Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I stole some pictures!!!

I'm craving some pictures since Riley says he had some for me but forgot his card reader.... :(

Sooooo I stole some from Elder Sobczak blog. (a missionary from his district at the MTC who is also in his mission) Hope Kelly Sobczak doesn't mind. (His mom)

So here are some more pictures from the MTC.

 Sobczak & Strong
 "nice little fort!", said Elder Sobczak
The District 

"I have formed relationships that will probably last me all my life", Elder Riley Strong

Email #2 January 29, 2013 Scott conversation "you cant get anymore foriegn than so cal haha"

thanks dad! I have been trying! I conatacted a guy in his garage working on a 76 yamaha bike and talked about the trail 90 for a bit. but he is crazy atheist haha. 
love, Riley

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM, Scott Strong <scottstrong73@hotmail.com> wrote:
Remember to use your interests and knowledge about different thing to help create relationships and use them to help you have a good in.  Here is your chance to Prove yourself, make the mission better!!

You will do good

I'm so proud of you.

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 29, 2013, at 12:36 PM, "James Riley Strong" <jamess@myldsmail.net> wrote:
tuesdays. and I have been keeping track in my planner of all the cars I see. my bishop has some sort of Porsche hidden in his garage, definately more than just a boxter but I don't know what kind. everyone here is obsessed with apperances. and it kindof makes me sad as a missionary because no one gives a crap about what I want to give them.

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM, Scott Strong <scottstrong73@hotmail.com> wrote:
I'm sure you will see a lot of cool cars there.  It's snowing here.. I put 10 miles on my 4 wheeler plowing yesterday and  there is about 6" more today.

Is your p day going to be Mondays regularly or Tuesdays?

Scott Strong

On Jan 29, 2013, at 11:57, "James Riley Strong" <jamess@myldsmail.net> wrote:
I have been waiting all week to Email you guys. I get mail on fridays, so it probabaly wont be a very good way to communicate. but that is the only way to talk to Zoe. I have been having a good time here, I am in the area called Laguna Hills. It is the nothernmost city in the mission. I am pretty close to the beach but I cannot see it. The people here are either pretty well off,(they live in houses which are really expensive here) or people are poor and living way out of their means. in the complex we live in, there are a lot of unemployed people. and the rent for the apartments is about 1350 a month!!! it is a one bedroom, one bath place with a small kitchen. that is ridicoulus! 

I feel stupid because I left my card reader at the appartment so I cant send you pictures untill next week. It sucks basically. but I have some good ones. There is a dusty RX-7 that lives in the complex and it makes me wonder who is letting it sleep there. It definately has not moved in a while. the area is really nice. tons of parks and the houses are super nice. not that big,. but really nice. it is definately a different place. my mission president says you cant get anymore foriegn than so cal haha. I am going to write a letter to mom and you guys can forward parts of this to everyone. the complex i live in is called Allicia Village so you can check it out on the net.   

Love you! keep up the hard work!

Email January 29, 2013 P-Days Tuesday's "I forgot my CARD READER!!"

Subject: Mommy

you are just only supposed to send mail to my mission home,
dear mom,

I am in Laguna Hills! it is a city in between laguna beach and Laguna Niguel. my area is one ward, the Laguna Hills 2nd Ward. It is an awesome ward where the members love missionary work. we really do eat a dinner every night at the members house. and saturday night I was leading an exchange, which means I was the Elder who stayed in his area, and I was with Elder Deyoung, he is from Morgan Utah, and he is my Zone Leader. anyways, saturday night we had a very fancy 3 course meal with a sister who was the BEST COOK IN THE WORLD. she should have a TV show. she is from Italy, and it shows indefinately. 

I live in a one bedroom apartment, with a living room and kitchen, I have heard that it is one of the bigger apartments in the area, the mission spends over 100,000 a month on rent alone! that is crazy! I wish I could see the ocean while I walked around, since I am so close, but the Laguna Beach Elders get that to themselves. the area has alot of hills and we get a good run in every morning. probably close to a 5k every morning.

I forgot my CARD READER!! at the apartment so I cant send home my pictures this week. sorry! but I have been taking good ones for you to see. my niehbor is named Monique, she is like 75-80, and is very french. dont really understand what she says alot of the time, but whatever, she is nice. she is very lonely, and makes up excuses for us to help her, but for some reason everything gets resolved by the time we are done talking to her. 

