Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

Dear Family,

First of all, thanks mom for the hug. Brother Brown was able to give it to me this past Sunday. I am glad that the surgery went well, and hope and pray that you continue to improve. Also, the bandaging is very impressive. Thank you also for the care package, especially for the letters. My companion said before we opened it that he hoped the tie wasn't red. I told him if the ties were from my dad, he could bet on them being red. And sure enough. We look forward to matching ties, at all future ward/christmas events. Thank you very much.

Well besides being with the Browns this past Sunday, and having the opportunity to be with them this Thanksgiving, the big news is that we just got back from the San Diego Temple. It was absolutely amazing, and even though i know all temples are equal in the sight of God, it put the dallas temple to shame. It was definitely one of the highlights of my mission so far. The best part about it was that it was enjoyed in 70 degree weather, in the middle of November.

The disappointing news this week was that we were supposed to have a baptism this past sunday for a women named Denise. Unfortunately we got a text about an hour before church saying that she wasn't ready and would have to think about it some more. We went over after church and it seems like it was just nerves, so it should be good this week. Your prayers would be much appreciated. We did however get a couple more people to teach this week, so overall it was a good one. We went by a couple of former investigators and they said they would be willing to resume taking the lessons. One of them is an eighty year old lady whose twin sister just died a couple weeks ago. We were able to teach her about the plan of salvation and bear testimony to her that her sister is patiently waiting for her in the spirit world and that she was most likely taking the lessons from some missionaries as well. I am so thankful for the gospel in our lives and for the perspective that it gives us. Other than that nothing too exciting, although we did get to walk right next to the Indian reservation out here, definitely another highlight. The work continues to progress and perhaps most exciting is that a spirit of missionary work here in the ward has seemed to take root. I give Joe and Sue Brown all of the credit. Here all of three days and they already have the ward on fire, not too surprising though.

Besides Mom's surgery going well, hearing about Brother Ramirez baptism was about the best news I could receive. I do know Jonatan, he is a great kid, and I would be happy to share my testimony with him. That is so exciting, and is an amazing feeling. Tell Brother Ramirez congratulations from me.

Well, keep up all of the great work, and hope that you have a Happy Thanksgiving and that the cowboys continue their streak. I am extremely grateful this week, for the goodness of God. That he would see fit to send his only begotten Son to perform the atonement to complete the plan of salvation on our behalf. Closely behind it, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been raised in the best home ever. To have been taught the gospel in both word and deed at home all of my life and for the wonderful example everyone is to me. Thanks for everything and all that you do.

Love Bevan

Nov. 15, 2011

Dear Family

I am having a great p-day. We got to play a preach my gospel game today in companion study with the zone leaders. So with that the day has already been made. We are in a full time car here in redhawk, which is great for getting to appointments, but not for staying in shape. Oh well just more of the sacrifices that a missionary makes. In case anyone feels like i am getting too spoiled, this last weekend i went on exchanges, and lost the privilege of having a car. Instead i was on bikes and spent a good four hours riding around in the rain. I was also without raincoat and umbrella, left both of those in my apartment. I got soaked, and i think some of my clothes are still wet, but i now feel like a real missionary. It is also district activity this week, which means some basketball at the stake center, and then next week we get to go to the san diego temple. Looking forward to that.

It is great to see pictures of James, looks like everyone is doing okay and is healthy, which is always good. And it is also good to hear that avery maybe joining me out here next week. You have no idea how many times we get offered to take little kids out tracting with us so that parents can have a break. It gets pretty humorous.

So did you hear about the two missionaries in texas that passed away last week? Was it in the Dallas mission? Don't worry mom we are being very safe, and i fully expect to come home whole and healthy.

So this week was a really good one. We also had zone conference, it was not nearly the ordeal leahs was (all it entailed was a 40 minute car ride down to vista). But it was really good. We learned a lot about how to study and teach, and how to create real usable study journals. I found out that president cook's study journal consists of four filing cabinets, I found someone who might actually give brother harris a run for his money.

In terms of investigators we have had a pretty good week. We are working with one lady denise, who was supposed to get baptized yesterday. But we encountered some setback and have had to move the baptism back at least a week. It was pretty cool though because on sunday we were really hoping that she would get to church but unfortunately she didn't show up. So we stopped by after church to see how she was doing. We found out that she had been up since three that morning debating on whether she should continue with this or whether she should just scrap the whole conversion thing and find something else. Finally she prayed and asked heavenly father for a sign to tell her what to do. Right after said prayer, we knocked on her door. She then told us that she knew this was what needed to happen, and how happy she had become since meeting with us. A pretty cool thing for a missionary to get to experience. After that all the rest of the stories pale in comparison.

Thanks for everything, and hope everyone has a great week. Good luck mom with your surgery hope all goes well. I love this gospel, and still love serving the Lord, somehow it never seems to get old. I love you all, and hope everything continues to go so well. Love Elder Blake

Mom i would like more pens, and more of those moleskin journals, that fit conveniently in pockets. Other than that, just more socks, nutella, ties, and conference talks. Thanks for everything.

