Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas has passed and now for the New Year!

(Got to Skype our elder at Animal Kingdom this year. Michele had a tablet and we found some wifi that kept shorting out every 15 minutes...but we persevered and had a great visit. Got to even talk to his companion, Elder Moala. What a wonderful trainer he has!)
Mother and Father,

   Christmas was a way difficult time for us. So many people told us that the next time they were going to be available was after the holidays. It left us with empty schedules and us saying "Aww man, what are we supposed to do now?" Christmas, however, was a lot of fun! We went to the Bishop's house and we put together a whole bunch of puzzles. Then we were allowed to watch one movie, so Elder Moala watched Frozen. He loved it. Then it snowed, and snowed, and didn't really stop snowing. Elder Moala drove, while I stuck my head out of the window and directed him. It was both fun and frightening. Then I had to get out and push when we got stuck. Actually, it's snowing right about that?! (I think they are going to have sub zero temperatures. How about that??!!)
   Could you pray for our investigator Rayann? She texted this morning asking for a ride to the hospital. We got Sister Etter to take her. We don't know any other details at the moment.

(After we got off our safari ride I noticed that I'd missed a call from Colorado. I was very sad.)    Also, that extra call was an accident. The buttons on the Bishop's phone are reversed as to what I'm used to, so I accidentally pressed call.
(My parents and I plan on making a week of movie watching. I told him I was going to see the new Hobbit movie.)   I'm really quite jealous about you seeing the new Hobbit movie. It's something that I really wanted to see, but it's going to have to wait a while. (Make a list!)

(The end of the BYU Bowl Game was an embarrassment. Brian was embarrassed about wearing any BYU clothing while at Disney World. SHAME!) I heard there was a brawl at the Miami Beach Bowl. That must have been exciting/awful.
   On New Years, the ward is having a game night, which we shall indubitably attend. Then, we shall likely go home and study! My studies have not been so hot lately because I rolled my ankle in the snow this week. I decided it would be for the best to sleep in and rest it. Which created another conundrum, because I enjoyed it so much. I'm starting to realize that mission rules are set in place as a form of self-deprivation. There's nothing wrong with acting otherwise, but as a missionary, we've pledged to keep those rules, and by breaking them we drive the spirit away. Blessings come from obedience, such as honest truth seekers showing up to church, or the referral I just received a few seconds ago. I didn't break any rules because I'm injured, but it got me thinking. (Andrew and his ankles!)
   The scripture of the week is Alma 26:22. If we can become instruments, and practice the gospel in our lives, there are thousands waiting to hear us. In fact, the stake president made us that promise a few weeks ago. He said he had seen in a vision people flocking to the Fort Collins Temple to do work, and thousands of people who have yet to hear the gospel in this stake are going to accept it, as long as we are willing and worthy tools.

 I hope you have a lovely week. Enjoy the rest of your break, Mom. (Oh, I will, son, I will!!)


Elder Andrew Campbell
(I'll attach some pictures sent from Sis. Pixler...the mom of the home he lives in. It's Christmas morning and he's with the Pixler boys and with his companion, Elder Moala. The one picture is Elder Campbell wearing his gaiter. I don't think he got it quite right!)

Sorry...We were at Disney we didn't post!

(Brian and I just arrived at Disney things are a bit topsy turvy. But happy to get a letter from my Fort Collins missionary. Just got a text from the family he's having Christmas we are trying to figure that out. Fun, fun, fun!!)

Mother and Father,

   I write to you with much love and a full heart. I've decided I'm going to really try to answer all of your questions this week. I can't comment on how fast the time has moved. It's sure moved fast though. We actually got another 7 investigators this week. It's a lot, bordering on the edge of overwhelming for only two missionaries in a ward. (Sounds like good things are happening in Fort Collins. Yay!!)

Sister Etter, the bishop's wife, should be sending you a text. I'm going to be at their home for Christmas.(She did....we're just trying to figure out when to contact each other. Phone calls might be easier than Skyping this Christmas. We shall see.)

