Friday, November 28, 2014

11/28/2014: Challenge Email

There is a new thing that the church has put together for this month, that they have spent a lot of time and money on for it to work---going so far as to rent a billboard in Times Square from today until January 1st, and buying the masthead space on YouTube for all of December 7th. This program is called He is the Gift, and you should be getting some stuff in the Ensign that talks about it. What i'm asking is that you go to this website,, take a look at everything there, and start posting things on Facebook from it. I would, but we have not been given permission to use facebook for this project. It's really cool, and i can see this being huge for the world to see how much we focus on Christ this time of year. So, that's my challenge. Get on the website, and post the things that stick out.

With love, Elder Stuver

Monday, November 24, 2014

Email Update: 11/24/2014

Dear Everyone,

Congrats, Jeff! It's cool to see that the drama department seems to be trusting you a lot more. I hope that you enjoy your new toy. ;-)

Speaking of toys, you probably wont need to get me much, if anything, for Christmas (though i would never say no...). You see, i slipped a bit when it came to spending. I'd been doing really well, if i do say so myself, and last month i'm pretty sure i didn't use my home card at all, but this month, due to several bonehead moves that ended with pants and a sledgehammer head needing to be replaced, along with needing boots that were a bit dressier, to wear to church with the snow (the other boots still work for service, just are too beat up to wear to church), i used far more than i had intended. So, i would not feel bad if that was counted for my present this year. Thank you again for all of the help that you have been giving in that department.

Anyways, on to the important stuff. 

This week was actually really cool. We had been struggling a little bit getting the lessons that we'd been hoping for at the end of each week, so we decided to set a new style of goal and see if that would work; we would work to get three lessons every day. That doesn't really sound like a lot, but the Standard of Excellence (or the goal that we should be hitting every week, coming down from the Mission President) is 20 lessons each week, and we would be getting 21. However, 3 a day sounds a lot more achievable than 20. Turns out, we were right. By working to get at least three lessons a day, we were able to get 25 lessons this last week, nearly doubling the number from the week before. More than that though, are the lessons themselves. Because it was "just" 3 a day, we were able to focus more time into each lesson that we did, making the lesson itself better. 

One example is a lesson that we had on Friday night, with a man named Shawn. We went over and I got to know him---the missionaries had bee visiting his family for a while before i got there. He had ahd a dream to be a police officer since he was in High School, when he met a recruiting officer in one of the job fairs that they set up. Shawn told us that there were a lot of different traits that he like in this officer; he could hold up in a fight, but didn't really like to if he didn't have to. He really cared about the kids that he was working with, and the people that he was working to protect. He worked really hard to keep the oath that he had made when he was sworn in as an officer, to protect and serve the people in his community. The awesome thing is, those traits are very similar to a certain Captain that is taught about in the book of Alma, named Moroni. I was able to read Alma 48:11-13 and 17, and show him how Captain Moroni was a perfect example of the things that Shawn saw in that recruiting officer so long ago, and challenged him to read Alma 43 and 44 to learn more about this man that he was already so much like. He agreed to do so, and he made it to church this Sunday! It was really cool to see the scriptures that i love so much, mean just as much to someone else.

As for service, we have still been doing a ton of it. In fact, one day we would have done a ton more---if i hadn't missed the splitting wedge with the head of the hammer, and caught it with the handle instead. The handle split right down from the head of the hammer for about 8 inches. I was very displeased with myself. We spent the rest of the next 2 hours working to get the handle replaced, which turned out to be a lot more complex than it would appear. We found a handle that looked like it would slide right onto the head fairly quickly, so that wasn't too hard. However, it took almost ten minutes of drilling out the old wood in order to get the busted handle off. It was further complicated by the metal wedge that was used to press the wood solidly into the head of the hammer, holding it tight. The man who was helping us had expected it to made of wood, and the first drill bit was too wide to get into the space effectively. After we managed to get the old handle off, we went to put the new handle on---only to find out that it wasn't shaped quite small enough to get into the hole. So, we went to the local shop teacher for the High school, who was a member, and was nice enough to help us out. It took the rest of an hour and a half to sand and file it down to where it would actually go into the head of the hammer. I now know how to replace a handle on an ax or hammer. I hope i never have to do it again.

