Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hey guys! :)
It was great to hear all your voices too! That was definately the best present of the day! However I did end up opening all the other presents you sent! I LOVE them! Thankyou so much. Those ties are AWESOME! On the mission each missionary has what they call an "elite fleet"....which is made up of ties that are incredible and awesome in awesomeness. Those ties were all added to my "elite fleet"! That yellow tie is so cool....and the pink......and the blue! Also I love the scarf! I almost bought one a few weeks ago but then realized I had no money so I didn't! Now Im really glad I didn't because the scarf you got me Sam is WAY cooler! :) And I was in desperate need of that photo album Emma! Thank you so much. Oh...and the juggling balls are great! I've already had another Elder ask if I wanted to sell them! lol I told them no! :)
So I had quite a few people send me gifts and stuff. It was so nice of them! But now I have to get busy writing thank you notes before I forget to do it! It should be fun trying to find the time. I'll have to spread it out over a few days.
Well I'm sorry to hear your still not up to 100% Dad. I hope you shake it soon. Thats cool that you got to read Greg Hansens book. Thats really cool that he wrote and published a book about his trip. I bet he did a great job. I'll have to read it when I get back!
So Mom got you all a coldstone gift card huh...mmmm that sounds good! You'll have to tell me how that new christmas carol movie is.
Speaking of the christmas carol I wanted to tell you guys...you know how we always read a christmas book on christmas eve....well that lady I was telling you about, Sister Happy, (She bought our Cristmas tree) she had us come over and we read a book called "Christmas Oranges". I just wanted you to know, especially you Mom, that I got my christmas read in this year as well! :)
So today is transfer day! I just looked at the transfer schedule and guess what! I was right!!! I'm staying in La Junta and my new companion is Elder Conley! (Who I've been living with for the past month and a half!) I'm so excited! This should be another great transfer! I was hoping I would get to kill off Elder Downs but he's going to Fountain for his last two weeks. Anyways....I'm looking forward to this transfer.
Well, I have a little extra time today and I remember what you told me about writing my testimony out. I'll try to put it in words as best I can.
First I tetify that this gospel is true. It is the same gospel that Jesus taught while he walked the earth. There is nothing more simple and more true. It is amazing to me how quickly the gospel can cure a damaged life. It can and does work miracles. I also have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That book contains a power like no other. Here on the mission we are taught that the Book of Mormon can resolve ANY concern and I have come to know that that is true. It really can solve any problem...for us or for someone else. I also loved how in Elder Hollands talk this last general conference he talked about how the book of mormon has been through so much and has been attacked for years and years but still stands today as another witness of Jesus Christ. No false book could do that. Only a book set apart by God could withstand the constant attacks of the advarsary. I testify that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. That he truely did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that the same priesthood authority which is neccessary to perform saving ordinances was given to him and has been passed down through the years till today. I Know and testify that Thomas S. Monson is the man called of God to lead and guide the world today. His council is given to all who will listen to his words. I also testify that temple work plays a huge part in the eternal scheme of our Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us. It blesses both the doer and the reciever and helps both progress towards perfection. I love this work and I love the Lord so much. I am so blessed to have the knowledge I do have and I am even more blessed to be given the opportunity to go and share it with those who know not where to find it.
Well....I love you all more than you know. :)
I'll try and write a little something this week...other than this e-mail...but I told you most everything on the phone so it will probably be a shorter one!
Have a great week...Love ya
Love Ben

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Hey guys!
How have things been going? How is the newsletter coming? :) Hope your not having any technical difficulties! What are the plans for Christmas? Is it just the four of you or is anyone coming down? Four days till I call! I'm looking forward to it. We're going to be calling from the bishops home I think. He and his family are really awesome! On Thanksgiving he said we could go there to watch some movies and he said: "But you better not show up in white shirts and ties. I won't let you in unless you're wearing jeans and a t-shirt!" We were so O.K. with that! Yeah...their awesome!
Well....we're going to be all over the place this Christmas! We have a buch of people who want us to come over and eat and watch movies and play games! Should be really fun.
