Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 1- Monday June 2nd - Monday June 9th‏

 Dear Family and Friends,

I've learned on my mission and in the few days upon return thereof that even though we leave friends who we may consider family, home is where the heart is. Being the poetic representation of where my desires and where the pure love of genealogical tides rest. Those who may have been left behind for a short season weather in Vegas or in Pueblo, I know I will see them again because of their spiritual ties I found with them.

This first week home has been great. It's not as weird as I was expecting. Upon seeing my family (which took an 8a.m. flight to Salt Lake and a layover until 3:40 to fly to Colorado Springs to finally see them) I met my Mom, Dad, Sister, her husband, my niece, and another niece that I've never met before! I had to say, "who is this?"

My parents then drove me to the Stake Presidents house to be released. As we were sitting talking I was just waiting for those words "you can take off your badge". That experience was rough but I'm content with knowing that I worked hard on the mission and that I did all I was supposed to.

Since my parents moved to Firestone, North Denver, it is extremely hard to go visit people in Pueblo (being a two and a half hour drive) so my some members of the ward put together a 'ward get together' at the pueblo west chapel. It was so kind of them and so exciting to see everyone! Some say I look older but I have my doubts :)

Then the next day my brothers and sisters started to trickle in. My brother and his family, my sister and her family... to save on time all my siblings came to stay a few days. It was great to have them here and to meet my new nieces/nephews. It was very thoughtful for all of them to travel as far as they did to come down. We were able to have good time to talk and share experiences. I'm still the 'baby' but its nice to also be considered an adult haha.

Saturday morning we hit some garage sales in Firestone then we all drove down to Pueblo and went on some kiddie rides for the grand-kids.  Its so fun to see their faces light up when they get on the rides! I went on a ride with one of my sisters kids and it was a pretty rough ride for a kiddie ride. At first she was really tensed up and seemed really scared. But after the first go around she seemed to enjoy it and calm down a little (with a little help from me holding her).

Currently I'm trying to stay busy, which isn't hard because of everything I have to do. I signed up for classes at BYU-I this morning. Yesterday I was pretty stressed, making sure I got all the right classes and everything. Its great to already have an associate degree so I just have to worry about classes that deal with my real degree. That only means the classes are way more difficult, but at least I don't feel like I'm wasting time. I'm also trying to find a job; currently filling out a profile for the LDS Employment Center.
I've also changed my major to a Bachelor of Science with a Human Biology emphasis; keeping my options open. Its going to be really tough but I'm going to use my study skills and memorization skills from the mission! Time for normal life application of the things I've learned.

Well I haven't had as many spiritual experiences as I've had in previous weeks, but its all good.
Keep the Faith!
Devin John

"The acceptance of the reality that we are in the Lords loving hands is only a recognition that we have never really been anywhere else." - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, June 2, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 6, Lakes Stake, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,

Wow. What a busy and great week! 
So I guess I'll start with Monday. We taught Anna and Grselda. They are so cool. We read with them and they seem to be doing well. We had another lesson with them Sunday night. We did 'CPR' or "go to Church, say your Prayers, and Read your Scriptures". We did an object lesson with them where you have to suspend a heavy object (such as my scriptures) in the middle of 3 cups with knives supporting the object. Its a little difficult to figure out the first time you do it but Anna got it after a few tried! It was impressive and she was so excited! Its suppose to represent each of the principles of the lesson, and without one of them you cant support your life/heavy object.  They are excited to be baptized and Anna will be getting baptized probably in September after she gets back from Mexico. 

On Tuesday we had a great District Meeting. So before we split up in districts we had a special speaker come in. I found out who Elder Johnson's favorite Recent Convert was and it was Samuel, from his first area on his mission. So I had Samuel come in as a surprise to Elder Johnson. He was surprised and it was great to see his reaction. Samuel spoke of his conversion and where he is now. He was married in the temple and is working at Nellis Air Force Base. I hope it gave the other missionaries some hope to see what can happen with the people they work with. 
Then we split up and I went with Elder Olive's District. We talked about the whole armor of God and put on grass skirts and blew up blow up swords, made our own shields and so on. It was fun :) We then watched 'Labor of Love' and had our closing song, "God be with you till we meet again". I did pretty good with not crying until the prayer. I just sat behind the piano and cried while the prayer was going on. 

On Thursday was my departing interview with President Ahlander. It was a good experience. All of the usual things. Get an education and get married :) 
Friday was our Temple Trip. It was great to be in the temple with all the people I came out with and to see how they have changed. We went to Golden Corral after... and I was so sick! But only for that night :) 

We also stopped by Brother Eldredge. His step son, Brother Williams, died on Monday. He asked me to speak at his funeral on Saturday morning. So we got to the funeral and our Relief Society President wrapped me into playing the organ. So I played the organ, well all but the first song since i didn't know how to play it. The funeral went very well. Very upbeat and hopeful. 

Then after the funeral we set up for Katherine's Baptism. It was great! Probably one of the most spiritual baptisms I've been to. she asked me to baptize her and it was a great experience. She is a great person and I hope to see her again. 

After the baptism we moved from the Bryans to the Teshima's house. So that made us really busy. Then we had dinner at the Godfreys with Ali (a Potential investigator), Sam (a Recent Convert), Katherine, and another family in the ward the Lee's.  It was great and Katherine shared some of her amazing stories. She was asked to speak in church next week. I bet it will be great!

Sunday was very emotional. I was asked to bear my testimony and needless to say I cried a lot. I don't want to stop being a missionary but I'll have to take off the tag. I felt really bad for Elder Campbell cause everyone was coming up and saying that they will miss me... but Elder Campbell is a good sport. 
Elder Campbell and some other missionaries had a surprise for us (Elder Johnson and me)  on Tuesday after district meeting.  they made a parody song for us from the song, 'How can I be'. It was great. Elder Campbell also had a friend back home look on the mission blog and my personal blog to get pictures and create a slide show for me. It was really thoughtful! 

I love you all! thanks for the Support
Elder John 
"We can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible, even encouraged. In the early stages, the debris left behind included the grosser sins of commission. Later debris differs; things begin to be discarded which has caused the misuse or under-use of our time and talent." Elder Neal A. Maxwell