Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Horses and Rain

Chance is now in England. 
Ironically, he has been getting less rain than we have since he got there.
We have been having rainy day after rainy day.

Chance has been eating new foods and riding horses.
Okay, riding horses might be a stretch,
but Chance managed to get in his horse/cowboy fix
for at least one minute anyway. 

Here's an excerpt from a recent letter:

The thing with the horse. I was at the chapel this past week and we went into the gym just to do some language study and when we walked in, I noticed one of those stick horses that you put between your legs and I got it, and "rode" the horse around the gym. It was pretty epic if I do say so myself! And don't you worry, I have a picture of me riding the horse! (Dont worry I didn't actually break any rules, in the Missionary handbook, it says that you're not allowed to ride horses so I "rode a horse.")

Spiritual thought for the week. I was really studying the 2000 strippling warriors and their courage and the strength they had this past week to give Myself strength and courage as I am a missionary for the next two years in England. 

Alma 57: 21, 25-27
  21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

As we obey and seek to be the best we can at following Gods command, he will deliver us and will help us through our hard times in life. As we try to be the best we can be, and work as hard as we can work, being as obedient as we can be, having faith, God will be satisfied. 

  25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
  26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
  27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

The stippling warriors were delivered from death and were delivered by the hand of God because of their faith, their obedience, and their desire to obey God and follow him. As we continue to do the same thing, God will preserve and will protect us as we go through hard times and struggle through life. He does not leave us comfortless. He is the light and the way and as we seek him, we will feel his peace and love and he will help buoy us up in our hardships and trials. 

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!

Link to The Book of Mormon that Chance referenced. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chance Has Arrived!

He is officially in England. I am a bit behind in writing, but Chance arrived in England 
 about two weeks ago.

Chance's first view of England, from the plane.

Ahh, he sent his mom flowers... ok, a picture of flowers...

A snippet of Chance

Chance arrived, but his luggage did not.  Chance had a few lay overs, and 
apparently, his luggage got left behind somewhere.

He had a layover in The Netherlands for about an hour which was wonderful
because he took pictures out of the plane window and I was
able to see the land where I served my mission. 
I still love that place and it's people.

Losing luggage while traveling can be a bit of a nightmare, and Chance
ended up having to borrow some of his companions pants for a service project.  I 
imagine those pants were a bit short on him since Chance is 
taller than his companion, but there was an upside in this drama for this momma.

One of my first thoughts after finding out that the luggage would be sent to the 
mission home when it arrived in England, so Chance would eventually
have access to his stuff, was that Chance did it!

Chance lost his luggage while traveling to another country, was able to talk to the 
airline and figure out what had happened and then figure out 
what to do.

This does my heart good because as a momma, you want your kids to be
able to be independent and figure things out.
And Chance was able to do this while understanding the accents of England.

I had to ask for directions in Boston once when we were lost, and the police officer's 
accent was so thick, that when I got back in the car, I told'the driver
I was mostly certain that I had heard everything right.

When you have a deaf child that you try to raise to be independent and able to go 
out into the world and be able to take care of business, 
this is a triumphant moment.

Chance has now received his luggage so he no longer has to wear
his companions pants when doing service projects.

Chance actually packed in such a way that he could live out of his carry on for about a week
just in case something like a loss of luggage happened.

He just didn't pack jeans for service projects in that carry on.

Here is a snippet from Chance's weekly emails home:

England is a different place y'all! It's not the same as America and Utah that's for sure. 
My first day which also happened to be my birthday was zone conference and it was good but I fell asleep so many times haha. 
Not too much has happened but we have been able to teach a Chinese college girl yesterday and she is so prepared for the gospel. I was able to translate the English into Chinese for her because we had an English member present. 
Spiritual thought of the week:
8 Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.
I love this because it is focusing everything that we do on God and thanking God for everything that we have for the many blessings that we're so blessed to have.
Sorry it was kind of short but I love you all and will talk to you next week!
Quote of the week:
"I don't Rob banks, I mean, I can't."
This is a funny story, so we saw this guy that was on a wheel chair with a leg half Missing ahead of us coming towards us as we were walking and when he got close to us he started talking. He talked about a lot of weird things and we could hardly understand him because he only had one tooth. Well he started asking us about Donald Trump and then he started talking about robbing banks. Well he then said "I don't Rob banks, I mean, I can't." My mission companion and I had a good laugh about that and then questioned if he would if he could. 

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Chance and His Critters

If you look really carefully, you can see that there is a spider camouflaged in this picture.
It is Chance's new buddy.

Chance found a new critter to enjoy in the MTC this week.
Yearning for critters seems to be a common thread in Chance's life at the MTC.
I am glad that he has the bounty of the earth to help supply him 
with critters to love.

