Hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home! I hope this email finds you all happy and doing well. This has been my first week in Apple Valley and it's been hard to leave Minnetonka after being there for almost 6 months. I miss the ward and all the investigators there. However, the Apple Valley ward is awesome and super missionary minded.🏽 We are really lacking investigators right now. I haven't met one investigator and we haven't had one lesson with an investigator yet. So it's been a little slow that way, but we've done a lot of member lessons and I've gotten to meet a lot of the ward!
Last Monday while I was still in Minnetonka, we had our last p day at the Hickens for a while. It was fun and we played a lot of basketball. The Assistants to the President (APs) called me at like and said I was being called to be a District Leader (DL). They didn't say I was being transferred, so I thought maybe I would stay in Minnetonka and district lead. But then the transfer board came out and I saw I was going to Apple Valley, so I started calling and texting the ward members so I could set up times to say good-bye to everyone. Brother K took us out to the Golden Nugget for dinner, and then we visited the Hs after that. It was hard to say good-bye to people.
we had a whirlwind tour of good-byes of the area and ward members and investigators. was probably the hardest day of my mission so far. I got packed morning and then we went and said goodbye to TF and J. J was super bummed I was leaving, but I told him I would stay in touch as best I could. TF gave me his email and phone number so I can stay in touch with him easy! Then we drove up to Buffalo Wild Wings to have lunch with the Plymouth Elders because one of the Elders had a 40$ gift card. Then Brother H took us to Culver's to get a shake and so we could say good-bye. He is so awesome, and I will miss him a lot! Then we went back to our place to finish packing and then went to see JC and D. I will miss them a lot as well. J is super cool and he is a guy I'll never forget. Then we went to see Brother H! That was a good visit. He said if I ever come back and visit I could stay at his house and use his hot tub and stuff. He said he wanted to thank me for helping him get back into the church and be active again. That was a super cool moment for me, just knowing that even if I didn't baptize someone, I helped someone come closer to Christ and feel of His love once again. Brother H said he is going to come to my homecoming, so that will be awesome!! I can't wait for everyone to meet him. He is the funniest guy ever, and I love him. Then we went and saw the Bishop and his family, and then K and LF. They are awesome and we've helped them with taking down and rebuilding their garage and shed, and he's taken us to Bakers Ribs like 4 times, so he's the man haha. I will definitely want to go back and visit them someday, too. Then we drove up to Plymouth to visit the Ss one more time. I absolutely love them! They are one of the families I will miss so much. We talked to them for a while and shared our final spiritual message and did some pictures and then headed out to go see the Ns. Brother N gave me a super nice note and a picture/post card thing of this painting of Jesus. It is the one where Jesus is sitting on some rocky cliffs looking up at the starry skies. It is super cool. I am going to miss them so much. They are pretty great people and do a lot for us as missionaries. After that we visited the B family. They are an awesome family as well, and Brother and Sister B are two of the greatest people I know. So that concluded the whirlwind goodbye tour of Minnetonka. Then I cried myself to sleep at about . Just kidding - I didn't cry myself to sleep, but I was super sad I was leaving. Before I went to bed I thought about my last 6 months there and all the friends I had made and all the great people I've been able to associate with. I remember when I got transferred here that I DID NOT want to come here and now I didn't want to leave. It's funny when you put your heart and soul into an area and serving and loving the people there how much you don't want to leave those people. I thanked Heavenly Father for the opportunity I had to serve there and I knew I was called to serve there for a reason. It felt like I still had work to finish in the area, but I don't know, maybe I finished what God needed me to do there. I know there is some reason I need to be in Apple Valley now, too. I'm not sure what that reason is, whether it be a person I will help come into the gospel or helping a less active or maybe even my companion. By the time I leave, I'm sure I will know the reason I was called to serve here!
