Archives for June 2010

Missionary Dan Email #12 from Vancouver, Washington

Taco building in Mongolia

The baby looks great and I’m glad the vacation went well.

So we mowed someone’s lawn this week for service. I took some before and after pictures. It was really exciting and was fun to have grass flying everywhere and all over us.

Before mowing the grassWe also got to participate in a dance festival that was held for all the youth that live here. Over 1,800 of them had prepared for six months working on dances to where they performed three times. Once on Friday and twice Saturday. We were ushers for the shows and were also able to be part of the youth conference on Saturday morning. At the end of the show while all the 1,800 youth were on the field singing “How Firm a Foundation” we walked out with white flags on both sides of them. There was about 80 missionaries that walked out in two lines of us on both sides of them and it was a very powerful effect on the crowd.

There was many non-members that danced in the festival and many that attended to watch. In youth conference we were the main event and the youth stood and cheered as we came out on the field. We recited the “Standard of Truth” in unity and powerfully. Afterward President Belnap spoke followed by Sister Cook, First councilor in the General Young Women Presidency.

After mowing the grassWe also had many opportunities to talk to the youth between performances and youth conference. That was a great and lots of fun to get to know them and for them to interact with missionaries. Overall the festival was really fun and a great influence with everyone that went. Even though it took two days from normal missionary work, we got a lot of missionary work done among our own church youth and non-members that came. They say that a movie of the whole event will be made, but it probably won’t be out till September sometime. Hopefully all missionaries will get a copy.

I talked to Sister Cook after youth conference was over because she told of her experience while she was in Mongolia. Her husband was the first mission president there. She talked about a very tall, sail looking building in Mongolia that had a poor foundation and couldn’t be used (all the missionaries there called it the “taco building” — see picture). She went right along with the theme of the dance festival of “Firm Foundation.”

Mary N. CookAs she was talking I showed missionaries near me a picture of the building which I just still happen to have on my camera (no worries, I have made picture backups). I showed Sister Cook too and she was excited to talk to me about Mongolia. She told of how she had just been there and how the members and missionaries have been stepping it up. Their goal is to have a temple there and they are still headed in that direction. And many other things did she say unto me. It was wonderful to hear about it.

It was a great week and we look forward to meeting our new president on Thursday. 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.
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A Sister For Aurora

Adelaide and Steven and babyl
A new baby girl

At 3:49 am Jill received this text message from Steven:

Six pounds eleven ounces. Nineteen inches. Born at three twenty eight. We’re all doing well.

We went to see the new baby for a few minutes. Adelaide said that they went to the hospital at 12:30 and because three other women arrived at the same time, she wasn’t in her room until 1:30 am. Two hours later a little sister for Aurora was born.

Congratulations Adelaide and Steven!

Update Her name is Cassandra.

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Missionary Dan Email #11 from Vancouver, Washington

Portland Oregon Temple

Portland Oregon Temple. Left to right: Elders Orr, Applegarth, Draper, Zollinger, Derges, and Willoughby

This was an eventful week. Not quite as much happened this week. We had our last Zone Conference with President Belnap and the spirit there was wonderful. The new President is coming and will be here by the beginning of July. It looked like you all had a good hike.

Portland Oregon Bridge

Portland, just a bridge on the drive home

We also had the opportunity to go the the temple. It was awesome and I really enjoy going there. There is always a special spirit there. I think, Dad, since Sarah and Derek moved back to Utah, we might need to plan a different temple trip… ha ha. I really am impressed with your phone and camera. I counted four churches in the zoomed up picture of the valley. Seems about right for Utah. Happy Fathers Day, I am very happy that you are my Dad and I love you.

Have a great time going to the Redwoods and good luck with the new baby if it comes. Thanks for the package Mom! All the elders in the apartment and I started the little workout it has and we were really excited.