Nov. 8, 2011

Dear Family,
I can not believe that I get sent to Southern California, and the rest of the family is the one that gets to be in earthquakes. That seems a little nonsensical to me. I am glad that everyone was safe and the saftey clothes worked to perfection. All the missionaries here seem to think that some big earthquake is going to happen here. I assure them though that as long as i am here, and mom's prayers get answered nothing will happen.
I also cannot believe that i will be getting yet another nephew this week, good luck Hannah. And good luck Mom with the babysitting. I suggest that you get very familiar with tangled and how to put it on. Halloween seemed like it was quite the event, glad everyone was able to stay safe amid the apparent whirlwind of excitment.
This past week in temecula was great. We indeed have another baptism, this past saturday. It was Kenyona. It was definitly the highlight of the week. The young women even made an appearance to sing at it, which definitly help invite the spirit. We also have another baptism coming up this upcoming monday. It is for a lady named denise. Again i just came here to crash the party. But it has been amazing to see the change she has gone through in just the three weeks that I have been here. It is always good to know that the Lord is really who is behind everything and the spirit is the real catalyst for change. All our job is to be a vehicle for the spirit and then invite them to act to gain even more spiritual experiences.
Other than that, I can't really think of anything other exciting events. Oh on exchanges this week, we were able to help a guy move. It was a neighbor of a member. The said member neighbor of the movee, was the uncle of some girl i knew from efy and byu. That was a little wierd. Just another connection that i have made, i take it as verification that i really am Grandma's grandson.
Everything here is going well, this week i think was the break through. I am the senior companion, and so that was the major adjustment, but things here are going really well. I have definitly had to grow and stretch a lot, but that is what life is all about. I am thankful for all of these wonderful opportunities on a mission to not only lift others but to lift myself. I have also gained a greater appreciation for all of the prepraration that happened before my mission and for all of those involved in that. I know this gospel is true, and that no matter what sacrifice it entails it is worth it. And lest Leah scoff and roll her eyes at me talking about sacrifice, please know that i have had severly chapped lips for the past couple of days, and have had to wait till today to purchase some much needed chap-stick. Truely the sacrifices of a Carlsbad Missionary are great. But on a more serious note, I am grateful for this gospel, for all those in it, and most especially for the the Savior and his atonement, which is my foundation and source of strength.
Love Bevan
I also leave you with a word of caution. Lest you feel sorry for the missionaries in carrollton and feel it necesarry to give them some halloween candy. I assure you every other member uses the missionaries as there own personal salvation army donation truck for candy and they do not need it. I believe before the holidays are out, all four of us here will be diabetics.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bevan and his comp

Bevan went to see Amy and Jared Brown and saw Sue Brown. Here are some pics she sent.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Dear Family,

How is everyone doing? I hope that everyone is doing well, despite the tough week for the rangers. I had known about it, our dinner the other night, upon hearing that I was from Dallas, proceeded to tell me all the events of the last two games, with all of the gory details. We did not get to carve pumpkins for Halloween, but we did go in early last night at 6:30. So there was some spice to life.

The baptism was amazing. And it was really fun. It has been cool to see the change of him between Tuesday and now. We stopped by on Sunday, to see if we could teach their kids, and they were all watching the living scriptures animated story of Nephi as if they were life long members. It was one of those rewarding experiences as a missionary.

We should be having another baptism this Saturday as well. It is for a girl named Keynuana. She is the niece of another recent convert, who moved in with her not to long ago. They are a hilarious family, with possibly the most enthusiasm for the gospel that I have ever seen. It has been fun teaching her, especially because she is only 13, so we get to be more creative with our lessons and slightly less serious. We try not to drive the spirit away too much though.

Mom I am glad to hear that your talk went well. I still haven't given a talk while on my mission. I did however give the opening prayer last sunday. It went well as far as I know. I also haven't heard about sister Seale's Aunt or Uncle but I will be on the look out. I also had dinner with the Secor family on Sunday, and found out that their son, Billy Secor just moved in to the Coppell Third Ward. I assured them that he had a great bishop, but that the stake president was pretty iffy. But in all honesty, if the parents are any indication the Third ward just received a great family.

We are doing great here in Temecula, and although the adjustment has been longer than I was hoping for and not without some rocky patches. The work continues to go along and we are seeing some really cool things happen. For instance, on Saturday we found a lady outside of our apartment. We started talking and found out that she was wavering in her faith about God, and Jesus Christ. We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read 3rd Nephi 11. The very next day we come home from church, and find her in the same spot waiting for us. She told us that she read the chapter, and had felt peace. She admitted that it was the first time in a long time that she had been able to find any peace and she wanted nothing more than to have it in her life. We were able to share some scriptures with her, about how through the atonement we will be able to find the lasting peace that Christ offers us in John 14. It was an amazing experience, and now she is being taught by some other elders. This gospel is true, and truly offers us peace, even when everything else in our lives beckons us away from that peace. I am so thankful for the Savior and his example to all of us.

Love Elder Blake

PS, if you could mail me a real letter, this week. I need some proof of residency to finally get a Temecula library card. One of my lifelong pursuits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oct. 25, 2011

Dear Family,

This week has definitely been one of the longest in my life. Dad you were right, Temecula is about the exact opposite of San Juan. My ward boundaries got about cut in half. The average age of my ward dropped a good thirty-five years. I went from meeting in one of the oldest buildings in southern California, to meeting in a brand new building. I also do not get to enjoy any ocean views. Basically it is out with the old (San Juan that has been around since 1776) and in with the new (Temecula which I think has only really become something in the past twenty years). It is fun though, especially with the Browns being in the ward. Thanksgiving dinner at their house has already been planned, with a visit from the older Browns. Let this be an example to you dad. Brother Brown is such a dedicated home teacher that he doesn't even let my mission get in the way of visiting me. I feel very watched over.

