Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tender Christmas mercy

Side note from mom: It was so fun to get a text from my brother and his wife who were visiting Phoenix and ran into Chase at the temple. It wasn't even Chase's normal temple, but they were given special permission to attend the Christmas lights celebration. And, if it had been three minutes later, he would have been gone and they wouldn't have seen him. Tender mercies! Doesn't my boy look so good?!

Christmas and more

It was really cool seeing the family, definitely best call to date. No
big technical problems or nothing, whoo!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both non proselyting days which
oddly enough make the week seem really long. Christmas was spent at
the institute building playing pool and ping pong with the whole zone.
So much fun.

Today we find out if elder Dwigans will have to get surgery on his
elbow. He fractured it falling off of his bike last Wednesday and has
been laid up till now. Both him and Elder Dawson were getting a little
cabin fever so I took elder Dawson out for a mini exchange Saturday so
he could do missionary work again. That day was the best contacting
day ever as we got over 300 contacts and destroyed our goal of 1500
people. #ZoneTempleTrip

Something I read yesterday from President Monson really stuck me,
thought I'd share it:

"Remember that ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to
men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that
when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.  May
we ever follow the Prince of Peace, who literally showed the way for
us to follow, for doing so we will survive these turbulent times. His
Devine plan can save us from the dangers that surround us."

I love the simplicity yet profoundness of his messages. I hope I'm
teaching simply and to the needs of our investigators. It's such a
neat experience to see the gospel change lives.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and will enjoy the New Years celebration!

Elder Bryan

Bryan and Clough at Mesa temple

They asked Chase to help because he could reach the top!

Marcelina's baptism

As a zone, we have been focusing on contacting every person we see and
giving them a card for the new Christmas iniative, #ASaviorIsBorn. It
has been so much fun, I feel more like a missionary when I'm
purposefully trying to help every living soul come closer to Christ.
We've also found several new investigators and a handful of inactive
members who now are thinking of coming back. Wahoo!

I went on exchanges in a bike area this Wednesday. Up front, my bike
is more rust than actual bike parts but it was a gift from a leaving
missionary so I'll ride till it dies. That being said, the poor
missionary I took the place of, his bike was something else. Some
missionary along the road tried wiring a gps to a step counter to make
it work and as I was biking all these wires broke and got tangled up
in the tires. Imagine me in a small taped up bike with a children's
helmet, fumbling along the sketchy roads under the freeway. And I got
some sweet, unexpected air as well. Good learning experience and funny
memories. But I'll stick with my bike.

We had to move the baptismal dates for Alma and Maria because they had
to cancel on some lessons. However Marcelina is still on date for this
Saturday and we're super pumped. President Juchau came for church and
to give her an interview. He's a really close friend now and I can't
wait to see him and the mission President, president Griffin this
Friday for our Christmas Conference. Marcelina asked Elder Clough to
baptize her which naturally has made him ecstatic. All in all, moral
is at an all time high.

On exchanges Wednesday Elder Clough found this guy named Ezekial who
seemed interested so Friday we went to his address to set up a lesson.
We also had several potentials and wanted to contact people so we
parked really far away and walked to the house. As we got closer I
noticed this tricked out muscle car driving slow as it passed us. When
we got to the door, the cholo car flipped around and parked out of our
view on the side of the house. Four teenagers hopped out and started
for us. "Sweet, I've never been mugged before" I thought but it turned
out really good. I guess Ezekial is this troubled kid who's running
around with a rougher crowd and he's not the only one who wants God in
his life but the leader of his little pack as well. We had a awesome
chat and they invited us back for this weekend. Stoked to see where
this goes.

In other news, we met with the Bishop to see what his plans are and
now we're developing some good trust in the ward as well as getting
some good homemade restaurant-style pizza.

Can't wait to talk to y'all in a week!

