Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3, 2013

     This blog contains the journal and letters to home that Elder Trevor Strong wrote. They are taken directly form his journal. He began his journal when he was 13 years old and made a few entries before his mission. Unknown to me, he took this journal with him as his mission journal. To save space, he wrote two lines per space. I spent many hours typing and printing his entries. It has been a choice experience getting a peek into the life of my missionary son. My hope is that all who read it may also get to know this fine young man. I would hope that no one would take offence at anything written. I am sure that he did not intend that the whole world would be able to read his words. Hopefully, you will enjoy my son's writings as I have. Feel free to leave comments.

Gordon D.Strong

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Journal and Letters


Trevor Reinhold Strong


   Today I went to school. It was boring. I was excited because I had a church ball game. I played a couple of games of 21 with my friend Dom and Scott. I won 4 out of 7 games. But in the game I had zero points. I felt bad. Next game I think I’ll at least have one point. When I got home I was tired so I watched T.V., read scriptures, and went to sleep.



   Today I went to school. Today was Friday so it was short but still boring. I was tired so when I got home I watched a little T.V. I fell asleep for about 15 minutes. I might have a sleep over. Depends on if Bud can sleep over and if I clean my room. My Mom and Dad went to the Temple and stayed there late so I couldn’t have a sleepover.



   Today is Saturday. I am dishes this weekend so I had to do dishes. First I cleaned a little bit of my room. Then I did dishes. Then I cleaned the rest of my room. I rearranged it so it’s better.



   Today is a Thursday. I went to school. We got to pick our classes for 8th Grade. I am taking Spanish, keyboarding and percussion and all the other required classes. I went to a Stake Priesthood Conference. It was boring.


   Today is Sunday. I’m finally out of school. Today was Stake Conference. It was boring, but I got my sleep. Yesterday was fun. I played night games with the DeLaMares, Ashley, Brittany, Bryce, Brianne, and Megan Henderson. Jeff is in the MTC leaving for his mission to Switzerland. I got nothing to say.


   Wow! It has been three years since I have written in here! Well I was reading my last entry and a lot has changed. Jeff has been home for a year and hasn’t changed a bit. I still kinda like Brianne. Now we never talk. It was never the same after she cheated on me and only went out with me to get to Bud. Now I like Megan Raby and Ashley Hillam. Things are confusing right now. Ashley likes me and everything, but I really want to get to know Megan a little better. Right now I like Megan more because she is so easy to talk to and she is soo hot. I haven’t really hung out with Megan, I just see her at Oquirrh Park where I work. But hopefully tonight or Monday I will see “Pirates of the Caribbean II” with her. I am about to get my license pretty soon. I have all my hours done. I lost my Social Security card because someone stole my wallet. I also lost my bank ATM card and had to get a new one. Then a couple of days later I lost my other wallet that was in my Dad’s car with my Driving Permit. So I have been driving illegally for a while. I failed my driving test so I have to take it again when I get my license.


   Today is Sunday so how eventful could it be. Well yesterday I ended up not going to the movies. Megan did not even call me. I am beginning to think that she doesn’t like me anymore. She did accept My Friend request on My Space but I think it was just to be nice. Well Andy and Heidi bought a house and we saw it today. It is definitely a fixer-upper. But it will turn out really good. Andy will finally have a place to put his shoes. They will live closer to Davis and Kiersti which is pretty cool. Chad is moving officially in two weeks but this summer has felt like he is already gone. I hung out with him last night and it was fun. Kind of like the old days.



   Well I don’t know about Megan anymore. I haven’t talked to her in person since last Thursday. I wrote her on My Space but she hasn’t written back even though she has probably read my messages already. That made me pretty mad. Then she was supposed to call me but she hasn’t. I think I am just going to try to move on. It is hard because she is so hot and I think about her a lot. I wish she would like me and I think of excuses of why she hasn’t called or wrote back. I worked today and there is this lifeguard who checks me out. She is pretty hot but kind of has a man voice. I think her name is Maddie. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I can’t just like one girl. I feel bad for Ashley. Well off the subject, Scott got his license the other day. I am a little jealous because I probably won’t get mine for another month. The Social Security office closes at 4:00 and that is when we got there to get a new card.



   First step: I removed Megan from Friends list. She messaged someone two days after I sent her a message. She still hasn’t sent anything or called. I have to pretty much ignore her. I bet she won’t even notice that I am not her friend. I went to the Rocky Mountain Review last night. The Jazz should have won but they lost to San Antonio. Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap made the All Revue team. They are good.



   Today is Sunday. It is the real test. If Megan doesn’t write me back today, then I will know. She will have all day to write. Work was hot yesterday. It got up to 107 but not when I was working. It was 102 though. There were more people than I had ever seen before. It sucked.



   I just got a sweet new pen. Bryant came up from St. George so we have been chilling. We went to a movie, well actually two movies because we snuck into another movie. There was a school dance tonight but I didn’t go. I really wanted to because Ashley was going to be there. It was a weird spring dance so I kind of didn’t want to go. Any chance I get to hand out with Ashley, I usually do it.