My new companion is Elder Snow, he is from Idaho Falls. This is his first area, he is only six weeks behind me, so it is fun to serve with someone who still has all of his youthful exuberance. The exciting news is that we have a baptism tonight. My first, although I didn't really do anything. We just knocked on this families door, and he said he wanted to be baptized on Tuesday. We told him okay. He had already been taught everything. His name is Nico, and he is an Indian. I feel like I have never before fulfilled prophesy as fully than, I will tonight. It has been a pleasure to get to know him over this past week. His wife is a convert of a couple of years, and now he is going to follow her. They also have a couple of unbaptized kids that we are hopefully going to start teaching soon as well. The work is really happening here in Temecula, and hopefully over the next couple of months we will be able to capitalize on all of the potential here.

It is exciting to hear about everyone at home, although I still feel perplexed about Hansen's Ipad. The real excitment lies in the success of all the Dallas sports teams. I mean how exiting is it to know that the Stars are 6-1. Oh and I suppose the rangers are doing pretty well too. Mom good luck with everything, especially with your foot. I will be praying. I also do not think that I have grown on my mission. I have just been blessed to serve with short companions. I guess President Cook found out about my height complex, or something.

It has been a crazy week with all of the changes. New companion, new ward, new investigators, new apartment, new routine, new Bishop and Ward mission leader, new district, and zone. But I have been impressed that the one thing that hasn't changed is the discipleship to Jesus Christ. I am continuing to declare the glad tidings of this Gospel to the broken hearted, and penitent. And so while it has been overwhelming at times, it is still worth everything. I love this church and this gospel. I love you all.

Love Bevan

note from Sue Brown

Your son knocked on our door expecting Jared and Amy but got me instead!!! He is now serving in their ward!! He wrote a note to Hanson for his birthday that I will bring to him when I get home :-)
It was so good to see him!
Sue Brown

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Family,

I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well, and by everyone I do mean rangers. The recent sport success around the metroplex is a real testimony builder that sacrifice really does bring forth the blessings of heaven. I hope you get feeling better mom, i will be praying for you. And I really cannot believe that the nativity is starting, I hope that I will be able to participate in one myself here in California.

This week was an excellent one. We were able to meet with Teresa last night, and were able to set a baptismal date with her for November 19th. It was so exciting, and great to see. She still has some word of wisdom issues to resolve so she will need all the prayers she can get. This ward really needs a baptism, and hopefully it will make the ward really excited about sharing the gospel. The only bad part about this whole experience is that I am getting transferred. I do not know where I will be going, I will find out this afternoon at transfer meeting. But by tonight I will be somewhere else than beautiful San Juan. Oh well, it feels good to know that I was able to set at least on baptismal date before I left.

The other exciting news per the missionary work in this area, is that we were able to pick up a new investigator. His name is Herbert Brown, and he is actually our neighbor, he just lives a couple houses down from us. He has had a rough time the past couple of years, as a lot of people have, and has decided that he needs to have a strong faith that he needs to fall back on. He has a pretty solid christian background, but said that he needs to move from the intellectual side to the spiritual side. Or become a christian and not just know christian theology. He is really cool, and seems pretty interested, unfortunately i wont be here to see how things work out. Phil continues to work on his house, and we continue to help him, it was hard to say good bye to him, but he says he is coming up to byu whenever i go back to go to a football game.

This week I have been thinking a lot about our lesson with Herbert. I realized that our charge with him, is the same that president Eyring received from President Hinckley. We need to get the gospel of Jesus Christ into the people's hearts. I have thought a lot about my own life and experiences that have helped get the gospel into my own heart. I realized that it is a slow, and somewhat daunting thing, but because of that it is an act of faith to help someone gain their own testimony of this church and gospel. It may seem hard, tedious, and at times fruitless, but above all it is the most important work we will ever be apart in. This is the work of the salvation of souls. Of course it is not easy, it is a real battle that we are fighting. It was not easy for any of the missionaries before and certainly not easy today but it is the Savior that makes it all possible. But it is true, and it is worth every effort, and trial. I love this gospel, I love the atonement that makes it all possible, and every principle and ordinance that is a part of it. What a privilege to be a part of it, however small. Hope everyone is having a great week. Love you all, and go rangers.

Love, Elder Blake

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct. 11, 2011

Dear Family

Glad to hear that everyone is doing well in Northern Texas. Especially those Rangers. Hope they can keep it up, I can't believe it’s already the playoffs. I will keep praying for you mom, and I hope that everything works out. They always do, sooner or later.

Well, to finish off the priesthood session quiz, Bishop McMullin spoke about our duty as priesthood holders and spreading the priesthood power. I think that makes me current, and I will now be expecting a Braums ice cream shake when I get home.

This past Sunday was a water shed moment in the Capo 2nd ward, I believe. We had four non-members at church, and a full gospel essentials class. Pretty impressive for a ward that has struggled mightily to get investigators to church and considering the fact that we usually have to disband the gospel essentials class due to lack of attendance. The most exciting attendee was a lady by the name of Theresa. She is from South Africa, and is a dance instructor. She had been going to a different ward for quite a while but finally made it to our ward where she belongs. We had a great discussion with her, and should be meeting with her again this Thursday. We are really excited about her, and to see her grow in the gospel. The other people who came, were all friends of members. It was great to see so many people there who weren't there because of our efforts.

