Keaton at Provo Temple

Keaton at Provo Temple

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

Hello familia!

This week has been pretty brutal weather wise. It's been below freezing and I think it's staying that way until April. However, I don't believe I need much winter gear. I really think I'm set. I've been using my winter coat we bought and I'm liking it so no complaints there. I have gloves, scarves, beanies, thermal stuff, and yeah, I think I'm good. I was pretty packed when I moved apartments - 3 full suitcases and a tote. I may have to get rid of some of my stuff before I move apartments again.

I'm liking it here in Westchester so far. Elder Porter is a sweet guy. He's really into boarding - snowboarding, surfboarding, skateboarding, etcetera. Porter has been on a mission for a year, but only been in this area for six weeks, so we're both really new at who to teach and who the members are. Instead of Westchester streets being organized like a grid, it's more organized like a spaghetti bowl... so we get lost sometimes. It's much like Gurnee and Waukegan in that it's more suburban but there's no open cornfields. It's all a concrete jungle here.

We've been doing a lot of tracting since our teaching pool has been low. Probably the coolest member here is Dave Jones. He comes out with us missionaries a few times a week (sometimes several days in a row) and feeds us and helps teach investigators. He's older (served in Vietnam) and says he's addicted to helping us out. What's unique with him, though, is that he is legally blind!  Can't see out of one eye and can see four feet in from of him in the other - but it's really hard to see regardless.

Thank you so much for all you do, and hey, please start a Christmas list! I'd be more than happy to stop by Chicago and get whatever.

Take care and have a great week!

-Elder Montgomery

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

¡Hola familia!

 So this week is transfers again, and I'm moving to a NEW area. I wasn't really expecting on leaving this transfer, but I'm pretty stoked for the new experience. Today I'm scrambling to see all the ward members one last time because yesterday was our stake conference and I wasn't able to see any of them! 
I'll be transferred to Westchester 1st Ward on Tuesday and buddy up with Elder Porter, who I believe is from Queen Creek, Arizona. Westchester is part of South Chicago (more like South-Western) but I hear it's one of the better areas. 50% of the Elders have bikes and the other half are designated cars, so there's a coin-flip on whether I will like this transfer or not... just kidding - I'm good either way.

Elder Alvey, my awesome companion, is going to be a Dad! Woohoo! He's going to be raising his firstborn son in the wilderness. In other words, he's training a new Elder. I could only be with Elder Alvey for one transfer, which stinks because he's great, but you know, everything happens for a reason.

We just met some sweet investigators this week! I was so stoked to go teach them more since they were so humbly interested in the gospel, but now I'll miss the opportunity. Two of them are S.K. and his wife, V.

I've been talking about the Phoenix temple a lot to members! I always say that the new temple is opening up, and yeah, we live like two blocks away. Now our Ward is going to have Ward temple night like every month :) I'm fine weather-wise so far. I received your package and been taking advantage of those sweaters - sweet sweaters, by the way. I am not a fan of my winter coat we got at Pomeroy's, unfortunately. I might go to Ross and buy a nice coat for cheap. Elder Alvey got a sweet one for 80 bucks; half off. All I ask is that my personal debit card stay above water... I try to be shop smart though, so don't worry.

Thank you so much for all you do! I am grateful to have such a wonderful family and for my opportunity and privilege to serve a mission! I hope and pray everything will go well this week,

-Elder Montgomery

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

¡Hola familia!

It pains me to read about your 80-90 degree temperatures this week. It snowed here with temperatures 30-40. Yeah, snowed on Halloween, which is funny because lots of natives here claim it's never snowed so early before. We didn't do that much for Halloween, though. We had to report back to the apartment by 7:00 so we just goofed off in our apartment. Oh, but we did have something called Elder's Conference that day! It was the first of its nature, which I got to be apart of, which was pretty cool.

The baptism was awesome! I'll need to attach some photos in another email. A.C. did great. The fact that this was my first time baptizing I don't think really made her too nervous. She always asked "you're not going to drown me, are you Elder Montgomery?" And I would say "only if you don't put up a fight!", lovingly, of course. Haha just kidding :) I honestly had to dunk her three times, which wasn't really embarrassing because the font water level was sooooo low. It was barely above my knees. That's my excuse, anyway. So, for the record, let me explain why I screwed up the first two times. I omitted "of" in the ending part: "and 'of' the Holy Ghost". Her knee came up the second time. She's extra clean, though :)

Hey so we also did something really, really dumb last Monday. You might be disappointed in me, but that's okay because the atonement covers everything - even my lack of wisdom. So my compañero, Elder Alvey,and another missionary, Elder Skablund, partook of a challenge. The 100 chicken nugget challenge! Woohoo! We bought 300 chicken nuggets from BK and decided we would all try to eat as many as we could. Man, that was just too tough. None of us could do it and I was soooo sick. I got to 57 and could NOT eat anything more for several hours. Elder Alvey got to 82, and Skablund got to 62. I lost, but hey, I'm the only one who didn't puke, so that means I kept more down than any of them ;)

Hey, I have a task for you if you're willing. There's a mormon message video, "Enduring Love", that has a piano piece I'd really like to play. Be forewarned though - the video will make you cry (guaranteed). I was just hoping you could somehow find out the song to that video. You can find the video in your gospel library app under videos and under Mormon Messages.
I love you all so much! Glad to hear about your Halloween!