   Today I had an interview for the fifth key person at Albertson’s. I’m not going to say that I choked, but I definitely could’ve done better. I really need that job so I can get money saved up before my mission. I’m hoping to save $1,200.00 a month so I can have a little when I get back. I am really excited to go. I am not ready to go now. I have a big problem that I need to fix, but with the Lord’s help, I feel that I can do anything. I need to repent and pray every day. Bad thoughts need to stay out of my mind and I have to keep the Spirit with me at all times, even if it means praying a million times a day. I always feel bad after I sin and try to do all the good things I’m supposed to, but it feels way better when I don’t do a bad thing and do good over and over. I truly want and am going to serve a mission so I NEED TO START NOW AND TRULY REPENT AND GET IN THE HABIT OF ONLY DOING GOOD. Stay away from all the evil in my life.



   Today I went and played basketball and I was like 7 for 9 from three in the last game including the game winner. After, I went to Steve and Barry’s with Davis. It’s a crappy store but Davis loves it. After I went and saw “Stepbrothers”. I thought it was going to be hilarious, but now I’m starting to realize the rated “R” movies just really aren’t that great. I feel bad about taking Simi to “Superbad” before his mission because it couldn’t have helped at all. I just finished 2nd Nephi tonight and I’m really proud of myself. I am starting to understand the Book of Mormon and it is less confusing. I like the feeling I get when I read the scriptures. I know that it is the Spirit testifying to me that they are true. I want to read more and more so I can finish the Book of Mormon for the first time. After, I can do more studying instead of just reading. I will learn so much more and I’m excited.



   Today I worked at Albertson’s from 1-6. I heard some great news. I got the 5th Keyperson job!! I start training next week and I’m very excited. I am going to thank the Lord for this opportunity to make money for my mission and keeping me patient. I went running tonight and did the long route that Simi and Bryant used to do. I started off with a giant side ache. I really wanted to finish the run, but it was almost unbearable. Then something came to my mind about enduring to the end. The more I thought about it, the better the side ache got. I thought that running was a little like life. There are obstacles we face or that Satan throws at us that we must overcome to finish. I had a side ache, and just by thinking about the Lord and knowing that He is with me ‘til the end helped me out and made the side ache disappear. Having the Lord with us in life will make us endure to the end and bring us to Him. Have Him in our hearts, and we can overcome all of Satan’s obstacles. Keep praying.


   “Who we are today is God’s gift to us. Who we become is our gift to God.”


   “Stand for something, or fall for anything.”


   Today was my first day at my new position. It was a Tuesday and apparently they are the hardest days. There was so much stuff to do it was crazy! I kept busy most of the night. Right now I’m in training 3-4 days a week for 3 weeks. That will be kinda nice until I get the hang of it (with the Lord’s help) and have to work 5 nights a week. But then all my friends will be starting school and I’ll have an excuse for not being a loser.

   Last week was Youth Conference and I was on the committee, which meant nothing. It was the first year that we didn’t travel anywhere. On Thursday we started it out with a dinner at the Western Hills Stake Center. It was cool to see a bunch of new people instead of the same people from our stake. After dinner we listened to a speaker. It was good but I left halfway through because I had a Men’s League game. (We lost in overtime by 7 or 8. I had 11 points which is a high in that league.) I was up extra early Friday morning at 5:50. I had to go up with my Dad to set up breakfast at the SLCC Institute Building. After breakfast we had Brother Hoch speak to us then classes. The first class I went to was dating because it was in the same room as the speaker and I didn’t have to move. I was with Stephanie, Mike Sharp, and Whitney King. I thought the speaker was awesome but I was kind of too old for that class. It was a refresher. Next was free time and it seemed like all we did was make fun of all the weirdoes. Then we had another class. I went to the missionary class and that was good. I didn’t like the speaker as much as the dating guy but it was still good. I learned to be a missionary before your mission. Next we ate lunch then a service project. For the service project our ward planted trees around the campus. It was hard work compared to what everyone else did (all weeds) Scott and I met this guy and girl that go to Taylorsville. The girl was very good looking but left before I could get some digits. Next was dinner. Then we could go home and change for the swimming party at KOPFC. We had a private party there and reserved three pools. I gave the crowd a show with my back flips of the white platform. Saturday morning there was breakfast but me and Scott accidently slept in. So we made it to the testimony meeting. It was the best meeting. The Spirit was sooo strong. People were going up left and right. I even went up because my heart was pounding. I couldn’t fight the Spirit. Most of the people were feeling the Spirit so much that they didn’t even notice three hours go by. It was unforgettable. We had lunch after then went home. The dance was later that night. It was a 70’s theme so I borrowed Andy’s Ron Burgundy clothes. I looked good. It was the first dance I danced with a girl every slow song. I danced with a weird girl but the rest were fine. Lindsey was all over me. Too bad she is 15. I’ll have to wait 'til after my mission. I danced with Ashley too and it’s sad because that’s probably the last time I’ll do that. And that was Youth Conference.



