Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Receiveth All Things With Thankfulness"

Elder Eldredge with Brother and Sister Call, the couple they now live with.


To Everyone,


Fist off. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GABE!!!!! And you’re going to get baptized!!!! That’s so great!!!! I’m so proud of you!!! You will never forget this day!!!


This week feels like a blur...


We have been focused all week on getting Lia McMurtrey (Correct spelling) ready for her baptismal date of the 26th. We had a lesson with her at the stake center where she will be baptized. We showed her around the font, where the cloths are, and what all will happen. We then had a lesson on the 10 commandments and keeping the Sabbath day holy. It was great feeling the spirit there in the building. 


This week we had zone training. Zone training is when the zone leaders have a training with President Brinkerhoff and what he wants the mission to change and if there are any new updates for the mission. As a mission we have set a goal for 100 baptisms for the month of October. This is going to take a lot of fasting and praying. There are 121 companionships in the mission so there isn't a lot of room so slip up and not get a baptism this next month. Elder Olson and I are praying hard and hoping to have someone we can extend the baptismal challenge to. We have the baptism coming up this week but that will count for September and we don't have any more dates set with any of our investigators. We only have 4 other investigators and they have been investigating the church for a long time. I'm really hoping to help them come to baptism and help them grow closer to their Heavenly Father. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we can do it. But only with the Lord’s help. Please pray for us.  


Elder Olson and I have been working hard all day and coming home exhausted. It feels good, but it’s so hard getting out of bed!  We have been doing some pretty hard workouts in the morning and then turning around and working all day!!! It’s been fun and I’m in the best shape of my life, but I still have some work to do. 


10 Months. I miss you with all my heart. I’m going through hell, but I’m fighting for heaven. I love you Madie.  Happy 1 1/2 years.


Some cool scriptures to look up

D&C 78:19 - Give Thanks - And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.


Alma 29:10 - Missionary Scripture – And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me. 


I love y’all and I’m so grateful to have your prayers supporting me!


Elder Eldredge


PS It’s getting cold!!!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Learning to Trust

Brother Call sent this picture this week and said
the Elders were cleaning their room on their preparation day. 


Sick week.


Elder Olson and I have been sick all week. I got a cold Monday night and he picked it up Thursday morning. I feel really bad that I got him sick. But he is such a trooper and I’m very grateful to be his companion. 


Besides being sick not much has happened this week. We talked with Leah, our soon to be baptism, and they needed to push the date back to the 26th. It’s the only day her mother has off work. So we will have the baptism then and the conformation on the 29th! I’m super excited to help this young woman come closer to God. Leah is 11, half Korean, and very very shy. Painfully shy. But Elder Olson and I have just become her friends and she has opened up to us. Her parents are members but have been less active for a long time. Brother McMurtrey, Leah's father, is really wanting to come back to church. Sister McMurtrey is full Korean and very pregnant. I think that is a large part of him wanting to come back to church as well as Leah making the decision to be baptized. I’m excited for this family to come back to Christ and feel of the happiness found in the gospel. 


I had two really cool spiritual experiences. Elder Olson and I were teaching a member lesson to a great family in the Sand Creek 2nd Ward, the Lemons. They have 4 kids age range 11 to 2. After the lesson, I asked Brother Lemon if he would be willing to assist Elder Olson in giving me a blessing so I could get over this cold. He agreed and anointed. Elder Olson gave me a blessing. He told me that I would be able to be healed so I could do the work needed in this area. He also told me that my Heavenly Father loves me and is waiting to give me indescribable blessings. All He requires of me is to go forward with faith and take them. He told me to trust in His hand and look for His love daily in my life.  This has been a struggle for me. I am having a hard time trusting my Heavenly Father. I am willing to do what He asks of me, but trusting is another thing. I am working on building my Faith in Christ and my Heavenly Father. I have also been, since the blessing, looking for ways that my Heavenly Father blesses me daily. I am starting a gratitude journal, much like the one Madie had. I’m filling it with things I am grateful for and emphasizing on how the Lord has blessed me. Thank you Elder Olson for being in tune with the spirit and knowing what it was I needed to hear. 


Second experience. We had exchanges this week with our district leader. Elder Vincent is my district leader and he came and stayed at our place while I went and stayed at his. I got to hang out with Elder Rowley. A way cool guy! He is waiting for his visa for Argentina. He is from Payson, Utah and probably the only guy who can rival my good looks ;).  He and I really kicked it off. We were both kinda reserved and didn’t know what to think of each other. But we are best friends and I wish I was a Spanish missionary just so we could be companions. Anyway, he had a crazy day the day he picked me up for exchanges; weird satanic stuff. He said he could still feel the spirits hanging around him and when we first started talking he was really on edge and very angry. He asked for a blessing. Not knowing what I was going to say I started by telling him that his Heavenly Father loves him and is aware of him. I then commanded that the spirits leave and not disturbed him again. It was a powerful experience and there was not a shadow of a doubt that he would sleep well and be able to continue the work. I’m so grateful for the power of the Priesthood. 


