Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi Mom! Elder Johnson and I are doing fantastic! Obviously you saw the picture from the baptism, which must have been a surprise for you.  Well, believe it or not, it was a surprise for us as well. For a long time, we'd been discussing with Lupita when her date for baptism would be. At first she resisted a firm date, but kept saying she really wanted to be baptized. Then when Elder Johnson first came to Bloomington, we set her on date for the 13th. She reluctantly accepted the date, but was still really nervous. We invited her to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if the 13th was the right day for her to be baptized. She never got back to us about the date, so we assumed that she was not going to be baptized on the 13th. But, on Thursday she texted us during a missionary meeting in Peoria, and said that she wanted to be baptized on Saturday. That's officially when we entered nervous mode. Immediately we started planning it. Every day practically, leading up to her baptism, was spent either teaching her or planning the baptismal service. Then, Saturday night, I entered a personal purgatory. She was out with her family for dinner, celebrating her niece's graduation from ISU. Some members who are really close to her were invited. She accidentally ordered iced tea. A member noticed, and texted her dad, who happens to be the bishop of our Ward. He texted us about it. Oh crap, we went. Then he texted the zone leaders, who then promptly texted us, and pretty much made us call her up and talk to her about it. The conversation went fine, we talked about the word of wisdom and how iced tea is a part of it, and she took it pretty well, but asked where she could learn more about it. Right as we hung up the phone with her, we saw that both the bishop and her main fellowshipper President Clay, who happens to be the first counselor in the stake presidency, had called us and told us not to call her because it wasn't that big of a deal. Then we found out that she texted President Clay that she felt like she didn't know enough about the church, and didn't think she could be baptized. Enter panic mode. She didn't show up to church. She wouldn't answer her phone. Enter freak out mode. We had a private conversation with all who were involved, and tried to see what happened and how we could best approach the situation. We concluded with prayer, and the bishop had the great idea to bring baptismal clothes over to her so she could try them on. It turns out that she wasn't mad or offended or anything that we thought she was. She has really bad arthritis, and somehow her knees were so inflamed that she couldn't come to church. And she fell asleep, so that's why she didn't answer her phone. It was all a big misunderstanding and the baptism happened as planned. Lupita doesn't have great mobility because of her arthritis, so both of us were with her during the baptism.  Elder Johnson said the words and President Clay confirmed her. It was so awesome to see her get over her concerns and choose baptism into this true and living church. I'll let you know when I get the packages. I love you, Mom. Thank you for your righteous example to me.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


This post is a combination of a couple of recent letters:

Dear Mom, Well, transfer calls came. Elder Olsen is leaving to finish training a missionary in Bourbonnais. I'm staying here, and I'm going to be co-senior companion with Elder Johnson. He's been serving in the Peoria stake as well, in a little town named Princeton. I really enjoyed serving with Elder Olsen. We learned a lot from each other. I had to step things up as a companion to him. When he was scared to talk to people, I talked to every person we saw until he finally chimed in. I had to lead out with planning at points because what was supposed to be accomplished was not materializing. Even though he was the "senior companion," I tried to help him rise to the occasion. I could have tried to do everything on my own, but I knew that if we weren't equally yoked, the Spirit could not accompany us. We finally resolved to be unity in the cause of truth, in declaring the gospel to all who we encounter, and in the faith that there are hundreds and even thousands of people in our area who are waiting to hear the message of the restored gospel. Once we made that decision, the miracles have come rushing forth. We're still helping one woman continue to progress toward baptism, but where we've found much of our success is in bus contacting. With the winter months beginning, we need ways to find new investigators different than tracting. The bus is one of our better options.  And I did receive the package with the wool socks (Grandma/Grandpa). Thank you for watching out for me. It's a blessing I could never thank you enough for.  

