Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Floods, Mystery Lessons and a hike to Vulture Peak Two weeks worth

July 20th 2015


This week we went to Salome twice, on Monday-Tuesday and Saturday
morning. We helped Saturday a lady who had had her furniture stolen
and hid at a airplane hanger which was recovered by Bro Erekson, that
"enforcer guy". As we were bringing the things inside her husband who
is Native American got really interested and invited us back when we
return from vacation this next week. I've learned that either native
Americans are super nice and wanting to learn or very set in their
traditions. This one, "Chief" as he calls himself, is the first.
Looking forward to seeing him when they come back.


Saturday after we helped a member unload some hay it started to
drizzle. The member told us we had two seconds to get to our truck
before we got drenched. I laughed it off, counted to two out loud and
then heavy rain immediately hit us. I didn't know how serious this
stuff was. One of the washes got blocked so the water ran into a
smaller, less used wash. This caused some crazy flooding. We got stuck
because the road leading up to our house was blocked by this river
that wasn't there before and a small accident before it. Driving in
the snow in Utah did help me know how to maneuver. Water is

The funny thing is that every third Sunday in the branch, they have a
luncheon for the high councilor who comes out after church. I got the
lucky straw and had a very delicious lunch while Elder Vidal got just
sacrament meeting in Wickenburg and then went for 5 hours to help
clean up the mess. And he had the phone which meant I couldn't reach
him (I had the number written down but a Small child ate it) so I had
a really good chat with bro Evans while we waited.


We got a call from a part member lady who had been taking the
discussions for almost 3 years, on and off. She was wanting to see if
she could be baptized the same day as her son. It's pretty cool to get
a baptismal date drop into your lap. It goes to show that the
missionaries aren't the converting power, it's the spirit.

Hope all is well!

Elder Bryan

July 28, 2015

Just got transfer news, Elder Vidal will be leaving Wickenburg. I'm
going to miss my Peruvian buddy, I've learned more Spanish in these 6 weeks
than I thought possible.

This morning before studies we hiked Vulture Peak with Julian, who's
getting ready to finish his mission papers as our guide. Vulture Peak
is the tallest point for miles and you can see it from most of our
area. It's an awesome view and was a great change of exercise. Check
that off my list. Besides that this week was spiritually packed.
Here's what happened...

Mystery Lesson
Last Saturday we had this lesson scheduled after dinner in Congress
with a member family neither of us knew of or who scheduled the
lesson. We went anyway to figure it out and man it was very cool. It's
a retired couple who are taking care of his dad while his health
deteriorates. Dad and son are members but less active. When we arrived
it seemed a little hostile but after we shared a scripture things
worked out. 'Dad' had to be taken to his room as his chest pain kicked
up which made the couple get emotional. The son told us our visit was
inspired because he's been wanting to return to activity but hasn't
had the push to actually make it. We ended up giving him a blessing of
comfort and the sacrament was brought over for him and his dad the
next day. I may never know how that lesson got scheduled, but I'm glad
we were able to be where God needed us.

We continue the fast paced lessons with Cassie. It's weird teaching
someone who's been taught many times over and helps her husband teach
primary. Not complaining though. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and the Laws and Ordinances lessons combined last night in about 10
minutes. Mainly it was, "what do you understand about this?" And then
her response. It also helps when you use 3rd Nephi 27:19-21 as a base
to go from. This gospel is simple enough a child can understand. It
was meant to be that way.

After reading in Preach my Gospel to see what we could do to help Ryan
in his conversion, it came to me that we should sit down and read out
of the Book of Mormon with him. We read 3 Nephi 11 and it was what we
needed. We could see the importance of this book starting to hit him
as we read of Christ's appearance to the Nephites. "Growing up
Christian," he said, "you only get the one side. It's crazy to think
there's this whole side to the story. But I mean, where did He go when
he died?"
Reading with him helped me remember the importance of the Book of
Mormon. It truly is the key.

Have a good week! Do something nice for somebody, once a day.
Elder Bryan

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Elder Vidal discovers pancakes

This week was busy here in dusty Wickenburg. I think I've adjusted to
the place, I felt at home this week instead of just a visitor.
At the beginning of the week a member was telling Elder Vidal about
the different types of food we have in America that he should try. One
of them was pancakes. Tuesday morning we shoveled through our food
supply to find out that we indeed had pancake mix. I taught him how to
get it nice and delicious and we had a great time. Unfortunately of
you teach a mouse how to get cookies, he'll be making a dozen a day.
Elder Vidal does keep a handle on how many pancakes he makes each time
but I think this pancake diet I've unknowingly started isn't good for
my cholesterol... and other big words I don't know the meaning to. I'm
going to find a way to hide 'Aunt Jemima' for a season.