Love and miss y’all!!! 

Elder Eldredge   


Monday, September 9, 2013

"My Joy Is Full, Yea, My Heart Is Brim With Joy"

NOTE: Sawyer sent us a great video of the two of them riding bikes down a dirt road after meting with Leah McMurtrey (mentioned in the letter).  I couldn't figure out how to get it in the blog, but you can see it on my facebook account.  IT'S THE BEST! ~Wendy 



These past 2 weeks have been crazy! It has been emotionally exhausting!




My new companion is Elder Olson. He is 26, was a web designer back at home, number 7 of 11 children and a very spiritually knowledgeable guy! His father past away 3 days before transfers. He is really struggling but staying very close to the spirit. He is an amazing example to me of a true believer and someone with great faith! As I said before, he is very knowledgeable and great with his scriptures. I’m so lucky to be working with such an obedient, well rounded missionary. He has a slight stutter. When he was 3 he had a fever that took away his speech and he had to relearn how to talk and he has had the stutter ever since. But it’s amazing watching the spirit work threw him. When he is testifying and the spirit is speaking to those we are teaching, his stutter goes away! It’s amazing to watch! 


I am in the Lincoln II area.  I live with the most amazing couple. Brother and Sister Call. They are both musicians.  Brother Call plays the oboe and sings and Sister Call plays the piano and sings! It’s so great hearing them sing together! They are so loving and giving and wonderful! I am so blessed to live in their home! We have the best hookup! They have a ping-pong table AND a Foosball table AND a dart board!  It’s sssssoooo awesome!!!!! I love Brother and Sister Call! Another family I will never forget!


We have an ok teaching pool. A lot of them are "eternigators" or investigators for eternity. But Elder Olson and I set a baptismal date with a girl named Leah McMurtry. She is 11 and finally wants to be baptized.  I’m not bragging or anything but this area hasn't had a baptism in 4 months and the first week I’m here we set a date! But I’m not bragging!


Alma 26:11-12: “But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.  Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.”    




There have been 2 baptisms that I have failed to tell y’all about. First was Alysha Cook. She is a single mother. Her kids are Shalynn 9 and Marshel 5. They are the sweetest kids and the light of Alysha's life. She has always been very family centered and has loved seeing how the church is family oriented. But was not sure whether she should join threw baptism with the church. Her answer finally came. After 6 months of me working with her and many other missionaries before me, her answer came!


Psalm 141: 8-10 “But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.  Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.”


This was her answer. To her it meant that the Lord has heard her prayers and that she should be baptized.  She was just waiting for that moment when the Lord turned her to that scripture during her studies. She told us this on Thursday, and we had her baptized that Sunday! Normally we would have had it on that Saturday but there was a funeral! But all is well and she is a faithful member back in my old area.


The second baptism was Karli Schmit. She is the younger sister of Slone Schmit. Slone was my first baptism and has now received the Aaronic priesthood and the ability to baptize! So Karli asked him to baptize her! It’s so great seeing their family pull together to help one another and come closer to Christ. I had been transferred before her baptism but was allowed to go down and see it! What an amazing experience.  I am so grateful to have so many amazing people in my life. It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to work hard and labor in the Lord’s vineyard. Their next step is for them to go to the temple! I hope I’m still here by the time they get their temple recommends and enter to do baptisms for the dead! That would be an amazing experience!!!!    


God Be With You Till We Meet Again:


As many of you have heard, Elder Ward, one of our missionaries here in the Idaho, Pocatello mission died this week. It has been a hard time for all of us and all of our prayers go to his family and all who know and loved him. The night of the accident we all got a voice mail telling us that there had been a car crash and asked if we could all pray for the missionaries in the car. Within the first few hours of the crash the whole mission was praying for them. But it was not our God’s will to save his life. He has been called to a higher calling in teaching those in darkness who have crossed threw the veil. I hope Madeline gives him a big hug and helps him begin his work.


Zone Conference:


We had Zone Conference this past week. It’s a time for the mission leadership to teach all of the missionaries and uplift and guide them during this hard time. A scripture that was shared that I loved is D&C 101:55-56:


“And the Lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;


“And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.”


I love the wording that is chosen during this parable. Zone conference was focused on family and getting families sealed together and going to the temple. Our focus is now finding and teaching whole families and bringing them to Christ. I’m very excited to begin the work and find that family who Elder Olson and I will teach.    


Roses are red

The book is blue

Moroni’s on the ball

And I love y’all!!!


Elder Eldredge


Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Loving Letter From A Sister

Dear Eldredge Family,

I am slow to send our last dinner photo with Elder Eldredge. The end of summer and the beginning of school snuck up on us and before I knew it, one was over and the other was starting again.

