“Cause there’s victory in the Lord, I say.

Victory in the Lord.
Cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don’t go ridin’ on that long black train.”

Life’s good. The work is good. The lord is great!

So, as for facebook work….our mission hasn’t gotten that opportunity yet. Probably some time next year would be my guess though. We are seeing a bit of the fruits of it like I mentioned in my last letter. We weren’t able to meet with the girl that had been being taught through facebook last week because her work made her go in randomly on Sunday night but we are re-set up for Thursday. She is very chipper through text message to meet with us…so that’s a good sign!haha Apparently it’s her ex-boyfriend who’s on a mission in Arizona that has been teaching her through facebook….which is a bit of a weird thought (I doubt they’ve only talked about the missionary discussions while messaging) but cool I guess too. We’re looking forward to meeting her though!

The other girl that we’re teaching has made some huge steps this week! We taught her Friday and set a date for November 9th! She’s quitting smoking and has stayed faithful so far. She also came to church yesterday which we thought was going to be her biggest hangup. she’s scheduled work off on Sundays indefinitely now!!! Cool stuff!

I’m glad to hear that things at home are going so well. That’s quite the high scoring game for BYU. I heard that it was a last minute win from some members. Crazy! I’m glad that Austen is remaining healthy!

That makes me happy to hear that the Nash’s sent you a letter. They’re an amazing family that I was sad to leave! Each person in the family was kind enough to write me an individual letter before I left and I almost felt like I was gonna cry! I love them a lot and hope that we can tour the mission and you guys can meet them someday…they really want to meet you!

Thank you so much for your continued love and support. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be out here and helping the people in Canada….but I’m mainly grateful for the changes in myself. Thank you for all you do!

Love Elder J

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Go on and fall apart

Fall into these arms of mine
I’ll catch you every time you
Fall

The reason that Clay Walkers lyrics are starting this email is because I’m EXHAUSTED!!!!!!!! But I’m SOOOOOO happy! So it doesn’t even matter! We’ve been doin service still! Not as much because we have to pace ourselves since there’s going to be work for months to come but the work we did yesterday was probably the hardest and the stinkiest. A new area of High River was finally opened up this week for people to go back to their homes and so we were called by President to go back out. The thing that we realized is that as bad as the devastation has been in recent homes that we’ve worked in, it all pales in comparison to what we’ll continue to do. I thought that I’d smelt the worst of the worst from the houses that we’ve worked in the past few weeks….but the home went into yesterday and the homes that we will continue to go in are only going to get worse and worse the longer that water is in them. Carpet and fridges are the main culprits but many other items add to the noxious fumes that we deal with. The home we went into yesterday hadn’t been touched. The owners were members and they looked at the basement for the first time when we did. The water had reached the ceiling and the dry wall soaked it up and the entire ceiling had fallen down. There were items like a workout ball that had floated up and had been wedges in the ceiling joists and many other things that were just out of place. The wood and other things are getting so water logged that demo is a lot easier for door frames and windows and such but it makes dry wall a hassle to deal with. The stuff just crumbles and weighs a TON with all of the water absorption.

Insulation, couches, and mattresses are the other troubles because they can absorb SO much water and get SO heavy. It’s such an exhausting experience to strip a basement down to studs and get things out of the house and onto the front lawn but it’s really satisfying to see the transformation from start to finish. We started work at 8:30 in the morning and finished at about 5:30……so much work. I’ve got a good before and after pic:) The houses are also getting A LOT of mold that adds to the smell and difficulty and then the river mud just smells like poop by itself. I was a genius though and took a full tresemme shampoo bottle and started squirting it everywhere to give a different edge to the smell in the basement!haha It helped quite a bit at times! The owners were pretty bummed because they only moved in about 4 months ago and had a lot of nice stuff but they had a really positive attitude and were even joking about things a lot of times. They were a nice older couple and were very appreciative. It’s crazy the destruction that water can do though. There was a piano that I just took apart with my bare hands and a shower that I dismantled without any tools. Crazy stuff but I love that I’m able to be a part of it on my mission.

It’s good to hear about everything back at home! Sounds like Jess is tearing it up and Trav and Aust are doing well!

I hope the business can see some improvements and the farm gets the right weather at the right time during this harvest season!

Love you all!

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Waitin on a woman……..(brad paisley)

So the baptism actually happened this week! It probably couldn’t have been any more stressful for me but it made it so much more worth it!

