December 2010

December 2010

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dallin and Erin Head North!

Dallin and Erin (and Jose and boy cat and girl cat) have been home with us for six weeks. In that time, they have both gotten their driver's licenses, Erin got a bank account and her birth certificate, they've both applied for a community college up in Washington, and she bought this sweet van!

They built a bed and made curtains so it could serve as their home until they are able to find a place to rent in Washington.

 So, they loaded up the van (putting bins and all their stuff under the bed), and headed out. The animals seemed excited to go.
 They are really hopeful about their promising future. 
I know they're gonna do great!

Derek's Letter #13 9-24-12

This week was a good one. After exchanges 2 Fridays ago, we had another exchange with Junction City this past Tuesday. Elder Clare went to JC and I stayed in Wamego with Elder Weatherford who is another visa waiter going to India. It was rather interesting that day getting my first experience at dealing with a car shop because the sisters blew a tire the previous day and had on the spare. It didn't cost that much but it was annoying because we had to rush to an appointment. That appointment was also interesting because I've been out only 3 months and Elder Weatherford has been for almost one transfer (6 weeks) so I was actually the senior companion. But I couldn't drive the car because I haven't passed off my lessons yet. Speaking of my lessons, I have lesson 4 passed off and hopefully will get lesson 5 done by transfers this Thursday. So, I dominated that one lesson and it felt like the MTC all over again, haha. So about that CES fireside talk, I heard about it because my companion watched it on last week. One of my favorite rebukes is on that talk: "You checked your religion at the door? NEVER check your religion anywhere." I want to watch the whole thing but never had the chance to. Ooh, hey I got a haircut today from Elder Casper. It was soooooo long and it feels so much better now just to feel the wind across my head. He actually gave a much better haircut than brother Crouch. It's funny to think that those who are trained and go to school for haircuts and stuff are actually worse than those that don't. Like Dad's haircuts are my favorites, but the barber shop that I went to in Rexburg was the worst place ever. Anyways, moving on... No, I have not gotten Cody's letter yet. It takes longer than normal because the mission office has to forward it to me. I should get it soon. Probably today. Oh, hey I also lost my watch and was wondering if you could possibly send me another one of those cheap ones? Thanks.
That's really cool that Dusty came to mutual and got to talk about his mission like that. I'm sure everyone is just oohing and ahing about his stories. I would look on his mission blog every now and again. And Jayson had Cub Scouts?! Man he's growing up. I remember my first day of cub scouts. We had the rain gutter regata and my boat won. That was a good day. When's the pine wood derby? Sounds like you all had a good time on Saturday. Speaking of Saturday, we had a great weekend finding new investigators through the efforts of prayer. I also made it a goal to pass out a Book of Mormon every day this week and want to keep that trend up after this week and for the rest of my mission because the more copies of the Book of Mormon there are in people's homes around the world, the more likely they are to read it and feel the Holy Ghost from it so that they can enter into the fold of God. I also made it a goal to not have any distractions whatsoever in the field: immodest women (looking away sets an example for other people and looking to them just puts filthy thoughts in your mind), TV in restaurants (a member took us to dinner at Cox BBQ and the LSU game was on on Saturday in the restaurant so it was very hard to turn away), and any sports at all because it deters my thoughts away from my work here in the mission