We were privileged for one last time to feed Elder Eldredge and Elder Curtis before the transfer. Elder Eldredge requested breakfast for dinner and we went all out. We served French toast with our famous coconut syrup, (recipe included) sausage links, hashbrowns, fresh strawberries and blueberries, apple juice and milk. Elder Eldredge borrowed my apron so he would stay clean. I think it was very apropo. If you can't tell from the photo it says, "Sweet is the work."
I remember several months ago when a fresh new elder sat at our dinner table for the first time. He was soft spoken, well-mannered, and eager to serve the Lord. I am here to testify to you that the young man who sat quietly at my table has grown into a man on fire! He is no longer hesitant but burning with a desire to share and testify. I am honored that I was able to experience a few of these opportunities with him, and especially grateful that he has inspired me to be a better member missionary. I prayed for more missionary experiences to cross my path and due in part to Elder Eldredge those prayers have been answered. What joy it was to witness the baptism of Tahja. Your son was glowing as he performed this sacred ordinance on this sweet young lady.
By now I am sure you have heard of the tragedy that has befallen our mission. The accident occurred 1/2 mile from my sister-in-law's home and our community is grieving with all of the missionaries and the families involved.  One of my first thoughts were of my sweet Elder Eldredge and how this would affect him. We are keeping him especially in our prayers and I went to the temple this morning and added his name to the prayer roll list. I feel his faith through prior trials and his burning testimony will bring him peace and comfort, but wanted to let you know there are many who are praying for him as well.
He is dearly missed in our area, but the people in the Lincoln Stake will also be blessed by his excitement and enthusiasm.  I will cherish our time spent together and will fondly remember an evening when we spent time in Tahja's home listening to him play his ukelele and sing some favorite songs. It puts a smile on my face and warms my heart.
May your family continue to reap the blessings that come from having a faithful missionary serving the Lord.
Best regards,

~Joy Sorensen

P.S. Here's the famous coconut syrup recipe. We have a seminary teacher here who cooks breakfast for his students once a year and shares this delicious treat. It is our family favorite and we love to share it as well.

1 cube of butter (No substitues!)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of real buttermilk
 Mix contents together and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Let boil for 2 minutes then remove from stove and add:
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1/2 tsp of coconut extract
CAUTION: When baking soda and cocnut flavor is added and stirred in, the syrup expands to almost double the size! It's very foamy at first and needs to be stirred before serving.  ENJOY!
  If you do have any leftover, which you most definitely won't, you can refrigerate and reheat before serving again. It looks a bit unusual but is worth the bravery required to try it.  Elder Eldredge didnt' leave a single drop behind :)



A News Report on The Tragic Accident

ROCKFORD, Idaho — An LDS missionary from California remained hospitalized on life support Wednesday with injuries he suffered in a car crash Tuesday.
He was not expected to survive, a church spokeswoman said.
Taylor Shane Ward, 19, of Vacaville, Calif., was a passenger in the car driven by his companion, John Floyd, 20, of Deep Run, N.C.

Ward was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where police initially reported incorrectly Wednesday that he had died. Officers later corrected the information and confirmed that he was in critical condition.

As the two missionaries travelled along state Route 39 just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Floyd failed to yield at a stop sign where the highway intersects with 100 South in Bingham County, Idaho police said.

Floyd's car collided with the passenger side of a pickup driven by Joshua Morris, 23, of Blackfoot, Idaho, that was heading south.

Floyd was taken to Bingham Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released Wednesday morning. Morris was treated at the scene.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Wednesday expressing "great sorrow" concerning Ward's condition and noting the death of 10 young missionaries this year.
Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the LDS Church's Missionary Department, said church members feel a missionary's death in a "deep and personal way."

"For the church and particularly for the families of these missionaries who have lost their lives, we know that the loss of even one missionary is far too many," Elder Evans said. "To these remarkable families, we extend our love, our faith, our hope and our prayers. And we pray that peace and comfort will be yours during these times of sorrow."

Evans also expressed his gratitude that accidents or deaths among missionaries are rare, and missionary work is inherently safe. He shared data from the World Health Organization revealing the mortality rate for missionaries is lower than it is for others in the same age group.

WHO reports approximately 205 deaths per 100,000 population of young people. The mortality rate of missionaries is less than one-twentieth that amount.

"Nevertheless, no statistics can lessen the pain of a missionary's passing," the statement reads.
The deaths do not represent a trend, Elder Evans said, emphasizing that the church provides health and safety training to all missionaries, as well as repeated safety instructions for vehicle and bicycle use.

There are more than 77,000 missionaries, including 70,000 young missionaries, currently serving around the world. The number of missionaries serving represents a 38 percent increase since this time last year.

Family members were on their way to the hospital from California, said hospital spokeswoman Brenda Stanley. She confirmed that the missionary was on life support and in "very critical condition."

Ward had been serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission since July.
"Every member of the church feels the loss of a missionary. We are deeply saddened, and share with his family, friends and fellow missionaries in their grief. We extend to them our love, our prayers and our deepest sympathy," said church spokeswoman Ruth Todd.

Update: Elder Taylor Shane Ward passed away Wednesday September 5, 2013