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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jeff Sends Pictures From MTC

Today the mail lady, Tori Goudy, honked as she drove up to deliver the mail. Notification of our mail delivery isn't usual so we wondered what was up. Tammy checked the mail and there was an envelope from Jeff with a few pictures. Here they are.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First E-Mails from Elder Compton

Jeff has been in the MTC for a little over a week now. On Wednesday, January 27, we received our first e-mail from Jeff. He let us know that his p-day is Wednesday and that he can only look at e-mail and letters on his p-day. Following are a few excerpts from his e-mail.
My companion is Elder Taylor, he is from Kaysville, Ut. Elder Taylor also just got called as the district leader. He enjoys playing soccer and used to play on his highschool soccer team.

I've seen a couple people from Salem/SF. I've seen Skyler hardman, Nathan Davidson, Skyler Hancock, and Tanner & Tyler Roller. There have been several other people I've seen here but I didn't ever know too well.

We spent a lot of time learning how to get to know the investigators. This was something that I had never learned out of all the mission prep classes I went to. But they really emphasize that we should talk to the investigators to get to know them and to also try to understand how they are doing spiritually before you even start teaching them.

As far as the language goes, it's going quite well. We've learned how to pray, bear our testimony, and introduce ourselves in spanish. In fact I havn't said an english prayer since thurs. morning. However it's quite interesting. we only spend about 2-3 hours (more or less) working on language study a day, but even still it seems like I've learned a lot. They did, bytheway give us a set of spanish scriptures.

Thanks for sending the cookies, they tasted great!
He also sent his brothers short hand written letters that arrived on Thursday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Jeff is at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) where he will spend the next two months learning Spanish and preparing to go to Raleigh! He went in on Wednesday January 20. Today, Saturday, we haven't heard from him yet but expect that we will on his first Preparation Day (P-Day), whichever day of the week that is. His designated time to enter the MTC was 12:45 PM, so we had the morning to get around and ready. He already had things pretty well packed so we spent most of the time playing Uno that morning. At about 10:30 Jeff threw the last things in his bags, zipped up his bags, and disappeared in his room to put on his suit and tie. On the way out the door he gave me his set of keys including the key to his guitar case holding his prized Telecaster.

We left the ho
use about 11:00 and drove to Chili's in Orem for lunch together. Sharee had class that morning and so she met us at the restaurant. There were probably 5 or so other missionaries at Chili's eating their "last" meal with their family before driving over to the MTC to start their missions. Jeff went for the big bacon cheeseburger thing saying he wasn't terribly hungry. Probably a few butterflies, but it still looked like a monstrous hamburger to me.

When we finished we stopped by Sharee's apartment so she could drop off her car a
nd jump into the Suburban with us. We got to the MTC about 5 minutes early and so I parked illegally in the Wymount Terrace parking while everyone else jumped out for pictures by the MTC sign.

Everyone jumped back in and we were off to the drop off. They had previously sent us a parking sticker we were supposed to put in the front window. We pulled in and a missionary taped a pink piece of paper to the windshield and then other missionaries motioned us where we should go until one finally pointed to the curb. We pulled up, unloaded his bags, gave a quick round of hugs, and a yet another missionary asked, "are you ready Elder?" Jeff said that he was and they grabbed his bags and headed up the sidewalk. Quite different from when I went on a mission and we went through a little meeting and stuff first. The whole drop off from pulling into the MTC until we were pulling out lasted about 5 minutes. Pretty quick for a 2 year separation!

We went home and made cookies for him which Tammy sent by UPS the next day. We were all a little subdued and missing him but excited at the same time that he had started his mission and knowing that a mission was what he wanted to be doing and should be doing at this point in his life. Jeff is going to be a great missionary. We are looking forward now to hearing from him.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jeff is Set Apart

Jeff was set apart for his mission on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the high council room of the Salem West Stake center. In attendance were President Roy Silcox, President Eric Weight, Jeff, Grandma Sharron, Grandma Ruby, Aunt Trina, Tammy, Sharee, Tyler, Sean, Rhett Nance, Dallin Jack, and me. President Weight conducted and asked Tammy to give an opening prayer. Afterward he asked me to say a few words as Jeff's bishop.

I reviewed some thi
ngs from a talk by President James E. Faust called What I Want My Son to Know Before He Leaves on His Mission. I only had about 3-5 minutes to talk so I covered: (1) The idea that Jeff is called as a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ and will wear His name on his badge each day. (2) Work is more important than intellect. It is important to work hard on a mission to be happy. (3) Testimony is the most important "arrow in his quiver."

