Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An email from a while ago

TRANSFERSS!!!!!!!!!!! Tomorrow we're getting another batch of baby missionaries! It looks like I'll be staying in Grand Junction 1st ward for another 6 weeks and I'll continue to train! After this transfer I'll have been in this ward for just about 6 months! Out of all the missionaries in our district I've been in this area the longest haha it's probably because they dont want to expose the rest of colorado to me haha I'm excited though! I get to freeze my butt of on my bike for another 6 weeks in GJ's record cold weather woooooooohhoooo It's gonna be great! This ward hasn't had many missionaries stay over 4 months here so it's cool to have a chance to continue to build strong relationships with all of them! ANyways this week was pretty good! Elder Green got his stitches out so we were able to get back to work and ride our bikes really fast again! It was kinda crazy tho, we met with this guy who flagged us down a couple weeks ago and told us to come over. he lives alone in this really nice house thats full of all this really cool ancient stuff and lots of guns haha He let us hold all of these sweet rifles and shotguns and stuff. it was sweet! I guess he played semi pro basketball and wwas really successful when he was young so he got to retire when he was like 28 or something. and now he just invests in young singers and all that good stuff. He was a really nice guy but I could tell that even with all that awesome nice stuff he isn't really happy. something is missiing, and all he is trying to do is make up for what he doesn't have. It's sad to see, but hopefully he'll open up to the gospel, but I dont think he will. He's jewish and I think he wants to just bible bash! It's all good though! ANyways! ANother transfer is over! number 4 starts now, and it's gonna be the best one yet, just as long as i dont freeze. It's kinda funny we'll be riding around and its a nice 3 degrees and my eyes will start to water because its so cold, and then the water freezes to my eyes! Its cool! Take care everyoneand keep being cool and stuff!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another email from Pickle

HEY! I'm glad you liked the pictures, I guess I'll try to get more with me in them. It has been literally freezing the past week.... I guess we've had record snow and low temperatures for grand juntion! I guess the temp got down to -11 at one point... I thnk irvines record cold is like 50 or something haha It's been kinda crazy trying to get around with it all. A lot of the streets we ride on are side and back streets so they dont get plowed and the snow eventually turns into ice, which makes it almost impossible to ride on... my companion learned the hard way hahaha We were on our way to an appointment (...late) and I was riding pretty fast so i got pretty far ahead of him, and after a while I looked back and he was just walking his bike down the street. I thought oh he's probably just playing it safe, but then he leaned his bike against a fence and started taking off his jackett.... at this point I was what the heck man we're late lets go! So I started yelling from down the sstreet to see what he was doing, but he wasn't even responding and he was leaning over a little. so I started walking over there and as I got closer I could see that the snow around him was just covered in blood... then I was like oh crap. So I started running over to him and as I got there our bishop and his family just happened to be driving by and pulled over and helped us... its was nuts! there was also another member who was meeting with us to teach a lesson and he showed up too to help out. My comp had slipped on some ice and went face first into the ice, and cut his chin open. I could tell right away he would need stitches cause it was pretty deep haha he's scared of needles though so when we went to the urgent care he was a little freaked out, but he toughed it out and got 5 stitches inside and 11 on the outside. Looking back on it now it was pretty hilarious, but we were definitely being watched over when we had a member and the bishop and his family all pull up to help him out. but anyways... we're being very careful haha. I'm just getting over being sick and now elder green is stitched up, but we're hanging in there. one week left in the transfer, and we're looking to finish strong! There is some good that comes out of biking in the cold too though. we were riding home at like 9:30 one night and got stopped by a bunch of diifferent people. they were all amazed that we would be crazy enough to ride around in 0 degree weather in the middle of the night hasha I was a little amazed we were doing it too haha anyways I'm glad to hear that everyones doing well back home and you're all getting ready for christmas too. we have lights up in our place and a little tree too haha and thats so cool about JT too. I remember that litle guy haha he was awesome! I might need some more letter/writing stuff here pretty soon. I love and miss you all so much! Let me know how everything is going and merr christmas! Love Elder Austin

Saturday, December 7, 2013

4 month mark!