morning we drove down to Bloomington for transfers and it was so fun to see my mission buddies I hadn't seen for a while. The best part about transfers is just getting to reconnect with MTC companions and buddies and people you've served around. So I met up with Elder W, my new companion, and then we drove with the Zone Leaders (ZLs) back to our area. We all went to lunch at Costco, which is basically like Sam's Club, so that was pretty good! We went back to our apartment after that, and I got unpacked and settled in and then we headed out to meet some members and help me get familiarized with the area a little bit. We visited two different families. The Ms are from somewhere in Asia and are super nice people. Sister M has to use a walker and wheelchair sometimes so she is a little depressed because she feels like she can't be as much help to people as she used to be. I really hope we can help her feel more useful and boost her spirits! The D family is crazy! We showed up and they had like 6 guests over plus their whole family and it was a circus haha. But they are super cool and Brother and Sister D are great! was a crazy day, and I was happy to go to sleep that night.🏽 Elder W is kind enough to do two-a-days with me still, so we are still doing 2 workouts a day. One from and the other from like . So we are getting some good work in physically.🏽
I had to do some accounting calls for the first time in my life, and they went pretty well, I guess. I just have to call the other areas in my district and see how they are doing and get their numbers and what not. The other two areas in my district are the Prior Lake sisters and the Crystal Lake Sisters. They both seemed to be doing pretty well, so that's good! I hope I can help them in any way I can and just be a good example of hard work. I feel like that's my best way of being a leader is just by working hard and being an example that way. We tracted for about 3 and a half hours that afternoon and basically everyone we tracted was old and said they were too busy or were already part of a church. However, the mission legend is, if you get a lot of rejections tracting, you get hot wife points so I'm racking up the hot wife points haha. We were almost done with this street we were tracting and we had an appointment at like so we were hurrying to finish the street. We knocked on one of the last doors and this really young girl answered and said she would grab her big sister for us. So we shared a message with the sister and left her a Book of Mormon. As we were leaving, the dad pulled up and so we talked to him for a few minutes and he said we could stop by another time for sure. So we had a cool fourth floor last door moment there.We had a lesson with a less-active guy named Brother P. He is super cool! He works for Amazon and has had some struggles with employment recently. He's a ward missionary, but is less active so we are trying to help him get fully active. His wife was super sick, so we gave her a blessing. Haha I say, "Yes sir", "Yes ma'am" and "No sir", "No ma'am" because it's polite, and Sister P is from the south and she goes, "You're from the South, ain't you?" In this super thick southern accent haha. I was like, "No. I'm from Logan, Utah!" And she says, "Oh, you just got some good manners then!" It was pretty funny! Later that night we had dinner at Bishop C's house and his wife said the same thing. She asked if I was from the south and I said "No, I'm from Logan, Utah!" Haha she also said I had good manners, too. The C's are awesome and their youngest son is a funny kid. He has some mental problems, but he is the nicest kid and he is so funny! I'm excited to serve in this ward. The ward is super missionary minded. We visited this less active guy named DW, who lives in an assisted living facility because he had a stroke recently. He LOVES football, so we talked about football like the whole time haha. He loves to talk and had a lot of interesting stories from his life. I hope I can help him get more active into church and use football to do it. I shared the Night Lights message with him and he loved it, so that was good!
was weekly planning and I basically did nothing because I don't know anyone haha. I've been trying to get to know people through the area book and asking lots of questions about people haha. It's been tough being in a new area where I don't know anyone and don't know where anything or anyone is, plus be the District Leader. It's tough sometimes. I had my first accounting call with the ZLs and it was ok I guess. Haha I didn't know what I was supposed to do, so I was a little clueless at first, but now I know what to do so I should be good.We did a lot of tracting afternoon too, but didn't have much success. We met this one kid who was like 10. He was really cool and we talked to him about basketball and stuff. He said we could come back . So we came back and talked to his mom, but she said they went to a church already and were content with their church. She said we made a big impression on her son though, and he thought we were awesome. So that made my day for sure! Just a small success of helping someone realize we are good people and are doing the Lord's work! We did some more member visits afternoon as well. We met the G family. Brother G was in the Air Force and graduated from the Air Force academy, and I told him Colton was playing there when he gets home and he thought that was pretty cool. He said "I just gotta warn you before my wife gets here that she is crazy and will say some stuff that will make you laugh." Haha Sister G came home like and she is hilarious! She just loves to take shots at people and is super sarcastic, so she's funny for sure. They're a fun family! night when we got home we went for a run outside because it was like 45 degrees. Elder W isn't in as good of running shape as I am, so we had to stop every now and then so he could catch his breath and what not. It was fun though! I loved being able to help him and "coach" as we were running. Just like being encouraging and helping him that way. It made me realize that I really want to work at a CrossFit gym when I get home. Doing something I love while helping people change and be more physically fit is awesome!