There is not a lot going on in our area right now. the past companionships here were all pretty ready to go home so not tons of work has been done. alot of our teaching records havent been updated since 2011. which basically sucks. the investigators we do have, have been meeting with the investigators for a long time already, but they still dont know anything (fancy that). so we are basically starting fresh. my companion is Elder Anderson. We have nothing in common. and it is hard to get along with him haha. he misunderstands me and doesnt have the guts to tell me when I am frustrating him untill he cant take it any more, and it always turns out to be something stupid that we resolve instantly after he almost starts crying. but he takes long showers so I get a good amount of time in the morning to myself haha! and he doesnt like spicy food so he doesnt eat any of the fresh salsa I bought. I guess that is a plus too.

But he is a good missionary. he is really excited to have a companion that doesnt 'suck' as he said. we are looking forward to growing the area alot. 

One of the coolest things so far, is that every thursday a catoring company comes to the complex and sells really good tacos for a dollar a piece. everyone from the area shows up and it is a good time, I want to use that time to get with some people that usually hate us haha. 

I am pretty sure there was a man taking a bath in the hot tub this morning. he had a thing of body wash with him... it kindof worried me, so I told the maintenence guys on the way out, they said he has done it before haha.

We get a car wednesday-friday and share one on tuesday. we get alot of rides from members, but we are going to start walking more to contact a lot. 

One of the Investigators we do have is 9 and her name is Natalie xx. she has a single mom named Angelica, who has 5 kids, and works nights. the two boys 16, 13 are baptized and go to church. Natalie has a hard time focusing on things, and learning. so we taught her the plan of salvation with sidewalk chalk. and she realy liked it. we had her walk us threw it. it was AWESOME! haha. Angelica knows that the church is good for her kids. she lets us go over there whenever we want and boss her kids around and tells on them if they didnt do there reading or if they were fighting or not doing their homework. it is cool. she just doesnt really want to change herself yet I dont think. she buys Herbal Tea for us to drink. specifically Lemon Grass. Elder Anderson was really uneasy about it, because he thought it was evil. but I made him drink it haha. she let me pick a lemon off of her tree and  I cut it up and put it in my tea with some sugar so it was like warm lemonade. it was actually pretty good! there is another little girl named Ariana who is 6 and reminds me of Zoe's little sisters. because she is really small and mexican haha. and Erik is 4 and he is special, he reminds me alot of Jaymo, and it is amazing that Angelica can keep up with all of those kids and work nights and she is amazing. Natalie's favorite thing to do is hug us 100 times and steal the stuff out of out pockets and our name tags. she is funny haha. I love this family so much already! it reminds me of my home. 

I love all of you, and hopefully I remember my card reader next time!

Elder Strong

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21,2013 Pictures-He emailed while doing his laundry before flying out tomorrow

 Elder Sobczak (sub-check) and Elder Neil
 This is Elder Ure at the temple
 (He is still using his cool photography skills)
 This is me pretending to have my arm around sister Rawl
 This is my teacher, I gave him one of the ugly ties you sent me, and he gave me one from his mission.
The district after the temple (He is wearing the tie he said he traded a old dance tie for, "an old Tommy Hilfiger tie from the 70's, it is blue with burgundy an gold paisleys")

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Emergency non P-day Email - January 19, 2013

Martin Luther King day is Monday, they wont be printing out any dear elders or giving out any packages on Monday  so I wont ever get them if you send me them on Monday  so if you have anything to send, send it to my mission home in California. thanks for the ties, i love them!! except ill probably never wear a few of them, but most of them a really sweeeeet!!! a few days ago I traded one of my old dance ties i got for 20 bucks, for an old Tommy Hilfiger ties from the 70's, it is blue with burgundy an gold paisleys haha.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tie Shopping at DI and Savers for Riley

Our great tie finds from DI and Savers
Left to Right who found what ties.
Zoe - the best woven tie
 Zoe - awesome green vintage tie
Scott - Grandma blue flower tie
Jason - defiantly the score of the trip, I love it! (Jason called it the tie from India)
My find - fancy curtains
 Cassie's choice - abstract bat signals 
Scott - the couch material tie(inside joke with Riley)
Jason - the California fruit tie
My find - the nice tie find
Scott - the Tommy Hilfiger (the guy that checked us out at the DI said to be cool on your mission you need a Hilfiger tie)
My find - the not too feminine flower tie

Email #2 January 17, 2013 late night

Elder Johnston vs. Elder Holland
I forgot to tell you a cool story from tuesday nights devotional.
We got there a little early, because there is no assigned seating, and we wanted to get close to the stand. so we ended up like 15 yards away from Elder Holland. but before the talk started, someone came to ask an Elder in my district something, he tapped on his shoulder and said "Elder Johnston, you are from Montana, aren't you? Can you come with me?" and then he left for a little while and this is the story he told us. And I believe everything he says because he is a super sweet kid, and is very humble.
He went through the door that leads to the stand in the gym/auditorium and he sees Elder Holland, it was just him, and another Elder, he looks at Elder Johnston and says "Elder Reef Johnston, I'll be with you in a minute." Thats Elder Johnstons first name. so he is basically freaking out at this point. Elder Holland asked him to be an usher until he would be relieved by someone else. He looked at him and said "The Lord has something very special planned for you and the others going to Carlsbad California." He grabbed Elder Johnstons chin and said "You should probably shave more often Elder Johnston" and smiled and went up onto the stand.
Elder Johnston has been shivering  ever since