I am aware that the elders who replaced the sisters live on Aunt Winnie’s street. And since we car share with them that means i pass by her place every week. I am guessing that the donkeys are doing well, due to the elders saying she has a donkey bumper sticker. We also met some guys on the street who is a member of a local band. They said that they knew about the Donkeys and liked their sound. Pretty cool. Well, that is pretty much it, not much else exciting has been going on here in San Juan. Hope everyone is doing well in Texas. I am doing well here. I continue to love this gospel and the opportunity to teach others about it. It does change lives for the better.

Love Bevan

Mom the only thing i can think of is more conference talks to be honest. I might be addicted.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jumping on the bed

Oct. 4, 2011

Dear Family,
How is everyone doing? Has life finally settled down at all from your crazy summer, and Caribbean excursions? Things here in California are going well. Especially because of conference weekend. I don't know if you noticed dad but I'm pretty sure everyone gave the best talks that i have ever heard. I especially liked all of the talks about missionary work, and how missionary work is nothing more than the Lord's work. I came away with an increased desire to learn about what the Lord's desire for me is, then do it. As for the necessary priesthood session quiz, here are the answers. The first speaker Elder Holland taught us about the importance of being clean to serve a mission. Then Bishop McMullin taught us about something that happens to be slipping my mind. oops. Then Elder Waddel also spoke about missionary work, and told us the story about the one missionary from Spain sent to Arizona. One of my favorites. President Uchtdorf talked about welfare. President Eyring talked about diligence and hard work in priesthood duty, using many personal examples. And then President Monson talked about living up and standing up to our standards and testimonies.
As for missionary work, this week was one for growing. Most of our appointments fell through, but that is okay, all in the Lord's timing. Also it allowed time for us to start working with the ward, especially the ward leadership more so it was probably a blessing in disguise. We also got a referral for a guy who we are hoping to start teaching this week. We are excited about that. Also Phil found out that his wife is pregnant once more. It is exciting, but she has really hard pregnancies, so prayers would be appreciated. That is pretty much all that is worthy to be reported this week. Although this week it is supposed to rain so everybody here is acting like it could be the ushering in of the Second Coming. People and their weather here, it gets pretty comical sometimes.
As per the pictures, please note that I live with the zone leaders. That means Sunday night, while they are reporting numbers, we are locked in our room. Jumping on beds and taking pictures mid-flight we found was one of the more effective ways to pass the time.
Well I hope that y'all have a great week, and all goes well. Love Bevan
P.S. That one picture if i remember correctly took about 7-10 attempts. And dad you may go ahead and use that story, and thanks for all of the stories in your e-mail.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept. 27, 2011

Dear Family,
Thanks for the letter, and the correction about George Washington and Barbados, you will have to excuse me. It is amazing how rusty you get in only four months. I suppose I can send some pictures home, I'll find a way.
I'm afraid the answer to moms question about the car is less exciting than people may be anticipating. Basically what happened was, there were sisters in our district before this last transfer, and sisters in this mission get spoiled with a full time car no matter where they are. Well the sisters got transferred out and elders got transferred in. The sisters simply packed up the car with their six suitcases each, I'm sure, and took off with their car. When the elders came in to the area they not only found the apartment surprisingly clean and richly decorated but found that there was indeed no car left in the garage. So to help them out we now share our car with them for the weekends. Well, there you go.
In this weeks segment of more odd connections between me and Orange County. It turns out that Phil and pretty much everyone on Phil's street went to Dana Hills High, the same exact high school that all of the Spragues went. Turns out all of them know the whole lot of the Sprague boys. I wasn't expecting to feel like grandma this soon, that is for sure.
Well this week has been an adventurous one in terms of missionary work. This week while out tracting, I got bit by a dog, chased by a swarm of bees, saw a cat that must have been possessed by some sort of devil, and met a guy that greeted us at his driveway with a shotgun. It has been a packed week in terms of journal writing that is for sure. Do not worry though, through all of these adventures and more I have managed to survive.
Phil is doing great, and should be moved into his home in a couple of weeks. Which means he will finally come to church. We continue to meet with Andres, and praying that the necessary hurdles can be cleared. We are most excited this week though for a lady named Teresa. She is a ballet teacher who is teaching a couple of member kids. She has been coming to church, in a different ward, for six weeks now and attended the Relief Society broadcast. We are finally going to get to teach her this week. Hopefully she will accept the glad message of the restored gospel, or at least like us enough to teach us free ballet lessons. Either one a win in my book.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the scripture "choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." I have been thinking about the importance of choosing this day, and not procrastinating the time when we choose to serve the Lord and mark our loyalty with him. In a world that is becoming ever more lost, how important is it to choose today, and everyday to serve the Lord. We simply can not afford to wait any longer to choose a side. Or else we will soon realize how lost we have become. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is True. I know that it is the way to lift ourselves out of the filth of the world and onto a higher and more joyous plane. I love all of you, and hope that you are doing well. Thanks for all of the prayers.