It's crazy to think I've been out for 4 months already! I still feel like I just got out here. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving week! It was weird to be away form home, but we made the most out of it for sure! We weren't allowed to proselyte so we played football all day and ate a ton of food. It was sweet! We've just been doing our thing as usual, working hard and talking to all sorts of awesome/crazy people. We're coming up on transfers too, which is insane! I really hope I stay though cause transfer day is on December 17th and I'd be sooooo mad if I get moved to a new area the week before Christmas, but I guess its not up to me haha Anyways this week is shaping up to be another crazy one! Everyones saying that we're looking at 18 degrees one of the days this week with some snow too. They're also saying it'll be around 8 deg. at night..... For some reason they like putting the cali beach boy on the bike in the dead of winter! We'll see how it goes I guess. Hopefully everyones doing well back home. I miss you all so much! Thanks for the prayers and letters and all! They help out so much! Love Elder Austin

Pickle's B-day

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Latest Email

There was a cool experience I had the other day. We went to go contact a referral that we received from a member in another ward and it seemed pretty solid. So we went to the door and he basically shut us down and said he wasn't interested and slammed the door on us. We started heading back to our bikes when he came out and walked his wife to her car (probably to protect her from us haha). All of the sudden I got this strong urge to try again. All I could think about was talk to this guy one more time and see what happens. So I ran after him before he could get inside and basically just bore my testimony and told him a little bit about the Book of Mormon. He was like a whole different person. He seemed interested and grateful for us, and he invited us back next Sunday. I'm glad I followed that prompting. Another cool thing happened on this last p day. We went with the zone leaders to Bangs Canyon, which I think is a part of the Colorado National Monument. We went on this hike that started off pretty cool, just kinda jumping up big rocks and stuff. Next thing I know we're going inside these caves and climbing straight up and out of these holes in the roof. It was so cool. WE kinda had a crazy weekend this past week. So it was our stake conference and Elder Ballard and Elder Hillier came so it was just hectic and insane. My comp and I and the Zone leaders had to be at the church at like 1:30 for some interviews with President Murdock and it was really busy. Anyways I was in my interview with President Murdock and after, I stepped out the door and Elder Ballard was right there. It was crazy! He came up to me and shook my hand and asked me where I was from and stuff. I'd never even seen an apostle before and it was pretty cool to shake his hand and talk for a bit. So then we took Mark Hillier out and it went really well. Conference was great too, and after the Sunday session, Elder Ballard had all the missionaries meet in a room and he gave us a kinda training thing it was really cool. Then after all of that went down we went back out and put 2 more people on date for baptism. It was a good end to the week.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The most recent email from Nick

Hey Everybody- My collar bone broke again :) just kidding it's fine. I've been working out pretty hard this past transfer and its doing fine. I'm glad you're all doing well back home! We had a good week this week. WE've been wokring hard and its paying off. Transfers is coming up next week... I'm alread through my second transfer... its crazy! It'll be interesting to see what will happen this time around. My comp and I helped cut up our members elk this week. He smoked some of it too, and I gave us a whole bunch of it. It's unreal how good it is. Some people say its really gamey but i love it! We also had a crazy thing happen to us this week. A lady from the newpspaper interviewed my comp and I and a few other sisters. A photographer came to one of our lessons too. We thought it would just be a small article in the back of the paper, but on sunday all the members at church brought us copies of it haha they put a picture of me and elder jacobson and a pair of sisters on the front page hahaha it's really wierd but cool too i guess. I'll be sure to send a copy home so you guys can check it out. It's actually a pretty cool article. We also had our primary program this sunday, and it was awesome! Love you all! keep writing and doing your thing! Take care! Check out the article: http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/a-higher-mdash-and-increasingly-younger-mdash-call Love Elder Austin

