Category Archives: Various

Goodbye Montana…….

Well I guess the time has come for me to say ‘Goodbye Montana’. It seems strange to think of my time serving as a missionary has now come to an end. I am at a loss of words. A flood of memories comes rushing into my head when I think back on my mission. 2 years is a long time; areas, companions, investigators, families, and friends. Each one has different stories and memories. I remember when I first arrived at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah. I can still remember saying goodbye to my family as I embarked on an adventure of a life time. I remember the sleepless nights and tender prayers I had kneeling in my top bunk there. I can still recall my first day in the mission field in Riverton, WY with Elder Fry, my trainer. I was asked to use the priesthood and administer a blessing of comfort for the first time. I will always remember my time serving among the wonderful people of Native America in Wolf Point, Mt. The stress I felt when training Elder Johansson for the first time. I look back at Luarel, Mt and laugh reflecting how I literally looked back at Elder Neilson through the rear window as he pushed our car through the deep snow covered streets.  I never will forget the beauty of Eureka, Mt, and the patience a love I learned there. Up-town of Butte, America will remain like a photograph on my mind. The people here are one of a kind, and I love them because of it.

Yes, on my mission for the lord I have learned more then words can describe. I have learned how to love. I have learned how to have patience. I have learned how to work. This mission has without a doubt, been the best two years for my life. I feel I have grown up and matured. I have seen countless blessings, miracles, and prayers answered on my mission. But maybe, perhaps, the most important thing I will remember, is the people whom I have served. The people whom I have prayed and fasted for. The people whom I have loved. The people who have blessed my life and taught me so much. The people whom I have played but a small role in them accepting the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is such a unique joy felt when you, or someone you help, comes unto Christ. And I have seen and felt that. I of course cannot forget  the people I served with, companions, church members, and friends. Each one of my Companions have taught me something. My Mission President, President Garner, will always be a pillar of an example to me in my life.

I wish I had time to share the many stories of the various people and places I have met and been in, but obviously that would take way to long. Have you ever seen the little stickers of “Get Lost in Montana”? Well looking back over the past two years it seems I have done just that. I have gotten lost. I have indeed gotten lost in Montana and Wyoming. I have gotten lost in the Lord. I don’t really want to leave home to go home, but I know it is time. I am excited to be back in Arizona and the things that await me there. But I will be forever thankful for my time spent serving the Lord in the best areas in the world! Goodbye, Montana…….



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The “Ruts” of Life

Definition of a rut: A furrow or track in the ground, especially one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles” ( In the dunes there are ruts. Lots of ruts. I remember when I first started riding in the dunes I hated to follow our sand rail. Not just because every once in a while if I got to close behind it I’d get a bucket full of sand shoveled right at me, but because I did not like the ruts. Sometimes when following multiple big sand rails they can leave quite the impressions, or ruts, in the sand. I remember following on my quad and hitting those massive ruts. You follow the same general path the rails do but because you are on a quad the path is altered a bit and you usually take a slightly differnt ‘line'( I hope that makes sense). If you get stuck in one of those ruts, sometimes it literally will suck you in, you are going to go where the sand rail in front of you went whether you like it or not. The guy to the right may have gotten stuck in the wrong rut. When you go to cross one of those mammoth ruts you better hold on tight, it’ll bounce you all over and sometimes hinder your forward momentum. Trying to wheelie or get some weight of the front end always helps.On the busy weekends, such as New Years or Thanksgiving holidays there are a lot of people there. The dunes come what we call “choppy”(see the top picture). Ruts everywhere!! It is one bumpy ride, and not to fun if you’re on a quad. My family would try to get far out as possible into the dunes where the crowds had not been yet to find some smooth riding.