I wonder what new critters he will find and bond to in England?
When I served a mission in The Netherlands, my 
critters of choice were the little quarter sized frogs. Just seeing one of those on the path
as I rode my bike across the countryside brought joy to my soul.
I wonder if Chance will find frogs in England?
Until he gets there and sees with his own eyes,
 I guess he'll settle for bonding with spiders at the MTC.

Here is an excerpt from Chance's weekly email home:

For clarification, this scripture he quotes comes from The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ, in the book of first Nephi chapter 17 verses 13-14.

1 Nephi 17:13-14
13 And will also be your light in the wilderness; and will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keemy commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised landand yshall know that it is by me that ye are led.
14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived ithe promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I,the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.
When we are having our hard times in life, and are wondering why we are going through our trials, remember that the Lord is with you. And he is alongside you preparing the way for you to overcome your hard times. Through our trials, we will come to learn of God, and learn of his mercy. For it is through our hard times, that we are able to see the true mercies of God and how his hand influences our lives. I promise that as you look to our Lord and Savior, and recognize how much he can help you and seek that help, that he will help you and will be there always. 
I love you all! Thanks for all of y'alls support! I will talk to you next week! 

Elder Paxton

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Winson and Reverend Doctor Andrew Teal.

Chance and Winson
This is one of Chance's best friends. They met each other in junior high and have been basically inseparable since. They both played on the varsity soccer team at school,  spent weekends hanging out  and went on several group dates with both girls they had asked out , and girls who asked them out. They were also pall bearers when their beloved soccer coach and mentor died suddenly during their senior year of high school. 
They are like brothers. 
Our family loves Winson. He is part of the family.

They entered the MTC about 3 weeks apart with Winson studying Vietnamese while Chance studied Mandarin. 
This week Winson left the MTC and entered what is known as the "mission field," which is the area a missionary is serving in. Chance will leave for the field, or England in a little over two weeks.
Chance said goodbye to Winson and they will not see each other for roughly 
22 more months. Their experiences will be similar in some ways
and different in others since they are serving in different areas of the world.
They will go on this mission journey together just as they have 
navigated life together for the past 7 years.

Getting outside for some Ultimate Frisbee
 Here is a snippet from Chance's weekly email this week. To clarify a few things for understanding, I have put in some links for more information.
Our church has 12 apostles just as  when Jesus Christ was on the earth and one of them is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Chance refers to him in his email.

," I was approached by a gentleman in charge of Operations at the MTC during lunch a week from this past Friday. And he talked with me and another Elder in my zone who is also going to England. He was talking about how Elder Holland had been invited to Oxford a little ways back bysetrjj Reverend Doctor Andrew Teal. This Reverend is a doctor at Oxford and wanted Elder Holland to speak at a conference there. Well fast forward to now, Elder Holland invited the Reverend to come watch General Conference.
So he came to Utah and he found out about the Missionary Training Center and wanted to meet the missionaries that were going to England. There was me and a few other elders and  we got the chance to show him how we are taught in class and he met each of us personally and he had such encouraging words for one of us individually. He is an amazing man and then he shared with us that he was super glad and grateful that we were gonna be sharing the great message of Jesus Christ to his people in England. He was such an amazing person! We all got a picture with him. 
This past Saturday was pretty warm so I decided to tell my district that we were gonna play ultimate Frisbee outside on a small field that is on the MTC grounds. We started playing and then the Frisbee smacked the side of a concrete wall so we broke it, however, I had my mini soccer ball, and because of Mr. Gilbert from high school always playing ultimate ball with us, we decided to do ultimate Frisbee but with a ball and it worked perfectly. (Thanks Mr. Gilbert!) It was so fun and it was so nice to play sports outside and to actually be running around instead of just staying in the gym. 

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that he suffered for my sins. I know that he knows everything that each of us is going through and he knows how to help each one of us, all we need to do is reach out to him, and pour out our whole souls to him. I promise if you reach out to him, and seek forgiveness, he will remember your sins no more. 
I love you all and I'm grateful for everything y'all have done for me!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Chance Sees Signs of Life

Chance told us that we don't understand how much he misses
holding animals in the MTC when he saw pictures
of our new chicks.
He has always been a hands on animal lover.

That is why having a duck drop by for a visit at the MTC 
merited a mention from Chance.

Chance was delighted that a duck decided to visit the water feature and that 
he was around to see it.

