Monday, September 9, 2013

Tired, but Good


This week hasn't been much different than last. I'm still tired, but Chugging along. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you, all the time. If you forget everything else, know that I still love you all, and want the best for each of you.

Anyway, not a lot to say this week. I was sad to hear about Dad's poison ivy, and hope that gets better in the Mountains. 

The time is winding down (on my mission, not literally my email time), but My companion is doing a good job of keeping us working, even if everything falls through on us. 

Anyway, our thought this week came from Elder Perry speaking to us at Stake Conference this week. It basically boiled down to: What does the gospel mean to me? We can say it means a lot, but what are we going to do about it? 

We asked that to a less-active member earlier. if it means so much, what can we DO? We can talk a lot, but can we walk the walk? (I loved that on the blackboard in Grandma Pat's Garage...) That's what it boils down to, is action.

Anyway, love to you all from the North,

Elder Darcey

Monday, September 2, 2013

All The Work on Labor Day Took It Out Of Me


I'm so tired. 

I'm so, so tired.

I sleep all night every night, and wake up exhausted,

I've had a continual headache for a week now, and it got a lot worse yesterday (you'll find out why in a second).

I'm... tired. 

But anyway, I'm so tired because We've been working hard. And that makes it all OK. 

But it doesn't make me any less tired.

We had a family move in from Fresno CA. They speak NO (1%) English. It's been really fun to teach and talk to them. 

Transfers this last week. Elder Dyer abandoned me, to go back up to Fairbanks to train. 

On the Plus side, I'm so excited to stay in Hmong one more transfer, until I'm done. 
...Well, as Excited as I can be when I'm so tired...

Anyway, this will make about 1 year and 3 months in the Hmong branch, which is now an absolute record in the AAM (Alaska Anchorage Mission). No one in recorded history has ever spent so long consecutively in one area. Not That I'm here for the record, but it's a nice bonus.

Anyway, yesterday was transfer meeting, which is why I'm so tired. Something ALWAYS goes wrong on transfer day, but never the same thing twice. So, I was looking forward to seeing what would go wrong this time, seeing as we had gone through pretty much everything I could think of.
(missing keys, loss of internet, incorrect software/hardware, camera trouble, audio relays go wrong, someone throws the circuit breaker switch during the middle of our broadcast... and so much more) 

Anyway, don't ever think that. Something else can ALWAYS go wrong.

This time I walked into the library, opened up the webcast broadcasting box, and found...

It was empty. The entire system was missing. This trumped three transfers ago, when half our cameras and the internet disappeared and the computer disappeared. All the other times, as least we could put the broadcast out there; then something would go wrong. this time we couldn't even create a Broadcast, much less have one mess up on us.  I'll admit, for just one second, everything of the past couple weeks, the exhaustion, the workload, the stress, fell on me like a load of bricks. I just looked up and almost asked God, "Why Me"?

I never asked before, because it didn't matter why me, or why now. I just moved on. There are people out there with much bigger problems than a missing broadcast. God knows all of our problems, and he lets us go through them so we can grow. And in some way, from this experience I did. We adapted and persevered, and got an approximation of the broadcast up and running... kind of. Think "Video Conference" with 50+ people, including showing slideshows and movies. 

It worked in the end. We could turn off Defcom 1, and life resumed. 

Now I'm trying to train my companion to do everything that I can do with the mission, from burning CD's to trying not to panic when everything falls flat.

I'm also trying to not be tired, but it's not working so well. I'll work harder on that, but it's not really at the top of my list. 

"Overwhelmed is for people who still have the time, and time is a room that's in no house of mine!"        -Ian Calk, former AAM Missionary, in one of his songs.

I should send you that song sometime. It's pretty much been my theme song for the past while.

Anyway, I'm out of time. Just got out of doing a leadership meeting. At least I'm not District Leader anymore, so that's one thing off my plate. 



I guess there was a lot to say. 


Love from the Exhausted North,

Elder Darcey

Monday, August 26, 2013

Aidan--Archery and Other Things


This week marks a scary week for me. Elder Sabey and Hermana Atkinson were here about 6 weeks ago. This is my last transfer in the mission field. I'm terrified. All I can do is work harder than last week. Given that my companion was sick for two full days last week, and I was sick for another one, that shouldn't be difficult.

but anyway, no one wants to hear about my throat ulcer, so I'll move on.