Its looking like we're in for a white Christmas! (In more ways than one)...Our mission goal for December is 100 baptisms and its looking pretty good so far! :)
We have Christmas conference coming up on the 23rd and we have to do a skit or something and so Elder Conley and I got permission from President Pfile to play guitars there. So we're going to recite the "Standard of Truth" to music!
Our music fireside is coming up too. That should turn out well. Its actually been combined with the ward Christmas party and so it should be a really nice evening. The primary kids are going to act out the Christmas story as we play music that also tells the story and then they're doing a hayride around the town and then more music and treats afterwards.....and of course Santa will be there! We actually got one of our recent converts to be Santa....he was so excited that he could help with the program.
Oh....I did get grandma and grandpas Christmas package the other day....if you could let them know that would be awesome! I'm going to write a thankyou to them and Uncle Jerry, Aunt Jackie and Zach after Christmas because I want to wait until after I open the gifts!
I haven't gotten your package yet but I did get the e-mail saying you sent it so I'm sure its on its way....heck maybe its sitting by our apartment door as we speak...(well, as I type to you!) But thankyou in advance...I'm excited.
Also...no rush at all but if my belt with the guitars on the buckle is still easy to get to could you send it in the next package that you send....again NO RUSH! But yeah...I guess that those are fine to wear on P day! so that would be awesome!
So dad....have you sold the Volvo yet? How does it feel to have LC back! :) Is Brother Watson going to paint it for you?
Well....hmmm what else am I missing? I can't think of anything I'm forgetting about...other than ELDER DOWNS ROCKS! We are having a blast. This has been an awesome transfer so far!
Well love you all....hope to hear from you soon and can't wait to talk to you on Christmas!
Love you

Love Ben

Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Fam,
Wow,for some reason I feel like I'm behind in my letter writing but I don't think I've missed a week or anything, have I?
I told you about my Thanksgiving right? I'm pretty sure I did. But if not then let me know and I'll tell you all about it either in my next letter or when I call in eleven days. I can't wait to talk to you guys on Christmas day. That will be the highlight of my day!
To answer your question mom...yeah, all four of us are going to be together for Christmas. Transfers are on the 30th of December I think. I'm pretty sure I'm staying here in LaJunta with Elder Downs though. We'll see how "in tune" I am!
It sounds like you all had a great Thanksgiving too! I'm glad. But I am a little concerned. Did you all have enough pie and cider?! (just kidding!) I got those pics you e-mailed too...thank you.
So shopping on Thanksgiving huh? What happened to my family? lol Sounds like you got some good deals though. That's awesome! I actually splurged a little on the fashion side of things a few days ago. I got some white rimmed sun glasses! I've always wanted white ones and these were a great price and they're approved! Yay!
That's pretty funny about that one girl thinking that you (mom) were dad's daughter! Um...I'm speechless dad. I don't know what to tell you. lol
So you have Elders in the ward now? That's cool. Have you had them over for dinner yet? What are they like? That is really cool and really true, what that one Elder from California said about the gospel being the only message that matters. I was actually talking about that in my letter to President Pfile this morning. It really is true.
Also, thankyou for sharing those things about angels. I still haven't had a chance to read about angels in the Bible Dictionary but I thik I'll do that tomorrow for my personal study. It's true though that some people don't have the gospel because they don't know where to find it...That's why we have to go find them and hand them what they've been looking for and give them the chance to accept.
Oh, thanks for that sheet music! I got it the day after I asked you in my letter if you had sent it. Sorry for my lack of patience! I got it though and gave it to the girl who is going to play it for us and she said that she'll have it ready. Now it's up to me to remember how the guitar and vocal went!
Thanks for the pizza recipe too. I thik we're going to make it sometime around Christmas.
I got all those cd's you sent too! Wow, awesome! Thanks! I just got done listening to the David Archuletta cd. It's really good!
Those scriptures in Mosiah 8 are really cool. I've been so amazed since I've been out at how well the scriptures relate to this work...missionary work. It struck me that that is one of the core messages of the Book of Mormon. Missionary work. These are the latter days. We have to be spreading the gospel. We have the Bible which is one witness. We have the Book of Mormon which is another witness and we are the third. We have to testify to people.
That's really cool that you were able to take Lynette, Maddy and Trevor to the creche exhibit. I bet they enjoyed that.