Heather's Baptism

Heather got baptized! After going through a 'finding a team for
Ragnar' like experience with the baptismal program, when it got time
to perform the ordinance it went very smoothly. All of her children
and mom-who I guess lives here in Wickenburg, were able to be there.
Heather was a ball of energy from Thursday when we had dinner with
them to Sunday after she was confirmed. It's such a cool thing to see
the fire in someone that wasn't there before.

Ryan & Stevan

We've been trying to help Ryan and her boyfriend Stevan figure out a
marital situation and on Saturday we sat down to see what they came up
with. Halfway through I asked what it actually would take to marry a
couple (I obviously have zero experience). We figured out the
important things: dress, rings, and a certificate deal-io. It seemed
like this was going to be a long process to get them to the "I do's"
until Ryan instructed Stevan to get something out of a box in the
closet. Lo and behold a marriage certificate, just waiting for some
signatures. Elder Vidal got super excited, "Well, let's do it right
now!" I thought that was a brilliant idea, until I realized I didn't
know what our rules were on elders marrying people. We postponed till
we could figure out the necessary steps.
At church we identified people who could help us out with what we
needed, especially the bishop to get interview them this Wednesday
before he marries them. Now elder Bryan knows rules and procedures on
getting a couple hitched. Just a little learned, every day.

This next week will be zone conferences with the mission president.
I'm looking forward to that, it's always a boost of energy to my

Elder Bryan

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monsoon season and Happy Fourth of July!

July 6, 2015

Storm cloud rolling forward

Last Monday as we started out at 6 we saw this huge dust storm rolling towards us. And then it hit. Whoo! Monsoon season is here and early which is cool. I had heard Arizona was the 2nd state for lightning, now I see why. Almost every afternoon this week it would get dusty, lightning followed by heavy rain almost to the point of flooding and some more lightning. Most of the time after a few hours it could clear up again and be super hot and everything would dry up. Where am I?

The branch
This Friday after dinner we made the trip out to the Wenden branch, my first time. We had short contacts with members in Aguila, Wenden, Salome, Hope, and almost out to Brenda. Wow, I thought Wickenburg was the wild west. Nah Wickenburg is more like the Disneyland version
built on what once was a western gold mining town but those other places still have that "showdown at 11:45 cuz the ol' clock got stuck at that time" vibe.
Sheffler's Motel
We stayed the night at the Sheffler's Motel, an awesome place owned by the branch president and wife. They're the salt of the earth, hard working people. It's funny how those kind of people can be anywhere, even the middle of nowhere.

The funny thing about the branch is that during the winter time it could almost be a full-fledged ward, the downside is they all leave during the summer. Or die. jk about that last part...kind of. It makes things interesting because some people leave their records here or never bring them. The first counselor, who is also the "enforcer" of Salome, has been going around trying to nab some of these desert dwellers. He's a really funny guy, when you're on his side. I got to see why he's called the enforcer Saturday Morning when we saw him clean throw a man out of shack who wasn't paying his rent. This man is almost 70. I guess that was another important lesson to not go into debt, especially out here.

Right now the branch is 13 people, including me, and the two stake assigned senior couple. Every sunday we trade off going to the branch with Bro. &Sis. Evans and this week was my turn. It was really cool, everyone there really wanted to be there and in the small building you
could feel the same strong spirit that you might get any other big ward. Brother "enforcer" crying through testimonies and all. It was reaffirming to me that the church is the church, wherever
you are. I love the Wenden branch, they live the 'church is a family'.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July full of watermelon and free
of singed fingers.

Elder Bryan

P.S. Hey here's a specific blessing of our family moving around all the time.
Sister Evans was feeling down about being here instead of her home back in Logan where they lived for much of their life. That day she met me and found out I used to live just down the road from both brother Evans home in Nibley (down the road by Bobs) and theirs in Hyrum. She felt that was Gods way of saying everything's alright, I sent you someone from your home. She bore her testimony of that In the branch this Sunday.
Thought you might like that.

Love you Mom!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sweating Popsicles!

June 29,  2015

Grandpa Bryan would love Wickenburg. It's a cowboy town for sure,
complete with gold mining days in February, maybe I'll be here then :)
Full of wild animals as well: jackrabbits, quail, snakes, and
scorpions are all over out here. There's a couple people who promise
to cook us up a good scorpion one of these days. We'll see what that's
like, from what they've said it's pretty good.

It's been hot, Sunday was full of porch lessons and appointments. The
sun was unforgiving. To make a illustration, imagine someone putting a
hose over my head. Needless to say we made a short pit stop at home
before dinner.

In the last lesson we had with her we asked the baptismal questions
again, set up the interview and set a temple date to do baptisms for
the dead. She was so excited and told us how she's already been doing
her family history and has found some names for when she goes. She'd
be a perfect new convert but there's one hang up- she's moving out of
our area, by 50 feet. Kind of a bummer but the other ward will take
care of her, that's what matters most.

