Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hey dear loved ones! I missed the chance to Email you last week and I am really glad to be able to now. I'm listening to the Christmas Devotional from the First Pres. in one ear now as I type. It's beautiful.

I did have a Zone Conference during the first month of the mission. It was nice. We have what is called a Tri-Zone Conference this week. We'll be gathering up with half of the mission, and all going to the Bismarck Temple in North Dakota. The other half of the mission gets together and visits Martin's Cove. This Wed. night we'll begin our travels to another neighboring city called Pipestone to pick up the Companionship there, then travel to Brookings in order to gather in large vans to head up there. It's a far drive of about 9-10 hours. Then we'll spend the night up there and come back. It will be a good experience.

I've enjoyed reading and receiving the wonderful letters and emails from you. It is nice! I've heard of many engagements lately and it's so awesome!

We recognize that Christmas is on its way and coming fast. There are some beautiful light jobs around here.

Thanks for the wonderful example you're setting for me. I am being shown love in many ways from people sharing their thoughts and time, and testimonies with me via mail etc.

You are truly a blessing to me.

This past week was an interesting one, we worked hard to knock doors and find new investigators. There was a man named Lyle, a 91 year old gentleman that we met in his home. He invited us in and we talked much about the gospel and the Book of Mormon. He explained that his roots were very deep, but he would read the Book of Mormon. He expressed great faith, hope, and charity to us. He wasn't bashful at expressing respect and kindness to us. As we met with him I felt so grateful to associate with him. We haven't met up with him since to see what he learned or read from the Book, but we will some time. He shared with us some words of wisdom from his many years on earth, one thought of the ability or characteristic of some people that are more angelic and pure. I'm so grateful for him, because he helped me to be grateful for the people in my life who exemplify this. Many are my close friends and family, and leaders. At the same it encourages me to be sure to love everyone as best I can.

I'm very grateful for the Wayment family, they are amazing. I'm grateful for the Sadlers, and scores of others back home. Well, I'll try to write some more experiences next time.

--Elder Ensign

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mon, November 28, 2011

Hey! Nice to hear from you again! I'm glad you had a great Thanksgiving. It sounds like you had a nice time. We ate with a nice family. The one I told you is sortof like our family. I got the latest batch of letters last week. I got one from Dad and Lori, and Crystal and Sarah! I'm so appreciative for Meredith and Kristin who have sent goodies! That stuff made life enjoyable -- Just like all the letters and love from everyone. I'm so grateful for the wonderful words of wisdom and kindness that everyone gives! It's so exciting to get mail and packages! I love you all so very much!

About the Jerky, if you could just send it to the mission office that would be best. We're moving early this week and I don't know the address there and it would be safer, and more likely to reach me via the office. They recommend that. Thanks, feel free to stuff it full of whatever sounds good. :)

I think I'll be here in Marshall for at least 6 more weeks. Usually you stay in an area for two transfers which are 6 weeks. But I have no real clue, I could be there for longer. I guess and pray that it's where the Lord wants me and I know that's true.

Elder Maskell and I have really been working to increase the amount of hope we have for our area and people here. We are working to have the 3 main supports -- Faith, Hope, and Charity. Without these we can't do much. With these we can do great great things.

We have a Branch Christmas Breakfast activity coming up on Dec. 3. It's a talent show kindof event. The Branch Presidency asked if we had any talents that we could share. I told him that I would love to sing in a quartet of sorts or a small choir and he was thinking something along those lines too. I don't think Elder Maskell would sing, but he has an ability to juggle quite well! It's a bit amazing, so he will definately do some of that.

Some of the nicest ladies I've met out here, two in particular remind me a lot of Alison and Lori. The one who reminds me of Lori's name is Lori, and she is Methodist or Lutheran I believe, but when we knocked on her door she was so friendly and was curious about the church. She wasn't anxious to be baptized or learn too much real quick, but I think in the future that visiting back with her would be well. The other woman we visited with just on Saturday was a lady named Lisa. Her husband is an attorney and she has a few young daughters but she reminded me of Alison a bit! She was so nice, and we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and explained why it's important and that she can know if it's true by reading it and having Heavenly Father answer her pray. The spirit was definitely with us while meeting with her. We plan to get back with her in Feb. because she said that she has so much going on the timing isn't right, so we hope and pray that she'll read the Book of Mormon and ask if it's true.