As you were talking about the Raymond testimonies and the atonement I thought of a quote that I thought you might enjoy. This is from President Boyd K. Packer. He said, "There is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the Atonement of Christ." I thought that was so beautiful. The atonement is so amazing!
So Sam, did you love hanging Christmas lights? Yeah, it's always freezing when we hang them! I bet they look nice though.
So how is Jackson doing? I miss that crazy dog! He is such a loveable fella. And I guess I should ask how that darned...I mean, how Snuggles is doing! lol
So your already to finals huh Sam? Well, good luck! Judging by your past success I'm going to guess that you'll do great!
Thanks mom for that article "Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship". That was one of my favorite talks this past conference. I took a ton of notes on it and so it was great to get to read over it again.
Well, I'm glad to hear that your doing better dad. I'm glad it didn't last too long!
So your still trying to perfect the soft boiled egg? Wow, I never knew it was such an art! Best of luck to you lot!
That is so great about the Stakes baptisms doubling! We are just over the one ward here in LaJunta and we just got a new bishop, but he's really missionary minded which is great. We also just got a ward mission leader...the first this ward has ever had! So once we all figure stuff out it should work really well.
Oh, and your welcome dad for your letter. I'm sorry it was a little late. I'm going to do my best to remember to send you all birthday cards but please forgive me if they're late...or worse, if I forget!
Thanks also Sam for the "Morning Toast" Sorry that I don't really have time to respond to the games and stuff in them but I enjoy reading them! I actually came up with a few snigglets but I must have forgot to send them in.
Well, Elder Downs and I had to drop the guy we met in the ally becasue he's never home when his ride goes to pick him up for church. We've been really specific about when he'd be getting picked up but he still is never there. It's really sad but maybe he just needs a little time and space. He has our number.
So we are trying really hard to find, find, find! We know they're out there and this is a great season to share the gospel in! People are more open and receptive.
Well, I'll let you go now I guess! Thanks again for all your prayers for me and Elder Downs and the people we'll talk with.
Love you!
Love Ben

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Dear Fams,
I am sitting here in Zone Conference trying to think of a good miracle story to share with you.
There's been a ton of things but I only have a few minutes to write to you so I'll have to share the rest later. I think that the biggest, or at least one of the biggest miracles I've seen is the Lord's hand in the work. I've been led to people, I've been told what to say to people and I've seen the Lord bless them. It is really amazing to watch.
I hope the Christmas season will be a wonderful one for you. I know it will be for me as people focus more on Christ and his role in their lives.
Love you all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Hey Everyone....
Well...I have to say that its been a pretty uneventful week. My companion, Elder Downs, is just getting rid of his sore throat and everything else that was wrong with him!...and so we are just starting to get back out and getting to work. I've been able to do a lot of reading and studying and also organizing the apartment!
We have been getting SO much food from members! We are set pretty much for the rest of the month and even some of next. Its very nice because we are all running very low on money! lol Even lower than usual! So its nice that we dont have to worry about food.
We also had a member give us a Christmas tree and some Christmas balls to hang on it! She also got us a tiny little battery powered train to put by the tree! lol She said: "Every boy needs a train to put by their tree!" It was really nice of her.
Well....I should be sending home my picture card with my next letter to you. I think that there is close to 300 pictures! lol
Well...I can't remember really what you asked me in your last letter so I'll answer all those questions when I get back to the apartment and write you!
I did get the cd's you sent though! Thanks so much for the David Archuletta cd (Did I spell his last name right?! lol) I really like it!
Hey dad...have you heard the new Kris Allen CD? I heard some of it the other day and from what I heard it sounded really good! He's got kind of a John Mayer/Jack Johnson sound.
Well Dad I hope your feeling better now! If not...hurry up! :)
Everything is great here...Its no longer snowing. In fact its pretty warm outside today and almost all the snow is melted. The other night though I guess it got down to -14 degrees. Yes thats right....NEGATIVE 14 degrees! I'm glad I was in bed at that time!
Well...again I hope all is well back home! Love you all!

Love Ben

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remember 2/40

Dear Fams,
How are you all doing? What's the weather like there in Eugene? It's snowing here. It's been snowing for the past two or three days. Not too heavy though...we only have a couple of inches.