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.
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Portland Oregon Temple

Portland Oregon Temple

Missionary Dan Email #10 from Vancouver, Washington

Sunrise in Vancouver Washington

Sunrise in Vancouver, Washington

We had a busy week knocking on doors and hearing lots of anti-Mormon claims, having an offer for help if we ever think we are in a cult, and another yelling at us to leave him alone. At the same time we had an increase of new investigators, great lessons taught, and lots of experiences where we knew we were following the Spirit. It was truly an awesome week and left us with a stronger conviction to work harder and to do what the Lord would have us do.

I don’t think I remember a week where we talked to as many people that had negative views of the Church. We usually don’t run into as many, but this week was different. Gratefully we know where the Church stands and were able to answer questions and respond to them in a Christ-like way. The main issue that they had and what it came down to is they don’t believe in a prophet that can receive revelation. So we told them to pray to know about the Book of Mormon and that will help them to know God works through prophets today.

While we had some opposition, it was out weighed by the amount of success. In district meeting we had a focus on finding new people to teach. It is a mission-wide focus this transfer, so we set a goal as a district to find 20 new investigators. All of us were excited and had the faith that the Lord would help us. It was the next day my companion and I got out of a lesson and it was pouring rain. We ventured out into the rain when we saw a young man walking towards us and talked to him. He said he had time right then to listen to us and invited us to his home, which was close by. We were grateful to find him as he was very willing to listen.

Near the same area, but a different day, we had an early lesson which made us miss some study in the morning. We tried for our next appointment, but she was leaving soon so I had the thought to go study near where all the mailboxes are located in the trailer park. It was close by so we did and after 20 or so minutes a lady came to mail her letters. We talked to her and she shared how she was about to go to an addiction recovery program that day and was terrified. She mentioned the program suggested learning and getting involved with religion. She was a recovering opium addict and had come along way by herself. As we shared how Jesus Christ suffered and knew how she felt she was comforted. We also testified of the help that is available through the Church. In tears she said she knew we were there at that time for a reason and we had truly helped her that day. We thanked the Lord for guiding us on where to be for her.

Then Saturday we put together 20 names of potential investigators or people that said we could come by later. We had fun with it and were having a great time trying to contact them. We made a wrong turn on our route which brought us to some names we planned to contact much later. We decided to do it then, getting a return appointment with one family, and met another man outside. We were able to teach him on the street and leave him with a Book of Mormon. He had just recently become very interested in religion. Another great find!

The Lord truly blessed us and the district as the week ended, we managed to find 17 total new investigators, which was a huge improvement. I have great elders in my district.

We too had great lessons teaching progressing investigators with many of them asking great questions during the lesson, opening up opportunities to teach. We challenged a couple to baptism and they were positive, just not willing to set a specific date. The ward is great and I am happy to serve in it.

They had us speak Sunday and the Bishop stood up afterwards to correct false doctrine. Just kidding… He encouraged the members that they can trust us with their friends and we have a great calling and mantle as missionaries.

Each day is crammed with experiences that I could share that it is just a testimony that the Lord knows how to do His work. I am glad to be a servant for Him. Thanks for everything you do for me family!

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: prentz
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Responding to the Official LDS Call for Photos

Las Vegas Temple MoroniAfter reading about the Official LDS Call for Photos in Mormon Times (now the faith section of Deseret News) I responded. After all, what use are great photographs of temples, families, and church history sites if no-one sees them? Sure, I can put them on my blog, and I have, but who reads my blog, apart from you?

The Church needs all kinds of photographs — there is a list on their Official LDS Call for Photos Flickr page (submit photographs now through The Vineyard.) Your submitted photographs will be used by the Church and Church members for Church-related purposes. You still retain the copyright of your images though there will be no attribution.

I already had a Flickr account but if you don’t, join Flickr for free and give it your best shots. After uploading six photographs, join the group, Official LDS Call for Photos. Now add your photographs to the Church’s site. You can upload six a day. With a free account I found that my photographs were limited to 1200 pixels wide. The full resolution has been uploaded, you just can’t see it with the free account. You don’t need to because you will be contacted via Flickrmail with instructions to submit your originals to a separate Church site. This may take a few weeks.

