Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 78 in Lufkin, Texas

Wow last week was a blast i had a great mothers day and i hope that you all had a great one too. well we woke up at 5 this morning to guess what more lightning and thunder. and we went to our porch and there was flooding. yay. i call it the Flood Part 2, it returns. the squeal was not as great as the original. it wasn't nearly as much water. it is still poring outside and there is a ton of lightning, but the creek behind our house has slowed down. there is not as much as water in it as there was before. the apartment maintenance crew came early today to check on the flooding, but nothing got into the apartment.

that was about the only exciting thing that happened this last week. We just have our normal appointments and stuff. M**** is still doing awesome. she learned about family history and is loving doing her genealogy. M**** our Spanish investigator. loves learning and she loves it when we come over, but she is being stubborn and keeps making excuses why she didn't come to church. oh well. 

Saturday we had a huge baby shower for one of the Spanish members here. she had sent out 100 invitations. we helped her eat the food and helped her clean up, then the Spanish branch a couple of hours later had a mothers day party. we made brownies. they had cooked menudo and it was pretty good. it is cow stomach soup.  

hope you all had a great week. bye
apartment after the flood

frog visitor

Frog visitor

Flood part 2


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 77 in Lufkin, TX

So super crazy week.

Monday the apartment flooded, when we went back to the apartment after we did our laundry the apartment people ripped out our padding and had 3 huge fans and a dehumidifier. We wanted to carpool for Dallas so we that night drove to Longview after Elder B**** had said goodbye to some families. We stayed in Longview so we could sleep in some. If we had stayed in Lufkin we would have had to wake up at 3:30ish now we were able to sleep in to 4:45. So I drove the entire way to Dallas. The little black box in our car annoys the crap out of me. If there is one thing that I will not miss, will be that little piece of plastic that has attached itself to our car and yells at me. We had to call the number so many times to wipe my record. clean. the speed limit stays at a constant 75 mph the entire way to Dallas and I stayed at like 72. There were semis passing me! and the stupid black box thinks that the speed limit changes to 60 in the middle of nowhere. All four of us in the car had to confirm that the sign we passed said 75. Then in Dallas, apparently, the speed limit has changed in the past 2-3 years and they haven't updated them yet. so the sign says 70 and the black box thinks that it is a 55. 

So Elder B***** got sent to the other far corner of the mission. Idabell in Oklaholma, on the Arkansas border, and I got Elder A**** from Pleasant Grove. He has been out 4 months or two transfers. He will most likely kill me off. fun fun fun. He is really great and we get along really well.

Then the drive back was nothing special. When we got home at 5 we opened our apartment and it was a mess. They decided to throw away all of our carpet and padding. So we have no carpet and we haven't organized our apartment because they will just mess it all up again. We are now living in the living room and our bedroom is full of our desks and other junk. Don't know quite when they will put new carpet in but it has defiantly been an adventure. Oh to add to the excitement, I am a district leader.

