Archives for April 2010

Missionary Dan Email #3 from Vancouver, Washington

Fort Vancouver

Fort Vancouver, Washington

This has been a good week for us. I got my new companion, Elder Harris, on Wednesday and we went straight to work. He is from Springville, Utah and has been out on his mission about the same amount of time as me.

This week we had a lot of good finding experiences. We finally got to meet a family we’d been trying to for awhile. She missed our last appointment because she had a baby. We figured that was a good excuse. Anyhow she is a member and her husband is investigating. He was really open to the message with the baby changing perspectives.

We were also able to contact a member referral and teach him and his son. He wasn’t too excited about any church, but liked to talk about the doctrine. He agreed to meet with us again, so we’ll keep working with him.

Then on Sunday after church we planned to go to a certain area to contact some people that said we could come back later. As we were walking someone called us off the street and told us to come over. When we got there he said in a broken English Russian accent to come into his garden which was in his backyard. We thought it was a little strange, but followed him back there where we sat down and he talked to us about God. We taught him about the Godhead and he said a few times that he really likes the Mormons. He said to come back anytime. We felt very blessed as it’s not everyday where new investigators call after missionaries.

Then we went to try back at another house of a man that talked to us for a while before. He shared the story of when he had been driving a trailer and was delivering it to a house. He was absolutely exhausted and didn’t know how he was going to move so much stuff from the trailer to the house. Plus he had been having one of the worst days of his life, he estimated it would take 4 hours to do it all by himself. Then he asked us, “Guess who showed up?” Some missionaries came and helped him and got the job done in an hour which allowed him to get the trailer back in time and move on to other things. He said, “They were working like I was paying ’em.” It had really softened his heart and he was really open to us teaching him. We are excited and happy for the good work of all missionaries.

So in all we found 5 new investigators this week. It was truly the Lord directing us where to go and to be at the right place at the right time. Along with that we had another really good lesson on Saturday night. We “happened” to come to their house right before she went to work, after he woke up from a nap, and they had just finished discussing all of their many trials. I opened my scriptures to share a thought and it fell open to a scripture in Alma 26:27. It hit right home to her that even through all her trials, the Lord is still there for her. She went to work and worked all night and on Sunday she came to church. She came with her husband who isn’t a member and that completely shocked us as he hadn’t committed to do much by all the other missionaries. I know the Lord led us there to come right at the right time and share what they needed.

My bike is to speed up travel time and to be more effective. We ride to appointments, lunch, to member’s houses, to places where we are going to track, and at the end of the day we ride home. Yep I have a helmet and I wear it, ya it has reflectors too. Feel free to ask any more questions. Thanks for all you do Mom!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.

Photo Credit: Glen Williams
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One Hundred Trillion Dollars

100 trillion dollars

When announced, the note I hold was worth 30 US dollars but would quickly lose value

Recently I have been concerned about the increased deficit spending by the Obama Administration. The risk of inflation, even hyperinflation, seems to be in our future. With a little study I was surprised to learn scores of countries have experienced hyperinflation.

In November 2008, Zimbabwe had a monthly inflation rate of 79,600,000,000% and an annual rate of 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%. The daily inflation rate was 98% and prices doubled every 24.7 hours.

Even these horrendous numbers do not equal those of Hungary in 1946 that had an daily inflation rate of 195% with prices doubling every 15.6 hours. Other notable hyperinflators were Yugoslavia in 1994 with prices doubling every 1.4 days, Germany in 1923 doubling prices every 3.7 days, Greece every 4.5 days (1944), and China every 5.6 days (1949).

One would hope that we are not headed for the same fate as Zimbabwe. Perhaps this November, by voting out of office members of Congress that are the worst spenders, we can strengthen the dollar and make it worthy of reserve status.
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Poll: Have You Ever Used Facebook?

Last week’s poll asked if gays should be allowed to marry. The results did not surprise me with 79% answering No. Only 13% answered Yes. Two poll takers were blessed to not know what gays are. Bear in mind that a sizable percentage of my visitors are from Utah and would tend to vote No. For example, in the last 30 days, 15% of my U.S. readers were from Utah.

This week’s poll is straightforward enough — have you ever used Facebook?

