girlfriend Taylor. One day they explored Laguna Beach.
Their friends call them "The Taylor's" or Big T and little T (our Taylor is the little T because he's shorter) and Taylor Squared.
We've started calling her Taylor Rose (her middle name) so we can differentiate them.
September 4th 2017
Happy Birthday Mom!
I know it's on Saturday, but I can't email you then lol.
It sounds like everything is going great back home! Don’t worry though, you're not the only one feeling the heat, here has been hot! It's actually cooling down a little now, but it's been really hot! I've made it a goal to drink a gallon of water a day. I used to do this, but now i really need to. The only downside is I have to use the restroom a lot.
This ward is great. They’ve been feeding us almost every night. My weight has actually been going down! But I cant say the same for Elder Richardson... he has gained about 13 pounds in the last month. So we're working on that. But they have also been helping a lot with the work, and it has helped it go a lot smoother. So help the missionaries in the ward! It help bless them and you!
This last week has been full of spiritual meetings. We had a trainer-trainee meeting on Tuesday and Zone Conference on Thursday. The main focus of both of these meetings is increasing our personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how we could use it better in our teaching. President Alexander did a training on D&C 4 and how we should serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. He had a focus on the 4th verse of it.
4: For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul
He taught us how the Book of Mormon is the sickle in our missionary efforts. And how we need to thrust in the sickle with all our might. He used this scripture a lot too in his trainings. Its in Alma
5: And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else
I was really shown how powerful the Book of Mormon is. And as I have been using it in this great work My personal testimony of it has grown. And I know that there is power in its pages. So i would like to invite yall to read it everyday! You will see a big difference in everything! I love you all and have a great day!
Jeff and I got to go to an award dinner form him making council. It was a fiesta with a mariachi band and everything. A nice evening to celebrate Jeff.
Annora's baby blessing was this month. Lots of family was there celebrating with them! Congratulations to Jared and Vanessa!
I know it was a couple days ago but HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you like my birthday present (this email)! I would also like to let you know that we are ok! The hurricane was in our path, but it shifted so we only got a little wind and rain. I heard Sam curl was moved and he's ok now too. Crazy with all these hurricanes and fires and earthquakes, it seems like something's gonna happen soon :O On the same craziness level, I’ve almost been out a year! This Thursday! Sorry this email is so scattered but we received some game changing news yesterday and my mind is a blob right now. The whole mission is getting insane changes. But I will tell you at the end to force you to read my whole email :) (Don't cheat and skip to the end)
So this week has been full of events. Between fires at member dinners, and people coming to church, it has been amazing. I will spare you the details, and save them all for the end. But we had an investigator come to church on Wednesday night and love it!.... Forgive me, but my mind cannot focus on the week right now, so i will just skip to telling you the news.
Well, Transfer calls happened. Luckily this whole district hasn’t been here very long, and we are all training, so no call was expected. But even though it wasn't expected, it happened. Sadly, Elder Montandon is leaving the District and heading over to a Spanish area in the same zone. so at least he'll be close. His trainee is getting a companion who just got done being trained. And that’s what we found out this morning.
Yesterday, an amazing day at church, we were eating dinner at our apartment, which is rare since members sign up a lot. And we got a call. The ringtone was different than usual, which you can do for specific contacts, and me and Elder Richardson looked at each other confused. He went and looked at the phone, said "its president!" and threw the phone to me. Long story short, I was asked to be a zone leader, and Albemarle is getting pink-washed. So Elder Richardson (definitely my favorite companion) is heading to another area in the zone with a different trainer. We kinda sat there, pacing back and forward for 30 minutes, thinking what just happened? We were sure nothing was happening, but i guess we are needed elsewhere. Luckily, my new companion, Elder Zesiger, i already know him, and i love him, so I look forward to being with him.
