Monday, March 30, 2015

Staying in Fort Collins!

(Elder Campbell has had a hard transfer these past few weeks. I'm going to edit the email because when he reads it later, he'll probably be glad I took out things he might regret. I'm glad he can vent to his parents...but the whole world doesn't need to know everything. And, bummer....NO PICTURES!)
Mother and Father,

   So, I am staying in Parkwood one more transfer. My new companion is named Elder Mangram. (Actually, his new companion is named Elder Mangrum and he's from Turlock, CA..just down the road from Lodi. They are good friends with Ruth and Neil Anderson Small world!!) I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm glad this transfer is ending. It's been nothing short of depressing. (I told him I was going to try and be like Cinderella and have courage and be kind.)  I, too, will try to have courage and be kind.
   All the predictions were true. Elder Winter is the new assistant to the president. Elder Schenk is my new zone leader, as well. (I posted on the Fort Collins Mission website this information and Sis. Schenk said her son didn't even mention it in his email today. Silly boys!) I may be staying, but we will be moving two doors down to the Etter's house. They are an excellent family, so I'm excited for that. (After reading past emails, the Etters are the bishop's family. They had Andrew over for Christmas and let him Skype from their house. That should be a nice move!)
   So, Michael told us he no longer was interested in being baptized, but then he sent me an email reminding me to find a Book of Mormon in Hebrew for him. He is still managing to confuse us incredibly. Ron seems to have back-slid. Satan is uncouth and sly, but the day will be won yet.
   I'm so glad to hear that you're helping the missionaries. Missionaries just love members like you. It's what keeps us going. Oh, new missionaries are so innocent; if only they could stay that way. Sorry, I'm super biased right now. Missionaries just make me angry right now. Pray for me, please! (Oh, how I pray!!)
   I'm afraid we didn't have an Easter program. We had Fast and Testimony meeting as well. We already had stake conference, so I don't know why they didn't delay it a week. Which reminds me, you've seen the #becausehelives initiative, right? I love how progressive it is. On Easter day, it's going to be the biggest thing on the Internet. It's an excellent video, and it's really exciting. It's very special that conference is on Easter Sunday, and the following day is Christmas. How exciting is that?! (In our church, we believe that Christ was born on April that explains his Christmas reference...even though we celebrate it on Dec. 25.)
   I received your Easter package! Twix is becoming my favorite candy for some reason. I probably ate them all already. I've not heard from Molly, but something could come today, or I could walk the 150 feet back to the Evan's home to retrieve it. (I'll have to get his new address!)
   Wow, I feel a whole lot better just venting to you. Plus, the zone leaders just walked in, brightening my day a bit. I love you very, very much! (And we love you very, very much....hang in there and have courage and be kind!)

Love again,

Elder Andrew Campbell

Monday, March 23, 2015

Horsetooth Mountain and Marching to the MoTab!

(I was happy to see some happiness in this week's email--although NO pictures. His batteries had died. So much depends on the people you are around. I'm so grateful he has wonderful zone leaders.)