Turkey say was pretty enjoyable. Two families combined for Thanksgiving because both of their families live far away. One of the families was from Louisiana so we had a mix of Southern style and traditional American thanksgiving foods. Really spicy turkey. And then two others families combined and we went over there for dessert. All in all a pretty good Thanksgiving. Nothing like Thanksgiving at home, but good all the same. I can't wait to go to Wyoming when I come home. Hope everyone knows that I love them. Tell Jack that we have at least five people who want to be baptized! Tell Isabelle that I haven't received a response from her! But, I still love her.
Well my new companion is Elder Johnson from Las Vegas. He's only been out five months, but we're got to see a lot of success together. We put someone on date to be baptized on the 13th, so we've got to make sure that she keeps progressing. But she's so ready. She just needs to take a leap of faith, and realize that she probably won't receive answers to all of her questions. Our Ward just split in September, so now there are three wards meeting in this building: Bloomington 1, Bloomington 2, and Normal. As you know, the bishop is awesome. He bought all of our groceries on Tuesday, again.  Other than that, same old amazing missionary work stuff. Just being continually converted to the gospel through prayer and the Book of Mormon and prayer. It's the only worthwhile way to live life! Love Ya!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Some updated pictures

Here are some updated pictures, including Vince and his new companion, and from the Elders' trip to Nauvoo.  The gentleman standing next to Vince is their bishop - he got up at 4:45 a.m. to take them.


Dear Mom,
You're such a blessing in my life, and I'll always be eternally grateful to you for the righteous choices you have made in your life. You've always shown me love, concern for my well being, and comfort when I've needed it. You'd do anything for me, and to have that knowledge truly blesses my life. I do miss you, but this stage in my life is too short to feel deprived. We talk every week, and the blessing of serving the people here can only change my nature for the better. I have yet to reach the point I desire to reach, but I know that through the atonement, we can all become new creatures.

Have you been reading the Book of Mormon? I just reached 3 Nephi today. I'm going to read from the Book of Mormon every day for the rest of my life. There's just no other alternative.

This week we had the car (a Chevy Cruze), so we did not engage in as much walking or catching buses as we do when we are without a vehicle. Of course, Tuesday was the temple trip at Nauvoo, which was glorious. And there's another new temple video. I swear they've come out with three within the last year. But it was great, so I can't complain. Bishop took us by Carthage as well, but we didn't tour it. I definitely want to return to those places someday and spend more time touring, like the whole city of Nauvoo, and to actually go inside the jail at Carthage.

Anyway, something exciting that has happened is...I finally had an investigator come to church! That's never happened before, but it was great. It was the primary program, and the investigator brought her nephews, and she kept talking about how they needed to be like these kids and come to church. So they stayed the whole three hours, the kids going to primary and she coming with her friends in the church. We really didn't have to do much for her. She sat with members, not us. She went to class with the members, and she mingled with members and not us. That's the way it should be, and there's no doubt that she'll be baptized.

All is well here, mother, and I'm becoming continually converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, and only wants us to come unto Him, and join with Him. He'll support through anything. Can I give you some scriptures to study? One that I was studying yesterday really hit me. It's D&C 19:16-19. I encourage you to read it and ponder its message.

I sure love ya!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Last update from Rockwell - on to Peoria!

Greetings from Rockford, IL! Well, I'm still alive. I've not only survived six months in Illinois, but I've cherished those months. Naturally, at the beginning of the mission, the typical feelings of homesickness and inadequacy can easily prevail. You're scared of most things, particularly two things: the people whose doors you knock, and their dogs. Everyone around here seems to own only a select variety of dogs. They either have pit bulls, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, or chihuahuas. But, after a thousand plus doors, you begin to acclimate to the barking and gnashing of teeth. You begin to acclimate, and you begin to desire the eternal welfare of all whom you come into contact with, but your effectiveness is solely dictated by the presence of the Spirit, which you must be worthy of. We had a member of the first quorum of the Seventy tour our mission recently. He spoke of many things, but what has remained impressed upon my mind is one simple request he made: "Don't get in the way."  

Don't let your shortcomings hinder the eternal welfare of anyone. Don't allow disobedience to have a negative impact on the work of salvation. In a way, that is the course we take as members of the restored church of God. We use the atonement to put off the natural man, so that the blessings of God may be poured out upon us and our families. We try to get out of God's way, in so many words. The Lord will hasten his work. But we are his hands. So, please, support the Lord by harvesting the field which has ripened. Go out with the missionaries. Let's help each other light the way for our brothers and sisters. For we know we cannot become perfect without them. God bless all of you. I know that through Jesus Christ all things are possible. Walk as He walked, and serve others for their happiness. Be true and faithful. Therein lies joy. Onward, ever onward.