Love Bevan

Sept. 20, 2011

Hello family,
Well I am glad to see that everyone is having a great week, especially mom and dad in Barbados. Just a quick little fun fact, Barbados is the only country George Washington went to outside of the United States. He went when he was a young man to recover from small pox. So just remember that as you snorkel and watch cricket. Also, I am pretty sure that one of the guys I home taught is at that mission, he is in the west Indies. I wonder if he was one of the ones at that branch. That would have been a weird coincidence.
I did get the package, thank you so much for it. Especially for the socks, dryers have a way of eating them. The conference talks were also much appreciated, and the music has made me the envy of the entire zone. So thank you very much.
Also lest anyone think that I am getting too spoiled here in orange county, I come bearing bad news that our car has been taken away from us for the weekends. Which means, I can actually start working off all of the three course dinners we get fed here on a regular basis. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven I guess. I also can not wait for conference either, especially for the priesthood session, I will be sure to e-mail my answers to the subsequent quiz the following p-day. It truly is an amazing event, one in which I feel I'm finally beginning to grasp the importance of. Think of it, living prophets and apostles to tell us what the Lord knows we need to do to be safe and happy in this life, and the world to come. What a wonderful blessing.
In terms of missionary work, things here in San Juan, have kind of slowed down. All of our investigators have seemed to just be too busy to worry about us and the things of eternal importance. The shining ray of hope though, is Andres. He came to church with us again this past Sunday, and we were able to teach him just an hour ago actually. It was an amazing lesson, one in which he expressed a desire to gain even more of the Lord's blessings. We taught him how the Lord blesses us whenever we keep the commandments and how that is really the key to being changed into a good man. We told him that the Lord is pleased with the effort that he has put forth and the progress he has made, but that he is always up there beckoning us to do even more. To find something else to be better examples of true disciples. The amazing part was when he described how much he felt the spirit, and how happy he was that he was able to meet us. He then went on to say, that he has been able to see the Lord's blessings in his life already, but that there is always room and reason to accept more. What an example. I think I learned more from the lesson than he did. Truly one of the miracles of missionary work, especially missionary work by the spirit.
I love all of you, and it has been great to hear that everyone is doing great and that Deborah still has a roof over her head. Thank y'all for all of the wonderful examples you are to me. Keep up the good work. This gospel is true, it really is the way. Our Heavenly Father lives and is mindful of us. Because of that fact he speaks to us, both through living prophets and apostles and other chosen servants and through the Holy Ghost. What a miracle it is that we can talk to God, through sincere prayer. What a privilege. I love this Gospel. Please pray for missionary opportunities for everyone.
Love Bevan

Sept. 13, 2011

Dear family,
This week has been another excellent one. We had to say goodbye to Elder Hopkins, which was sad, but every good greenie grows out of his trainer at some point. My new companion is Elder Kang, from Toronto Canada, by way of Sydney and south Korea. He is great and very experienced, he only has three months left, so I am excited to see what i can learn from his wisdom. This is the closest he has been to the beach on his mission so his reaction to the big blue thing to the west of us is pretty funny. We still live with the Zone leaders but one of them got transferred as well. Things change, I guess.
I first have to say that I am extremely impressed by the family's ability to blog so much all of a sudden. It is crazy. I also have to say Happy Birthday to anyone that I have forgotten to lately. I know that includes you Deborah, Chris and Annie. Missions are just one big blur so they all seem to run together. Well, Happy Birthday.
The big news this week was that we lost power Thursday evening. Apparently along with most of Arizona. It was pretty exciting times, although the looting was disappointingly limited, looks like we might be doing some good after all. I also wish that I could top Leah's story and tell you about what all the crazy Californians keep in their homes, but they never really let us in to find out. We have run into a couple of hoarders that keep some very interesting things, and I am pretty sure that we are on the verge of finding some underground pit bull fighting league. It truly is somewhat disgusting how many dogs there are in orange county.
Well as for actual missionary work. Things are looking up. We had another awesome lesson with the Duncan's this past week. I don't know if you remember but Brother Duncan is the very first person I invited to baptism. At first he was very cold, cordial but cold. But know he participates every now and then in the lessons and even admitted that he enjoyed them. It has been great to get to know them and I look forward to the day that he can enjoy baptism, and all the other blessings Heavenly Father wants to bless them with. We also were able to meet a couple of potentials so we look forward to meeting with them later this week.
Well I hope that y'all have a great week. Continue to work hard and doing the little things that keep our testimonies strong. And remember to always be valiant to our testimonies of Jesus Christ. He truly is the Son of God, and our Redeemer. Love you all.
Elder Bevan Blake

Sept. 6, 2011

Dear Family,
I am glad to hear that everyone is having a wonderful time. Also Happy Birthday Deborah. It sounds like you and your girls are just having a wonderful time in Indiana. We actually contacted a lady here who was moving to Indiana, we helped even helped her move a couple of things. Well the big news this week, is that my good companion Elder Hopkins is being transferred. Transfer meeting is later today, so I am not sure where he will be going or who will be coming here. It has been a great ride though, my only worry is that i peaked too early on my mission and it is going to be all downhill from here. We ended it off with an absolutely amazing sacrament meeting last weekend though. First of all we got Andres and his girlfriend Rosa to come, and then one of our members brought his good friend to church with him as well. It has been amazing to see how enthusiastic our ward has gotten about missionary work, just in the past couple of months. I am praying and hoping that we won't lose any momentum with transfers at all. The other big news is that we gave Phil's daughter a ctr ring, and both she and her parents absolutely loved it. They thought it was one of the most thoughtful things anyone has done.
That is really all the news with the investigators. Hopefully this next week will be better and the new blood will equal new enthusiasm. Oh the other news from here in California, is that is actually rained yesterday. It was the first time I've seen rain in a long time, or heard thunder. It was actually kind of refreshing. 300 days of sunshine can get sort of redundant.
Thank you for all of the blog posts. It is good to know that I haven't been completely forgotten here in the wilds of orange county. And, I'm pretty sure the one about Coach Johnson was simply a lie. It really is great to know that I have a big loving family waiting and praying for me all over the world. I'm really happy that everyone is doing so well. Keep up the good work. And it is good to know that J-Dawgs still exists.
The Gospel is true, and it is eternal. I absolutely love being a missionary, and can not wait to put my new companion to work. Thanks for all of the support and prayers. Thank you and love you all.
Elder Blake