But let me tell you a little something about Elder Richardson, this last transfer has gone by the quickest and has been the easiest on my mission. He is a great man, who can match my weirdness, but who is also very intelligent. We had so much fun together, and I look forward to hearing how his mission goes. He is going to do great things. So many times throughout this last transfer, I forgot i was training, I would just assume he was a missionary who had already been out a while and knew what he was doing.
That along with being a district leader has been a very humbling experience. I was able to deal with these people closely, and develop a great love for them. It was amazing to see the growth of each district member, and how much the Lord was able to change me as well. I started to see them as Christ does, and develop a small portion of Christlike love for them. (I say small comparative to the love He has) That's been the highlight of the mission, seeing the change in you, and the closeness you get to Christ
Sorry! I sent that other email before i got this one. But to answer your questions...
So how do you feel mission life has help you spiritually, socially and in becoming a better person in general?
Spiritually- It has helped me develop a love for the gospel, and specifically the scriptures. I've been able to recognize the Spirit more in my daily life and I’m able to follow the prompting better. President always says the 3 personal key indicators are: Personal Study, Personal Prayer, and Weekly sacrament experience. And I feel in the past year, each of those have gone up dramatically.
Socially- I've been able to understand people a lot better and get along with them better. I've learned to communicate always, it keeps contention at bay, and I am becoming less scared to be bold with people
Better Person- To sum it all up, I know more of the gospel, and I follow more of the gospel. That's been the cause of becoming a better person and I’ve seen as you follow Christ, you become more like him
How has it been incorporating good daily habits into your life?
-This has shown me the importance of these habits, shown me how much I’m blessed when i constantly do those simple things. I have learned that good habits are harder to keep than bad ones. If you want to develop a good habit of something, i always takes work to do it, it gets easier, but you still have to consciously do it. My testimony of the natural man has increased seeing how it's so much easier to do wrong than right.
Do you see a difference in how you think and interact with others?
-Yes! I've seen a huge development of Christlike love and understanding for these people. Rejections aren't that hard, because i love and understand that it's not their time. And I have become a lot more mature, it made me realize how immature I was ha-ha.
What do you do to help motivate and encourage the other missionaries in your district?
-I try and call them every night. Every week i get their goals and actuals for indicators on how the work is going, but i try to get their personal goals as well, and keep them accountable to those. At District Meetings, my main goal is to bring in the Spirit, since He's the best teacher, and i forget about myself. I've been surprised to see the course of a meeting change at a prompting of the Spirit, then nothing goes as planned, but everything works out
From Elder Montandon’s letter
“I also got the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Beaulieu i probably butchered his last name but it was amazing we were able to go and teach one of their progressing investigators and she is so solid she just has alot of health problems and then we went over to a laotion family which was very awkward ahaha and then we went to jo holbrook who we found last time and she is so prepared and her son will start taking the lessons as well but they are whitewashing and sisters are going to be moving into Albemarle!”
From Jacob’s Companion’s letter from last week
This week was a week of firsts!
We had a neat baptism for Payten who is a little Mhong kid. He live with his grandma along with his two cousins. It is crazy the family situations that come about. It makes me realize how truly blessed I am!
This week we had a tornado and flood warning! It was pretty scary on and off with thunder and wind and tons of rain. They said it was the after effects of Hurricane Harvey.
We talked to another person with a gun while out knocking.
Had the cops called on us.
While out knocking in sketchy neighborhood a guy drives by and says "Y'all have some serious courage being out here!" But I literally feel invincible when I am out on the Lord's errand which I will take advantage of while I can hahaha
Had sushi for the first time and ate a lot of it! Didn't sit well though.
One lady we are teaching asked if it is legal to dig up graves for when we do baptisms for the dead. Good stuff
Zone Conference was incredible!!
We talked all about the Book of Mormon and the tremendous power it has. It is literally the tool for everything.
I encourage you all to find general conference talks like Safety for the Soul or others talking about the Book of Mormon. There are so many blessings and truths in store for us as we study its words. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon. I continue to knock houses becuase I know so many people can benefit from it!