 I didn't see my patriarchal blessing in those boxes, but I'll give them a more thorough going over. I got it in June of 2013? (He doesn't know where his patriarchal blessing is and it hasn't been filed with the church. Yikes!)
I got a great Christmas card from the Primary. It was so nice. When I get a free moment, I'll read over it more! (Thank you Primary!)
I don't recall having a Christmas party with the mission president. We don't party in this mission, we WORK! That's something that he would say if I suggested having a party. He is really awesome. I'm also never going to tell him this, but he has really cool hair. (What a funny boy!)

I also sang with the ward choir for the Christmas program. It was a lot of fun.
 I asked Elder Moala about the Tongan missionary from Chicago, but he didn't know of any.

(I'm trying to find housing for Peter for summer term at BYU.) Casa Dea was the name of the apartments I recommend! They are just as far from campus as Moon, but they are a bit cheaper. They are also about 5 times nicer. The people there were really nice too.

(Our former Japanese exchange student sent us a Christmas card and wondered about Andrew and his music.) As far as Sako's question about music, Elder Moala and I rewrote, "If You Could Hie To Kolob" yesterday. He just started playing and I just started singing, and it turned out really awesome. Sister Pixler came down and asked us who it was by, to which I responded, "Me. I wrote it in my head a few minutes ago". I also know pretty much no Japanese at this point. Sensei would be so disappointed.

I wondered if it was cold yet.)  It started snowing today. We've had some cold snaps, but it's been really mild. That Missionary Mall coat is super duper warm as well. The cold doesn't bother me as much as it used to.
 We met with an investigator on Saturday, and it was a really emotional experience. She now has a baptism date for January 10th. Prayers would be really appreciated! The zone leaders called us and told us that we had the best finding numbers in the zone. I think that's really silly because most of our investigators have landed in our laps.

 I'm attaching a picture of Elder Moala, Elder Sewell, and I in aprons. Elder Sewell was with us on an exchange for the night. We were cooking potstickers at a member's home. I don't know what was going on with my hair. (I want to know what was going on with the aprons. Pretty funny)
 One thing I've been working on is loving everyone I see. Every time we enter someone's home, all I can do is just feel an incredible amount of love for that person. It's a great feeling.

What's this I hear about Lodi becoming part of the Modesto mission? That is super cool. (I think so too!)

Could I get Grandma's email? That would be marvelous! (I will try!)


Elder Andrew Campbell

Monday, December 15, 2014

Not Enough Hours in the Day!!

(This week's letter is short...but he gets bonus points for sending pictures!! If he would answer my questions...he would have more to say. Maybe it will come with time.)

Mom and Dad,

   If you want an idea of how quickly things are moving, know that I'm working really hard to think of what to say. (I can think of LOTS of things you could all the answers to my questions in MY letter!)  I can't remember anything that happened last week. Let's see, we found 7 new investigators this week, a part member family with a woman who hasn't been active as a child. We thought all the adults were less-active and it caused us to say some things we wouldn't have otherwise, but the boldness got us into the home! I went on exchanges with one of the zone leaders, and it was super fun. He serves in the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward and they have a lot of fun over there. We went contacting on the CSU (Colorado State University) campus and taught lessons in our office at the institute building. We went to a place called the Fat Shack, and it was incredible and incredibly bad for me. I had a sandwich with fried Macaroni and Cheese bites, chicken tenders, french fries, and mozzarella sticks, drenched in buffalo ranch. Need I say more? (That makes me ill thinking about it!)

   I've been finding that I wish there were more hours in a day. So many people could benefit from hearing our message, but we don't have enough time to see everyone. We've been doing well, but it's always frustrating when we realize that there is someone we forgot to reach out to. Alas, we come home at 9:30 every night exhausted.

   Thank you for all of the good stuff. We both really appreciate it. (I assume that means he got my boxes??? Stuff...really???) I will try really, really hard to write those thank you cards. I'll try my best to find the time. (He'd better find the time...he's been raised better than that!)
I'm going to try to get info on who I will be with for Christmas. I have a feeling that I'm going to be spending Christmas at several homes, and I will try to get it figured out. Wish me luck. (I think WE need the luck!!) Pray for our investigators please. Linda, Albert, Rayann, Eric and his family, Jodi, and Alex. (You bet!)