 Elder Montgomery's first baptism with Elder Alvey and Elder Robbins
- Elder Montgomery and Elder Alvey made this cake for the baptism.  It's a double layer cake too.  :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 27, 2014

Hola familia!

This week has been pretty neat. I'll be looking forward to the package
you're sending.

Diabetes wise - all I need are glucose tablets. Weather wise- all I
need are sweaters, but I may just buy some myself with my personal
debit card than ask you for some.

This last Sunday we went to a bonfire or "Testimony Meeting" with
heaps of missionaries and some investigators. I bore my testimony in
front of the bonfire (no big deal, piece of cake) and so did some
investigators. Really an awesome and spiritual experience!  I attached
the photos to this email.

So next time I write you, which is next Monday, A.C will be
baptized! And I'll have finally preformed my first baptism! Woohoo!

We had the trunk or treat this Friday. Didn't get any photos, unfortunately.

Glad to hear you're all doing fine! Gotta get going so this is short!

Take care!

Elder Montgomery

October 20, 2014

Hello familia!
This week has been really sweet. The days are getting colder! It barely peeks the 50's now and usually resides within the 40's most of the day. As a Zonie (which is slang for an Arizonan here) I have to say this "cold" stuff is all new to me.

Saturday we proselyted all day at our local Wal-mart from nine to five (a typical eight hour shift). We stood at the entrances of Wal-mart and passed out hundreds and hundreds of pass-along cards. It was pouring when we first started (we had BoMs on tables to pass out and some of us had to hold umbrellas over them to keep them from getting soaked) but we all prayed it would clear up and it did an hour later! I looked at the weather forecast and it was supposed to keep raining until the mid-afternoon but it stopped raining at 11. That was a huge blessing. We received some sweet PNI's that we can now follow-up on. The Lord's work just got busy!

A.C. is still on date for November 1st - and I'll be the one performing the baptism. I'm excited. She's kept every single committment we've given her. The commandments we've invited her to keep she's already been keeping. The Word of Wisdom? She's abstained from coffee and alcohol since before she met us. Scripture study and praying? She's been doing it better than I was before my mission. I don't believe I'll run into an investigator like her again.

Thank you so much for the packages! We made the carrot cake on my birthday and had a blast :)

Brother Stuart treated us for lunch on my birthday at this restaurant called "Just Like Italy" which is one of the best non-chain restaurants here. Their pizza is awesome. You can tell Daniel and Brittni it's in Waukegan, off on Delany (it's in Delany Square) which is just between Sunset and Grand ave. Whether or not they go there, I just want to reccommend it anyway.

I have so many ties now I look forward to wearing them all :) tell Nana thank you for her birthday card and ties. I sent her a letter in the mail which she should be receiving soon.
Take care family and I love you all!

Elder Montgomery


October 13, 2014 - Happy Birthday!

Yeah, so I actually mentioned it was my birthday coming up to Brother Stuart, a member in Gurnee 1st Ward, and now he's told everybody (in secret) it's my birthday... which has doomed me to many gifts and birthday salutations! Aw geez, it's a nightmare.

Haha not really :) but I'm super pumped for my birthday! This Sunday I was called, for the last five minutes of church, to help with the primary. It wasn't really unheard of, because Bro. Stuart usually needs help with his "ducklings" he teaches in primary, but with only five minutes left before church concluded was a bit bizarre.  So Elder Alvey and I go into the primary and bam, I'm called into the front of the room, and all the kids sang happy birthday to me. It was a neat experience haha.

Another neat experience happened on Saturday: a blood drive! We had a blood drive in our church and all the missionaries that were eligible donated blood. Elder Alvey couldn't because he had Appendicitis just a few weeks ago and needed surgery. I was concerned my Diabetes would restrict me, but they said as long as it was under control, it was fine. Which it was (don't worry mom, I'm taking care of myself).

I actually donated twice the standard amount, which the procedure to do that is something I've never heard of before. So they take out your blood, and you're sitting there for close to 30 minutes with this needle in your arm, and they run your blood through a machine. The machine spins rapidly and I guess it separates your red blood cells from your white blood cells and divides them into separate bags. Then the white blood cells (a yellowish liquid) goes back inside of me along with some H2O. This way they can take out more blood from me without making me sick and without becoming dehydrated. Hurray for science! I can't donate again until February, which stinks. I feel fine right now - take some more, why don't you?? Just kidding :)

Have you seen Meet the Mormons, yet? All of us missionaries were allowed to see it on Wednesday the 8th - TWO DAYS before it was actually released in theaters. It's awesome to be a missionary - you earn bragging rights. :) Please go out and see it in theaters; it's awesome! You learn the touching stories of several families, and at the end of it you're laughing or crying or feeling all giddy inside from all the different emotions. It's a roller coaster but it's awesome.