Elder Bryan

Monday, December 7, 2015

He's going to be an angel

Wenden Baptism
Last week Tristan's baptism was postponed because his entire family
got sick but this Sunday they came through and he was baptized. It was
a sweet experience and as they started, Sister Bohlen handed us a note
saying that Kizzy, an investigator that wasn't super hip on what we
were teaching, had stood up in fast and testimony meeting to let
everyone know she wanted to be baptized as well. People congratulated
us for the success in the baptism and Kizzy but the real success to me
was helping inactive members come back when we were told it would be
impossible. That's what helped Tristan and Kizzy, we didn't get to
them till after the returning members invited them.

I went on exchanges with the elders in our apartment and it was sweet!
It was my first time being a missionary on bike and not a better time
or place then winter in Phoenix. It was pretty sweet racing down small
alleys and contacting every person we saw. The cool thing is Elder
Clough and I are going to be on bike most of the time now so I don't
have to wait for exchanges.

We decided to support the ward choir and join in on their Christmas
program. After some good practices working to get in tune Hermana
Correrá gave out speaking/acting parts. For some reason I got
volunteered to be the angel, probably because I'm the whitest out of
the 5 elders now in the ward. Somehow news has spread and now I'm the
Angel missionary. As a stake the missionaries have been asked to make
a musical fireside and we're hoping to get our little choir up to
performance level and maybe invite some other great missionaries like
elder Sperry (MTC companion). Things are happening!

I have the wonderful problem of not being able to remember all the
investigators we have because of the number of them. We had a good
lesson with Alma who's not feeling ready to be baptized because she's
not good enough. Even Marcelina who's also on date walked over from
her apartment and helped Alma feel confident in herself. I understand
better how much easier it is for humble people to accept the word than
those who are blessed with worldly things. I'm almost shocked how fast
people accept the gospel. While I was with elder Jones on exchange, we
met Ted who has nothing right now and is living with a recent convert
for the time being. Ted was cool, super open partially because the
world hasn't done anything for him so maybe God is the answer. He told
us he felt that our message was true and was looking forward to seeing
us again. Ted-like people aren't too rare here which I love.

The Christmas season is arguably the best time to be a missionary.
Have a happy, warm week!

Elder Bryan

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving tacos and tons of changes

We got the news a week ago that elder Cespedes and I were going to be
put together again at transfers. I guess that changed because Elder
Clough and I are staying together here in Solano and Elder Cespedes is
staying with elder Rodriguez. Super excited to work with elder Clough
for the holidays! Oh I forgot to mention before that he's from
Rochester Hills Michigan.

Oasis West
There is an apartment complex at the south end of our area called
Oasis West. That's were we spend a good chunk of our time because we
have three women on date for the end of this month: Alma-who's the
most progressing investigator we have, Marcelina, and Edna. In the
same complex lives Carmen who is a recent convert and loves to come to
lessons with us. I've never had an easier member present lesson in my
life, just walk around the corner and see Carmen already coming down
the sidewalk because she saw our car and boom. There she is really
helping and caring about these people. She is a good example of
The negative is that the people who own the complex heard that Carman
became a member and knowing she could get support, upped her rent
twofold. Despite the unfortunate events that come. I've seen people's
faith increase like crazy. Sometimes it seems that the events these
people go through either make or break them.

This place is full of work. Our teaching pool is huge and I've never
taught so many lessons in one week ever. It's really fun being able to
run from lesson to lesson. And then add the cherry on top that they're
all in Spanish. The bishop Valdez is sending his daughter off on a
mission to Texas and had a farewell pizza party last night. The house
was filled with happy people and since the bishop once was a pizza
chef, there was either a large Mexican or pepperoni pizza brought out
and devoured every 10 minutes. We have many members willing to come
out with us to lessons, now we just need to teach everyone how to find
friends on their own for us to teach. I'm pumped to be here for
another 6 weeks.