Mother and Father,

   I don't know why, but your message made me really joyful today. My companions went to the temple on Friday, so they had to forfeit their Preparation Day today. As a result, I get to spend the day with our lovely zone leaders, Elder Carlson and Elder Winter. I seriously love spending time with these elders. I got to spend Friday with them as well, and it just makes me so happy. We're planning on hiking Horsetooth (here's a link: today and I'm really excited. My camera ran out of battery, but I'll be sure to get them to take a lot of pictures. (He'd better get batteries!!)
   In my first few weeks here, we helped a less-active member named Brother B. He was a nuclear scientist, and he's working on his PhD in Computer Science. We talked a lot, and he really liked me. He makes motorized bicycles for a living, and he has a lot of nice bicycles laying around. His wife is too ill to ride hers anymore, so he gave it to me. It's a nice bike, so it has potential of coming home with me. (I wondered where he'd gotten the bike he rode last week that got a flat tire. NICE!)
   Michael told us that he was disgusted with the church, and that we should only meet again if we were ready to have our faith shaken by what he had to share with us. I showed up and Brother L. had been there talking to him for a while. He readily accepted what we had to share, and his only worry was that the church is too sanctified and he isn't worthy to join. He sent us a message yesterday that he'd decided to not get baptized. I can't say that I understand his actions, but he will come around eventually. (I'll keep praying for him.)
    We too have an investigator whose main problem is the Word of Wisdom. His name is Ron, and he has a hard time getting the drive to do anything, especially to stop smoking. It's hard for me to understand because it's the complete opposite of how I do things, but whether I like it or not, it's still a present problem. This is why we have the Atonement. (Yes, and thank goodness for that!)
    This whole transfer, it seems that everyone has been poised for what comes next transfer. Almost like this transfer was a stop-over, and we're just waiting for the next one. Probably not the most effective way to be a missionary. In truth, I think I'm going to be a trainer. The new missionaries have a lot of garbage thrown their way, and I think that I can help them to be actual missionaries. (It will be fun to see if he goes anywhere new and who his companion will be!)
     I have a ton of money on my Missionary Support Fund card because you taught me how to live frugally. (YEAH...nice to hear I taught him something useful!)  I'm seriously worried for how some of these missionaries are going to live their lives if they keep up these spending habits. It's really frightening. (I would guess they'll live their lives in debt. Scary!) The tithing slip has been delivered to Sister U. Sister L. says she hopes I realize how much I am loved by her family. I certainly love her family. Molly is too kind. I remember working with her very fondly; what a beautiful voice. I'm excited for her, and I would love to work with her again. It's good to know that some opportunities will be waiting for me.
    (I sent him Peter's story about his hurt back.) Peter is my hero. I would probably have given up if I were in his situation, or at least used it as an excuse to sleep in for longer. Which reminds me! In our Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet, it suggests that if you have a hard time getting up and exercising in the morning (i.e.ME!), you should get up and march around to approved music. Needless to say, the book gets a lot of ridicule from the missionaries. This morning however, Elder Winter jumped out of bed and started marching. No matter how ridiculous it was, we all started marching to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was more fun than it should have been, and the downstairs neighbors probably hate us. Elder Winter is a hero of mine. He's incredibly talented, and plans on studying Music Production at UVU. We've made plans to make some post-rock music after our missions. More than likely he's going to be called to become AP this week. He will be the best Assistant the President has ever had. (I think Elder Winter is my hero, too! I would love to have been a fly on that apartment's wall seeing them marching to Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Maybe that's what I should start doing! I can march!!)
   Well, I had better get going, but I love you very much and will do better to pray for you this week.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Australian Rowing Dogs and Goathead Thorns

(After last week's email....I was very nervous about how things were going. I prayed super hard that he and his companions would work out their differences. I was also concerned about his reaction to not getting into the School of Music at BYU. I asked him several important questions...and he answered NONE of them! At least we got a cute picture this week!)

Mother and Father,

   Well shoot, not getting into the School of Music throws a wrench into my plans. Alas, it doesn't really faze me. I think it's what I'm going to end up doing, regardless of this setback. Something more important has entered my life, however. Last night, my companions and I spent quite a bit of time discussing the mission politics, and to be honest, it is seriously a mess. The mission has a goal of 50 baptisms next transfer, and no one really cares. We found out that the Denver North Mission has a goal of 1001 baptisms and the missionaries are rallying around it. We appear to have lost our vision of being humble and obedient servants of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our mission culture is in serious need of fundamental change. I know that my actions can't change everything, but righteous living can bring us a long way. My companions are convinced that I'm going to be a trainer, and to be honest, I see it coming. (Whatever the Lord sees fitting will happen...not always what your companions think might. I just hope he continues to be humble and obedient. That will get him far.)
   Anywho, this week was a wild one. My companions and I had a companionship inventory: extended edition on Friday. We had a long talk and while I still don't understand them or the things they do, we can stand each other a bit more. (Hallelujah!! My prayers were answered.) Our lesson with Judy didn't involve any muffins, but it was excellent. She had an Australian rowing dog, or something like that, and I've decided that's the kind of dog I want when I'm a real adult. (I tried looking that dog breed up, but with no luck. I'm glad he said he wanted one when he was a REAL adult. HA!) We taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon, and she readily accepted the commitment to read and pray. This week Michael prayed to know the truth and his hand was guided to Acts 3:25 which he takes as a partial confirmation of the truthfulness of this church. He is scheduled for baptism April 18th. I thought he was done for a long, long time, but even when he rejected our teachings, he says he kept feeling a tug back towards us. The man has read every anti-Mormon resource known to man, and yet they only hindered him for a moment. Rayann's aunt, who is a former member, did the same to her, but Rayann didn't care, because she knew what she needed to do. She moved to Longmont last week, and atten

