Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Miracles

A photo of Elder King's Christmas haul this year!

The happy tidings of Christmas have truly spread throughout my whole body it seems.  The Christmas miracles POURED in like egg nog over and open fire.  Christmas Eve & Christmas Day spent with the Latter Day Saints felt like home.  The Acton family had us over for Christmas Eve dinner where we crafted Tamales for most of the evening.  We read the Christmas story to finish the night and sped home just in case our coal was being placed under the tree early.  BUT TO OUR SURPRISE SANTA DELIVERED IN FULL this year.  He brought 8 pairs of Star Wars socks, a "air Mormon" shirt, some serious sweets and a gift card to Taco Bell.   But let me tell you the cliche missionary favorite story of the day.  After our endeavors on Christmas Day having a swell afternoon with the senior missionary couple in our ward we drove home to change and we saw a man sitting alone by the bus stop on Christmas... We had to stop the Michael Buble for a moment and greet this man.  We brought a Christmas DVD & some other foods for him to check out and he replied "your presence here really is good enough for me" and with a smile and a laugh told us ”Merry Christmas and to stay safe”... That really warmed and tugged on the old heart strings as my companion & I were warm and cozy all day... And this humble man just wanted a visit from someone.  I think I have to give a weekly shoutout to my family back home.  They definitely are the best.  I mean sometimes I question my Dads sanity but I still love him :)  A little Sabbath Day miracle for you all... One of our investigators named Romeo dropped off the face of the earth for the past three weeks. In our first lesson we invited him to baptism for the 16th of January and he accepted!!!   However, no contact since that day :/ UNTIL YESTERDAY!!  We had our talks prepared for this particular Sunday and we're headed out the door to teach a lesson before sacrament and locked our keys in the apartment.... The keys to our car.  Therefore, we sat in the garage for 20 minutes until a ride showed up to take us to church.  Guess who showed up to sacrament in the middle of our talks? ROMEO!  He walked in after going to the wrong church and talking to another bishop.  He showed up at church with questions from his reading and inspiration from the Holy Ghost that his answer to the truthfulness of the church will be blunt!!  Well.. In class we were taught the LAW of chastity! Couldn't be more blunt than that. The spirit touched his heart and tears came down! He knew that was it!! He even mentioned he was nervous for his baptism!  Elder Jewkes & I have had a pretty great week.  We are learning again and again the importance of obedience. Occasionally we think we can slack off on the rules.  I’LL ADMIT IT.  Every now & again we think we can take some of the mission rules lightly.  Every time. It. Leads.To. Spiritual. Darkness. Or in other words... We lose revelation & the joy of The spirit.  The Lord gives us rules for protection! I have never felt so vulnerable in all my mission so far.  Keep all the commandments! They are for your well-being, your protection and will grant you more strength.  Not physical buff strength but spiritual gains.  One more Christmas week miracle.  I ate eggnog fudge. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas week.  The church is true.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Skype with Elder King!!!

Merry Christmas 2015!  We were so excited to get to talk and Skype with Elder King today!  He was in a very festive Christmas mood (it may have been the egg nog!).  We opened gifts together and laughed and talked.  He got all of our packages (whew!) and we got all of his gifts (Dad got 2 old country music records and Mom got 2 U.S. history books -- classic Braden gifts!!!)  He also sent us temple recommend holders with the Portland temple picture on them and a WVM Christmas tree ornament.  It was so great to have his smiling face in our house today - even if it was only for a short time.  He is happy and healthy and LOVING the mission.  Best Christmas present ever!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Greetings From the Heart of Babylon

Christmas Card from the Elder's!

