Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Hey everyone! How's everthing going?
Well I'll start with some bad/sad news. My companion went home last friday (Jan 22). He wasn't sent home for doing anything bad. He just was struggling because he didn't agree with the way the mission was being run and he said it was really hard going home twice for health reasons and coming back out again. I tried my best to convince him to stay out but he wouldn't listen. He even got a call from his stake president back home and he convinced him to stay for a bit but then he got fed up again so he decided to go home. So long story short....I had to get a new companion but they didn't have an extra's anywhere so I'm in a theesome now. I'm serving in Calhan Colorado with Elder Torres (Who is my mission grandpa because he trained Elder Oakes who trained me) and Elder Miller (who came out with me. He reported to the MTC on the 16th of September like me so we were in the MTC together, we flew out together and we were in the mission home together!) So, I'm really sad that Elder ____ went home but I'm glad to be in Calhan serving with these two great Elders! Elder Miller and I both have a crazy sense of humor so we just go back and foth with jokes and sarcastic remarks! Its funny. Elder Torres likes to joke around too but he's pretty serious so he keeps us in line! (We're really not as bad as I make it sound!)
I wanted to let you know that any mail that was sent to La Junta after I got transfered probably wont ever find its way to me. So just so you know....the last letter I got was on the 21st and it was the one from you mom...with all the faces all over the letter.
Well...I gotta go now....Love you and I'll get a letter to you this week. Hope everything is going great back home. Everthing is good here. We have an investigator (that I just met yesterday) who has a date for the 31st of this month so that should be exciting!
Well We'll talk to you later.
Love Ben

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Conference

Dear Family,
Hey, I found time to write! What's new with everyone? Things are going good here. Like I said in my e-mail, our teaching pool is pretty dry at the moment so we are spending most of our time finding people. So far we haven't found anybody but we do have some referrals from a few different members. Also, we've been going out alot to the surrounding towns but the other night while Elder Conley and I were praying and planning we both got the strong impression that we need to focus our attention on LaJunta itself. So I know as we do that we will find people to teach.
Last Sunday (1-17-2010) we had Stake Conference in Pueblo. It was so good. Russell M. Nelson was there and also Jack D. Ward from The Seventy. I wanted to share a few notes I got from the conference.
One of the young men in the LaJunta ward, who is getting ready to leave for his mission, gave a great talk on missions. One of the things he said was, "Satan works as hard as we do." Meaning that the harder we work to do what the Savior needs us to do, the harder Satan focuses on destroying our worth to God.
A couple other things he said were, "The benefits of a mission go on forever," and "The decision to serve a mission will touch everything else you do in your life."
Also a young lady from the Stake spoke on how to prepare ourselves to be worthy to enter the temple. She gave us these nine steps~
1) Follow the counsel of church leaders
2) Be obedient to all of Gods commandments
3) Learn about the lessons of the temple
4) Be faithful in church attendance
6) Date those who are worthy to enter the temple (when your old enough)
7) Dress modestly
8) Pray for guidance on how to prepare for the temple
9) Fast for strength to be worthy
I thought that those were some great ideas to follow.
Elder Jack D. Ward talked about prayer, reading the scriptures and serve/rescue others. He said something that I thought was awesome. He said, "These three things brought about the restoration of the gospel. These same three things can also bring about your own personal restoration."
I had never thought of it like that before.
Then Elder Nelson spoke. It was so neat. He started out by saying, "Last night I had a revelation. It has been revealed to me that the missionary work in this area will grow exponentially as you work together. We can expect to see great things." Wow! As a missionary you can imagine how excited that made us! Then he said that before the meeting started we may have seen him waving. He said that he was waving to all the little children. He said, "I love little children!" Then he had all the Primary kids stand up on their chairs so he could see them. Then his face lit up and he said, "I know! Do you like to sing? Will you sing for me? Let's sing 'I am A Child of God.'
So all the kids sang I am A Child of God while they were standing on their chairs. It was so cute but the spirit was there so strong. The rest of his talk was mostly about children. He said, "Teach your children to~
1) Not focus on physical flaws...we all have them!
2) Understand who they really are
3) Understand the significance of the sacrament
4) Follow the Prophets and know of their importance
5) Know that all previous dispensations have been limited by both time and location,but this dispensation will flow into the millenium and fill every part of planet earth.
6) Love the scriptures...Don't ever give up!
7) Understand the importance of the restoration of the Priesthood
8) Obey and respect their parents
9) Be good citizens
And then he said to help your children gain an education. And then he said, "Please, parents...learn from your children."
It was an amazing talk. And then to top it off he said he felt impressed to leave an apostalic blessing. I couldn't write it fast enough, but what I did get was this:
He blessed us that we would feast upon the words of Christ, not be passive but apply Christ's teachings to our lives. That we would be great missionaries, the kind that would be an attraction to those we serve and those people we left back home, members, non-members, family and friends.
I loved his talk! It was such a good conference. After it was over Elder Conley and I got to go up and shake his hand. We didn't really get to talk because there were about a thousand other people who wanted to meet him but it was still cool to shake his hand.
Well, today Elder Conley and I went out and spent most of the day walking around talking to people. We really need to find people to teach. I know they're coming! We met a bunch of cool people but got no return visits.
So I told you that I'd tell you more about the hike we took to Picketwire Canyon. It was such a pretty hike. Apparently there are dinosaur tracks in a dry riverbed and there are old abandoned settlements and cemeteries and stuff. So we headed out to go see all this but we kind of got lost and took a wrong trail so we never got to see any of that! But it was still super pretty! Big canyons and boulders and stuff. In fact, we came to one spot where these two boulders looked like they had crashed together to form a cave so we crawled in and ate lunch there while we looked out over the valley. It was awesome. So cool! It took us about 3 1/2 hours to hike in because we were taking pictures but then the sun was getting kind of low in the sky so we booked it back and made it in a little over an hour. I figure on the way out we were walking at about 4 mph or so. So I think we walked about 8 or 9 miles all together. Anyway, it was a great P-day. We are going back on the 1st of February with a member who knows the trail so we can see all that cool stuff we missed!
Well, it's late...I'll let you go now! I love you all tons! Hope your all doing great! I hope you enjoy this rather large letter.
Love Ben