field. So if you possibly could stop sending me any more sports updates whatsoever I would greatly appreciate it. I know the Padres season ends this week, but I don't want to know anything else about any sport unless an investigator talks about it a bit. Thanks a lot. Do you remember a brother Hancock? He lived in the MM2 ward for a while about 10 years ago and he is now in my branch here. Speaking of my branch, for dinner on Friday, Sister Chandler asked me what I wanted for dinner the next time they had us over and I said I really missed my Mom's chicken crescent rolls. So she was curious what that was so I explained it to the best of my knowledge and gave her your e-mail to get the recipe from you. So if you see an email address from a Valerie Chandler, now you'll know who it is. And about the chili, I don't understand how anyone in the world likes beans. They are filthy gross. Ugghh, just thinking about it makes me feel...uuggghhh.
It also sounds like you had a great time at the baptism and other things on Saturday. I didn't know that Cody was on the youth committee? Is he the chairman of it like I was? Who is the stake young men's president? He should enjoy being so involved in coordinating youth conference in the spring. Hopefully it goes well there. Oh, the primary program was Sunday huh? That's way cool. I'm sure Jayson did a great job. By the way, how many deacons are there in the ward? I get to pass the sacrament almost every sunday because there are not many deacons here. Anyways how's the New Testament with Sister Walton? But good job sleeping in, that's what I would've done. Good luck on the ACT. That'll be hard and the program I did was way annoying because they give you homework, but it really helped me gain those few points to make it a decent score. So, as for the weather, it does get quite cool at night and in the morning. I kind of want my swish-swish pants and a sweat shirt along with my big coat and possibly a watch that I mentioned earlier. But you don't have to get me boots. I'll be fine. So, is there anything that you would like me to take a picture of and send to you? Yesterday, we had to bike like 20 miles in total all day because for dinner we had to bike to St.  George since our car is getting low on miles and next week when we lose the car, we are going to have to bike into town because our stake president, president Knapp (who is a really awesome guy), doesn't want members to use their gas money just to take us into town and back home. That's going to be a big hassel, especially for suit season, but whatever. I sure don't want to act like Laman and Lemuel who said that this is a hard thing for me to do. But I want to be like Nephi who says I will go and do the things the Lord commands.
Good luck with classes! and I hope you continue to work hard and make the boys work hard in the yard (I like that rhyme right there). Tranfers are this coming Thursday as I said earlier but I am pretty sure I won't be transferred. The thing I'm most worried about is if Elder Clare gets transferred. I will find out tomorrow night so hopefully he stays. I'd say it's a 50-50 chance that he either stays or goes. I'm sure I forgot to say something as I always seem to do, but I'll end now anyways. I love you all (yes I am talking to YOU) and wish you the best at school/work and in every other aspect of life. Before I go I just have to say one thing: Billy is my favorite brother-in-law. Love,
Elder Sutherland
PS: (I don't know if I said this one yet but whatever) BOOM!!
"Two, oooooone (cry). Well, at least I was able to make his last few moments memorable."
"Huh?!" Squish
"Spongebob! What are you doing!!!???"
"Oh, hey now that we've completed the list of things to do, let's get started on this book. We should be able to finish by January."
"FORGET THE BOOK!!!! You were supposed to EXPLODE into a million pieces."
"Well I can try. uuuummmmmm GARY! YOU ARE GOING TO EAT YOUR DESSERT AND YOU ARE GONNA LIKE IT!!! How's that?"
"Oooh, good one."
Sorry, I'm sure I botched it, haha. Ask Cody.