President Weight read from 3 Nephi Chapter 11 beginning in verse 32. He taught Jeff that being a missionary is easy. He just needs to do what the Savior would do, say what the Savior would say, and teach what the Savior would teach. He then told Jeff, "I know that you can do it!"

President Silcox talked how he lived in Raleigh, North Carolina and that the whole time he was there only knew a small handful of Spanish speaking people. He was surprised when Jeff received his mission call to Raleigh to speak Spanish (Jason Carrick who lives in our stake and just returned from the same mission estimated that there are 40 Spanish speaking missionaries in that mission). H
e then talked about Lehi in the Book of Mormon and about how Jeff would be teaching his descendents. He talked about how Lehi was a visionary man. He said that Jeff was foreordained in the pre-existence to serve in the Raleigh, North Carolina mission. He said, "I believe that you said, 'Here I am, send me to North Carolina to speak Spanish.'"

President Silcox then set Jeff apart as a missionary. He gave Jeff a great blessing. Two of Jeff's best friends since kindergarten, Rhett Nance and Dallin Jack, were there and since they hold the Melchizedek priesthood were able to stand in the circle as Jeff was set apart. Following are pictures of the three together at different times in their life.

Before heading to bed that night, Jeff, Tyler, and I got in one last guitar jam session and then Jeff wrestled his brothers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jeff's Sacrament Meeting Talk and Letter from Mission President

I thought it might be fun to see the notes that Jeff used for his Sacrament Meeting talk and his letter from his mission president. This is a scan of the actual notes that he used. He talked for almost 15 minutes from that! Be sure to click on the links above to see.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jeff Orders His Mission Bike

With less than a week before he enters the MTC, Jeff finally ordered his bike. He looked into a couple of options but ultimately decided to order his bike online with CTR Bikes. The advantage with CTR was that they ship the bike directly to the mission home and also offer a Guaranteed Bike Replacement Program for stolen and accident "totaled" bikes. Hopefully he never has to use the replacement program, especially the "totaled" part. CTR also carries several name brands including Specialized, Trek, Raleigh, Gary Fisher. Being an avid mountain biker, Jeff was a little choosy on his choice of mission wheels and this was not a quick decision for him. He definitely wanted disc brakes and one that had some better components. This made CTR a little difficult because they only offer a couple of models with disc brakes. Jeff finally settled on a Trek 4500. Anyway, above is a picture of the bike. I think it is going to be a little hard for him to wait two or more months to ride it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shopping and Sacrament Meeting Talk

On Monday and Wednesday this past week Jeff and Tammy finished up most of his missionary shopping. He checked out the stuff at the Missionary Mall. He needs to have a dark colored backpack for his mission to carry things. He found a nice CamelBack backpack at the Missionary Mall that should work pretty good. Other than that the inventory at Missionary Mall was pretty sparse when we were there. We may go back and pick up a raincoat that they normally carry but they were currently out of Jeff's size.

On Wednesday we returned to Mr. Macs to pick up his purchases from several weeks ago that had been tailored. While there he purchased his shoes. He decided to go with one pair of Eccos and one pair of Rockports. I guess we'll see how each works out. They recommended that he alternate shoes each day to help avoid blisters and minimize pressure points that a specific shoe might have.

Saturday the family went to Brighton to snowboard and ski. Grandma Sharron gave the family ski passes for a day for their Christmas. It was kind of an over cast day but a great day for boarding. The lift lines were generally short most of the day. The only time we waited was right after lunch as everyone was returning to the slopes. As soon as the crowd dispersed on the mountain we pretty much rode up to the chair each time. This was the first time that Tammy had been skiing in many year since raising kids and then break her wrist in 2007. She had a little fear to overcome but did pretty good by the end of the day. The debate between snowboards and skis is alive and well in our family with Tyler and Tammy preferring skis and the rest of us on boards. Jeff and Tyler spent the day on the upper mountain while the rest of us stayed on the lower "green" runs most of the day.

Jeff spoke in sacrament meeting on Sunday. The program consisted of Caden Christensen, Joe Grant, Jeff, and Patrick Campbell. Caden is a Teacher in the ward. Joe is from the Knoll Park ward originally but most recently has been attending the Salem Hills ward, a ward for Young Single Adults. Brother Campbell is my second counselor in the bishopric.