Today for p-day we've mostly been hanging around here at the apartment because both mine and Elder Conleys companions are sick. We did, however, do something wild and crazy. There's a place about 10 miles from our apartment called Ryans Pond. A few days ago Elder Conley and I went by it and it was completely frozen over! We tried walking on it and it would hold us for a minute but if we got more than a few feet out it would start to make cracking noises. So we decided we would go back when it was colder and try again. Today was that day. It was 16 degrees and snowing so we headed off to Ryans Pond. When we got there it was completely frozen over and had a little snow on it. We took a few steps out on the ice and it held with no cracking! We took a few more...still good! After walking all over and checking for weak spots and finding none we began sliding on the ice and trying as hard as we could to iceskate without skates! It was really fun. Then we all got back into the car and drove over to Little Ceasars and got four hot and ready pizzas! They were tasty...and warm!
YesterdayElder Downs and Baker were still both sick so Elder Conley and I pretended to be companions again for our dinner appointment. Dinner consisted of elk meat, that he had shot a few days before, gravy, potatoes and carrots. The elk meat was great! Then after dinner Brother________ said, "I shot me a cow the other day. I'll get you two a coat and you can help me butcher it!" So we agreed, of course, and went out. So now I've helped butcher a cow! (Sam, you may not want to read this next little bit, since you just started eating burgers again!)
Anyway, the cow had already been gutted so we were just helping him cut the meat of the bones and the fat off the meat. After we did that for a while he showed us his grinder. So, at that point he took some of the worst parts or pieces of meat and cut them into fist-sized chunks and made hamburger meat out of them We got about 50 pounds of hamburger in about 10 minutes. Then it was about time to go home so we cleaned up, ate some brownies and then went home.
Well Emma, I enjoyed your letter about Youth Conference! Lots of detail! Wow, that was awesome...Sounds like you had a great time! I remember I loved Youth Conferences! Good times. Your host family sounds fun. Right up your ally! Country house, horses, sheep, pigs...that has YOU written all over it. And I can see why Sam would be jealous about that breakfast! It sounds tasty! That's really funny too how that one couple met and decided to get married! I'll have to be careful before I tell people they have to get married!
So have you and Sam and Natalie filmed your Halloween movie yet? It sounds pretty impressive!
Man Emma, you always have a ton of questons! O.K...So what's my companion like? Well, actually, he reminds me alot of Carson! I know what your thinking, "Man, they must never get anything done!" But that's not true! Really all four of us in the apartment are more friends than just companions. It's like we all grew up together! You know, in our last Zone Conference President Pfile said, "Everything is sped up on a mission. Everything happens faster. You learn faster on a mission, you can repent faster on a mission...." And ya know what? It's true. I've seen all that happen. And I've also seen how relationships, with each other and members and investigators, are built so quickly on a mission. Way quicker than when I was back home. So that's really cool.
Another thing President Pfile always shows us is "2/40"
He says, "Elders, when you see this I want you to remember that two years of experience on a mission is equal to forty years of experience without a mission. You will do and learn on your mission what it takes someone who doesn't serve forty years to do and learn."
Wow! I thought that was amazing! Forty years of experience packed into two short years.
Well, I hope dad is feeling better by the time this letter arrives. I'll be praying for him. (And also, just so you know, I'm sending 'feel better' vibes with this letter!)
So Sam, you've started school I know but are you on break for the holidays now or no? Do you even get breaks with on-line school? How are school and work going for you? I bet your kept pretty busy! So have you started any new promising stories lately? Speaking of promising stories...have you finished Charlie Pool? O.K....enough questions already! lol I'll stop. I'll stop.
Well, my brain has run out of things to tell you about and so I guess I'll wrap up.
Again, hope your all doing great...because I sure am! I hope dad gets better soon so that you're all able to be nice and healthy for the holidays!
I love you all lots and lots!
