Monday, November 23, 2009

One last adventure...

A few weeks ago Brent had the chance to go explore some caves with Elder Watterson and a couple priests, Kevin Schmidt and Dan Ellis, from the Duncan Ward. He said the caves were "tight," and that it was nice to get out and go on a rare outdoor adventure while in Canada. Here are few pics from the caves...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Final weeks in Duncan

Brent received news this week that he would be leaving Duncan a little earlier than his release date of November 19th. He said his Mission President has asked him to come spend the last week of his mission with him, to work along side him and do some planning for the future of the Vancouver Mission; or something along those lines. He was a little vague in his email, but it was clear that while he was excited to work along side President Nelson, he is really going to miss the Duncan area, and especially the people.
Here are his last emails from Duncan...

"So it is now November exciting huh? :) Let's see, the confirmation went so good yesterday. The ward really loved it! It's always good to hear the ward get up and bear testimony of a couple missionaries who are sitting in the congregation. Haha! Even though a testimony is of the Savior or the Gospel, but its still good! I can't tell you how much I will miss the Duncan Ward. I do love the people here! It has been good to see people grow in the Gospel. The Bekke family is so solid! Calvin is doing so good! He is now the secretary for the sunday school, and Natasha should soon have a calling! We picked up another baptism date this week. He is a 40 year old guy named Stewart, cool man for sure! But that will be December 13th, so I will be gone, but it's good to see! Other than that things are good time is winding down and I will keep workin hard!"

"I am not sure I could explain my thoughts right now! I am not even sure what my thoughts are! I am so excited to see you all soon! It seems unreal! But yes this is my last full week in Canada! This last week was so good! And it ended with a good zone conference. It's my last one and I was able to bear my testimony with another couple missionaries going home! But the best part was that Elder Ringwood of the Seventy was presiding! It was good! I will use some of what he had to say in my homecoming talk, so I wont spoil it! But things in Duncan are good! Sunday was hard, I cant lie. It is a weird feeling, and I love the people here! I know I will miss being part of such a great cause, but I am excited for what comes next! I can't explain how excited I am to see you all! I always say it, but I am one lucky kid though! I have amazing family, and one amazing girl back home! How can I not be excited to see you all! But that is coming, I guess for my last email i just want you all to know how much I love the gospel! I know it's "good news" that everyone needs to hear! This last full week here in Duncan should be good! Sorry this is so short! I will be seeing you soon, then we can talk all we want. :) I love you all, and Hey the Church is true!"

Willy's October

Brent hasn't sent any pics home lately, so I thought I would add a few of the emails he's sent over the last few weeks. This should give you an idea of what he's been up to, as he comes down to the end of his Mission in Vancouver. Here ya go...

"Well I guess it's Monday already. It's been a good week! The work has been good, and we will be having a baptism on October 23rd with a girl named Natasha. She is a friend of a member we started teaching a while ago, and its cool things are happening! The bishop is a very good guy, and we are trying to help him as much as we can. Every time we work for him, I just get excited about coming home and helping Dad out, bishops are busy busy guys! Oh and Bishop Bowler feels Dad needs to get a chevy truck. When we were cutting wood with him, he kept telling me I need a chevy truck to be truly happy. :)"

"...The mission is going very good. I loved conference, maybe one of the best conferences I have ever watched! It was so good to hear the talks, and the people we are teaching loved it too! After conference Erwin, a guy we are teaching, asked me to come outside the church with him, and he just started asking what it all intitles to be baptised. So I let him know, and now he has committed to be baptised before I leave! I am so pumped, and he is a guy who goes down to Arizona with his wife a lot so he already asked if he can stop by and see my family and all the people back home. He would love to meet Candice, and he always ask about this girl waiting for me back home! So oh yeah baby! But yes then our other investigator Maggie, the 50 year old, pretty much is the same thing, it's crazy! She leaned over as President Monson was speaking and said she really likes that man. Then we told her, "Maggie, that is the prophet." She just smiled, and she has committed to baptism as well. Her date isn't set yet though, but Duncan is a good place to be..."