This Sunday, it figured out that elder Vidal would go to the branch
and I stay. It was weird not being with my companion for half of the
day and translating kicked my brain. The talks were all about the
forth of July. Unfortunately I never read the "US holidays" section of
my Spanish books, well, ok so they don't have that section but I was
really wishing there was. Translating poems and the national anthem
into Spanish probably turned out like a Picasso piece but it seemed
like they got the jest of the theme. A reminder to put all I have into
the language study every day. Elder Vidal is teaching me the peruvian
words which is really cool, their Spanish is clearer and makes more
sense. I've realized some of the things I've heard were English but
with a Spanish slur to it, truck-a and the like. Spanish on!

One morning we received a call from a member about this older lady in
Congress who collects all sorts of things and then donates them to
local churches and sells some so she can get more. The member told us
she usually brings a trailer up there every week and takes it to the
DI in Surprise but couldn't this week. I wasn't sure what exactly to
expect when we started up the road. We pulled up to her place and
woah, this huge garage/shed bigger than great grandpa Bryan's sat in
front of us, full of anything and everything. Brenda is such a cool
character. We quickly filled our truck with the boxes of clothes and
as invited, we took a mini tour of the place. Every Thursday night she
pushes the racks of clothes to the side and teaches line dance classes
to the community. This is on top of taking care of her terminally sick
husband. I've met some powerhouse people on the mission and for some
reason they seem to be the most booked, overburdened, and most caring.
She asked us to come back next week to pick up another load and
explain a little about our church. The many examples of righteous
living of her friends after years and years has lead her to this
point. It might take some time but she's already heading in the right

I asked Brenda if I could take a picture with her and she agreed. She
threw her arm around me like an old friend. I didn't feel like it'd be
a good idea to jump away or whatever, so that's why my arms around her
too. Yeah I'm probably the worst missionary ever but I was panicking.
You mom, might be the only one to see the fear in my eyes. Haha


Stay cool!
Elder Bryan

June  22, 2015

It's been quite an experience here in Wickenburg this past week. For
starters Elder Vidal is awesome. He's only been out 6 months but his
English is really good, we've tried to balance talking in Spanish and
English as equally as possible so we both grow. I guess a rumor got
spread somewhere down the line that an Argentine was coming to this
area. Most everyone I've met do a triple take. The first is that I'm
not elder Garcia, who was here for 13 months. The second is that I'm
white and not Argentinian, followed by a suspicion of doubt, "maybe he
really is Argentinian". Then I talk and yep he's a gringo. Wickenburg
is a very tight knit cowboy town, Congress is more like Tonopah, lots
of people who don't like have too many people around them. And
somewhere to the west is Wendon where we have a branch.

Friday we had dinner with an elderly member in the retirement
community where her and another member live. It was such a treat to
"hang" with the old people and see what it was like on the other side
of life. I met sister Carter who was 95 and was really kicking. She
talked my ear off about all these cool spiritual experiences she had.
When we were walking out of the dining room area she was fast. So fast
that even tall guy (me) had to stretch my stride to keep up with her.
Blew my mind how sharp someone could be.

For church we stayed here in Wickenburg so we could get to know more
people. Elder Vidal has only been here for a transfer and didn't get
to know a lot of the members (vacations, etc). Since there's a group
that meets with the ward for sacrament meeting and then splits for
separate classes, missionaries translate the first hour through
headphones. I guess I didn't understand Elder Vidal on Wednesday
because when we were finished setting up the equipment he gave me the
headset and left to talk to our investigators who came. Woah I am
supposed to translate? Wait hold up, this isn't the language they
taught me in the mtc!?! After a very heartfelt prayer, the meeting
started, the Spanish members looked at me, and boom, I translated.
Yeah I stumbled on some words (scout camp, stake business's words, and
what the hymn was in Spanish) but I did it. Even the returned
missionary who gave his testimony in Portugese.

On Thursday, Duolingo (Spanish learning app) kicked me out and I
couldn't remember my password. As I made a new account I made the
mistake and put my primary language as Spanish. Of course I wasn't
going to learn English from Spanish that's goofy so I picked
Portugese. It was easier than I thought and had been studying it the
rest of the week. So when the testimony in Portugese came, I felt a
little *God loves you* kind of kick and man, it was the easiest part
to translate. Now I don't know if all that was for me, but
I do know how good I felt and confident in the power of faith and
prayer. My testimony of how real this whole thing really is was

As Dad would always quote, "the time passed away with us, and also our
lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream". I feel it to be
more true now then ever.

Elder Bryan

P.S. Remember when I made that title about the gross fake ice cream made
out of marshmallows? Here's a picture elder Smith sent. I was sick for
most of the day and couldn't finish.