The work here is still going good. We have been keeping ourselves busy and all that. We had a service project this week. The storm this last Monday knocked over some trees at a members home, not on the members home and he lives in the middle of nowhere on 15 acres and a tree fell on the road that gets to his house and on a fence in his horse pasture. So he cut the wood and we put the pieces in a trailer. They have three horses 2 girls and a male. They have the male pinned up because he is being a little crazy with the girls. We opened up the fence to get through and the 2 girls were in the way so they let me guide the horse. I grabbed the rope and guided them away from the gate so the tractor could get through. Meanwhile the wife was getting the male horse out of the pin so he could run around. I was supposed to take the horse I had around the truck and lead them out of the pasture so the male could run around. As i was guiding the horse around the tractor the male got loose from the wife and headed strait for me and it was getting ready to be the alpha male. I got scared and let go of the horse and back off in a hurry and  the male started in. The girl kicked him and the male backed off for a second and the family told me to grab the female and hurry and lead it out of the pasture. I got it out and shut the gate right when the male was about to get out. I was scared for my life there for a second or two. We chopped the tree and got the fence kind of fixed. That was my story for the week. too bad i didn't get any pictures of it.
Wow 98 more days! That means i should get my trunky papers in about 60 days. that is crazy. someone asked my how long i have been out and i said that i have 3 months left and then i did the math about 19 months on the mission. I cant believe that. Crazy. So what i do for the planners is i take the black spyral off. i heat the end up with a lighter and it moves easy. I take it off and pick the pictures I want for the cover. I glue them on with a glue stick and cut off the extras. then i cut the spiral holes out of the picture. after I use the packing tape and tape over the cover and wrap it over on the other side just a little so the cover wont fall off. Then I take a metal hanger and heat up the pointy end on the stove and poke holes through the tape so the spiral can get through. Some people like to use stuff called contact paper instead of tape because with tape it leaves a line down the center. I have also heard of missionaries laminating them. There are some missionaries that have bought a small hole punch to punch the holes out all at once. You can make it however you want. I just want it to be trunky. Put picture of the family, put a countdown on it, write funny stuff in the note section, put pictures of girls inside in between pages on the spiral, pictures of temples. This is just something fun I want to do because I am going to keep my planners and I want these to be fun. 

SKYPE: it will be on Sunday of course at 3-4 o'clock our time so 2 to 3 your time. I cant wait!

New Companion, Elder A****
Apartment after the flood

Creek behind the apartment that had flooded during the storm

Jesse and Elder A**** Dinner at the Hendrickson's home and pictures with their cut out son who is serving in Brazil!

Week 76 in Lufkin, TX (4-27-15)

Transfer update.... I am staying and Elder B**** is leaving.

So the big thing this last week was the meeting in Gilmer. there we received black boxes for our car. It is not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it is still super annoying. We have to sign in with a card every time. Oh well i don't have to deal with it much longer. then FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!! 

We had an open house for the church with the Spanish branch and no one we invited showed. oh well it happens. so we watched a couple of Mormon messages with the branch shared a message and ate pizza. It was like a big family party. 

At church we had a ward conference for the branch and the ward. During the Spanish branch sacrament there were actually more people there from the stake then there were people from the Spanish branch. We tried to do headphone translation, but the system didn't work, so we gave up. oh well it happens.  

This morning we woke up to crazy thunder. and lightning. at like 5. We watched it and listened to it until it died down and tried to go back to sleep. we woke up at like 7:30 because the power got knocked out. Someone knocked on the door and when I got up to answer it the floor was wet. I answered the door and the parking lot was flooded. Some cars were sunk. We have a ditch behind our apartment and it over filled. Luckly no damage was done to our beautiful truck. We went out and played in the water some and there was this lady that lives a couple of doors down from us and she kept trying to reassure us that she has informed her medicare and everything will be alright. and that it was just the ditch that overflowed and that she is going to sue the city for lack of flood preparation and that she has called and is calling her medicare to come take care of this. The apartment didn't entirely get flooded. It just got the carpet wet in the bedroom. Workers are draining the water now and they have big fans to help. 
Sorry i am keeping it short we have a lot to do today. We have to say goodbye to everyone and get laundry done and let Elder B***** pack. have a great week and i will let you know who i get.

Cool car picture



Week 75 in Lufkin, TX (4-20-15)

hey ya'll 
I had a pretty awesome week. Had a sweet new investigator named M***. she is awesome. We have had 4 lessons with her in the past week and a half and she is so awesome. She has so many questions and wants to understand everything. Last Sunday she came to church and they had a special meeting. They picked 6 speakers to give a short talk on their favorite hymn and then the congregation sang it. There were so many good testimonies and it was so spiritual. M*** had tears in the end. it was so amazing to be here for that.  She is also really friendly. 
This week is going to be a pretty busy week. there are so many things that are happening. So on Thursday we will have a big meeting in Gilmer. A very small town about 30 north of Longview, which is more than 2 hours away from us.  There we will be given black boxes for the cars. Which tracks everything that happens in the cars.. then on Sunday night we get our transfer calls. we don't know what will happen. We both have a 50/50 chance of leaving, and whoever stays will probably stay for the rest of the mission. It will be interesting to see what happens. 

well i hope that you all have a good week. 