Again like last year I felt like the Grinch at the food tasting
competition. Luckily we only had two dinner appointments. Something I
didn't think of when I first came out is the fact that even though
people immigrate here from elsewhere, they usually don't celebrate the
same holidays. Thanksgiving isn't considered a holiday to the Spanish
people but I could tell the family that fed us was trying really hard
to give us a dinner like we would have had back home. It was really
fun to have turkey tacos with cranberry, stuffing, and refried beans.
Try it out sometime.
We had some other elders come over to our apartment to play board
games- flippin' sweet! It was nice to have down time to sit down and
get to know the area better and meet new elders. Since I've served in
Buckeye and Wickenburg, two very isolated areas, I don't know very
many missionaries. Glendale is one of the places to get to know a
whole bushel so it's been awesome. We have an amazing zone.

Not much more to add except you should check out
if you haven't. Super cool stuff there. #HaNacidoUnSalvador

Elder Bryan

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November letters and a big change!

So as mentioned last week, Eder Cespedes and I closed Wickenburg and
got moved Friday to Glendale. It's pretty crazy cool here. I feel a
little out of place like the country mouse visiting his city mouse
cousin. What happened to the horses? What's a gang?  There are so many
people walking in the streets. How do they cram all of these bodies in
such small spaces? Coming from a ginormous supposedly 5,000sq mile
area to 10 square miles is challenging and we might end up on half
car/half bike but I don't care, it's awesome. The place we cover is
actually a corner of Phoenix, something I'd never thought would happen
since it's the only part our mission covers (and we are the Arizona
Phoenix mission, I know). The area is very poor and noisy. I love it.
It's really nice having people up and about at 8pm instead of asleep
by 6:45.  I hope this is a long position for me, the ward is great and
I want to be here for a while. Hermano Urbieta who has 6young girls
the which he embarrases with his loud off pitch singing, is already a
good friend. He had the four of us (Elder Clough, Elder Cespedes,
Rodriguez, y me) over for dinner when we first arrived and he's the
biggest clown. We need his type of spirit to pump up the ward. There's
so much work here it's awesome.

Elder Clough-pronounced cluf
When we were at zone conferences on Thursday to get the new 'Tiwis' in
our cars (gadgets designed to monitor how well we are driving and if
we break rules. Idea is bad drivers stop driving bad and we become
safer drivers in general) I talked to President Griffin during lunch.
I found out that we were supposed to call our new zone leaders to get
the updated transfer information but somewhere along the line it
didn't reach us. He had to leave me right then for a call and I felt
like panicking. Elder Cespedes called the other elders to find out we
were being split up and going to different apartments.
The companionship who covered the ward Solano split the area and I
have elder Clough now who came out the same time as elder Cespedes.
He's from Michigan, plays the guitar and has an impressive work ethic.
With transfers the 2nd of December it's been different because we only
have 2 weeks together till a possible change. It doesn't look like
that will happen but you never know. I'll send a picture of him soon.

Thanks family for praying for me to have Spanish experiences. This mid
transfer change feels like the answer to that. It's a little strange
covering only aSpanish area and having so many lessons. Some people
are super hard to understand and being the one who has more time in
the field and with the language, it hangs on me understanding what
they're slinging at us through gritted teeth. Definitely outside of my
comfort zone but it's good because there's no comfort in a growing
zone and no growth in a comfort zone. I feel the power of God helping
bring to my memory words and sentence structure I've studied yet never
had to use. I feel like I'm fulfilling my purpose better too. All
around good.

I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving, time goes by too fast. Good
luck feeding the hungry clan!

Elder Bryan

November 16, 2015

This Thursday we had interviews with our Mission President. President
Griffin told Elder Cespedes and I that we were getting transferred out
of Wickenburg and into a Spanish ward in a week (tomorrow) and to
prepare the area to close. This is due to the lack of work/support
here and he needs as many Spanish missionaries in Spanish assignments.
So we spent some time packing up supplies and getting everything ready
to move tomorrow. What threw us a second curveball was when president
calls us Sunday night to let us know we won't be leaving till the
weekend. Now we have the whole week in this area, which is a little
awkward, kind of like breaking up with someone and then having to ride
right next to them in a long distance airplane ride. I'm not sure what
we are going to do for a week but the Lord does. We just need to
figure out what that is exactly.