I'm going to be writing Dad another letter as soon as I can as well as reply to everyone else. With the bike situation, I'm going to work on it and just see if it's something easy and fixable which I think and hope it is. If it isn't I'll definately contact the office and let them know. It snowed here about two weeks ago but has since melted. I'll definately be singing more because it truly does lift the heart and liven the soul! Thanks!

I know that Christ lives and he is with us today. That we have his constant guidance and companionship through the holy spirit. I also know that when no man or woman is there to turn to you can open the scriptures and feel of God's love, and have instant friends like Elder Scott said in his talk! You are all so wonderful! I love you. I'm grateful to be on a mission! God Bless you all, and keep up the good work. Love you Dad and Mom, Sarah Meredith Darin Cameron Dallin Lori Everyone who reads these!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mon, November 21, 2011

Hey! Sounds like Thanksgiving will be fun!  We're going over to a families that likes to have the Missionaries over for Thanksgiving. They have already had us over twice to feed us and are cool. It's a family that is amazingly like ours. The man of the house is 73, and his son is 13. Does that sound familiar at all?  The son's name is Matthew. haha.  The mother is much younger than the husband too.  They have other children too but the one's we know and see are the two youngest ones. Their daughter is 22ish and married.  It's very interesting. Yesterday after dinner they showed us part of a movie called 'How rare a Possesion'. It's about the Book of Mormon -- particularly of the story of Parley P. Pratt and another young man and their story of how they found the Book of Mormon and what they did about it. We will finish it on Thanksgiving. It was great though, you should check it out if you can. It's online somewhere. I'm excited to finish it. Definately try to find it.  The father of this family is a professor at the college here and an intelligent guy.

We tract a lot here. We are really focusing and wanting to work with the Branch members here because we know it's much more effective.  I rode my bike one time, and when we got back to the aprt. I noticed that my front tire is totally wobbley and loose!! I don't know if it's broke or just loose, but it needs some work. And now there is snow on the ground so we won't be riding. Plus, before I got here my comp. Elder Maskell's bike got stolen! He borrowed a bike from a member but gave it back just recently, so that's another reason we aren't riding bikes much.

It's been cold, last night it was 10 degrees before we went inside for the night. The snow here is weird. It's really dry, and it blows all over -- at least it did this time.  I hear that's what it's like, and it hasn't melted at all really.

Yesterday was Sunday of course, and it ended up being that all of the piano and organ players were not going to be able to attend church, so we got a call from one of the Branch Presidency asking if one of us could and would play the piano.  It just happened that Saturday morning before he called, we were at the thrift store helping out, and I was able to get an electric keyboard!  It was amazing to me. I was able to practice hymns that night before going to bed and then I practiced in the morning. We have a way cool keyboard now!  So I played in Sacrament meeting.

Another funny thing happened yesterday at church, the 1st Coun. in the Branch Pres. asked me if I knew an person attending Utah State Univ. studying Accounting that was an Ensign. I said 'Yes!'  We discussed that he works for Schwan's in the Accounting dept and they were told to hire new people. He graduated from USU and looked on their database of students or something like that. It was about a week ago he said but he saw Sarah Ensign and wondered if we were related. He said they didn't actually hire anyone because they changed their mind or something but it was cool.  I laughed and thought of how weird it would have been if they would have offered her some sort of a job here. haha.  But Sarah, my advice is apply everywhere then you're likely to get hired :)

That pinkeye business is weird. A member said her kids had it out here too.

We haven't cooked Sesame Chicken but I want to so bad. We're running low on money for food this week so maybe next month.

We have found people to teach and we're trying hard to help. We have 3 perspective people now we're working with. We hope it becomes more serious.

There is nothing I particularly need at this time.  Thanks! I recieved a few packages in the last week or so and that has been awesome!! It means so much! It would be good to have some more Mormon Tabernacle Choir Cd's. I have a few now!  Healthy snacks too. Don't let it be a pain though.

I'm thinking that the stuff I bought has been beneficial and good. I'm actually going to the store to shop for boots today!

The people here in Marshall are so great!

This week should be a fun one for sure. We hope to bless peoples lives and encourage and uplift people! We hope to teach some great lessons and change some lives for the better. We have such a great blessing of being apart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  God is our father, and Jesus is our Savior. We can do all things through Christ Jesus. I hope to hear from everyone soon! You are all so amazing! Bye!

Love Elder Ensign

Hi: Wed, November 16, 2011

Awesome! Meredith and Darin showed up!? I didn't realize or know they were doing that!  I hope you all have fun together and pray for me. :)  I love the twins and baby Luke, they are awesome kids!  Their whole family is great! 