Facebook is a social networking website that anyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address can use. Facebook’s target audience is more for an adult demographic than a youth demographic. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by workplace, school, or college. The website’s name stems from the colloquial name of books given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better.

Update

2 Feb 2011 — Polls have been discontinued and the poll archives deleted (by the poll plugin when it was uninstalled).
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Caption Competition #7 Winner

Melissa

Melissa

Paul didn’t know who had written the captions for Caption Competition #7, so he made an ideal judge. Thank you everybody for the especially great captions. The first prize is a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut 3.5 oz milk chocolate bar.

Melissa is this week’s caption winner.

  • First — “The Battle of Water-Roo.” Melissa
  • Second — “How are roo?” Sarah
  • Third — “Can he come to my house to play?” Sharon

Melissa, when she breaks away from blogging, dabbles in captioning.
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Missionary Dan Email #2 from Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver Washington

Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon skyline

This week went by really fast! It always seems that the first week of the transfer goes a little slow then it speed rockets through the rest. So the actual transfer calls came on Saturday. Elder Schroeder is getting transferred, which is too bad because he was way cool. We only got to serve for two weeks with each other. My new companion comes on Wednesday. Luckily the area is really small so I was able to learn it well before transfers.

It is crazy to hear what is happening in Mongolia. I think I’ll finish my mission here in Washington, but I am grateful that I was able to serve there for a year. I got the CD and have been having fun listening to conference. I forgot the paper you sent on boxing gloves, but I think the red boxing glove that was like 50 to 60 dollars will do. He wanted them to be hard etc for competitions and for training. Thanks Mom!

We had a wonderful lesson with a lady that has been investigating for some time. We taught baptism and she had already been baptized Catholic. We taught her about authority etc and it made sense to her. She committed to come to view a baptism last Saturday and to come to church, but she hurt her hip and couldn’t make it. She said as we left her house, “Well if I get baptized I’ll have to get my grandson to come with me.” That was really good to hear. We’ll keep working with her. She should be good to come next week.

Other than that we have been doing a lot of finding. We contacted lots of former investigators and found some success with that. Also some member refferals have helped us out a bit. It is always exciting to find a new investigator.

They are saying Mothers Day call should be before 9am, I could probably call later somehow, but I don’t really know much about it.

I’m thinking I’ll need my bike. If it is cost effective to send it here like less than 30 or 40 dollars then go ahead and send it, but anymore than that I may consider just buying a bike here. The cost to send it here and back could be as much as bikes are being sold here. You can send it to the Battleground address that I gave last week. I hope that doesn’t cause too much trouble, but it would be very useful to have. Also I think it came with a lock or something. Anyway do what ya can.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.

Photo Credit: Greg Dawson
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Aurora and Grandpa

My wife shot this brilliant sequence of photographs of my granddaughter Aurora. Now we have proof that we have a hooliganess in the family.

Click on the photographs to enlarge.

Aurora and Grandpa

Aurora, here play with this plastic toy

Aurora and Grandpa

No grandpa, I want to play with those

Aurora and Grandpa

Grandpa, you play with the plastic toy...

Aurora and Grandpa

...and I will play with these glasses.

Aurora and Grandpa

Grandpa, what's this piece for?

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The Cost of War

The Cost of War

The Cost of War as of 11:15 pm 16 April 2010 MDT

I came across an interesting web site today called the National Priorities Project. The site analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. One of the pages, called the Cost of War, lets you see the cost of war to your community.

For example, the state of Utah’s share of the money spent would be $5,277,419,209. For Texas, where my daughter lives, it is $80,460,219,390. You can even see what benefit your city would have received. For Salt Lake City, near where I live, the amount is $347,007,874.

The Numbers

The numbers indicate all of the approved funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to date. These appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, with estimated costs of approximately $30 billion.

Soldier firing automatic grenade launcher

Insurgents attack Combat Outpost Bar Alai, Afghanistan

By September 30, 2010, the cost of the wars will reach $1.05 trillion. The numbers include both military and non-military spending such as reconstruction. Spending includes only incremental costs, those additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers’ regular pay is not included but combat pay is included.

Future Costs

Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. These numbers do not account for the wars being deficit-financed or that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to these deficits.