This week, minus the sick, was great. I love working out here. It always is in the back of my head that it's going away soon, but I don't let myself think about it. Thinking about it always gets me off subject, like Playing Legend of Zelda, watching the Hobbit, doing archery with Aidan, College, Zelda, Google, Zelda...

see what I mean?

This week has been about doing what we can, where we can. We can't help everyone out here, but as Elder Holland said at Harvard, our purpose is to make a world, or a nation, or a community, or a family, or a person better then when we found them. I think we succeeded this week. After a lesson, We helped one of our family's make dinner. they wouldn't have gotten it done in time, but we were glad to help. We helped one of our members who had to go to the hospital. We got to simply brighten someone's day. I think that's the essence of missionary work. Love and Service. Anyone who tells you it's about getting converts doesn't care about people, they care about numbers. Converts are a side-effect. The real goal is love. I hope people can see that.

Anyway, love to you all. I'm not counting, but it's not hard to do the math anymore (even for me).

Love from the North,

Elder Darcey

Friday, August 23, 2013

Here's your Mom Fix

Dear Mom,

You don't know me; I'm on vacation in Alaska and I'm from Gilbert AZ. I saw the missionaries at Office Depot and had to send the mom's a picture. I am a missionary mom as well.  

Mrs. Letta Olsen

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zone Conference -- Elder Bednar

This was a week that will never happen again, as Long as I live.

Let me tell you about Zone Conference.

First, There is a joking movement in the Mission to get me "elected" AP. That likely won't happen.

Anyway, We drove up to Palmer and had a handcart trek for Zone Conference. We had three zones there, so it was a big gathering. We pushed handcarts for only about 6 miles, but the terrain was designed to be rough. We went from 10 that morning to 10 that night. We pushed through lots of sand, up cliffs (literally), through rivers, mud, and so many other things. Our district did it all while my companion rode in our cart, he being handicapped with a cane.

It was a great conference. In the middle we broke our the wood that we had brought in and made fires, and cooked dinner. The whole trek was incredible.
Next, just two days afterwards, Who should come up but Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He was accompanied by a member of the Presidency of the 70, our Area 70, and Bishop Causse, 1st councilor of the Presiding Bishopric.

Like I said, This would never happen again.

Just a few thoughts about what Elder Bednar said to us. It was a one-on-one, with just the missionaries, so it was amazing. Mostly he spoke about action. Before we should expect help or guidance from the Lord, we need to act for ourselves.
We need to be Agents to act, not just Objects to be acted upon. And when we teach, we need to let everyone we talk to be Agents as well. We can never treat anyone as objects, because we are ALL children of God, with INFINITE potential.
We got to have a question and answer session with him. He said things to us that blew my mind. One was on Apostolic Authority. Basically, when we read the Doctrine and Covenants, we're reading history. When an Apostle reads The revelations, given through Apostolic Authority, it's just as if the Revelation was being given anew.

It was amazing to think about. There are only 15 men on earth with that power and authority, and I got to shake hands with one. It was an amazing experience.

Anyway, Love you all. I'm about out of time, but know that this was an awesome week for me.

Love from the North,
Elder Darcey

Friday, August 16, 2013

Branch Party Photos

Hey, we had a great weekend branch party. The clouds were thick and the rain sporadic, but that didn't stop our water balloons or pinata!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Agency: Do we really need it that much?


I'm having the time of my life up here. My companion's caught another cold, which will probably turn into a sinus infection again, one investigator completely regressed back into his "wait and see" mode, I'm so tired all the time, and I have less weeks left than most missionaries have months!

HOW am I so happy up here?

...oh yeah. I'm doing the Lord's work, and when I'm serving the Lord, nothing else matters. That's why I'm so happy up here, even with this week falling through and failing miserably. 
anyway, some questions answered, then my thoughts on agency:

We are wondering about your typical day at spiritual work.  What do you do?

Every day is really different. We have our typical list of people that we see on a certain day, and we schedule out where we drive, since we're trying hard to not rack up miles on our vehicle (we average around 2000 a month).

