Dallin hasn't been home for a year. Contact with him is sporadic, depending on when he has cell phone coverage. It has been good to see him and meet Erin, his girlfriend. Jose, Dallin's dog, is a great dog! And Erin has two cats that are cute but we keep our distance because we're allergic to them. They are enjoying the back yard.
Pennie is not quite sure she likes these animal visitors...
We think Dallin and Erin will be with us for a couple of weeks, until Jayson's baptism. It will be fun to have them!
This week we talked about the 2000 Stripling Warriors. They were 2000 young men, with absolutely no battle experience. But, they had faith that God would help and sustain them if they were needed. They were definitely needed, and after a super hard battle, where many men were lost, including captains, it was discovered that not one of the young men had been lost. What made the difference?
It was their faith in God and their reliance on Him. We explored a little bit about what that kind of faith might look like. We watched this talk by Elder Dale G. Renlund:
Over the years, I've had several of the girls I've taught at church ask me how to keep the Spirit they feel at EFY with them all the time. This talk gives a great answer. It is faith. It is doing the right things when no one else is watching.
After we watched the video, we wrote phrases on index from the scriptures and from this talk that we posted around the house. Jayce really got into it.
I can't believe I forgot Caitlin and Billy's anniversary yesterday. I know they wouldn't have noticed but I would've wished myself a happy anniversary or something...I don't know. Speaking of weddings, I forgot to mention that I got Sarah's wedding announcement like 2 weeks ago. It has now hit me how strange this is because she JUST GRADUATED seminary for Pete's sake! Ohwell, it happens. Like to my Mom. Good thing I wasn't alive yet. But I'd like to congratulate her because she seems really happy. I wish I could be there for the sealing in 4 days. Tell me how it goes because I'm sure you'll be there.
Sorry I don't have any pictures this week because Mike (the one who recently got baptized...4 times) went to Michigan to take his son, Noah (who has a baptismal date for the 25th), to see his biological mother with his wife, Pam. A couple of weeks ago, they had some friends go to Tennessee to see their baby get born. They were living with Mike before that and when they left (Oh, by the way he paid for their Greyhound ticket and pretty much everything. Mike is really Christlike especially since he's been baptized) they stole their 2 cameras. One digital one like I have and one that costed $1000. So I gave them mine to use for a week. I hope they made good use of it. I think I trust that they will give it back to me, haha! Last week I also forgot to mention that I went on splits with one of the zone leaders, Elder Avenius, and another elder who is going home this week, Elder Gabbittas. We had more people answer the door than normal but I was glad to have Elder Clare back.
Sounds like you guys had a good church meeting. Oh, hey did you tell brother Haws and Grandma and Grandpa to keep sending me letters? It's easier for me to do that. About Cody's Eagle, I was the same way; not really motivated. But if I were to do it again, I would be. Just make sure he knows what he's doing on project day. At least I was able to get a majority of the ward out to help, as I know he can do too. Cody? Writing about indexing? Who gave him that talk? I just hope he's glad that it only had to be 5 minutes instead of 15, or 60 like an apostle or somebody who can talk that long. Jayce watched the Light Soldier? AKA dark night? Muy malo, muy malo. Oh, we've been teaching this Spanish family and I can't understand a lot of what they're saying, but that's why we send people to Spanish speaking missions to help fellowship later in life. We hope to see them again tomorrow or tonight depending on what that Spanish speaker is doing. I've been getting more bug bites than I have wanted here in the past few days. I have a total of 5 right now when I usually would have 1 at a time. Also these past few days, 3 women in our branch had babies in 3 days time: 2 on Friday and 1 yesterday. It has been exciting to be able to see them for the first time without huge bellies.