   So tonight I went to a Jack Johnson concert. It was amazing! I went with Terrez (A girl from the pool and goes to Hunter) and two weird kids. We met up with this girl who digs Scott, so she invited him. Jack Johnson is awesome live and that was the only good part. Terrez was flirting with me the whole time and really got annoying. She kept laying on me and holding my hand. He played “Better Together” last and it was by far the best song. After, Terrez took us home. She made me go with her instead of going with Scott. I had a feeling she wanted something at the end of the night, and I did not want to give it to her. So we got to my house and I was trying to say goodbye and just leave. She kept the conversation going and kinda wouldn’t let me go. She asked for a hug a second time, but this time she wouldn’t let go. I knew for sure what she wanted. I gave her a kiss on the cheek. Then somehow it made it to the lips. Pretty soon we were making out. She was not the person I wanted my first make-out with. I kinda waited for a break so I could just leave, but she never let up. She was getting too feely and turned the car off so I stopped and said I was for sure leaving. I gave her another hug and she started kissing my neck, so I quickly stopped the hug and left. I’ve never felt so disgusted with myself in my life! My stomach hurt and I just felt dirty. I definitely sent her the wrong message. I have to up this soon and tell her I don’t feel that way. I’m really worried she will tell people and it will be so embarrassing!



   Today I went and got fingerprinted for coaching Boys Soccer. It was really weird. Then I kinda bought some stuff I really didn’t need. After I realized I did and I need to save a lot more. That’s a new goal among many to prepare to be a better missionary. I took Champ for a walk, and man is Champ out of shape! I had an interview with President Weaver tonight. He is making sure I’m staying on the right path. He is a really good man and I learn a lot from him. He reminded me about Preach My Gospel. I am going to start reading it all the way through. I realize I need to keep the gospel in my life throughout the week instead of just on Sunday. I had a Rec. League basketball game after. We played Farnsworth’s team, but all their good players weren’t there. I had the game of my life, though. 24 points, 10+ boards. With Eric out I might start to get more touches and opportunities to make more of an impact. The Church is True!



   Today I didn’t really do much. I did start to read “Preach My Gospel”. It is a great missionary tool. I’m excited to read it because I know it will better prepare me for my mission. I already learned a lot in the 20 minutes I read. I worked from 4 to 12. It was a pretty busy day. I did run into Mike Nelson who I am supposed to home teach. I really didn’t introduce myself. I Had a weak attempt at setting up an appointment. That will be something I’ll have to work on. The Church is True!



   Last month I received my mission call to the Texas, McAllen Mission. I report to the MTC Oct. 28th. It is cool because Simi comes home on the 21st, so I’ll be able to see him for a week before I leave. And his homecoming is the same day as my farewell. It is going to be awesome! I never realized how hard missionary life was until I started preparing. There is a ton of things I should be doing like read and study the scriptures, read “Preach My Gospel”, memorize scriptures, and write in a journal. I can’t keep up! Yesterday was Labor Day. We went to the annual BBQ at the Strong’s. I was really weird not having Grandpa there. He passed away about 3 weeks ago. He was a great, loving, spiritual man. He was an example to everyone, and I know the Lord is pleased with him. I hung out with the Twins and Ashley after which was nice because Ashley was leaving in the morning back up to USU. We went to IHOP and I ordered this chicken crepe thing. When the waitress brought it over it looked nothing like I had expected. I called it the sauce covered crap crepe and right after I had said that, the waitress came over and asked “Does everything look alright?” It was hilarious! We couldn’t stop laughing! At the end of the night, Ashley dropped me off at home. My favorite in the world has to be being one-on-one with her. She is amazing and things are just really good between us. At first I wanted for us to be a couple so bad, but now all I want to do is just be around her. She has this glow about her that is irresistible and she is one of the greatest examples in my life. I will really miss her while I’m on my mission. I just will have to focus on serving the Lord to the best of my abilities and everything else at home.



Scott, McKell, and Elder Strong - MTC


   Today is Day One of my mission. The MTC is a crazy place. I got to find out who was in my district. I walked into the room, hoping to find out who my companion would be but it turns out that he never showed up. Of course I panicked a little. I ended up being a threesome with Elder Chase and Elder Brown. They are pretty cool guys, I mean Elders. You call everyone Elder. It was weird hearing Elders and Sisters instead of Brothers and Sisters. Super tired! The Spirit is insane here. Everyone has such a strong testimony. My district has Elders I get along with pretty well. My room doesn’t have Elders in my district, so it is really weird being all by myself. Everyone keeps saying “make it ‘til Sunday, and it just gets easier from there”. I can feel growth in me and others already and it is awesome.


   Today was my first full day at the MTC. It felt like an eternity! I am exhausted from a lack of sleep last night. Hopefully it is better tonight. I had gym. It was pretty good. I just have to get the system down so it will be more fun and competitive. I have learned so much today and felt the Spirit a lot today. I finally got to meet out Branch Presidency. Bro. Hanks served in the same mission as Dad. Elder Brown became District Leader which is awesome.


