Mission Ready

Mission Ready
Getting Ready

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013

Alright so another update, I'm getting emergency in-zone transferred.  I just found out last night. Apparently the Mission President is cleaning house and taking care of some obedience issues the Mission is having. They're sending 3 or 4 Elders home and I'm taking one of their spots. I'm still over two Wards and like I said same Zone and same District, just a new companion. The guy whose place I'm taking isn't even going home though, he's getting released as a missionary by his new San Jose Stake President today, and he's just going to hang out in the area for about a year until he can start where he left off and finish up his mission. Or something like that, I'm not really sure how its working and I don't really want to know any more than I already do. It’s a messed up situation.
My new companion seems pretty solid though, the ZLs were going to be at our apartment at 10 this morning to pick me up, but they pushed it back to 12 so we came here to update in the meantime.  I don't really know how well it'll go. At least now I won't be in a trio and they'll give me my own phone (I think) so I can really push myself to get some work done. That’s all I really have for now, I'll keep everyone posted. The President told me the New Zealand kid that came with us got his visa, but the Australians still haven’t come in. Hopefully I won’t be here longer than another 4 weeks. Take care, keep me posted on current events, I appreciate the Algerian thing. I'll email next Monday (I think) with some news. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 22, 2013

January 20th was a sad day for the Patriots. They should have made it. Too bad. Anyway my birthday was just fine.  We're over two different Wards so on Sunday I had church from 7am to a little after 4, then two dinners that night. We stay busy, but most of it is doing service and visiting people more than teaching a lot of lessons. People feed us like crazy. The other two guys don't really get up on time, and our mornings have been pretty open, so I've really been getting into personal study and taking a whole lot of notes. It’s a good experience. I mostly just feel like I'm on constant splits with the Elders as a Priest again though, the Missionaries I'm with had been companions since a few months ago and they know each other really well.  They were both serving in one of the Wards that we're over before I came and they were combined, so everything is either Faiese's Ward and investigators or Roberts' Ward and investigators and I'm pretty much just along for the ride. So they have the phones for each Ward and make most of the calls and appointments. Plus I can't drive since that takes some extra paperwork at the Mission Office. So I just follow directions and go where they tell me to.

I've only ran once since I've been here but I didn't time it or anything, I think I'll do that next time. Hopefully I can get it down to every morning. With as much as we eat here I'll need to if I'm going to stay even close to in shape.

I don't think I'll ever get to do any work in the temple, I think they're pretty strict about Missionaries only doing a session twice every year or so. I think we're headed up there later this week (maybe even today) just to walk around the grounds with an investigator. I'm not really sure. And the no tracting thing is just something the Church is trying out and they happened to pick this mission to do it. People just aren't too happy anymore with us knocking on doors and most of the neighborhoods around here have pretty strict no soliciting rules. Since just about everyone is loaded. Except for the 25% or so of the population that’s homeless. 

The house we're living in is probably 30 or 40 years old, maybe more, and its easily multi-million in value. Everything is insanely expensive here. Pendleton (the guy who lives there) used to work at Lockheed and did work on the nuclear submarines. He actually worked on the missiles themselves and making sure they fire right and everything. It’s pretty crazy stuff. His wife died a while ago though and nothing has changed in the house since then and pretty much everything in there is pictures of her. It’s pretty sad.

Anyway I need to go, talk to you guys again next week. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 17, 2013

Just another I'm still alive message, just got my new comp/trio. I'm with an Elder Roberts from New Mexico and Elder Faiese from Samoa. They're good guys. I just got moved in, we're living in a member's basement, there’s a lot of room and they have a bench press and weights and everything, so it should be pretty good. He lets us use his washer and drier too. The whole house is shag carpets (even the bathroom) but other than that it’s really nice.
We're over two Wards, Sunnyvale and some other one that I forgot. And we go to all the meetings for both Wards on Sunday, we'll see how that goes. Other than that we're pretty much guaranteed to have dinner at members’ homes every night. I'm going to get fat. Tracting isn't allowed at all here, and we're supposed to do about 10 hours of service every week, so we'll be working at a lot of soup kitchens and doing yard work in the hill mountains and things like that. Sounds like a lot of fun. There is not a whole lot going on still since I really don't know the area. I should be out of here in 5 weeks and off to Australia, assuming they get everything done by then. Anyway I'm not leaving until at least then. We're in Sunnydale right now, I'm not entirely sure what we're doing next, but I think we're eating two different dinners at members’ homes. The weather is perfect here, it’s about 65 outside. It cools off a bit at night. That’s pretty much everything…

San Jose California

January 16
This is pretty much a strictly “I'm alive” email. We're about to get fed at the Mission Home, the President and his wife are pretty great, I can't wait to get started tomorrow. I'm almost worried Adelaide won't be this cool. I think P-day is Monday I'll send an update then. Take care.