Monday, October 6, 2014

No letter yet, but...

Here are a bunch of awesome pictures I was just sent from the Elder.  Without a letter of course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ok, I'm a slacker

Bad Mom!  Not really.  Some letters just aren't worthy of a post - or rather, the content doesn't warrant the rest of the world being informed.  So there you have it.  Anywho, news from Elder Campbell!  Part of this is in response to my last email, describing Jack's thoughtful prayers:  Your brother Jack is quite the spiritual little fella.  His dinner prayer last night went something like this: “…Please bless Vince to have a good mission and to be safe, and that the Holy Spirit will keep us safe.” 

Dear Mom,
It might be more reasonable to buy my winter gear out here in the field. So that I can try on the different items and not have to go through the hassle of returning things to get the right size. I'd say four or five pairs of thermals would be pretty substantial. 

Jack sounds like he could be the prophet someday. Definitely has more potential than I do. I miss him a lot. Let him know that I'll be sending him something for his birthday, and for dad as well. Ran out of time last week to buy a card, so I'll send something more worthwhile to make up for it. 

One message for Isabelle: WRITE ME BACK.

Good luck with your school. You'll nail it. So should I be expecting anything, not including the birthday package, this week? By the way, if you want things to get to me sooner, send it to Sister Roby. The mission office is SO slow. I just barely got a letter that Carly sent on the last day of August. 

The good news is that I am happy. We're not really working with any progressing investigators, and we're not seeing a lot of success with door knocking, but I know that the gospel has been restored and I'm eager to share those restored truths with others. I'm now on my fourth time reading the Book of Mormon. My testimony of its divinity grows and my love of its content expands each time I read through it. On Aaron's birthday we had a mission conference where all 184 of the missionaries in the mission gather together and we hear President Fenn and his wife talk. He talked about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, both from a historical and doctrinal standpoint. He's so much like his father in-law, Bruce R. McConkie. So wise and powerful a speaker he is. I've recorded almost all of the talks he's given since I've been on a mission, so I'll have to send them so you can enjoy them as well. Just don't put them on the Internet. That was the only warnings gave me when I asked if I could record him. At the conference he gave us an assignment to mark every mention of covenants and the house of Israel in blue, every mention of being born again or change in people in red, and examples of good teaching in yellow. Before he had us mark missionary work in blue, the doctrine of Christ in yellow, and the plan of salvation/atonement/mercy in red. I invite you to do the latter challenge in your personal scripture study. You'll come to a greater love and knowledge of the magnitude of the Savior's love for us if you take up this challenge. 

Well, sure love Ya! I'll include some photos as well. We went to a Japanese garden today, so that'll explain a few of the pictures. 

Man, I love that kid!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Life back on the farm...

Here are a couple of pictures of Elder Campbell, hard at work in a garden.  Cabbages?  He certainly didn't get that veggie served growing up!  Not much actual news to report, but here it is:

Hello. Ever since meeting with Brother Oliver, my week improved tremendously. I've been so impatient with myself that when I haven't met my unreasonable expectations, I give up. But he's helped me realize that I've had unrealistic standards, and that I need to be satisfied with the incremental improvements I make, and that I can take life one day at a time. I hope Grandpa doesn't think I'm a wimp.  I don't know what he felt while he was on his mission, but looking at him now, I can see him being confident even then. I don't know. A lifetime of experience probably helps a lot.