"...Let's see I guess I better update you on the mission. Things are good, we will be having Natasha's baptism this Friday, and Bishop will be doing the baptism so we are pretty excited. It has worked out pretty good, and we found if you get Bishop involved he gets more excited, and then takes more of an interest in these people. Not to mention, activity in the church is a whole lot higher, and that is why the Canada, Vancouver mission is moving up! We aren't the highest baptising, but as far as retention goes we are about 80% so that is dang good! President Nelson calls every Friday and we talk about the island zone, then we talk about how we compare to other missions! I realize I work better if it's competative. I know we are all fighting for the same team, but I love comparing where zones are at! Sorry, I know this probably means nothing to you guys, haha its just random facts to see where we are!"

"What is up everyone? Well another week past, and things are good! Natasha's baptism was very good! We didn't get to confirm her because of stake conference, but that will take place this next Sunday! Nothing too crazy this week! We did have stake conference for the Nanaimo Stake this week! Elder James C. Perry of the Seventy came and it was very good! It definitely was a meeting that strengthend my testimony, then Sunday morning he met with just a couple of us missionaries. He talked a lot about post mission stuff, and I guess it made me think a lot! But it was good!
Something I have been learning a lot lately, and it goes along with Boyd K. Packer's qoute,"The study of doctrine will change behavior, quicker than the sutdy of behavior will change behavior." So really, too much we foucs on application we always talk about you have to do this or have to do that, when really we should be discussing the doctrine and the principle behind the doctrine. Then after people understand the doctine the application will come! Just something to think about. :)"

Monday, November 2, 2009

17 Days and counting...

Now that November is here, the countdown can "officially" begin, although I'm sure for some (i.e. Mom & Candice) the countdown was on since the day Brent left. Brent emailed us this morning and gave us the official details, so here you go...

November 19, 2009

Flight Departs from Vancouver: 7:00 AM
Arrives in Salt Lake City: 10:10 AM
His ETA into Hooper: ?????? (Noonish) :)

He will speak Sunday, November 22, 2009, at 11:00 AM
Location: (Hooper Stake Center)
Homestead Ward
5375 S. 5900 W.
Hooper, UT

Ready or Not...He's coming home!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Exchanges in Victoria, BC

Brent had a chance to go on exchanges with one of his former companions, Elder Brown, who he served with in Prince Rupert. They spent a couple days in downtown Victoria, and snapped a few cool photos. Not sure if they were out tracting or touring, but judging by the photos the only thing they could get close to were a flock of geese! :) Once again no exciting stories to go along with the pics, but enjoy some awesome photos of downtown Victoria...
And here is another one from the collection of Willy's "awesome" sunsets from somewhere in BC...

Willy & Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Back in August, Brent and a few other missionaries were blessed with the opportunity to spend a few hours with Elder Oaks. I'm sure Brent kept his fingers cross this time, hoping it would work out, given that a few months ago he was left "patiently" waiting on another visiting General Authority, who, due to bad weather, was not able to attend. This time it all worked out, and he was able to have an awesome experience listening to the counsel of an Apostle. This is how he described this experience...

"Let's has been a different week, pretty crazy, but just tougher on the Duncan area. We didn't get to do too much work in our area this week, but we still taught some good lessons. We had Zone Leader Council in Richomond on Monday and Tuesday, and then we held a Zone Meeting with the whole island on friday. It went very good, but ok, enough of the nonsense let's get to the big business! Guess who got to rub shoulders with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Qourum of the Twelve...well just Elder Wilson. Haha :) No, it was a very cool experience! He came to Canada to hold a huge meeting with all of the Bishops, then on Sunday he did a Stake Conference in Victoria, and we didn't get to see that; it's a different stake. But there was a meeting from 12 to 1 for the Elders in Victoria only, and Elder Watterson and I got invited! So it was 10 missionaries and Elder Oaks, how sweet is that! It was a little intimidating cause every time he asked questions, it's like he already knew the answer, but he would look at me and Watterson and be like this seems like a very good question for some Zone Leaders. But he is hilarious! He gave some honest advice, and let us ask some questions! It was a cool experience, one for the books for sure!"

Mission Life with Willy & Watterson

Here are a few pics Brent sent home, along with a short email to go along with them...