   Today was another long and busy day. Tomorrow we will have a lot of study time and that is something I think I need to work on. In class we watch a talk that Elder Holland gave to the missionaries in the MTC. He spoke with so much power and conviction about how important he feels about missionary work. If that talk doesn’t help a missionary work as hard as he can and endure to the end of his mission, nothing will. One thing that the Spirit brought to my attention while watching it, was that when people pray for the missionaries in the MTC, It is not just something they say just to say it, they say it because they know how hard what we are doing is. All missionaries need to know that we are in the saints’ prayers and that we just need to continue to work hard and God will prepare a way.


   Happy Halloween! I couldn’t even tell that it was Halloween today. Today I figured out that I am sick. It is not fun. The MTC isn’t really a place to rest when sick. The Health Clinic was closed today and tomorrow so I don’t get to see what’s going on until Monday. I just get more and more tired, but tonight we go off daylight savings time, so we can gain an hour of sleep. Tomorrow is Sunday and everyone says make it until Sunday so I’m pretty excited for it. My Spanish is really progressing. I can pray and testify in Spanish fairly decent. I’m starting to pick up testifying without a script and it is awesome! I know that the Spirit is helping me a lot. I felt it help me pray in Spanish today. Everything went very fluent and words were brought to my mind really quickly. I worked hard to get the prayer down and I know the Lord blessed me for it. Hermano Anderson told us that some missionaries are more blessed. I want to be in that category for my hard work. I have been extremely blessed here in the MTC, and I give my thanks to the Lord.


   Well, I made it until Sunday and Sunday is pretty legit. There is a little more time to relax so I took full advantage of it. I didn’t feel well at all in the morning. I was completely drained of energy, so I just napped for about 2 hours. It wasn’t really sleep, but it felt really good to relax. When Elder Brown and Elder Chase came to wake me up, I got up too fast and was really dizzy and fell over. They laughed so hard at me. It was funny. It was nice to go to Mission Conference. The speakers were great and you could really feel the Spirit. The fireside was also very spiritual. Sister Beeson was hilarious as well as Brother Beeson. He said “The Lord will not answer 100% of the prayers we don’t live”. Great quote. After, we got to watch the Joseph Smith movie. Something the Spirit brought to my attention was Joseph said we sink so low so the Lord can bring us up. I’d like to say “Why do we fall?” So the Lord can pick us up.


Today was kind of a bad day. I don’t think I felt the Spirit as much as I could’ve. We didn’t get to do our service for the week. Our District gets to clean bathrooms but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. We found out that on Friday, we have to do the first part of our TRC in Spanish. It’s kind of scary, but it will be an awesome learning experience. We learned how to really plan today and use our study journals effectively. My cold isn’t as bad as yesterday, but I’ve been sucking on cough drops all day. Today went by fairly quick. The other Elders say it starts to go by really fast from now on. That will be crazy.



   I got some good news today. I am finally getting a companion. His name is Elder Santo and he had a root canal so he can’t leave with the rest of his district. He has to be here two more weeks, so that’s eleven weeks. I am hoping that I can learn something from him. I was told his confidence is great and I know that if I pray for help to do so I can. I know we can both raise each other up to our full potential. It is going to take work, but with the Lord’s help I know I can do it.


   Today was P-day and it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But I enjoyed it. Laundry was the best part. The new crop of missionaries came in today and I saw Tommy Mason from my comp soccer team. It was crazy. He is living in the same building as me. He is going to Argentina. Today was my first day with my new companion and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. We got to go to the Dentist’s office. Leaving the MTC was pretty weird. We taught lesson 1 today at the T.E. and it went alright. A great learning experience. We definitely need to invite the Spirit and teach with it. Testify about it. Have to know I have a testimony.


   People were right. Days start to go by a lot faster. Today we contacted and shared a message. At first I didn’t think I could do it. But I remembered the talk from the devotional about being bold. So Elder Santo and I just did it and I’d say it was a success. I think it was good for him because his companion didn’t like to contact. I’ve decided I need a better personal time. We taught the First Lesson again and had better success. We got to go to the RC today and it was awesome. You get to talk to people about the Church. I had only one conversation in 17 calls. But it was still cool. I need to get a full immunization record or I have to pay money. We had a competition in our District for who would go the longest without mail and I won easily. I won by about a day so far. People feel bad for me, but it’s what I expected.


   I love progressing! Today was our first appointment at the TRC. It was crazy. First we had to greet the investigators in Spanish. I was really nervous, but I thought we did pretty well. I really felt the Spirit. Especially when we taught the lesson. I really felt it and could see them feel it too. I wish Elder Sonato would take the MTC seriously and stay focused. I need to be a better example. I pray that he will truly be converted and get lost in the work. He leaves Monday and I sincerely pray he will have the Spirit to help him. He will need to convert people to the Church and have a successful mission. I need to continue to work on contacting and be bold.


   I’m proud of myself today. I learned the First Vision in Spanish. Vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de mi cabeza. Y esta luz gradualmente decendio hasta descansar sobre mi. Al reposar sobre mi la luz, vi en el aire arriba de mi a dos personajes. Cuyo fulgor y Gloria no admitan description. Uno de ellos me hablo llamando mi nombre y dijo, senalando al otro, este es mi hijo Amado! Escuchele! I promise that was all from my head. My Spanish is really starting to come along. Elder Goytia and I worked on that forever, but we both got it. I wish I would’ve worked with my companero mas pero pienso el es ready to llegar. It’s my fault, though. I should’ve pushed him like I said I was. I pushed him a little, but not constantly. I know this Church es verdadera y I’m ready copartirlo en Espanol.