January 13, 2013

So it’s not really a P-day for me but we basically we elected it as one since its more than likely we won’t get another until Monday. So we're getting everything done now. Most of everyone (the Elders in his district) we knew are gone, the rest are leaving in about 3 hours. It’s gonna be pretty quiet in the halls tonight. Tonight there is a Fireside that may or may not be hosting a General Authority.  That should be pretty cool either way.

I'll send everyone the San Jose address when I get there, I have the Mission Home address somewhere but obviously I won't know about PO boxes until later. Just keep emailing until then.

The last few days have actually been really cool; we had a lot of good classes and discussions. On Sunday Elder Uchtdorf just happened to show up for our Departure Devotional, right before he gave the youth Fireside talk over at the Marriott. Which was also fantastic, we watched that Monday morning. And then we had the Head of Internet Proselyting give us a Devotional talk Sunday night. He mentioned that Parley P. Pratt baptized the first Hatch, I thought that was pretty cool. After the Fireside we watched an Elder Uchtdorf talk given at the MTC while Hinckley was still alive. He said some of the same things he said in person which was really neat.  He added that German would be the official language of the Celestial Kingdom, so we should all start learning now.  That's really all that’s going on, I'll be emailing again next week sometime. Honestly I don't expect to be in San Jose longer than 2 or 3 weeks, but we'll see what happens.

Don't get lazy on the current events. Keep me posted. 

January 10, 2013

Hey Family,

I never have a lot of time on these things so I'll make it fast. I have been re-assigned pending the approval of my visa application (they changed the requirements again, but the Church has everything they need, they just have to organize it and get it sent in). I'll be spending the time up that point in San Jose California, beginning at 5 AM this Wednesday, which is later than I'd like, but the Tuesday devotional here is supposed to be a big deal for reasons that I am not supposed to know and definitely not supposed to talk about. They're pretty touchy about that kind of stuff. I'm pretty excited though, with the cold weather I can't really think of any stateside mission I'd rather have. It should be gorgeous there. I don't really expect to spend longer than a transfer there but we'll see what happens. My companion is coming with me, and the other two guys headed to Australia are going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So we're all pretty relieved.

And yeah, I missed the big epidemic last week, luckily. They had everybody in gas masks and pretty the whole MTC was in quarantine, kids jumping out of windows and stuff. Not fun. But this week I've caught a cold the past couple days and everything I drink inevitably thickens and makes it way slowly out of my sinuses. So I'm all kinds of dried up. Also not fun. The classes are getting pretty long too. My first districts was pretty much as good as I could ask for, the Canada guys were pretty great, but they all left at the beginning of the week and we got transfers to the district of Elders that are going to Provo and Fort Worth Texas. The FW group has a couple good Elders in it. 

My new MTC teacher is a Sister. And she's more of a therapist than an instructor so that kind of gets old. And her comp teacher is (edited) so that’s not always fun either.  We talk about the same things every 3 hour class. So I'm kind of ready to get out of here. I'll survive though. I really hope they can sort of the visas soon.

Other than that not too much is going on. I heard Alabama roasted Norte Dame, sad day but kind of saw that coming. And yes Kiefer, it has been pretty insanely cold, we don’t get thermometers up here so there is pretty much the basic cold to “don’t-go-outside-or-your-eyebrows-freeze” scale. Today is extra nice though, it’s finally warm. Good day for P-day.

I'll be calling sometime soon. I guess I’ll call the house phone, probably tomorrow. Not that I have anything to say after this email but hey they gave me a phone call I might as well use it. Since this is my last P-day here I have no idea when I'll be emailing next, just keep watching and everything.