"So just wanted to send a few pictures, one of Watterson and me on the ferry to the mainland! The other one pretty much explains missioanry work, the motto being "ZERO FUN SIR!" :) The last one is of the biggest studs I know out here, Elder Watterson, Elder Brown, and Elder Lemon. Actually that picture was taken on Candice's birthday. To celebrate her birthday we got some dinner! Hope that was ok for us to celebrate your birthday candice? Ok, love you all, and hope everything is going wonderful!"

Poor guys! Looks hard, doesn't it!??? :) I guess almost 2 years on a mission isn't long enough to teach someone how to make his bed...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Starfish, Mosquito, Waffles, and More...

What do you do with a handful of pictures that really don't have much of a story behind them, but are just part of the "Missionary Experience"???? Well this is the best I could come up with, so here are a few pics from Willy's life in Canada, and some short stories to mixed in with them...

Here are couple pics of Brent and Elder Jardin visiting the shores of Nanaimo, British Columbia (the second largest city on Vancouver Island) The first is of Willy and Jardin sharing a "precious" moment while catching starfish along the rocky shoreline, and the second is the pose we've all come to know and love from pictures Brent has sent home...simply known as the "Willy Pose"...
Here is a pic of a "Canada Mosquito." Kind of makes a "Hooper Mosquito" seem like child's play, but don't be fooled by the use of the small hand...
If you know Brent, you know he's never one to shy away from a challenge, especially a challenge that involves food. (Just ask him about eating three Habanero Peppers) So when he had his chance to add his name to the "10 Waffle Chair" while serving in Prince George, I'm sure it wasn't even a question in his mind whether not he could do it, but just how many he could actually eat beyond 10. As you can see from the photo, he conquered this challenge, and added his name to the long list of TWO Elders that have slammed down the infamous "10 Waffles."
Not sure of the story behind this guy, but with a name like "Rappin Rick James," there has got to be something. This is someone Brent will have to tell us about when he gets home, but for now just enjoy the pic of Willy, Rapping Rick, and Elder Richter.

To finish off this post of random photos and stories, here are a couple random photos and one of Brent's emails home that sums up just how random a week in the life of a missionary can be...

8/10/09 - "Ok, just real quick to sum up my week. Nothing too crazy just good times as a missionary! Killed two snakes with a shovel, got stung by bees four times, yeah it hurt, couple slammed doors, but good teaching appointments for sure!!! On exchanges with Elder Whittenburg, got to see America and send a package there! But yeah sorry this is so short more next week I promise love you all!"

Willy & Elder Burton with their "sweet" white van...

Willy saying good bye to Elder Brown

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Calvin's Conversion

The first day Brent and Elder Watterson began working together they had the opportunity to teach the 1st discussion to Calvin, who happened to be a referral from the Bishop of the Duncan Ward. It was clear from Brent's emails home, that this young man had been prepared by the Lord well before their first appointment. Calvin is a true testament to the power of Member Missionary Work, and the importance of including members in the teaching and fellowshipping of new converts.
These are a few of the teaching experiences Brent shared in his emails home:

"Our Bishop actually gave us a refferral, which is a first, and we taught the guy at the Bishop's home the first night Elder Watterson was here; then again on Sunday. He has read and prayed a ton already, and now is going to be baptised on Aug 1st. It is good to see the Bishop is trusting us. Dad you were right, service is the key! :)"

"This last Sunday was another good Sunday, only had 6 investigators at church, but the Bishop pulled us in after church and just wanted to meet with us and he gave us some solid compliments. He is very happy to see so much work happening, and is very impressed with Calvin, who is getting baptised on Saturday! It should be awesome! The ward will hopefully keep getting better! I will have the privilege of confirming him on Sunday, and am pretty excited! Just because dang i am getting tired, and it's kind of good to see some things come from the work we are doing! But it's all good no complaints!"

"Ok, I don't have much time, but I do have to tell you about the baptism on Saturday. Dang, it was probably the coolest experience on my mission, and it was so cool! We got about 30 non-members there and maybe 15 members, so I was little disappointed more members didn't show up, but it was way good! Calvin is 20 years old and will be heading on a mission in a year! :) His whole non-member family came, and I dont even know what to say other than just a good day! The Bishop baptised Calvin, then I was able to confirm him on Sunday!"

