Monday, January 27, 2014

Email Update: 1/27/2014

Dear Familie,

Yeah, that week was pretty awesome. This week sounds a bit more like Dad's used to; every single one of our appointments we had scheduled fell through. We were only able to see four of our investigators, through drop by visits, and because of Winter Carnival, a lot of the people we tried had simply vanished. It was a kind of tough week, work wise.

However, we still had an awesome Sunday. To start it off, we went up to Riggins Idaho, for the first time for either Elder Maynard or me. We were asked to give talks in the Riggins Branch on "Decisions for Eternity," and i feel like we both did a really good job, with Elder Maynard's being better than mine. He went first, and spoke on how small and simple changes can affect our lives, either for good or for bad. One of the quotes that i liked was:

"Surround yourselves with positive things, because the things that you're around lead to thoughts, and your thoughts lead to words, and your words lead to actions, and your actions lead to habits, and  your habits lead to your life. As latter day saints, we also know that you life on earth leads to your life after death, so each small thing you do to improve brings you closer to your goal."


I focused my talk more on the bigger decisions that we make as Latter Day Saints, specifically the ordinances we do for exaltation. I used the True to the Faith to define what those were, and lead that into what we always talk about; missionary work. I worked the history of the Restoration into it, stressing the trials that Joseph Smith went through so that we could have the gospel back on the earth. I closed it with a challenge to friendship, regardless of the outcome, three new people in the coming week. 

Since there were 28 people in attendance to the Riggins Branch, that should be 84 people friendshipped in total.

Also at the Riggins branch, there were three investigators at church, all the work of the members of the branch (Elders hadn't made it up to Riggins in more than 6 months because of how far out it is). The Elders' Quorum President (and the Ward Mission leader, and the Scoutmaster, and the Home Teacher coordinator) had four other families that he wanted to come with us to teach, aside from the three at church. In short, there would be at least one ward in Riggins already if they weren't so far away. We have set up with Brother Parmenter (said Elders' Quorum President) to try and go out to Riggins once a week now, because we don't have to cover Cascade anymore, so things should pick up really quick.

After Riggins, we headed back to New Meadows (about twenty minutes from McCall), and had a few visits with with some members (one PMF and a dinner appointment). Then we stopped by a few less active families, and went home. 


I am working on uploading a bunch of pictures, and and of the structures you see at night and made of ice. Today we are having the rest of our district up for the carnival, and i'll get some better pictures of the sculptures. Those big pillars of snow, are going to be a competition for professional sculptors, and i'm super excited to see how those turn out. On Friday they started off the whole shenanigan with fireworks over the lake, and because they were over the lake, there are no restrictions for how high they have to fly. We had some blast low enough that some of the sparkles hit the ground while still alight. On Saturday, there was the longest parade that i have ever seen, up to and including any at Disneyworld, on the 4th of July, or the Rose Parade. (The floats weren't quite as cool as those parades, though). At three on Saturday, there was a polar plunge, where Nate dressed up as a fox and him and two other members sang (with the music playing in the background) What does the Fox Say? (Look it up on YouTube if you are curious--the song, not the plunge). 

The one event that i really wanted to go to, but we had to miss, was the Monster Dog Pull. They had about a hundred different dogs, from Bull Mastiffs to chihuahuas, lined up to pull weighted sleds and see who got the fastest time in each weight class. Unfortunately, the date and time were problems. The Dog Pull happened on Sunday morning, at 11:00 am. So first off, no because it was on Sunday, then another no because we were at Riggins at 11:00. So, i was very very very very very very sad. Oh well.

Well, that just about sums up the week. Thank you for sitting and reading my ranting every week.

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Email update: 1/20/2014

Dear Familie,

Yeah, the ATM robber was weird. I don't know why he did it, all i know now is that he was caught down in Ogden Utah. Everyone who knows anything about ATM's knows that they aren't the best things to try and steal. Apparently KSL has a lot on the robbers, so for more information, you might try looking on their website.

