Monday, June 20, 2016

June 13, 2016

To my 72 strong family crew,

Today was our preparation day, and from 10:00am-6:00pm we have time to prepare for the week by doing laundry, shopping, cleaning and other things that will make the week more productive. And although we have then only a small 3 hours in the evening to proselyte, tonight was a huge roller coaster of emotions and success. Let me tell you a short story, I will try to tell it without crying, but y'all won't notice that anyways because this is an email. Haha 

Faith is the name of a young 12 year old girl whom I met this time last year. She came to church on her own and asked us personally if we could teach her about the gospel. She said she had been baptized when she was 8, but her parents had never taught her about the gospel. We obviously agreed and started teaching her. Because of her parents we were only able to have our lessons out on the doorstep and for several weeks we thoroughly enjoyed meeting with this super awesome, spiritual-minded girl. She was so eager to learn and she kept every commitment with integrity! She just beamed with light each time we saw her and I really looked forward to meeting with her every week. Then we both got transferred and sister missionaries came into the area. Because of the transfer of missionaries, Faith ended up not being taught by missionaries anymore. Then exactly a year later, I was incredibly blessed to come back to this very same area. There are many people to whom my hearts belongs to here in this stake because of the long time I've been blessed to serve with all my heart here. But Faith stuck out in my mind a lot. We went back to her home one day and met her. I couldn't contain my smile when she brightly stepped out into that same front porch that we had taught and testified about our Savior Jesus Christ on. Upon catching up again we started teaching her again and helping her start to come back to church again. Soon we started having lessons in her home with her step-father as well. He is a super nice guy but has come off before as not wanting anything to do with the church. We now for the past month and a half have taught them once a week and have had some super spiritual and good lessons with the two of them. Her step-father even started coming to church! We washed his 67 Mustang with him in preparation for a car show, we wrote them notes and secretly delivered them each week, and we prayed earnestly for these two. We saw many awesome things happen in their lives as eh embraced the gospel. Last night however, we received word from Faith that she left her home to live with her grandparents. There has been far too much conflict and hurt for her in her home between her mother and her, and she couldn't take it anymore so she left to another city. Today I had bought a small model muscle car for her step-father because of his love of cars and wrote a note thanking him for his friendship and love he's shown towards us. So I put it in my backpack and we headed out after dinner to visit him, even though we knew that Faith had left, and that we probably wouldn't see her again. We sat down and we hadn't been there for 2 minutes when her mom stood up and tore a strip off us and proceeded to yell at us, the church, and God for about 45 minutes. She explained how missionaries coming over before had driven her daughters away from the church, and herself included. She told us how much Faith's step-father didn't actually want us to come over. They both wanted to run away from the church and had moved time and time again because members and missionaries came by trying to show their love and concern for them. They didn't want us to come over anymore. She accused us of Faith's damnation, and that we will bring her to hate the church just as they do. My heart broke as every word tore at my love for these people and especially Faith, this beautiful, extremely smart and super strong in the church girl seemingly was taken from our lives forever, when she once used to be such a light and joy to our life. My tears stung on my cheek as they ran down, while we were quietly sitting on their couch being chastised. As we left I quietly and inconspicuously placed his little car I bought and note on the coffee table. I gave him a hug and told him we loved him. And then it started to rain on us. We then went to a man later after that bad experience and we gave this man a blessing. Before the blessing we taught a little lesson. We started to read in Ether 12 about faith and how it proceeds miracles. We shared our testimonies and felt the Spirit so strongly and shared a video that went perfectly with what was shared. We all had tears in our eyes as we then proceeded to place our hands lightly on his head and gave him a priesthood blessing. We had such a contrasting, wonderful experience with him that I'm kinda doing okay. I still really miss Faith and hope I get to see her again and can help her with staying strong in the gospel and being happy. I love you all so much! Have a great week! 
Love Elder Patterson 

We also got free ice cream at Dicky's bbq and grill. It was awesome! :)

May 30, 2016

Dear Fammy whammy,

This week flew by! Does anyone else agree with me?? I'll bet there are a few out there who would! 