Now to the Gospel. Sometimes in life we can encounter some ruts; some of them are bigger then others. It might depend on who you are following, are you following the wrong person or thing? Pursuing a life of drugs and immorality can be like following a monster sand rail that leaves enormous ruts that seem impossible to get out of once you have gotten in. Sometimes you are genuinely trying to follow Jesus Christ, the best leader, and even then we can encounter some small or large ruts. What do we do? Well we can read the scriptures, go to church, or repent and “get the front end up on your quad” and wheelie over that rut. It might hinder your progress or slow you down a bit but that is okay! Keep pushing on, don’t give up!! Sometimes we might find ourselves in the busy hustle bustle of life and it seems pretty bumpy due to little ruts going every which way. Let us take a breath and slow down a bit. Maybe we need to go to a quiet place, or seek refuge from the world. Sometimes we may only be able to find inner peace. M Russell Ballard, an Apostle of the Jesus Christ has said this, “Peace—real peace, whole-souled to the very core of your being—comes only in and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”. When speaking about the recent world disasters Coleen K. Menlove said this, “Children need to know that having faith in the Savior and following Him will help them receive peace in this troubled world.” Take heart! I know that good times are out there. Just hold on through those “choppy dunes” and soon you will find that peace you seek!

Keep Riding, Clear Dunes Await!

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Preparation, Dont Forget Your Helmet!!

When it comes to getting ready to go to the dunes there is a lot that goes into it. Usually me and my family try to split the load or responsibility to make it go faster and easier. “Don’t forget the jack” my dad might  say. “Hey, remember to throw in the extra set of Lug Nuts”  my brother will chime in. There are lots of things to remember; flags, gas, food, water, paddle tires, extra parts, helmets, goggles, GPS, camping permit, electric impact wrench, other tools, air compressor, sleeping bags, cots, and etc. I think that almost every time we went we forgot something, it was bound to happen. Hopefully we did not  forget something that was very important. Once, or maybe twice, I forgot my helmet. I regretted that one. I ended up having to use an extra one we had (I sure was happy someone was prepared for my forgetfulness). If I forgot my goggles it was the worst. There is nothing worse then trying to make due with a terrible pair of goggles that wont stop half the sand. It was about 4 1/2 hours there; so getting there and then turning around to come home to get what we forgot was out of the question. Overall, make sure to be prepared when you get to the dunes, something will always come up.

Now to apply it to the Gospel. Preparation is key. After all, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet god (Alma 34:32). We can prepare for all kinds of things. We can prepare now to answer when a friend asks us if we want to try a drug. Answer that question now with a resounding “NO!”. We can prepare for the future. Get our life in order; get out of debt, start a food storage, build family relationships, and many other things. There are countless stories in the Bible and Book of Mormon about being prepared. I love the story of the Jaradites in the Book of Mormon and how the Lord commands those people to prepare to cross the sea. (Click here to Read the whole story, it is great.) When I forgot to bring my helmet my chance of getting hurt drastically increased. When one forgets their paddle tires at home they are going to get stuck all the time. If something breaks down and you don’t have your tools then your are going nowheres. So it is with life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can offer you protectection (like a helmet), help give you propulsion in a sticky situation (like paddle tires), help us see clear when the sand storms of life are blowing all about us (like Goggles), and help repair spiritual damage through the atonement (like the proper parts and tools). We just need to be prepared, and put in our effort, then all of these blessings can be ours.

Preparation leads to blessings. One quote that I really like goes like this, “when the time for performance is at hand, the time for preparation is over”. Let us not find ourselves in the middle of the sand dunes with no Helmet. Let us not be found at the hour of performance and our preparation is little. When we are prepared, we shall not fear!


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Sand Dunes……..

Maybe it’s because my time serving as a missionary is winding down and I have been thinking about activities I miss, or maybe it is because it is just plain fun. Either way I have been thinking about the beautiful Sand Dunes of South Eastern California. To some, the dunes might look more like a barren waste land, but not to me. First off, to anyone who has never been to the Imperial Sand Dunes nestled in the corner of south-eastern California just outside Arizona and just off of the Mexican Border (in fact many of the dunes run over and into Mexico) I would recommend going. They are the best. It is one of my favorite hobbies. I’m not sure how long ago my family started going to the dunes. My dad and his family and friends went way back in the day, the days of three-wheelers and Volkswagen Buggies. I remember when we (me and my siblings) started though. It was pretty new to us, we had recently built a new sand rail and wanted to give it a try. Well lets just say from that first trip till now it has been a family hobby and things have progressed and enlarged.