We’ve been helping with the flood A LOT this last week. It’s been a pretty humbling experience to assist these people that have lost almost everything. We put on the helping hands vest several times this week and either went out with ward members or would just go to heavily effected areas and walk down the street looking to assist people. There are HUGE piles outside people’s home’s where they’ve thrown out demolished basements, walls, furniture and other random items. The dumpsters fill up really quick and so people just move stuff by the street. We’ve helped with every thing that you could possibly imagined. We’ve been a part of completely destroying basements and cleaning them out, to emptying muddy water from basements with buckets, to filling dumpsters with huge piles of garbage on the sides of roads. We’ve been able to meet a lot of non members and build up a respect and gratitude. We’re not aloud to proselyte when helping but if people ask questions then we can answer them. The community and Calgary in general has been amazingly supportive and helping with thousands of volunteers as well. It’s good to sport the bright yellow vests for helping hands because people will randomly thank us walking down the street and comment on how organized our group is. We definitely get muddy every time that we go out to help. The mud stinks because it’s just got everything from sewage, to river water to anything you could imagine in it. It makes thinks super heavy too! Like drywall….it is quite the sludge to try and remove. Anyways, I’ve LOVED getting to help people and be in service clothes so much. Downtown is pretty well drained but all the basements and stuff aren’t. It’s pretty funny though when we help people and they offer some food and beer….and it seems like EVERYONE smokes even though they’re doing back breaking work and it’s hard to breath! haha

We were out the morning of the baptism helping though! It was quite the change to the all white clothing that evening!

So as far as the stress of the baptism (the Lord was clearly humbling me because none of my other baptisms have had such problems) the day before the baptism we were out helping load dump trucks and I got a call from our ward mission leader. He told us that the lady that books the stake had double booked the building and that youth dinner would be happening right next to the font and it would be super loud. So we called Ruth to see if she could move it to a different time but her friend who was giving a talk and introduced her to the church needs the handi-bus and you have to book your rides more than a day in advance. So we were thinking we might just have to move the baptism back a week (even though we had the font booked first and the relief society booked it after because they were having a dinner for the youth because they were helping with flood cleanup instead of “treck” this year). Our ward mission leader called us back and said that he had good news because they did book it after us and knew that they had to be out of there by 6 o clock for our baptism and would be starting at 4:15. This was a huge relief.

So we moved to the relief society building around the room and everything was set up. Here’s where Brad Paisley’s song lyric comes in. We got a call from Ruth’s friend who needs the handi bus and she was supposed to be at the baptism at about 5:45 and it starts at 6….it was 6:05 and she hadn’t been picked up yet….and it would still be a 15 or 20 minute drive. PLUS the mission president shows up to this baptism! So we forged ahead with faith that her friend would get there soon and we did things a bit out of order but it ended up being a REALLY good meeting. Ruth’s friend showed up and gave an amazing talk and we were able finish about 15 minutes later than I usually would but it was a GREAT meeting. I loved it! And some sister missionaries in our zone had an investigator come!

Thank you SO much for the money in my account! It is greatly appreciated! I’ve had to eat out a lot more randomly and have just had random expenses with the flood and being out and about so much. I’m happy and healthy though! There’s a town out here called High River and they sit in a sort of gully and they are still under water. The water has no where to go and probably won’t be pumped out of there for another 6 weeks. That means that THOUSANDS of people won’t have homes because they’ll have to be demolished. Pretty sad…. The church has sent up SO many different disaster relief supplies though and it’s been amazing to see! Brand new chainsaws, shovels, pitch forks, pick axes, crow bars, masks, helmets, cleaning bucket and much more! Our church is amazing!

I love you so much!

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Who left the hose running?

So………can’t write much…..trying to keep my head above water…….computer is floating on a table……not safe………hard to breath………gurgle…..gasp….I love you!………………………………………………………………………..

Okay I’m kidding…..but things are pretty crazy in Calgary right now! Our baptism got moved back to hopefully this weekend. We couldn’t do the interview because of the flood and Ruth lives at a low side of town. The district leader couldn’t make it there from his apartment because so many of the streets were flooded and closed. Plus, the Calgary transit is down and Ruth’s friend that is giving a talk needs the handicap bus to pick her up to go places. So everything should be fine for this weekend as long as Calgary transit gets back up and running! I still can’t believe all that’s been going on. My companion and I were driving in downtown where the power was out and streets were flooded on our left and right and it was just a ghost town! Everyone in the downtown portion of the city has been evacuated and the streets are filled with water. The city went from thousands of people crowding the streets and going every which way…to a tumble weed bouncing around…We had to evacuate the mandarin speaking missionaries in the zone because there apartment is in the main part of the city. Our place is a little bit out of the way. We have the two overflowing rivers on either side of us but we’re some what safely in the middle. On Friday is when the flood really got bad and people were walking places and cars were going under water and bridges were being closed and the main evacuations started in the city. My companion and I were out trying to make sure the zone was all okay and staying safe and smart. We stopped at some old school diner for lunch and it was such a memorable experience. It was one of those classic places where the workers have been there forever and the owner just scowled at us because “we’re Mormons and not the regulars”. So there were all these different hitchhikers, truck drivers and different people there and the place was decorated super old school, with James Dean posters and Marilyn Monroe and stuff. Plus the 50’s and 60’s music playing and the waiter serving us coffee even though we asked for water! haha It was closing down and workers were leaving even though they were still serving a few people. It was just crazy and an eery feeling like we were in a movie. But yeah, we’re safe for now and will be doing a lot of clean up help when the water starts to recede. The city is taking care of all the immediate service and help right now since the flood is still happening and they need to get power turned back on and clean water to people and such. We should be busting out the helping hands shirts in the stake this week though! I’m safe though!…no one has said that our water in contaminated yet….but it definitely smells like a dirty river….so we’re boiling it just in case! It’s supposed to rain some more this week but hopefully will subside towards the middle of the week.