The last thing that i'm going to write about is the week's Zone Conference. I have to say, i really love this one, for one really major reason; it was largely on Captain Moroni, and the trait that i find most admirable in almost all of my personal heroes---he was fearless. That has always been something that i loved to see, and didn't really see in me. Now, i just hope that i can have just a bit more of that attribute in my life. I'm really glad that that got to be what we were talking about this last conference.

I think that that will do for this week's letter. Thank you so much for everything that you do for me.

Love, Elder Stuver

Monday, November 17, 2014

Email Update 11/17/2014

Dear Everyone,

Sounds like a pretty interesting week for you guys. Tell Bishop i'll see if i can't track his brother down, and everyone else that i say hi.

This week did get cold for us, which was a little annoying, because we still have a bit to do with burning weeds---which is not going to happen, due to snow. I think that we are going to get a tractor out there and just drag the rest of it. Our service now is of a much more menial nature; we shoveled at least 9 driveways the day after it snowed. One of them was absolutely huge, and it took us a long time to do it. It was kind of fun, though; we had a lot of snowball fights with the kids of some of the people that we helped. 

One really cool thing that happened this week was one of the dinner appointments that we had. We went over to a family named the Durands, and had spaghetti (we have a lot of spaghetti...). She is a less active member, who comes off and on, and he is a nonmember, who has apparently met with the missionaries a lot in the past. He says that he really enjoys having them come over, and that we can come over for dinner whenever we want, though he did also say that he would rather not be pushed when it comes to the church. In his words, "I'll join when i'm ready to." I feel like, though it may be a while off, he will eventually make that choice.

Speaking of Bro Durand, I kind of made a geographical mix-up talking to him. I heard him say that he was from New York, and i was excited to finally have someone that knew city life to talk to (not that there aren't more people that do, they just don't like it all that much). So, i said that i was glad that there was finally someone from a city that i could talk to. However, immediately after i made the comment, the rest of what he said made it through to my brain; he said that he was from upstate New York, not the city. Upstate New York might as well be Idaho without the potatoes. So, they all started laughing at me, and i did too.

Something that has been kind of nagging at me on a non, missionary basis now. Over the past couple of weeks, i have been thinking about after my mission, and what i will need to be doing in order to make everything work. The problem is, after i did all of the math that i could, school is going to cost me around $25,000, and i'm going to need to figure out a place to live while i am up there. Then i started thinking about food, clothes, utilities, car, gas, internet, and all of that other good stuff, and i'm honestly a little worried. It's really just like before i went on my mission; i really have very little desire to grow up. The difference between then and now is that i know that i have to, so now  i'm just trying to get everything figured out. Something that Elder Riley suggested was that i find a decent pickup truck, and a smaller RV trailer, and live out of that until i can find something more stable. I'm thinking about it, but i keep trying to think of where i am going to get any cash to do, well, anything to live in. It's a little frustrating, especially when i think that i still have 8-ish months left before i can really do anything about it, before i even should do anything about it. I just hope that it'll work out in the end, and that it might leave me alone in the meantime. 

Well, that should about do it for this letter. Thank you for everything that you do, and for all of the love that you show me.

Love, Elder Stuver

Monday, November 10, 2014

Email Update: 11/10/2014

Dear Everyone,

Wow. Sounds like the Harpers are having a rough go of it. Good luck Michaela!

As for me, things have been pretty interesting---well, a couple interesting things happened, anyways. We had another week of solid service, so much that we didn't even have a lot of PDay to spend doing PDay stuff. It was super fun, because on Saturday, i got to play with fire! We spent the day burning weeds---with a flamethrower attached to a propane tank that had to be pulled by a trailer. Actually, Elder Riley did most of the burning, because he's had a bit more experience with burners of that size. I did get to torch a 20 foot square section, though. I had fun. The weeds are gone now.

Later in the week, we got to deliver a bunch more wood, and then we spent some time talking to the family there. They are named the sweats, and they just recently started going back to church on a regular basis. They also took in a lady that was in a pretty bad situation, but now they are all doing really well---and they really appreciated the wood we brought over. It turns out that they are from Fruitland, Utah originally; and they now live in Fruitland, Idaho---on Utah street. (They say that Fruitland, Utah is somewhere by Vernal and Strawberry area. Just for some geographical reference). After we finished with a lesson, he lets us go into a room nearby their kitchen (after we had washed our hands), where a particular creature lives. We got to meet and hold a 19 foot albino Burmese Python, named Sissy. For Uncle Brannon's benefit, she is a natural albino, rather than a synthetic breed. It was awesome. I think that holding that snake for the ten minutes that i got to while we talked a bit more, swept out any anxiety i had earlier in the entire week. I wanna go back...