Baby kitten

Wilson the Dog

Heading to meeting in Gilmer.  Was up at 4 am :/

Week 74 in Lufkin, TX (4-13-15)

Sorry for another lame update. this week had been really slow.

One thing that did happen is that I gave a talk in the Spanish branch. We have to give talks at least once a month because the branch is so small. There are literally 4 families that make up the entire branch. I gave a talk on Jose A Pino's talk that he gave at conference about an eternal perspective. I think it went well. I also told the story of the dress that looks like it is different colors when it is really gold and white.

We are just starting trying to work with the members more and it has its slow beginnings, but it is picking up faster and faster. Hopefully we can keep up the momentum. 

We got a phone call from our zone  leaders a couple of days ago and they told us that the mission is going to be loosing about 100 missionaries by the summer. The mission is trying to prepare early for that by changing some of the boundaries to make them bigger and they are taking away 10 cars because there are less missionaries and they dropped our mile limit by 100. So they are now trying to force us to to member work. that is one way to get the job done. 

so with that call about taking away cars, they are already splitting up people and putting them in trio companionship. those suck. transfers are the 26th. there are 2 options of what is going to happen. 1 i stay for the rest of the mission and Elder B*** leaves for the rest of his mission. he only has two more transfers left. i would have left with him if i wasnt going to stay another 2 weeks. or 2 i could go somewhere for 2 transfers and two weeks. either way i am going to be put in a trio for the last two weeks. i am not looking forward for that. oh well at least i get the airport all to myself when i come home. hopefully.
This last Saturday we did service in this field for a member. There is this annoying weed that grows 5 feet tall is hallow and is covered in inch long thorns. So we had the job to cut them down. We had gloves and a machete. It was kind of like a video game. The weed is purplish and is super easy to cut down. It was like the challenge mode. Cut down all the weeds in the given time. It was fun being able to work outside.  Save some gardening for me. jk. 

Thank you for signing me up for the classes. i cant wait for school to start.
there is a zoo here that elder brower and i are planning on going to the last pday together. we are trying to save miles so we can do it. 

Well I hope that you all had a great week. my was pretty good. have a great week

Week 73 in Lufkin, TX (4-6-15)

Conference was a blast. there were so many good talks. there is a ton that i could apply to the missionary work. there is a lot I could apply here in Lufkin. I loved how there was a focus on becoming one with others in faith.

Our focus here has changed dramatically in the last couple of weeks. We have changed from looking for investigators and finding to more member and less active work. That is why there has not been much to talk about. it has been great because our time has been filling up and we have become more productive. there has been a ton of success. The greatest amount of success is the type that cant be measured.

I hope that you all had an inspiring conference. I personally cant wait for the next ensign to come out so i can study the talks more. I can only suck in so much information at one time. 
Elder B*** loved the package you gave him. it really made his day, especially when he found the money. He went out and bought a socket set from harbor freight. He likes to collect tools and all that. it was really good for him too, because his parents don't send him too many packages. he said that he got one for Christmas and he was surprised to get a small one from his parents for this Easter. thank you for thinking about him.

oh and i hope that you didn't sign me up for the acting class. that was meant to be a joke. i was not serious at all.
hope that you had a great Easter.

Breakfast and Lunch.  So glad he is cooking!

