Wednesday, November 13, 2013


So, on Monday Spencer and I emailed back and forth for quite awhile.  We were mostly just doing question and answer like last time.  No information that I could really put on the blog- mostly just short exchanges of I miss yous and can you get me this info and stuff like that.  BUT we have gotten some really fantastic letters.  I just haven't gotten around to typing them out and putting them on here.  Believe it or not, this was all from one letter he wrote to Brigham that we got this week.  I edited a lot of it out, and it's still this long.  So here goes...

This is going to be a lot of random thoughts.  There are a flipping ton of rich people here.  Tarzana is like the entire mission in a few square miles.  Super rich areas closer to the hill and super poor areas closer down in the valley.  It's the best.  Great area to start in.  Anyway, the other day we were contacting inactive members.  We found this guy named D. J.  (abbreviated.)  We drove around until we found his house.  It was up on a hill, so it was nice, but not the nicest by any means.  We pull up and take a peak at his cars.  Holy.  Momma.  Lotus and Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz, although everyone has those here.  I have never seen so many nice cars.  Here in LA, people spend so much less money on their homes.  They buy crappy houses, but it's all about your car.  Everyone either has a Benz, BMW or Prius.  Inside joke that I'll tell you about later with the Prius.  Anyway, I love it.  One of my many tender mercies from Father.  (Spencer has always had a serious love of nice cars.)  I was like, "Holy crap Elder did you see that, it was amazing.  Oh my gosh I think I just pooped myself."  And then Elder H said something to the same effect.  Then we got out and started taking pictures of the cars.  Like idiots, I'm sure.  So we go up to the door totally nervous about this man who is clearly very loaded.  This beautiful girl opens the door.  "Hi, does Brother J live here?  He's a member of our church."  "Well, D.J. does live here but I doubt he's a Mormon."  So she goes in and we wait, a little nervous.  She comes back and says "yeah, he says to come in."  We walk in and both start drooling.  Beautiful. Home.  Had two grand pianos.  Beautiful kitchen.  She leads us into this room.  Most ridiculously awesome pad ever!!  Had a beautiful little stage on the left.  Tons of instruments that were very nice, and on the right.... softest couches ever; workout equipment, more stuff that looked expensive that I didn't even know the purpose of.  (found out that it was all stuff for playing video games.)  And the nicest TV I have ever seen in my life.  35-40 year old guy just sitting there, playing video games.  He's all, "Hey guys!  What's up?"  What's up???  You're the richest man I've ever seen, that is what's up!  Basically the guy makes the Call of Duty games.  Made Halo, Modern Warfare.  That's what he does.  Sits there and plays video games, drinks the most expensive alcohol, and makes millions of dollars while his games are sold.  Best. Life. Ever.  Except for the alcohol and lack of Gospel, of course.  He grew up in the church and had left it long time ago.  His daughter was the girl who answered the door.  20 years old.  Not at all interested in Christ's message.  He was the most chill guy ever.  Very good looking and stylish and everything.  Sweet guy.  That was an interesting experience.

So tonight we had dinner with this family.  We drove up to their house, it was completely gated off.  Huge, beautiful home.  I looked at Elder H and said, "I really want to be rich."  He came out to meet us.  Super cool guy.  Classy!  But fun and chill.  He walks up their super long brick driveway with us following him.  Just plain class all over.  Trees and statues and... prime!  We go into their house.  SUPER nice!!  His wife- beautiful.  Maybe 40.  He's about the same age.  She is one of the heads of Nordstroms.  He lives in Vegas most of the week and works with the Osmonds for some show they do there.  Kids really into music and all the stuff I did in high school.  Fantastic family.  Easily the most enjoyable people I've eaten with since leaving home.  Anyway, they're vegan, but they do it the right way.  The father isn't, but he eats well.  She fed us this pasta dish with spaghetti squash instead of noodles.  Great stuff.  Also this breaded chicken.  They ate vegan chicken.  Don't ask, I don't know.  It  looked like real chicken to me.  They made us this dish with nuts and pumpkin and squash.  So good!!

(Advice to Brig)
I can't wait for you to go out and get your call.  So excited for you.  You have no idea what you're getting yourself into, though.  I can't begin to tell you the things I would have done if I could go back to your position.  Read like crazy!!  Preach My Gospel.  Not just the scriptures.  Study everything you can, but especially the things in PMG.  They are the most important things to be studying.  They'll be your main point of study for two years.  So start now.  Please.  There are things that Preston didn't tell me that I wish I had known and done.  Learn to cook!  Easy and cheap meals.  Go shopping with mom whenever you can.  You should try what I'm doing.  Have mom give you 150 dollars for the month and spend it on your food (no dinners) and laundry, haircuts, anything else you need.  It will be fun.  Interesting to see how you deal with it.  Try and use what they taught you in financial lit. class about using a budget.  That will help you a lot.  And use a planner.  That is such a good habit to have.  Not just for the mission, but for everything in life.  I was promised by my branch Pres. in the MTC that if I would learn to master the chapter in Preach My Gospel on planning, I would be successful in my life.  There's more to it.  Making goals and actually making them happen, planning everything in a schedule and always keeping commitments.  Lots of stuff.  Use it!!  It's completely inspired, obviously.  But you will really learn to appreciate it out here in the mission and the rest of your life.

Go out with the missionaries and actually teach lessons!  I would go out with them and hang out.  I learned a lot and it was a great thing for me, but it could have been better.  Ask the missionaries to treat you as a brand new missionary.  That will teach you more quickly than anything else.  Hopefully they'll force you to speak and to bare testimony and stuff.  You're going to be such a good missionary!!  I really am so excited for you.  So flipping amazing!  But it's all what you make of it.  The term/title "RM" means almost nothing to me anymore.  There are missionaries that are terrible.  It's all about how you served or what kind of missionary you were.  And you can tell with people.  Roger was a legend here.  Amazing missionary.  Everyone knew it.  But people can change out here if they really want to.  It's all up to you.