Here are a few pics from Calvin's big day...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"At the MTC" by Kevin Schmidt / Starring "Willy"

We received an email this week from a member in Brent's mission, expressing her gratitude for Brent's example and service he is giving to the members in Duncan. These were the kind words she had to say about Willy:

"Thought that you might enjoy a copy of a couple of pictures that we have taken recently of your son. He continues to serve with all his heart might mind and strength here in Duncan. He is a wonderful example of a misisonary to our sons .
Recently I have been fellowshipping someone and so I get to see first hand the Elders as they teach the gospel. Elder Wilson definatly carries the spirit of Christ with him. Him and Elder Watterson have been working so hard here in the Duncan ward, and they are getting all the members excited about the work.
I know how excited you must be to have him home in November, we will be sad to say goodbye to him but we are ever so grateful to have had him serve here ! "

Here are the pics she sent, along with a link to a music video her son created which had Brent as the "Star" in the video. It's a remake from Taylor Swift's song "You Belong with Me," and it's titled "At the MTC." Click on the link below, or paste in your browser to check out the video on Youtube.

Willy, Kevin Schmidt, & Elder Watterson flashing their sweet "Missionary Ties"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Island Zone Tolfino Trip - July 6th, 2009

Willy and his zone had the chance to spend a P-day in the District of Tolfino, which is known for it's awesome winter rains, and year long "wetness." The amount of moisture is best describe by saying, "When it rains here it pours, and when it doesn't pour, it surely sprinkles and if you're lucky to dodge the sprinkles, you're likely to find yourself standing in a perma-mist."

Needless to say it's a little "wet" there. Here are few pics from the Island Zone's day in Tolfino:

The Island Zone Elders Masyama, Jardine, Salmon, Foster, and Willy "Crabbin" at Tolfino. Willy said, "We took sweet pics on the Dock! It was tight!"

Willy chillin on the Beach with Elder Brown and Elder Lemon.

The "Willy Pose" in Tolfino
Island Zone, July 2009

4th of July & The Bekke Family

Once again Willy missed out on the usual 4th of July festivities, but had the great blessing of being apart of a family's day of "freedom" as they entered the waters of baptism. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day as he was able to see a mom and her two kids, as it says in 2 Nephi 2:26-27, "...become free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men..."
Even though he missed hangin with family and the traditions that come with the 4th of July, he was greatful to be apart of the this special day for the Bekke Family. This is what he had to say in his email home:
"Lets see quick update on the mission...the big thing would be the baptism on the 4th. The Bekke family, well the mom and two kids because the dad held off, but after that baptism dang give hime two weeks an he is gonna be diving in the water! It was so cool! I will be honest I miss the 4th of July back home...but I have to be very grateful for the chance I had to be apart of that family's baptism. It changed a ton on the ward so we are expecting many more great things in the next few months!"
Here are a few pics from the special day:
The Elders, Bekke Family (the Dad (in the suit), Mom, Michael, Elizabeth) and Brother McCullough
Willy, The Bekke Family and their Grandpa

Power of Service

Somtimes a little act of service can go a long way to creating teaching opportunities, that otherwise would not have been possible. Brent has had many of these experiences while serving in Canada, and this was another one of those experiences he shared with us in one of his first emails from Duncan:

"Lets see, nothing too exciting this week in the mission life other than I was able to dig a huge trench in my suit. So we went over to teach our investigator Erwin, he is about 60, and his wife is about the same. Way cool couple, but we have never been able to teach his wife, because she hasn't wanted to listen. Well we go over there and they are trying to dig a trench to their shed to put in electricity. Well it's a big job and they needed some help, and even though usually the wife wouldn't talk to us, we just said, "hey, we'll dig this for you." So he gave us two t-shirts and we dug a nice big trench in our suit pants and shoes. Yeah not the best idea, but in the end it was worth it! The wife got us some water, then sat down and listened on the porch at the end when we taught. So it was supposed to be a 20 min lesson but turned into 2 hours of digging then a 20 minute lesson. To top it off Erwin came to church and his wife came with him! How tight is that? So yeah, I may have to visit the dry cleaners, but I am thinking it was an ok idea now. :) That was probably the most excitment this past week, not too mention we did have 8 people at church and the ward even started talking to them! Haha..."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Experience to remember...or Forget!

