Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 24, 2014 - My Life

Dear Parents, whether by birth or otherwise,

So, I guess that you are all pretty much wondering what is going on with my life right now. I want to be very straight forward and honest.
1. Just under a ton of pressure, with a lot of different aspects of missionary life;
    a.) Our area is dead and our investigators are not keeping any commitments.
    b.) The companionship's in my district are all having a ton of issues; not getting along, not being obedient, getting discouraged, being lazy, etc.
    c.) My companion is a really nice guy, but he really is only good for small talk, not really a source for validation or compassion.
There are definitely a lot of different forces pulling me in many different directions, which I do understand as a normal fact of life.
2. Two weeks a go I had a pretty substantial "break down". I was caught in what Elder Holland labels as "The Dark Night of the Mind" and a "Crater in the Mind"(see Holland, "Like a Broken Vessel", Oct 2013) Depression is something that I had always thought I had experienced, but I don't think I really ever had until this point in my life.
After about 2 days straight of that, I called Sister Kendrick and explained what was happening to me, I met with her, we talked for a while, and decided that I really could only get help from a professional. She had me take a test, sent it into SLC, I got approval for visiting a counselor for LDS Family Services.
But, I felt better a few days after that, and decided that I would be ok, and didn't need to see anyone. And then, later on that week I got pretty wrecked again, and that night I called President and told him that I needed to schedule an appointment.
Last week I met with a counselor that I took one of my last companions to see a few times, her name is... actually it is probably confidential. But, she is really awesome, and she has helped me. I will meet with her twice more probably, she is giving me tools that she uses to help people think through what is happening.
I am actually really grateful for all of this that is happening to me, because I am literally getting STRONGER, spiritually and emotionally and socially because of it.
I am running out of time, but I just wanted to fill all of you in. Sorry for the scare, I was originally just going to not say anything about anything.
Saturday, we piked up 2 new investigators and set 4 baptismal dates. And I am back on the road. Looking out for great things to happen.
Love you so much. sorry no general email, i have 4 seconds left.

February 18, 2013 - Picture

No Email from Riley this week. Just a picture of a car to his daddy.
Acura NSX 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just a quicky :)

Ward Council is the bomb, just don't fall into the temptation of doing tons of calendar planning during it, there is a huge opportunity to have spiritual revelation about people who need help, even if you don't talk about them.
It is more than what I do, because I am doing it as a missionary, you are a YW president, the future of the church is in you r hands. If it weren't for YM, I would definitely not be in the church right now. or ever, for that matter. I think it is an awesome calling to have.

Elder James Riley Strong

On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM, Alice Strong <avstrong73@gmail.com> wrote:

I went to my first Ward Counsel yesterday. It was pretty intense. I think it will be fun to have this calling. It might get hard at times but I should be able to handle it. It was a long day. I was at the church from 8:30am to 5:30pm...................but I'm sure nothing compared to what you do.

Thanks for my birthday card BTW. I think I forgot to thank you last week.

Anyway love you and hope you have a good week.


PS I got your shirt and will be sending you that package this week. 

PSS I guess Zoe went on a vacation with her family to Cali last week.

PSSS the Hall's were there too. Saw their family picture at Disneyland. I can't wait until we can go there again. I'm thinking after you get home and for Jason's graduation. 

I love you!!!!!


February 10, 2014 - Pics

A Hindi wind chime (with an Alfa Romeo track car in the background) 
 Petting a Rottweiler
Elder Hamblin (friend from the MTC) and his Sundae ice cream Sunday