TRANSLATION: I’m proud of myself today. I learned the First Vision in Spanish. “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him.”


   Elder Sonato left this morning. I felt like he was a ghost because he didn’t stay very long. I gave him a paisley tie because they were his favorite. Tomorrow I will have to most likely move to a different room. It will be weird to go with more strangers I will never see. The Russians are leaving tomorrow after 12 weeks so they sang a bunch of hymns in Russian. It was pretty cool because there were like thirty of them. Yesterday was awesome. The Fireside was very spiritual. I really enjoyed Brother Heaten’s talk. We also found out that a General Authority will be speaking here next Tuesday. We have to turn in a question for them tomorrow so I need to think of a good question. It’s going to be awesome. Buenos Noches.



   Well yesterday was crazy I had to move into another room. I was in the other District in our Zone but it was only for a day. I went to go get a new key for that room and the ladies in the office and they told me to stay in that same room I was in before. So I had to move all my stuff again. But now I am with my companions so it is so much better. I met an Elder Stone today who knew Ashley from school and lived in Snow with them. Really cool! He was in the room I moved into for a day. It was crazy. The MTC is still really awesome and I finally got some mail or just E-Mail. It’s good to hear from everyone.



   Today was long but that is because we had gym in the early morning. It is so much better to have my companions in the same room as me. We taught our first kind of real lesson in the T.E. together. It went pretty well but there is still things we need to work on like listening to the Spirit. Teaching in a threesome is more fun I think because they hear three different testimonies so it’s awesome. We get our real test tomorrow in the TRC.



   Today we did our second TRC It was very humbling. We have to work on some things, but it went pretty well. We really just need to listen to the Spirit. Yesterday I found out Bruce R. McKonkie’s grandson is here at the MTC. It’s pretty cool.



   Today was Sunday. It is great to get a nap in. It helped me pay attention during the Fireside. It was Great! Sheri Dew came and talked about being a greater follower of righteousness and gain a greater knowledge. One thing she challenged us to do is ask the Lord how He feels about us and ask for help. I am going to take that challenge. She said he will answer our prayer and really tell us how we feel.


   Yesterday Hermana Lucero told us that she was kind of disappointed in us. It think it was a wake-up call because our week last week was a bad week, so we decided to step it up and it worked. We taught a lesson to a companionship and it was awesome. Richard C. Edgeley of the Presiding Bishopric came and spoke in the Devotional. He was amazing.


   Today we found out that we get to go on companion exchange tomorrow with the other District. My new companion will be Elder Olsen. All I know is that he plays ball. We will see how it goes.


   So today we had an exchange and it was pretty cool. Elder Olsen was a good teacher. I went to the T.E. with him and we did well. He taught the first lesson in Spanish. I didn’t say anything, but it was cool. I understood pretty much the whole thing. We taught in the T.E. after the exchange was over and our teacher helped us a ton. I think the TRC will go a lot smoother because we have really prepared for it.


   So this week has been all about planning. It has really made a difference. I think this next week will be by far better than any week here. Our TRC went well, but I think I can seriously be and do better. I’m pretty excited for next week. We are going to waste zero time and should get so much done. Oh yesterday I asked Hermana Lucero “Como se dice Will you marry me? En Espanol?” She told me and I said Si! Si! Si! Claro que si! Yo animo! It was hilarious I’ll thank Elder Fasett for that one. I am going to pray more to have a conformation of truthfulness so I can truly be converted.


   Today was Sunday already. It was a slow day for the most part. I had to pray for the first time in Spanish in Sacrament Meeting. We as a District had to sing in Sacrament Meeting and it was horrible! They probably will never ask us to sing again if they know what’s good for them. The fireside was by Stephen Allen. It was really good. He talked about things we’re grateful for. One of our District goals is to write down 20 things a day we are grateful for this week. It is a good idea. Elder Wells is now our District Leader. He has an awesome testimony and really wants to change our district’s rep. I’m excited for next week.


   Today was the first time to see if our planning got better. It totally worked. We got way more done today than usual. But there is always room for improvement. We actually had a very successful SYL today during lunch and breakfast. Hermano West was our teacher because Hermano Anderson is gone for Thanksgiving, but he is a really good teacher of Spanish. In LST we found out how to pray, I mean teach others how to pray. I plan on learning 60 words tomorrow as part of stretching myself. The Devotional tomorrow might be by someone really important. I’m grateful to be out here on a mission. I’m loving the gospel more and more each day.


   Tuesday Devotional tonight was amazing. To our surprise Dallin H. Oaks came and spoke. The moment he entered the room I felt his spirit. It was one of the most amazing things ever.


   Happy Thanksgiving! We had a devotional in the morning, and we were lucky enough to have Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speak to us. And just like Elder Oaks, he entered with a really strong spirit. I just love how straightforward he is and he was hilarious. I couldn’t stop writing notes, it was just amazing. We also had the opportunity to do a humanitarian project, which was good. A holiday is just really weird at the MTC because you have free time. I wasn’t really used to that. Overall, an amazing, spiritual day.