Other than that, nothing too crazy has happened this week! Missionaries in different areas outside of our zone had to be evacuated as well and stay at the mission home and stuff. The only comparable flood that Calgary has seen was in 2005 and caused around 300 million dollars in damage….they already estimate that this one has far exceeded that cost. The stampede is supposed to happen next month but the saddle dome is up to the tenth row in water and the stampede grounds are under water…so that will be interesting! They say the show must go on!!!

I love you and hope that you can get some moisture back at home! I could use some money to maybe get some bottled water if you have any….please and thank you!

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“By the way,

you look unbelievably beautiful tonight. You’re practically glowing. Maybe it’s the lighting.” Fantastic Mr. Fox

The quote for this week’s letter is referring to the picture of you and Jess mom! And you’ll have to watch the beginning of Fantastic Mr. Fox to truly appreciate the quote and the humor in it.:) It’s in like the first 5 minutes of the movie so you could just watch to there and then stop:)haha But it’s pretty much my favorite movie ever, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to watch the whole thing!haha Congratulations Jessie!!!!! That’s such exciting news! I’m sure that Utah is very excited that they landed you to play for them! It’s going to be a lot of fun to make it to some of your games when I’m home!

Well I’m glad that dad was able to get my letter and enjoy it. I’ll just be grouping the information for both of you into this one email for convenience purposes…just so dad understands why I’m not responding to his email address. I hope it was a great Father’s day for him!

The rest of the family sounds like they’re enjoying summer and being themselves! Trav and Aust stay in touch and it sounds like they’re both doing great. I hope that things go smoothly on the farm this week!

The 22nd is still a go for this weekend! We gave Ruth a church tour this week and it was pretty sweet! The stake center that has the font is an older building but is HUGE and unique! It was fun to go through it with her and explain the different rooms and church terminology. The baptismal font is SO cool as well!!! The newer church buildings are all pretty much the same and have the same looking fonts. This one has a unique set up that is so beautiful! I’m excited for this weekend and entering the water with an investigator for the first time!

Stake conference was a lot of fun and very spiritual. We had Elder Dungin and Elder Johnson visiting from the 70 for the change in the stake presidency. It was really cool to hear from them and feel there spirit fill the building. It’s always fun to hear from the general authorities because you gain such a greater understanding that they’re real people but also that they magnify and bring power to their calling that they’ve been set apart to. There was a lot of humour in their talks on both Saturday and Sunday but also a great sense of seriousness for their underlying message that they were giving. It was pretty humorous when Elder Johnson’s phone went off while he was talking and at the exact time when he was saying how we shouldn’t think we’re living wrong when everything doesn’t go right in our lives. He then references when another authority had his phone go off while giving a talk and he tossed it to his wife on the second row and said “If it’s Elder Packer then tell him I’m busy!”

Life is good in the city though! I love the work that we have going right now! We taught a few crazy people this week and ended up dropping our investigator with the memory problems…because we evaluated that he just wasn’t retaining as much info to continue progressing…but he’s still a great guy that really wishes that he could remember better! We also taught a jamaican lady that is so amazing! She’s so intelligent and knows the bible so well! She really enjoys what we teach and is going to be such a fun person to teach. We taught lesson 1 and it went REALLY well. We’ll be teaching the plan of salvation next and I look forward to it!

I love you and hope that everything goes well this week!

“When I get where I’m going, On the far side of the sky,

the first thing that I’m gonna do Is spread my wings and fly. I’m gonna land beside a lion and run my fingers through his mane, or I might find out what it’s like to ride a drop of rain.”

I guess I chose this lyric today (from Brad Paisley) because it’s the only lyric that I could dig from my memory at this time that involves rain…..and it’s a REALLY good song. Very religious. But yeah, RAIN has been the story of my life this last week! Overcast skies and lots of moisture! It’s been good…but I’m glad that the sun is out and shining today!!!

