Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Week Feels Like a Month

Here are some photos of the house that we are living at. It is the first building purchased by the church in Chile. It is called Al Contrara for the street it is on. All the missionaries in the CCM live here currently. The picture has all of us and then you have a couple photos of the Andes that they took for us. I am loving it here, but it feels like I've been gone longer. Lessons are going well and we are teaching lessons in Spanish for practice investigators. Things are great and I am having a great time my district is awesome. There are 4 Elders and 3 Sisters. 5 are from Utah and 2 are from Idaho. The elders are Christensen, Bevan, Harrah and me and the Sisters are McQuinn, Tolk, and Kirkpatrick. Hope the information I shared is useful. Oh and Elder Ballard who left with me is a grandson of Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.

I have until 1 to email which is 11 for you. Also P Day won't always be on Tuesdays. We are going to the Temple at 2 and I forgot to bring the cable for my camera so I can't upload my pictures this week. We are only allowed to take photos on P day at the CCM. So I won't have them for you this week. Things go fast here and it doesn't feel like it's only been a week. I am doing all that I can and enjoying everything.


Here is a photo of me and my companion by the temple. We are by the building where we have devotionals. I figured out how to get my photos from my camera so that I could send you something. I am in a building that is a couple away from the temple emailing now. Everything here is really nice.


Things are going great and I'm almost out of time for this week. I love you and will write again next week. Thanks for all you do and your support. Thanks for everything. Try to keep me informed and I will do the same. Thanks for always being there for me.  Love you and have an amazing week.


Love, Braxton
~Note from Mom
Using my best detective skills, I determined that Braxton's companion is Elder Harrah, whom I believe is from Idaho.  Elder Harrah is to the right of Braxton in the group photo.  Elder Christensen is on the top row, fifth Elder from the left.  I believe he is from Nampa, Idaho.  I believe Elder Bevan is two Elders to the left of Braxton with the blond hair and from St. George, Utah.  The three sisters in his district are on the front row, second, third and fourth from the left side.  Sister Tolk is second, Sister McQuinn is third and Sister Kirkpatrick is fourth.  They are all from Utah.  We saw Sister Tolk and Sister McQuinn at the airport and talked with their families.  Elder Ballard is the first elder from the left on the second row.  Elder Mertz is the third elder from the left on the second row.  We met him and his family at the airport. 
In an email to his brother, Braxton said his first week feels like it has been a month.  If every week feels that way, his mission could end up feeling like it is almost 9 years long.  It probably feels long because they are in classes from 10 a.m. till 10 p.m. each day with a few breaks and lunch and dinner.  After having two weeks out of school to play all day, I am sure it is hard to go back to long days of schooling again.  Braxton also told his brother that he fears I will be right and he will gain weight on his mission.  He likes the food.      


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First Day

This is Elder Goode and Elder Mertz at the Salt Lake City Airport.  Don't they look amazing together?  Elder Mertz was one of the Elders who traveled to Chile with him yesterday.
Braxton sent a short email today at 11:30, our time. I believe he is two hours ahead of us. It was so good to hear from him and know he is well and happy.  I also appreciated his gratitude.  He has thanked us so many times in the past few weeks for all we do for him.  He is such a great young man.  We are really going to miss him, but so happy for this opportunity that he will have. 
Things are going really well. I only have 5 minutes to write today just so that you know that I´m okay. The flight to Chile was really long and I had a hard time sleeping so I am really tired today. Thanks for everything. They had us shift things to the small bag and my shoulder bag to have for the CCM. The larger bags are going to get sent to the mission home. We aren´t in the standard CCM though we are in another house that can house 27 missionaries. There are 14 of us going to the West mission. We are going to be the majority at this location. We are going to walk over to the CCM for classes but today we are just at the house. Chile is really nice I´m going to have a good time with everything. Sorry that the letter is so short due to the time constraint. I won´t be able to reply to your messages if you sent them back until P day which I still don´t know when it will be. I love you and thanks for all that you do for me. It will be good love you.
Braxton called last night from the Atlanta, Georgia Airport at about 8:00, just before he boarded the airplane.  He said he had a good flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, but it was long and he knew the next flight was going to be even longer.  He said when he got through security in Salt Lake there were ten or eleven other missionaries going to the Chile MTC, plus another missionary who was going back out and traveling with them.  From his email this morning, it looks like they picked up a couple more missionaries as there are now 14 in their group.  I am sure he will get to know them all really well in the next six weeks as they study together at the CCM, as the Chile MTC is called.  We looked up CCM before Braxton left.  It stands for Centro Capacitacional Misional and means center of training for missionaries or to make fit, to make qualified, or to make capable. That is just what missionaries need to become while at the MTC. 
Other Spanish abbreviations that are good to know.  LDS translates to SUD and CTR translates to HLJ.