We try to bring members with us everywhere we go, not just because we need the language help, but just because members can bond with people in a way that we never can as missionaries.

And what happens on PDay that keeps you so busy?  Dad wonders what goes on these days.
nothing, really, except for driving time. Anchorage is Sprawled out. Plus, we always have missionaries that want to play board games with us, or something. Occasionally, but not too often, we'll go out hiking or something, but not as much since the weather's been starting to turn on us.

Are the summers really hotter?
YES. I'm DYING at 75 degrees.

Do you still see the fabulous veggie crop growing that you did in POW?

...There weren't any fabulous veggie crops in POW when I was there...

How are summers different there than in POW?

This summer has just been completely the opposite. Last summer, both POW and Anchorage, it almost never stopped raining. It was dismal. This year it's almost never been cloudy. We've jsut surpassed the record for most days over 70 degrees in a row. Last winter was one of the coldest on record, the winter before THE snowiest.

Weather enjoys messing with us.

anyway, I have only 4 minutes left on the computer.

Think about the ability to choose for a little. Sometimes, working with people who are stubborn and don't want to be change, we wish we could take their agency away, just for a little bit, so they could see the happiness that we're offering them. 

God Loves us. He's given us agency. We fought a WAR over it in heaven. Agency is one of the greatest gifts we have on Earth. It's the reason we're here, to make choices. 

Be grateful for your ability to choose. Don't give it up for anything. Don't give it away for anything, because it's worth more than everything.

30 seconds left.

Love from the North,

Elder Darcey

Monday, July 1, 2013

Second and Last Birthday in the Mission Field


First, thanks for the Birthday Wishes. I have a quick story about that from up here.

You all know I don't like being surprised. I far prefer being the surpriser, not the surprisee. So, of course the Zone had to get together and plan a surprise party for me, which ended up COMPLETELY surprising me, despite all the evidence that screamed at me to notice what was going on, such as...

1. A senior couple in Eagle River telling us they had gotten a Hmong family they wanted us to teach at their house... (there are no Hmong in Eagle River)
2. Getting there to find another Companionship already there (they said they had to talk to the Zone Leaders who lived downstairs, so ok...)
3. Two more Companionships showing up (AT this point, The Spirit Literally just had me in a Headlock, dulling all of my senses and perceptions. You'll see why later.
4. A cake in the kitchen with a "21" candle on it (I thought it said "18", and thought the senior couple had a grandson they would skype later... but it didn't explain all the missionaries... or the cake being here...)
4.5. Missionaries signing a card next to the cake (I... don't know How I missed it at this point)
5. An elder coming up to me and wishing me happy birthday as soon as he arrived (that elder's personality was just like that... I didn't notice the other Elder bonking his head afterwords and telling him I didn't know yet)
6. almost the entire Zone showing up by this point (I was wondering how we would teach the Hmong family with all these missionaries underfoot...)
7. The Senior missionary coming to me and telling me that the Hmong family had "cancelled" just before we got there (why didn't they tell us earlier?)

AT this point, My instincts finally overpowered the Spirit and just yelled at me "RUN!" I started out the door, still wondering what I was running from, when the Spirit made my legs lock up. I couldn't run, and other missionaries grabbed me and dragged me back. ONLY AT THAT POINT did I realize that it was a birthday party for me.

So, in conclusion, My testimony of the Spirit came out strengthened, because there is no way ON EARTH that I normally would have missed that many OBVIOUS clues and hints without even a single thought or warning going through my mind.

Anyway, the rest of the week was awesome. I had a great experience walking 10 miles yesterday, through all of North Anchorage, because my beloved companion didn't notice on Saturday that we were almost out of gas... Today, I can't walk too well. My heels have horrific blisters on them. My muscles are OK, though, they just are sore. I think if my shoes had been broken in, I would have been more ok, but it's all good.
Anyway, The Church is true. Love you all.

Love from the North,

Elder Darcey

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Busy Stuff, and Transfers Ahead


I've heard a lot of awesome things going on down there, and on one hand I want to be there with you...

But on the other hand, Nothing you all can do could make me come home now.