I wrote some letters the other day! I haven't had a chance very good until last Monday.  I'm always very glad to receive letters and word from friends and home, especially from dad.  Lavell is great and tell him I said hi!  I just sent off a letter to dad so that should be there sometime soon.

I'm sorry to hear the tragic news of Amy. That sounds sad! I hope she gets doing better.
It sounds like you'll have a great Thanksgiving like always! There is always many things to be grateful for! I don't really know how to send pictures from these computers from the Library. I'm not sure they allow you to upload them. But eventually I can figure something out to send some. 
Last night we taught someone a really sweet lesson. We taught about the Apostasy and Christ's church being established on the earth again through Joseph Smith and the First Vision. It was fun. Her name was Elaine, and she is an awesome lady.  We have been getting a small bunch of referrals lately from Church headquarters of people in the area who want to learn about the church and get Book's of Mormon.  That's been exciting.  We have talked to and met some other very nice people through knocking doors and stuff. We hope that we are able to find the people who have been prepared to embrace the gospel and become part of the 'fold'. In that sense we all have to remember that we play a large role in the lives of the members of our wards and our friends. Jesus Christ is the true Good Shepherd but we take upon us his name. And it is a great duty and blessing to fellowship and reach out to others. 

Our Branch President is on a cruise right now and won't be back till December and we're really needing and trying to get some serious help from him. We missionaries can't succeed in this unless the ward members and presidency are as committed and willing to help as we are.  At least collectively. I think it comes down to really being a friend.  I love this Church and the people I've met as I've been apart of it. We can do it when we all do it together!
I love you all. I hope that you will be blessed greatly in all you do and may you do it right! 
I love you family. Bye

Love, Elder Ensign.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 - Sunday News

It's sounding chilly out there.  It's definately getting colder out here.  We had Stake Conference yesterday and Saturday which were great. Sat. night we learned about Temples, then yesterday we learned a lot and heard many testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It was sure great.  The Book of Mormon is like food for our souls - Nourishment for us and our spirituality.  When we stop reading the Book of Mormon it seems like we are less full of the spirit and hungry for something missing.  Well Elder Maskell is a bigger man. He is fuller and taller than me. He is like Brent, just not as tall. We had some good opportunites last night to talk to some people. This past week has been a bit hard because we had a Zone Conference on Friday, and we did a companion exchange on Thursday. We ended up driving about an hour away to Brookings and staying the night there Tues. Wed. there was a leadership meeting in Fargo, N.D. which is like 3 hours away that we went to. I didn't attend the training but Elder Maskell did, I went tracting with some other elders that time.

I've recieved a bunch of mail over the past weeks, and I'm having trouble writing back to everyone but I'll be working on that today for a little while. I recieved an Email from cousin Leigh Heward who got my address from facebook, and I'm not allowed to send email to anyone but direct family.  I can recieve it just not send through it. So my replies will be through the postal service. So maybe you can forward this email to her and have her write me another Email with her home address. That would be great! Then also on Facebook tell all people who want to send me an email to write their mailing address included so I can reply to them! I would love to!

One of the things we do here is service at the thrift store, like the D.I. It's pretty fun. We have begun working out and eating healthier.  We hope to do some running each morning and some strength exercises. It helps out a lot.  One of the best things though is reading the Book of Mormon. It just brings with it peace, assurance, and strength. It promises so much and the power about and within it is so real.
I love you all. It's so great to hear from you from day to day. Letters are always appreciated and packages too!

Take care -- Elder Ensign

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tue, 1 Nov 2011 - Howdy

Hey, it's me! How are you folks!?  I'm happy that I can write to you!  I'm really sad about the kitties. (*Aunt Sandie and Uncle Tom took the 3 kittens and Grandma Kitty to go live on their farm.*) 

So what exactly was this conference you're talking about? I don't remember hearing about it. 

My companion is Elder Maskell, and he's from California. He is a really nice fellow, even tempered and easy going. We're becoming a better companionship continuously. We're both focused on serving the Lord. This area actually has a bunch of small towns in it, but we live in Marshal. It's the home of Schwann's! There are about 13,000 people here in Marshal.  Many of the people here are Lutheran's or Catholic. Most of the people are Christians. It's a nice area.  That's so cool that you were able to hear the Prophet speak! Did Dallas go?!  I haven't been working out too much. But I think we'll be doing more of that soon. My toe is doing pretty well.

We went to church here this past Sunday. It was nice. It's a branch here of about 70 members.