For those who may not be too familiar with the Sand Dunes people go there to ride just about any kind of motorized vehicle. Quads and dirt bikes are probably the most popular. But there are a lot of sand rails, side-by-sides (Ranger, Razors, Rhinos etc), souped up golf carts, Tricked out jeeps, and any thing else that can go “vroom”. Sometimes it can get pretty busy, especially on big weekends like Thanksgiving and New Years. There are advantages and disadvantages to it being busy verse not busy.  Now it has been over two years since I have been to the dunes since I started my service as a full-time missionary for the church. I miss it at times, more so in the winter, but it is worth it to give that up for two years. The other day I had an idea of relating The Sand Dunes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Brilliant! I have decided to break it up into multiple posts because that way I won’t overrun anyone and I can keep it concise. So stay tuned, some posts will soon follow!

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The Dark Night: Joker and Satan


So what in the world does Batman, The Dark Night, have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Well the other day we went over to someone’s house to visit with them and they had the TV on. Well what do you know it is the none other then the Dark Night playing! It just happens to be one of mine, and Elder Butler’s,  favorite movies. It was most difficult not to watch to say the least. The part we caught was the one of Joker being interviewed by Commissioner Gordon and then Batman. This leads to Joker telling batman the two addresses of where Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes were located. It got me, and my Companion, thinking…….Why did Joker do what he did? What made the Joker tick? What motivated this psychopathic, diabolical, and deranged criminal?? Elder Butler threw out that it was because he lacked the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life. The man we were visiting with said that it could be that he was just plum crazy. Yes, I would agree with both, but it could be something more. I think (now this is just me) that the Joker is a type (or in similitude of) of the adversary of happiness; none other then Satan himself.

Allow me to explain. But, you’ll also have to bear with me because it has been over a year and a half since I have seen the movie. I would like to call on just a few examples of Joker and his role in the movie to demonstrate my idea. When Joker first comes into the picture he is robbing a bank (the very bank that the mob uses to launder all of their illegally earned money) and steals lots and lots of money. Oh well it is the money that motivates him then, he just wants to be rich? Well not quite. We see later him burning who knows how much cash to demonstrate that money is not what it is about.

We see him time after time set up social and mind experiments. Did the joker really want Coleman Reese dead? Did Coleman Reese play that big of a role in his plan? No, he just wanted to cause chaos and anarchy. To prove that people are evil inside to see, or test, if they were willing to kill an innocent person. It was Coleman or the Hospital after all.

Later, when the City of Gotham is being evacuated there are two large ferry’s evacuating the city. One is full of citizens, the other full of prisoners from the local prison. Joker has rigged the two boats with explosives. The catch: each boat has the detonator switch to the other boat on their own boat. They have a certain amount of time before both boats blow up (or so they are told). The catch is, they can push the button and blow the other boat up, full of the other group of people in order to save themselves. A heinous social experience. Did joker really just want to blow people up? Perhaps. But I contest that it was more then that. He wanted to see how these people would react, to watch them kill each other in a state of frenzy and anarchy.

Did Joker really just want Harvey Dent to live and become a Grumpy-Guss? No, He risked his (The Joker) own life to persuade Harvey to become the acclaimed “Two-Face”. This was a victory for Joker. He had turned the one bright future, the one person who believed in Gotham, into a corrupt and malicious person like himself. Of course the rest of the world never found out about it; Batman took the fall for the murder of Harvey Dent.

So how is Satan like the Joker? Does Satan want money? Of course not, he in no way needs money. But he knows that the greed of money can tear families and individuals apart. Does Satan really care if a certain person is killed or even a boat load of people massacred? Not necessarily, He knows physical death is but temporary. But he wants to see anarchy, despair, fear, and chaos result. Does Satan want to see amazing examples of men and women fall? Yes. Because when those certain individuals fall so do many other people. They set the example for generations to follow. Overall, the theme of the joker, what drives him, is the same thing that drive Satan. A Book of Mormon Prophet puts it best with these simple words: “for [Satan] seeketh that all men might be hmiserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27).