This week has been amazing. We baptized our investigator Josiah on Saturday, and it was amazing. I hadn't been feeling all that great that day, and throughout the preparations I just didn't feel all there. Then I watched him get baptized, and the entire world just seemed to Right itself. It was great. 

Anyway, I'll send you pictures next time. We're on a timetable today, more so than usual. Today the new missionaries get here for the next transfer! And just to defy all reality, I'm still in the Hmong Branch! It's actually looking more and more likely that I'll be there until I die (missionary lingo: Die=go home).

Anyway, I've received a lot of E-mails asking about my health. I want to state, now and forever after, That I am Healthy, except for my lower back which has been giving me a lot of pain, which is what the doctors were looking at for Kidney Stones, which I DON'T HAVE. So don't worry. It's just some muscle problems that I don't know what I did toy have, but it's healing great. 

So don't Worry. 

Anyway, The week is awesome. It's been Roasting hot up here. Yesterday, it got all the way up to almost 80 Degrees. We were dying. 

Sorry for the scattered thoughts, but We're super busy this next week with all sorts of transfer stuff. I'll probably be more coherent next time. 

Anyway, I've heard a lot about what's going on down there, So know that You're all in my prayers, both asking for help for you all, and gratitude for the amazing things you've all been able to accomplish.

So, Love from the BLISTERING-HOT-North,

Elder Darcey

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Alaska Experience, Rocks and Everything


I am excited to hear the awesome stuff that's going on with you all. Let me tell you some interesting happenings this week.

First, this Sabbath, a lot of crazy things happened. Many of our less-active members came to church, which was a miracle in and of itself. One of them was a young man we've been working with for almost 5months now, who is simply too lazy to get up for church. this week he just got up and came. Considering that is what I'd been fasting for, that was a miracle too.

But of all the miracles large and small this week, the most miraculous one of all... (fiddler on the roof, anyone?)

Was that our 2nd area, which was the slowest in the mission (go ahead, name an area. Barrow. Nome. Bethel. Anywhere else. Our area is slower) just exploded with work to do. Not only is there a baptism this week, but Lots of members were bringing their friends and asking us to teach them, or just pulling us over on the road to tell us where they lived so we could come over, or... ETC. It's been amazing. If it keeps going like this, we won't have enough daylight to do all this work. That would be impressive, since we're getting about 20 hours of daylight a day now.

On a random note, Yes, I have a rock for my Stake President. It's a pretty green one i got down in Craig (was that already a year ago? Wow...) So don't worry. As Dia put it so well: "I WON'T!!! HELLO, I'M GOING TO MEET MY STAKE PRESIDENT TO ACCOUNT FOR THE LORD'S LABOR IN [Alaska] FOR THE LAST [24] MONTHS! I'D BETTER HAVE AT LEAST A ROCK TO SHOW FOR IT!"... Close quote.

So, let me conclude with the True Alaska-ness up here. We were driving down the road in Anchorage (Muldoon and 36th, driving south, for you google map-ers) when a Huge moose and her calf went across the road. We were drove only a few feet more when a Bald Eagle came out of the ditch right in front of us, dropping a large torn-up partly-devourerd carcass right in front of our car that we had to drive around. It was either a beaver or a dog.

So, yeah. Welcome to Alaska.

Love from the North,

Elder Darcey

Monday, May 27, 2013

Holidays, Hot Days and Other Days


First, Happy Memorial day.  Aren't we blessed by military service?

Random note that leads into my next thought: My current companion's dad was in the Navy for 20 years, and is now doing consultant work in Qatar. in Qatar, it gets up to 120 degrees during the day. That brings me to my (squirrel moment) next point: the weather.

This last week, the temperature has skyrocketed. With no clouds, sunlight 20 hours a day now, and 65 degree weather, it's getting unbearable up here. Mom said that Dad was looking for property in St George. I must tell you now, should you do this, you will live out your retirement without ever seeing me again. 

But seriously. Yesterday the temperature got up to 74 degrees, and We (figuratively, but almost literally) died. It was horrible. We couldn't walk, breath, think... it was a nightmare, and this was with 0 humidity. So, I decided to start planning for my homecoming. (not really. I'm not thinking about it at all. Except for this one minor detail). The Stake President's office must have the A/C on at the lowest setting for at least an hour before I get there. Sounds good? kthx.