Derek's Letter #12 9-17-12

It's great to hear that Dusty just came home! Man he sure is the awesomest person ever. Reminds me of Dan Jones, one of the first missionaries of this dispensation who was also one of the greatest. Hearing about him makes me want to be a much better missionary because sometimes I have the mindset in the morning that I don't want to work, just stay home and study. But I know that as I remember my purpose and other people that need this gospel, my mindset will change. This has been a good week. Even though we had a couple of investigators drop us, we also found a couple of new ones and got 2 more to baptism dates. We also had an interesting situation last week. One of our investigators who is the same age of Elder Clare and is a girl, was kind of secretly flirting with us through text and in person. At least that's what we think because she is hard to understand sometimes. We're over it and hopefully we can get her to re-commit to baptism this week. She's really nice, so there's no need to worry about it. We also had another investigator who we dropped after the lesson that was telling us that there is no way that the book of mormon could be true or Joseph Smith a prophet because there is no physical evidence of it at all. We told her to keep reading and praying while she told us to reconsider our beliefs. I was so glad to get out of there because her heart is so hardened and so fixed on her church. But something will soften her heart in the future I just know it. The trinity is such a big issue with them meaning that Jesus Christ is the only God of the universe when there is tons of evidence everywhere saying that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Elder Clare has taught me so much in the short amount of weeks we've been companions. I hit my 3 month mark this past week too. I'm not done out here that's for sure. I still have a lot of work to do and people to baptize because "In the Missouri Independence mission, we find, teach, baptize, confirm, and retain."
Dinners this past week have been tough too. On back-to-back nights on Thursday and Friday, the families we had dinner with had chili. Oh boy of all the food in the world, it had to be chili. Don't worry Mom, I ate it. On Thursday I ate the beans whole without chewing and on Friday I chewed them. Friday was the best chili I've had in my life. That's not saying much, though. Last night we had deer meat. That was good. Other than that, I love eating their food. So, you should be able to find the John Tanner video on youtube. It is a very good FHE thing.
You didn't go to her wedding? Sorry, I just assumed you would since you are close friends with them. My bike is good. I broke it the first hour I got it about a month ago and just got it fixed this past week. I just spent $54 with my home card on a derailer and a derailer hanger and Brother Earl fixed it up for me. Now it is rideable and I plan on riding it today. We have been walking when we don't have the car but we will have to bike this week because we are getting low on miles. We have the car for another 2 weeks but miles are the biggest issue this week. Well, it's good to hear that the family is doing well and that Erin and Dallin will be out of there soon. Hopefully that experience in Portland will be a good one. You saw Stimpy?! Tell him I said Hi.
Hopefully in Dusty's homecoming wasn't too emotional. Unfortunately with missionaries who loved their mission like that and worked really hard for those 2 years, they get mission sick when they get home more than the normal person. Like my MTC teacher. He loved his New England mission and for like 3 weeks after he got home, he was super down. But I know if I am that mission-sick, then I will know that I did a good job. Some rules are hard to follow with exactness and it is tempting to disobey them. I am trying my best to be obedient.
Dad asked me about how much mail I get in the mail. The last 2 weeks were bad (like one letter over 2 weeks), but the past few days have been better. President Northcutt is a sealer?! I didn't know that. Who set him apart? Was it the temple presidency or the prophet? I don't really know who does it. Well I can't really think of anything else to say and the other missionaries are already done with their e-mail waiting for me to finish. Just to let you know, I have written in my journal everyday since the first day of the MTC. I write 2 pages each day with lots of detail to remember after my misson. Also, I read my patriarchal blessing for the first time in a while this past week and boy did the spirit hit me hard when reading it. Well that's it I guess, ta ta for now. Love,
Elder Sutherland
PS: Happy Leaf Erichsen day!!!

There's Levi's baptism for ya. That was a great occasion especially for a family that has become inactive or just have never been interested in living the gospel. That kitten is on one of our potential investigator's porch. There's a lot of them and that one seemed to be the cutest of the bunch. It's the same one I'm holding. Yes, I know I need a haircut. I tried this morning but the person who would give it to me was still sleeping and tyhe barber shop in town was closed. Brother Crouch still isn't quite feeling up to getting active again after his surgery to give me one. In that dark one, we were on splits and I was near Randolph, Kansas with zone leader Elder Casper. It was fun to be with him for a day. That last cat is a small one we named simba. It's parent cat was named Mufassa. We were tracting and those cats just kept following us from house to house. 

Jayson's Birthday Celebration!

We had everyone coming into town for Jayce's baptism, so we wanted to do something fun as a family. We chose to go to Boomer's Family Fun Center on Friday night. Fun times!
A little bit of go-karting!

 Grandma and Grandpa Barrow are so fun!

 Cute Cait & Bill!

Jayson's Baptism

Matthew 3: 13, 16-17
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Just as the Savior was baptized, we, too, are baptized. In our church, children are baptized when they reach an age where they understand the choice they are making to be baptized. We call this the age of accountability, and it is eight years of age. I can't believe Jayce is already eight years old!

We took a few pictures before the baptism. I'm so glad Dallin and Erin could make it here, and Caitlin and Billy could get away from their super busy schedules to come. 

We are so lucky to have such wonderful parents (Jayson's grandparents). My parents came all the way from Texas!
 I love these two!

Derek is far away on his mission, so Jayce had to hold his missionary plaque.
 The Sutherland children. Wow.
I didn't get many pictures of people who came. Thanks for coming, Linda! Nancy, Terry, and Hannah made their super long drive. And Gene and Michele! Thanks everyone!

It was a wonderful day, filled with family and feelings of love and gratitude for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Derek Letter #11 9-10-12

Hey family!

It sounds like the whole family had a blast over the weekend with the baptism and everything going on. I do wish I was there but I know that I have work to do out here. Unfortunately, I forgot my backpack at home, so you won't get pictures until next week. Sorry. But since it's P-day I guess that isn't too bad. We only have 1 appointment tonight, so.... But this past week was the complete opposite of the week before. We didn't have many appointments again, but last week, our numbers were still high. This week, our numbers were pretty bad. Only 3 member presents when the standard of excellence is 6 per week. Ohwell. There's always this week. Speaking of my backpack to answer Dad's question, I have worn it everyday and fill it up everyday even if it's not that hot outside. This is like the only day that I have forgotten it on my entire mission.