Easter basket from the H****** family.  Jesse says they are spoiled by them :)

Easter package fun!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 72 in Lufkin, Texas (3-30-15)

Hey Everybody
today was a crazy week. Monday night the told us about a meeting in Dallas for all of the district leaders on Thursday, and since my companion is a district leader they sent him. i couldn't go so i went on an exchange with the Henderson district leader. we exchanged on Wednesday night. and my companion and the district leader in Henderson went to Longview to stay with the zone leaders so they could wake up early and leave for Dallas. At 4:00 the assistance called a missionary companionship in Nacagdouches and wanted him to go to Dallas so he had to cancel all of his plans for the day drive to Henderson wake us up and take us to a place called Kilgore to meet up with the zone leaders so he could go to the meeting with him and i got put in a Trio and we headed back to Henderson to work. the meeting for my companion was from 9-4, but it went longer and ended at 5. then the mission president told them to have a zone meeting about what was taught the next day. so i had to sleep another night in Henderson and we went to Longview the next morning for the zone meeting and then left around 1 and didn't return to Lufkin until 3. my companion had driven 600 miles in three days and he was exhausted. we were both exhausted. 

We got a new video to show people. it is called #becausehelives it is an awesome video to get us prepared for Easter. you should go and watch it and fill in the blank "Because He Lives........."

i cant wait for this general conference. #missionarysuperbowl
Miles driven in March

New Sunglasses

Exchanges this week

Week 71 in Lufkin, Texas (3-23-15)

this week was honestly kind of slow there were a couple of highlights.

1 since the senior couple in Hemp Hill had to go home my district was combined with Nacadouches and Henderson.  Every Tuesday we have to drive to Nacadoches to have a district meeting, and we willl be playing basketball there in the mornings. It will add a special twist to everything. 

2 Every Friday the spanish branch plays sports here at the church and this week they played basketball and for the first half, I was on fire. It actually looked like i knew what i was doing. 

3 Stake parties here are alot more fun than up in Utah. no offense but it was fun here. they did a steak carnival for the youth and we helped prepare and helped maintain it. it was a blast. 

Still been going strong. Elder B***** and i have been working hard for the ward. we now have our vision for the area and are doing great working though it. 
I hope that you all had a great week. bye
Perfect gum wrapper separation!

Texas ward party

Week 70 in Lufkin, Texas (3-16-15)

hey so this week was one crazy week for me. we had so much to do and it filed up all of our time. so here we go,

on Monday right after i get done emailing we were told that we were going to go to Nacadoches for a sleep over. the assistant's were going on exchanges with us on Tuesday and they didn't want us to have to wake up super early for their meeting that they were going to have so they told us to sleep over at the elders apartment there. we got there and found out that they had tile floors everywhere. luckily they had two couches, but we were then told that 2 of the 3 Assistants were sleeping over there too. it was packed in that tiny apartment. oh and i for got to say that Elder S**** is an assistant and he was there. we actually went on an exchange with him on Tuesday. it was so awesome to see him again. 

Tuesday came and we had a huge breakfast before the meeting and then the meeting went longer than expected. we left there around 2 with a 30 min drive back to our area and went to a couple appointments with him. he has to be back to Nac by 5 so we didn't get much time with him, but it was still great to see him again. 

then on Wednesday we had another big trip. since there was going top be a big meeting on Thursday with Elder Foster of the 70, we got permission to do another sleep over in Dallas with the assistants. so we drove the 3 and a half hours to Dallas and got there around 10. the assistants had just barely got back from another exchange with other missionaries in East Texas when we got there. and they still had more stuff to do so they told us to go to sleep and they will see us in the morning. they had to wake up early in the morning so we didn't get to see them very much but that was ok because we had a great meeting with elder Foster.

one of the first things he talked about was IPADS. yes IPADS. well he mentioned them and said that we need to be obedient and then went on to talk about missionary work, expectations, and how great God is. it was a really great meeting. i was glad he came. after he had a meeting with all the district leaders and since my companion was a district leader he got to go, and in that meeting Elder Foster told them that ipads will be here in 2 months. so that means in about 3 months i will be able to use one and that my last month in the mission will be a really great one. 