   Today was our TRC and we did really well. The only thing I think that we needed to do was shorten our lesson, because we only got about halfway through. But other than that, it was our best lesson. Because of Thanksgiving we just taught the younger District and they were pretty clueless. It took some pressure off us, though and it worked out really well. Our halfway point is tomorrow, and we teach our first lesson in Spanish on Tuesday. We haven’t really started, but I can’t wait ‘til we get to start. I think I will learn so much more just focusing 100% on the language.


   Happy anniversary! It is out one month anniversary. It was also the BYU/Utah game, and I still don’t know who won. We watched Elder Bednar’s talk he gave here in June. It was about if it is the Spirit or you. He said don’t worry about it. Every good thought comes from God.


   Well, today was kind of an off day for me. I couldn’t say anything at all in Spanish. We started speaking and teaching in Spanish for our T.E. tomorrow, where we get to teach lesson 1. I love my District.


Volz (Behold in Russian) It is December already. We taught Spanish in the T.E. It was crazy! We did alright, though. It needs work. Christmas is everywhere with lights and songs. It’s cool.


   So today we taught our first lesson in Spanish. I was extremely nervous at first, but then I felt a really peaceful, calming feeling that I know was the Spirit. I spoke the best Spanish I have ever spoken since I have been here. The Lord blessed me with the gift of tongues today. My comps wanted me to stop talking. It was cool!





   Well today was a pretty good day. We learned a lot about pronunciation. It helped out mucho. Today in the scriptures I learned about faith. It was exactly what I needed, but I really need more faith to receive the gifts I need in this work. I have seen it and I need it more. When we were doing tall, other Elders were doing R.C. One of them received a phone call from a man who spoke little English. They gave the phone to me, but I didn’t understand. They went and got some Hermanas who could. One of them said “Why couldn’t you understand?” “With faith you could have understood. Just rely on the Lord.” She was completely right. It is my new goal to pray for the faith I need to do this week.


   Hola! Hoy fue bien. Ensenamos con el Espiritu en nuestro T.C. en espanol. Fue muy animo entonces Elder Livsey es en quarantine. Elder Pinter has surgery, y Elder Wells fue enfermo entonces nuestro Districto es muy pequeno. The devotional was great. It was Claudio Costa. He was really good and talked about being animo and have the Spirit with us always. Our T.E. was awesome and really invited the Spirit. The best lesson so far, I think.

TRANSLATION: Hi. Today was good. We taught with the Spirit in our T.C. in Spanish. It was very good. So, Elder Livsey is in quarantine. Elder Pinter has surgery and Elder Wells was sick, so our District is very small.


   Today our District had the opportunity to exercise our priesthood. Elder Pinter and Elder Wells needed blessings. I had the opportunity to anoint the oil and it was really cool. Also we had the opportunity to do sealings acting as proxys today. It was an awesome experience. I learned a lot more about the sacred temple work. I love the opportunity we have every week to go to the temple, and I know they are the house of the Lord.


   Today I found out that I am officially going to be Elder Goytia’s companion until Elder Livsey gets back from quarantine. It’s crazy. I’ve already had four companions. We taught in the T.E. It went well. In the R.C. I spoke to an old lady named Dorthy for 20 minutes. It was awesome. I told her I’d call her back. She was Catholic and had a visit from the missionaries, and she really enjoyed it a lot. The missionaries are going back after the Holidays. I hope she continues to feel the Spirit.


   Well today was our TRC and my first lesson with Elder Goytia and it went really well. He speaks amazing Spanish and it helped a lot in the lesson. My Spanish was really shaky, but I got through it and it really seemed like they felt the Spirit. Our lesson was far from perfect, but it all depends on if they felt the Spirit or not, so I think this lesson was successful. It is really great having Elder Goytia as a companion. I am truly blessed. The Lord works in mysterious ways.


   Well my District is sick again. Elder Livsey got out of quarantine yesterday but wasn’t feeling well again. Elder Pinter and Elder Chase were also feeling sick. More interesting news. I will probably have another companero tomorrow. Elder Thomas de el Viejo Districto no tiene una visa. Entonces, estare su companero hasta el recibe una visa. Eso hale cinco companeros at el CCM. Esta bien. Lo me encanta. Esta experiencia ayudarme progresar

TRANSLATION: Elder Thomas from the Old District hasn’t received his visa, so I will be his companion until his visa comes. This will make five companions I’ve had at the MTC. That’s all right. I love it. This experience will help me progress.




Elder Thomas


   Elder Thomas no es mi companero hasta manana. Entonces escribire mas manana sobre el. Senti como we got mucho done hoy, como es mas diferente manana. Necescitare la ayuda del Senor guiarme y hacer decisions buenas. Tambien ayudarme trabajar duro con me Nuevo companero. Yo se El Senor bendecira me si yo turn al ahora.

TRANSLATION: Elder Thomas won’t be my companion until tomorrow, so I will write about him tomorrow. I feel like we got a lot done today, but it will be different tomorrow. I will need the help of the Lord to guide me and help me make good decisions. Also to help me work hard with my new companion. I know that the Lord will bless me if I turn to Him.