Ah, that's his name. I couldn't remember President Northcutt's name for some reason. What mission did he preside in Argentina again? I was wondering because an elder in my district got his visa and left about 3 weeks ago to Argentina. So, as for Levi's baptism, we got up at 6 to be ready for Mike to pick us up at 7:30. Unfortunately he never showed up, so we called our branch mission leader (who has been very swamped lately) who went and filled the font. Question: how long does it take to fill your font in the stake center? It takes only 2 hours in our new building. So we got to the church around 9:40 where I got changed and snapped a few pictures before it started at 10. After a talk, we went into the warm font. It only took me once this time as I said the words correctly and did the dunking. He's only 9 so he was as big as Jayce. While I was getting changed, the congregation watched the John Tanner video from the Doctrine and Covenants video library. I love that video so much and really recommend it to watch. We then had some good messages after. Also, we had branch conference at church yesterday with the entire Salina Stake Presidency. Our stake president, President Knapp, gave the lesson in sunday school. He's an institute teacher so he really knows a lot. And boy did I get educated. One thing I learned (the theme was the spirit world and the 3 degrees of glory) was that those who had the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life but reject it (accept it meaning had the opporunity to see, feel, or hear it. Not just missionaries knocking on your door) and accept it in the spirit world can only attain the terrestrial kingdom. I thought that was absolutely fascinating. He also said that for some one to deny the Holy Ghost, they would have to hate Jesus Christ, have held the Melchizidek Priesthood, and want to crucify him again. He gave some other great things but I can't write his entire lesson in this e-mail, haha. Also in sacrament meeting, brother Hancock asked Elder Clare and I to sing in the 10-member choir. We sang "O my father" and I picked up the notes pretty quickly. In no way was it a brother Peterson experience, but it was fun to sing again.

So, Cody took the P-ACT, huh? I remember taking that my Sophomore year. Boy was that an experience. Having James Proudfoot teach me helped so much. Let me give some advice. Don't read all the stories in the literature section, I just skimmed them real quick, looked at a question and if I didn't know it, I just guessed. I guess APES will teach you that too, haha. Who won in Mini-Golf? I remember the days of going to Boomers. That was fun. Caitlin and Billy sold the Mazda? What are they going to do now for a car? I don't know if Billy's 4-runner will hold up that well. Oh, now that it is early September, it is back to Cross Country season. There was a huge XC meet at the Wamego golf course this past Saturday and it made me miss it. But there were teams all the way from Jackson County, Missouri! I could hear the microphone to announce the winners from about a mile away.

So I just got Dad's second e-mail. And Headley has 100 RBI's!!!!???? 27 HR's????!!!!! When did that happen?! Wow, I am very impressed with those numbers. It's good to hear about sports but bad at the same time because not only is it worldly in San Diego, it's like that everywhere, especially here. The plague of immorality and laziness and NFL watching on Sunday is so prevalent. I remember President Hinckley talking about that in one of those Doctrine and Covenants videos how the Sabbath is supposed to be a day of family time not Football time. That's what makes me so mad about RM's at BYU-Idaho. My roomates would fast from 11 PM to 1 PM and made sure they contured their day to watch their favorite team play. I know I sound hypocritical because I was one of those people for a little bit, but the Sabbath is so special to me that it is a day 'APPOINTED unto us to rest from our labors and to pay our devotions unto the most high' (See D&C 59:10, emphasis added). The mission field has already taught me a lot about everything. No wonder it is pretty much a requirement for LDS women to marry RM's. Speaking of that, how did Sarah Leavitt's wedding go a while back? I was very happy for her even though she is only 18. Celestial marriage is what we should all strive to attain. For if we do, we will be able to get the highest degree of exaltation and live with our father in heaven again.