So uh we got a haircut today by the utmost awesome Ellen! She is too cool for school! Well and I'm trying to think of other significant things that happened this week, oh yeah! We were biking one day and found a guy on his roof re-shingling it in the hot Utah sun all by himself. We stopped and offered our services to him, and he accepted. So we set up a time the next day which was Saturday. We woke up that next morning and it was raining. So it was postponed till the next week. It rained that weekend as well. This kept happening when finally this last Saturday, the weather was beautiful and so we got to go up on the roof and shingle with him! It was super fun! He is an inactive member of the church and we had a great time getting to know him and serve him. We got so much done with three of us instead of just him. It reminded me of roofing my sister Stephanie and Brandon's home in Edmonton. I actually enjoy roofing even though it's super hot up on the roof. I got some good farmers tan that day. It just so happened that we stopped by the Wilson's home that night and they have an aloe plant. They cut me off a few stems and I rubbed the goo-like clear substance from the inside of the stems on my burns and it worked so well to subdue the pain and hot. Plants are so cool! God is so cool, with all His wonderful creations that do so much for us and remind us of Christ (Alma 30:44, Moses 6:63). 

I don't know how P-day just gets away from you! We had nothing planned today that was more extensive than getting haircuts and going to the store, and yet I feel like we've got nothing done and no time to relax. I wish we took a nap today. That would've been nice! But alas I am a servant of the Lord and have been commanded to give my heart, might , mind and strength to this work (D&C 4:2). I am exhausted everyday and at the end of every week. I seem to just have enough in me to do the Lord's work and that I have no energy to think of myself anymore. That's awesome! Haha I've seen greater blessings when I look out of myself. 

Oh haha funny story! So while at the Bennett's home we found out that there is a new policy for male missionaries to wear wide-brimmed hats (specifically shown on the church website for clarification on appropriate styles and so forth), and so last week at the DI I saw this "wide brimmed hat" and so I bought it to show to the Bennett's that I had found the widest and brimmiest hat of them all... See picture below. 

Hope you have a wonderful week! I love ya'll so much! Can't wait to hear back from you! 

Elder Patterson 

 Look at this beautiful sunset... And the goober on the left.

May 23, 2016

Dear people, 

I have not much time to write this week, as my email time was spent emailing an old friend of mine to whom I just received word of many trials in her life. I hope you all can recognize the fact that I love you regardless of how many words are contained within these emails of mine. I just really felt the need to write her learned of her current situation which greatly disturbed me. 

This week is transfers and WE ARE BOTH STAYING!!! I'm so excited to remain here. I'm really hoping to finish my mission here in this area and with Elder Maldarizzi. If I stay one more transfer after this new one, I will have spent half of my mission in this one area. That is super mega awesome! This week during my studies of the Book of Mormon I realized the importance of family history, specifically journals. I realize how many times my family has urged me to keep up to date with my journal writing and with my yearly history reports. I have not been so diligent in these endeavors, so I am repenting and trying to find time (which is very hard as a missionary) to write down my history—for I must "...labor diligently to write, to persuade [my] children, and also [my] brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for [I, Elder Patterson,] know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23)

I love you! Have a wonderful week! Love Elder Patterson 

We had a baptism this weekend which was awesome!

May 16, 2016

Dear wham bam thank you fam, 

I'm running out of different things to call you all. Maybe one of these times I'll just say "dear family," but till I completely run out of name ideas I will continue finding creative ways to call you the people I love most in the world. 

Right now I am at the point in my life (and my mission) where I know how to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to other people so that they can understand and appreciate it, but I myself have a difficult time applying these principles in my own life. There are so many ways to experience the lessons God wants us to learn to re-enter His presence someday. There isn't a cookie-cutter trial or opportunity for "patience" that we all have to experience to gain that Christ-like attribute. We each in our individual stations may receive the perfect instruction through our experience of mortal life to advance to our next estate, thus qualifying for the peace of the Spirit and calmness of conscience promised to the righteous. 