Okay, member missionary work.  It is so important!!!!  You have no idea.  Members never really do.  Apostles have been talking about that a ton over the past year.  The Lord is hastening the work, not by lowering the age, obviously that's a part of it, but by using the members.  When they say, "Every member a missionary" they're NOT KIDDING!  Missionary work can hardly happen without the members.  My job is full time, but when you're baptized you're hired by the Lord to teach.  I just heard a quote, actually Elder H said it the other night at dinner.  It's "Always bare testimony, and sometimes speak."  I don't know who said it, but I really liked it.

I'm excited to see the person I'm going to become after my time here is up.  that's actually a question we're supposed to ask ourselves.  "Who do you want to be at the end of your two year mission?"  I have had a hard time answering it.  But when I try it totally helps me get closer to that point.  Maybe you should ask yourself that question Brig.  Write it down somewhere and answer it.  Then go through every night and ask yourself if what you did that day helped you become more or less like that person.  I'm glad I was able to email you a little bit.  You made me laugh.  I wish I had more of that here.  I miss you and our family more than I care to even think about.  And I love you more than I ever have before.  That tends to happen when you're feeling the spirit a lot of the time.  You love everyone a little more and your family a ton more.  I pray for you.  Our family, yes, but you specifically.  Just know that God is hearing about you.  He better be hearing from you, and He is thinking of you.  He loves you more than anyone ever will.  It's important that we try to please Him as much as possible.  We will never be able to understand His love and the things He's done for us.  That's why we need to obey Him.

Love, Elder Sharp #2

(He wrote about 5 pages, seriously, about the most sweet and tender stuff that I didn't feel like I should put on the blog.  It was all about his struggle with coming to terms with why he was called there, instead of to one of the great places like Brazil and everywhere all of his friends were going.  He apparently was struggling pretty badly with feeling like maybe he was 'expendable' and stuff.  But he goes on to tell that he has already realized that he's exactly where he needs to be for very specific reasons for his own life and his own experiences.  That being there is going to provide him with the growth that he specifically needed.  It was extremely touching to read his thoughts and to see that he is able to see this so early in his journey there.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013


He did send an SD card home this week as well.  :)  In his letters he has said he's feeling a tad homesick.  (Understatement.)  But he's doing his best to carry on.  He says his companion is helping a ton in that area.  He is funny and his letters definitely make us laugh.  I love that he's being real and telling us what he really thinks of everything.  :)  I think he'll get past this and he'll learn to love it there.  We miss him sooooo much!!!

                                                                 MTC LIVING!!

Yay Kelly!

These made me laugh.  So Spencer.  

His district- I'm assuming?  

At the Airport.

On to Reality!!  Nice.  

He is the bed on the right.

He was horrified when he saw the apartment.  I don't think it's that bad.  

Elder Hansen

A Little Trunky

Spencer didn't send an actual email this last Monday- we just emailed back and forth for a short amount of time.  He has sent home several letters already telling me how much he prefers to write his letters instead of using email.  Only Spence.  Here is a sample of what we talked about on Monday through the emails.

My questions:

1- did you get my letter?  The one with the typed letter I sent Preston and his reply?  If so, when did you get it?  

2- what is the name of your ward?  (the one you're serving in)  If I send a package with dad or someone from the ward here, we need to know what ward to get a hold of to leave it with someone there.  (for you)  

3- how much did you pay for your bike?  Are you using your JCU debit card or are  you using the card they gave you in the MTC?  (I wasn't sure how that one worked.)  And do you ever drive or just your comp?  

4- What are your rules about music you can listen to?  Would you like me to send you anything from the 'approved' list?  I'd be happy to track music down for you and send it.  

5- Did you ever send off those thank-you cards?  

6- When you say food is so much more expensive there, do you think maybe you just didn't realize how expensive it is here?  :)  I didn't notice it was that much more when we were in Oceanside.  Maybe a little.  

7- What have you been eating?  Do you have to feed yourselves often, or mostly just lunch time and stuff?  

8- What is your ward like?  How many missionaries are serving in the ward you're in?  Do you have four missionaries living in your apartment or two?  

9- Do you get your mail everyday?  (like, from the mailbox at the apartment?)

His responses:

1. Yes, I got it Saturday. I think.
2. It's the Tarzana Ward.
3. I payed $450. Helmet and lights included. No, Im using the debit card they gave me when I got to the Valley. I bought the bike with my Jordan card. And no, Hansen drives. I drove once, but only because he let me.
4. Its up to Hansen and I. Anything that we feel fits the missionary handbook. Pres is all about personal accountability. Hansen listens to "the lower lights" and I really like them. I want the soundtrack to sons of provo. cleveland has that. and I really like motab.
5. Im almost done with those......sorry:)
6. It is more, but I am a little shocked about how expensive food is. 
7. We get fed by members every night. I love that. But I make breakfast the same way I did at home. I eat a lot of sandwiches...(spelling?) Pretty much whatever I want. We buy pizza a lot. Thats hansens favorite food. 
8. The ward is great. Super small. Well actually, there are 650 members but only 120 come. They couldnt begin to compare with RC2. Its the best. EVER. Only Hansen and I are here. We like that. But I do wish there was another companionship in our appartment. That would be cool. 
9. Yes, we try and check our mail every day. As much as we can. I usually get the mail two days after you send it.