We get the car back today so it should be easier to remember things such as my backpack from now on. Next week we won't be walking anymore because I'm going to get my bike parts today to have Brother Earl, who is a bike repairman, fix it for me. I will use my home card to buy a derailer and a derailer hanger. We will be able to bike around next week when we don't have the car anymore. I kind of like walking but ohwell. So, hey, I didn't get a letter from Grandpa last week. I hope I get it today but I wanted to know how his surgery went from him even though I already heard about it from Dad. Well, I can't think of anything else really. I just want to say that Jayce, I love you a lot buddy. I hope you remember that from now on when you take the sacrament, it's like you're getting baptized again. That spirit should be with you always. try your best not to sin or be a bad boy. I know you're going to be happy and God will bless you as you obey his words. One more thing to Jayson to remember forever: Night night Jayce, have fun sleeping. Love,

Elder Sutherland

PS: "Look at that cute little baby, Diego. Isn't it nice he'll be joining us for breakfast."
"It wouldn't be breakfast without him."
"Those humans have killed our family (or something like that), and used their skins to keep warm. An eye for an eye."
"Let's show those humans what happens when they mess with Sabers."
"Alert the troops. We attack at dawn. And Diego, bring me that baby. Alive. If I want to enjoy my revenge, I want it to be fresh."

Or how about:"They left without me. They do this every year. Why? Doesn't anyone love me. Isn't there anyone who cares about Sid the sloth."
"All right, I'll just go by myself. splsshh. Oh...sick. Hey nice, buddy, warn me next time! Oh, geez, oh gross."
"A dandelion, I thought the frost wiped 'em all out."
"All but one." (you know what happens next)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jayson's Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley is a little boy who was normal sized until he got flattened by a bulletin board! It may be tragic for him, however, he can transport himself so much easier now! 

Jayson made a bed for him, complete with a pillow...

And took him in the shower...

 Jayson constructed it out of playing cards.
 And gave him a buddy...

It's super fun having a second grader :).

Derek Letter #10 9-3-12

Hey familia!

Sounds like Erin and Dallin are doing well. Hopefully they can change their life for the better. Sorry I didn't e-mail earlier; the library was closed and we didn't have time to do it yesterday. So that's why we're doing it today. Before I forget, I have a few questions for you: Do you know the Stake President's name before President Ellsworth? It's been bugging me for a while now. Also, could you send the following to me: ballot for the 2012 election, sweat shirt (For P-day when it starts to get cold again), my missionary approved jacket that we got at Mr. Mac (again, just when it starts to get cold again)? Thanks so much. I don't know if I'll need those for a while because it's still in the 100's here. But back to your e-mail, Dallin needs to get back into the church and I know he will eventually because about a year ago, I was praying really hard for him and got the prompting that everything was going to be okay. Whether it's 50 years from now, who knows. I was going to tell you that earlier but I just never got around to it.

I hope you know that I am way excited for Jayson's baptism too! That's so awesome that he is making this covenant with God and starting on the path towards eternal life. I have news too. I am going to have a baptism of a 9 year old that same day too. We've been teaching him and will finish the lessons tonight. I will be performing the baptism this Saturday at 10 AM CT, so 8 your time. I'm excited for Levi. He can't wait to make this step as the branch is too. I hope it doesn't take 4 times this time like it did with Mike, haha! I will send pictures on Monday. You didn't mention anything about Cody in your e-mail. How's he doing? Is he adjusting to his classes well? Is he paying attention in seminary like I told him to? Upperclassmen have the cool opportunity to be the example. So it's good that he is continuing to go to seminary everyday.

They had their baby already?! They just got pregnant like 2 seconds ago. That time could not have flown by that quickly. Whatever. It seems healthy and the family is doing well. Holy smokes, Dusty is going home. He seems like the Wilford Woodruff type missionary that baptizes 300 in a day or something like that. Tell him I said Hi. Speaking of Wilford Woodruff, we got the D&C videos in our apartment now. So it has been fun watching Zion's camp and all these cool videos about Joseph Smith and that time period. You got new elders, huh? Looks like the mission president is trying to shake things up a bit due to the slow work in PQ. Dang I hope that 40 day fast works. That is really cool that you're doing that. I have been thinking of Dad too and praying for him in his duties at work and at church. It seems almost insurmountable at times but being my Dad, I know that he can get through any trial as he has a desire and willingness to help. Reminds me of in Daniel when the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2:44-45). Oh, hey I passed off lesson 3 this morning and will start to memorize the commandments tomorrow.