 Christmas is coming up and we took a Christmas picture by the Christmas tree to send "gay happy tidings" all around. The Springwater YSA Christmas program happened just yesterday and the amount of Christmas tidings was immense.  Everyone we meet seems to do their best to fill us with homemade sweets made right from the Celestial ovens.  The Christmas spirit in Portland is manifest by the various gentleman’s clubs / hookah lounges.  What a better way to spend the holidays?!  A major miracle happened this week which I must relay to you back home.  We searched for a man named Sax this week.  After an evening of searching with no luck we decided the address was faulty... The next evening we needed to grab some milk late at night & go to the bathroom so we went to the nearest Walmart.  We grabbed all of our items and headed to the checkout stand where we found a nice gentleman by the name of Sax checking people out :) yes this was the very man we were looking for who moved from France two months ago.  Sax was confused as to how we knew his last name but he was really excited to find us.  We went over for the new member lessons to find his non-member cousin ready to listen to all this Mormon jazz too.  Merry Christmas Miracle for Elder King & Elder Jewkes. This week we actually found two new investigators to invite to the waters of baptism.  Some real Christmas gifts coming in the form of baptisms this year.  Another great gift was attending the Portland temple this week.  On Friday we were allotted a temple trip at 10:30 AM.  The timing of this session was fantastic so I actually stayed awake during the session.  The whole zone was in attendance and after we had to grab a little grub at Olive Garden to finish the magical experience.   My companion Elder Jewkes was baptized Catholic when I went on.  HAHAHA! YES a member of the Catholic Church brought out the holy water and just laid it on him during a teaching appointment.  After being baptized he was presented with a gift of "glass goblets" the finest glass goblets in all the land.  But, soon after this Elder Jewkes was accused of being a serial killer from Chicago by the same man who just baptized him!   I am upset I missed this magical occurrence. I happen to be on exchanges in one of the only walking areas in all the mission!  My chicken legs feel like death today. What a lazy sack of missionary I am! I hope you all know Christmas in the mission field is a Christmas like no other.  Just the whole Christmas season is incredible teaching others why we have Christmas.  Listening to Michael Buble Christmas also is awesome... Don't get me wrong Momma King and Poppa King know how to deliver during Christmas time... But don't think missionaries are ever deprived out here. My goodness we are so blessed. Been drinking egg nog every night and telling everyone I see about the Savior of the world is pricelessssssss.  We just bought our gifts for the white elephant exchange and I have decided to go with a can of dog food!!! Lucky for my zone I am a great gift giver.  Merry merry Christmas and attached is a pic of our apartment’s Christmas card which some of the elect will be receiving back home.  LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU AND  MERRIEST of Christmases.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Elder King and Elder Jewkes getting styled right!

The first week in Portland was JUST peachy.  Have seen at least 6 or 7 strip clubs and only about 3 churches (including ours).  Have chatted with more people in half a week than I did in about a month of working in the forest of Castle Rock.  Met a man who worships Thor and is a little bit frightened for the new Star Wars movie.  That same day we met a few members of the YSA ward where we are serving.  The next day we had a great meeting down in Vancouver with a bunch of other missionaries that took up a good chunk of our day.  Been preparing for like 3 different meetings that we had to train at and also we had to compile stake reports for correlation with the new stake.  This took around 5 hours to complete because we really sucked at figuring everything out.  When we finally finished the reports looked DANDY!  We were all ready to print them Sunday morning before the meeting.  We showed up at 8:45 to print and the printer was out of paper.  The printer froze and after 5 hours of work we could only get three stake report packets ready to share.   Usually you need around 10... BUT GUESS WHAT? Amongst all our stresses / grief & foolishness only two people were at the stake meeting this time.  It seems as though when you do what you're supposed to & try your best the Lord makes things simply.. Work out!  We also had a baptism! The elders serving here before us lined up a baptism this last week so we could swoop in for the kill.  Taewoo Kwon entered the waters of baptism just this past Saturday.   One of the great tender mercies of the Lord happened when Bobby (one of our investigators) showed up at the baptism to see what it is all about. Bobby then came to church the next day & wants to have all the lessons. He specifically asked "how can I get to the Celestial kingdom?" & WE HAD SOME STUFF TO TELL HIM! Bobby is GONNA get baptized soon mark my WORDS.  Speaking of that we stopped by an investigator named Tyler that is looking for changes in his life.  He told us he wants to start over again and wipe away some old sins. WE ALSO HAD SOME SERIOUS STUFF TO TELL HIM.  He wants to be baptized on the 16th of January.  Good things happening here in Portland.  Today my beloved companion dropped his I pad on the ground after 17 months of successfully not doing that.  The rage was explosive.  Chairs were thrown and things were punched.  Poor guys mom told him "now remember for Christmas this year we are buying your I pad for you." WHOOPS!!!!!! He is the best companion though.  Not a whole lot to report on.  Got a Michael Buble Christmas album and I am sounding / looking more and more like him every week.  Slowly, but surely I will have his physique.  Merry Christmas to all, look for our Christmas card.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Glad Tidings and Stuff

