Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Email - August 23, 2010 (One month)!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Mom I don't know why my last email didn't send correctly, but glad that it finally went through.  John, in answer to what we are driving: we have a 2010 Chevy Colorado, it's really nice, and mom, no I haven't been driving, I just sit in the passenger seat and talk on the phone.  By the way, I talk more on the phone now than I ever have!

We sadly had a slightly crummy week; over half of our appointments were dropped (cancelled) it seems that people don't seem to care. We also have a challenge from our A.P. (assistant to the president) for each area to have someone on date by Saturday, that means two people for me and Elder Potter.  So we are working diligently.

I don't know how much I told you about our three baptisms two weeks ago, but I will tell you I learned something sweet about Marcus.  He's a magician; it's really crazy but he made me bend a quarter...a QUARTER!!!!   I don't know how he did it.  He's adjusting to the ward and now sadly we have to move him to the YSA.  I know he will do great at the new ward.

The YSA is an incredible ward everyone should go if they meet the qualifications.  Everyone is super nice and most of the men just got back from missions so that is pretty cool.  The family ward is also awesome.
Bishop Strong said he thinks I'm a great missionary and that Elder Potter and I are the best companionship yet!  That makes me feel really good to get positive feedback.  Cool!!!

The Caldera family dropped our lesson which was very disappointing because we had the best plan on getting them to church,  EVER.  We  are also teaching an investigator named Roberto, although he speaks little English he seems to know a lot.  He understands that the person who baptised him doesn't have the proper authority.  We are also teaching a part member family.  The mother isn't a member and her husband is less active, but they told us they have started looking strongly for another church.  All in all,the missionary work looks good.  We are having a good "spiritual" time and were getting  a lot of food,  tonight is meatloaf, wish me luck!!!  (maybe I should have tried yours mom)

By the way, before I forget,  yes, Yucaipa is partly in our area, the other town no.  Our area consists of a piece of Redlands (houses by the temple) all of Mentone and a piece of Yucaipa,  although Yucaipa isn't truly in ours we are helping out the other missionaries in that area -  that's just with the family ward.  The YSA is the whole stake so it's quite large.

Some other good news... we do have a lot of free stuff!!  Like today was free Smoothies!!!  As a Zone we hiked a mountain and we got to see this sweet waterfall. 

Mom, I'm glad that you gave out the PAC (pass along card) that's really sweet, she will enjoy it.  I'm planning on buying more stamps because I'm out and have letters to write.

Well I should get going,  hope this goes through!!



Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 16, 2010 - Letter from the Mission President

Dear Brother and Sister Wells,

We are so grateful to have Elder Zachary David Daniel join us here in the California Riverside Mission!  It was exciting to meet him at the airport, take him to the Mission Office to meet our office staff, and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening with him at the mission home.  I had the opportunity to interview your missionary and we were able to hear his testimony after having dinner together.

Elder Daniel is now hard at work in his new area, the Redlands Zone with his companion Elder Riley Grant Potter.  The next day he spent time with us for more instruction, another personal interview and lunch.  We have been impressed with his testimony and desire to serve.  It has been a privilege to get to know him.

We want you to know that we have asked each missionary to write home every week on preparation day, which is Monday; most missionaries choose to email.  We encourage you to write or email weekly.  Thank you for keeping your letters positive, uplifting and encouraging your son to work hard and take advantage of the time spent here in doing the work of the Lord.  Please be cautious about sharing problems which might take his mind off the work.  Of course, any major changes in your family, such as life-threatening illnesses, death, etc., should come to my attention, so that I can counsel with your missionary.

We pledge to do all within our power to love, inspire and help Elder Daniel to have a great experience here.  We know that parents and family play a vey significant role in the success that their missionary has in the work.  Missionaries are so blessed when they feel the love and support of family and friends at home.  We thank you for support and commitment to your son.  We know the Lord will bless Elder Daniel as he devotes himself to the proclaiming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Melvyn K. Reeves, President
California Riverside Mission

Was so grateful to hear from his Mission President and thankful that he has such good leadership.


Another Email- August 16, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

I arrived in California on Tuesday after a short plane ride. While going down the escalator I saw Pres. and Sis. Reeves (two of the nicest people ever). 
All ten of us had interviews and got to look at "The Board". It shows all the missionaries and their campanions so we all could see where we were going. Out of the ten of us, four were getting cars (two elders and both sisters). By the way, when we got out of the airport and asked why it was so foggy Pres. Reeves laughed and told me thats not fog its smog.  My jaw dropped. But back to the story. We were all sitting in the living room of the mission home waiting to find out who our new companions were and whether or not we got cars. First was Elder Kirk (my MTC companion) who went to Temecula (a bike mission). 
Then sitting in my seat, freaking out they called Elder Potter and announced his companion would be... ME!! So we sat down next to each other and he told me we have a truck. CHA-CHING!! But after I figured out why I wasn't the happiest camper, we have two wards! That's 6 hours of Church! It actually isn't that bad. I am in the Redlands 2nd ward and the YSA (Young Single Adults) Ward.
So I've got real good news, on Saturday, I had my first 3 baptisms I thought it didn't count as my number but Elder Potter says it does, did I mention he's the Zone Leader. I live in an apartment with another set of missionaries (Elder Stevens & Elder Hasnaker), Elder Stevens is my district leader.
I've met some really intresting people so far and food, by the way you've never had Mexican food until a mexican cooks it. I've never had so much spicy food in my life!! The most recent spiritual thing I can share was last night at the Caldera home.

The Caldera family is a pretty wealthy, nice, Catholic family. They have strong testimonies and truly believe in the Catholic Religion, but me and Elder Potter have changed that a little. After meeting them once weeks ago Elder Potter dropped of a DVD of the Restoration. Well we revisited them last night and they said they were feeling guilty about meeting with us. After a small conversation Elder Potter asked if they watched the DVD. The wife had but not the rest of the family (two daughters and her husband) we asked what she liked and she told us that it was true and she knew it, but she wouldn't accept it. Mrs. Caldera is too scared of her Catholic church to say she knows it's true. What a sad night.
Tracting is great and horrible I now have a fear of dogs and guns. Every home in our mission has dogs and there all pretty big and vicious looking and many houses have signs that read. "I don't call 911 I have a gun". Not fun to look at I did however have my first succesful door approach got a lesson scheduled for Tuesday.
Well I hope all is well I will write next Monday
Much Love,

Elder Zachary David Daniel

We were excited to learn where Zach is serving, John especially was excited because his father lived there and has friends in the area. Although Zachary is not in the same ward as John's late father was.

The Phone Call- August 10, 2010

Zach called around 11am. I had taken off work to wait for the call, and was excited to hear his voice. He was all excited to get to California and even more excited that he didn't have to fly standby. He sounded so mature even though he had only been gone for about 3 weeks.

After about 20 minutes it was time to say goodbye, and to be honest, I don't remember what he said, just that he sounded ready for the mission field. He was flying with a group of elders and they were all taking turns using the pay phone at the airport.

I do remember that he was so excited that everyone catered to the missionaries. The employees at the airport were excited to see them and were very helpful. He felt so special because they didn't even have to wait for security. They had their own line!

He wishes everyone well, misses everyone, and continues to keep you all in his prayers.


An Email-August 5, 2010

Thanks for the package I really enjoyed it and your cookies are a hit in the district (all the guys in my class). I got my travel arrangements last Friday. On August 10th I will be flying from Salt Lake to Ontario, California it seems so soon but one of my teachers, Brother P, told me I'd do great he even said he'd give me one of his ties :).

Well I study the Book of Mormon about 2-3 hours a day, study preach my gospel about an hour more than that, have gym for an hour class for two relax for one and eat its kinda surprisng how much you get done when wake up at 6:30 every morning, yes 6:30 I go to bed at 10:30 so I'm pretty tired today I studied and polished my shoes all by myself and yes I did a good job.

The best news I got though is that when I get to Salt Lake I'm allowed to call immediate family so I will call next Tuesday between 8:00 and 11:00. It will be the last time we talk until Christmas.
Nothing much else has happened you should tell Aunt Barb I told her to talk to those two young men because if they are who i think they are they've got a pretty special message to share. Trust me its good. I think I might use it myself if you know what I mean.

I probably will write another letter just to make you feel good you never know, it just might have some pictures in it.

I love you all and keep you in my prayers but I've got to go because my companion wants to email.
Elder Zachary David Daniel

The Second Letter- August 5, 2010

Dear Mom, John and Meaghan,

I just finished my email to you and sorting my clothes. Randy (Chambers) comes in today, but I probably won't see him because he's not in our Zone (anyone in our half of the floor). I don't remember what I wrote last week so some of this might be a repeat.

Last Wednesday the new Sweeds (Elders going to Sweden, we all get cool nicknames) arrived. They have two sisters both are extremely cute both are totally off limits. I actually never think about sisters like that anymore, it's kind of weird.

I stopped for some time and got lunch. The food here is really good, there's always something I like.

So I have two teachers, Sister Clark and Brother Penallio (Brother P) both are pretty cool. Brother P has promised me a tie.

Although its only been two weeks, it feels like months and it's pretty amazing. I would really appreciate it if you would tell the ward that I'm doing great. To thank them because they were the ones that got me here. Everyone believing in me gives me a boost of confidence. I learned so much in one day, it's mind boggling. I might even be smarter than President Rockwood (well, ok not that smart). I'm not just learning the gospel, I'm learning how to communicate and read people; see how they feel, and get to know them. I truly feel closer to people I haven't even met yet. I have a charity I never thought I would have. I love people, not because they love me or give me things. I love them because they're God's children and that's all they have to be.

We go to the temple every Wednesday at 3:40. It's a real blessing to be that close to one.

Well I think I'm going to go now, because I really want to take a nap (it's the only day I can) I love you all and I miss you, I will keep you in my prayers.


Elder Zachary Daniel :)

PS Read 1 Nephi 3:7, Sister Clark says I remind her of this person in the Book of Mormon.

PPS Obedience

PPPS Isn't it weird, when you get this letter, I might be in California.

PPPPS I'm not homesick anymore.
It was a relief to know that he was no longer homesick, and it's amazing to hear him grow so much spiritually from letter to letter.


The First Letter- July 28, 2010

Dear Family,

This last week of my life is or has been one of the most spiritual experiences ever.  But before I go into it, I will tell you what happened the last time I saw you.

After you dropped me off mom, the elder that took my bag, led me to the administration building where I got my MTC card (it lets me eat and gives me $6 a week for personal supplies) and my NAME TAG!!! Which I am wearing right now.  Then I was led to a room where I met my companion; Elder Kirk.  He's a really nice guy and district leader; which makes me senior companion.

After that we dropped our bags off and went straight to class (no unpacking).  We had class until 9 pm then came back, unpacked, and went straight to bed.

I get up every morning at 6:30, have a class, go to breakfast, have gym, go to class, lunch, class, dinner, class, plan, bed.  By the way, there is an opening and closing prayer to each activity, so I pray about 15 times per day.  I'm not lying.... I did the math this morning!  I study more than a college student, but I'm starting to love it, yes, love it, and my days are filled with inspiration.

But with great inspirational days, sad ones occur too.  Elder Simmons, a missionary in my district is very homesick.  So badly that he cannot study or read or even teach.  On Friday, he contemplated going home.  Another missionary in our zone, already decided to go home and was leaving that day.  We each bore testimony to both missionaries and told them we loved them.  Which we truly do.  There's a connection between us that is unbreakable.  We would do anything for each other.  After the testimonies two sisters were standing in the hall singing "How Great Thou Art" immediately I felt the spirit.  Not knowing the words I began singing with them with all my heart.  Instantly the spirit took over it was so strong I almost fell to my knees.  I have a testimony that this is where Heavenly Father wants me and I will serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

This is how we are broken down:  MTC Presidency to Branch 37 (US) to Zone 1 to District C.

There are over 50 branches, each branch only has one zone right now.  But our zone has 4 districts.  There are 10 missionaries in it and this is considered small.

By the way, I have seen Ammon (Johnstun) his class is two doors down from us.  So I wave and he waves back.  On my first day we talked for awhile.

Well, I'm doing laundry so I will talk to you later.

With All My Love,

Elder Zach Daniel

PS  I have only received one letter (moms) my companion 6.  I think there is something wrong with that picture!
This was one week at the MTC.

July 21, 2010- Leaving for the MTC in Provo, UT

John and I brought Zach to the airport for the first flight of the day to Salt Lake City. Lucky John's a pilot and came with us through the airport! After problems with my ticket, we ended up at the gate just in time for boarding, so despite our planning the goodbyes to John were quick. The flight was uneventful and long for Zach, who had to be in a suit the whole time, and couldn't listen to music or watch TV. This was especially painful because being frequent fliers he definitely has a routine. Upon arrival in Salt Lake we rented a car and drove the hour to Provo. We had enough time for a quick lunch and a few pictures, then it was drop off time. This is every mom's worst nightmare, because it was a quick drop at the curb. A few tears were shed (on my part), and then he entered the building, all smiles. After a quick mini-meltdown I drove up to Idaho to pick up Meaghan, Zach's older sister at BYU-Idaho. Unfortunately, they missed each other by a couple of days, due to Meaghan's finals, I know she was heartbroken.
Zach and John at the airport
Me and Zach, our last picture in Cincinnati.


July 18, 2010- The Open House

On Sunday evening, July18th the Hebron ward and Zach's close high school friends packed into our home to say goodbye and wish him well. Some had advice, including my husband, his stepdad John who wrote and recited his traditional poem. Backstory: My husband writes roses are red poems for every major event in our family (i.e. major birthdays, weddings, graduation, etc.). Here's a copy:

Elder Daniel

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Zachary David Daniel
It's now time for you
To follow the others
And be on your way
Your mission awaits you
It's finally your day.
You've prepared for years
And that day is now here
So off to the MTC
And be of good cheer!
Your mom will miss you
And I will too
Who'll do the lessons
When Home Teaching is due?
They said riding a bike
Would be your downfall
But you practiced doing that
Now you ride straight and tall.
Nothing can stop you
You're sly as a fox
Not even that old
Stinkin' brick mailbox!!
So pack up your bags
With scriptures and then some
From this day forward
It's California here I come!
-John Wells

Zach was overwhelmed by the love and support in the room. I know that he has grown up with all of you and loves you all deeply. Here's some fun pictures!
Cake for the event, it was gone pretty quick!
Zach before all the guests got here.
Zach with Randy, Sam, and Hunter. Randy is currently serving in Sacramento. He entered the MTC just two weeks after Zach and is in the same state!
 The Hebron Ward Crew! From left to right, Ben, Ci, Zach, Brooklyn, Keith, Kayla, and Renee.

Thank you for everything!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

May 13, 2010- The Mission Call

Zach had been checking the mailbox daily for  two weeks for his letter that would include the mission call. Guesses were made for the location of the mission, but in the end I was right! It finally arrived on Thursday, May 13th! He was thrilled to find out that he would be staying in the states (so was I), and would be speaking his native language, English. Zach's mission call was to Riverside, California, and he would be entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on July 21, 2010 (just a few months after turning 19 and graduating from high school). Family and friends were immediately notified and the day was cause for much celebration (see picture below). Then it set in, we had merely two months to plan and organize a 19 year old kid for his entry into the adult world and for two years on his own. Then the work really began, for me, his mom.