I'm glad all is well at home. I'm starting to forget about home more and more. I don't want things at home to have changed too much by the time I come home.  Anyway, things are getting better. We don't have any progressing investigators at the moment, AND no one is on date to be baptized, but this Sunday we had two less active families finally come to church.  One only stayed for sacrament, but one surprisingly stayed for gospel principles. I would call that a tender mercy of the Lord.  We'll have to spend a lot of time tracting, since the members don't give us referrals. You can support me by giving the missionaries people to teach! That'd help a lot.  Love you mom. A lot. I really miss ya. Enjoy some pictures.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Well, Elder Campbell made it through another transfer, however his companion did not.  Elder Noho will be heading off to Peoria, but I am told that Elder Campbell is excited about getting a new companion.  No letter this week, but he sent me a picture.  Elder Davis (holding sign) is going home to Montana this month.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14th, 2014

Dear Family,

These past weeks have grown brighter and brighter until it feels like we live in perfect days. Even amid the sirens of ambulances and squad cars, the world is not devoid of light and truth, for we live in a world created by gods. One important update to make note of is that we have someone on date to be baptized on August 16th! She's so great! We found her in late June I believe. We were knocking doors on her street, and at every house we met rejection and disinterest. We were about to return to the truck and drive to our next destination when we felt impressed to knock one more house. She lived in this last house!  She used to be married to a less active Mormon, so she has a couple copies of the Book of Mormon. She later told us that in the days prior to our meeting, she'd seen the Book of Mormon everywhere in her house.
She'd knelt down to pray for someone to help her in her life and we knocked on her door. What was amazing was when we showed her the Bible video of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. She's never been baptized or even seen one happen. After she watched it, the Spirit was powerful beyond earthly happiness, it was the love of God. When we invited her to be baptized, she was ready to accept. Those little moments are what I live for now.

President Fenn says that a mission is a series of disappointments occasionally interrupted by perfect moments of indescribable joy.  That's about as true as one feels while on a mission, and our entire lives. We just have to learn how we can invite the Holy Ghost to make these interruptions. Charity, I feel, is at the core of it. There is a section in Preach My Gospel where it talks about the teaching skill of listening, and it also quotes some words I love from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He says that “More important than speaking is listening.
These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear
testimony and about which you can then offer more. . . . If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit and by our friends." I have a testimony of the principle of listening. As we sincerely love others, we'll ask them inspired questions which will always highlight a truth of the gospel.  We then discern their needs, and teach the truth which will hopefully meet their concern, and we promise them blessings. We end with something essential: we testify. I testify that this gospel is true.
Jesus Christ is our Savior. He died for every person who has lived or will live, because He loves us with a love that we cannot understand.  As we embrace His gospel, we will be able to make covenants which will seal our family for time and all eternity. This is the destiny for our family. I've felt the Holy Ghost testify to me that this will happen while we are on earth. May we all follow Christ and make the changes necessary to have the blessings of a sealed family! I love you all so much and pray for you every day!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Finally, an update!

Hey all!
This last week was successful yet worried me at the same time. I've
forgotten to mention in the last few emails about something which has
been pretty exciting. For the last several weeks we were planning a missionary fireside for the ward. Unlike our stake, which has firesides pretty regularly, the Rockford stake has not had one
apparently in years, if that. So at first the members weren't sure it would draw a crowd. The theme of the fireside was the blessings of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which we thought would be perfect for those with little knowledge about the church. The next idea we had was to have a convert tell their conversion story and how the Restored
Gospel blessed their life. Then we asked our mission president if he could speak and he accepted. What was nice was that he spoke at stake conference a couple weeks ago and people were so impressed that they became excited to come to the fireside. Then we made flyers and just handed them out like crazy to members and non members. It was
scheduled for last night, and so this last week we were stressing out about people coming. But people came! Word spread and missionaries from the entire stake came and brought their members, and our members came and brought their friends. Something silly that happened was that as I was helping someone bring some vegetable trays inside I dropped one in front of President Fenn. It was a great night for everyone. The talks were awesome and we filled the chapel. We even had a translator
for a Spanish family who came. Afterward we had refreshments and President Fenn told me that he was impressed by the number of people who came, which was nice to hear from him.

Now onto to your questions. Three weeks from tomorrow will be transfers. Elder Noho has been in the Rockford 1st ward for six months, so he thinks he'll go and I'll stay. Which is kind of scary since I'm still new to the area, but I welcome the opportunity. I do have allergies here, but I've been taking some medication which has been helping a lot. And there are actually a lot of kids in the ward.
There's also a lot of dream couples like Jared and Brittney and Andrew and Jessica. It's nice to feel an extension of home.