February 10, 2014

Dear Family,
This week was a pretty hard week. But I think that sometimes we have to have bad times. "...if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of the eternities. Thou must commune with God..." Joseph Smith
Although, I didn't exactly search into or contemplate the darkest abyss this week, but I came pretty close. Plus, I like the quote.
We started teaching this super spiritual couple, Robin and Jayshree. Robin is from Canada and Jayshree is from India. They are "Christian" but they are more kindof like the kind of person that thinks that God is in and around everything. Plus they follow this guy who is supposed to be another embodiment of God, "just like Jesus Christ was" As you can see, our work is cut out for us. They are way cool, everyone we teach is. everyone in the world is.
We are trying to get them to read the book of mormon, they are really really cool and nice, and they think that it is SO COOL that there is a huge Harri Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, and they think it is way cooler that my friends and I went there for lunch a lot, and to the holly festival. I kind of have a double "IN" there with cars and Harri Krishna chants... haaha
I don't know if I told you but we split the ward, and Elder Hamblin from the MTC is on the other side of it. HE IS IN MY DISTRICT NOW!!! haha I love that guy. it is so fun to see him, and we get to have dinner apppointments together sometimes. The ward loves that both sides of the ward are friends, because they said that sometimes it seems like a competition, which is true.
Well, I am excited for a new week. sometimes you just need to take advantage of that.
Love you

Elder James Riley Strong

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 3, 2014 - pics

 Fish pillow
 The Yellow Deli Menu
Kout and Hala (qu-at and Hah-leh) They are from Sudan and Kout is getting baptized! his mom is a CRAZY Less Active who is really funny and yells at every one in a high pitched voice. "Mom, have I ever been to Utah?" "who do you think you are, Obama?! you don't have no money to go to Utah!" She also makes fun of Kout for having a thing for "little asian girls" Kout is 9 haha

February 3, 2014

Dear Family,
This week has been really great, I found a new favorite place to have members take me for lunch (I promise we do things besides just eat, food and ties are our only variety). It is a place called The Yellow Deli, It is a cultish christian group that basically lives the law of concecration. If I didn't know the church was true, I would probably bail out and live with them in their "comunity". They get mad if you call it a comune, (like the ones from the 60's) but that is basically what it is. They grow, raise and butcher their own food, and they built a really beautiful restuarant here in vista, it is like a giant log cabin. I got their ruben sandwich, it was great. 
I am still lovin life out here. Vista is turning out to be REALLY COOL. I have my favorite Ward Mission Leader, Bro Voigtlander. He is a retired beach bum as he says. He basically spent from 18-40 working nights stocking shelves at a Vons grocery store, then he would get off of work, surf, sleep in the shade on the beach, wake up, surf again if it was good, and then go chase girls. He then met his wife when he was "looking for my next 2 weeks" hhaa and now he is active and he is a graphic designer/art director for a company that makes instruction manuals. It is awesome to see all of these success stories being so involved in helping other peoples life. kinda reminds me of home. plus Bro. V has 3 super old BSA Motorcycles and a 2 1/2 inch long grey goatee (spelling?), bald and wears glasses. I'll get a pic for ya.
 (my fave relief society pres is Kyle, shhhh don't tell sister skousen)  
Then you have Bro. Calkins, who is the assistant WML, he manages a Fab shop that restores cars, most of them get sent to Barret Jackson in AZ. Right now he says it is a pretty normal line up, 2 Bugatti's from the 20's and a few old classic Chevy's. He just got done working on a 1953 Aston Martin DBr3 or 3r? It was the one that Carol Shelby won the La Mans in, the project was for Shelby's grandson. Plus, Bro. Calkins Great Dane just had 13 puppies, and they are all making me super trunky to get a dog. And Bro. Calkins has a sweet mustache, like Luigi's mustache. He Drives a cherry 1960's Benz Wagon, its grey and has brown leather seats. And he is building a rat rod. only dad knows what I am saying probably haha. He kinda looks like Humprey Bogart, but with Luigi's mustache.
The list goes on and on with cool members, they are all way cool, I cant even believe it. There are either these super Hip young families or solid older families that have lived in the tri city area for centuries
Our Investigator is having Baby-Momma Drama. well, baby daddy drama. She is trying to decide if she is going to wait for him to decide he wants to meet with us, of if she is going to move on with her life. It is kinda stressing me out, because she is ready to be baptized, she just needs to take the leap of faith. She is living the Law of Chastity (does not make her boy friend happy) and is getting close to being cigarette free. She is even setting up an appointment with us to meet with one of her best freinds. I am so STOKED to start teaching her.
Well, HAve a great week!
Elder James Riley Strong