Thursday, January 21, 2010


4 JANUARY 2010

Happy New Year!
O.k. so I just typed a huge long letter and tried to send it and the internet crashed and I lost it all! I'm so mad! Now I only have a few minutes left. well I'll write as much as I can.
So first before I run out of time I wanted to put in a clip from the letter I sent to President Pfile today.....here it is:
"We have had a couple that we've been teaching for quite a while but who haven't really shown any signs of progression despite all of our work to help them. Last night we went over to their house and talked with them and both me and Elder Conley felt inspired to drop them. So we decided to follow that feeling. About 10 minutes later we came in contact with "E", who we had been trying to see for over a month but had had no success, and he let us into his home. He asked us if we would watch 'The Testaments' dvd with him (we left it with him about a month ago) and answer all the questions he had. We said yes of course! We watched it and explained it as we went and at the end he looked so happy....he said: "Wow, I beleive it. It makes so much sense to me now!" We were so happy. We then commited him to baptism and he accepted. He said: "Yeah...I know its the right thing to do". Because of our faith to drop someone who wasn't progressing we got someone who is willing to work towards baptism."
Just thought you might enjoy that miracle we had. So we now have "E" back and commited to be baptized on January 23rd!
So it sounds like you all had a great New Year! Wow, 1:30, 3:00, 3:30, and 6:00! good job to all of you but I think Emma gets the cake! At least for being the craziest! :) I expect to hear what could have possibly went on until 6:00 in the morning!
Me and Elder Conley, on New Years day, cleaned the house (yep theres just so much to do in La Junta!) went and visited people, watched movies and then at 12:00am on January 1st we each drank our own personal bottle of sparkling apple cider! yummmmmm! :) I wrote a little bit more about it in my letter which I'll send off today.......its a pretty lengthy one (for me at least!)
So I am now in my black year. Did they have that name when you were serving dad? Thats what they call the year on your mission where you go all the way from January 1st to December 31st. Anyways...my black year has just begun! The Masons will be happy to know that I took the bag from Leroys that they sent me and cut out the face on the front of the bag and used it as my planner cover! I figured it was appropriate because its black and white and I just started my black year! I'll have to send a picture!
Well dang it, I'm out of time.....I hope you all have a great week as the holidays slip away and real life slaps you in the face again! Thanks for all you letters and prayers. I love you all......
Love Ben