We've been knocking on doors a lot in order to find people, but success is slowly coming. We've found a couple of women who seem I nterested but it's been hard to meet with them since they're gone on the day we schedule to see them a lot. A member did refer us to one of her friends who already took the lessons and was ready to be baptized,
but was not married to the man she was living with at the time. Now she is, so she might be able to be baptized this Saturday if she's worthy and has kept the faith. And we found a woman who lives two houses from us. So we hope for two baptisms in June!

Well I love all of you! P.S. Dad, respond to my last email, and you too Carly!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Never give up.

Kids, never give up. Repeat that to yourself whenever something seems too hard; whenever you lose an interest in finishing a task; whenever you feel hopeless; whenever you feel that you are not important, repeat this in your head (maybe even better out loud): NEVER GIVE UP.  Heavenly Father did not allow us to be born just to fail. In fact, the odds are in our favor. We have been saved through Our Savior and Redeemer, The Lord Jesus Christ. We shall all receive immortality.  There is no possible debate in regards to this. The deed was done. He suffered, bled, and died. Yet he rose on the third day. The same shall we inherit. But eternal life on the other hand, that requires a transformation. Eternal life means exaltation; it means that we shall live in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and shall be united with our families everlastingly. This will be our reward, if we shall press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. NEVER GIVE UP.  Pray for help, ask for blessings, live in order to bless others, have faith. Heavenly Father changes lives when we expect it from him. Pray every day, and get to know your Heavenly Father.

We found a couple of people last week that we have return appointments with this week. Tracting has been our main resource as of late for finding new investigators. The members are stepping up though. We planned a missionary fireside for the ward, and it's happening on the 29th. A member will tell their conversion story, and President Fenn will speak on the blessings of the restored Gospel. We're really excited. Members will be coming, and hopefully they will bring their friends. There is no doubt that President Fenn will astound all who are present at the meeting. Well no duh. He was taught personally by his wife's father, Bruce R. McConkie, an all impressive apostle. President Fenn is an amazing example of integrity. Something I have somehow failed to mention is the state of his health. First of all, he's deathly allergic to peanuts, and second, he has a clogged artery.  He discovered this following an allergic reaction, in which he also suffered a minor heart attack. This was just before my arrival to the field. Since learning of his heart problem, he resigned himself to intense physical exercise, so he began biking miles and miles during the day. He's an example of someone who, when they want to do something, they dedicate their whole self to the work. On Thursday he went in for surgery to correct the clogged artery, but the operation failed. He's a bit disappointed, but he knows that he much yet to accomplish in the field. He's met so many challenges during his service as a mission president. Along with his health issues, his father passed away the same week he suffered that heart attack. While he had the opportunity to the leave the mission and attend his father's funeral, he knew he could leave the call he had been given by The Lord. I greatly admire this man. I'm nowhere near his level, but neither was he at my age. Incremental consecration and conversion is what brought him to where he is now.

Well, I love all of you!  Do something as a family tonight.  Please.
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Helping others feel the spirit

This letter talks about how we can, in our everyday lives, help others feel the spirit and open their hearts to understanding.

First, a couple of references: Alma 37:35-37. Also check out this talk by Richard G. Scott:
As we ask our Father in faith, with real intent, we can be assured that as we endeavor to exercise our complete efforts, He will compensate for our infirmities and bring to pass miracles. Most often it is our own definitions of miracles which cloud our minds with sorrow and discontent. Though some people may seem to be impenetrable, each opportunity they have to feel the Spirit, every friend from the church who reaches out to them, and every mention of the blessings of the Gospel, the efforts have been made valiantly. The Spirit can only come unto their heart. It cannot force its way inside. But what I can suggest, and what I exhort the family to do is to take ten minutes this evening to bear testimony of the blessings of the Restoration of the Gospel. As President Fenn continually reiterates, and as I have sensed first hand, is that the Spirit is abundant as we testify of the Restoration. I promise you that if each of you succeed to expose your testimonies of Joseph Smith and priesthood power, they will not be able to deny the Spirit which will approach them. Another measure I recommend taking is, after bearing testimony, ask them how they feel.  Remember that the "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23). Explain that they do not need a dramatic spiritual manifestation to recognize truth. The Spirit speaks most often in impressions and feelings. As you take the care to help them recognize the Spirit, that they will know that what you say is true, and that they will have inched their toes onto the narrow path to the kingdom of God. Then get them to read the Book of Mormon.