Our investigator Ruth is still doing amazing and is progressing in her knowledge of the gospel daily. It’s been a lot of fun to teach her and see her eyes light up with each bit of new information that resonates with her. We continued to teach her the commandments this week and helped her understand how God answers our prayers. The visual resources that we have are such a blessing in this day and age! This generation of people is so much more enticed by audio visual and brief, powerful messages. We are able to use Mormon messages that we have on dvd to back up our teachings and make it more visual for those we are teaching. It also gives people the opportunity to hear from and see living apostles and our beloved prophet giving us relevant guidance in these latter days. We are able to use Elder Bednar’s three part Mormon message on “patterns of light” which helps people to understand the very basics of revelation and how God speaks to us. Anyways, she’s doing great!

We ran into a Native man outside the liquor store this week and had a good little convo with him. He mentioned how he was devoted to finding religion on that day and that when he saw us walking towards him that we were an answer to his search. He seemed sincere and sober at the time….but when we tried to visit with him the next day he didn’t answer his phone and his address was faulty….gotta love the natives around here:)

I had one of those experiences this week where you learn best by your mistakes…..I can honestly say that I NEVER want it to happen again….I really am embarrassed to even tell you about it…..It’s probably one of the stupidest things that I’ve done on my mission so far!!!!!…….Are you nervous yet? good:)

So I was being a genius this week (seriously) and was turning our washroom into a steam room for my suits. I hung them up on the curtain rod and had the shower on hot for 15 minutes, shut it off and closed the door. I also had done a load of whites and the vent to our drier goes directly into our washroom! So I had the drier going at the same time to add to the heat and humidity! I went to bed and thought that everything would be great in the morning….I was PARTIALLY right. I went in the washroom and was amazed to see how great my suits looked!…then I opened the drier to get a white shirt…and it looked like Aspyn had some how gotten a hold of my shirts and drawn all over them with pen!!!!…Then I realized that I had left my good pen in the pocket of one of my shirts….ALL of my shirts were covered in pen marks….I’ve done my best to fix them…I’m glad that I had this trial to learn to always check your pockets before putting things in the washer and drier:)

Thanks for all the pics and updates! I love when you send pics! LOVE it!!!!!

The sun will come out tomorrow! tomorrow! bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there will be sunshine :)

So it’s been raining the past 2 days…..non stop!!! it’s been pretty crazy! It was kinda nice though cuz I strangely like the rain…It kinda made me feel like I had been sent to my dream mission of England haha but life’s been good!!!

Zone leader has been a lot of fun. Just more responsibility and more opportunities to serve other missionaries! The city has been pretty different so far. The numbers on average are a lot lower than southern alberta but I’m working on changing that! There’s more accountability individually as a companionship and for your entire zone though! We meet with the stake president weekly to report on the numbers and how the zone is doing. Our stake president right now is very straight forward and motivated for missionary work. He even was a mission president is New York at one time! He’s been called to the 70 in June though, so it’ll be good to work with him for a bit before we get a new stake president! The type of missionary work is a bit different. I’m definitely trying to utilize all of the people that are out walking and on the streets though. I had the idea this week to make copies of The Proclamation to the World for the Family and on the back of it copied some qr codes that take you to mormon.org as well as leaving our number and some other info. We’ve been trying to hand them out recently and have gotten them into the hands of a few people but the people in Calgary all seem to be 5 minutes late to somewhere and won’t even accept a free piece of paper sometimes! So frustrating! One piece of paper could change the course of their lives and they won’t even scan over it….but I’m sure we’ll find more prepared people this week. We’ve also been trying to work with more less actives and recent converts lately and it’s been a good experience.

We visited a man this last week, who is well known around the mission for always helping missionaries out and being a big help to them. He went through a bad bacterial infection from the hospital a few months ago and is also in very sever stages of cancer. He is expected to pass away this week or even last week. But he’s very strong willed and won’t pass away quite yet. We got permission to visit him but were told to be very careful because he passed the infection to the previous zone leader who lost 40 pounds and had to go home. So we went to see him and it was a very humbling and spiritual experience. We walked in his room where we found what looked to be a skeleton in the bed. It was hard to find words of comfor or anything at the time. I just felt like crying and I didn’t even know the man. He was very appreciative since he spent so much of his life SO involved with the missionaries and loves them so much. He couldn’t even make too many words that were identifiable. We got to talk a little bit I said a prayer at the end. The man had gone from 6 ft 2 and 180 lbs and is now down to around 120 lbs…it truly made me grateful for my trials and for the knowledge of the plan of salvation.

We also taught our investigator Ruth and she’s on date for the 15th of June. She also came to church for the first time!

The fam sounds good! I love you and am so happy to hear about the success of the bbq!