Yay! Did you post my address on my page and motivate people to write me? Because the only letters I got last week were those 2 denials to Caitlin. I WANT MAIL! Elder Clare got 2 packages the other day. Oh, actually I got a manila envelope from Sister Beebe and some girls in the PQ2 primary. I got Meghan's flat Stanley and will take pictures with it as soon as I get my camera back. It looks so cute and I can tell they worked hard on it. Tell them I said Hi. Sounds like you are getting a taste of what it is like here in Kansas. Still can't be too bad. Oh, hey last week I met a guy who moved into our branch from Manhattan (since we got a new building, the boundaries changed) named brother Hancock. And he lived in Gilbert, Arizona a while back and had Elder Clare's grandfather as his stake president. Small world huh? Well just wait because it gets smaller. He lived in Mira Mesa about 10 years ago and had President Riding as his bishop! So it was way cool to hear that. Plus, I was wondering who the stake president was back then because I have been straining my mind to think of his name for the past week and can't think of him. I know his counselours were President McPhee and Winter. He was eventually mission president in Argentina, and is the coolest guy ever. Why has the name escaped me?
All right I'll answer your questions. I don't really hear from brother Crouch that much even though I live in his house. He seems kind of sensitive about some things just as his wife is. But I know that he went in to get a surgery date to remove the cancer. That's all I know. The new building is AWESOME! Although the new building feeling wore off after only a week because lots of inactives came and left. I feel so blessed to have this building and I shouldn't have taken for granted the Penasquitos stake center. That building is awesome, especially because of it's full sized basketball court. I think that new building feeling will come back as we have the open house this Saturday. I get the 4-6 shift. The building should be dedicated next Sunday. The new building is on Vineyard road in St. George, Kansas. Yeah, we eat up a lot of miles just driving from home into town. It stinks because we are limited on miles. That family lives out in Frankfurd (or Frankfurt, I can't remember) and it is like 30 minutes away. Unfortunately, after seeming really interested, they haven't been answering our calls at all and we have dropped them. We lose the care this week and will not have it as often anymore because after transfers this week, the zone leaders in Manhattan will be getting full-time cars and we'll probably have to walk/bike a whole lot more. Speaking of bikes, I called the mission vehicles guy and he said that he has a pretty nice bike that he could sell me for only $200. So I went to the ATM and withdrew the money from my personal account. You can see it if you go to Chase. I should get the bike by Friday or Saturday. Well I think taht's all I can think of to say right now. I love you all and keep writing me letters! Facebook amigos included. Love,
Elder Derek Sutherland
PS: "This meeting is officially under order. Let us all say the pledge: 'I am a nice shark. Not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, NOT FOOD!.'"
"Except stinkin' dolphins!"
"Yeah, dolphins they think they're so cute. 'Hey I'm a flippy little dolphin. Look at me I'll flip something for ya.'"
"Okay, that's enough. All right today's lesson is bring a fish friend. Now you all got your friends?"
"Got mine." hmhmhmhmhmhmhm
"Excellent, Chum. Anchor, how about you?"
"Oh, um I have seemed to have misplaced my, uh, friend. (suck)."
"That's all right. Why don't you go ahead and take one of these for today."
"Just start with your name."
"Okay. Hello. My name is Marlin. I'm a clownfish."
"A clownfish!!! REALLY!!!"
"Go on! Tell us a joke!"
"Oh, I love jokes."
"Well, I have one that's pretty good. Um, so there's this mollusk. And it walks up to this sea cucumber. So the mollusk says to this sea cucumber... 'Daddy!!! HELP ME!!' Nemo!"
"HAHA! Nemo! HAHA! I don't get it."
...(I'm not going to type the whole scene. Have Cody recite it for you.)
Hey Mom, I don't have much time but I'll try to answer your questions. So that's way fun that you had fun with Jessica, her girls, and Caitlin. I also heard all about high adventure. It sounds like it was a great. Come on Cody. Before you know it you'll be 18 and won't be able to get your Eagle. Besides, it would be nice to get driving experience before your mission. Don't worry, I was scared the first time I drove on a freeway but you'll get used to it. But I'm not you. Do whatever you want. We might actually have another baptism on Jayce's birthday. But we are going to ask him today. So as for the pants, I have 5 dry clean only and 4 washable. I discovered that after I asked you. I don't care if you send more, I've been working with it and I just might wash my dry clean only's in the machine anyways. I can pretty much buy everything here. There's a huge Wal-mart in Manhattan that we buy stuff at every week so if I need anything other than prescription stuff don't worry about it. Yeah, we have an open house on the 18th. Oh, that picture that I sent is the view from where I live. Jealous? We do have a few people that are mean to us. But if they're not interested, that's all they say. Most of the people here are really nice. Yeah, way to go Pad Squad! Any players that have been called up since I left? I remember the starting lineup for opening day was Maybin, Headley, Guzman, Alonso, Hudson, Bartlett, Hundley, Venable, and Stauffer. Of course the Padres released a certain couple of players in that lineup, I just want to know who's been called up besides Grandal. If you want to see my comments about Dallin, see the e-mail I sent to dad. But when he gets there, ask him if he's been here in Wamego. Because there's a train that comes through here everyday. I know it's a coal train but hey, it's a possibility. I love you and I got to go,
PS: "Show them that you're their friend. Be nice."