In Chance' email home, he wrote about another life form he encountered this week:

 Here at the MTC it Is really hard to see bugs or birds other than ravens. So on Thursday, we decided that it was warm enough to go outside, and that's when a sister in my district saw the moth. Sister Thompson is terrified of bugs, and the moth was on the back of her chair. She would not come near that chair. So I picked up this moth and realized that it was not moving at all and was dead. So I lay it down in the grass. 
However, the moth looks like bark, so I decided I was gonna put it in with the bark that was around the tree right next to me. Well get this, I look over at it while we're in the middle of our lesson, and it's MOVING! I got soooooo excited! I was like no way and I picked it up and Sister Thompson of course,  got as far away from me as possible. Well I just let this moth play on me for the rest of the lesson. Well it was at this point that my companion was like, can you imagine if you could blow it out of your hands like Gandolf does in Lord of the Rings? So I did it, and the moth flew away and soared! As you can tell, I like bugs, and I was finally was able to hold a big here after 4 weeks! 

 My encounter with the moth made me think about how at times it may seem that we are spiritually dead, or don't have the ability to move. However, as we come to our Savior we can start moving again like the moth did among the bark. And just like how I was able to hold it and blow on it so it could fly and soar into the sky, the Savior does the same with us. He holds us in the cradle of his hands until we are ready, then he blows on us and we can fly and soar because of him.

It is good that Chance was able to get his animal/bug fix this week at the MTC.
Sometimes it is the little things that bring us the most joy. 

Monday, April 01, 2019

What Exactly Does Chance Do In The MTC?

We said our goodbyes and now Chance is living in the  Missionary Training Center or MTC and we
are left with his cowboy hat which is still hanging on the banister
where he always hung it when he would come home.

So what exactly is Chance doing in the MTC?
He starts his day by getting up early,
and he goes to classes
to study Mandarin.
He exercises,
reads his scriptures,
and studies.

As a missionary you have a companion that
is with you all of the time. 
In Chance's case, he has two companions
because there are only two other elders in his district.
Chance is now known as Elder Paxton.
Boys are called  Elders
and the girls are known as Sisters.
The missionaries are divided into districts
dependent upon the language they 
are learning. 
Sometimes, all of the missionaries in a district
are going to the same place.
Sometimes they are all going to different places
but learning the same language.
Chance is the only one going to England in his district.
The other missionaries in his district are learning Mandarin,
but going to Taiwan, Singapore and Australia.
There is a big map in the MTC where missionaries like to take 
pictures of themselves pointing
to the part of the world where they have been called to serve.
It is a tradition as a missionary to get a picture
of yourself pointing to this big map.
I took a picture in front of this map
and so did Chance's dad and brother.

Chance wears suits some days in the MTC, but mainly he wears dress slacks, 
a white shirt and tie. 
This will be his attire for the entirety of his mission.
Chance made sure to take some great ties with him because you know,
cool ties are important. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Off To The Missionary Training Center!

And our boy is off and has started his mission journey.

The two nights before he left,
Chance and his siblings made a big bed out of blankets across the living room floor and 
had a slumber party.
There were treats, movies and lots of laughter. 

The day Chance went into the MTC, we all went out to eat together
before we dropped him off.
Going out to eat together is a tradition for many families that are dropping off a missionary
at the MTC.
Many families have quite a drive to the MTC so they eat on the way.  
Some missionaries who are coming from other states, fly into Utah instead of driving with their families.
Our drive was quite short so we got to spend the morning with Chance at home and going 
out to eat.
Knowing that these were our last hours together for the next two years, we were
all enjoying every second together. 

A goodbye to his younger brother.
A goodbye to his little sister
A goodbye to his big brother
A goodbye to his sister

Eventually the time came when it was time to part. You have
a time to arrive at the MTC based on your last name.
Saying goodbye to his dad
Missionaries arrive on Wednesdays so it is a series
of drop offs for most of the day. To streamline the
process, the long goodbyes are usually said before
you actually arrive at the MTC.

 One of the more popular
places to say goodbye, is a field across from the MTC
in front of the Provo Temple. That is where we parked and
got out of the van to give everyone a chance to say goodbye.
We did a family group hug, and then everyone gave
Chance one last squeeze. They were tight squeezes.

It was bittersweet. I was obviously going to miss him, but
I was also very excited for him and the journey that he was

Saying goodbye to me
If I could choose to have him stay at home, or have him go
on his mission, I would choose to have him go.

He made the decision to go by himself. He
is ready. He has prepared himself and it is time
for him to begin this chapter in his life.
I wore my cowboy hat in
honor of Chance.  We all had cowboy hats on actually, and they were all piled at the end of our table at the restaurant.  Chance wore his cowboy hat until he got out of the van in the parking lot with his luggage.  Chance elected not to take his cowboy hat with him. It is hard to keep a cowboy hat
in proper condition when all of your belongings for the next two years are packed into two suitcases.

Chance will be getting a hat in England. Probably not a cowboy hat, but a hat that blends into the culture of the English. It is probably a good thing that he is getting a hat there since his head is going to feel naked with out one.

There were a few tears of
course when we parted. We will miss him
like crazy. But as much as
we will miss him, we could
never hold him back.

A final farewell to the family and his cowboy hat.