11 JANUARY 2010
Hey whats up?! :)
So I'm e-mailing from Trinidad Colorado today because we're doing team-ups here. You may not know this....and you may not want to...but I guess that Trinidad is the sex change capital of the world! lol.....or at least it was. I'm pretty sure that the doctor retired about a year or so ago, but yeah....there's a crazy fact for ya! :) We've seen a few....um...."it's"! lol You can totalLy tell just by the way they act. Its pretty creepy! Well...enough about that!
So me and Conley are having a blast! We've been visiting alot of less active and part member families. I think I told you how we only have about 50 of the 400 members who actually come to church! We are working really hard, along with the bishop, to re-activiate all those members because we are pretty low on priesthood here.
So I just got all of your letters the other day so when I get back to La Junta I'll be writing you a letter! But I won't have time while I'm on team-ups. I did enjoy the morning toast edition...thanks for filling in that puzzle for me! your right...I never have time to do those puzzles and stuff! But I love getting it and reading through it! :)
I took a picture of my entire "nice tie" collection that I'll send to you here soon. I'm up to 30 nice ties.
Well I got to go so I'll talk to ya later.....I'll write when I get back to La Junta.
Love ya!
love Ben.....

Hey.....:) I just got a few minutes to get back on my e-mail and I read your letter!
Things are great...time is flying! Can you beleive that in five days I will have been out for four months! I'm having an awesome experience though and meeting tons of cool people....missionaries and members and just people!
Hey thanks for letting me know about the $20....yeah once I get his address I'll write him. (grandad Cryer) I've been wanting to write him anyways for a few days now. Also.....Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jerry sent me some gifts but I can't write them either because I don't have their address...could I get theirs too? Thanks!
Wow...that is SO cool about Phyllis! I never knew she was a member! I feel horrible now that I never knew that! I'd love to write to her and tell her how I'm doing!
Thanks too for sharing how you came up with your topic. That was interesting. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways! I think sometimes we all (me included) just expect him to give us the answer or the help we need. But sometimes he sits back and let's us wonder and figure things out for ourselves. I always think of the story of the brother of Jared where he just asked the Lord how they were going to light the barges and the Lord basically askes the brother of Jared right back what he thinks he should do. The brother of Jared couldn't have lit the rocks on his own but the Lord wouldn't do everything for him either. It's so true though, I like what you said about....if we want lasting value we have to involve the Lord.
Well....once again, my times up! Thanks for sharing those things with me! That was awesome.
Well...like I said in my last e-mail....I'll write once I get back to La Junta.
Love you all........
Love Ben