Vulture Peak
This morning we decided to get up early to hike Vulture Peak. The
night before I checked the weather and it looked like everything was
going to be clear. We got up to the base and very quickly got lost in
the dark on some four wheeling trail despite having a flashlight. We
then made the smart decision to bushwhack it back to a high point
since we traveled in a big half circle. When we got to the top of the
ridge it was light enough for us to see a serious thunderstorm moving
in fast. We saw where our car should be and hightailed it just as it
started hailing and getting really nasty. We didn't die but it felt
like we could have easily made it onto "I shouldn't be alive" with
that 2 hour ordeal. The one day out of the whole year it hails/snows,
we go hiking. It was quite an experience and I think I'll plan ahead
better from now on.

Because President asked us to focus on Wenden and leave Wickenburg,
we've gone out there 3 times this week. We had our lesson with Salley
which was awesome and found out that Sister Peck moved to Colorado.

A little about Salley, she's a less active who's lives in Wenden by
the golf course for 4 years. We bumped into her at family dollar (did
I mention this one?) and she felt like we were placed there just for
her. I felt like I was placed there because we had no lunch or dinner
appointments that day and needed to eat. When we visited her at her
trailer we could tell that our stomachs weren't the real reason. She's
seen the church (I don't know how someone could live in that small
town and not see the church) yet hasn't had the courage to go inside.
Some people just don't feel worthy enough to come back. I'm glad we
gave her the needed little nudge because she's awesome and the branch
took her in really well. The recently returned members need someone
they can help.

As with sister Peck-I'm not sure I talked about her before-we met her
and her boyfriend 'Chief' when we helped return stolen furniture back
in July. It's taken from then to a week ago for them to return to
Salome from all of their vacations. Retired life seems ridiculously
cool. Anyways when they came back we taught Chief the first lesson
because he's not a member. Elder Cespedes called it the "Hardest
lesson ever with the person who seemed super interested". This was
true. It dashed my hopes, I had waited 5 months for his guy and he
shot us down. However Sister Peck, as I was relating the first vision,
felt the spirit and decided she wanted that in her life. So we get a
call a few days later from Brother Erekson letting us know Sis. Peck
kicked out Chief and moved to Colorado to live with her daughter and
help her return to activity as well. Wahoo! It's funny though because
for 5 months I've been thinking the person we would touch and help the
most was Chief. Sister Peck was flighty, but I'm glad the spirit is
the real teacher and focused on her. Who knows, Chief still has a Book
of Mormon and might read it like he promised.

Hope you're enjoy this week!
Elder Bryan

November 9, 2015

Despite having every single one of our lessons fall through, this week
was pretty swell.

We helped Elia with her house on Saturday after some unqualified man
made a poor addition to her place. Brother Hancock has been
fellowshipping them and helping them redo the add on as well as fixing
the roof. We spent a good amount of time prepping for brother Hancock
to rebuild. Our investigators need to know we're not trying to get
numbers, just there to help.

Zone Meeting and Regional Conference
My district and zone is full of incredible missionaries. At our zone
meeting last Friday, the theme was 'Create It', it being our area,
zone, companionship into the best version of it. We received training
about truth, failure, hope, and growth. It blew me away. In every
successful part of my life, I've been surrounded by great people who
showed me the standard, let me know that I/we aren't there yet gave
hope that one day we could and then we or I grew. I'm grateful for all
of the leaders I've had in my life. I've been blessed to have such a
wonderful family who are examples to me. I was even more blown away
with the Regional Conference Broadcast. Elders Robbins, Corbridge,
Oaks and Sister Reeves gave amazing talks. These are the last days and
we need to simplify our lives, focus on the primary answers and help
lead others to the correct path.