Aug. 30. 2011

Dear Family,
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Congratulations! It is good to hear that everything at home is going well. Sorry this letter is a little bit late, but we were busy this morning attending a session at the Newport Beach temple. It was an amazing experience and one that was definitely needed to recharge the batteries. That is crazy to hear about everyone moving to new schools, I guess life moves on for everybody else while I'm gone. Hansen, my team sports teacher was the basketball coach. Coach Johnson was his name, I believe. It is also good to hear that the Rangers are still up on the Angels. I think the hardest part of my mission so far has been having charity for the fans of all the SoCal sports teams. It been pretty tough. On the bright side, I did get to meet a girl that played roller hockey with Bobby Ryan. (Warning: That experience will be best enjoyed by those with an element of National Hockey League knowledge.)
Well onto the serious news, this week has been great. It has been a great week, to see the ward start to get excited about missionary work. They are reaching out to their friends, giving them Book of Mormons, and even inviting them to be taught by us. Unfortunately I am beginning to believe that no one in our ward has friends who live within the ward boundaries. Oh well, we all play for the same team. Phil continues to be great. He is now just weeks away from moving in, and continues to ask us about the church, and what it is like being a missionary. We told him yesterday, that one of us is probably leaving soon, (transfers are next week) and he started tearing up. It was a good testament, that it really is impossible to not love someone whom you serve unselfishly. I also told him about your 30th anniversary this past week, and he asked me what your secret was. I told him it was to have perfect kids like me, but I think he would be interested in hearing the real answer, I think I would too.
We also were able to teach Andres, this week. It was an amazing experience, and he even bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon. We just knew it was going to be a good lesson, when we walked in and the pass along card we gave him was displayed proudly above the tv. Prayers for him would be appreciated though, because he and his family are going through a pretty rough time financially.
We also met with Peter again this week. Apparently he has a member friend that he works with, whom told him about all of the commandments and the blessings that come from it. So Peter is in the midst of trying to quit coffee, and getting Sundays off of work. His faith is amazing, and his willingness to change has to be the best thing in the world to see.
This week, I was reminded of how much of a joy it is to serve others, and help them come closer to the Savior. It has been just a great reminder of what is really important in life. I have also realized the truth of the scripture in D&C 18. "How great the joy of one soul that repents", or whatever it is. (I obviously am still a greenie, If i can't quote all of Doctrine and Covenants). It is true though, the great joy of missionary work is seeing and helping people change their lives for the better, by bringing their wills in accordance, to our all powerful and loving Heavenly Father. The baptisms are just the cherry on top. I love being a missionary, and serving others. This church is true, and Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. Hope everyone has an amazing week. Love you all.
Elder Blake
PS: Tell Sister Sedgwick if you see her that Sister Gonzales says hi, and is doing great.

Aug. 23, 2011

Hello Family,
I am doing absolutely wonderful today. Most likely because yesterday was my first Zone Conference and Elder Gibbons of the Seventy came to visit the mission. It was an amazing event, that was filled with the spirit. Turns out that he is from Richardson, and plans on moving back after he is released. I told Sister Gibbons that we would have to hang out. P-Days have been pretty interesting so far on the mission. We haven't been able to check out the mission, though some random guy off the street gave us two free tickets so I imagine we will go and see it at some point. Today though we have a district activity at the church which should be pretty fun. I have also lost count of the number of times we have been invited to go surfing.
Things at home sound like they are finally going to settle down. I tell you what one of the things Ive learned to appreciate as a missionary is people on regular schedules that include lots of free time spent at home. Pretty much unheard of here in orange county. Tell Josie congratulations, along with Ethan. Also tell Eduardo, that he is amazing, and will be the best missionary in the world. He should come to Carlsbad, so I can train him.
Things here in San Juan Capistrano, are pretty dang rad. Which by the way we met a guy with two boys named Rad and Cruze. Pretty funny. But seriously, the work continues to go forward, especially as we are getting the ward members here more excited about missionary work. It is awesome we are having dinner tonight with a family who has invited one of their friends to come and take the lessons. We are very excited. We also said hi to a guy across the street. He looked at us and then said that he wanted to talk to us but didn't have time. After a long and confusing series of events, we finally have an appointment with him this Thursday. Oh his name it Peter, for those wondering. We continue to work with all of our other investigators and are hoping that some will have a baptismal date soon.
The gospel is true, and because of that nothing else matters. I continue to be humbled by the simple faith of the people in the church here. It is amazing that despite sickness, setbacks, financial troubles or whatever it may be some people here continue to have the faith to say, The gospel is true, and because of that nothing else matters. It has made me wonder how we can help increase the faith of the Saviour in those that we are teaching. It is a wonderful opportunity to be angels helping those along the path to true discipleship. To pick them up and encourage them whenever they fall, and then to see the joy of renewed righteous living. I only wish I were better at it. The Church is true, and Jesus is the Christ. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and The Book of Mormon is true. It is a privilege to stand up for those eternally important truths. I love you all, and hope that you continue to have a great week.
Elder Blake
P.S. It is a shame that Leah doesn't get rangers updates. I get them all the time from angry Angels fans.

