Thursday, July 28, 2011

All Grown Up!

We got a letter from Elder Bengtzen yesterday. His enthusiasm and energy jumped from the pages.  It made me smile the whole time I read it.  He says his life has never been better!  He has learned more in the past 6 days than in his whole life.  (He shouldn't have slept through all those family home evenings.)  He said that being a district leader is sometimes really hard but absolutely rewarding.  He is over 10 missionaries and gets along with all of them.
His zone is made up of half English speaking missionaries and the other half speak Cantonese. This means half the talks and prayers are in Cantonese.  He loves it when they sing hymns because they all sing aloud together but half are singing in English and half are singing in Cantonese.  What an amazing thing to witness!

Brayden wants Uncle Erik to know how grateful he is for the Book of Mormon Student Manual. He was put in a situation where he had to prepare a 10 minute lesson in about 3 minutes.  He was able to prepare a lesson very quickly thanks to that manual.

Well I know Brayden has truly grown up now because he said, "Sunday here is the best day!  Church starts at 7:30am and ends at 5:45pm."  Wow, 10 hours of church without a cell phone to play "Angry Birds" or "Words With Friends."  He is actually paying attention and learning something.

His first district meeting was Sunday and he was asked to prepare a lesson for his missionaries.  He prayed for Heavenly Father to help him prepare a lesson that He would want Brayden to teach.  About 5 minutes before he was to present, he found out that they were each assigned a topic.  (Guess he missed that part.)  After being "freaked out" he looked at the topic paper and saw that he had actually prepared the exact topic that was assigned to him.  He said it was an AMAZING experience for his testimony.

Grandpa Tom has told Brayden ever since he got his mission call to memorize D&C section 4.  He has asked Brayden several times if he had it memorized.  The answer was always, "not yet".  Even the day he was set apart he still couldn't do it.  I was waiting to see if grandpa Tom was going to tell the Stake President that Brayden wasn't quite ready to go yet.  Well grandpa, Brayden wants you to know that he has all of his district stand and recite D&C section 4 every day!

1. Now behold a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.  2.Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. 3.Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; 4. For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; 5. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. 6. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. 7. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Just Got a Letter! We Just Got a Letter!

We arrived home from our Ward Family Reunion Sunday afternoon and had 2 letters waiting for us from Brayden.  I was so happy to hear how he was doing.  He says his companion, Elder Mills is the total opposite of him but they get along very well.  The two of them are rivals in every way.  Elder Mills, is from Riverton and went to Riverton High (Bingham's rival).  He attended BYU for 2 semesters while Brayden attended the UofU.   Brayden says he is a very good spirited kid. They are both going to Indiana so there is time for Brayden to convert him from the dark side.  They both leave the MTC for Indiana on August 9th.  The same day as Brach's wedding, which is ok because we aren't allowed to see him off at the airport. I am glad he will be traveling with someone he knows.

Elder Mills, Elder Knowles, Elder Bengtzen
 He told us his mornings start at 6:15am.  (I don't know if Brayden even knows that is an hour on the clock.) He has asked for food.  Dinner is at 4:30pm so he needs his regular late night snack.  The thing he needs most is Dr. Pepper.  He says there isn't any anywhere on campus and so he "is gonna die!" Don't worry, I sent him with a big bottle of Ibuprofen to ward off the headaches. 

Provo, Utah Temple

He bore his testimony and has challenged all of us to read the Book of Mormon and pray every day.  We are up for the challenge and want you all to do the same.

Day 2 was a very busy day. He said they had 3 hours of personal study, 1 hour of companion study and 3 hours of class.  He also had an interview with his branch president and was asked to be a district leader.  He has accepted the overwhelming task and knows the Lord will bless and guide him. I am so proud of him!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brayden goes to the Provo Missionary Training Center July 20, 2011

It was a very tearful goodbye as Brayden prepared to leave home around noon on Wednesday.  Not only did he have to say goodbye to the family, but something of greater importance.....the cell phone! After a burial ceremony, (locking up the cell phone) it was time for all his siblings to give him a big hug and kiss goodbye... until it came to Owen.  He has his own way of saying goodbye.  No hug just a quick "bye".  Was he too emotional to say more? I told him to give Brayden a hug because he was going to be gone for a long time. His reply was, "I know!  He is going to be gone for 2 years then coming home and moving out!" No tears of sadness, just simply stating the facts.  The new, more mature Brayden shot back, "I love you too Owen!"
It was an emotional drive up University Boulevard in Provo, Utah. We saw other cars with Elders traveling to the MTC as well.  When we reached our destination and pulled into the MTC parking lot we felt an amazing power and the spirit was so strong.  The sidewalks were lined with Elders in their white shirts and ties waving as we drove by.  These men are definitely part of God's Army! When we arrived at our unloading zone, an Elder opened the door to let Brayden out and welcome him to his new home. I was warned that it would be a quick departure so I quickly started taking pictures. The Elder asked Brayden if he had a cell phone.  Phew, passed that test! Gregg unloaded Brayden's 2 huge suitcases then... it was time for the hugs.  I was trying to be so brave but the second I hugged my little boy I broke down.  Gregg got his bear hug and then we tearfully watched as Brayden and his escort walked away.  It was very hard not to run after them.

While leaving the parking lot we had several Elders waving goodbye to us. I felt such a comfort and peace as we left the MTC.  I knew Brayden was where he was suppose to be. It was an amazing experience I will never forget!

After gaining some composure, we stopped off at a gas station in Provo before getting on the freeway.  We talked with two other families that were dropping their sons off at the MTC as well. So many families making such a huge sacrifice. It is good to know we are not alone in this adventure. We are so proud of Brayden and the steps he has taken this past year to be a full time missionary.  I know he will be blessed!