   Today was crazy! Hermana Lucero asked us for help with something and then she just broke down. She talked about how her family was falling apart and she needed our help. We started off with giving her a blessing of comfort. Then we just went off with a bunch of advice and experiences to help her. It was a cool experience. I just hope everything works out with her family and she continues to rely on the Lord for help. I felt the Spirit mucho during it, and I feel like everything we said came from the Spirit. It is so great that we have the opportunity to exercise our Priesthood in many different ways. I will thank the Lord for that unique opportunity to help someone real in the MTC.



   So yesterday fue tiempo primero Elder Thomas y yo ensenaron en el TRC. Lo fueron bien pero no clean. Hermano Lave evaluated nuestro leccion y no bueno. El dijo nuestros empezamos malo y no involve la investigadora. Nosotros muy confudido tambien y nuestro unity fue no bueno. Esta bien. Yo no expect perfection en nuestro leccion primera, pero tenemos un awesome plan de leccion por la proxima semana con solamento preguntas. Yo lo pienso estara muy bien si trabajamos duro en lo. Nosotros recibimos nuestros flight plans ayer tambien. Nosotros estamos muy animo. Elder Thomas still no recibe su visa yet, pero tengo fe saliera con nosotros.

TRANSLATION: So yesterday was the first time Elder Thomas and I taught in the TRC. It was OK but not clean. Brother Lave evaluated our lesson and it wasn’t good. He said that we started bad and didn’t involve the investigator. We were very confusing and our unity wasn’t good. That’s OK. I didn’t expect perfection in our first lesson, but we have an awesome plan for next weeks’ lesson using only questions. I think we will be fine if we work hard at it. We received our flight plans yesterday also. Elder Thomas still hasn’t received his visa yet, but I have faith that he will leave with us.



   Hoy fue awesome. I finally got a package from Mom & Dad. Lo fue mi paquete de Navidad y fue muy bueno. I got flip-flops, mucha comida, pass-along carta, conference CDs, un otro himno, y un fotografia de la Hillam’s. Muy animo. Luego a noche, tenemos un Devotional. To our surprise, Neil Anderson of the Twelve came. He talked sobre Navidad en el CCM es el major cosa podemos hacer ahora. Hablo sobre Jesucristo tambien & los bendiciones del poder de Sacerdocio. Es muy bien Elder Thomas y yo estamos empazar con El Espiritu y ensena major. Bueno tiempo.

TRANSLATION: Today was awesome! I finally got a package from Mom & Dad. It was my Christmas package, and it was very good. I got flip-flops, a lot of food, pass-along cards, Conference CD’s, another hymnal and a picture of the Hillam’s. Very nice. Later that night, we had a devotional. To our surprise, Neil Anderson of the Twelve came. He spoke about how having Christmas in the MTC is the greatest thing that we could be doing now. He spoke about Jesus Christ also and the blessings of the Priesthood. It was very good. Elder Thomas and I have started teaching with the Spirit and are teaching better. Good times!



   Hoy fue muy chill. Lo fue nuestro ultimo Friday. Yo got todos mi laundry done. It is weird to be leaving the MTC en cinco dias. Estoy no used to el mundo real. Hoy nosotros fuimos investigadores en el TRC. Lo fue pretty legit. It es cool a ver Elderes en sus primero tiempo en el TRC y compare ourselves to them. I am really glad I worked as hard as I did here especialmente en nuestro primeras semanas. Hoy yo olvide escribir nuestras E-cartas entonces no puedo escribir Scott y decir el sobre el paquete yo hago por el. Lo es legit con sobre 15 bags de chips y whatever is left de mi comida de Navidad. Tambien una corbata recibo en un trade. I will hide it in the ceiling of the tutor room. It will be awesome!

TRANSLATION: Today was very chill. It was our last Friday. I got all my laundry done. It is weird to be leaving the MTC in five days. I’m not used to the real world. Today we were investigators in TRC. It was pretty legit. It is cool to see Elders in their first time in TRC and compare ourselves to them. I am really glad I worked as hard as I did here, especially in the first weeks. Today I forgot to write our E-mail, so I couldn’t write to Scott to tell him about the package I made for him. It is legit with about 15 bags of chips and whatever is left from my Christmas food. I also have a tie that I traded for. I will hide it in the ceiling of the tutor room. It will be awesome!