19 JANUARY 2010
Hey guys....First of all, I'm really sorry I didn't get a chance to write a letter last week. Like I said, we had team-ups Mon-Wed and then we had a crazy day Thursday, and then I found out that we had interviews on Friday and then we had Stake Conference! So sorry I didn't find any time to write. You can count on a letter this week though! ok? ok! :)
Anyway...it sounds like you all doing well....thats good to hear!
Wow...you had to persuade Sam to wear a sweatshirt? I thought she took every possible chance she could to wear a sweatshirt! ;) So its just cold and wet there huh?......sounds like good old happy Eugene! Its actually been really nice here lately. It gets down to about 20 degrees at night but during the day its been about 50 - 60 degrees. I guess this is pretty crazy weather for January in Colorado. Everyone here hates it!
Hold it? my pa's a trail boss! way to go pa! :) I'll look forward to getting the pics from that trip! Sounds....um...fun? lol just joking. That should be a great trip. I'm sure Emma will love it. The youth from the La Junta ward went a couple years ago. I was looking at some pictures that they had taken and it looked like they had a great time.
Four and a half miles in 1 1/2 hours! thats a pretty brisk walk! Me adn Elder Conley went and hiked a place called Picketwire Canyon the other day. I'll write more about that in my letter. It was really fun though. We hiked probably 7 - 8 miles through grasslands and canyon. It was so pretty. So yeah...I probably am getting soft from being in a car area but at least I can still walk 7 - 8 miles without dying! lol I must say that it did feel really good to get out and hike!
Sam...Im so sorry. I just saw that I had a letter from you that postmarked like Dec 27th and I havn't replied! please don't hate me! lol Well you're welcome for your present! I'm glad the hot chocolate maker makes good creamy hot chocolate. I was hoping you'd like it. Hopefully it will last you a good long time.
Thats funny about youre game of pictionary! It sounds like you were all....well....um....struggling! lol
Thats awesome that you heard from the Romneys! Wow...another baby...and a GIRL! they must be so happy. Thats good to know they're still doing good.
So Ariel is writing me but not sending the letters? I am struggling to find the logic behind that....hmmm...I guess she must have a good reason.....maybe! I would ask you to go have a good long talk with her but I won't make you go all the way to Idaho!
Well...I have still been trying to play catchup on thankyou letters for Christmas but I'm struggling finding the time. If people ask...tell them I havn't forgotten! :)
Sounds like you got some neat things from Disneyland! That was super nice of them to bring all that stuff back for you guys.
So you went to an opera huh...I am so sorry to hear that. ;) lol Yeah Emma...they sure can project can't they! Its actually kind of scary! :)
So you asked if we had butchered our second cow yet and the answer is no. We were going to go but we had a baptism instead. We figured that the baptism was more important!
Well. Me and Elder Conley have had to drop a few people because they just aren't keeping any commitments. So we are finding, finding, finding! We don't really have to many investigators right now exept for a few kids who are waiting on their parents permmision. So I'll keep you updated as we find more people.
Well I'm out of time. I did pretty good today though right?! I tried to type fast! Hopefully there aren't too many spelling errors!
Well I love you guys. Again...sorry I didn't write last week. I will for sure this week.
Have a great week!
Love Ben