Aug. 16, 2011

Hello Family,
It has been quite the week, here in wonderfully temperate San Juan Capistrano. I am sorry to hear that you didn't break the record, I was cheering for you guys. Oh well. This last week was one of the harder weeks that we had on our mission. First a lot of our investigators went out of town, and the appointments that we did have all of them but one cancelled. Just a little bit discouraging. But not to worry, because yesterday made up for it all. First we went over to help Phil out on his house again. Which just as a side note, in the time that it's taken y'all to finish the living room ceiling we have been able to completely gut this house down to the studs, and then build it back up, including wiring, insulation, and we are about half way through the dry-wall. Helping him out has definitely been the best experience so far on my mission. Even better though than helping him out and learning so much has been the opportunity to teach him. He is even insisting that we take a picture of the three of us, so that he can hang it up in his home. he has started reading the Book of Mormon through and has committed to come to church once he gets moved in. He is so awesome and we feel pretty confident that he is going to get baptized. He has even said that he is coming up to byu with me after my mission to go to a byu football game. So yesterday while we were over there helping him, he asked us if it would be appropriate for us to pray over his home, once they get moved in. We told him that we would be honored if we could do that. He then said that he wouldn't let any other religious figure touch his home but us. That was one of the coolest things that we've heard.
We then went over to a lesson, with a new investigator named Andres. We then proceeded to have one of the coolest lessons ever. One of the first things that he told us, was that he felt like God had led us to him, and that he wants to change to be a better example to his family. Turns out that he had taken the lessons in North Carolina with his cousin, who eventually got baptized. He said he was really close to being baptized but then he had to move out here to California. Where about a week ago he met both us, and the Spanish elders in the same day. We talked to him about the gift of the holy Ghost and how that will help him to become the father and example he wants to be. He said that is exactly what he wants. We invited him to baptized and he accepted, we are working with him to set a firm date, but he will get there. It was definitely a tender mercy from the lord that we found him. And strengthened my testimony that the Lord knows best whom he is preparing and will make that we will find them. It also strengthened my testimony that the Lord not only prepared his children to hear the wonderful message of the Restoration, but he also prepares his children to teach it. I am so thankful for the gospel, and a loving Heavenly Father who knows his children and knows this work. It is true, all of it. And nothing is going to stop it. Love you all and hope that you have a great week.
Elder Blake

Aug. 9, 2011

Hey family,
How is it going in Texas, and every where else. It sounds like things are pretty exciting on the home front, maybe even more hectic than missionary life in fast paced southern california. I have not been sick, and I honestly do not know about my weight, because we don't have a scale. I have a haunting suspicion that I have gained some weight. The food continues to be wonderful american food, for instance we had steak last night. This week has been good, although pretty much all of our investigators are out of town. We have met a lot of promising people though and we are excited to hopefully start teaching a lot of them this week. The big news is we had our first ever walk in lesson yesterday, the biggest miracle being, was that it was in a gated community. The bad news is both Elder Hopkins and I were both too shocked to really know what to do, and the fact that the kid was leaving Thursday to go to college out in Georgia. So be on the lookout Hannah, and go ahead and see him baptized for us. We also met a really nice family who wanted to learn more, the bad news was that they speak spanish and so are not under our jurisdiction. They are a really nice family though and we are praying for the spanish elders to do a good job. Phil continues to do really well, and we are well on our way to moving him in. He has really clicked with all of the ward members that he has met, and pretty much invited himself to come to church once he finishes moving in. Mitsy and her two sons are in Washington, so we haven't gotten to meet with them lately. But we did get a text from the younger son, Sebastion, telling us that he was reading the Book of Mormon, and that he really like Nephi and all the vision he was able to have. We are really hoping that he will continue to come along. We are very optimistic for this coming week, especially because our stake president had the whole stake fast for more missionary opportunities this past Sunday. If only the stake president back in Carrollton was that on it. Oh well. Probably the coolest thing that happened, was we met a family that just moved here from Frisco. They weren't really interested but they had nothing but positive things to say about the saints in Frisco, so you can tell them thanks.
Love you all, and I hope that everyone does well and is able to survive the coming weeks.
Thanks, Elder Blake

You have a great son- Aug. 3, 2011

About a month ago my husband, neighbors and I where visiting in the front yard. Your son and his colleague where walking by.
We spend about a half/three-quarters of any hour speaking with them. You should be very proud of your son, he handled himself in a very courteous, informed and professional manner.
We enjoyed the time they shared with us.