To answer you questions, yes I do go tracting quite a bit. It has been pretty effective in the past and the branch seems a lot more into missionary work than most wards. I go tracting every sunday because that's when most people are home. We also go when we have no plans and appointments fell through agian and again. We have zone meetings once a month in Salina, Kansas (at the stake center), and zone conferences every other transfer. Do you know what the differences between the 2 are? I do get along with the elders in my zone, but we only see the entire zone once a month since they live so far away. So we just have 2 districts that we hang out within Wamego, Manhattan, and Junction City. I get along with everybody for the most part. We're buds. We also have 2 visa waiters: one is going to the Brisbane, Australia mission Mandarin speaking, while the other is going to India (I don't remember what mission exactly). I see President Keyes fairly often. About once a month. A few weeks ago, we took him on a tour of our new building. He really loves it. As far as my teaching is concerned, I definitely have room for improvement but it has also gotten a lot better. I am teaching people, not lessons to the best of my ability as guided by the spirit. Elder Clare is a rockstar when it comes to teaching. There are just no flaws whatsoever. Everybody should strive to teach like him. Haha, I am not in farm country all the time, but I am exposed to it a lot especially in this drought that has plagued the mid-west. There's this guy in our branch where farming is the only thing he talks about. I think it's pretty interesting, actually. It's time to harvest the corn around here so we see the tractors going around all the time. Yesterday, we were in Alma, Kansas for a couple of hours before we taught Levi lesson 3. I tell you what, that town is 50% old people, and near 100% farmers it seems like. For service, we don't farm at all. We work at this place called the Health Ministries and help them orgainze things and do the sweaty work that the office people don't want to do. We don't do any proselyting on campus or around Manhattan because that's not our area. I would only go if we were on splits.

So, this past week was really tough for us because appointment after appointment kept falling through and we just could not find anybody to go see. But I endured it well and I can already tell that the blessings of the Lord are with us. Everyday without a car this week so far, we have gotten rides in and out of Wamego and to wherever we needed to go. It's been tough still because people are always at work. But the Lord has blessed us in many ways that I can't even describe too. We are so blessed to be on our missions and hope that as we humble ourselves before the Lord just as the Nephites had to do again and again, we will continue to be blessed with people to find and teach.

Thanks for the Padres update. It was great to hear how they've been doing and it looks like they've turned it around after a rough start to the year. WHAT!!!! Adrian Gonzalez is on the stinkin' Dodgers!!! That's unbelievable! What a traitor. Hopefully the Padres can pick him back up when his contract expires for a good deal. Speaking of first basemen, how's Yonder Alonso doing? Grandal? While here, I have glimpsed at the TV a few times when people are watching Sportscenter, and as much as it kills me to turn away, I have to and I do my best. But I have seen that some players have been doing well. Kelly is doing well, huh? That's awesome! I hope Luebke can come back healthy next year because he was tearing it up before he got torn up. How did LSU do this past weekend? I heard Alabama demolished Michigan in Dallas on Saturday because one of my investigators is a big Michigan fan and wasn't too happy when we saw him that night. It was the first game of the year and missing college Football has been tough. But I know I'll get over it. The Chargers open the season in Oakland on Monday night Football too. Don't worry, I'm not letting that inhibit my work here as a missionary. At least I hope I'm not.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I hope Jayson has a great baptism and I love you all very much. Love,

Elder Derek Sutherland

PS: "wwwwiiiilllllbbbuuurrrr. Wilbur. I can talk!!!"

"I'm not a shopping list. I'm a ghost!"

Unfortunately, being on my mission has made me forget a lot of quotes. I can think of them during the week, just not now.

First Day of School!

We are so excited for Jayce to be in 2nd Grade!

Jayson got Mrs. Shalinsky for his teacher! He is so lucky!!

A letter from last year's second grader...

He's so cute!

Sea World with Dallin & Erin!

Cody has a thing about not smiling in pictures...not just not smiling, but unsmiling! This is the new ride at Sea World called Manta. The boys rode it like six times!
 I am always amazed by this Shark Encounter.

 See the shark!
 Please don't kill Jayce.
 What do you think? Do the hats work?