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Lets Go Son, it’s Time to Get to Work!

Not sure what this is about.....My dad probably seeking revenge on some pesky gofer

So it is Father’s Day already! Wow. Seems like it was just Mother’s Day! Well when I started to think about my father, and how I might dedicate a blog to him, my mind ran blank. I don’t even know if my dad knows what a blog is. One might say that my dad is not the most technologically friendly guy. He usually just spats off math problems in his head while I reach for my cell phone with its convenient calculator. But when I really started to give it some thought, I tried to think of one word that could best describe my dad; and the answer came quick and clear. “Work“.

My dad and brothers up to something

Allow me to explain. I grew up on a farm in south-east Gilbert, Arizona (which was at one point Chandler, or some other city). My dad grew up on a farm in Mesa, Arizona. And, if I’m not mistaken, his dad grew up on a farm as well. On a farm, work is a key ingredient. I’m sure that there are a lot of other professions out there that work hard as well, but in my book, farming takes the cake.

I remember growing up working. Now I wont lie to anyone, I did not enjoy spending my summer (the few precious months of no school and home work) waking up at 4:30AM to go bail hay in the early morning. Sometimes, I didn’t even enjoy going out in the middle of the afternoon in 120 degree weather to go spray weeds. Occasionally, I didn’t like staying up all night irrigating and getting bit by mosquitoes. But my dad always had us kids do these things. Himself, of course, always setting the best example. I would bet my dad against any one on a work contest. Sure, he might be getting old and rickety….. but I would still put my money on him. He is also great at getting the job done right. I don’t think I could count on both hands the amount of times he has had me and my brothers re-do a job because it wasn’t done right. Take pride in your work. Spending hours spraying weeds paid off; our farm was always much cleaner than other farms, though my mom may disagree :). 
Looking back I sure am happy that my dad was a slave driver(he wasn’t really though)! I wouldn’t trade my experience growing up on a farm for anything! I learned so many skills and attributes there. Even though I did complain (I’m sure a lot more than I should’ve), I am eternally grateful for that experience now. My dad has taught me the principle of work better than anyone I know. Even though I still have some room to grow. When I think of a hard worker I will always think of my dad. So with that, Happy Father’s Day Dad! 😉  


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The Miami Heat. They Have the Potential, So Do You

So the NBA finals are here again! I can’t believe it is already about half way through the series(depending on how the next games go). As of right now the Miami Heat are tied with the Dallas Mavericks. 2-2. Im excitited to see if the Heat can pull off a few more victories and take home the title. After all, they do have some big all-star players. I remember when I heard the news that Lebron James was going to go to the Heat to play with Dwayne Wade. I sure was excited. Then I found out that Chris Bosh would be joining to make quite the trio. Wow. I was bummed that i wasn’t going to get to watch them play. A lot of people predicted that this ultimate team would be unstoppable. That they would easily take it all the way to the finals and take home a ring. Others predicted that the team would flop. Some said that Three super stars wouldn’t be able to play together, at least not in the first season being on the same team. With all the potential they had they got off to a rocky start. However, they have now came all the way. Will they take home the championship? Will they win the prize after making it this far? Will the Dallas Mavericks keep them from their goals? Only time will tell.

To switch gears a little bit here I’d like to compare the Miami Heat to us. We come into this life with all the potential in the world. Some people are rooting for us. They know that we can go all the way. They root for us to take home that ultimate prize. Others, wish to see us fail and end up miserable. They dont want us to succeed. Now, we might not be a Lebron James, or even a Dwayne Wade. Maybe we are more like Mike Bibby or James Jones. But that is what’s so great about it; Everyone on the team gets the same prize, whether they are a Point Guard or a Center. We are in the game of life (which is a little bit more serious then the NBA). We have the potential as did/do the Miami Heat. Now let us work hard, make good choices, and try our best to win the prize; the prize of eternal life. I think the Miami Heat can do it. I know that we can.

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