The other day we were out in Wenden and after a really good Spanish
lesson with all five of the students we decided we weren't going to
leave until we had Tristan on date. This has been a problem because we
need the fathers permission, who is always working. We've tried for
almost a month but haven't been able to corner the man. We had a
stroke of genius and called Brother Erekson up. We explained our
predicament and he said he'd call us right back. We waited maybe 2
minutes before he called back letting us know we had an attentive
audience that would be waiting for us at Tristens house. I don't know
how he does it but somehow he not only managed to convince Tristens
father, Mark to show up but marks boss to let him leave all within
that small time.
Needless to say, we have a baptismal interview tonight at 7 and the
service scheduled for the 29th. Just needed a little push.

Que tengan una buena semana!
Elder Bryan

November 2, 2015

Not allowed to drive this but got a good pose with Rowdy the best
behaved cattle dog you'll ever see. @Traceys

Dear Everyone,

I had a very good week this week, I hope you did too!

Stake conference
Elder Gay of the Seventy came to our stake conference this weekend and
it was sweet! Everything he and President Griffin taught was so deep
and yet extremely simple and made sense. Of all the sessions if I had
to sum it all down, it'd be that we have the ability and the duty to
receive revelation and remember that the whole point of this life is
to return to our Father in Heaven. Haven't the answers always been
simple? The best part was Saturday night when we as a zone, were
invited to have dinner with Elder Gay. I keep feeling extremely
blessed and I'm not sure what I even did.
After dinner he shared with us all story after story of pure
missionary miracles. It was inspiring. I couldn't believe how normal
he was, sitting on the table, kicking his feet backing and forth. Yet
his mental and spiritual strength was impressive. I can get to that
point, and so can all of us. We just need to live our lives the Lords
way. I'll never forget the Halloween night I was stuffed with
spiritual candy.

We cleaned horse pens, cut Saguaro cactus for another fence which we
built, and contacted her renter who stopped by and asked us about
missionaries. Tracey is really appreciative of what we do to help her
out. We're sure that, like Ammon and the Lamanites, if we serve first
we will have success. She knows we care and only want to help. I hope
we can help her come back to church.

At our lesson on Wednesday night, we were having no success with
Niyierma. Our member who came with came through though. He asked her
what she was doing and she told him everything needed to be baptized.
He said, "you're doing everything needed to get baptized, you are so
close right now." This startled Niyierma and after a long pause she
let us know that she is heavily considering being baptized. The B word
(baptism) has been such a bad topic for her and she'd avoid letting us
talk about it ever that it took us by surprise that she brought it up
herself. We are excited for where she's going with all of the lessons.

Great job on all you're up to, Mom that's an awesome experience!
Have a blessed week,

Elder Bryan

Monday, October 26, 2015

I shivered once, its officially fall.

October 26, 2015

Tracey and the fence
On our last lesson we ask her what we could do to help her out. Be
prepared for the person to give you something to do when asking that.
:) she lives out in Morristown, super spread out cowboy country and
needed a fence built for a new horse pen. Elder Cespedes and I now
know how to build a solid fence so in case someone needs one. She
greatly appreciated our help and I think we've broken through the ice.
She knows now that we really do care because our actions backed up our
words. She might even have more projects for us to help out with!

The Wenden Miracle
On Friday we had our long awaited movie night-The Cokeville Miracle-
at the branch building. The two senior couple missionaries set the
event up and together we propaganda-ed for a month trying to get
people to come. Well when it was all said and done, 37 people showed
up! It was simply awesome. The Dominski family all came, of which the
youngest son will be baptized here pretty soon. It was really funny,
when something started to go wrong in the movie, half of the crowd
would loudly say something, "Oh that's a bad man", "I can't believe
it!" "Where are the police?". This happened throughout the entire
movie, either because they were old or others very young or just were
used to speaking to the tv because it's Salome and there isn't many
people around I'm not sure. All I know I had a hard time not laughing.
Also, no clue the Sister Conger was a part of that event. That was
neat! Also also, congrats to Dan Harvey for being the best 'high
schooler praying in a gym' ever!