Derek Letter #9 8-27-12


Sounds like you all have had a fun week going back to seminary. I get a taste of seminary again every week or so when I have to wake up before 6 and go to a meeting somewhere. Since our house is so far away from everything, that's what is required. Cody better be paying attention in Sister Walton's class because it will help him for his mission and most importantly, I don't think she allows sleeping in the class. My American Lit teacher, Mrs. Tornroth, could be harsh when it came to grading but I sucked through it. Who does he have for US history? I had Hymes' student teacher Mrs. Jones. Good luck on your junior paper later this semester! Don't worry, it's not as daunting as you think it is. I remember when I assembled the paper, I didn't really type anything because I did the work before that. But I honestly think that that paper prepared me most for college. Jayce should have a very fun year in second grade and hopefully he can learn a lot. I don't know his teacher terribly well but I know she's nice! Hey mom, whenever you see any of my teachers again, say hi to them for me would ya? thanks. In case you were wondering, I got some letters this past week including one from Grandpa Barrow. You know what's sad, he gave me more Padres updates than anyone on my entire mission. I loved it! Keep 'em coming Grandpa! That was the first letter he sent to me.

This morning, I felt really retarded. We were getting gas and I was going to check the oil and I forgot 1. How to open the hood and 2. How to know when we needed new oil. All that learning in mutual growing up didn't help at all. Could I get a refresher course on that? Man I feel stupid. So, about the pictures I sent, the baptism was Mike Poore's (who we baptized a month ago) son, Noah. He loves going to primary and will get the Aaronic Priesthood when he turns 12 on May 9th next year (Same birthday, I know!!!). Last night for dinner, we had a mock Thanksgiving feast with the Knudsen's (pronounced Kuh-nood-sens). The dinner was delicious (I feel like Colin Mackie) and the lesson after went well. Their son is on his mission in Anchorage, Alaska. Some dinners, like that one, make me love dinner while others not so much.

Yesterday, I got the compliment that I "spoke as if it was from God." That was quite a compliment to me because I know how powerful that was. I also had an experience that I had heard of but thought wouldn't really happen to me. We were tracting and knocked on this one lady's door. She came to the window-door and pointed at her sign that said "No Solicitors." She was livid with us and said "get off my property and never come back." Some people are just so stubborn and it hurts to see the devil work through more people than God working through people. We're not solicitors because we don't sell anything. You don't have to pay for your salvation. Off of that subject, I think the most frustrating part of a mission is having investigators not come to church. Like 8 people said they'd come to church yesterday and only 1 came.

In other news, Brother Crouch had surgery on Thursday in Kansas City to remove his cancerous bladder. He should come home tomorrow of Wednesday. Before he left, he installed a couple of lights outside so that when we walk down the path to our room coming home at night, we can see. But that stupid light comes on to any motion at all: the tree across from it, grasshoppers jumping, anything. And it keeps us up because it's so bright at night since it's right outside our window. So I went out there and dealt with it by slightly unscrewing the bulb. There's one light that I couldn't reach though, and that one doesn't bother thank goodness. This week, Satan has been eating at me. Just some frustrating and aggravating people (including missionaries) have been getting to my head. But it won't work because I know what I'm here for. On Friday and especially Saturday, not only did it rain (which we really needed, just like everywhere else in the country), but it poured! I am just glad we had the car. My little umbrella that you got me actually has worked quite well. Also, one elder in my district got his visa this past week and is now in Argentina. Buena suerte Elder Acton! (Cody better retain some of his Spanish because it's likely that he'll need it)

Dad told me about Grandpa and how he's going up to Orange County to help him out today. I hope all goes well. How did Grandma's eye surgery go? You know, Dallin reminds me of a lot of people here. they threw away their life for no good reason and as a result are in a tough job like construction or something that doesn't pay them that well. Hopefully Dallin can turn things around before they get any worse. So, what was the stake President's name before President Ellsworth again? I thought I already asked but maybe I didn't. I can see his face, I can see his face and hear his voice, I just can't think of his name. Stake conference already? That seems pretty early. I know that we have branch conference coming up in a couple of weeks, but I don't know about stake Conference. Oh, hey before I forget, could you send me my ballot stuff? I want to send it back with as much time as possible left. So, I have also come to realize this past week that you have raised me really, really well. I have seen the worst parenting of my life out here to go along with the good. Like we sat in front of a family at church yesterday and all he did when we were over there on Saturday was yell as loud as he could at his kids. I couldn't believe his wife would allow that. I hope their newborn doesn't have to endure that. There are also some pretty dirty mouths here too. I mean I thought High school was bad (especially Coach Mueller) but there was this one guy that seemed like that's all he could say. I told him to stop but it took some energy.