morning we went to the ZLs baptism in Lakeville and then did our studies when we got home. I've been reading the New Testament alongside "Jesus the Christ" and wow. My mind gets blown sometimes haha. Jesus the Christ is a super good book, but it is super deep, too. I've really enjoyed reading the New Testament and relearning a lot of the stories and lessons I learned from freshman year in seminary. I still love the Book of Mormon hands down though. It is the greatest book ever written. My testimony and love for the Book of Mormon has grown 100 times on my mission so far. I honestly don't know why I didn't read it that much while I was at home. Then we had to go back to our chapel for a zone meeting to discuss our zone focus for this transfer. We are really focusing on finding and working with progressing investigators. I love this focus because I feel like Apple Valley really needs some work on our investigator pool. So it was good that our zone focus is based on finding! We went to Subway with the Lake Marion Elders because Subway has any footlong for 6$ this month. Elder N is in Lake Marion and his companion is struggling too, so we talk on the phone and hang out as much as we can to help him out. I feel bad for him. He's had some tough companions in the last few months. We did some more tracting and we had some cool and also funny stories haha. So we did "windows of Heaven" where you pray about what street to tract, and we felt we should do this street called Flagstaff Avenue. So we go there and the first two doors we knock talked to us and listened to our message, but were like, "Oh we have a church already." I wanted to just say "We have the true church and it will bless you so much!" But you can't really say that because it makes people mad haha. Then we get to this one house and all these kids are outside pogo sticking and scootering so we talked to them for a few minutes and then they said that their dad was inside, so we knocked on the door and before we said anything he opens the door and says, "Latter-day saints aren't welcome here. The earth is flat and we live in outer space." Then he shut the door and I was still trying to register what was said. hahah Elder W was like, "What the heck?" It was pretty funny! Then as we were knocking the next side of the street I'm like 99% sure we knocked on a brothel house. This guy opens the door and he was dressed kinda weird and he says "This is a business house." I was like "A what?" And he says "A working house. You guys shouldn't be here, let's just say that." I was like uh ok...? So as we were leaving we saw this sign on the garage door that said DO NOT ENTER. KNOCK ON THE DOOR BEFORE ENTERING. So we figured it was a brothel. Or like a drug dealer house. Those are the only two things we figured it was haha. That was the interesting story for the week for sure haha. The last house we knocked on was a mini miracle. This guy answered and we were like, "Hey we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ." And he says, "Hold on one second." He runs into his kitchen and grabs these flyers for this thing called "Over the Moon", which is a fundraiser at the mall of America where you can get an all day pass to Nickelodeon Universe for 20$. Their daughter had passed away from cancer a few years ago and we talked to the mom and dad for a while. Elder W's dad passed away from cancer just recently, so he bore his testimony on the plan of salvation and that we would be able to live with families forever. The mom was like, "I just felt this warm sensation, and I know that they are watching over us right now!" The mom said her dad also passed away from cancer and her dad's name was W, just like Elder W's dad. It was a cool connection and they said they were super busy as a family right now, but we could come back at the end of March or early April. So that was probably our finding miracle for the day!
At church we had a Ward Council, and it was much different than the ones in Minnetonka. No mention was made of basketball haha. The Relief Society President is super funny and has no filter at all haha. Church was great, and unfortunately we had zero investigators there, but we did have a less-active family come. They are a Hispanic family in our ward that we visited evening. They are having some struggles with their son. He is in juvenile detention right now and will be back sometime next month. Lots of stress for the family, so keep them in your prayers. At church I met a lot of members and also met Brother M, who is a ward missionary. He is a hoot. He is a little crazy. Kind of the Apple Valley ward version of Brother C. After church we did some more tracting and then had dinner with the Ps. They said they have a brother who lives in Logan and their son played lacrosse. Their daughter plays basketball right now for Logan high. Dad I'm sure you know them! We visited the Ps evening. They are a cool family in our ward! The mom has MS and is in a wheelchair, but she is so nice and awesome. She said she noticed my Diabetic bracelets and said that the Ns in our ward have a son who is pretty young and has just recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She said I could be a big help to him and I thought to myself that that may be one of the reasons I got sent to Apple Valley! We got a text morning from this less-active sister. She has been less-active for about 10 years and just got divorced and is having a custody battle with her ex-husband over their kids. She asked that we gave her a blessing and asked me to give it. That was the hardest blessing I've ever had to give. I wanted to tell her everything would work out and things would be good for her, but I felt prompted to say it would be a battle for her and be difficult, but as she relied on the Lord for strength, then everything would work out how it was supposed to. It was hard. It was a real testimony to me, though that God knows us and knows exactly what we need, and His plan is perfect.
It's been a good first week in Apple Valley! I'm excited to get to know everyone and find new people to teach. I miss Minnetonka and love all those people, and hope I can get to that point with this ward as well! I love you all back home and serving the Lord! Thanks for the prayers and support. I wouldn't be able to do this work without them. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.🏽