Love you all!!
Have a great week!
Ashley's first day of school wearing her new jersey. Maddie has to be in the picture too.
Friday night football games starting up again.
It was so hot the first game that the mascots had to take more breaks than they spent in their suits.
Labor Day we took a trip to the beach and met up with Joel and Virginia. The weather was great and tons of people had the same idea as we all shared space on the beach.
Joel and I celebrated our birthdays going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse.
No free desserts here, your birthday treat is sitting on a saddle, ha ha.
Taylor got to hang out with Taylor Rose's family and go to the San Diego Zoo the next day.
That Monday we had family over for a barbecue and swim party.
Ashley got her drivers permit!! (Only took two trys) She's thrilled.
More football games.
My birthday fell on a Saturday and we decided to do an outing with the kids.
Taylor Rose made me a homemade apple pie!!
We went on a whale watching trip
We hit traffic and barely made it to the boat in time!
Beautiful day in Balboa.
We even got to see a humpback whale (they hadn't seen a whale in 2 weeks)
And lots of dolphins
We walked out to the pier while we waited for our table at Spaghetti factory.
On Sunday Penny Smith brought me flowers and made our Sunday School class sing to me. It was sweet and embarrassing at the same time. It definitely caught the teacher off guard.
For mutual Ashley got to go to an Angel's game.
September 18, 2017
First week as zone leader
This has been a crazy week!
First off, my new area is in the city, like the 2nd or 3rd biggest city in the mission. Which is way different because all of my areas have been straight country. It makes it real nice, since the area is smaller and more concentrated.
Secondly, I am in one of the last 4 elder apartments. Actually, the same apartment Elder Montandon was trained in. Which that is also crazy, because all of my areas have been 20-40-60 minutes away from the nearest Elders. So it makes mornings and nights more fun.
To answer your questions though, I am not in the same zone as Elder Montandon :( My new companion's name is Lane Zesiger. Which that was crazy to be his comp, because at the beginning of my mission, we joked about when we were going to be companions.
My new address is
200 Forest Park Creek
Winston-Salem, NC, 27127
Being a Zone Leader though is not too much different than District leader. I’m just over 11 companionships now rather than 4, and it is a lot more administrative stuff. It was pretty crazy at first, but I’m on track to start getting the hang of it soon.
The Ward here is amazing too. It's a lot bigger than any of the other wards I’ve been to, and there are tons of young people. There's this really big hospital in our area, so a lot of doctors and young med students are in the ward. They seem to love the missionaries, and I think i've already made some good relationships. They're still trying to get my humor though, they aren’t too sure if they can make refernces to my height yet haha.
The Work here is pretty great. We've been able to talk to a lot more people since the area is so concentrated. We've been finding a lot of people to teach lately, and we're excited to see where it all goes. Its funny though, because this area, not overall, but some areas here are the most ghetto ive served in :D
I will say though that the Lord is good at keeping me humble. Before I was asked to train and lead the district, I thought I had gotten the hang of missionary work. Then I was humbled. Then after a few weeks of rough learning through failure, i had thought I was starting to learn how to do what i was called. Then I was humbled again. However, I am super excited to see what i can become after all of this.
There are a couple things i have to ask for that I need if that’s alright. A couple more long-sleeve shirt, winter is coming soon. A pair of pants, or two. One's for proselyting, the ones I have are getting worn down. And one other strange request, So our Zone is called the Winston-Salem wolf pack, and for one Zone conference i wanted to come out in a wolf suit. So if ya'll still had my old mascot suit, not sure if you do or not, or if Ash is using that one, but if you had it, Elder Zesiger and the Sister Training Leaders said they would help pay for the shipping. If not, that's perfectly fine! But we just thought that would be a great idea for the Zone.
I love you all! And I hope you getting feeling better Dad! And I will keep Grandpa in my prayers! Have fun in Spain!