Christus in the Oakland Temple Visitors Center

Christus in the Oakland Temple Visitors Center

If you have a tough time with rejection the safest route is to submit temple photographs. If there are people or private property in your photographs you will have to deal with model and/or property releases. All recognizable individuals need to sign a model release. Participants under the age of 18 will need a signature from a parent or legal guardian. You do not need a release for LDS Church-owned buildings. Before you share your photographs read the Church’s Flickr site thoroughly.

To date I have submitted 18 photographs and had one rejected, the one with the Christus. It is not a very good photograph to begin with and I guess it depicts a sculpture, which we are specifically told not to submit. However, when you run your own blog you can post as many bad photos as you want. And remember, when it comes to photographs Many are called but few are chosen.

With a limit of 100 MB per month, the 24 photographs uploaded in June have used 69% of my allotment. However, a Pro account ($24.95 a year) allows unlimited uploads.

To give you some idea of what is being accepted, if you don’t want to head over to Flickr, here are my seventeen photographs. You probably have photographs that are just as good or much better. On the Church’s Flickr site they have more than just temples. If you do upload some photos, let me know so that I can check out what a real photographer’s work looks like.

FresnoLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLos AngelesOaklandRedlandsRedlandsSacramentoFresnoLas VegasLas VegasOaklandRedlands
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Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run 2010

Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

This year’s Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run participation was a little lower than usual, probably because of the weather. With rain, temperatures in the 40’s, and a 12 mph wind only the hearty ventured out. Here’s what the weather looked like from where I stood, nice and dry inside the bowery.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

There were plenty of officials on hand. There were official officials — our stake president and one of his counselors.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

Then there were race officials like Rachel and Matt, and Lisa Sagers to record the times.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

I had family participating — Jake, Jill, and Paul on roller blades. I was asked if I was running. I said, “The Press doesn’t run — only the presses do.”
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

The bishop of my ward was there ready to run.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run

A bullhorn was used to get everyone lined up for the race. The athletes listened intently for the starting signal. Then they were off and into the rain, wind and cold. To record the times a laptop is used where the time of a runner is assigned a number which is written on the runners race label when they finish. The label is peeled off and placed on cardboard for the appropriate age group.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Preston Johnson, age 15, with a time of 18:33 was the first runner to finish. Jill was right behind him with a time of 38:12.
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Kaysville South Stake 5K Family Fun Run
Below are thumbnails of a few runners. Click on them for a higher resolution picture (1200 x 900). If you want the original (4000 x 3000) email or call me. Alternatively, leave a comment and I will use your email entered in the form. I didn’t plan to take photographs of the runners, it was an afterthought once the race began.

There are two videos I will post. Check back later after the England v. USA soccer game.

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Missionary Dan Email #9 from Vancouver, Washington

Lucia Falls, Vancouver

Lucia Falls, Vancouver

There was a lot of changes this week. It took about ten minutes to drive to my new area, so it’s close to where I still was. It is a great area and my new companion is Elder Derges. He was originally born in Russia and was adopted by an American family that lives in Missouri when he was 13. He has a little bit of an accent, but that’s all you can tell about him being Russian. He works hard and we get along great. We live in an apartment with two other elders, Elder Zollinger and Elder Draper. Elder Draper was a waiting for a visa to go to Mongolia, but wasn’t able to go. We enjoy talking with each other.

My address:

12608 NE 72nd St. B 14
Vancouver, WA 98682

The ward is great and was very friendly. We have been fed very well and members come out with us almost every night. We have a young man preparing to go on a mission and he spends Mondays with us up till dinner. We took him tracking and he did great on his first door.

I figured I’d be permanently assigned to this mission. It is a good place to be. I’ve learned many things. It would be awesome to get to go back to Mongolia some time after my mission. I guess I’d better get saving.