"I love you."
"Not like that."
"Hey, how are you doing?"
How am I doing?"
"You want to buy some chocolate?"
"Sorry, chocolate contains sugar which turns into bubbling fat. Isn't that right bubble boy?"
"Tee hee. It tickles"
(Sorry that may not have been entirely accurate)
Hey Dad. Thanks for letting me know how the high adventure went. It seemed like fun. Last year's was not fun so I hope it was different and it actually was fun, haha! Yeah I got your letter but I forgot it in the car so I won't type much about it. I really liked reading that though and even if it seemed like it or not, I have been doing my very best to control my anger and frustration about others since sixth grade. I got sent to the counselour's office at Mesa Verde for something I would've done in fifth grade and decided that I would control my emotions. That's why I'm so quiet and not really social now, I think. That's why we have companionship inventory in the field once a week; it is meant to tell your companion about things that bother you in a loving way. Elder Clare and I get along really well so we don't really degrade each other about anything we've noticed.
Michael got the Priesthood!? That's awesome! Wow, I can't believe my little Miky is all grown up. Did he go on the high adventure this year? I really feel sorry about Sister Peterson. Those are times that we really need to focus on being Christlike and be loving even though it's something that really hurts you.
So my normal schedule was sent in an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, but I'll give you the watered down version. I get up at 6:30 (this is all in the missionary handbook if you have one), study from 8-12, eat lunch, go proselyting until 8:45 or so with dinner for an hour at 5 or as late as 6:30. I then go home and have planning at 9:30 and go to bed at 10:30. We go tracting almost every day. Not for an extensive period of time but whenever we have nothing to do and we need to find. The best time to tract is Sunday because everybody is home. I have a car 3 out of 4 weeks at a time. I then walk everywhere because I don't have a bike for that one week. There are no signs of cooling here. Man, Dad you need to give your missionaries some referrals. They can't do any work without the help from the ward. They might eventually be removed because the work is so slow. President Hinckley once said "So many of us think of missionary work as simply tracting. But we all know that there is a better way. That way is through the members of the church."
Dad, I want you to show Dallin these words from the computer as quoted by president Uchtdorf: STOP IT!! Dallin, you NEED to stop doing what you're doing and come back to church. The Lord sees you as his son and even though you didn't serve a mission, he still loves you and you can still help many people come into the gospel. If you could see a talk that I saw while in the MTC, elder Holland said: "Don't even practice the thought of going home." I know you're not on a mission but this same thing applies to activity. Don't even practice the thought of staying away from this church. If Erin is an excuse then bring her into the church. I want you to re-fill your spot at our celestial table. I see lots of people here in Wamego that could've had better lives had they taken the right path and what you are doing is NOT it. For example one guy we are teaching turned down Football scholarships to many large schools so that he could go into construction and be with his friends. Satan has gotten a strong hold on you and I know that with faith in Christ like Alma the younger, you can come out out of this rut and "become as a saint. Submissive, meek, gentle, kind, full of love, willing to submit to all things[...]"(Mosiah 3:19) Don't become like the natural man. For "wickedness NEVER was happiness"(Alma 41:10; emphasis added). Dallin I love you and wish you could hear my voice when I say these things. Please...please follow the counsel of the prophets, your father, and me and repent.