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Dear Fams,
2 January 2010
So how was your Christmas and New years? Did everyone take turns blowing the horn? I must say that I did miss blowing the horn this year! Elder Conley and I went out though and bought a bottle of sparkling apple cider each. That was nice to have a whole bottle to my self!
Man...people went crazy here in little ol' LaJunta. Twelve a.m. hit and people started yelling and screaming, fireworks were going off and guns were being shot...(Don't worry, no one was injured!)...But, yeah, I've never seen LaJunta so alive!
So I mentioned in my last e-mail that Elder Conley (the other Oregonian) and I are now companions but I didn't tell you that it's just the two of us in the house now. I guess they're not doing four Elders in Lahunta this transfer. We've done a lot of re-arranging! We did a pretty deep cleaning after the other two Elders left and got rid of a ton of junk. Oh, I was going to ask you if you've heard anything about the picture card. I doubt it will ever show up but I still really hope it does.
Ben sent home a picture card with 300 pics on it but when it arrived at our house the side of the envelope was slit open and the picture card gone. We are still hounding the post office but we have little hope of retrieving it. We were all really disappointed!
Well, I have exciting news! Elder Conley and I had a baptism today! We baptized a girl in her early 20's who we've been teaching. She was originally going to get baptized on the 13th of December, and then it got pushed to the 24th of December, and then it got moved to January 2nd...and as we all know, the third time is the charm! It went really well. She looked so happy and excited. It was so neat to see because there have been huge changes in this girls life. Huge changes! She is not the same person. I love watching people accept the gospel into their lives because I get to get a glimpse of the divine potential that each one of us have as children of our Heavenly Father.
3 January 2010
Today in church we confirmed K_____. She looked so happy. She is going to do so well in the church. She already understands so much and has a sweet, simple testimony. We're so excited for her.
Well today we are going to head out to Rockyford and try to talk to some potential investigators that we have out there. We have a few that we haven't been able to get a hold of lately so we're going to keep trying.
So Sam, has the new term started? Do you know what classes you're going to take? Tell me how it goes!
So how was that "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" book? It sounded pretty good. I like it when people take classics like that and come at it from a different angle. And it sounds like it has to be good because dad fell asleep...again! And he only does that if it's a really good read!
Thanks for my "after Christmas" letter mom! It was a nice treat. I love that Joseph Smith quote:
"I can take my bible, and go into the woods, and learn more in two hours than you can learn at meeting in two years."
It really is true. There is far more than a lifetime of learning and knowledge hidden within the pages of the scriptures. We don't spend nearly enough time pondering them. It's something I can still do better.
I also loved that scripture in Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." I don't think we'd complain or slack like we all do at times if we could comprehend the prize waiting for us in the end. We have to act a lot on faith and put our full trust in Christ and His words. As we do that we really are blessed both now and in the eternities.
It reminds me of a scripture I read the other day in Ether 12:18 (The Book of Mormon)
"And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God." Our belief and trust in Jesus Christ is first and foremost if we are living a righteous life. There is so much to learn!
So, it sounds like you guys have some cool missionaries in the ward. That's neat. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm one of those missionaries! It's crazy...What is the church thinking, sending 19 year old boys out to teach people?! No, it's an awesome experience. There really is nothing to compare.
Actually...as I was teaching Gospel Principles today in church something hit me that I wanted to share with you. We were talking about Heavenly Father and how He loves us so much and we were discussing how he is always there for us and we still mess up so much. And all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks how much my love for each one of you has grown since I've been away. I don't fully understand why, but it has. It's like that line, "You don't know what you've got til it's gone." That's what it feels like to me. Don't get me wrong...We've had great times together and built wonderful memories that I wouldn't trade for anything but I feel like I never took full advantage of the time we had before I left, and like I didn't express my love for you nearly enough. I hope you all know how much I love each one of you! Our family is awesome. A little crazy, but awesome!
Thank you mom and dad for all you've done for me. It's been alot! Thank you for the countless late nights and prayers for me. Thank you for spending so much one on one time with me.
Sam, thank you for always being there for me...someone I could talk to who would listen to me ramble on and on (usually about nothing!) And thank you for all your help on my school papers!
And Emma, thank you for always being so fun. It seems like your almost always happy (except when your rudely awakened in the early morning!) Thank you for being such a good example of doing what's right. You have such a strong testimony...keep it up.
Anyway, I love you all. Don't forget it!
Well, Elder Conley and I went out to Rockyford today...(yes, the writing of this letter has spanned across the entire day!)...and we were able to talk with E______,
who we haven't seen in about a month because he was never home. When Elder Downs and I saw him last we gave him a copy of the movie "The Testaments" to watch and when Elder Conley and I went tonight he turned off the football game he was watching and put it in, without us even asking, and said he had a bunch of questions he wanted us to answer! It was so cool. He said he had watched it a ton of times (which I believe because he quoted about half of the movie!)
So we watched it and answered all his questions and he was so happy to understand. We asked him if he wanted to work towards baptism and he said he would because he knew it was the right thing to do. So he's got a date for the 23rd of January. That was really exciting! Pray for him please!
So we have Stake Conference coming up on the 16th and 17th of this month and guess what? Russell M. Nelson is going to be there! (A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apsotles) I'm really looking forward to that.
Well, I'll let you go now. Have a great week! Love you tons. Stay healthy and happy O.K.
Speaking of healthy, is everyone feeling better now? I hope so....
I'm really going now!
Love ya,