Elder Austin's email from the 21st

Ooh man we've been having a pretty good week! The leaves are changing colors and they're all over the ground. It's cool to bike through all of it. Sometimes the wind picks up like crazy and all the leaves start flying around like snow... it's really cool. We're about 5 hours away from Denver. We're what they call "over the hill" or "out west" its cool. Grand Junction is what they call I guess an elevated desert? It's still really high but it's kinda dry and stuff. It's been getting cold though. We we're riding around yesterday and I didn't bring my gloves so my hands were frozen and my face too haha! We'll probably start getting snow soon too. (if there is snow we have to ride our bikes anyways) The fall social/trunk or treat/ chili cook off was awesome! It's pretty big here. We had a ton of investigators and non members and less actives show up. They all enjoyed it too. Elder Jacobson and I must be doing something right cause we've been having a lot of good happen to us (knock on wood). We now have 3 investigators on date for baptism. One of them was this lady who came running up to us one day yelling "I missed my elders" she told us that it had been years since she'd met with missionaries and she wanted us to come over. So we did and taught and invited her to baptism. She said she's put it off for too long and that she knows its true. She's on date for November 23! We've had some pretty funny things happen to us lately. Elder Jacobson has eaten it on his bike like 3 times in really funny ways. He's fine though. And I crashed my bike into someones mail box haha I was trying to get dirt off my back tire while riding ( not the smartest thing) and I look up and there was a mail box right in front of me. The guy came out and was laughing and it turned into a good thing ,but anyways right after that we went to a lady’s house and we're sitting there as she forces us to eat ice cream and we start calling each other by the nicknames she gave us ( Jacobson- Prince William, and ME- Harry conick jr.) It was a pretty funny visit. I'm supposed to sing for them next time we're over there cause apparently I’m Harry Conick jr. haha- we did have spiritual experience too. For prep day we usually just play basketball. It’s awesome. We're lucky enough to have a zone with enough somewhat athletic elders in so we can have a decent game going. I've also played soccer and of course nerf. but we don’t do that one as much. We'll probably try to do some cool hikes and climbs soon too. I love you guys! Take care and let me know how you're all doing. SEE YAA Elder Austin

Monday, September 30, 2013

Little update from Pickle

Hey everyone!! So this week we had transfers and i got a new companion. his name is elder jacobson and he's pretty cool. He's 22 from kitty hawk north carolina. been out for about 5 months now. So we're both relatively new but we had a great week. We found 6 new investigators and taught a bunch of people, it was cool. We've been getting real freaky out here in grand junction. people like us and we're just awesome (humble too).. we even got the guy who almost killed us a few weeks ago, to come to church. It was awesome! We actually had the best numbers in the whole district. Taking over the area isn't too bad i kinda know where everything is at so it’s cool. the weather has been pretty nice too. the suns out and the air is cold so its awesome being on bikes. the leaves haven't really started changing colors yet but i think they will. the weather is perfect right now though. we love it! its good to have a companion who is obedient and wants to work too. we're really turning things around out here. He told me that he's going to probably finish my training here and then I'll become district leader and train someone else which is crazy. I guess president talked to him about me. he wants me to be a leader (for some reason) in the mission. nothing too strange or weird happened this week. Just people yelling stuff at us, answering the door pretty much naked, veering their cars at us... normal missionary stuff. hopefully some more crazy fun stuff will happen this week and I'll be able to send you all something interesting! see yaaahh

Monday, September 23, 2013

Elder Austin's latest:

We've been getting rained on a bit out here and they're saying it might get down into the 30s later this week haha I'm pretty excited! Ok so heres a story that's pretty funny- So Elder Reese and I were visiting with a guy who is slightly insane and hates the world, but he's way awesome. He was in the marines and loves to talk about all the ways he would kill the people he doesn't like... it's kinda creepy but pretty funny too haha anyways we were at his place and he was drinking coffee, which we give him a hard time for, and he spilled it all over himself. He just about snapped... He started cussing up a storm and he threw the mug maybe a foot over our heads and it hit the wall behind us, but it didn't break... this just pissed him off even more so he stared spiking the mug of the floor over and over but it wouldn't break. So he threw the entire pot of scalding hot coffee at the wall and just walked into his back room. Elder Reese and I were trying our best not to laugh, cause if he knew that we were laughing he'd probably kill us haha but then he comes back out in new clothes and just goes back to talking to us hahah it was terrifying, funny and awesome! I’m staying for the next transfer but my trainer is leaving. They're having me take over the area which is pretty intimidating but its all good! I had my first baptism yesterday! I got to confirm her and give her the Holy Ghost it was pretty awesome. The area is still moving slow though. I'll meet my new companion tomorrow too, so that should be fun. They said as of tomorrow over 50% of the mission will consist of missionaries who have only been out for 3 months or less! It’s a greenie mission out here haha