   Merry Christmas Eve! Hoy fue un super chill day. Nuestros maestros just relaxed most de la dia. We took pics. of the whole District and both teachers were there. It was pretty legit. Luego we went al la Devotional. It was the Christmas Eve Devotional and it was cool. President Clegg and President Breinholdt and their wives spoke. They had a lot of musical numbers. Hermana Elizabeth Smart did a harp solo and she is so good. It was the coolest thing ever! Hopefully tomorrow we might hear from a couple of the Apostles, so that would be an awesome Christmas present. Hoy we got compartir nuestros testimonies durante clase con Hermana Lucero. Lo fue dispues watching “La Restauracion” en Espanol. Compartimos nuestros testimonies sobre como we sabemos esta Iglesia es verdadera y lo hace me think sobre me real testimonio y yo se tener un testimonio. Hoy ver el poco cosas El Espiritu bendecido me en mi vida. Todos de la dia sienti bueno y had a new look on the mission, and I know this is what I’m supposed to do. I love this gospel and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know I have been truly forgiven of my sins, and I think that is the feeling I felt today. I say these things en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

TRANSLATION: Merry Christmas Eve! Today was a super chill day. Our teachers just relaxed most of the day. We took Pictures of the whole District, and both teachers were there. It was pretty legit. Afterwards we went to a Devotional. It was the Christmas Eve Devotional and it was cool. President Clegg and President Breinholdt and their wives spoke. They had a lot of musical numbers. Sister Elizabeth Smart did a harp solo and she was so good. It was the coolest thing ever! Hopefully tomorrow we might hear from a couple of the Apostles, so that would be an awesome Christmas present. Today we got to bear our testimonies during class with Sister Lucero. It was after watching “The Restoration” in Spanish. We bore our testimonies about how we knew that this Church is true, and it made me think about my real testimony, and I know that I have a testimony. Today I see the little things that the Spirit has blessed me with in my life. All day I have felt good and have had a new perspective on my mission, and I know this is what I’m supposed to do. I love this gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know I have been truly forgiven of my sins, and I think that is the feeling that I felt today. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



   Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Hoy we chill tombien. Primero we woke up y Elder Brown y Elder Chase abrieron sus regalos. Luego tenemos el Navidad Devotional. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke y it was awesome! He is very tall. El comparto historias de las escrituras about el nacimiento de Jesucristo. Luego tenemos un talent show. It was cool. There are a ton of talented missionaries aqui. Luego fuimos ushers por la Fireside. Greg Olsen came y habla sobre Cristo. El es un talented artist. I really enjoyed his talk. Hoy fue un really relaxing day y I can’t wait to get to the field. It’s crazy because it has gone so fast. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here. The Lord has greatly blessed me while here & I thank Him for it.

TRANSLATION: Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Today we chilled again. First we woke up and Elder Brown and Elder Chase opened their presents. Later we had the Christmas Devotional. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke and it was awesome! He is very tall. He related stories from the scriptures about the birth of Jesus Christ. Afterwards we had a talent show. It was cool. There are a ton of talented missionaries here. Later we were ushers for the Fireside. Greg Olsen came and spoke about Crist. He is a talented artist. I really enjoyed his talk. Today was a really relaxing day and I can’t wait to get to the field. It’s crazy because it has gone so fast. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here. The Lord has greatly blessed me while here and I thank Him for it.



   It is so weird to start packing. The MTC mini mission is just about over, but I think I’m ready to leave & start doing the Lord’s work. Today we said our goodbyes to our teachers. In my exit interview with Hermano Anderson we talked about our class and how we are going to miss each other and the District. It was pretty cool to feel the Spirit and the love he has for our District. Then he talked about some mission story about how he finished his mission strong and the Lord has a better plan for all of us and he will make our missions better if we follow his spirit and promptings. Also tonight we had my last T.E. with Brother Vincent. He went to Geneva Switzerland like Jeff & knew Kevin Young. It was cool though, because we were not prepared to teach anything, but he talked to us about the importance of listening in lessons, so he told us to just teach him as himself & end with a commitment. So we just started asking a bunch of questions about himself & got to know him better. As the lesson went on I felt the Spirit more and more. We had a real person in front of us with real needs and I think the Spirit really helped us find those needs & we committed him with two great commitments to help strengthen his family. I know the Spirit helped with every aspect of the lesson and it gave me a new boost of confidence going into the field. It is the greatest feeling to know you helped someone with a problem in their life through the gospel




Elder Strong & Elder Pinedo



    So today was the first day with my new comp. his name is Elder Pinedo. He is awesome. He is this little Mexican guy from California. He has been out a year and his Spanish is really good. So first thing today we just fixed the car light, but after lunch we got to go teach a lesson. I found out the families love Elder Pinedo. I didn’t speak much, but I understood probably half of the lesson. The Spanish people are so nice and friendly. Next we went to a neighbor, but the guy wasn’t there and we just knocked doors, but got nobody. Next we just went to an investigator’s house and set an appointment with them. Next we went to the People’s house. We committed Melissa to baptism. It was legit. So far I love this work and this mission.



   Scott is in the MTC right now! Well today, we had a lot of meetings. First we had District Meeting, then Spanish Correlation right after. After, Brother V took us out to Wendy’s. Next we went and did business. I got to meet a lot of new people. Next we had some appointments but two of them fell through so we ended up contacting. Elder Pinedo is very good at it because he is fearless. We had a dinner appointment at 6:00 with the Minito family. They are members and they are super nice. I got to eat some authentic Mexican food for the first time. It was so good, I had thirds, but only because they kept insisting I eat more. Then we had another Correlation Meeting with the English Ward. Well tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, so we’ll see what we’ll do at the Rodriquez family’s house. Hopefully it will be fun because they are an awesome family. I love the mission.