Email #2 January 17, 2013 To Scott - caught him again when he was online

From: James Riley Strong <jamess@myldsmail.net>
Date: January 17, 2013, 8:52:29 MST
To: "J. Scott Strong" <sstrong@novatek.com>
Subject: Re: Howdy
also you could tell everyone else to do that too haha

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 8:51 AM, James Riley Strong <jamess@myldsmail.net> wrote:
I cant think of anything else I would need. I don't really need anything else. I am glad you sent me my ties, I am getting so bored with my ties, dressing up everyday along with 2500 other missionaries gets kinda boring. If you have time, or the desire, and are around a thrift/antique store or a D.I. you could pick me up some cheap unique Ties. I think that would be the best thing ever

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 8:37 AM, J. Scott Strong <sstrong@novatek.com> wrote:
I'm sending a package tomorrow.. Your glasses and a couple things...... Any last requests or anything that someone needs? I'm so happy for you Riley, Zoe was over last night she just showed up out of the blue. She is coming over tonight for dinner, I love her being here.  She misses you like crazy, so do I.  She is a special girl and it seems like she is part of the family.  It's going to be hard to let her go.

The burrs are getting baptized Saturday. The two girls have really great testimonies and they are awesome.  I love being involved in the youth, I learn more than them.

Keep up the good work

Love ya

Email January 17, 2013 To Scott

From: James Riley Strong <jamess@myldsmail.net>
Date: January 17, 2013, 8:27:45 MST
To: "J. Scott Strong" <sstrong@novatek.com>
Subject: Re: Howdy
That sounds like a blast! I always loved those cool priest quorum activities. Hayden is a stud, he is a good kid.
The MTC is pretty crazy. we are in the laundry room right now. thanks for all of the packages. you have been feeding my whole zone.
It gets hard sometimes, because I have changed so much in the two weeks that it makes me think that everyone back home is changing a lot too. but I am sure things have been usual, and just the same as any other day. Its P day and I am doing laundry, I only get one day a week to write letters or get on a computer, and when I am on a computer I have to email my branch President too, so sorry that I have difficulties writing you guys. I sent a letter home a day or so ago, I wrote it while  I was sick at my dorm, they made me stay in there all day, it was so boring because I am used to studying for 12 hours a day(crazy huh), mixed with teaching investigators. The  spirit is so strong here, and I love my district very much, they are some of the kindred spirits that I will meet in this life.
Thanks so much for your letter, I love you very much. Thanks for everything you do for Zoe, she means so much to me. I try not to think about what will happen after my mission, but even if she is just a friend I will still love her forever.
Elder Holland came to the MTC, my district sat on the 2nd row, he basically yelled at everyone, like he always does, and i swear I could feel is breath on my face. it was a very special experience. he has a true love for missionary work. he had us join him in a dedicatory prayer for a few of the buildings that just got remodeled on the MTC campus.
I will write mom and everyone else an Email now, I hope everything goes well.
Elder James Riley Strong

On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 2:04 PM, J. Scott Strong <sstrong@novatek.com> wrote:

 How are things going? I'm just laying on a couch up at aspen grove for youth conference talking with Hayden, both of us are injured and everyone's out skiing but us.  Hayden tore his ACL and I fell sledding, I was standing on the sled like a long board and ate it at the bottom of the hill and landed on my shoulder. Hayden will be made an elder tomorrow after church, kind of weird.... Mom and I talked at youth conference, mom did really good.  

Have a good couple last days In the MTC!!!  Love you so much


Email January 17, 2013

Thanks to Jeri Strong, Yvonne, Jan Galovich, Janette Roach, Peggy Beatty and Rachel Beatty I recieved probably over 2,000,000 calories in the mail! thanks so much, I love all of you!