I have found myself in much different circumstances the last number of weeks that have brought me to deep reflection of myself and my personal goals to refine and receive qualities and attributes to bless my life and the lives of those around me. The apartment we live in is of the highest quality I've ever been in on my mission, my companion is loving, kind and very obedient and hard working. The area we are serving in is booming with work to do and people to see. We have many baptisms and reactivations as well as numberless opportunities to serve and give of ourselves in behalf of these wonderful people we have come to love with all our hearts. The environment I am in is extremely conducive to growth, because I am being pushed to my limit every day in some way or another, whether that is spiritually, emotionally or physically. I can push myself because when I come home after a long day, I have little to no worries or trials; I have no regrets about the day because I gave it all and left it all on the playing field. In fact most days I can't even give it my all. I have to plead with Heavenly Father for the strength to press forward and to do what is asked of us because I am so drained that I couldn't possibly do any part of the work on my own. I know very well when I receive strength beyond my own, and it is humbling to see how God blesses His children when our desires and works are righteous. For instance, this week we had an encounter with a man who powerfully fought against us and the truth we stood for. It was a different experience from the first half of our day as we were now sitting on this man's couch being instructed that our testimonies were falsely paced in ungodly truth, that we could not say "I know" because knowledge cannot come to us through feelings of the Spirit because those are universal feelings that all humans feel. He explained how there was no sin, no eternal progression to become perfect like our Savior is perfect, and how our morals and commandments come from us, not God. It was hurtful to be told that the essence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true because it makes us want to better ourselves and serve those around us, but that the organization (Prophets, apostles, priesthood authority, revelation, and scripture) was bull crap. This man used a lot stronger language than what I've been using. This was the first time someone denounced our testimony of what we know to be true because of the sources we gathered our "truth" from. I was frustrated! I was shaken in several different ways as my faith was tried to a very real limit, which I felt affect me like never before. I continued to pray but this man's words rang in my mind over and over again tempting me to doubt. I prayed and prayed to strengthen my faith and to receive personal revelation as to the honest questions I had about this encounter. I read the Book of Mormon a lot and even fasted to know what I must do. In time I received my answer which sunk deep within my soul and extracted those doubtful thoughts and questions. I was reminded almost all at once my many answers to prayers and experiences I've had that have faithfully proven to me of the loving, and living reality of our Heavenly Father and of His Son Jesus Christ. Although this week was filled with many trials, I was strengthened and taught many things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Many of these lessons are personal and for my individual betterment so I won't share all my experiences but I will share those I feel will inspire or uplift some of you. 

We had a super busy and awesome week besides the trials and opposition we faced. There's a man named Scott Godfrey and he has a daughter, Faith Jones that we are teaching in one of our wards and he has a Mustang that he has restored and was asked to enter a car show with on Saturday. We scheduled on Friday to come over and wash it and get it shining again. It was pretty fun! The best part was that after we helped him wash it he took us out and showed us what it could do on the pavement. Whew! That baby purred! It sounded so deep and loud that my whole soul shook when he opened that thing up out on the highway! :) it was so awesome! 

We also met with another man who we promised many blessings too through the prompting of the Spirit that was with us if he came to church on Sunday. He said that he can't because he was having some people come and lay some pipe and set up his sprinkler system. We right away volunteered all the possible time we could on Saturday to help him that he would be able to come to church. From 12-4 which is basically the hottest part of the day (and it was a hot day!) we swung pick axes, shovels, rock picks, and sledge hammers to break up the extremely rocky, desert ground. I got very sunburned and my arms were so tired that I could hardly shake people's hands, even the next day at church! I could barely lift them and squeeze barely the hands of the people we greeted on Sunday to church. Sadly they did not come to church. We went after church and found him still working on his yard. No worries, agency is a gift from God! :)

We also had a baptism this weekend! It was with possibly the oldest person I will ever baptize. Sister Eloise McCoullough was 79 years old when she was baptized yesterday! It was one of the coolest baptisms ever! The Spirit was super strong! A lot of her family came out and were super supportive. I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost after she was baptized. We then got to confirm her right after the baptismal service and give the gift of the Holy Ghost, and confirm her a member of the Church! They had dinner afterward and one of the desserts was cracker brittle!!! Ahhhh! I didn't know anyone else knew what that was! I ate a whole plate full of cracker brittle, instead of eating the food, because we ate before the baptism with a family in one of our wards. We will be having another super cool baptism next week of an 18 year girl who is super cool and super prepared! She knows so much about the gospel and does so much that she seems already like a member of the church. She is going to a mission prep class, seminary, church every Sunday, and mutual activities each week! 