I love you Dad, and this might be the only letter I write to the family this week because I'm waybehind on typing. Please emphasize that last paragraph when you see Dallin again. Love,
Elder Derek Sutherland
PS: Could you please tell everyone that has sent me e-mails (Grandpa, Brother Haws) to please send letters. I have limited time on the computer and want only you and Mom to e-mail me. Sometimes (like today) even that's not enough time.
My niece, Jessica, and her adorable little girls, spent the last two and a half weeks at our house. We invited her to come and get a break from the Texas heat. Her husband is deployed in Afghanistan until November, and she needs to stay busy to pass the time while he's away. What better way than to visit San Diego?
We had so much fun! It was busy and hectic because I was still in school and I participated in our Stake Girl's Camp, but it all worked out. Fortunately, Caitlin was home for a couple of weeks, also, and for once, the girls outnumbered the boys!
We started off the week with a Padres game! They happened to be playing the Houston Astros! The Astros won, of course.
I had to include this picture because I thought it was hilarious. I took care of the girls in the morning when Jessica and Caitlin would go running. This is one way the girls chose to wait for their mom to return.
The San Diego Zoo was one of the first stops. I stayed home to work on my final papers and exams for school. I'm sure Jessica got a lot more pictures (only serious photographers sling their camera around their back :)). I'll blog more when I get her pics.
One night, we went to Del Mar for sunset. We grilled hot dogs and enjoyed the beach. It was one of the funnest things we've done all summer. It was beautiful and relaxing.
Maggie has a love/hate relationship with sand.
Jessica goes to great lengths to get the perfect shot!
It was so great to have Caitlin home.
Maggie basically ate chips for dinner that night.
On my birthday, Jessica and Caitlin got up early with me to go for a run on the beach. It was awesome!
Then we got cleaned up, and Cody watched all the kids while the girls and I attended the temple.
Jessica's birthday was two days later, and she wanted to celebrate by parasailing! They jump right off over the ocean!
Mark watched the girls and we went shopping for four hours! We introduced Jessica to Nordstrom and Anthropologie! These were a couple of birthday gifts.
This is the only picture I have from Sea World (so far). It took three of them to get sunscreen on Maggie!
They've been gone for two whole days and the house is too quiet! We loved having them!
They have a brand new church building in their area. It reminds me of our Bainbridge Island building. It's so exciting for them to have a building now.
This is where they used to meet...behind a Chinese restaurant!
It's good to hear that you had a busy yet fun week! The olympics started on Friday and I was bummed to miss it yet at the same time I was happy because I chose to serve a mission and not give up in the MTC as one person here in the branch did back in April. But I better get used to it because I am also going to miss Winter 2014. My mission has been so cool so far and I hope it stays that way (cool not as in weather-wise; it's been over 100 all last week pretty much). It's good to hear how the Padres are doing. I love hearing about them even though I can't watch them. Nice! Huston Street signed an extension! That will be great to see him in a Padres uniform when I get back.
Yeah, I have been using my priesthood so much! And it is really cool to be able to make even non-members happy when I use it on them or someone they know. Mike's baptism was this past Saturday and it was really special to me because he wanted me to do the baptizing. Okay, don't laugh at me, but we were both pretty nervous and I had to baptize him 4 times before it was right. The first time I forgot to close my eyes when I said the prayer and he stuck his foot out of the water. The second time it was everything (eldow, head, arm). Third time it was his elbow, and before the fourth time brother Seljastad calmed him down (this whole time I thought it was my fault) and then we got it right. The congregation cheered when we got it right (I didn't feel that was appropriate, but whatever). That was very special because the building had literally just been completed and it was the first function in the new building. It only took under 2 hours to fill the font too! But it was kind of small and low but that was okay because we got it done. As always, it took me a long time to change and dry off and I got back just in time to see the last 2 seconds of the 20 minute video to show while we changed. We then confirmed him a member of the church yesterday in the new chapel and after church, he also received the Aaronic Priesthood. So he's set to lead his family down the right path. Even if they don't want to join the church right away. Brother Chandler taught the gospel principles class AND the combined Relief Society lessons. I know that he's a school teacher but that's a lot of stress for one week of church if you ask me. His lessons were very, very good though. He's the bomb.