It’s cool to hear about school and everything Kiefer, glad that’s going alright. And yeah I wasn't too great about emailing you every week or sometimes every month even. Sorry about that, I know school gets busy and everything. Good luck in 112 (Chemistry). I don't remember if you got Corey, but if so, he's pretty cool. Just so you know you're long term long is to watch for the Fallout 4 announcement and let me know the generals of it. And yes the food (at the MTC) is nasty I usually have the salad. And I'm the guy who sits there and tells them what to put on it. And I don't care. I haven't tried the OJ definitely don't trust that.

Gotta go I'm at negative 10 seconds. Talk to everyone later.

From the Mom

January 4, 2013
We received a (very short) phone call from Colin informing us that his Visa had not yet been approved and he would not be leaving for Australia on the 7th as planned.  He will be receiving a temporary state-side assignment on Thursday.
None of the four Elders that were scheduled to go to Australia on the 7th have received their Visas so they will all receiving temporary assignments.
It was very nice to get to visit with Colin on the phone even though it was very brief.  He said he was being monitored...

January 3, 2013

January 3, 2013

Eh. My grades could have been better. Doctrine and Covenants must have been curved down because I was sure I got an A. I'm kind of miffed about Personal Finance too I thought that was an A for sure. I guess I'm happy with civ and math though. Anyway I'm flying out on Monday at 8:05 PM from Salt Lake, and going through LA and Melbourne before hitting Adelaide. I'm not sure how all the time things work on the itineraries, but it says I get into Adelaide at 10 AM on the 9th whatever that means. So I don't have an 8th of January at all. I have no idea if my visa worked out, but they haven't called me in about it yet so it shouldn't be an issue. My companion's passport should come in today or tomorrow, which means he can send in a new visa application this week hopefully. He may be able to get out before February but I doubt he'll be on the plane with me. There are two other guys in my district going to Australia, one to Perth and the other to Sydney, and the Sydney guy should be flying with me so at least I won't be solo the entire time. We'll see what happens though.

These MTC computers are retarded some of the keys don't respond unless I like hold it down. They spent all their money on the big screen TVs in all the classrooms that don't ever get used. Oh and by the way I like how the car (the Honda with 200,000 miles on it that Kiefer is taking to BYU) is magically ready to make a cross country trip a few months after I wanted to take it. That car is fine.  Everbody keeps trash talking it and it still runs smoother than a lot of the other cars on the road.

So really, all that’s going on here is some big epidemic that started a few days ago. They had to quarantine like a third of the missionaries here to try and stop everyone from getting it. They had kids in surgical and gas masks all over the place. A couple of kids straight up went crazy during class. Wild stuff. I managed to go this far without getting it, but we still can't shake hands and since it gets around so well I'm pretty sure I'll pick it up before I'm scheduled to leave. We have eleven guys in our district and there was only four of us that weren't in quarantine the past couple days. Only one of the guys in my room picked it up so I should have a chance. We'll see what happens.

Other than that, not too much going on. Class is boring, we got to teach a couple of volunteers in TRC and those went pretty well.  We gave the first guy the "God Potential" talk on the first lesson, and the second guy tithing the first time we saw him. My companion just about had a hard attack both times. They both loved it though, if it wasn't New Years and “germ island” here the past few days, we would have been able to teach them more. 
I have just enough clothes each week to barely get me to P-day and laundry. It’s kind of getting old. My suit is already starting to wear out, the button on the inside popped off this morning and the top button on the coat doesn't look like it’s going to last much longer either. I'm ready to get to Australia and start wearing slacks alone. It’s so cold up here. We don't have thermometers or anything but our instructor said that the past few nights have gone below zero. Not fun, especially when breakfast is at 7:00 AM. My district is a lot of fun though, I'm really gonna miss these guys. We kind of lucked out, seems like all the other districts have all those missionaries that look like they were born the week before going into the MTC. The rest of our zone is like that.  Our district going to Australia and Canada, and the other zones are going to Fort Worth Texas and Provo Utah, plus some sisters going all over the states. 
20 seconds left gotta go. 

December 27, 2012

First P-day...

The mildew thing was a joke because we're prisoners in a dungeon, but never mind. Right now they have us scheduled to leave on the 7th of January, and there are four of us, just my companion and I to Adelaide, but he lost his passport and is pretty much definitely going to have visa delays, if not a transfer stateside. I really, really hope they don't keep me around to wait for him. I'm not really sure about the other two. One is headed to Perth and the other to Sydney. We all share a room.