Well not much to report on the missionary service. A.C. is on date for November 1st still. We talked about the Word of Wisdom with her and she was already living it, so it was a breeze. She's a solid investigator, the best Elder Alvey has ever had on his mission (and I guess for me too, but I haven't been out for long). She already finished reading the Book of Mormon!

It's going to rain today - very very cold rain. Not freezing rain, but cold nonetheless. Hurrah for trials! This coming winter is going to be a blast.

Take care and thank you for sending packages for my birthday! I appreciate it and can't wait to receive them. I love you all!

-Elder Montgomery
The Primary singing Happy Birthday to a surprised Elder Montgomery! :-)

October 6, 2014

Hello familia!

This has been the first week I've been with my companion, Elder Alvey.
He's from Hanksville, Utah (close to the four corners so it's not near
Salt Lake). He was a wrestler in high school and man, I've been
comparing him to a truck. A truck with 454 HP. He's an awesome
missionary though. He has a strong testimony and is surprisingly
catching on to the members' names and everything.

Love, Elder Montgomery

September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

Hello familia!

This week was pretty fun. Exhausting week, too. Now, don't tell any of my girlfriends this (just kidding, I have no girlfriends), but I actually worked out every day this week! Woohoo! Didn't go to the gym a single time, but man, everyday we had service! We basically went chopping up a stump, removing the stump, digging out a bush, chopping up wood, and helping someone move into their apartment (on the third floor - with only stairs - and they had a massive couch). Don't worry, though, I went to the gym today so I continue to stay in shape :)

A lot has happened this week, too. We got to meet with some new investigators, we got to teach A.C. (the new referral that's been to church twice now). I invited her to baptisms for November 8th, but due to some complications with the date for her, we pushed it to November 1st. She's awesome. I have no doubt she'll make it. Then again, I had high hopes for J.H. to be baptized, except the next time we met he told us baptisms wasn't for him. So we'll see!

I also have some bad news. It's Fall here, and it's beginning to turn red and orange everywhere, and ya'll won't be here to enjoy it.

I'll try to send a picture or two when all the trees turn completely orange and red :) it's not there yet, but it's coming. Being from Arizona, I can honestly say this is the first time I've actually been somewhere long enough to see the effects of Fall. Arizona just has the hot season and the hotter season.

Transfers are coming this Tuesday. Elder Robbins is heading over to Westchester, which is part of South Chicago on the more western side. Elder Alvey will be my new companion. I already know Elder Alvey because we met during the temple trip, not to mention Elder Kircher, who was Elder Robbins' first companion in this area in the Buffalo Grove Stake, is Elder Alvey's current companion, so when we went to the temple, it was Elder Kircher and Alvey and Elder Robbins and I. Elder Alvey is a great elder, so I'm stoked.

To answer your questions: yes, I got the package

I loved it. Very very generous! It was 81 degrees today so the winter stuff is going to be in storage for a while.

Blood sugars are a-okay. Not perfect, but decent. I have my high days and my low days, but it's manageable.

If I could ask one question: is my piano sheet music still around? I forgot all the renditions I learned back home and would love if, in the next package, you could send it? I understand if it's lost or destroyed, I wouldn't bother. If it's not, I'd like to get back to playing them!

-Elder Montgomery

September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Hello family!

Thanks for writing, dad :) everything has been real nice up here. It's official fall now. What is fall? I don't even know. I've lived in Arizona my whole life and only know about the "hot season" and the "hotter season." All the trees are slowly turning red and orange, though!

Elder Robbins and I went to Waukegan Harbor this week at sunrise. Took heaps of pics! It was gorgeous haha

Turns out we have nobody on date for baptism anymore. M.S. is now on the streets because T.L. (his fiancée) is in jail.

Won't provide details but just know that it's hectic and yeah...

J.H. told us he loves our company but will not convert because he does not believe we need to work our way into heaven. We tried to explain to him the Plan of Salvation and everything... but I don't believe it's clicked at all. I'm praying that he has a spiritual witness that this church is true because I know he has the capacity to believe - he just needs to put forth the effort.

My first three months is almost finished (transfers this coming Saturday) and I have not had any baptisms nor is anyone on date. I don't really feel discouraged though; the fact that they do not want to accept the gospel is part of their agency and, me as a missionary, I respect that. I bear witness it is true, though, and I continually pray they, as in all my investigators, will see the brighter side to our church. All I can do is continue to have patience.

I'll be giving an hour and a half lesson on faith tonight for FHE...
and it's going to be all impromptu (except for my planning, of course). I'm sure I'll butcher it but everybody is so loving I guess I'll be okay :)

Please take care family, and please mom, take it easy! Get the men in the house to do EVERYTHING; as a representative of Jesus Christ, I declare it as law!

Love you a lot and continue to love on another!

-Elder Montgomery

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 15, 2014

Hello family!