Linda and Jim Koutroulis

Aug. 2, 2011

Dear Family.
Sorry to hear about the weather. If it makes you feel any better i think it maybe hit 90 in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, it was pretty rough. This week was another good week, we were able to meet a lot of cool potential investigators that we are really hoping we can start teaching this week. It has been a little rough though in the sense that a lot of our investigators have been on vacation, been really busy, or been kicked out of their homes so we haven't been able to really meet with them. Oh well, everything happens on the Lord's time. I just hope that we have done a good enough job in helping them start their conversion that they can continue to make good progress without us being able to meet with them so often. I am sorry to hear about Ezra, I will definitly keep him in my prayers. I hope that he gets feeling better. In answer of some questions, what I bought at Ross was what any missionary buys at Ross, ties. All for under 7 dollars too. Also I have taken about 5 pictures, Leah. Also the zone leaders stole my camera, because I wasn't taking enough and they were able to snag a couple so that was good.
This week I have been thinking a lot about faith, and just how important it is to every aspect of our lives. It has been interesting , and a little scary, to see just how fast faith can fade when it is not being nourished every day. It has also been great to see, that the way we can ensure that our faith remains strong, is really simple and starts with praying and reading the Book of Mormon. I have come to love the Book of Mormon, so much on my mission. Especially as I have been able to use it to anchor my faith in the Savior and his church on the earth today. It is a book that no matter how much people try to tear it apart will continue to be an ensign to the nations and declare that truth has been restored. I am grateful to be apart of that work and hope that I will always be an active participant in growing God's kingdom.
Hope that yall have a great week and don't get too overheated.
Love y'all,
Elder Blake

July 26, 2011

Hey Family,
Hello from Orange County, for another six weeks. I have officially survived my first transfer, and am staying in San Juan, along with Elder Hopkins. The time has really begun to fly, and this past week has really just been one short blur. But we have been able to see some cool things happen. First of all, with one of our investigators Nancy, we were able to teach her about the gospel of Jesus Christ this past week. It honestly didn't go over that well, until we both bore our testimonies. We just sat there for a minute afterward in silence until Nancy just said "wow, peace." It was really cool to see how the spirit will be there anytime to bear testimony of truth, and that it does bring peace to people in this crazy world. The other cool thing that happened, was yesterday we found a house with a Texas flag hanging outside of it. I just had to knock on the door of course. It turns out that the guy was baptised while living in Texas but has since gone inactive and had been living here in California for about six years under the radar. He and his non-member wife, were really nice and invited us back over later this week so that we could share a message. I'm really excited to be teaching someone who wears boots and says y'all. We keep helping
Phil out with his home, and have gotten the ward involved. He says he is really excited to come to church and meet more people once he gets officially moved in. We keep teaching Mitsy and her two boy, and are really hoping that we can baptise them. This ward hasn't seen a baptism in about ten years, and we pray that we are going to be the ones that can help grow the kingdom in this part of the vineyard.
One thing that has probably struck me the most while on my mission is how scared everyone is of the future here. It is striking in contrast to read Elder Nelson's talk this last conference, and to remember President Monson's council that the future is bright as our faith. How thankful I am for a living prophet to guide us in these latter days, and for my faith in my Savior to face the future with hope and optimism instead of doubt and fear. This is the Lord's work and nothing we can do is going to stop it, so we might as well do our best to be a part of it.
Love Elder Blake
I will do my best to get the Pulido's contact information, and remember to keep being nice to Sister Sedgwick. I was actually able to have dinner at her house this past week, with one of her granddaughters who is house sitting for her. Tell her that the Capo 2nd ward continues to do great and everyone here is grateful for her righteous example.

July 19, 2011

Hey Family,
It sounds like y'all had a crazier week than I had. I'm doing well here in San Juan Capistrano, even though it gets pretty hot here in the middle of the day, I'm talking high 80's hot. Your trip sounds amazing, and the pictures were really cool. You owe me a trip to Banff whenever I get home. That's crazy that you met Jeaneene, I think that was Kira roomate's name. She was really cool the couple of times I met her. Sorry Malan, but the last I heard she was pretty much engaged. Speaking of Malan and Hansen, I will have to tell them some stories about Merrill Hall, whenever I get home, and tell them to man up when it comes to the showers, it will be good preparation for their mission.
Things, here in California have been really good. We are still helping Phil out with his house, and he told us last time, that he thinks all that we have taught him is good, and true. But he wants to learn more before making the step of baptism. He has been way prepared, and we are really excited to get him moved in so we can start teaching them on a more regular basis. The other family that we are teaching, that we are hoping will get baptised, is Mitsy and her two sons Christian and Sebastion. They came to the ward beach bbq, and when we met with them yesterday all they could talk about was how nice everyone was and how much fun they had, it was really cool to see how truly on of the best missionary tools, is simply being a friend. Christian is 18 and he is really cool, the first time we taught them, we asked if they had heard about the Book of Mormon. Christian went on to tell us how it was an ancient record of a remnant of one of the Tribes of Israel, who was led out of Jerusalem to America. And then went on to be translated by Joseph Smith. Both my, and my companion's jaws just dropped in disbelief. It was really cool to have someone we talk to actually know about the Book of Mormon.
As for my funny story this week, I don't really have one. Although we did meet a guy that played golf with one of the Prophets, he had forgotten which one though. We also met a nine year old who is already a sponsored surfer and skateboarder.
I hope that y'all have a great week, and don't burn too much in Dallas. Sister Salloway's dad always gives me the Carrollton weather update. No better cure for homesickness.
Love Bevan,
P.S. Have Malan google the one actor in all the Church movies. He is older, and is the only good one in church ball. He is also in Baptists at our bbq. I'm pretty sure he is in my ward.