Love Ben
P.S. I mentioned in my last e-mail that we went down to Raton New Mexico the other day but I forgot to tell you the coolest part. I DROVE! Here on the mission you have to have a designated driver and that is usually Elder Conley so he's always the one driving but since he wasn't going, and since Elder Downs doesn't have a liscense right now, that made me the driver! It felt so good to drive. That was my first time driving in almost three whole months! Anyway, just thought I'd share that with you! Love ya!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Dear Family,
Just a quick update....J and S got baptized and they are doing great! Active and happy. I don't know if J has received the priesthood yet because I got transfered but I think he will soon if he hasn't yet. K has received the priesthood and is going to early morning seminary and has such a strong testimony it's crazy! K's mom, got married last week and is getting baptized this Saturday. I'm going to try and get permission from the zone leaders to go to the baptism. They said I probably could because it's only an hour drive from where we are.
Thank you for the Butterfingers! I still have a few left but all four of us have been working on them! Thankyou for the tie as well! You can't have too many I've found. Most missionaries have about 30-50 ties! How do I feel about pink ties? I love em! Really. President Pfile doesn't care about ties as long as they don't have pictures or text. That made me happy!
Well Emma, to answer some of your questions...We can decorate our apartment but that costs money and we don't have much of that and so we're just going to buy a Christmas tree and a few lights for the tree and then we're going to do a gift exchange!
About cooking...Elder Baker (one of the elders in the other companionship in our apartment) likes to cook. He went to two years of culinary school so we've been having him cook and then we do dishes! Although, if you want to send the pizza recipe we want to make it!
As far as quotes that beat Emerson's....How about these:
1) "As hearts change, lives steady." Um.....that's all I can think of right now.
Well, the weather here in LaJunta has been pretty nice. We got tiny snow flakes yesterday but not enough to really call it snow. Actually though, yesterday, when we were driving to zone conference in Pueblo it was 13 degrees farenheit! It was very cold. I was glad we were driving!
A few days ago we went over to an investigators house and they had the cutest little puppy with a TON of energy! She was jumping all over me for the entire 30 minutes we were there and she was biting (gnawing) on my hands! I guess she loves to chew on hands and so they named her Bites! She was so cute.
So yeah, there are four of us in one apartment here. They are awesome! This is going to be a great transfer. Elder Downs is my companion. (Picture) He actually reminds me alot of Carson! He's super cool. We are already best friends! We both like to be sarcastic (not being mean or over the top with it of course) which makes the work really fun. And of course we just use sarcasm with each other, not the people we teach!
Elder Baker, as I mentioned earlier, loves to cook and so we love him! Elder Conley is awesome too! He's been sent home twice for kidney stones and so this is his thrid time out. We're all hoping that he can finish up his mission because if he needs to be sent home again he won't be able to come back out. He actually lived in Molalla, which is about 30 miles south of Portland and so he's not far from Eugene at all!
He was like, "Do you know Kelsey Stutz?"
I was like, "Heck yeah...she was in my student ward."
We were both so excited! We decided that since we're so close we're going to start a band when we get home because he plays guitar and drums and writes songs! Oh, and he plays piano. He is super cool! He's really funny.
Oh mom, as far as Christmas goes, the half size PMG, a photo album, ties, those are a few ideas but really actually one of the best ideas I think is just plain old money. It sounds boring but it's probably cheaper to send and that way I can get things when I need them. Also, I think one of my favorite presents will be the family newsletter!
Well, our area is huge. There are tons of small towns all spread out! Swink is a town a few miles away from LaJunta and a few days ago we tracted the entire town in about three hours! So far Elder Downs and I have no investigators due to the fact that we were flushed into the area. Meaning that there have never been four missionaries in this area. So we have no history behind us and no investigators left behind by the last elders...because there are no 'last elders'.
Oh, so to explain the picture with the cat...we were tracting and we pet this cat at a doorstep and it just followed us for about half an hour while we went door to door. It was super soft and it looked like it had been abused a little. We took a bunch of pics with it.
Well, I can't really think of anything else to tell you about...
We did have a zone conference on Tuesday and it was really good. We spent a lot of time setting up a Book of Mormon so that it's really easy to find scriptures for each of the principles in each lesson. Then we did some role plays and stuff. It was such a good meeting. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown so much since I've been out. It's really been aparent to me how we have to use the Book of Mormon if we want to truely convert someone. We can help people act differently but only the spirit, which comes from the Book of Mormon, can really help people change.
I just want you all to know that I love this work. I'm glad that all is well back home!
Love Ben