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elder Austin's Second Email

Hey hope everyone is doing well out there! I’m glad you liked the bike video too, that hill is pretty huge. WE're pretty much in the desert so there aren’t too many mountains haha and I did have a bike accident but I survived and I’m completely fine. The whole front wheel on my bike came off when I was riding pretty fast and I ate it pretty hard. My hands are a little scraped up but that’s it. Anyways things are going well out here. Elder Reese and I are sitting down with families in the ward and writing up plans with them for how they can share the gospel with EVERYONE they know. I heard an interesting and shocking thing the other day that came from the first presidency of the church. They said that within a year since the announcement of the age change, the missionary force will have doubled. By next year there will be over 100,000 missionaries. They also said that the age change and missionary work today is just as important/influential/ vital as the coming of the Book of Mormon... that’s insane! The first presidency said that the things that are happening today with missionary work are just as important as Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon and restoring the church. It’s kinda hard to comprehend –haha. It’s weird that we're living in a time like this. My companion and I tell the members when we talk about missionary work that the Lord doesn't scramble the jets for no reason. All this change is happening for a reason, we just need to do our part and share the gospel as best we can. Anyways I love you all so much and hope you have an awesome week! Keep sending the letters and the packages, they're life savers at times haha Tell everyone I said hi and I love em Love, Elder Austin

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elder Pickle's First Email!

It was nice to be able to read all your emails today! Oh and just keep sending letters to the mission office, that's the best way to send them. Ok so when I had my interview with the mission president, he told that my young mens leaders gave me the highest rating you could get for some reason (I don't know why) haha So he told me " We can tell your going to be an awesome missionary so we're sending you to an area that has been struggling for a long time... so yah that was kinda scary haha but yeah so the area is in Grand Junction which is wayout west, the Grand Junction 1st Ward. My Companion, Elder Reese, is the district leader and he's really cool. He's from Dallas, and he's been out for like 17 months or something. His only problem is that he loves to sleep in and he forgets a lot of things... so I kinda feel like the trainer at times haha his last companion also left for home after being here for like 3 weeks too haha but that wasn't because of Elder Reese. He's an awesome comp though. So the area is interesting. They're are a lot of Vietnam and Gulf War vets and a lot of College kids. So half the people we talk to are either drunk or high haha its really sad though cause there's quite a bit of poverty and a lot of people have problems. The teaching pool is very small, so most of our lessons are with less actives cause there are a lot of those. The ward doesn't real trust the missionaries at all too, because of the Elder who left early. So we have quite a bit of work to do. And everyone here generally isn't in love with the missionaries, and Coloradans don't like Californians so much so I kind of have the double wammy there. I've already been yelled at and heckled quite a bit too. Most of them just yell out there car window as they drive by. One old guy yelled at me to get a job and he sped off haha it was pretty funny. I just thought I have the hardest job out there haha and I'm employed by God haha We also get a lot of doors shut on our face and a lot of cancellations. I can tell now that the area really has been struggling so we're just gonna have to work that much harder I guess. Oh yeah and Im also on a bike! Which sucks cause its super hot and dry, but I did buy a sweet bike so I'm pretty stoked. The bikes help out a lot too. We've been finding people like crazy. We literally talk to pretty much anyone who walks by, and we hand them cards and get their info and share a message. the only problem though is that they're all young single adults so we have to hand em over to the singles ward missionaries, but its all good cause at least they're somewhat interested. Oh and I missed my first sunday at church cause Elder Reese got pink eye, and we weren't allowed to leave he apartment at all. So it was pretty fun staying in our little 20x20 foot apartment for like 30 hours haha Oh you'll be getting pictures soon of everything but are apartment is in the back yard of one oof the members and its super tiny but its kinda cool too. the members who are renting the place to us are way awesome too. But keep the emails and letters coming, they help a ton because its been a pretty long week. I'll try to get back to everyone but everything is so crazy right now and it might take awhile so don't get too mad at me! Anyways I love you all and I miss you!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Elder Pickle in the MTC with Elder Murphy