ded church there for the second time yesterday. Apparently she's getting ready to have her children move in, and she is finding people in need and taking them to church with her. She is such a sweet spirit. Our Waffle House journey was unsuccessful, as she wasn't there, but we will find her! (Proud of his missionary moments and I continue to pray for all of these people.)
   I got the package, and it made me very happy. I wore the tie on Saturday, because I thought it was Saint Patrick's Day, but it turns out I was wrong. (But I think he's wearing it in the picture he sent, so that made me happy. I sent both missionaries green ties that I bought at Goodwill. YEAH!!) We went biking out to see a less-active that lives in the middle of nowhere and got incredibly lost. We took some pictures on some land we were probably trespassing on and had a good/bad time. I ran over some goathead thorns and now have a flat tire. (Never heard about goathead thorns and I wonder where he got a bike. We never bought one. Hmmmmm??!!!) Our fridge is now covered in leprechaun magnets as well. (Part of the St. Patrick's Day package.) 

  The Fort Collins Temple's completion is still a bit out, but I think it will be dedicated early next year. The missionary's get to go to the temple at their year mark and just before they go home. It's actually quite a controversial subject. There are a lot of people saying it should be more often, especially for a mission with such a high rate of missionaries leaving for depression. Alas, it will be what it must be. I should hopefully have some more pictures by the end of my emailing session.


Elder Andrew Campbell
My guess is this is Andrew with Elder Sharp. I've seen pictures of Elder Blue, and this isn't him, so, I'm guessing Elder Sharp!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Where Once There Were TWO...Now there are THREE!!

(Into each day must fall a little rain....not a great week. Looks like Elder Campbell has some life lessons to learn. I'm certainly grateful for kind people in our lives to help us in hard times.)

Mother and Father,

   Well, this week has bordered on insane. I've been taking an elder in our district to counseling the past few weeks, but on Tuesday, while I was with him, he had a huge mental breakdown and all sorts of horrible things happened. Turns out he really needed to go home and get some help, so that is exactly what happened. The result? His companion, Elder Sharp, is now my companion as well. Elder Blue insists that we call it a tri-pan, but that's not a real word, so as usual, it really bothers me. To boot, we are now the missionaries over two wards, which makes for a lot of work! Okay, I'm now going to break the rules and say some negative things, but I really need to vent to someone. (I'm not going to share his venting...needless to say, it's not always fun being a missionary!!)
   Anywho, we are now a companionship serving over two wards, and it makes things very difficult. We had to completely overhaul our dinner calendar, and have to figure out how to go to two appointments at the same time in several situations. In the midst of this insane week I received a package from someone I do not know from Arizona. Inside was a wonderful letter and a USB stick that probably saved my life. When I got it, I shouted for joy and plugged it into our car and turned the volume up. My companions don't like it but I don't care because the music is so beautiful. I didn't realize how big a part of my spiritual identity this music was. Many months of cheesy EFY songs and questionable Lindsey Stirling albums made me yearn for this. I'm going to send her an email because she doesn't know how happy this makes me. (Last week in his email he asked for a USB stick with music he yearned for. I didn't know how to do it, so I posted the request on my Missionary Mommas website. Immediately, a sweet sister from AZ said she'd already downloaded a bunch of music and needed his address to send it to him. So I sent her his address and he got that package EXACTLY when he needed it. She said she received an email from him and the subject line said, "You saved my life!" Oh, my dramatic Andrew!)
   We had a few fun mission experiences this week. Rayann gave us a referral for her now-estranged friend who works at The Waffle House. We went there Saturday night and got some delicious waffles, but her friend wasn't working that night. We will find her though. We also got a call from a brother in the Nelson Farm Ward (my new ward), who said his neighbor needed a blessing. It turned into a sweet experience in which she bore all of her problems to us, and even though I can tell she normally wants nothing to do with the church, her life has completely fallen apart, and she is flailing, looking desperately for a helping hand. So, she has invited us for muffins on Wednesday and we're going to teach a lesson. (Glad there are a few good things!)
 We have not even come close to meeting everyone in the ward, mostly due to the reasons stated above, but were are still trying our best. Michael, our investigator who we had thought was dropped, contacted us and we had a really excellent lesson. He loves the church so much. His Conservative Jewish upbringing has lead him to have doctrinal disagreements, but he wants to believe and join so badly. I love him so much. I had best be going, but thanks for the emailing me every week. I like getting nice things to read. Keep checking my email for BYU notifications. It's about that time. (Unfortunately, I have bad news for him. I found out today he did NOT get into the School of Music (again!). I'm not sure how to tell him. Boo! I'm sure he'll just keep trying. He's a dedicated young man. Keep him in your prayers, please.)

