Monday, March 5, 2012

Hello From Montana 2/13/2012 (2 emails)

1)  So my first week in Montana has been awesome.  I am thoroughly convinced that I am in one of the most beautiful places in the United States.  There was a mix-up in names and I am actually in a town called Libby, which is 20 miles east of Troy and has about 4000 people in it.  It's nestled in a small valley surrounded by the Cabinet mountain range, and there are trees everywhere.  Libby is called the city of eagles and that's because there are eagles everywhere.  Especially at the Libby dump.  It's kind of funny that one of the most scenic places here is the dump because of the view and because of all the bald eagles that hang out there.  We are living in a members home, the Brauns, and they are way nice people.  Sis Braun actually graduated from Orem High School I believe one year after dad.  The first thing she asked when I met her is whether or not I was related to a Darrell Stacey.  I don't know if you'd remember dad, but her maiden name is Lorraine Holtkamp, and she said you'd probably know her older brother too, but I don't remember his name.  Talk about a small world.  Anyway that being said, I am loving it here.  The Lord has really poured out his Spirit to many of the people in this town.  Right now there are 3 part-member families who, within the last month or so decided it was time to go back to church.  Two of the families are a brother and sister and their spouses and children.  We'll see if I can write this out and have it make sense.  The Hollingsworths and Baileys are both part-member families.  Bro Hollingsworth and sis Bailey are both siblings and members.  They were baptized when they were in their teens but went inactive shortly after that.  One day out of the blue, bro Hollingsworth's wife, who is not a member, called up sis Bailey and said she felt they needed to go to church.  To make a long story that I still don't know quite completely about short, they started attending church together.  Eventually they started bringing their whole families and the missionaries began teaching them in January.  Now sis Hollingsworth and bro Bailey and each of the families oldest children are preparing for baptism late Feb, early Mar, and bro Hollingsworth was ordained a priest, so he'll be able to baptize them himself.  I have only met them a couple times, but already I love them and the great decisions they are making.  The other part-member family we are teaching is the Goodenough family.  It's kind of the same story with sis Goodenough.  She was having some struggles with various things and decided to come back to church to seek some help.  She has had a really hard life and coming back to church has been such a blessing for her.  We are teaching her 11 year old step-daughter who has a disability where she is paralyzed on the left half of her body and has some learning disabilities.  She is the sweetest girl and she is preparing to be baptized within the next two weeks as well.  Alisha Goodenoughs husband has been a little harder to reach.  He has some pretty serious addictions that have been very hard for him to quit, and he won't go to any sort of addiction recovery.  But he did go to church for his first time ever last week.  The other two people who are preparing to be baptized are two friends, Delbert Thomas, and Darby Moses.  they are co-workers of bro Bailey and they are legit.  They always have great questions, always read and pray about what we ask them to do and are honest.  It has been a breath of fresh air to teach all these people who are so willing to change, keep their commitments, and see the Saviors Atonement working through their lives.  They are preparing to be baptized in March as well.  So everything going as it is right now, there will be 6 convert baptisms and one 8 yr old baptism within the next 2 months in the Libby ward.  Apart from converts, there has been a lot of work going on in the reactivation of inactive members.  Our gospel doctrine teacher was an inactive member for over 20 years and came to church on Christmas Sunday.  When he came, the bishop pulled him aside and gave him the calling of gospel doctrine teacher.  He accepted and has been to church every week to teach since then.  I tell you what he has had a very interesting life.  Not many people can say that they rode for Hells Angels, and then became an ordinance worker in the temple.  That's just a few stories of inactive members coming back into the church, and the great blessings that have come from that, and I'm pretty sure there is even more.  So I think that is about all I have to report on this week, I probably forgot something.  But hope everyone has a great week.  Have a great wedding Matt and Felicia, and have a great baby shower Michelle.  It is indeed a big week.  Talk to you all next week love you

2)  Haha I totally forgot to report on my birthday.  It was a great birthday.  We were at the church supporting the Blue and Gold banquet, but mostly just wanted free food and an excuse to teach the Baileys at the church.  Anyway,  Elder Hatch told one of the leaders it was my birthday, so everyone in the room sang happy birthday and gave me  a cake.  Then on Friday, sis Braun made some cupcakes for us and after we were done planning for the night played Scrabble.  So my birthday was really good.  Also I don't think I talked about Elder Hatch at all.  He is an awesome missionary.  He has been out a little over a year and a half, and is from New Mexico.  He's got a great attitude and a love of everyone that we are teaching.  I have loved my first week with him and I am looking forward to this transfer.  Ok I think that's it.

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