Back in June, Brent had one of those experiences a lot of missionaries go through, but usually wait to get home to share it with their mother. Well, Brent must have decided everything worked out fine, so he shared the experience in his email. This is how he told it:

"So it's all ok and i am still alive, haha, but I did have my first experience with a guy pointing a gun at my face. Yeah it was crazy but it turned out ok. We were just walkin by this house and these two guys and a girl were out drinkin in the front yard so we just walked by. Then on the way back I just said "hey whats up," you know, then kept walking and they asked what are you guys doing. So I turn and walk back over, and as I get to the fence I say we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ and the guy pulls a gun out from behind this tree and points it at my face. Then his buddy, after a second, just said hey no put it down, and the guy talked to us for a bit while the other drunk guy and girl were being ridiculous. But yeah it was weird, i'll admit a little scary, but after I was so mad about this 35 year old, 5 foot nothing doing that to me, but its ok...that is how my week ended."

Fortunately nothing happened, and it will just be one of many crazy experiences experienced on a mission.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Willy's Official Missionary Sunset...

Brent received his release date this week, and is actually going to make it home a day before his 21st birthday when he gets home on the 19th of November. He was hoping to make it to the December transfer, but his Visa expires in between transfers, so November it is. I'm sure it will be a bitter-sweet day for him, but I'm sure he is excited to see his family and friends back home. Until then, he's got a lot of work to do! :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Willy's Home on Vancouver Island

As I mentioned in the last post, (which as you can see was over a month ago) Brent was transferred at the end of May to the city of Duncan, British Columbia, located on the southeast corner of Vancouver Island. Duncan is a recreation community in the Cowichan Valley, rich in First Nation history, situated next to Cowichan and Kokisilah Rivers, close to the ocean and surrounded by the Coastal BC Mountain Range. Although the City of Duncan has a population of less than 5,000 it serves the Cowichan Valley, which has a population of approximately 78,000.

Duncan's tourism slogan is "The City of Totems". The city has many totem poles around the downtown area, which were erected in the late 1980s, including the world's largest totem pole (in diameter), carved by First Nations artisan Simon Charlie. There are nearly eighty totem poles in Duncan, both downtown and along a half-kilometre section of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Duncan is also home to the world's largest hockey stick and puck, which is on display at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan. Built from wooden beams reinforced with steel, the stick measures 205 feet and weighs a considerable 61,000 pounds (28,118 kgs).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Goodbye" PG..."Hello" Duncan

Brent finally sent some pics home to add to the blog, and also let us know that he was being transferred this week to the city of Duncan, BC located on Vancouver Island. His time in Prince George has been full of ups and downs, but like all the areas he has served in, he is really going to miss the people. The pictures he sent this week are from a few weeks ago when they were renovating their apartment, and doing a little spring cleaning at the request of their Land-lord. There was a wall in their apartment that I'm assuming was some kind of infamous "Prince George Zone Mural" that had been there since 2006, and had all the missionaries names on there who had served in the area, or something like that. Here's how Brent described it and the other photos he sent:
"...So the wall has been up since 2006 but President agreed with the new ways of the mission it needed to go, so yeah I got to paint it, but hey it was cool while it lasted right! then I will send you a picture of Elder Watterson, Elder Yuen, Elder Barton and me down in Williams Lake on exchanges. You need to put it on the blog, because Yuen and Watterson want to be a part of the blog haha, so send a huge shout out to Watterson and Yuen!!"
-Before- (Notice where Brent's name had to be...)
Williams Lake Exchanges...Not sure what the Axes are for????
Here is what he had to say this week about moving on to Duncan, BC:

"I just wanted to let everyone know I am being transferred to Duncan. It is on Vancouver Island, so it should be good. I am actually headed to be Zone Leader again with Elder Barton, who was the other ZL in Prince George when I first got here! He goes home in six weeks so I will be with him for that six weeks, but it should be cool! I am guessing this will be my last area which is crazy but I am excited!! I am sad to be leaving Prince George, and will for sure be missing some of the families, and the people! But it's all good I just wanted to let you all know, so yeah no more mail to Prince George. I love you all a ton!"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Willy's Latest Adventures

Brent's last few weeks have been a mix of experiences, some of which he'll want to always remember and others that he'll gladly forget. He enjoyed the uplifting messages shared in General Conference, and how it not only strengthened his testimony, but those of some of his investigators. Here is some of what he had to say after Conference weekend:
"...I have to admit, if I would have known General Conference was that good, I may have tried to listen a little better the first 18 years of my life :) One cool story that happened after General Conference, our investigator Laura, she actually brought her boyfriend for the first time which turned out way good, he has never been to church but he came for conference, and she has always told them how we teach. But so anyways that is not the cool part, after conference was over, she actually only came to the last session, but so after she asked us a question and she said how come when they talk they speak with so much more power than you guys!!?? Haha! She wasn't saying it bad, but she told us that those guys blew us out of the water in terms of teaching! Now usually I would take that as don't you diss on me, and throw up my gloves, but it made me smile cause she sees the power that we are talking about, and she said there is something different about those men! So tight huh, now all we need to do is fill up the font, but we will figure out a date for that..."

After an awesome weekend of Conference it was back to the battlefield, and learning that the Adversary is constantly working to find ways to throw a few forks in the road of those investigators that seem to be progressing. So I guess the last couple weeks have been full of challenges with investigators and many hours of what seemed to be "fruitless" tracting. To let out some frustration, Brent and his comp decided to go shoot some hoops after a long discouraging week, and this is what they found when they arrived at the gym:
"So I was starting to feel peace when we arrived at the church, like "yes now i can just shoot around," then we get inside and all these chairs and tables are set up all over the floor, :( talk about kicked in the face, but we decided to make the best of it, and just used all the obstacles as defense, it felt like us vs the world, cause that is how the days had been going but dont worry we won :)"

Here are a some pics from the last couple weeks:
"This is the annual snow run with a family where you run bare foot to the woods through their yard to usher in spring. It is with the Ryan family, a cool family up here!" Elder Wilson & Elder Hall

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Willy the Carpenter

Brent's last couple P-days have mainly been spent working on remodeling/cleaning their apartment. He said the Land-lord made a visit and told them their place was looking a little ridiculous, so it was time for a little "spring cleaning." Fortunately, Brent actually had some painting experience from a job he had right before his mission, so they were able to give the place a nice new coat of paint. I guess since they were changing things around, they decided to add bunk beds to their newly remodeled home. Of course a real carpenter actually has a truck to haul the material, but who needs a truck when you have a "spacious" mission car, and two creative missionaries. Nothing like drawing attention to yourselves in a Home Depot parking lot with a car full of lumber for two bunk beds and two Elders standing outside wondering where they're going to sit for the drive home....Here they are testing out the weight capacity of their design:Here's what Brent had to say about the finished product:
"Ok, so for something cool this week we built bunk beds. Pretty cool! I will send some pics, but yeah we got it approved from the office for our apartment!! So that is cool right dad!? I think you would be proud! They are as solid as a rock, and if anything it should impress Candice :) Haha."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Few Racks of Ribs & Two "Starving" Missionaries

One thing that hasn't changed since Brent left on his mission is his appetite! He may not know how to cook anything that can't be warmed up in the microwave, but he can sweet talk his way into any dinner table. While living on the Northern Coast he enjoyed some excellent seafood, and this past week he had a chance to enjoy a little of the "turf" variety. Here is what he had to say about the tasty feast:

"Hey my awesome loved ones back home, just wanted to send some quick pics from tonight. I basically ate a pig by myself, so me and Elder Schuwer wanted to show you the two pigs we ate! Haha...The family we are at is the Krell's they are way cool, and they fed us like kings!! Well I didn't eat much else, just water and ribs but still that is healthy right!!???"