Yeah, he did live a little longer than expected just as I said in the blessing I gave him so that was really cool. Yeah, I guess I could've given him a blessing but he wanted to battle through it on his own...I don't know. I am pretty sure he prayed a lot. Maybe his home teachers gave him a blessing, I don't really know. We are also teaching this new person named Orki. He is in the army and his wife's friend went on a mission to Florida who speaks like 7 different dialects of Spanish. He has a lot of questions. He is Christian just as we are and he wanted to know a lot about the gospel. I think tomorrow night when we go teach him again we'll try and invite him to baptism.
Yeah, sorry Pennie but you just can't go chase a frisbee because you'd be so confused. Go ahead and tell her the truth. Bandit is so cool. As for our room, we have a bathroom and the kitchen is still under construction, but we just wash our dishes in the bathroom sink. It's not like that's bad or anything. I think we kill 1 large creature a day in our room. The common theme has been crickets, but I also killed a spider as big as a silver dollar the other day. Sometimes I feel lazy and just vaccum it up with the little roller vaccum that we sister Crouch gave to us. I haven't seen any roaches here but I love it when a bird goes up into the trees and owns a cicada. Those large flies deserve it.
Yeah, I memorized the first lesson, but I'm only a third of the way done with the second lesson and Elder Clare is almost done with it. The "Our life on Earth" section is super long and that's the part that is next. I hope Cody knows how important it is get to know those scripture mastery scriptures because they sure are helping me out here. Hey, did you get my letter to Cody and Jayce? I hope they enjoy hearing from me as much as I love hearing from them. Eating fast can be hard. Especially when the food is terrible. There's this one sister in our branch (should be ward because of how big the congregation was yesterday) who always gives us terrible food. Good thing she gives it to us in containers so that we can just go throw them away when she's not looking. I'll be darned.
That's way cool you went to Seaworld last Monday. Did you guys ride that new ride that they have there? Seaworld can get rather boring after 5 hours don't you think? I guess not for younguns. It sounds like girls' camp was so cool! The young women have always loved you and I'm sure you did great. Brother and Sister Walton sure sound like the people that love to help and teach because that's exactly what they do. I wrote a letter for them but don't have their address. Could you give that to me. Sorry if I already said that before. 1 AM, huh? That's fun stuff right there...especially 2 straight nights. Hey, at Disneyland did you ride the new Cars ride? It sounds like that would be a fun one for little kids. Cody and Jayce sure made a wise choice by not going. Especially because it seems like they go three times a year anyways.
Let me know how the high adventure goes. Dad e-mailed me this morning too. What exactly were Dad and Cody planning on doing at lake Powell? You went to Gene and Michelle's? I am way jealous. What were Rifka's friends names? I think I could probably remember who they were. They sound like they were in my FHE group. Was it Sarah/George, Aimee, or any other of her roomates?
Yes Cody! I remember presenting my project to Mr. Intimidating, brother Hatch. At least he passed. If you don't want to do the same amount of work as you did for mine, have Cody pitch in more so that he knows what he's talking about on project day. I remember I didn't know quite enough even though I still got it done. Haha, he had to wear Dad's. That's funny. Who's Mr. Boyd? I loved my counselour a lot and didn't care that he lived in San Marcos. Brother Gonzalez was his name. Good idea. got to get it done before the sports start kicking in. That's why I did mine before high school. Too bad Cody can't turn back the clock.
It's great to hear that you might go to Provo. I can't give you any advice so it's up to you! Have fun a the Wild Animal park. A guy in my branch, the branch mission leader brother Earl (it's so hard to remember to say "branch" because of how long I've been in a ward), went to a REAL wild animal park in Africa. Well, he's there this week. He went to Tanzania. Hey, why don't you do some missionary work by sharing the link to your blog in my facebook wall so that people can get an idea of what I do. I hope it becomes interesting to them. I have unfortunately run out of things to say. I love you all and hope you get pumped up for school coming back in a few weeks! Love,
Elder Derek Sutherland
PS: "Nine thousand nine hundred ninety eight, nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine, ten thousand. Where's the "X"? It should be right here. The map said ten thousand paces east."