Elder King at the annual Longview Nativity Festival!
Christmas has indeed come around and we have been feeling that special Christmas spirit even out here in Castle Rock.  Although the knocking of doors seems to be a little crabby in the cold and rain, the egg nog tastes just as good.  The festival of nativities for the Longview stake occurred this weekend!  Travelers from lands far round about showed up to witness the birth of Christ in ceramic fashion.  A few of our investigators made it down to this festival and when that happens we are allowed to go through ourselves!  In the middle of this nativity festival we found the sword of Frodo hidden amongst the sets. WE ALSO came across the sword of Aragorn.  (pic is proof!   I'm not lying I swear!)  A few GREAT THINGS happened this week coupled with a few BITTER SWEET things.  I shall start with the GREAT.  On Tuesday this week we went to teach one of our investigators named Jeff about obedience and baptism.  But, Jeff wasn't ready for baptism in our common-sense minds, after we prayed about what to teach baptism just popped into our heads.  We felt good about the 9th of January as his day to enter the waters.  During the lesson we really had to pay attention to the spirit prompting us for the invitation to be baptized.  Jeff expressed his feelings about needing further assurance from the Holy Spirit... when he suddenly said "he was feeling the spirit and the love of God at this very moment"  BAM! INVITED to be baptized and accepted.  Jeff even came to a baptism the next day to check out the procedures and so forth.  The spirit will never lie!  It will only testify of truth.  During our weekly planning session we were apparently ready to branch out for some fancier food.  The usual fast-food or oatmeal packets weren't going to cut it.  The local sushi joint seemed to be the popular vote.  Most of us have barely eaten sushi before... & we decided to get 4 different rolls, then share one with another.  After having the best meal of our lives the kindest lady in the world decided to pay for all of our food!  She specifically told the waitress to tell us "happy holidays the bill is covered" (definitely not revealing her location)  well, the waitress walked right up to us and said "the lady on table 1 wants to pay for your food!”  Luckily we got to thank her personally.  Free Sushi and a full stomach/heart.  Picture attached below.  Elder Lloyd (the elder waiting for his visa that has been living with us) left to Sweden just yesterday night and it sorta.. Really.. Sucked! He is an awesome missionary and really made me laugh.  He also taught us a plethora of words to say in Swedish that you just really shouldn't say to anyone at all. We had a Christmas celebration / exchanging of gifts right before he left.  We opened selfie sticks, dog treats, books about motherhood, Star Wars trading cards and the Barbara Streisand Christmas album.  The festivities around here are getting wild.  Also,  BIG NEWS… I am getting transferred indeed! Transferred down to the adventurous lands of Portland.  I shall be serving as a zone leader over the Portland YSA ward.  Hoping to bring many young single adults into the fold of God.  I will be companions with my VERY own Grandfather (he trained my trainer!) Ricky Jewkes.  Pretty excited for a new adventure.  SAD to leave the good Castle Rock ward and my favorite elders whom I live with.  Although my companion teaches in his sleep quite often to wake me up it stinks to go.  Portland truly hasn't seen weird until I roam the streets.  Another great week.  Hope everything back home is swell as can be.  
Eating sushi with the companion!