Preach My Gospel talks about how members are usually afraid to invite people to church/read the Book of Mormon/meet with the missionaries.  But all you have to do is be sincere and assure the person that your relationship won't change, but that you wanted to share something you cherish to them. 

Anyway, the cookies arrived intact, but are a touch on the stale side.  They're still delicious, and I have two other witnesses to this. Being in a trio, I'm learning double the amount and at double the rate, which is no bother to me. Missionary work is thankfully becoming second nature, and the apprehension which originally ailed me has
dissolved considerably, allowing my desires to trump my fears to yield my joy. I am happy now.

I'll leave you with this quote from Lorenzo Snow, which has truly reformed my personal expectations: "Do not expect to be perfect all at once. If you do, you will be disappointed."

I love you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mama's boy

I miss you! Happily, I have updates as to the conditions and circumstances of my mission thus far. When I arrived in Rockford, the Rockford 1st Ward had two sets of elders serving in the area. With my arrival, another elder transferred into the area, and we joined the two elders experienced in this area of the mission. Of course I joined Elder Noho, and the other new elder, Elder Williams, joined with Elder Davis. They are both incredible missionaries because they use each of their unique capacities to bring all others into the fold of Christ.

Elder Williams is from South Carolina, and has been out for four months now. Elder Davis will return to Montana in August, and will have served honorably for two years. Elder Davis is our district leader, and it's amazing how he is able to both control the weekly meetings and inspire all of its members. I really look up to him because we have luckily much in common. In the beginning of his mission he struggled with depression and allowing himself to change, so his advice on those subjects has been incredibly instructive.
Anyhow, what happened was that as Elder Williams entered into the area, he found that he had suffered a tear in his esophagus, which limited what he could eat, and how much of it he could eat. This began to stress him out, and exacerbated anxiety attacks he'd always had to cope with. Eventually these conditions couldn't allow him to be effective, so President Fenn had to send him home. Now Elder Davis, Elder Noho and I are in a trio. It's strange to have basically two trainers now, but with an extra person to provide their own vision, I'm learning that much more.

Another update is that my happiness has increased exponentially since we last spoke. It was uncomfortable and agonizing to allow myself to be shackled by the adversary. I could not allow him to discontinue my hope. So ultimately it was a decision to work together with my Savior so that the changed me could change others. I made that decision, but the results did not sprout over night. It's a process, and every day that I smile more and speak my mind, the day is a success. Every day I feel the Spirit and understand the miracle of introducing someone to the restored gospel, I'm happy, and I'm changed for betterment of my future, and theirs if they make the right choices.

Anyway, I'm steadily improving, and wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

Although I do miss all of you so much, and think about you all of the time. I'll have to send you a picture of the three of us. Love you all! Thank you for the package! (I think this is the "greenie" package I sent a few weeks ago!)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello all! Well, I surmise that what will function as a sufficient description of these past weeks is the word brutal. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and all the chaos in between.  Naturally there's a beginner's apprehension toward the many facets of the work, but it's been exhaustingly aggravated with my ADD. It's frustrating. When I make a mistake or am reminded of something which should easily be remembered, the logic unveiled is not exactly foreign. It becomes more of a mutated memory than a factual remembrance. And that's been difficult for me as well as my companion.  When I am struck with these ridiculous realizations, I'm honestly embarrassed. If circumstances were otherwise, my memory would serve me loyally. ADD weighs down not only attention span, but memory. It's a challenge not to forsake myself. What sparks my rejuvenation is my knowledge that I'm not an idiot. I just have a stumbling block. I know that as I fast and pray humbly, that The Lord will compensate for weakness, but I must do all that I can to assist the process.

On a more positive note, we finally have a progressing investigator named George. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, has committed to be baptized, and will be attending church meetings this upcoming Sunday. Teaching has definitely lessened the aches and pains of the mind. People matter more and more to me as I abide in their homes and connect with their families. I'm thankful for the Spirit and it's ability to transcend man made chasms of prejudice and malcontent. Other prospective baptisms are two nine year-old girls from two part-member families. I have faith that The Lord will have three new children by the end of this transfer.