Strawberry-Lemon Baked Alaska RecipeWe hiked up a mountain with some members in our branch yesterday. Here's a picture or two. Anyway, this week has been wonderful, besides the heat stroke and mirages. We met with a young investigator this week who's been meeting with missionaries for the last couple weeks. In the first 5 minutes of the lesson, we committed him to be baptized and set a date for him. It was amazing. We barely had to do anything at all; he is so prepared and knowledgeable.

Anyway, I guess you... could... if you really wanted to... send me some shoes... maybe... Oh, and thanks for not sending any long sleeved shirts. did I mention that it's HOT up here?


Let me share a random fact, then a thought. The Fact is that Alaska is the #1 consumer of Ice Cream in the USA--moreso even than Utah. (bonus fact 2: Australia is number one in the world). When I first got up here, I thought Alaskans just ate ice cream throughout the year because they didn't care how cold it was, thus they were number one. Here's the real story. Alaskans don't eat any more ice cream in the winter than anyone else They just eat THAT MUCH MORE during the summer. We're so used to -20, that we start eating ice cream at +30, and then just increase consumption as the temperature goes up. So there you go.

Now for one more thought: I did a training this week on Virtue, but not what you usually think about it. Virtue comes from the Latin word VIRTUS, which means POWER, or STRENGTH. Go and read D&C 121:45 again, using power instead of Virtue. Oh wait, I did it for you. :) "...let POWER garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God..." So, What is this power? It is the Power of God. Whether it comes through Priesthood, or Faith, or whatever, The Power of God is with us when we are Virtuous. Thus came my new phrase for the Week, of Month, or whatever. "When we are Virtuous, we will have Virtue (Power)" --Elder Darcey, 2013

Or, in other words, when we are being righteous and thinking good things and shunning the bad, we will have power. Whether boldness, or confidence, of just plain old power, we will have it.

Anyway, that's all.

Love From the Blistering-hot-I-know-it's-only-70-but-that's-HOT-North,

 Elder Darcey

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Priesthood Line of Authority, Amazing Week and other Things


Not a lot of time, because I was reading through my AMAZING Emails that I got from my AMAZING family and friends, but I do have some cool things that happened this week.

First, We had ward/branch conference up here. It was incredible. The stake president got up and said that when he talked to young men who didn't go on missions, he said "Thanks for your sacrifice."

We all wondered, what sacrifice? He went on: "Here you are, graduated high school, dropped out of college, got a minimum wage job, bought a car, 4,000 dollars in debt, living with your parents, coming to me because you've broken the Law of Chastity..." (Which, by the way, is the most important thing in the world right now. Have you seen the way the world's getting? I am so glad I grew up with a mom and dad who love each other and received the blessings from living this law,) "Look at all that you've sacrificed!"

On the other hand, he looks at Returned Missionaries, and sees that, while their lives aren't perfect, that have been so immeasurably blessed by and through and because of their service, both temporally and eternally.
Which one really made a sacrifice? Think about it.  I have done not much in comparison.

Anyway, this week was amazing. We've been getting more and more lessons, and people are truly getting closer and closer to Christ. We're managing both Areas pretty well, Our Tech stuff isn't taking to much of our time this week, and we're just doing great up here.

Also, the Sun's out. The temp has been blisteringly hot. (40+) The snow is almost gone.


Random thought, but I got my Priesthood Line of Authority, and it's got some holes in it. and by some, I mean, a lot. Can someone take a look at this and get back to me?

Anyway, Let me share something this week. It's a bit personal, so no details. However, this week, My companion and I made a goal on how many lessons we would teach this week. We set it pretty high, especially given the area and its history, but We knew we could do it with the Lord's help.

Long story short, through some amazing miracles, which
1. Could not have been coincidences and 
2. Could NOT have been us alone,

we achieved our Goal.

The Lord is in the Details. Our Mission President has said it hundreds of times, but Now I know it for myself.

Anyway, that's all from me this week. Remember and look for the miracles in your life. Call them what you will; call them coincidence, or fate, or Karma, or whatever. Remember that they're from the Lord.

Love from the North,

Elder Darcey