I love you very, very much,

Elder Andrew Campbell

P.S. We had our Christmas Party, and the food was good. No pictures were taken though. I'll hopefully get you some of this week's pictures! (He described these pictures as him and his companion being silly!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week #2 in Fort Collins, CO: A Change of Heart

(You can't say prayers aren't answered....I was very concerned about his attitude last email, so I've been doing some heavy-duty praying that Elder Campbell would love his companion and the people of Fort Collins. Seems like that prayer has been answered. YES! AND....he sent pictures. It's another miracle!!!)

Mom and Dad,

 I don't even know how to describe how things have changed. One day Elder Moala and I had a big reconciliation and we apologized for things we'd done. Last night he told me that when he got me as a new missionary, he thought I was going to be a big handful because I was so full of fire. But, he told me I've actually been a catalyst that has reminded him of how much he loves missionary work. Rather than just me reminding him of mission rules, he's been schooling me when I act out of line. I'd say we're best friends now. We've been getting a lukewarm reception at the beginning of dinner, but leaving with a lot of love and respect from the members. I think that we're changing our ward's perspective on missionary work for the better each day.

A lot of the members of the ward are really cool. They seem to either be university professors or computer scientists/engineers. HP and other software companies have a big presence in Fort Collins. We were visiting an 80-90 year old couple yesterday, and I learned that they traveled the country as temple workers because the man in the family used to work as a programmer for databases. He traveled the nation working for some of the biggest companies, getting jobs for only months at a time. Pretty soon he started schooling me on the computers used by different companies and whether they used LINUX or UNIX and he started getting into the intricacies of the systems. Needless to say, it was the last thing I thought I'd hear from an 85 year old man, haha. (He lost me at LINUX and UNIX!)

(I told him that someone in our church really loved Fort Collins because they had hotels that were pet friendly.) Not only is Fort Collins pet-friendly, but the pets are really friendly. Everyone has a dog here, and the dogs are the nicest of all time.(What about that angry dog he mentioned last email???)

From what I said earlier about missionary work ramping up, it really is. We have two new investigators who are really interested in having the discussions. Life has handed them the short end of the stick, and they are very humble. We were a little worried that they were only interested so they could get welfare, but without needing to get into details, they've already proven that otherwise. None of our investigators came to church, but numerous non-members came on their own accord. Our goal this week is to jump on those opportunities.

I don't know how to describe it, but I think I've been given strength beyond my own. My back doesn't hurt anymore. But the kicker is, I've been lifting many heavy couches. Weights I didn't think I'd ever lift again, all without a problem. My back feels great, nothing more than occasional tenderness. (Please be careful, however, my superman!)

I haven't received any mail yet. I'm getting ready to send you a letter, though. I'm so excited for mission devotional/getting my boxes. (He'll be getting a Christmas letter from me and Brian and TWO big boxes full of Christmas and life. I also have another package I need to send him. He must have been a good boy this year!)

Try to express Christ-like love to everyone you meet. (I will try...I hope all of you will too.)


Elder Andrew Campbell
(Elder Campbell sent pictures, but he didn't bother to identify any of them. I'm going to try to attach all of them, but if not, I'll send them in different emails.
The famous map pointing picture. Everyone in the Missionary Training Center takes their picture pointing to their assigned mission.
I'm guessing the beginnings of the Fort Collins Temple!
Andrew showing off how flat Fort Collins is...I think it's very pretty.
Elder Campbell with Elder Moala. I'm not sure who the upside-down child is, but there is one of those friendly dogs!
Elder Andrew Campbell is an official minister. Brian said he got lots of free stuff in Chicago by being a card-carrying minister. Too funny!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week #1 in Fort Collins, CO

(I was waiting with baited breath for this week's email...wondering where he was, who his companion was, how things were going. After his rough start in the MTC, I was a bit worried. Sounds like he needs to be more patient and things will work out. Lucky for me, I got pictures from the airport--thank you kind lady and a Thanksgiving picture--thank you again nice family in Fort Collins and a picture from his Mission President. YEAH for people with cell phones!!)