then on Friday it was normal missionary day, but on Saturday we prepared for a baptism. J***** got baptized. it was so awesome and he was so exited. the baptism went really great and there was a lot of support there. it was a really great week.

oh and some transfer news. drum roll...........................i am staying. wooooo. well i hope that you all had a great week. love you.
Meeting with Elder Foster of the 70's

Elder Jorgensen and Elder S******



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Week 69 in Lufkin, Texas (3-9-15)

Hey everyone. hope that y'all had a great week.
To start off. Funny story. we were leaving target and we decide to just contact a worker who was picking up trash on our way out from the store. Elder B**** asked her "excuse me, Are you enjoying the cold?" she looked surprised and responded "What!?!" Elder B**** repeated "are you enjoying the cold?" she took out an earphone and said "oh that is what you said, i thought that you said do you want to join our cult." ..........i am glad we represent the church well. we do as 3rd nephi 3:7. Join our Secret works.

We helped a Spanish member remodel his kitchen. We stripped wall paper, worst invention ever! and we helped his pregnant wife build a dog pen for their 3 Chihuahuas. they were just living on their porch, which is 3 feet from the ground and has no stairs.  We sprayed it off and bleached it. it looks soooooo much better now. the dogs just love their new spot. 

And on Saturday we are having a baptism. Ji***** is getting baptized. he is so exited for this. he went up and bore his testimony last Sunday on his baptism. 

On the sad side we had a really strong investigator drop us. She didn't really give us a reason why. she even had a date set out for this Saturday too. oh well that is how it goes. 

well i love you all and hope that you have a great week.

Lufkin District

Elder and Sister Donaldson
Youth Activity: Hungry, Hungry Hippos


Week 68 in Lufkin, Texas (3-2-15)

Hey Everyone. hope that you all had a great week. it has been crazy down here. the weather went from the 30's to the 60's in just a week. and i thought that Utah had crazy weather. on wensday we were the only missionaries that were aloud to drive. well us and another set in Nacadoches. the rest of the mission was in a couple of inches of snow. and were not aloud to leave the apartment. sad for them.

So at church we go to 2 sacrament meetings since we are covering a branch and a ward. and both of them talked about this dress. that is black and blue, but people see it as white and gold. we had no clue what that was. we had to have a member show it to us and explain. after the explanation we understood what they meant in the meeting. the speakers related it to the gospel and how we interpret the scriptures and how the apostasy came about. he also explained how grateful he was to have a prophet to clarify the things of importance so we didn't have to worry if that dress was blue and black or if it was white and gold. i thought that that was pretty cool.

we have had a lot of miracles this week. when we have had down time we go tracting and everyone knows how efficient that is. and he has blessed us with people to serve. one example is we started to knock some doors and about 2 minutes into it a truck with a moving trailer shows up and parks next to where we were at. we went over and offered to help and they accepted. which is an unusual thing. usually people don't accept. as we were helping he started to ask questions about our work and how long we had been out. it turns out that he had helped with scouts in another state and it was held at the LDS church. he also started family history. we let him know about the library here and he was exited to go. he wasn't interested to hear a message from us, but i would rather have good relation with one person rather than bug 100 and get nowhere. another seed was planted and a family was helped. 

our date for the 14 of march is so far still a go. he just has to quit smoking. we are working with him on that and it is going great so far. thank you for all your prayers and support. i love you all and hope that you all have a great week.
The aftermath of Elder B**** driving off the road to park and getting stuck. #chey4x4sucks

Week 67 in Lufkin, Texas ( 2-24-15)

So yesterday was kind of disappointing. We were supposed to have a meeting with Elder Foster, but because of the weather it was canceled because of the weather. And also because of the weather we couldn't leave the apartment. Which was kind of lame because we woke up and it was 35 degrees out side and nothing had frozen. it was wet from the rain last night but it didn't freeze at all. there wasn't even any frost on the car. but at like 1 they gave us permission to leave the apartment but only if we walked on the safe roads and only if it was absolutely necessary to be out of the apartment. And we got hungry and were on the point of starvation, so we ate lunch at McDonald and walked around the mall for a little bit then we headed back home took a nap and went to an appointment that lived about a mile away from the apartment. it is a part member family and the husband is looking to be baptized, but he has to conquer a smoking habit first. so we helped him make a plan for that.