Elder Andrew Campbell
Oh yeah, this week was so crazy that I never even got an opportunity to take a picture. Please forgive me! (You are forgiven!!)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Elder Andrew Campbell's First Baptism in Fort Collins, CO!

(I decided that any questions I have, I need to ask POINT BLANK at the beginning of his email. So I finally found out if he got the humidifier from the Cleverly Family in Fort Collins.)

Mother and Father,

   Why, yes, I did get the humidifier, and it is really awesome. My only worry is that it's a small room humidifier, and our bedroom is bigger than your house in Lodi.(That just breaks my heart...NOT!)  It is helping regardless! ( maybe no more bloody noses.)

(I next asked if their investigator, Rayann, was able to get baptized on Saturday?) Rayann's baptism did take place! We weren't sure until the last minute, but it happened. The Bishop baptized her, and she is so happy. (I told Elder Campbell that I went to a lesson of an investigator here in Lodi. His name is Jim. I told him that I decided to buy the Book of Mormon on CDs so Jim could listen to them since he's having a hard time finding time to read the book.) May I also note that you are my investigator fellowshipping hero? That is so kind of you to do that for him. When members of the ward step up like you have, that's when amazing things start to happen. A lot of members are just kind of lukewarm, but I know how proactive you are, and it is amazing.
  (I really wondered about Elder Blue's nationality. I have never met a Blue before.)  Elder Blue's nationality is Scottish. The Blue's and the Campbell's have had a blood feud for centuries. There's more Campbells. so we know who won! Actually the Campbells associated with the British, and the Blues were William Wallace style freedom fighters.

  It has gotten a bit cold, but it seems to bother me less and less. Maybe it's because I have a bit more natural insulation than I did in Utah. (I guess he's eating well in Colorado!) When I go outside I just accept that it's cold and move forward. Driving in the snow is scary, so I just pray and keep driving. (And I just keep praying, too!)
   (I told him I keep checking his email to see if he gets a letter from BYU's School of Music accepting or rejecting him into their school.) I believe that the School of Music sends out their letters a few weeks after BYU sends theirs. I'm still really hoping that I get accepted. I think I will, but i thought that last time. But, my application was about one hundred times better this time around.
   So, I heard that BYU beat #3 Gonzaga on Saturday night?! (We were pretty stoked!!) It's some of the most beautiful news I've heard. When Brother Evans told me about it, I started tearing up. I'm so proud of my hardwood heroes. Tyler Haws had better get drafted!

  (I usually ask if there is anything they want in the packages I send...I SHOULD NOT have asked. This request makes my head spin. If anyone reading this letter can do what he requests, I will pay you money. Please help!!) I do have a request for my package! Elder Moala was the music provider in the companionship, and we haven't really had any music since. I'm thinking some really awesome mission appropriate music would be the top 50 orchestral trance breakdowns album from the Uplifting Only podcast. If I could get that on a USB stick, that would be amazing. It's a collection of some of my favorite electronic songs, but mixed to be entirely orchestral music. I remember listening once and it was incredibly beautiful. That is my humble request. Have BJ work on it if you find it too difficult. (I will beg BJ or Michele or anyone else...and then he added this to the request....):
While we're on the music thing, if you could find a bunch of recordings of Music and the Spoken Word and put it on there as well, that would be amazing! (AMAZING!!! HELP! HELP!!)
   Some other exciting things of the week: Rayann is moving to Longmont, and her former common-law husband, Albert, is staying here, and he really wants to hear our message. There's been some bad blood between them in the past, but Rayann really wants him to get baptized so that they can work on getting sealed next year. Michael, who we had thought had been completely dropped, contacted us this week, and we have an appointment for Wednesday. He believes in the Book of Mormon, but he has serious qualms with our teaching that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh, and that the Fall of Adam and Eve was a positive transgression, rather than a heinous sin. He will come to know all truth in time. We also had a media referral! A former Spanish professor at CSU asked for a Book of Mormon for "intellectual curiosity". He is Catholic, but has had really positive experiences with LDS people. We will see how that goes.
   Well, I love you both, and I pray for you Mom. I will pray for Jim as well.


Elder Andrew Campbell

P.S. Attached is a picture of us before the baptism. I look like I really need to loosen up. Needless to say, I am not very photogenic. (I think he looks adorable!)