Anyway, glad to hear that everyone is well and occupied. Congrats Dad (on going back to work full-time).
Well I love all of you so very much. Have family home evening tonight and each of you share your favorite story from the Book of Mormon and how it adds to your testimony. I love you all!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First lesson delivered!

I got a text from Elder Campbell's surrogate mom today, letting me know that he taught his first lesson today and he did great!  I mailed him a package containing a big jar of his favorite strawberry jam and some instant breakfast. Good news is that the jar of jam didn't break, but instant breakfast envelopes might not make the best packing material. You win some, you lose some!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Um, ouch?

How has your day been? We were playing soccer this afternoon, and a
run for the ball resulted in the pulling back of my left foot's big
toenail. Wrapping it it up in band aids was all I could really manage
to prevent infection. Anyway, I'm fine other than that. Love you

Monday, May 5, 2014

Best. Kid. Ever.

Hiya family! I've been anticipating this moment the entire week since I first arrived in Rockford, IL. Before, even in the first few hours with my new companion, I felt confident that the transition would pass by as smoothly as my expectations permitted. But my commitment became real when we arrived at the apartment.

The apartment is stark, simple, clean, and we have our own washer and dryer, but when I deposited my bags into the room, there were no sheets and there was no pillow. Thankfully Elder Noho's previous companion left behind a comforter. Consequently, I was forced to adapt to the state of my bedding. My robe functioned surprisingly well as a pillow.

Next we went to the store. I picked up a few items, under the impression that we'd be fed most evenings. Thankfully I bought some spaghetti. But I don't mind having to cook for myself. I'll make the best of it and hopefully attain some mediocre cooking skills.

I could go into detail as to what has filled my days this week, but I'll summarize by saying that it's been hard to get through to anyone this week. The area is interesting because quite literally on most street corners, there's a church, some which cater to a very specific demographic. So when we knock on doors, more often than not, the
person or family is already Methodist or Baptist or Catholic, just name a few of the available denominations. What's more interesting is that when we knock on a door, ready to share our message about Jesus Christ, the Christians don't seem to desire to hear about Him, which is both illogical and frustrating. Much of our teaching has been to recent converts and less actives, which is noble in it's own regard, but when we reported our numbers last night, it was difficult to continue to report zero after zero. But I know who to rely on.

It's been hard to be away from you all. It's not like I ever took you for granted, but the reality of my situation became painfully apparent. When I'm scared or would easily come to any of you for guidance, I realize that you are no longer readily accessible. I've never appreciated and loved my family as I do now. I'm grateful for that. But I wish I could have reached this understanding some other way.

I want you all to know that I love you with a magnitude which defies description. You make the world worth living in, and I'll always love you.

Anyway, I love you all, and want you to know that I'll be okay, that I know that this isn't about me. It's about the people who need to hear the truth. I'll assimilate eventually, I'll become excited to work, and I'll change for the better. I love you all. I love you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First message!

I was watching our youth practice for dance festival when I got a wonderful text message and pictures of Elder Campbell:

Sister MacDonald my name is Sister Roby my husband and I will be keeping you informed on your wonderful Missionary.  He is in Rockford IL, Rockford 1st ward. His Companion is Elder Noho and he is from Tahiti.  He is a wonderful trainer and your Son will learn a lot.  I send a picture of his shoes because they will be dirty soon. They do a lot of walking. We are grateful to Heavenly Father has blessed us with a new Missionary son. Talk to you soon. Catherine 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where's my letter?!

An email response to my query as to where my letter is!!  Now I can stop haunting the mailbox this week.