This is a great area and I'm getting to love it more. The weather is getting cold. My friends have been two gloves, a scarf, and sometimes a headband.
Tonight we're leaving town and staying in another town called Brookings I believe for the night. We have Zone Conference tomorrow and after Zone Conference we'll do exchanges with the Zone Leaders for training. I'll be back in Marshall on Friday. It's exciting to be able to learn some more things from another Missionary. I love you all.  That's great on reading the Book of Mormon.  It's the keystone of our religion.  I'm also reading it. I love the Gospel. I hope and pray I can help others embrace this gospel here in Marshall.

Thanks and much love,  Elder Ensign.

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 - My Address

The address to the Mission Office is:   
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
2525 West Main #311
Rapid City, SD 57702
I believe that is the best way to send anything here. Thanks Love you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tue, Oct 18, 2011: Hey!

It's Tues. again!  A day to do make preparations like do laundry and go to the Temple! I love the Temples!  We went to the Temple earlier this morning. It was very nice.  I have recieved all your letters, my camera, and the shirts and socks. Thank you so much! The shirts you sent are V-neck style and the neck is too low to wear them by their selves but thanks anyways. I can manage. I just got the camera today. I'm happy about that. I have only 6 days left in here! I'm so glad. Like Ed and Marie said, this isn't the easiest place. But my favorite parts about it are going to classes and being taught and learning, and feeling the spirit. Also we have firesides once a week on Sunday evenings which have been good. And we have Devotionals every Tues. night. So I'm very excited for tonight!  Last week Sis. Julie Beck came and spoke. I'm anticipating very much who will be coming here tonight!

I recieved a package from Meredith and Darin that was so amazing! There were some talks inside and messages from the twins and Meredith. Then along with those were a bunch of candies and snacks! It's awesome. The package was so great! I've actually recieved a couple of letters from other people, Amanda Price and Chandra, Kristin Hess, and Aunt Janae, and Lori! That has been great! 

I heard about Dad having his ear operated on and that I hope goes very well!  It's great to hear from you and read your messages. Never be shy to send often. 

I've met two other Elder Ensign's here.

I'm very glad to hear about Rachel and Trevor, if you could tell them congratulations for me that would be appreciated!

There are a ton of Sister missionaries! And yes I see couples missionaries. I was able to get a picture with Elder Tate Wood yesterday before he flew out to Argentina! That was awesome!  I was actually hoping Sarah could relay his Address when he get's it posted on Facebook or something and then send it to me so I can write him.  I hope you're all doing very well. I'm looking forward to hearing from you some more.  We have our travel plans and we leave for Rapid City on Monday of next week!!  I pray the Lord will work great works through me and I can be worthy of that.  I know that the work is true and that Jesus is the son of God.
-- I love you, Elder Ensign.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 : Hi

Hey I received your Dear Elder. It was nice to get that. Send some more some time. I haven't had a chance to Email till today. I can Email once a week on Wed. while here in the MTC. It's been quite interesting here. The most challenging thing is being on task all the time and impeccable with the schedule. A lot depends on your companions willingness to be obedient and really try. Pray for our companionship to work well. My companion is Elder Ostrom. He's 19 years old. He's a nice and well mannered individual. He's from the American Fork area.  He worked as a janitor with his previous job at an Elem. School. There is an Elder who's 23, and once who's 21 in my District but other than that they're just out of High School. There are some really nice Elders in my District. There are 8 of us all going to South Dakota on the same day.  We went to the Temple today and did an endowment session which was pretty nice. I miss going with Dad and Lavell. 

We get to work out 5 days a week which is fun. We've been teaching and practicing teaching quite a bit. We have a devotional tonight that may be by a Gen. Authority!  Our teachers are good! Pray for me to have patience and inspiration. 

I've seen Elder Tate Wood a few times! That's been really great. And I've seen three others from the Brigham City area also. 

It's really exciting to hear about Tammy, I'm so happy for her!  I hope everything is going well for you. Hopefully Dad is having a good time.  Hopefully Sarah and Meredith & fam are getting along well.  Hopefully school is good.  Anyway I'll look forward to hearing back from you another time!
I'll write again next Wednesday if not a handwritten letter before then.

When we're disciples of Jesus Christ we discipline ourselves -- mind and body to follow Him.
Love you all!!
Sincerely, Elder Ensign.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mark left for the MTC on 10/05/11

Here is the address which you can send letters to Mark while he is in Provo.

MTC Mailbox #195
SD-RAPI 1024
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793