Aside from that, things have been pretty smooth the past week. We had 34 lessons this week, 7 people at Sacrament meeting, three baptismal dates set up, and one baptism. Funny story about that baptism--we didn't know about it until after it happened. The Senior couple who are covering Cascade called us up and said that we had a baptismal record that needed to sent in to Nampa. They come up and give us the record, and we come to find out that it has been almost a year since the the baptismal interview occurred. The interview was done last March, the branch President signed the record on October 10th, the Baptism happenedon November 20th, and the record finally fell into our hands in this last week. So, we are still trying to figure everything out. 

Anyways, I finally got to meet one of the investigators that the Elders had been working with before i got here, named Diana. She is around 60, and she is super ready to hear the gospel. During our lesson on Saturday, she asked questions that we were going to pose to her, before we could even open our mouths. One of them was about coffee, when we had planned on teaching her the Word of Wisdom that night anyways. We were able to help her commit to keep the Word of Wisdom, and to pray and study to find out if she can commit to be baptized on February 15th. She was also one of the 7 who made it to church yesterday, and i feel that if she continues to work in this path, she will be ready in no time to be baptized.

We also finally tracked down Jill, Elder Maynard's inactive cousin. We'd been trying to find her for the whole week, but she either wasn't there, or she was home but hiding (HBH; it's an actual progress record note in McCall.) Last night we went over to her NOT boyfriend's house, and sat there banging on the door for about 5 minutes, until she asked who it was. Elder Maynard's reply was, "Who else would it be?" 

She invited us in.

She'd promised that she would go to church, and we hadn't seen her there, so we asked why she didn't make it. It turns out that she doesn't have a car, her ride that she'd thought she was going to get bailed on her, and it was too cold to walk the 4 miles to get to church. When we got there, she was even still dressed and ready to go to church. The sad part is that at about 1:30, we'd gone to give a lady at the hospital a blessing, and after we went over to Jill's to pick her up and take her to church. Apparently she was there, but she didn't hear the knocking because she was either in the bathroom, or taking a shower.

Aside from all that, she has a lot of things to work through, and she acts like a teenager trapped in a 40 year old body. I wont go into details, but she really needs some help, and from personal experience, I don't think that she is going to be able to go very far without professional help.

Well, enough of that. Some thing really cool that's going on right now is the Winter Carnival. Technically, it starts this coming Friday, but the cool part of it is the Ice Sculptures that people carve. McCall's winter carnival is apparently one of the biggest in the Nation, and their ice sculptures are chartered from around the world for people to come in and carve. Elder Maynard and i we thinking about making one of our own, an Angel Moroni, but we didn't start soon enough, and a lot of the snow has melted, making it hard to get enough to use. I'm still a little sad about that... but oh well. What can you do. We still are going to go around and do the tourist trick when the rest are done. (Don't worry, we'll still be working too, and we wont be obnoxious about it. We just want pictures.)

Those are pretty much the major things that happened this week. Thanks for all of your prayers, and your emails.

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver

Monday, January 13, 2014

Email Update 1/13/2014

Dear Familie,

That's cool that a new Wallaby's might be opening. Who knows, I may need a job when I get home!

It's been really cool in McCall, in every sense of the word. It's been snowing for the past few days, with some rain in the middle on Saturday. That's alright; we get a truck in McCall. We kind of need it; half of our service work is splitting and shipping firewood to people's homes.

As for how big my area is; it's ginormungous (giant enormous humongous). We cover from Council to Riggins, about a 400 mile radius. It takes us an hour and a half to get to district meeting every week, and 4 hours to get to zone meeting every month. We would leave the mission before we left the north end of our area.

One really cool thing about this last Zone Meeting, though. There is a member of the ward named Nate Hess (I already asked; his full name is Nathan, not Nathanael) who agreed to drive us down to Payette, so that we could meet up with our District Leaders and get a ride to Baker City for the meeting. He then waited for 6 hours to drive us back to McCall after the meeting. Zone Meeting started at 9:30am Pacific time, so we had to get up at 5:30 to head out at 6:30. That means that Brother Hess had to do the same thing, if not earlier. Take into account the fact that he is the only coroner and mortician in a 200 mile radius, and getting up that early takes on a whole new light. In short, Nate Hess is too awesome for his own good. To top it all off, when we were heading back into McCall (at 6:30pm), his wife calls, and invites us to dinner, where her brother is grilling steaks. Nate also has a knife and sword collection that he let me ogle over for a little while (no missionaries were harmed in the process of said ogling). Yes. Awesome family.