We had fun going out when it was pouring rain on Sunday morning. We got soaked and were dripping wet. The locals say it is very unusual that it is raining this much in June.

I was surprised to become District leader, for only being in the mission for three months. We had a training meeting on Friday so I’ll get the hang of it. The elders are great in my district and I look forward to learning new things from them.

Thanks for the pictures, Dad, they looked great! The things you did in city council was awesome too. Keep up the good work. I don’t know about having a pink computer… seems like… well… the paint job was nicely done. Good job Adelaide. Thanks for the continued support and letters.

Jake and Mom, Elder Draper would like a Mongolian General Conference CD and my new companion Elder Derges would like one in Russian. That’d be great if you’d do that.

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: fetopher
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Eco-Friendly Green Paper Shredder

Eco-Friendly Green Paper Shredder

My eco-friendly green paper shredder was converted from a normal everyday paper shredder you buy at Target. I fed too much paper into it and stripped the gears. My son Paul repaired it by connecting a handle to the shredding mechanism from parts lying around in the garage.

Now I can save the planet by not having to use any electricity when I shred my private papers. I do have to remember to turn the crank counter-clockwise when I shred. It would be more intuitive to crank clockwise but that is not the way it works.

A small price to pay to go green.
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Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge 2010

My guest writer today is my wife Jill. In the last year she has lost 29 pounds.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Jill, on lap 2, is enjoying the race

Weight Watchers issued a Walk-It Challenge two months ago. Everyone was encouraged by our inspiring leader Lois to do something challenging even if that meant walking to the mail box and adding some more steps each day.

We decided to run and found the on-line training guide that started with walk 5 minutes, run for 2 minutes and then walk again. Four days a week the time running was gradually increased until we could actually run up to 20 minutes twice with a 1 minute walk in between. We all added MP3 music to make the running more enjoyable. I borrowed my niece’s player — sorry about washing your MP3 player, Shauna.

Weight Watchers Walk-It ChallengeEach week there were reasons why we couldn’t go but there was always one of the four of us that wanted to meet the goal and encouraged the others. Mostly Shauna who is not a Weight Watchers member. We found it easiest to run when it was cool even if it rained. Some of the places we found to run were the Legacy Parkway Trail, the Lagoon Trail, Davis High School track, West Bountiful and Kaysville trails and Utah Botanical Center. We liked the paths with no hills the best.

The objective was for each Weight Watchers member to earn a charm by participating in a 5K. We were excited and ordered the T-Shirt and put the URL of our web site on the back.

Our Walk-It was held in Centerville at noon and consisted of going around the outskirts of the park 3 ½ times until the 3.1 miles was achieved. There was a good turnout even though it was hot. We were very excited to have Kent and Rick along as photographers and to write the captions. And check out the videos at the end of this post.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

The participants met at the Ward's home before travelling to the race.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

The athletes looked relaxed just prior to the start. No anxiety here.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Weight Watchers leader Lois instructs the runners for the start.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

An unconventional confetti start sees Susan take an early lead just ten yards out.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Shauna has already moved ahead but Susan still leads the main pack.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

"We have been running 4 times a week and the consistency pays off in weight loss and health benefits."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Shauna increases her lead.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Susan: "I was hoping to run the entire time but it was hot."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Susan: "I got a side ache the 2nd lap so I slowed down but it didn’t go away. I ended walking to get rid of it."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

"Four laps around the park finishing the fourth lap down the middle through the trees."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

"Today was more of a struggle than I had hoped for as I drank too much water before the run."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Melissa keeps up the pressure. She is going to give Jill the run of her life.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Shauna along the finishing stretch.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Shauna 33:29

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Susan is next to enter the last tenth of a mile.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Susan 39:58

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Melissa and Jill are urged on to the finish by Shauna.

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Melissa 41:18 - Jill 41:21

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Melissa: "Our times were a little slower than Monday’s 5K, but the temperature was a lot hotter so we’re all happy with what we got."

Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

Good work, wife.

Videos

If you cannot see the videos click here.