Elder Pickle's Farewell

You know Its kind of strange being up here and knowing that I’m leaving on my mission in a few days. For those of you who aren’t familiar with missions or Mormons, serving a two year mission in our church is something that primarily young men but also most young women grow up knowing they will do. Its something that in general most of us look forward to. However for me it wasn’t really like that. I know it sounds bad but I dreaded turning 19 and when the age for missionaries changed to 18 that feeling of fear and panic quickly set in. Serving a mission for 2 years was not on my radar at all. And that feeling lasted for the longest time, you know all I could think about was how am I going to tell my parents. And I know there are others, possibly out here right now, who feel the same way I did. I had a lot going for me then. I was doing well in surf contests, talking to shops and companies about sponsorships, sorry mom but I was hanging out with tons of girls. And the last thing I wanted to do was drop all of that to wear a shirt and tie everyday for two years. I even thought that I was an exception. That I didn’t need to serve a mission. I thought to myself I’m not called to serve... I’m called to surf. But seriously, I had myself convinced that God didn’t really want me to go on a mission.

Now flash forward to now, as I read over the topic brother Walters gave me several weeks ago, I thought to myself how perfect it was not just to the situation I had faced, but to everyone else as well. The topic goes “We invite all to serve the savior and walk in his path straightway. There is an urgency for all of us who have this knowledge of His divinity to act upon it without hesitation or delay. The time is now.”

You know, the church gives us an understanding and perspective that some of us tend to overlook and take for granted at times. We, Mormons and non mormons alike, look past the blessings and love that our father in heaven pours over us, and focus on the negative things and the hardships we face. This was true in my case. I don’t necessarily like to talk about this too much but back when I entered my sophomore year in high school, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. And I remember all of the hospital visits and sitting at my dads bedside watching him suffer, and living with the uncertainty of what would happen. And all I could think was why would this happen. I began to look past the understanding I had, and the love that was around me. I began to think of all the other things that had happened to me, and those I loved. I don’t really like to talk about this too much either but when I was about 6 years old I lost one of my best buddies to Leukemia, and I remember sitting with him throughout it all, much like with my dad. I began to dwell on all of this negativity as I went through high school, and it contributed to driving me away from the idea of serving a mission. I had blinded myself from what I really knew was true. And that lasted for quite awhile.

It wasn’t until about halfway through my senior year that I decided to go on a mission. I began to look at things from a different perspective, and opened my eyes to what I really knew was true. I looked back at all the trials I had faced and saw how I had grown from them. I saw my family become stronger than ever during my dads recovery, and I knew of the love that our friends had for us. I knew that I hadn’t lost a friend, and that he’s cheering me on through all of this. It was at this point in my life that I gained a desire stronger than any other desire to serve in any way that I can. I realized the urgency that there is to share with others around me the blessings and happiness that I have because of this church and gospel. I realized that the time is now for me to help others through this life in any way that I can. I can’t imagine going through this life without the understanding and hope that this gospel gives me. And for those of you who are not sure if they want to serve a mission, try to look back at all the times this gospel has blessed you, because at that time you may not notice those blessings, but they’re there. But above all, brothers and sisters, look towards your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Pray, ask your father in heaven in times of doubt and uncertainty. And look towards Christ as an example of how you should live your life. Do as Christ would, to the best of your ability. When I was deciding to go on my mission, prayer was among the most influential things in my life. And Christ's example an anchor to me. And if you do that you too will have a desire to share those blessings with others. In closing I’d like to thank all of my friends and family who are here today and who have supported me throughout all of this. And I’d like to share with you my testimony:

*Nick added more to the talk and didn't write down his testimony, but here's the basic gist of the talk :)