Aside from that, McCall is just plain fun. Elder Maynard is a lot like Elder Rodgers, who i had sincerely hoped to get paired with. They both are really great missionaries, with a true desire to share the gospel to those around them. They both have a strong taste for music, and both have been in bands that have recorded in studios. They both are really laid back, without even brushing the line of being lazy. Most of all, they love the people they come in contact with, pretty much as soon as they see them. I got to watch Elder Maynard play with a family of 4 boys, three of whom are triplets, and i have rarely seen anyone who could work so well with kids. One of the people we are working with is named Jill, and she's actually Elder Maynard's cousin. He cares so much about her, that he finally got her to commit to getting a job, which she had never had in 47 years of life. Needless to say, (but i'll say it anyways) Elder Maynard is a great companion.

As for me, things have been holding up pretty well. I'm still trying to get to know the area, and get used to the fact that i am in a new area. I've (of course) gotten used to New Plymouth, and once i do get used to an area, i get really comfortable with the people, and confident when i talk to them. However, it usually takes me several weeks before i get to that point. So, i'm just a little frazzled. Regardless of that, i'm starting to remember where things are, and who everyone is. (It's still weird having to try and keep track of 490 different names, their stories, who their family is, and the name of their dog---which is actually the easiest of the 4.) That really kind of makes me chuckle, because more and more, i feel like going into politics in one way or another when i get home. When we were challenged to read our Patriarchal Blessing every day, we were also challenged to pray for a "vision of the future," of how our life will look if we do the things that we've been commanded, and piece by piece, i keep coming back to what i can do in the world with the Lord's help. I keep getting the prompting that i am supposed to help bring good back to the world.

That feels pretentious just writing it. Oh well. It is what it is.

That just about covers it, with the side note that some guy wrapped a chain around the Bank's ATM and yanked it out of the ground with his truck. I'm not worried; he did this in full view of about 20 different people, and actually looked at Nate Hess' brother-in-law while he was doing it. He'll be caught before too long.

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver

Monday, January 6, 2014

Email Update: 1/6/2014--Q&A and Transfer 4

This letter was another Q&A email, so bold for parents:

Did you get something nice for yourself for Christmas from G. Mick and G. Marie? What?
I did get something pretty nice; i got a whole new outfit, from the tie to the pants--which is really good, because my suit pants for one of my suits (the one from CTR clothing) both split down the backside....

What did you do for New Years?
Nothing really; it was a normal proselyting day. We did spend a little time at a member's home, named Ben, and had some Mountain Dew

What is happening with you and your missionary work?
For the last few weeks, we've been working really hard at making sure that our lessons include at least two principles and a prayer, and I have to say, it seems to have been making a difference. Jerry, whom I've said a few things about in the past, actually said the prayer in one of our lessons, and that one of the things that he needs to do before too long is to be baptized! Once we got our transfer call, we've been spending a lot of time saying good bye to people in New Plymouth. Conrad was one of our first stops, when we helped him take a load to the dump, and he kept saying to tell the Mission President that Conrad say he can't leave New Plymouth.

Something else pretty cool happened on Sunday. Our Ward Mission leader in second Ward, Brother Ellis, said that, "I admit, we didn't get off to the best start, but i've seen you grow, and become a great missionary. We'll really miss you." I honestly didn't think that he liked me very much, so that stood out to me.

Are you still in the same area, or did you get transferred? If so, where to?
I've just been transferred to McCall, Idaho. My new companion is named Elder Maynard, from Ogden. He has been stationed in McCall for three months, as long as he's been in the mission field. From what i hear about it, it should be a little slow, but super fun. We cover Council, Riggins, Yellow Pine, and Cascade (though a Senior couple may be taking that one over).