Keaton at Provo Temple

Keaton at Provo Temple

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