We have had a miracle happen. there was this old investigator that was taking the lessons but she stopped because her mother died. She called us randomly and said that she would like to be baptized. we had a lesson with her and set up a date for the 14 of march. She is really solid and we showed her the baptismal font and she said that she was ready right then and there that she was ready to be baptized. 

things here are going pretty good. hope you all had a great week

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 66 in Lufkin, Texas (2-16-15)

Holy Crap it has been warm here. it got up to 85 degrees here. Super strange in febuary. alot of people have been saying it is suposed to get really cold here. like below freesing in the next couple days. it is raining here so i hope that it doesnt freeze. well if it does we have a truck, #bestmissionvehicle, #chevycoloradoforlife. something like that. it has 55,000 miles on it and it will be retired soon. then we will get a chevy equinox.   

we have been having these mission wide initiatives. last month was the book of mormon and this month is family history. we have been encouraging all of our members to do the family history or to index. the cool thing that i found is that you can put memories on the family search and other pictures. the zone leaders want to hear cool stories about our ansestors so if you have any cool stories can you please send them in. thank you. 

this area is very service oriented. we try to serve everyone we meet and have a lot of service for non members and they have been asking alot of questions about us. so even if it doesnt turn into a actual teaching we are planting that seed and helping them understand more about the mormons. it has been a ton a raking leaves. i am really glad that the leaves are not that bad in utah. #golawnmower #rakingsucks. 

well i hope you all had a great valentines day and i hope that hashtags havent gone out of style yet. #missionlife
Old TV they scrounged up-doesn't work


Valentine Party


Elder B****

Jesse is always on the look out for awesome cars!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Week 65 in Lufkin, Texas (2-9-15)

Well, one week done in Lufkin here with Elder B***. He has been out a month more than I have. He is super funny and he loves to laugh. He is from a little town north of Seattle in Washington, and doesn't like it when people mention the last Sea Hawk game. i wouldn't blame him. Lufkin is a bit interesting. it took us 5 hours to get here from Dallas. it is really far out here. I am the farthest south you can get on the mission. There is only one farther area and that is Hemp Hill. A senior couple is there. They are pretty cool. They are from Australia. We will see them at least once a week. They are the only other missionaries in our district. We are so far out from everyone else and like Sherman there is not much to do. Luckly there are elders from Nacadouches that are coming down today to play basketball. That will make it more fun.

We have been doing a lot of service lately. Elder B*** and the last elder have been offering a lot of service to everyone and we have had a lot of time serving friends of the members. We have mostly been raking leaves. I am so glad that i don't have to rake leaves like this back in Utah. There are so many trees here. I cant believe this. Compared to Dallas this is a whole other state. 

I have been trying to get to know the ward. We had an activity with the youth last Wednesday were they pretended to be missionaries. Everyone liked it and had fun. They learned how to sew and iron. They had fake doors to knock and share their testimony and then we had a mini district meeting where we taught them how to use the scripture mysteries to help them teach and how to apply it to themselves. 

It was a good week here and thing are building up. Elder B*** and i are going to have fun.
Now I know what these elders do to blow off steam!  I'm glad I spent so much time over the years nagging Jesse to keep his room clean. I can tell from the video that it has all paid off :/
Awesome Sherman Elders

Transfer Day Pictures.  Saying goodbye to some great Elders!

Lunch Time!!!!

New Companion...Elder B***