 Last email I told you about our investigator and how he dropped us (by moving to Bloomington Indiana), but it turns out I was wrong. He changed his mind about moving so we're actually still teaching him lessons. His baptismal date isn't official since he's still living with someone else.
The family we’ve been working with actually made it to church twice now - one more time and they're officially reactivated! Woohoo! Their family has been going through a hard time (some contention in the family as well as the mother suffering from several health problems) but they are turning around.

We have another investigator.  He has a baptismal date yet he's also a nuclear engineer which I guess means he's working every day, so he has little time for appointments. We may have to push back his date because he's not even being taught.

This week was cooooold. It got down to the 40's on one day but usually was ranging from the 50's to 60's (and the rain didn't make it any warmer either). Thankfully, my rain jacket suffices well in this weather. If there's winter gear for you to send: send it I guess. I've been told the Fall gets to the 40's to 30's, so honestly, a winter coat may not be mandatory but other things such as a beanie, scarf, or gloves would come in handy. Send the winter coat anyway, please.

We went fishing today. Crazy, right? It's not really allowed except if there's 8-10 people on the boat, it's a commercial fishing boat (not private), and the owner of the boat has a valid license. We met all the prerequisites!!! It was fun - except for the four hours out we only caught one fish - 24 inches long, though.

I haven't been using my camera... so don't expect any camera cards. All the photos I take are on the iPad.

Glad to hear you had a great time at Disneyland! Tell Madyson she needs to lay off the sun for a bit because she's cooked well-done.

Love you all and take care!

-Elder Montgomery

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

Hello familia!

So today was my grandfather's, Elder Bruderer, last day in the mission. He leaves tomorrow :/

You may send that package of thermal gear :) I've heard from members that, like clockwork, the month of September gets colder and colder every day. So far their heeded prophecy has been true! In the fall it goes from 40-60 degrees, and then goes downhill from there... Bring it on!

But hey, good news! We have another person on date! A man who has a son that's LDS (his ex-wife was LDS), so we've been talking with him and invited him to baptism, which he agreed to! Woohoo! He just came in to church Sunday, came up to us, and asked "hey, how do I pay tithing?" Elder Robbins and I were in awe because most investigators always have a problem with tithing, but here's this man coming up to us. He's a one in a million and super awesome - he's on date for Sept. 27.

Not much else to mention except New Missionary Training is this Tuesday and a member of the Seventy, Elder Hamula, is speaking with us on Friday. I'll tell you about it next P-Day!

Love you lots,

Elder Montgomery

Friday, September 5, 2014

September 1, 2014 (Labor Day)

September 1, 2014

Hello family!

To answer your questions:

- Yes, we have a carbon monoxide detector in the apartment.

- BG numeros have been muy bien.

- hook me up with some peanut butter fudge from Disney if you could, please! I promise to monitor my numbers :) I couldn't really ask for much more.

So this week has been pretty good. The sister missionaries in our ward had a baptism this week. A man who's been receiving lessons for over a year (from 17 separate missionaries), finally made his covenants with God and was baptized, which is awesome!


As for us, the two that I mentioned a few weeks ago with a baptismal date actually moved out of their apartment and changed their phone number.... but we got someone else on date and we're set for Oct. 11th. We actually invited him to baptism in a McDonald's, which just goes to show that no matter where you may be, the Spirit can still dwell there, because I can guarantee it was strong in that little McDonald's booth.

I don't feel like a greenie anymore. I feel I've grasped the ropes on most things that my trainer, Elder Robbins, has taught me. I have no idea if this is the same for any new member of the Melchizedek priesthood, but to me: giving a blessing was scary!  I wanted to be led by the Spirit and say what was most appropriate and helpful to whomever needed the blessing. Well I've pronounced the blessing, I think, six now? I gave three blessings this week! Beyond that, everything else, like learning the area, has been going well.

I pray about you every night and wish you the best! Oh, and I finished reading the Book of Mormon this Saturday. I started on August 3rd, so it took me 27 days to read it all! Woohoo! That's a personal record :) plus I marked everything pertaining to the gospel with different colored pencils. Blue for faith, red for repentance, purple for baptism, yellow for the Holy Ghost, and green for enduring to the end. It was a ton of fun and now I plan on reading Jesus the Christ :)

Love you lots,

Elder Montgomery

August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Dear family!

This week I realized one harsh truth: language barriers really stink. Being strictly English speaking in an area that has a large minority of Spanish speakers really limits our ability to tract house to house. Some neighborhoods are 100% Hispanic, so Elder Robbins and I, unfortunately, have to tract somewhere else. During personal study I may just spend a few minutes learning some introductions such as "we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints" in Spanish. I'll let you know how it goes.

I forgot to mention something we as missionaries in the Gurnee church building (Gurnee 1st ward, the Spanish branch, and 2nd ward) did back in the beginning of August to gather some new investigators! We had free donuts, free lemonade, and a FREE CAR WASH!! We invited whoever came to take a tour of the church and then leave with free copies of Book of Mormons, pass-along cards - the whole ten yards. It lasted from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I was medium-well baked at the end of it, but it was a blast!


We had lots of new PNI's. In fact, our zone leaders found it so successful we planned on doing it two weeks later, which was this Saturday.

This time, it was successful, buuuuut, just not as much. Turns out the Warren High school was ALSO hosting a car wash (Warren High school is across the street from our church). Their mascot is the "blue devils" so really it was the devil's army against God's army competing on who had the most car washes. We weren't keeping score, but they were pretty bitter since their swim team hosts a car wash annually and here we were stealing their cars across the street. I felt a bit bad, but it all worked out.

I think God was impressed with this most recent car wash, too... because he decided to chip in.


If you can't tell, it's pouring buckets out there. :)

Love you lots,

Elder Montgomery

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014
Dear Mom and home!

Transfers just ended and my companion, Elder Robbins, and I are sticking together! Woohoo! We also went to the temple with some RC's  this week, which was awesome because it was their first time and they were doing baptisms for the dead for their family. And hey, guess what? We have two investigators on date for baptisms on September 20th! Woohoo!
Glad to hear about Disneyland :) some chocolate peanut butter fudge sounds sooo good right now. If you didn't buy any, that's cool, it's always a gift to know you're happy and you had a good time :) please take it easy on your back, Mom! Don't hurt yourself!
There's nothing really new to report except for those two new investigators on date for the 20th of September. A family who we met two weeks ago, met with us this on Wednesday and told us they wanted to be baptized. They met with missionaries a few years ago, but their house was burned down.
I'm also giving a talk this next Sunday about recognizing the Spirit in Gurnee 1st Ward... so that's something else to work on! Woohoo!
Love you so much family, and please be safe!
Elder Montgomery
PS I think it'll be easier if we just stick to one email chain. Not sure how you worked with my brothers in their emails, but to me - one email chain is much better!
PPS my BG's are doing just fine
PPPS I've been riding my bike a few times! I fell twice, but it's okay because I expected to anyway! Not hurt too bad!
PPPPS I'll include some pictures of me at the Chicago temple next week if I remember!

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 11, 2014

I got my insulin and it was nice and cold, so thanks for that! Not sure what to do about the ice packs; I have three now and it's probably going to keep piling up. I'll send some back in the first package I send home I guess.
So I may have mentioned before, but there's this less active family  who we're trying to get back to church. They actually came this Sunday! Woohoo! But wait, something crazier is in the works right now. So we met with this new PNI, and we talked with him this Tuesday. We gave a brief message on the Restoration but left mid-lesson since he received a call from work. As we left, we saw this young girl walking on the sidewalk in our direction. When we approached her, Elder Robbins recognized her! She's the girlfriend to one of a membes’ kids! When we talked to her we realized that our investigator - is her brother. Crazy, right? Everything here is connected somehow.

I'd just like to leave with a spiritual thought. Whatever temptations we face, or whatever trials, challenges, or whatever unfairness obstructs us is for one single purpose - to give us the opportunity to respond with the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
I believe that's stated by someone named Lawrence E. Corbridge. Anyway, want to leave you with that and wish you the best! 


-Elder Montgomery

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

Hello family!
 This week has been tons of fun. Glad to hear everything is going well, and sorry to hear about your back! Please be 100% better by the time I return, okay? Every time you talk about Carson or Monroe, it's just... man, I miss them. Carson is just such a stinking adorable little dude and it's going to be so weird to see him walking and speaking when I return!

 So Friday we had a car wash, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. We all got roasted!! We as missionaries from Gurnee 1st, 2nd, and the Spanish Branch participated in the event and washed a bunch of cars for free at the church building. When someone who wasn't a member stopped by, we'd invite them for a tour of the church and give them free donuts/BoM's. It was an awesome way to receive some new PNI's (Potential New Investigators) and we all had a lot of fun while doing it. If I were a steak I'd be just about medium-well now, but hey that's good, because I still have some blood in me ;) I have a nice farmer's tan! Woohoo!
 No new updates on our investigators. We're still working on them, piece by piece. We received a lot of PNI's this past week so we're hoping to get back to them so we'd have a busy schedule this coming week.

So the rules on Facebook: no one can tag me or post on my wall, and I cannot post anything outside of my "character" as a missionary. My account is primarily to friend and fellowship investigators/recent converts, and to occasionally post spiritual messages. If you find a thoughtful picture or a quote by some General Authority, please share it with me via email! You can still like my posts, though :)
 My insulin should be good for another month - I have half a dozen vials or so and I empty one every 9-12 days. BG numbers are doing great - more or less. Of course it's not perfect, but it's manageable. I actually fasted this Sunday without any Diabetic complications interfering. I just set my basal rates to 50% and that did the trick. I also bore my testimony in sacrament, which was pretty sweet.

 I testified of something that really impacted me earlier this week. I heard from another Elder this saying: "God does not love us if we're perfect . He's perfect, so He loves us." Man, that sunk in pretty deep, but it's so true. He is perfect and whether we are sinful or striving to be righteous, He will still love us. That's part of perfection. If we're striving to be Christ-like, we must too learn to love everyone unconditionally. Everyone!
 Love you all, and I wish you the best,

 Elder Montgomery

Friday, August 1, 2014

June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014
Hey Mom,

As I believe I've stated before, I'm in the Buffalo Grove Stake (or did I forget to mention that?) so when Daniel says he wants bump into me in Chicago, the bad news is that I'm way up north in the Waukegan/Gurnee area. Six Flags, though, is in Gurnee and I pass by it every day. I'll try to keep an eye out for him.

Brother ***** is a great member here; he's joined us in several member-missionary lessons with other investigators/less-actives. I'm not sure if he talked to you about his mission, but he served in the San Diego, California mission a long time ago (he's 59 years-old now) and said he served in Yuma for several months. He's like the only person here who knows what it's like to live in Arizona!

Not much news up here, though. ***** wants to be baptized because it's "new" and "exciting" but not because he has that devotion to Jesus Christ and God. We really need to just plant that in his head that this is more than a "be baptized and you're saved" type of deal - it's a commitment for life.

We were with ***** and his son, *****, yesterday and went tracting to less-active member homes. It was at our first house (that Elder Robbins felt we should go first) that we actually ran into a carpenter that was working on a house two houses from where we were "supposed" to go. We just casually introduced ourselves to him because hey, open your mouth, right? We didn't expect to talk to him for more than a minute, and amazingly, he was receptive to our message. He was really just a broken down man thirsting for some spiritual guidance. When I hear about the "elect", or those that are ready to receive our message, he is a golden example. We talked to him for about an hour before the Spanish Missionaries we contacted showed up. I'm optimistic that he'll be okay.

 Anyway, that's my spiritual thought for today. Always remember - open your mouth. Whether it's someone on the street you weren't expecting to meet or somebody you've known for years, always open your mouth and share a message or a thoughtful gesture centered on the gospel.

Love you all,

Elder Montgomery


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Hello Mom and family!

Man, there's a lot I want to say in this email! This week was very eventful. We just helped a recent convert settle into a new apartment. She's not in our ward (I think?), so it was the first time I met her.

The elders and sisters here are great. Every P-Day two Spanish speaking elders stop by and play some board games with us because we have a washer and dryer in our apartment. They wash their clothes while just spending like a few hours with us. Pretty chill! Not the best extracurricular activity to get the heart racing, but hey, it works.

It's definitely not cold here. Reached 91 degrees today but isn't too humid so we're managing. One member said it's only gonna get worse so I got something to look forward to!

To answer your question: yes, got both packages. We actually had a zone meeting where we sang "I See Our Zion" - an arrangement President Woodbury himself composed. It was there that we received our packages and I opened mine (because I couldn't wait) in front of like ten other elders... they all know I'm a greenie now!!! Haha it was pretty funny.

Oh, and something happened to me which is pretty awesome. We have a member in this ward that creates orthotics. He also TEACHES podiatrists how to do their job, so he has some skill in what he does. Previously I probably should've noted that my orthotics were just killing my feet.  So, he sees me put on my shoes and asks: "You have orthotics?". I say yes, he looks at them, then frowns. He doesn't like them at all. He then offers to fix them, and I accept. What I didn't know is that he had a workshop in his garage for creating soles. Bam, he spends twenty minutes and he's done. I'll attach some pictures of it, because now it's been five days since he fixed my orthotics and it's been pretty good!

That's all for now, love you all!

Elder Montgomery

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Dear Family,

Hello from Waukegan, Illinois!

I’ll just paste these questions and answer them: 

Where are you living?

In an apartment

How do you do and your companion do meals?

Whatever we feel like. Mornings usually are cereal/PB&J/eggs or whatever. Lunch/Dinner is kind of a toss up.

Do members feed the missionaries there?

Yep. I'd say in a 30-day period about 15-20 days are scheduled with members.

What are some of the meals you've had so far?

People here in Illinois know how to feed the missionaries. Already enjoyed Chicken Pot Pie, some ribs, and so on. I feel spoiled.

Are you in a car, bike or walking?

In a car. Makes life too easy.

How is the teaching coming along for you?

I will say though that I'm talking more in the lessons. Between Elder Robbins and myself talking - it's usally 90-10, but now it's 80-20!! Woohoo!! Maybe I'll work my way up to 75-25 this week!

How was church today?

Church on Sunday was great and the people are great. Gurnee 1st ward, the ward I belong to here, is strong but small. But hey, at least everyone gets a soft bench.

What's your area like? Is it pretty?

It's very green and gorgeous here.

How's the weather?

Humid and warm. Gotta love it!

My spiritual thought for you:  We are all on the Lord's time, and how we spend it really expresses how much we are disciples unto Christ. When we are turning inward and thinking only of our needs, we are wasting our time here on Earth. As we turn outward, not only will they be blessed but so will we.

I love you all, I hope you're doing well back home!

Elder Montgomery

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Arriving in Chicago, July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

Hey Mom,

I am writing to you with my new iPad mini, which is really neat, but man, I type way slower than if I were typing on a keyboard. Plus I just deleted the letter I was writing to you because I double tapped the whole thing and typed on accident... replacing my exquisite, well-thought-out, and poetic paragraphs with the letter "N".

It wasn't much, though :) so my training companion is Elder Robbins, and he's been serving for a year and a half here in Chicago. You'll see him in the pictures I attached. He seems great and has lots of energy.

Currently we're serving within the Buffalo Grove stake which is north of Chicago. I'm not there yet; I'm writing in the mission office at the moment only having had my iPad for a few hours.

So we arrived in Chicago yesterday afternoon, and were met by President Woodbury and two elders - Elder Jacobs and Elder Johnson. What I didn't know was that there were also some new Spanish speaking missionaries along with me and Elder Bateman. You'll see them in that one picture. We took a tour around Chicago, saw "The Bean" which is that reflective bean-looking sculpture downtown. I love the place, but it's pretty warm! I also love the Woodbury's; they're kind and well in-tune with the spirit. President Woodbury said he prayed more about who will be our training companions than he has ever before. He even admitted they had over twenty new missionaries at a time but did not pray as fervently or for so long for the four of us. It's humbling.

Rode the train in Chicago as well, and were challenged to talk to others and hand out BoMs and pass-along cards. I did just fine, even gave away a BoM to a lovely elderly woman and gave a few pass-alongs to several people while talking to them. I'm very relaxed about talking to others, more than I thought.

Elder Robbins and I have some appointments tonight, so I must be going. We're going to teach a family from the Philippines with a member - xxxxx.

Love you, -Elder Montgomery

Flight to Chicago, July 7, 2014

Still more pictures

More Pictures

Pictures from MTC

July 5, 2014

July 5, 2014
Hey Mom,

 4th of July was great and a lot of fun. We couldn't really tell it was Independence Day until that night because we carried on the day as if it were normal. That night, however, we had a special devotional. Some really talented people performed musical renditions and those who played piano completely threw me off. Didn't know so many missionaries had such great talent that surpasses my own. Afterwards, we heard from this speaker (whose name escapes me, but I know he's the executive secretary in the west campus here in the MTC) who talked about the miracle of God's plan and how everything in history built up to the point to allow Joseph Smith to receive the gold plates and restore the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pretty fascinating to think about it. We live in a land of religious freedom, and the right person to be in the right place had to be there, who was Joseph Smith, only fifty some years after the nation was established in 1776.

After the talk, we saw the movie "17 Miracles", which I never saw before but was really well put together. I recommend it, but be warned you'll probably end up with uncontrollable emotions and a tissue box by your side. It's sad but also uplifting. Then we saw the fireworks outside, which I believe I sent a picture in this email with all the missionaries outside watching it. Also got icecream. Woohoo!

So yeah, this is going to be my last letter to you in the MTC. I hope everything is okay. I pray about the family every night, so I hope you'll be improving. I wish I could add a subtitle to explain to you about these pictures, but just assume the pictures of a big group of missionaries is my branch, and me with a smaller group of missionaries is my district.

Best of luck, family!!

Elder Montgomery

July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014

Hey Mom,
Just wanted to tell you that everything here in the MTC is going great. It's already been past a week now, which is pretty weird, since I realized I only have twelve days studying here in the MTC. Sometimes when I think about it, I think that's just wayyyyyyy too short and how could I ever be a decent missionary with such little preparation? Other times, however, I think how long it is and how much I just want to actually stop teaching actors and go on teaching real life people. I guess I'm just hard to please.

I'll try to answer all the questions you had for me, but unfortunately, I left your letter in my residence and don't have the motivation to go back and get it. So yeah, according to my ability to remember, I'll answer them:

Elder Bateman and I are the only two elders heading out to Illinois, Chicago in the entire MTC. I kind of feel like Jarom a bit, so I understand how he feels as he and Elder Bradley were the only ones heading to New Delhi, India. Our whole branch (Branch 1) is completely segregated; in my district, District A, we have two elders (Elder Taylor and Elder Whittier) serving in Louisiana, Baten Rouge, and the two sisters (Sister Hoofman and Sister Udall) serving in Philadelphia. In District B, two elders (Elder Murphy and Elder Decoursey) are serving in Provo, Utah! How fun, right? They step outside the MTC and they're in their boundaries. No worries on airplane tickets! We now have four districts in our zone, because sixteen more missionaries came this previous Wednesday. Couldn't really tell you anything about them.

We'll be heading out Monday morning at 4:30 AM, so midday July 7th we should be in Chicago! And of course, since we're the only two serving in Chicago, we'll be the only two on the plane.

Elder Bateman is from Washington State, and is a very independent yet intelligent individual. He knows a good deal about history, the bible, and the Book of Mormon, which really makes it easy for me during investigator meetings. He is a bit reserved, though, so I find it my responsibility to carry on the conversation. Sometimes, of course. I'm not perfect, and Elder Bateman is always full of surprises. Those investigator meetings, though, are just loads of fun. The TRC (Teaching Resource Center) is just a program for actors to pretend like investigators, and in some cases, ARE actually investigators. We were assigned xxxxx, who's this lovely elderly woman who's Jewish yet has some questions about the church. During this past week, we've taught her about the Restoration, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. She didn't even know God and Jesus were two separate people of flesh and bone, but now she believes! Woohoo! Today we plan on inviting her to be baptized as we talk about the Plan of Salvation. It'll be loads of fun, I'm excited.

Love you so much,

Elder Montgomery

June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014

Dear Mom,
Just so you know, I did get two Dear Elder  letters from you, as I know you asked if I was getting them. We couldn't receive mail until our District Leader (myself) would hand them out at 9:15 PM, and to be fair I wasn't going to open mine until everyone was handed theirs at the end of the day. Glad to hear you made it back, I'm sure Las Vegas was tons of fun. Saturday is my P-Day so I actually have time to write to you.
Being here in the MTC is great. Actually having a schedule and working is refreshing. The first few days I was a bit overwhelmed, since I didn't really have any time to even use the bathroom or go for water, but now I'm kind of getting a grip of things and actually have time for those necessities. The three hour personal/companion study sessions... well, it'll take some patience in getting used to. Not really homesick, nor am I really too exhausted. I keep waking up in the middle of the night at 4:30 and can't return to sleeping when 6:30 hits, which really frustrated me. It wasn't until this morning that I remembered I woke up at 5:30 every morning in Glendale, so it's just my internal clock. I'm just really hoping in Chicago I won't be waking up at 2:30 every morning because well... that'd just be annoying.
Elder Bateman and I are getting a long well. I feel like we were placed as companions for a purpose. I've noticed he's very reserved but also humble and intelligent, while I'm a little more open but can't think scriptures to refer to at a moments notice. We both need some growth and experience, but being his companion helps me grow faster. Not sure if I wrote this in my last letter, but our district is four elders and two sisters. Next Wednesday we're expecting sixteen more elders/sisters to join our zone (our zone has two districts, I'm part of district A), so we'll be expecting eight more in my district.
But anyway, my classes are amazing. My teachers, Brother Crandall, Brother Fegan, and Brother Johnson are return missionaries, all married, and all deep with the spirit. Brother Crandall especially just understands how the spirit works, and whenever we're receiving a lesson, the spirit is there, and the spirit is strong. One thing Braden and Jarom probably didn't do too often is roleplay with investigators. I mean, sure, they did, but did they do it ten-twelve times in two weeks? Because that's what the schedule says and I've already roleplayed a lesson about three times. They say the MTC is much different now than it was two years ago, and I guess that makes sense.
The food here is actually top-notch. They got three different menu meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Had the best onion rings I ever had here, so keep a note of that!
Anyway, I guess I'll sign off here. I don't really have any questions for you except on how you are doing. I love you Mom, and I love you family. You'll be in my prayers,
Elder Montgomery
June 26, 2014

Hey Mom,

So, the second day of MTC has ended, and it's been great. I've been pretty exhausted, and it felt like the longest day of the year, but settling down and almost retiring to bed is a satisfying feeling, and not because I'll be in casual clothes, but because I accomplished a lot.

I've been assigned District Leader in my district, which entails being responsible to two other elders and two other sisters (excluding Elder Bateman and myself). My assignment includes retrieving their mail and conducting Sunday meetings (and other stuff that I'm unfamiliar with; I was just assigned this about twenty minutes ago). Elder Bateman and I are getting a long well. He's a great companion with an impressive knowledge of the scriptures. Every time we teach, role play or study he cites scriptures or refers to some doctrine that, unfortunately, I'm not too knowledgeable on. But that's okay, because I know I'll get there. I know I'll be knowledgeable enough to teach investigators and so on, because I have faith in the Lord that I will reach that point. I'm learning quick, and what I didn't know about my mission is how much we actually STUDY!! An hour of personal study then an hour of companion study is a lot to take in, and I'm just trying to find what doctrinal information or scripture I can divulge in to spend my time wisely.

Anyway, I've been taking pictures and will be sure to send some.

Much love, Elder Montgomery

First Letter! June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014

Hey Mom,

So turns out, we "can't" write letters home on the first day, at least not online letters. Don't expect more paper letters unless I can't reach a computer. First day at the MTC was pretty good. Got to meet my companion, Elder Bateman. He's a great elder from Washington State. He's saying he's most nervous about the summers in Chicago, which is interesting since I'm most terrified at the winter! I wouldn't say I learned a lot, since most of my day just included introductions and being lost in the cobweb layout of the MTC. But I am more comfortable here.

In Mark 5:36 it says in a small excerpt " not afraid, only believe..." I love that. We must trust in the Lord with all intents and forget about the doubts and fear through the Holy Spirit we can be guided by our faith.

I love you Mom, and you'll be in my prayers,
Elder Montgomery

And He's Off! June 25, 2014