Anyways, this week was Stake Conference, and there were a few cool things in the announcements. First, a few of the young men that i had worked with back in the New Plymouth days have been ordained as Elders, and have received their mission calls! One is actually going to the same mission as one of the sisters in my district is from (her name is Sister Tomas). Her mother is a non member, and Sister Tomas is serving in New Plymouth, so a few of the people in New Plymouth are saying that he will go and baptize her mom. I hope so, because it would be awesome for Sister Tomas to get to see that in her family. The other cool announcement has to do with Stake conference itself. Starting next year, there will be a general authority at every stake conference, and every other year there will be a broadcast from Salt Lake, that will not be a part of the other sessions of stake conference. In other words, every two years we will have 4 hours of church for stake conference. It will be like another general conference all over again!! I actually pretty excited, mostly because of the general authority news. I think that the official statement was, "a Area Seventy, Seventy, or Apostle," so it should be awesome.

Well, that's the major news coming out of Fruitland these days. Thank you for everything that you do!

Love, Elder Stuver

Nathanael holding Sissy and Bro. Sweat

Elder Riley (companion) holding Sissy and Bro. Sweat


Monday, November 3, 2014

Email Update: 11/3/2014

Dear Everyone,

Well, it sounds like you guys had a fairly exciting week after all. Tell Wendell that i know how he feels; I did gain 50 lbs in New Plymouth the first time. And as for Trent, tell him that he is a lucky son-of-a-gun.

So far, the transfer has been pretty awesome, all things considered. I have had the chance to see a couple of the people that i'd met in New Plymouth over a year ago, including a lady named Dorothy that used to work at the Senior Center where we would go for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Halloween was the usual, in at 6:30 (after a bunch of members gave us food and candy, of course).

We didn't have an enormous amount of lessons this last week, but that wasn't due to any lack of work. What happened instead, is that i have been a part of the most service packed week that i have had yet to see. I love it. I always like doing the service that we get to do out here in the country (somewhere that i still haven't had a whole lot of experience with), which tends to be a lot more exciting (and strenuous) than city work. This last week alone, we planted 48 trees, whacked half an acre of weeds, split 8 chords of wood (approximately 8 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft of wood----all times 8) in one 8 hour shot, built half a deck, sanded and stained the other half, put in a new roof, and we are going to go split another load of wood this evening. It's been a lot of work, and I've been having a lot of fun. 

Something else pretty cool along with all of that is a bit more selfish, but it also makes me happy. Today, something amazing happened; I fit into my jeans that are a 34's, when the other pairs of pants are all 36's! In other words, i am down 14 lbs from where where i started losing weight! I've been really working on it for just about a month, maybe a month and a half, and i've been feeling much better as i've been going down. Through all of this, i was kind of thinking about one thing, "Mom was right---all of what i was eating DID catch up to me." But, I've been doing awesome, and i am happy with how it's been.

Now back to some more important stuff. It has been really strange, trying to adjust to the new calling of District Leader (one that i'm still not sure i really am excited for). We did have a really cool District meeting this last week, with a lot of participation and really good responses. I think the reason for that doing well is all of the years practicing my "Drama Face," more than anything else, but it was still nice. However, calling people last night for Key Indicator reports was less than pleasant for me; I still hate the telephone. I kept stumbling over my words, blanking out on what to say, trying to do my job of helping my district, when I'm not aloud to council them, and having a set of sisters not call in until this morning. After the calls, i pulled a Mr. Provolone, and banged my head on the table a good 6 times. Then i went to bed.

All of that being said, the sisters are really cool, and fun to work with. All of them are out for the right reasons, and all of them know when to have fun, and when to be serious. That makes it much easier to try to adjust to where i need to be (even though its really really really weird not to be able to really help anyone like i'd want to.) We will just have to see how the rest of this transfer goes, and if i die of mental insanity by the end of it.

Well, that should about do it this week. Thank you for everything, as always.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver