Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Birthday and Christmas cheer

These wonderful people (Finau's) from home brought a
special delivery from Lehi. Awesome!
Thank you to all who sent birthday wishes my way this past week. It was a great week and I can't believe that it was my last birthday and Christmas on the mission.

As usual it was a great holiday and we were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit with fellow missionaries, members, and investigators. We had a great ward Christmas party that almost all of our investigators were able to attend. They almost all came to church yesterday too, huge plus to the week. But the greatest plus of all was being able to see mom, dad, and the three yahoos that are at home. Always great to see them through Skype. Very grateful for the technology that we have and are able to use these days.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year this week. I have all of my resolutions ready to go and can't wait for what the new year has in store.

Love you all CHOKE!!
Elder Kingston Matua

Castin out evil spirits

Well, I've been here for over a week now! I'm still loving it so much. Colorado is indeed a great place.

The giant chili - moving the Zone Leaders
This past Christmas week was a great one. P-Day was good, I got to ball it up a little bit with the zone, super fun. Tuesday was a typical day, working and eating. We also helped the Zone leaders move out of their apartment and into their new one. We found a giant chili pepper in their new apartment that was left by previous missionaries, I'll have to forward some pictures. It was pretty crazy.

Christmas Eve was pretty cool. We went through our regular routine up until about 7:00 p.m. We had a zone Christmas get together which consisted of 10 missionaries out of a lot in our zone. It was fun though! We first went caroling at a park in the middle of town. Because no one wanted to listen to us, we decided to go knock on some doors and force people to listen to us sing. The set of sister missionaries that were with us mentioned how they had an investigator that lived in a nearby apartment complex, so we made our way there. When we found out he wasn't home, we knocked on the next door and sang to a man named Reg. He and his fiance stood in their doorway as we sang to them. We all thought that they were annoyed by us for sure, but as soon as we stopped singing, they requested another song! ..and another, and another. hahah It was so funny, they started singing with us and we had a blast. They thanked us for spreading the Christmas spirit and we moved on.

As we were walking out of the apartment complex, a lady stopped us and asked us to sing a song for her. We sang "Silent Night" for her, and she started crying. When we finished, she explained to us how she was all alone on Christmas Eve and how hard it is for her to be away from her kids. We shared a "He is the Gift" pass along card with her and bore our testimony of how Heavenly Father loves her. It was an awesome moment.

I finally finished my "Christmas Countdown"
thanks Mom
After caroling, we went back to the chapel and had a gift exchange. We talked a little more and then the night was over.

Christmas was awesome. We woke up and headed over to the McConkie's home for breakfast. They are such a nice family! Brother McConkie gave us some Church History quizzes which were pretty fun. We then went next door to the Hendershot's house to Skype home! That was the biggest reason it felt like Christmas. Talking to you guys was the best! Getting to talk to Kaylee was awesome too. Thank you tons for letting her come over and chat for a bit. I was so happy to see each of you. Best Christmas present ever.

After the call, we went to the Dodge's for Dinner...yes..dinner at 2. It was delicious though. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, I guess they let us watch a G or a PG movie. So at the Dodge's we watched a movie called "Galaxy Quest." After watching it I was just blown away at how it wasn't rated at least PG-13. It was quite an interesting movie.

Christmas was good though.

I'd have to say two of my favorite days over the past three months have been Christmas...and yesterday.
I'll start off by letting y'all know I passed the Sacrament yesterday for the first time in like four years! It was funny because there were all these tiny Deacons, then giant Elder Johnson and I helping them pass. It was good though.

Also, right when Gospel Principles finished, the lady that was sitting a couple chairs down started to talk to me in Mandarin! So I got some good practice with her and her husband! She served in Taiwan, and her husband is from China. Unfortunately, they were just visiting the ward, so I think that's the last time I'll get to see them. But it was a great opportunity to get some practice!

We live on Toaster Strudels
Now I guess I better explain the title of this email. Yesterday at church, we had a less-active couple walk up to us and ask if we could visit their home when church finished. They mentioned to us that it was an emergency and that they needed help with some "unwanted beings" in their basement. So as soon as church ended we left for their house.

They brought us in and gave us some background on some of the encounters they were having lately. They started leading us down they stairs, and as soon as I took my first step down, I got this cold and bitter feeling. My body started shaking and it was then that I realized they really do have some unwanted beings. We went first into the laundry room, then into an office in the back. Elder Guy, Elder Johnson, and I each had very eerie feelings. It was not good.

We then asked the family if we could kneel and pray together. In the middle of Elder Johnson's prayer, he paused for a while. Right when he paused, in the middle of his sentence, I again had a dark feeling and it felt like my body was shaking. But as soon as he resumed his prayer, those feelings went away. He closed his prayer and everybody was silent. For a good 10 minutes, nobody said anything. Then Elder Johnson explained the pause in his prayer. He said it was as if someone was trying to stop him from saying that prayer. He said it was a feeling he's never had before, but then he just had to fight through it and that he instantly felt peace and comfort. I know the spirit instantly came into the room.  What was awesome was that the daughters in this family each explained how they felt warmer, and that the basement felt brighter. One of the daughters ran into the laundry room and came out saying how it felt so different. How she knew whatever it was that was there, was finally gone. I had the opportunity to bear testimony of the importance of surrounding yourself with the spirit. Also how the power of the devil is real, but the power of God, the power of the priesthood, the power of faith in Christ was SO much stronger. It was indeed a great experience!

Thanks for this beautiful gift - Choose The Right...always!
We then had dinner at the Lauritzen's home. That was full of an amazing meal (paleo? meat veggies and fruit. SOOO GOOD!! I think I'm going paleo.), capoeira (Brother Lauritzen served in Brazil so he was showing us some Brazilian martial arts!) and magic tricks. Brother Lauritzen was blowing our minds. hahah They are also a great family!

All in all, yesterday was one of my favorite days.

It's getting A LOT colder here. It's been snowing all day today and it's actually sticking. My companions are still awesome. The ward is still great. Everything is awesome. I love being a missionary.
I'm glad to hear your week was great! Dad, don't worry about cutting back on your eating, just be happy:) (and watch out for dat gout hahah).

I'm getting really bad at taking pictures, but I'll try to be better haha.
I pray for each of you daily. I'm so grateful for your love and support. I think of you guys constantly throughout the week and it's so amazing how blessed I am to have the best family ever. It's so easy to count my blessings. The Lord is definitely being generous. I'm so grateful for this time I have to be here in Colorado. It has been a great blessing. Being a missionary period is a blessing. I feel closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ than I ever have before and it is the greatest. Being in the position I am now helps me realize that He is a part of everything. Jesus Christ is my Savior AND Redeemer. ONLY through Him do we receive true happiness. He is always there for us, we just need to put forth that effort every day to reach out to Him and embrace his Atonement. We all need it and it's there for All of us. I'm so grateful for Him.

I love you guys so much! I miss y'all tons too. I hope you guys have the happiest of all new years. I'm trying to figure out how I can have Christ be a part of my day more. That is my new years resolution/goal. I invite you guys to do the same!

Have the best week this week, and know that I love you dearly.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Almost Christmas!

Just a quick note on my week.

Yesterday we were asked to share a lesson with the young men. They are a good group of kids, but sadly I see a lot of our Poly boys in them. Something about the Poly boys is just different. When I ask who is planning on serving a mission there is a lot of hesitation and even some who refuse to put their hands up. But it felt amazing to be able to stand in front of them and tell them what a great thing a mission is.

I hope that I will be able to play a role in the lives of our young men back home as well. That is probably one of the things that I am looking forward to the most when I return home. Now that I have witnessed first hand what a mission is I can't wait to share that with those boys and help them to see how great it is and how it is an opportunity that can't be missed.

Alofa atu,
Elder K. Matua

Hello from CCSM

I've been reassigned to the Colorado-Colorado Springs Mission to wait out my visa!

What an interesting past couple of days! After all of that craziness over Thursday and Friday, I'm finally in the field!

My home for now - my bed in the corner (Samoan style)
First things first, my companions are awesome! Elder Guy from Louisiana is training two people right now: me and Elder Johnson. Elder G only has two months left! He is such a great missionary. Both he and Elder J are great! Elder Johnson has only been out a month so I've actually been a missionary for longer than he has which is funny. I still consider him more experienced though. He's from Vermont.

Funny thing: He (Elder J) totally knows sister Tarawhiti and he flipped out when he found out I knew her too, let a lone she is from our ward! I guess his property backs up against the memorial where Tahi was serving in. Pretty crazy though. Small world!

My companions - Elder Johnson (r), Elder Guy (l) -
awesome guys
Saturday we woke up and played basketball EARLY in the morning. We woke up at 5:40 a.m. to get there at 6:00. It was super fun though. Then we went to choir practice. Yes, I'm in the ward Choir hahahah. We then helped one family move out of their house, and one family move in. Lots of service on Saturday. We went to dinner at a member family's home. (The ward missionary work is incredible here. The ward mission leader has things down! I went to a correlation meeting after church yesterday and was just so surprised at how amazingly organized this ward is. Such an awesome ward.)

Sunday was awesome. First REAL sacrament meeting I've been to since my farewell haha. I even got to go to Elder's quorum and  Gospel Principles. I love it. The bishop is great, and all of the members are fantastic.

It's a white Christmas after all
Sunday night we ate at the Elders Quorum President's home. A really nice family. After dinner, we went to the Hickman's home (another family in the ward) and taught them the plan of salvation. Bishop Waters has challenged every family in the ward to take the missionary lessons. Last night was my first lesson in the field and it was awesome!

All in all, Colorado is great. I'm actually kind of surprised at how much I'm loving this. I mean I knew I'd love the field, I'm just excited at how much I love this place haha. The people are awesome. The other missionaries here are awesome. Being on a mission is awesome!

I love you all and miss you tons! I'm sorry this letter is kind of lame. I'm getting worse at writing them. I promise to do better next week.

Love you guys!
Elder C. Matua

Merry Christmas from Colorado Springs!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Working hard in Honolulu-West

I am definitely glad to be back in Hon-West with a good companion. It has been an awesome feeling to be back around the people that I served with in the Lanakila Ward. They all still remember me haha. I even saw an old friend from Kona yesterday and they remembered me too. You never really understand the impact you can make on peoples lives sometimes. I am so grateful for every single person the Lord has let me serve here. Everyday that helps push me to serve everyone and develop that Christ-like love for them. That is by far my favorite part of being a missionary.  

I just got an email from John Raass. He sounds like he's doing good. I hope him and Mica are starting to take things serious. Looking back I think that would have been the most important part to get things straight. Sadly we didn't know that we were going to be able to serve at 18-years at that time. That just goes to show that you should never procrastinate.

Last Thursday we got to go to the PCC Christmas Lagoon to see the lights. While we were waiting in a very long line I got to talk to a mom and dad with a son serving in Samoa. It was funny because I saw you dad and mom while I was talking to them. The mom was freaking out because the son had gotten sick and he's out in the boonies with limited communication, while the dad knew he would be okay and everything will be good. I think all parents are pretty much the same. Dads have this calm trust with the elders while the moms are constantly worrying. That is one reason I am glad that I am still in America so mom doesn't need to worry too much.

Nothing too new here, We have fights and all kinds of nasty stuff in the area. I figure, they are just having a hard time loving each other, but we still find the bright spots in all of Heavenly Fathers children and do our best to serve.

No new adventures just life as a missionary during the holiday season, no one really has the time. We missed out on seeing two of our big investigators. They both just didn't show up. Elder Talatau is cool. He just knows how to be a real person and not try and fake his way through being a missionary. Plus he is an athletic Poly who will go to the gym with me and play sports.

I got the first package on the 10th, doing my best to keep up with the 25-days of Christmas.

Ya don't call on me for any singing assignments. LOL That has still not changed about me, I still can't sing and I still don't like singing. In some wards they ask you to and as a missionary you can't say no, but you can warn them haha! Sadly all it takes is one musical number with a bunch of tone def elders and the ward learns its lesson. Also sad that I probably wont be doing anything for my birthday with anyone more than my companion. Mission Pres just put a "discontinued" stamp on all zone activities even put a limit on district activities.  

But on the bright side...we can Skype in a few days haha! I will let you know the details that week

How's Chase doing? Any word from him about his travel news? Hope all works out.

I have developed a love for Samoan food though. Every dinner here is taro, pisupo, and the occasional palusami. The language is coming slowly along. My understanding is getting really good when it comes to small talk and gospel related topics, I can catch the gist. Even with all the drama my love for the Samoan culture grows every day.

Alofa atu!

Still here!

HAHAHAHAHA - I'm still here!

My zone wore black to mourn those who left for their missions
and because we're still here LOL!
The travel office keeps telling us so many different things. I've learned to not trust them. Their latest word (we checked in with them this morning): "We don't know anything". And then about an hour later, some of the Elders checked again. They said the "blackout days" (The period where they don't really do much about missionary business stuff) starts on the 19th, and they probably won't have enough time from here until then to reassign us. There's a really high chance we're in here until January. But it's great. I love it here. I'm just anxious to get to Taiwan.

It was a good week this week. Just another week I guess. Our district went down from eight elders to four because The other four went to Canada, Australia, and Indiana. So our classes are a little more directed to our individual needs. I like it a lot better, and I learn a lot more. My teachers are so awesome. Every day this past week, we've had to teach two or three workshops a day to the newer missionaries. Lessons like weekly planning, language study skills, how to begin teaching, different things like that.

My Chinese is still gradually improving bit by bit. It's so hard, but I really enjoy learning Mandarin. One of the biggest things I struggle with is the fact that I didn't get called to serve in Samoa. There are tons of missionaries here that are going there....a bunch of palagi kids. Ikaika emails me every week from there. I got an email today from Kaylee that said a girl from Lehi just got called to Samoa? I get so bitter about it sometimes. But then I try to remind myself that this is the Lord's will for me. I know it is such a blessing for me to be called to Taiwan speaking the Mandarin Chinese language. I know Heavenly Father has some special souls waiting for me in Taiwan. As much as I sound like I'm super sad that I'm not going to Samoa, I'm actually beyond excited to finally get to Taiwan. My teachers tell us different things about Taiwan every day and It gets me so pumped to get out there. I really cannot wait. Who know's? Maybe I'll get there one day LOL!

Another fun day at the temple
Thank you so much for the pani popo. Those get destroyed as soon as I open the box because everybody loves them. I can't think of anything else I might need, but if I do, I'll let you know. I'm excited for you guys and your upcoming rugby season. It sounds like it's gonna be a blast.

Tuesday night devotional was so good. I don't even remember the name of the man who spoke. What made it amazing is a girl named Lexi Walker sang. I think she is like 12-years-old, but she has one of the best voices I've ever heard. She sang three songs: I am a Child of God, Holy Night, and I Know that My Redeemer Lives. So incredibly awesome. It was a great spiritual experience.

The temple was great this morning. Every week, Elder Liston and I do a session. This morning we decided to switch it up. We did sealings and initiatories. First time I've ever done sealings. What an amazing experience. I was a witness for the first half, then a child for the second. It made me so excited to go into the temple soon (don't worry mom and dad, I'm talking 2 years or so at the least:) ) with my eternal companion. Super cheesy, but hey, it was such a great experience. Kind of helped me realize what my investigators should be looking forward to.

Nothing else too new.

More good times on temple grounds
Glad to hear the boys are doing good! I miss them so much. Has Mica gone on a date yet!? Tell that boy to get on a date! How are his friends? Can you ask him to ask Brother Butler if he ever got my letter? Have they enjoyed reffing? It's so weird to think little Kenyon is old enough to have a job. Pretty soon he'll be in high school. That's kinda crazy. And Quinners. I miss that guy. I miss a different brother so much each day. One day its Mica, then it's Quinn, then it's Kenny, then King. and it's just a cycle that'll never stop haha. I can't wait until we're all together again!

I miss you all so much. Mom and Dad, I'm not saying we're the best children on earth or anything, but I know I am the way I am today because of what you taught me. The way you raised me. The Lord sent us five boys to you two because he knew we needed special parents. What a blessing it has been to know that I'll have all of eternity to spend with the greatest people ever. Our family is an Eternal one. I am grateful for the plan Heavenly Father has made for us. I'm grateful for the atoning sacrifice Christ made for us that this could be possible. I know that my Redeemer lives.

I hope this Christmas season treats you at home well. Enjoy it for me and I'll do the best I can for you. You guys are the best. I love and miss you dearly.

Elder C. Matua

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New area and new comp

Well after the transfer dust had settled I found myself back in Hon-West zone (where I was before
Bro Malaki, dads family living in our area.
Laie), but this time I am in the Moanalua 2nd Samoan Ward. So I'm back in town. Our apartment is in Salt Lake, but our area covers three zones (Hon-west, Honolulu, and Kaneohe). I have rejoined one of my old companions that I was with for only a week, Elder Talatau. He is from West Jordan, and he knows the whole Matua gang over there. I also found out that the elder who I trained, Elder Seremai, is training another elder from West Jordan, Elder Swenson. He said that he lives across from Aunty Annette and them.

It is nice to be back in a busy town with lots of work. Very fast paced compared to Laie. I have met pretty much all the investigators in the area and had some interesting experiences. We are teaching a good number of people and trying our best to get the ward involved.

We had a good mission tour fireside last night with Elder Johnson of the seventy. We got on the same page with our ward leaders and learned about why we do what we do; how full-time missionaries and teachers and members are full-time finders. Elder Johnson talked about never disregarding any name that comes to your mind. When a name comes or someone pops into your mind, you need to act.

Stay tuned for many new experiences in this wonderful new area. I have also been able to catch up with some of my old friends from the Lanakila ward, which is in the same Stake.

Stay warm my Utah friends! haha

Elder Matua

Feeling the Christmas Vibe

Another great week for the books. I'm still loving it here at the MTC. Yes, even though every day is the same haha. It's fun. I can't believe I've already been on a mission for two months! How crazy is that?!

This week was similar to the other nine that i've spent here. I've been feeling the Christmas vibes a lot lately. Yesterday was a great day. Because it was Fast Sunday, we had mission conference first thing in the morning. Listened to members of the MTC presidency. They are all great. The best was Sunday night. Instead of a normal devotional we usually do on Sunday nights, they let us watch the Christmas Devotional. There were a lot of really great messages that I loved. However, as I was there, I began to think about all of my past Christmases. All of the great memories that we made as a family. One specific Christmas came to mind. I'm not sure if you remember this one mom, but this is a memory that I will never forget.

I don't remember the exact date, but I know for sure it was when we were in the rental house in West Valley. One night mom got "called out to work" or so my brothers and I thought. It must have been the night before Black Friday because the one thing I clearly remember is mom knocking on our front door the next morning. She had never come home the night before, but I had just thought she got home super late. I didn't realize she never came home until I opened the door and she was standing on the steps with her work clothes on. If I remember correctly, at this time she was still working on the ramp [at the airport] so she was in her heavy duty gear. She looked exhausted and I was so confused.
So that happened. Then Christmas came around. We opened our presents and had a wonderful morning as usual. I don't even remember what the gift was, but I remember dad saying, "Remember when mom went to 'work' and she didn't come home until the following morning? It's because she was camping out at a store by herself getting that gift for you guys."

Simple story right? (sorry if it was super confusing) But it's a story I'll never forget. Sometimes...okay a lot of times, I took for granted how much my parents love me. I look back at those moments now and I just am filled with so much happiness because I have the greatest parents on the earth. I tried taking these thoughts a little deeper: How could I connect this to the love that Christ has for me? Jesus Christ died for me. He performed the Atonement for me. He performed the Atonement for you. Sometimes, we (I) take this gift for granted. just as mom didn't want us to know she had stayed up all by herself that night, Christ didn't care for the glory of dying for each of us. He did it for the pure reason that He loves each of us.

Elder D's mom sent apple cider and...this happened LOL
This Christmas season, I am going to focus more on others and focus more on my savior. I am so grateful for Everything that He has done, is doing, and will do for me. I love Him. He is the Gift.
Dad--Do you remember that kid that played with me when I played for the Lions? He played center for Bingham. His name's Tance Allsup? Yeah, I saw him here! He came in on Wednesday! I guess he's going to Tempe, Arizona. I don't know, it made me really happy to see him here.

I hope all is well. I love hearing from you guys every week. I miss the boys. Say hi to them for me.
Oh and I'm still at the MTC. There's a chance we get our travel plans tonight. Maybe head out to Taiwan on Wednesday. They still haven't told us anything yet, but it's okay. still just chillin.

Mom and Dad, I love you guys. I feel your prayers. Being here has grown my love and respect for both of you so much. You guys are the greatest.

Until next week.
Elder Chase Matua

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving - Hawaii Style

Had a pretty exciting week and some pretty cool experiences. We got to do some really cool service the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving morning. We helped the folks at Tita's Grill unwrap, prepare, and re-wrap in foil, 200 or so turkeys for a big 'umu that they were doing for the homeless and seniors.

Cooking turkeys in the 'umu for the homeless and seniors
After we got the turkeys all wrapped up we helped take them to another place where we helped move
the fire and get it ready for the turkeys. We put them all in and covered it up. We woke up at 5 o'clock on Thanksgiving morning to go and help take the turkeys out of the 'umu. They took most of the turkeys to Waianae side for the homeless shelter and the rest went to Tita's Grill for the Seniors and the missionaries. We went to play some football and rugby with at the PCC and had a fun meal with the Si'ilata and Te'o-Tafiti families. To finish off Thanksgiving we got together as missionaries and played some games at Laie Park.

On Friday we had to take Elder Gardner, Elder Young Yen's comp, to the airport for an early transfer to Hilo. So Elder Young Yen has been with us and will be with us until Wednesday when they have the regular transfers.

With the boys after another great temple trip
On Saturday we were able to be a part of Elder Young Yen's baptism. It was a Chinese lady, who got baptized in the Tongan ward that I actually got the chance to teach a while back. It was a great baptism and the spirit was there as always. After, we got to eat at their Bishops house. They gave "light refreshments" - Tongan for a whole meal. haha!

Sunday we had a long day of Church. After three Sacrament meetings and a couple of lessons later we were finally done with church. We then went to sing in a missionary choir in Kahuku for a missionary fireside. After that we finished the week with a great dinner with the Alaiasa family.

Last Christmas as Elder Matua (sad face)
Overall it was a good week. I also found out that I will be transferring. I have no clue where I am going yet but I will leave Hau'ula on Wednesday. I am so grateful for all the time that I have been able to spend here in Hau'ula and for all the experiences that I have had but a change will be nice now. By this point in my mission I know that everywhere we are put in our lives, we are put there for a reason. I have been able to see that in all of my areas and even here in Hau'ula. Now I can't wait to see what is next! Love you all!

Hope you get feeling better mom. Its crazy to think that I just spent my last Thanksgiving here in Hawaii. Next Thanksgiving I will be right back to freezing my butt off with you guys. Or maybe we can come spend a Thanksgiving here in Hawaii...

Elder Kingston Matua

Thanksgiving was too good

My teacher Wu Di Xiong (on my left)
This past week was full of excitement. Before coming here, I'd often heard that being in the MTC
during a holiday wasn't too great. I thought it was awesome, and lot's of fun. It all started on Tuesday. As you already know, every Sunday and Tuesday night we have the privilege of having a devotional. General Authorities, MTC presidencies, professional athletes, it switches every time. Up until Tuesday night, we hadn't had a member of the quorum of the 12 come speak to us. We were told that it happened pretty frequently, and yet we hadn't heard from one our entire stay.

This week we had two of the Brethren come and speak to us. The Tuesday night devotional was given to us by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. So cool. He talked about how important it is to have a testimony. One of my favorite things he said was an analogy using a pen. He explained how missionaries need to be instruments in the hands of the Lord, the same way a pen is an instrument in the hand of an author. The pen in itself needs to be in working condition, the same way missionaries need to be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Obeying the rules, and listening to the council of my leaders is what I thought that also included. Then he said the ink was our testimony. We can't 'write' the Lord's will if we do not have our
My other teacher, Sun Lao Shi - she's hilarious
testimony. We also have to know that it's not what we want, it's what the Lord wants. If our faith is strong enough, we will be used as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Helping him do his work, or 'writing His book'.

Thanksgiving came around and we all knew it was going to be a good day. What we didn't know is how good it was actually going to be. First off, they had a nice breakfast for us. Right after breakfast, we had a Thanksgiving devotional by the one and only David A. Bednar. Now being here at the MTC has strengthened my testimony of MANY things. One of the many being my testimony of a living prophet on the Earth, Thomas S. Monson, as well the members of the quorum of the 12 being special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They are each true men of God. It was awesome having the opportunity to listen to Elder Bednar that morning.

The sickest socks ever! Thanks mom
The biggest surprise though, was that he turned the devotional into a question and answer session. He passed out over 100 cell phones, put a number connected to his ipad up on the big screen and told everybody to start asking questions. He is a man full of knowledge, and more importantly, his testimony and his faith literally make him glow. He talked on a wide range of subjects from "How do I help my investigators increase faith?" to "What are the technicalities in priesthood blessings". He had many great instructions, council, and insights. What interesting and spiritually uplifting moments those were. I also never knew he and his wife had such a great sense of humor.

After the devotional, we had our Thanksgiving dinner. It was really good, but it wasn't anything like Mom's cooking. (side note: I really do like the food here at the MTC, but one of the things I miss everyday is your cooking Mom!). After our Thanksgiving meal,  all the missionaries were split up into two groups. Our zone was part of the first group so we took part in the service project first. We made thousands of meal packages for shelters. The meal they had everyone make was lentil casserole. Each table had an assembly line putting the packs together. It was really fun. They also had some hip hop versions of primary songs playing on the speakers. super interesting, but it got us all pumped.
Fake Turkey Bowl
More fake Turkey Bowl
If I can find some pictures of us doing it, I'll be sure to send them. As soon as we finished our part of the project, Elder Bednar was walking through the cafeteria checking things out. As he was leaving, everyone made a huge line and he shook most people's hands. So yes, I had the chance to shake David A. Bednar's hand, it was so sick.

After the service project, we went to our classroom and ate our sack dinners we each prepared earlier. We then went to the gym for a Thanksgiving program. It was very.. interesting. It threw me back into the primary days. interesting. There was first a harp solo by a sister that went to Lehi (I had never seen her before in my life). interestin.They had some missionaries dress up for a play about the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving dinner. interesting. Then they had a sister sing a solo. She sang a song from a musical i think..? I think the name of the song was 'maybe this time'... very interesting. Hahaha it was a good time though, lots of good laughs.

Best pic of us seeing the Christmas lights
After the special program, the rest of the missionaries joined us in the gym and we watched Meet the Mormons. Awesome movie. No mom, I didn't cry, but I thought about you guys a lot. I feel like they should have thrown the Matua family in that movie, but it's okay. haha I loved the movie. After the movie they mentioned to us there was a special treat outside. We walked out and the Christmas lights were turned on. Everybody went crazy. Some people were calling it the 'dance'. sort of an inside joke, surprisingly we have TONS of those here. I'll attach some high quality photos that Elder Sagapolu took for me. (what a goof ball).

Yeah Thanksgiving was great though. We even had the opportunity to go on an additional temple walk. We also had our own turkey bowl. I will admit, the entire day, I was really missing my family. As soon as I heard you guys had your own turkey bowl, I got super jealous. I've been dying to spend time with my brothers....and throw a rugby ball!!!

Last night, for our devotional, they had Vocal Point come and sing to us. They are so cool. really funny, and they sang really great pieces.

Mom, it makes me heart broken that you're not feeling to great.  I'm praying hard for you. Make sure the little boys take care of you.

I'm going to send some things home. not too much just things I don't have room for. I'll also send that sweet book back, If it was in Mandarin, I wouldn't be sending it back (yes, i forgot how to read in english...sike.)

Me and my bro Elder N. Uhi
Dad, it's great to hear you all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you get injured at all in the turkey bowl? ...hahah jokes jokes. Mica's so lucky he get's to play some rugby. Has the boy's bball season started up yet? It brings me joy to hear Lehi 41 is doing so well. I have a suggestion for you considering the inactive members of the youth. I only say this because I've been where they've been before. Very recently. If there is one word of advice I have for them, it is to diligent read and study the book of mormon every morning and every night. Along with personal prayer with true intent. Mom and Dad, you are great teachers. I want to be parents like you guys some day. You guys taught my brothers and I to read and pray every day. Due to my laziness, I didn't read my scriptures everyday, and I didn't pray every day. For that, I sincerely apologize. As I look back now, If there was one thing I would change, it'd be a more intensive DAILY study of the Book of Mormon, and a more faithful use of the power of prayer. DAILY personal prayer.

Dad, I encourage you to help the youth, mica, kenyon, and quinn, understand the importance of these two things. Those who have a true testimony of the Book of Mormon and Prayer, will never fall away from the Church. That is a promise I continue to hear from General Authorities and other leaders. Mom and Dad, I think it'd be super fun for you guys to do a book of mormon read a thon for the youth. I know it'd be very beneficial for them.

Our zone on a temple walk
Things here at the MTC are still going great. The confusion with the visas is still going on. I got reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia. Fun huh? Well, we went into the travel office to get more information and they told us to disregard our reassignments. They told us "your visas are coming in sooner than expected. Oh but wait, you'll have to wait in the MTC for another week or so. Just stay on your toes and we'll give you more information when we get it." ...so we don't know what's going on, and I have a strong feeling that neither do they. But I know who does. And He's really got something special in store for us. Who knows, I'm just praying and patiently waiting.

I love and miss you guys dearly. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about my amazing parents and my best friends--my brothers. Mom, the package was legit! Today being the 1st, I started that awesome count down to Christmas. It's so cool! And i didn't get the December Ensign, but it's okay, i can get one here.

I hope things continue to go swell. You guys are the best, and I couldn't be here without knowing I have the best family supporting me as I go. I pray for you guys every day. I am so blessed to have amazing parents who prepared me for this part of my life. What a blessing it is to be a missionary. I thank Heavenly Father for everything He has given me, including the Atoning sacrifice of His Son.
I love you guys so much. You are in my prayers. The Lord is watching over you.

Elder Chase Matua
More from our zone temple walk
Two missionaries from my district who left for Australia today
We have too much fun
Waaay too much fun

I love this place!