Can't wait to get in country, the MTC can get pretty dry sometimes. The biggest difference is just always being rushed and busy, which is really irritating.  And not everything fits into the schedule, sometimes we have two lessons planned in advance for our fake investigators.  The instructors still get mad when I study alone during companion study, which I get but right now everything is role playing so nothing really makes sense. Yesterday we taught someone for the first time who wasn't either an Elder or an instructor. His name is Alexandre Paul, you should look him up, he's supposedly a retired "consul general" and Haitian Diplomat and I'd like to know if there’s anything to that. He's definitely a sharp guy and really threw some curve balls at me. He's a volunteer here so I'm almost positive he's a member living in the area and just plays a nonmember so we can teach him. My companion doesn't really do much teaching at all. Which is fine with me, I like doing all the heavy lifting anyway.

It snowed all day yesterday. We got about a little more than two feet, literally. It’s pretty cool. Make sure you send me those grades as soon as you get them, I'm really anxious to see how everything turned out.

Be sure and send me some current event updates too. Car bombs in Egypt, cats staging a military coup in the East and taking control of the Ukrainian presidency...things like that.

Take care, I'll be emailing next week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Day

Hello. I've been told this isn't really supposed to be a social email, so I leave most of everything for Thursday (P-day).  Needless to say I am still alive, they beat us pretty hard in here and sometimes the dungeons and chains get a little old and I always smell like mildew but other than that it’s not too bad. Christmas has been great though, usually they have us in class for about 9 or 10 hours a day, yesterday was only about 4 hours and a fireside and movie in the evening. The movie was A Christmas Carol; great movie. And we had a movie and fireside on Sunday night.  Today we had two firesides, with "It’s A Wonderful Life" tonight.  It is the best time to be in the MTC. And wherever you are, some one’s caroling since everyone basically just sings in the halls and well into their sleep too. It’s really cool. So almost no class, and lots of Christmas music and movies and eating and listening to old people talk.  Fireside this morning was Elder Nelson. So that went well. 

So much for not a social email… But anyway I'm supposed to be bearing my testimony of Christmas and Christ and my time here at the MTC (probably so that mothers don't riot in the future years when they're children continue to be called in six days before Christmas). And since my life up to this point has been kind of scroogeish, this is a bit difficult. But in all honesty I am learning a ton up here.  They have us teaching a bunch, and there is no way of feeling the spirit better than trying to explain the atonement to someone and get them to understand the love Christ has for them. I love using the scriptures, and one of the challenges for me has been not to show off too much when I teach since it seems like most of the Elders I work with have to search for an hour to find a scripture to apply to what they're teaching when it’s not given to them beforehand. But the Church is true, God lives, and it is He whose is sending me to Australia.  Christ born over two thousand years ago lived and died for us, and I'm going to have a blast trying to tell as many people about him as I can. I've been counting down the days I have left here in the MTC (13 and a halfish) and I can't wait to get to Australia and start dropping some spiritual knowledge on the people there. I expect everything to go pretty fast though. And I know that as I do this the Lord will take care of me and keep me where I need to be so that I can help the people around me most.

I'm not sure how much time I have here so I'm gonna wrap this up pretty quick.  Merry Christmas family and thank you for all the gifts, I just finished the Lego helicopter and I'm about to dig into the banana bread in a bit. (So thank you to Grandma as well). And the Rubik Cube is fantastic. I'll be emailing again in a couple of days, so until then Wesley, goodnight, sleep well, I'll probably kill you in the morning.

Also keep me updated with some current event stuff…rioting over 2012 and anyone getting shot in Egypt or the Gaza strip and such as. 
Colin was called to serve as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in August of 2012.  His assignment was the serve in the Adelaide Australia Mission.  His report date, for the Mission Training Center in Provo, was December 19, 2012.  

Thus began the process; obtaining a Passport and an Australia Visa.

Colin decided to return to BYU for the Fall 2012 semester which would end about 4 day prior to his report date.

The pictures were taken just before Colin entered the MTC on the 19th.  Thank you to Kiefer and Brandon for helping us get Colin ready and to the curb.