A lot more happened but I need to go now. Sorry! :) hope you all have a great week! Thank you for your unending support! I really love serving here and hope I can learn to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength for the rest of my life and into the eternities, because my Savior has changed me forever! :) till next week! 

Elder Patterson 

Here is us and Eloise!

For our planning session this week I taped a marker on the end of a swiffer duster so that my companion didn't have to get up to write on the board. I also taped a white board eraser onto the end of our broom. :)

May 10, 2016

Dear fam jam and Friends,

So this week our preparation day is today, Tuesday, because we got to go to the temple this morning! :) yay! That was awesome! We went to the Bountiful Temple which was beautiful! There is such a wonderful view from the temple grounds of the valley because the temple is right on the side of the mountain. It was totally worth the effort to wake up early. It was a good morning. This last Sunday was awesome! We invited someone to church, AND THEY ACTUALLY CAME!!! It was so nice to sit with their whole family and to have these great testimony building experiences. There was actually a lot of people we were working with that came to church this week. It was quite a sight. It is always a blessing to see these people striving to come closer to their Savior. Through the ordinance of the Sacrament, we remember Jesus Christ and His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His crucifixion, and His resurrection three days later; showing us that He overcame both sin and death, that we may, through Him, return to the presence of our Heavenly Father! The work here is really awesome! 

So our district decided to go to the zoo after we went to the temple this morning, and that was hard for me. I honestly didn't want to go, because I knew nothing would get done today. And once you've seen one zoo, you've seen them all. And we went and spent a ridiculously long time there, and by the time we got back home and dropped off other missionaries in our district, we were already late for dinner. We haven't done laundry, emails, studies, or anything. So it wasn't much of a preparation day and was more of a "let's do nothing day" and I don't like that. Personally, we have been working so hard that we've been dying for a break of some sort. I'm so tired from biking up and down these hills and teaching a ton of lessons that I'm ready to pass out! But we've seen more miracles in the times where we struggled to want to work but then did anyways. There is many instances in the scriptures that teaches us about that sort of diligence. 

Well gotta go! We have a lesson in 5 minutes! I'm surprised I could right all of this in the time I did! It's been a good week! Love you all! :) keep in touch!

Love Elder Patterson 

May 2, 2016

Dear Everyone I'm writing,

So this week was filled with miracles and with answers to prayer. It was one of the coolest weeks that I can remember as a missionary. Tuesday was a very busy and productive day as usual, except halfway through the day Elder Maldarizzi asks if he can lie down for a second. I said sure and I did some other things while he was resting. He got up a few minutes later and said he was feeling sick so he went to the washroom. It was all good till I heard a sound coming from the washroom that sounded much like throwing up. So I proceeded to reschedule the appointments for that evening and allowed him to rest. Thankfully he was 100% better the next morning which was an answer to my prayers, because we really enjoy working together here. 

On Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and my companion and I were privileged to bear our testimonies in 3 sacrament meetings. In each one we had opportunity to testify about the truths we know and have felt in our hearts. We had opportunity to testify about what each other had spoken of was true. I felt united with him in our purpose and desires for the work. We went to work that afternoon and found much success following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We found many new people to teach by Heavenly Father's help and I was strengthened by the answers to my prayers!

There was so much more but I have not the time to tell! Have a great week I love you all! Sorry for the short email, but I am grateful to spend all my time in the service of the Lord! 

Elder Patterson 

April 25, 2016

Dear, to all it may concern,

This has been a very spiritual week for me and has brought me much happiness. I have not the time to explain all the happenings but I will explain a little about the best part of my week which was Saturday! 