Ashley and her friends decided that they wanted to make Cannoli's one day. I told them to look it up and they did. They substituted a few ingredients and we had to get creative on the form for frying them but they ended up doing a great job.
They turned out good and tasted great.
Great job girls.
We got to go to Cody's Cowden's mission farewell. He's off to Hawaii!
September 25, 2017
That's so crazy that Phillip is getting back so soon, and Cody is leaving so soon! Time just flies on the mission. Especially since coming to a 4 Elder apartment, it makes everything go by so much quicker. As for the pants, I am pretty sure I am a 34, I hopefully still am after all this southern food.
So I found out, that if I want to lose weight, it is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. When i first got here, we didn't have much healthy food, but after a couple P-days I am on the path to losing some pounds! It's difficult though, because the members always feed you so well, so I can only determine I want to eat healthy for breakfast and lunch haha.
There's a medical school in my area, and that means a lot of young med-students in our ward. And being around them kinda makes me want to go into something medical after the mission. Whenever people ask what I want to do, I tell them at the beginning of my mission I had no idea, now I have too many idea so i need to start sifting them out.
The weather here is starting to cool down, which is great! It's still a little hot now, but it's going down. I'm looking forward to Fall, when the leaves start changing. That's rough what's happening to Grandpa, I will definitely keep him in my prayers.
This past couple weeks have been crazy though, we've been going on a lot of exchanges lately. Which confuses me, it makes me wonder who my real companion is when we're switching so much haha. We have Interviews with the President this Thursday, which I am excited for, because I got a lot of questions for him. Luckily, I am starting to figure out what I'm doing. Then next week we have a zone conference, that we're training at, and I might be conducting :O. Then right after that we have exchanges with the assistants to the President, and I might be going with my trainer! If not, i'll be with the missionary i replaced, so either way it's going to be good.
I have also seen the Lord building me up in many ways. There has been a cycle throughout my mission, where the Lord humbles me, then brings me higher, and i have been very humbled recently, so I am excited to see what He makes out of me.
I'm really excited for general conference! I've always heard people give amazing stories about how they had a question, and then watched conference, and then it was answered! I've never really done it, but I going to try it out this time! :D And i invite yall to do the same! I've really grown a love for the words of the prophets. And i love yall! Have a great week and i hope everyone gets feeling better!
Zone leading is great!
It's definitely very humbling though. I think I’ve just figured out what I’m doing, so now I can help the zone a little bit more. It's kinda tough now, because my companion kinda likes to run everything, and then tell me what to do, instead of us discussing or sharing opinions. It will be good for me though, because I really need to learn to speak up more, and speak my mind, so this will put me in a situation I can do that. I love him though! He's great and I have a lot to learn from him.
I think right now I want to help to zone with the fundamentals. We've been focusing on finding and getting people to church, but with all the talk I’ve seen, I don’t see a lot of Christ in the picture. I want to take a step back from finding and teaching, and just teach of Christ, and teach of our purpose as missionaries. This zone has been trying to increase the indicators a lot lately, but many missionaries here aren’t motivated just by the numbers. I kind of like to compare it to Helaman 5:12, sometimes we build our foundation on the excitement of finding and when people come to church, but if it is not built on Christ, it will fail. So I guess what I’m saying, is I want them not to work just to work, but to do it for Him. Now I just need to be courageous enough to share all of this. Just thought I’d let you know, and I think it will help me share it with my companion by sharing it with you.
Love ya pops!
We took an after school trip to Disneyland just as they changed to their Halloween themed rides and decorations. Ashley's had fun with having passes this year.
I got to go on the new Guardian's of the Galaxy ride for the first time.
Lets just say there was a lot of ups and downs.
We couldn't stay too late because the girls had school the next day but it was enough time to get some Disney fun in.
Ashley's homecoming theme this year was the Wizard of Oz.
She was Todo (with a skirt) ha ha.
They did great and had fun.