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 8:44 AM, James Riley Strong <jamess@myldsmail.net> wrote:
Dear everyone,
The MTC is a very special place. If there was ever a place to make someone come close to christ, it was here. Everything that we learn here is necessary to converting yourself. the focus is on the missionaries, everything we learn is to help us. We then can use those experiences to bring others to Christ, in any way that they need.
It is really hard at times. Because you can't just call up the people that you love, and talk to them. you have to wait for letters, and sometimes you can't say the things you want because it would be to hard to write.
My days are long. I sit in a desk for most of the day and study, and I get to teach volunteers, that are portraying different investigators. I got to teach one real investigator, named Emily, she lives in the Glenwood Apartments in Provo. She goes to UVU and has a twin sister who plays volleyball for UVU. My comp. and I talked to her for about 45 minutes, and she really loved the lesson we taught, and we were able to answer the questions she had through the spirit. she asked us for a Book of Mormon, and then we had to leave. I'll probably never see her again, but I hope she gets what she wants from somewhere.
It has been two weeks but it feels like it has been months. My flight leaves SLC at 8:40 tuesday morning,. and I will arrive in San Diego to start what will probably be the longest day of my mission, going from 4 am at the MTC to leave to the airport and starting in California doing a regular mission schedule till 10:30 pm. I cant wait to get there and see the place that I will be serving in for 2 years.
I love you all and can feel your prayers. I hope everything goes well for all of you.

Elder Strong

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Letter Received January 16, 2013

Package #2 January 15, 2013

$20 from a nice ward lady, 2 packs of jerky, 150pcs of a chocolate variety pack, his favorite CAL Ranch sour gummies, a letter and tie from Jason and a letter from Cassie.

Plenty of stuff to share. I can't believe his MTC time is almost over.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scott cheated - emailed Riley while he was on the computer uploading my pictures and got a response

From: James Riley Strong <jamess@myldsmail.net>
Date: January 10, 2013, 9:46:37 MST
To: Scott Strong <scottstrong73@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Hello
I want my box of ties that are under my bed or in my closet, except for the peacock looking one and the gold one. Everyone loved the gummy worms and the elders in my district are begging for mountain dew if you could pull that off. You can drop packages off at the MTC if you don't want to pay shipping.
Love you
Thanks for your letter
Everyones waiting to get on the computer.
Glad you guys can have fun with out me.
Bye, Riley

On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM, Scott Strong <scottstrong73@hotmail.com> wrote:
Do you need anything?  I'm going to send you a box today and then next week 1 more,  let me know.  I love you and am so proud of you.  Your pictures made me cry, haven't done that for at least 2 days.  Took the priest to the temple last night, had a great time other than the 3 hours standing because it was so busy they wouldn't let me and brad sit..  We stood on the back walk and they would keep pulling us in to do confirmations.

What are good treats???

Love you

Email #2 January 10,2013 (after his P-Day temple trip)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!
If it is not to late, I would like to change my missionary scripture to Matthew 11:28-30
love you!
just got back from the temple, it was awesome

Email January 10,2013 This is all I got. :( But the pictures were nice.

everything is going great, I love my district, they are awesome.
My companion is a total zoob, but hes a good guy. we all do everything together, and we have had a lot of opportunities to practice teaching investigators.
we are going to the temple today, most of my district have only been once or twice.
i love you, thanks for the letters and the packages! love you!

Pictures I received his first P-Day January 10,2013

Elder Hamblin pointing to Elder Ure
The good looking pocket watch was a gift from Zoe.
He was so happy when he received it.
A famous mission picture in front of the Provo Temple.
I think I'm in shock still about having a missionary who is in a missionary picture in front of the temple.
Elder Sobczak
Elder Sobczak(sub-check) from Nebraska, Elder Hamblin from Arizona, Elder Ure from Idaho, Elder Epperson from Utah, Elder Redford, Elder Strong
Elder Johnston from Montana, Elder Neal from Arizona (in his pajama suit) and Elder Moon
Elder Hamblin
Elder Epperson
"We figured out how to take lightsaver pictures"

"the clip on hand sanitizer is for Zoe, this is just some random Elder"
From Zoe's letter, "For lunch I had a chicken salad with walnuts and blueberries, it was delicious!"
Sister Jackson, Sister Connor from North Carolina, Sister Rawle
From Zoe's letter,"Sister Conner worked at the MTC as a IT person so she can hack all the computers in the building so we can see what food is on the menu."
Elder Ure and Elder Strong
Sister Jackson
Elder Johnston
This is Riley quoting Elder Johnston,
"Once I made a blanket from a bear that I had slain."
"I'm worried about finding away to make sure I don't lose my archery skills."

Here is the package we sent after we received his list.

This is the package we sent Thursday. New messenger bag- 2 coke zero's for him - 8 Mt Dew's for his district ( Riley told Scott that is what they had been begging for) - SD card reader - cloud cakes (Scott bought some to freeze for his last supper home and we never eat then) - his little song book he forgot - tie rack - his box of ties is on the bottom(he only took washable ones, then decided he wanted all of them) - sour patch kids (he said his district loved the sour gummies we sent last week) - gobstoppers. I love that boy.

Surprise Letter Received January 5,2013