There are now 14 Missionary Training Centers.  This link will show you information about each of them.  https://www.lds.org/locations/missionary-training-centers?lang=eng
This is a photo of the Chile CCM.  It is located on the temple grounds of the Santiago Chile temple, so he will get to see that beautiful building each day as he prepares.  I am sure that will bring a peaceful spirit into his heart as he gets to walk on these beautiful temple grounds and feel of the spirit that is present in these sacred places.   
I found this awesome link for a 3 D view of the Santiago Chile temple and grounds.
The building at the back of the temple on the other side of the fountain, is the CCM.  In the 3D tour the windows and doors are removed, but I am fairly certain it is the same building as in the photo above.  The history page on the link below says that the CCM is on the third floor of this building and the lower floors are used for temple patron housing.  The missionaries are housed in other buildings nearby.  https://www.lds.org/locations/missionary-training-centers/chile/about?lang=eng

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blessings of the Temple

Saturday, May 31st, Braxton and his cousin, Braiden Parkinson, went to the Logan Temple to receive their endowments.  It was a great evening and a very special time for our family.   Braxton is our fifth child and last one to go to the temple for his endowments.  For Craig and I it was a huge blessing to know that each of our children have made correct choices that have brought them to the Lord's house to receive the blessings He desires to give them.  We have both felt a huge relief and a feeling of peace and calm since that night.  It is a great blessing to know that we are all sealed to one another and that if each of us continues on doing our part to keep the commandments and the covenants that we have made, that we can all be together as an eternal family. 
We are grateful for the love of family and friends who came to support Braxton and Braiden and for all those who wanted to be there, but were unable to.  We still felt of their love and support on this special night in our lives.  For Robert and Kelly Parkinson and their family, Braiden is the first to go through the temple.  Nicole will follow soon as she just got engaged and will be married in the temple in August. 
We enjoyed spending time with family and friends outside the temple and at Chuck-A-Rama for dinner afterwards.  Anytime we get together with family is a special time.  We are so grateful to have such an amazing family!  We love them all so very much.
I have thought often recently of a Family History Video featuring Elder David A. Bednar and some teens.  In the video he shares the importance of the temple and of helping our ancestors receive their temple ordinances.  We are grateful that Braxton and Braiden have both chosen a mission, but more importantly that they are worthy to go to the temple.  We know that the blessings of the temple endowment will protect them on their mission and will help them to be better missionaries as they understand the importance of eternal families and covenants.  We love you Braxton and Braiden.  You are a blessing in our lives.  We can't wait to see what amazing things you accomplish on your missions. 

The Time is Now


The Time is Now
Each of us benefits from all of those who have gone before.  Learning those stories helps us really understand who we are and where we came from.
This is the work of salvation. It’s not just indexing.  It’s not just researching names.  These are people, sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.  We are here to participate in the work of salvation in inviting all of these people to come unto Christ and receive the saving ordinances of the Gospel. That’s who we are.  That’s why we are here on the earth.  With the technology capability that you young people have, you were prepared for this day.  The time is now.
I don’t know of a greater blessing than ultimately realizing that God trusts us and depends on us to do His work.  It’s a remarkable spiritual experience when you do the work for your own ancestors and you take your family names to the temple to perform the ordinance work.
With a young man like you, I will rarely ever ask the questions, “Are you preparing to go on a mission?”  I will ask the question, “Are you worthy to be in the temple?  And will you be next year and will you be the year after that?  Are you doing the research in your own family and helping others with their research?  That for a young person in the wickedness of the world we live today is one of the greatest safeguards against the temptations of the adversary.  The time is now!
~Elder David A. Bednar