Thanks for all the support back home. I can notice the effects of your prayers and I try to remember to pray for you everyday. I am focused on the work, mainly, and pray for them too. It's great to hear the theme of your Stake Conference about the importance of temples. I think that might be the biggest thing I miss from back home. I can't go to the temple out here since it's so far away; otherwise, I'd go every week. Well, I love you a lot and I did get the package you sent me. I got it on Monday last week. I wasn't happy to see it because I knew I probably wouldn't eat all of it. But Elder Clare has been all over it and I have eaten a few things from it as well. You don't have to send me Starbursts anymore (unless they're the jellybeans; those are the best) because the MTC made me tired of them. Hopefully I get the letters that Cody and Jayce sent to me soon. I'm looking forward to reading them. FYI, I will spend some money off of my card to buy some groceries because I have $1.84 left one my mission card. I hope you all have a great week and get used to getting back into the school schedule for a full week now. Until next week, love

Elder Sutherland

PS: "Mr. President, you almost started a nuclear war! What are you going to do next?!"
"I'm going to Escalator Land!!"
"When do we get to the rides?"
"Thsi is the ride!!!! WHOOPEEE!!!"

Derek Letter #8 8-20-12

Flat Stanley visited Derek and wanted to see some of the sights in Kansas, so Derek took her around...

Family! Life here has been just as hectic as it has back home!

It's good that Dallin and Erin are nice and respecting. Hopefully they can just stop being dumb. I wish I could've been there with Elder Clare (he knows so much more about everything gospel related than I do) because we could've helped you in your teaching. God gives us trials to "smooth our stones" as given to my primary class by Dad forever ago, and those are trials to overcome. Show them the proclomation to the family. That might help. Just remember when the prophet gives a commandment, it is from God, and not from the man Joseph Smith or Gordon B Hinckley, or Thomas S Monson, or anybody other than God himself. Just look at the Word of Wisdom. People back then were wondering why, but then today it is obvious why.  Mom, you did a great job at teaching them, I'm sure.

Wow. Cody is having a real tough time with his project. At least it sounds like he's trying to do the work and not have it be Mom's eagle project. Hopefully brother Peterson can help and get this thing going. Ah, doctor's appointments. Those were good times. Hopefully he can have a successful year in both sports and classes. Tell Cody that APES will require harder work than you've ever done. When I did Mr Whitney's class, that was the first time he had taught that class so he was still getting used to it and as a result, our class was "easier than I thought" as was said by some members of my class. Also don't save the 3 projects given until the last day. They will weigh you down. As far as the ACT is concerned, having the program with James Proudfoot for me, that really helped bump up my score by at least 5 points. I hated every lesson, but it helped a lot. It's going to be a shock the first time you go in. And make sure you go to the bathroom before you take it. I learned that the hard way. As long as he does decent in his classes the rest of his high school career, he should be a lock for BYU-Idaho. 95% are accepted. I wish I could talk to Cody about this but ohwell.

I heard about what Dad is going through and I will be praying for him. I just wish people would be more Christlike, or how about just like Moroni. Because if everybody was like Moroni then the very powers of beep would shake at their presence. Hey, could I have Elder Jeremy Mackie's address? I'd like to write to him too. Hopefully you sent that in the package that I haven't got yet. I hope to get it soon. Since the MTC, my mail has slowed waaaaay down. I got 2 letters this past week. It's not that hard to write a letter people! I'd like to hear from my BYU-Idaho friends. That would be sweet to hear from them again. As far as other people we're teaching, it has been pretty busy around here. There's this one family that hasn't given us an opportunity to teach them yet because they just ask so many questions. They have identical triplet sons that blow my mind because I can never tell who is who. They are Cody's age and are really cool to talk to. We do have plenty of people to talk to even though some days are slow. Man, sounds like your missionaries need a dose of Brother Chandler. He knows everything about everything. I don't know how to help them, maybe the ward mission leader can help (Isn't the ward mission leader brother Marshall?). Well I got to go. I love you all and hope you all enjoy school and SEMINARY!!!!!! WHOO!!! Love,

Elder Derek Sutherland

PS: "But, we stole a balloon."
"Yeah, on free balloon day. hahahahaha"
"Oh, okay."
"How about some lollipops for the road guys?"
"Alright which one of you took my lolipop?
"I mean it."
(Sorry, I would've typed more.)