Hello Family,

(BYU won Cal Berkeley in football on Saturday. That was exciting stuff at our house.) BYU winning was some wonderful news! Colorado is a much different place from what I thought it would be. Everyone said it would be beautiful, but honestly, at least in the winter, it's not. It's also really flat and plain. John Denver lied to me! People are really kind here, and they are also very wealthy. They also have the smallest sidewalks in the world. It's kind of wild. (I want to see a picture of a sidewalk in Ft. Collins now.)

Elder Moala is very kind and especially humble. He's twenty years old, and played football at a small school in Kansas before he came here. He plans on walking on to Utah State's team when he finishes his mission. We've clashed horns a bit, though. (Oh, no!!) He's just happy being a pretty obedient missionary, and gets annoyed when I try so hard to be an exactly obedient missionary. He's also seen a lot more of reality than me, and my "greenie fire" doesn't always fit into his world view. I just really don't like the status quo. I don't want anyone to think that I think so highly of myself, I've just found that a lot of my success at the Laycock Center and elsewhere came through breaking the status quo and doing things differently. (Hopefully he will mellow and his companion will learn to love him!! Patience my son!)

(They had a 2 and a half hour delay when they were flying from SLC to CO. I wondered why?) So, first our plane was damaged, and had to be replaced by a plane in California. Then they had to do a tune-up on it, and kept finding problems, It was a fun time. (I'm probably glad I didn't know that until now.)
Thanksgiving was very good and the Wolfenbargers were very kind. Brother Wolfenbarger actually spent a year attending Tokay High School. (Wow...I never heard of any Wolfenbargers in the neighborhood. I'll attach the picture Sis. Wolfenbarger sent me.)
So, I've discovered that the Fort Collins Mission is the lowest baptizing mission in the United States. How about that?! Apparently when President Brown came in, when the mission was formed, he had to sweep out a lot of bad behavior among the missionaries, and changing the culture is an on-going process. Elder Moala has only been in the area for a short time, and the missionary work has been in disarray for a very long time. The ward has not had a convert baptism for two years. The work is in need of fundamental change. The members are lukewarm when it comes to supporting the missionaries, a lot of the areas have been tracted out, and I seriously worry for our investigators and contacts. How is that for a first area! (Sounds like he has a lot of work ahead of him!)

It's time for a story! The bishop gave us a referral to a house that I found quite scary. He said that it was almost impossible to breathe inside and there was an angry dog out front. I didn't want to go to in, but, I thought to myself, "Jesus Christ would go to that house", and after that, I knew I had to go up to it! We are still trying to see if that woman is going to become an investigator, but I'm happy I had Nephi! (I'm just glad he didn't have a run in with the angry dog!)

Also, the family we are staying with is the Pixler family. Brother Pixler works for Nestle. He stocks a freezer in our room, and we are allowed to eat as much pizza and ice cream as we want. I need not say more. (Sounds to me like he's in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory...lucky ducky!)
The weather has some wild fluctuations. It freezes one day, and gets quite warm other days. We do have a car though! (And did he mention if he got my package with all the warm clothes in them? Or his Thanksgiving package? Whatever!!)

I'm running out of time. I don't see an SD card reader on this computer, I'm sorry! (Of course he doesn''s the curse of the Campbell boys. Never any pictures!!)

I love you very, very much.


Elder Andrew Campbell
Woo, I got another hour of emailing. (I wonder who he wasn't us. This is all he added to his previous letter.) The library kicked me off because I don't have a card yet. I wrote that last email when I was in a bad mood. I'm feeling a lot better now. It's just cold and my back has been aching. Could you send me my patriarchal blessing, Mom? I'm a bad person and left in on my dresser. (And of course I already have his packages all taped shut!! I guess I will have to open one. And is he wearing his gloves I sent him? His thermals? His warm socks??????)
PPS: I'm in the Fort Collins Parkwood Ward, by the way!