It is likely that the true cost of the wars will be a much higher total. It is unfortunate that money is being spent this way when in these tough economic times it could do so much good at home.

I have been surprised how quiet the media has been about the wars. When Democrats surged back to power in 2006 with cries that the war must end, the story was everywhere. Now that we have a Democrat President and Congress surely we should have left Iraq and Afghanistan by now.

At the very least the same media that carried the end-the-war-now message in 2006 should be advocating the same now.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte
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Missionary Dan Email #1 from Vancouver, Washington

Elders Clark, Willoughby, and Kelly

Elders Clark, Willoughby, and Kelly before Daniel was transferred

This week was another adventure. As soon as I think I am comfortable with an area something seems to happen. I got a call on Tuesday midday saying I’d be transferred to Vancouver Washington. So on Wednesday morning (the next day) I was transferred. I am now with Elder Schroeder in Battlegrounds WA who is from Vernal Utah. He is great and fun to be with.

Elders Willoughby and Schroeder

Elders Willoughby and Schroeder after Daniel was transferred

My new area is really small. We walk to most places and get rides from members. I may need my bike to be sent to me sometime, but I’ll wait to see if I actually stay here. Real transfers are next week and I’m fairly certain I’ll stay here, but you never know.

The ward here is awesome and I am getting to know them as fast as I can. We have a lot more opportunities to talk to people on the street etc… something we didn’t do as much in the car. I really enjoy it. The interesting thing is I prayed on Monday, before I was called to transfer, for more opportunities to talk to people. It is shocking sometimes how quickly Heavenly Father answers prayers. So be careful what ya pray for. ;) The other elder I replaced had to go home to get surgery on his knee because he got injured. Hopefully me praying didn’t contribute to that. :)

We live with a church member which is the first time I’ve ever experienced doing that. It has been great.

Vegetable oil for fuel

Vegetable oil for fuel

My old companions told me I got a letter and that they would forward it. I haven’t gotten it yet so I’m not sure what it is. It was probably conference. The picture of all the oil containers is someone in my new ward who runs his cars off of vegetable oil. He has his filter system etc before he can use it, but says he drives for about 10 cents a gallon.

On Mythbusters they did something with it and that’s what he is doing. It was so cool I had to take a picture. Before I left my old area we got to play a bit with some liquid nitrogen. I got a cool movie of that, but I’ll make everyone wait till I get home to see it.

I got to travel to the Portland Temple today. Originally my old zone was going to the Washington temple today, but since I was transferred I missed my new zone’s temple day, by a week. I got permission to go with another zone and really enjoyed it. I took some pictures. It was interesting after being away for over a year. I hope that will be the longest period in my life away from the temple.

Portland Temple

Portland Temple

Portland Temple

Daniel outside the Portland Temple

So there is in my new district a Elder Jay Lindstrom who is from Bountiful. He says he knows Byron and Shawna Ward and even went to their house once. He plays the saxophone. So if they wanted to write a little thing to him I could pass it along. Also I am sure I described as best I could some boxing gloves like 3 months ago. I honestly don’t know which ones to get so you’ll have to make your best judgement.

So now I can say I’ve served in Alabama, Georgia, Mongolia, Oregon, and now Washington. Crazy. Well thanks for all the support.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.

Portland Temple
Portland Temple

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Caption Competition #7

Bryson and Kangaroo

Bryson and Kangaroo

This photograph of Bryson was taken in March at the Fort Worth Zoo. I know it’s a jungle out there but don’t be timid — jump right in and see if your caption can captivate us.

Adelaide with chocolate bar

Adelaide with a Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar

The first prize (Kaysville and environs only) is a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut 3.5 oz milk chocolate bar. I will pick a caption judge later. Remember, anyone can submit a caption and win first place but only locals will be awarded the prize.

I remember watching advertisements on television in England in the 1970s that used the theme “Everyone’s a Fruit and Nut-case.” Below is a 1975 United Kingdom advertisement featuring a number of Fruit and Nut-cases.

Facebook readers, if you cannot see the video click here.

Previous Caption Winners

1. Sean
2. Ken
3. Sean
4. Janay
5. Shauna
6. Connie

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