I got an email this last week from Craig Moore. Craig is a man I was blessed to help in Grantsville to become active and temple worthy. He had a huge journey to go through and succeeded! He truly learned what the Atonement of Jesus Christ can do for us--that unending love which allows us to draw from the powers of Heaven. He went from 20 ish years of inactivity in the church and some difficult hurdles such as smoking to overcome, to receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood, becoming the executive secretary in the ward, and becoming temple worthy to do baptisms with us! It was so awesome to see him be baptized in the Salt Lake Temple! I cried seeing him having gone so far and I truly felt the Spirit. I didn't think that it could get better than that, and that that was the highlight of my mission. Then low and behold, I received that email this last week from Craig saying that he and his family were going to the temple on Saturday to be sealed as a family and asked me to come! AHHHHHH!!! I was so extremely excited because I had never been a part of someone's life like that and I had never seen a sealing before. It just so worked out that I could only go so we arranged for Craig to pick me up and be my "companion" and we called and found various people to be Elder Maldarizzi's companion for the day. Craig came by in the morning around 10:00am and we drove to the temple. His son Damien was in the back and needed food so we swung into Arctic Circle for a morning chicken and fries. Damian is so awesome! He is a funny guy. He is 12 years old and he also got to participate in the proxy baptisms last year with Craig and Veronica and I. We got to the temple and we went into this special place where the children were left to play and have snacks while Craig went through to take out his own Endowment. The Endowment is such a special and spiritual gift from Heavenly Father. It truly gives us strength beyond our own capacity. I was privileged to be invited to go through the same Endowment session as he. It was very full! There were many, many people there to support the Moore Family. It was nice to see so many beautiful, familiar faces from the wonderful Grantsiville Stake. The Spirit was so strong in the temple!!! After the Endowment session we all went up to the sealing room where I witnessed a man I had come to love as a brother be sealed to his wife and children for time and all eternity. Death will not separate their family ever! It was such a wonderful experience that filled my heart with such sweet emotion and tender feelings of love for our Savior who made these ordinances all possible through His great and everlasting sacrifice. Their two little girls that were also there were dressed in their cute, little white dresses and I was so happy to see them! Aizlee hugged me so much that day, almost every 2 minutes because I said she could because it was a special occasion. Alivia grabbed my pinky finger, squeezed it with all her might and wouldn’t let go, and that's the happiness they brought into my life! :) I was overjoyed to see their faces and hear their voices again. I was just so filled with the Spirit this weekend! I was so happy and so full of joy that I didn't ever want to leave! I wanted to stay in the temple forever. But you can't do that so I left peacefully. We then proceeded outside to a very dark and rainy evening. The weather did not dampen our spirits though! We were all still as happy as could be! I gave my suit jacket coat to Aizlee to wear outside so she didn't get too wet and cold. We all went to Chuck-a-Rama afterwards chosen by Aizlee. Haha I loved feeling a part of their family that day and being so close to those wonderful feelings the Spirit gives to us. I then had to go back to the temple because Craig left his iPad there, and then he kindly drove me back to our home where I met up with my companion again. It was the happiest moment of my life and it wasn't even my own family! Haha I can't even begin to imagine what it will be like to have the blessing of going to the temple to seal my own family together for time and all eternity! :) But I look forward to that day with extreme happiness and hope! 

I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ--That He came to this earth to atone for our sins and appease the demands of justice so that we may ALL be afforded these eternal blessings and opportunities; that our families may be sealed for time and all eternity through the love our Savior willingly offers to us! I know He lives!!! I make many mistakes in my weakness, and I struggle with many things in life. Sometimes I feel I am moving backwards in my spiritual progression. However I know and have felt the never-ending love that He brings into our lives. It is there when I don't deserve it. It is there when I least expect it. It is there when I don't want it. But I know it IS there! I know the Book of Mormon is true and testifies of Christ, and tells men and women what we must do to gain peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come. I know we are blessed and led by a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, and he receives guidance and revelation for the world in this, our time of need. I know that Joseph Smith restored this gospel through our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that families can be eternal and last beyond the trial of death. I love you all so much! I look forward to when I can see you all again someday! :) Have a great week! 

Love Elder Patterson 

This is that beautiful Moore family. They are the ones in white! ;) (Craig, Veronica, Damien, Aizlee, Alivia)