Yeah about that. I wrote it and then didn't like it and then I just thought I might as well wait for preparation day to give you some updates. Monday's the big day! Though we must be at the MTC's shuttle pick-up at 4:30 a.m. I'm thrilled to be moving on. The experience you have at the MTC seems to directly correlate with the consistency of relying upon the Lord. To be honest, my stay at the MTC has not been overwhelmingly happy, but that was because of my lack of self confidence, and lack of proper perspective. Earlier in the week, I struggled to stay focused and teach with the power and conviction I wished to possess. My expectations were laughingly unrealistic. I wanted to come home, but my companion's faith in me elevated my heart and gave me the momentum to persist. What also helped was meeting with the counselor they have here. He ran a test and asked me several questions and it's very likely that I am ADHD, which I'm realizing more and more. Even though I am, he gave me some reassurance that it won't be crippling enough to affect my success as a missionary. I just have to be humble and admit when I'm lost or distracted so that my companion can get us back on track. When I do that, and have faith in the atonement, the blessings of strength I receive not only stabilize me, but they elevate me. Heavenly Father's plan is a plan of growth and progression, and as I depend upon that, I find that I receive blessings exactly when I need them. I find that I'm not struggling to meet his expectations, but that we're cooperating and working together in the same cause. I've never felt such love from Him before my trial of faith at the MTC. I know that He loves me and that we work together to bring me closer to perfection.
...Not only did President Uchtdorf come to speak to us, but so did Elder Dallin H. Oaks and His wife. All three of them had similar messages, but what I want to employ in my own life is a fearless approach to missionary work. Being set apart, having the Lord and Our Father on my side, there's no reason to fear anyone or any situation. We just have to be prayerful and prepared. Also thank you for the package sent. The Elders in our residence will sip on the Martinelli's on Sunday night before we depart. Such obedient and powerful Elders in our district.
What has been strange is that even though we teach fake investigators at the MTC, the Spirit still teaches us and touches their hearts. Amazing. We're improving every day. By the way, Elder Christenson from "The District 2" is a teacher at the MTC and he spoke to us yesterday about working with members. Quite interesting. He showed us a Bednar clip about how we need to act like missionaries before we enter a member's home that really affected me. I'll have to send you the link.
Anyway, gotta finish my laundry. I'll email later in the day. Love ya'll!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The day of departure

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014.  Elder Campbell, his sister Carly and I (mom) had just finished what would be our last lunch together pre-mission.  We knew that we would not be able to hug each other goodbye at the MTC, so before we got back in the car to head down to Provo we said our farewells.  Elder Campbell gave Carly a nice brotherly hug, and then it was mom's turn.  I don't think either one of us was ready or willing to let go, but it was an embrace I will always remember.  

The drive down to Provo was uneventful, and before we knew it we had reached the MTC entrance.  There were SO many cars and people - it was just amazing.  We were met by our first "usher," who welcomed us and verified who we were dropping off and where his ultimate destination was - and we were sent on our way around the bend to the CURB.  Car upon car were lined up along the curb, each with a departing missionary.  We were signaled over to the curb by 3 smiling, waving Elders of Pacific Island descent, and as soon as Elder Campbell stepped out of the car each on of his "hosts" embraced him and welcomed him.  With 3 strong young men, the luggage was quickly removed from the roof rack, and then it was time.  I wasn't sure if I was ready for this, but I kept my composure, lowering the window and appropriately embarrassing my son with a, "I love you schmoopy poopy!"  All the elders got a good laugh out of that and I got confirmation that, "He's going to do great."  I already knew that though.

As Carly and I drove away from the curb we noticed all of the other families dropping off their missionaries.  The new standard is that you don't get out of the car and say goodbyes at the curb, and there are several good reasons for this:  1.  There are A LOT of missionaries checking in constantly, and there simply is not enough space for people to hang out at the curb.  2.  Saying goodbye at the curb is harder on everyone!  Get it done before you leave and it will hurt less - kind of like ripping off a band-aid.  SO, of course as we drove away there had to be at least 1 family that did not heed by this new rule, with a father and his son embracing and the poor kid in tears.  We made it around the bend, past the dreaded curb and out towards the exit.  Cue tears.  Both Carly and I kept our composure until that very moment, and then it was a free-for-all.  Yes, there were some sad tears.  Elder Campbell is such an important part of our lives it will be hard to not see his face or hear his voice for 2 whole years.  But there were also tears of joy, knowing that he was where he was meant to be.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that my son will be a tremendous missionary, and will be loved by the people of the Chicago West mission.  But not as much as he is loved by his family.