Going out to Wenden on Friday night was the highlight because a lot of
our plans fell through this week. But there was this cool thing that

Gas Station
After we had many lessons cancel one evening I felt that we needed to
go to the gas station. We filled up on gas and then I felt like we
needed to go inside and see if there was something we needed inside.
I'm sure Elder Cespedes thought I was plain weird because that's how I
felt about myself. We milled around for a bit, and then I felt like it
was time to leave. So not buying anything we walk out and bump into
this rougher crowd going into the station. They looked at us all
startled like and then told us they needed us to help them. Yay! They
took us to their car where an leathery old man was in pain. He asked
if we could give him a blessing which we of course said yes to. One of
the ladies suggested we put him on top of the car right there but
there was a few bars right next door and the atmosphere wasn't
friendly. We decided to take him to the church where we gave the
blessing. The family was traveling from Twin Falls to Tempe and are
working on getting active again. Super cool to have been a part of
their process back. It reminded me that I need to be ready always
because I never know when I'll need to use it.

Red, our favorite crazy, has gone cold turkey and working on getting
his girlfriend down in Surprise to meet us and take the lessons. He
was also at church which was sweet! Many members welcomed him in which
was huge.

Happy Halloween y'all!!!
Elder Bryan

October 20, 2015

Right now it's drizzling, this week it's been on and off which has
been a nice change. This desert needs a few drops every now and then.
When there's an option to wear my rain jacket I have to take advantage
of it. Elder Cespedes got to see some real flash flooding which was a
lot of fun. Driving during a flash flood in a dirt road is quite an

We found out today that Elder Cespedes and I are going to be staying
here together. We're both super excited! This transfer is going to be
straight fun and I'm looking forward to these next 6 weeks.

On Sunday I sat down outside of the bishops office as I waited for
Elder Cespedes to return from Wenden, I looked over and saw a biker
older man with a fedora on, he starred at me all weird, laughed loudly
and then introduced himself as Red. He's a less active who wants to
come back and lives on our street which is awesome.

We decided on Thursday to call up every member in Morristown that we
didn't recognize. It was a long list and everyone who answered were
having bad hair days or something. No luck. Till the very last name,
Tracey. She just had gotten back from Alberta a week earlier on a
friends ranch and was happy we called. We stopped by later that night
as well as yesterday with Brother Busby who you wouldn't even know he
hadn't been in the church for 23 years. Tracey is inactive but wants
to return, the thing that had held her back was a divorce, her fiancée
passing away, and many legal and health problems that followed. She's
the toughest lady I've personally ever met. I wouldn't be surprised if
she ate nails for breakfast....without milk (Arthur reference). We
promised to help her build a horse fence this week and testified of
eternal marriages. She felt the spirit and was glad that someone took
the time to visit her. I think sometimes we all just need someone who
can sit and listen. That sometimes seems very insignificant to me but
I see it help immensely so it must be important.

In other news, Niyierma came to church again and this time brought her
granddaughter. This is twice in a row and shows us that something has
changed between a year ago and now. We're not sure what exactly is
keeping her from being baptized but we're going to figure out where to
go from here. She's keeping every commitment now which is some real
We also had a zone conference on Friday with the mission president.
The focus was on service and what we can do to get our areas from
phase one: the missionaries do all the work to phase two: the
missionaries with some help to phase three: the members do missionary
work and the missionaries help. President griffin let us know that the
key to doing this is by serving the people and letting them know we're
serious about it. In our area we set up a weekly service project out
at Robson's Mining World to help unearth antiques in the barn and
categorizing them- a huge task since the barn alone has more things
then the actual Wickenburg western museum.

My ponderizing scripture for the week is Mathew 11:28-30. What's yours?
Elder Bryan