Jeff gave a great talk on loving God. He used the talk that President Uchdorf gave in Conference last October called The Love of God as a basis for his talk. Being his dad I am a little biased, but I thought that he did a great job. For the having a reputation of being shy and not saying much, he spoke for about 14 minutes using the scriptures, quotes from general authorities of the Church, and shared a great testimony. I'll try and post some of his talk in a later post if he has it in soft copy. There were a good number of his friends that attended in addition to family.

Following the meeting some of his friends and family came to the house for a light lunch. I had to stay at church but from the pictures and what everyone said it seems that they had a good time. I think it is great the way the other young men support each other in preparing for their missions. Some of Jeff's closest friends are all leaving at various times over the next year. One of his friends, Dallin Jack, bought each a grey tie that they are all going to wear when they speak in sacrament meeting and each Thursday of their mission. Jeff had his on this past Sunday. A big group from the Timberline staff were there and took group pictures. Timberline is a leadership training for Boy Scouts. Jeff has been a staff member for the past 4 or 5 years and has made friends with some great young men.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Preparation Progress Report

It has been a little while since my last update. Today is Jeff's 19th birthday so he is now officially old enough to go on his mission. For his birthday he received mostly missionary type items including a first aid kit, travel alarm clock, mosquito spray (yes, that is something on the list he is supposed to take), sewing kit, and a portable CD player (he can't take his iPod). He also got a soldering iron for projects after his mission. As I started writing this, Jeff was at the hardware store picking up stuff to build the electronics for a rocket launcher for Estes Rockets so that he could try out his new soldering iron.

Jeff will speak in Sacrament meeting in the Knoll Park Ward (160 S 460 W Salem, UT) on 10 January at 9:00 a.m. Now for what has happened the past couple of weeks.

First, we had a great Christmas with the family. My mom and sister and Tammy's mom came out to the house and spent Christmas day with us.

The day after Christmas Jeff thought it would be a good idea to go and get a missionary suit. He needs two but he recently bought a new suit from Mr. Mac that he has liked and plans to use. Despite my misgivings about going shopping the day after Christmas, we loaded up and headed to Mr. Mac. The mall was very busy and I had to drop everyone off at the door so they could start looking while I trolled for a parking place. Fortunately someone walked out of the mall just as everyone got out of the car and I followed them to their place and waited until they pulled out.

Jeff found a nice dark grey suit with two pairs of slacks. It was good we went when we did because it will take until January 7 for the alterations. He also found two pairs of slacks, white slacks for baptisms, short sleeve white shirts, and an umbrella. He looked at shoes but decided to make that purchase when we went back to pick up the alterations. The word among missionary moms is the Rockport and Ecco shoes are the best and hold up the longest with lots of walking. Jeff will likely be doing quite a bit of biking and walking on his mission in North Carolina. Both brands are fairly pricey but they do look pretty nice. Ecco is a European brand that come in European sizes like most bike shoes. We were going to pick up a coat for him but they were out of his size and so we will pick that up when we go back.

On Monday we left for quick trip to Colorado so that Jeff could visit his great grandma Ruth Holman before he leaves. She celebrated her 90th birthday in April of 2009 and still lives alone, drives, and gets along better than most people half her age. There had been a LOT of snow along the way but the roads were all cleared off and we made the trip in a record 8 hours and 15 minutes from Salem to the Comfort Inn in Alamosa, CO. That did not include speeding. We went through Moab and then over Wolf Creek pass into the valley. We went down to mom's house in Sanford and ate a ham dinner with her, Trina, and Grandma Ruth before heading back to the hotel for a swim before bedtime.

On Tuesday we went up Cumbres / La Manga pass on the South end of the San Luis Valley and did some sledding. It was cold and a little windy but we found a great hill with lots and lots of snow. The kids had as much fun throwing each other in the arm pit deep powder as they did riding the toboggan. It snowed almost the entire time we were there. The scenery up there is incredibly beautiful.

On Wednesday we headed up to our land up Rock Creek. There was only about a foot of snow but it had drifted pretty bad in places and we could only drive to within about 1/4 mile of the gate. Before walking up to the gate, we shot a box full of .410 shells at clay pigeons. Tyler was the star hitting 6 pigeons which is pretty good considering that has only done that a couple of times. We hiked into our property and rode the toboggan and a tractor tube down a hill that we had purchased at the Monte Vista COOP on the way up. Tyler and Sean did some exploring down by the creek but came back up with the family when they thought they heard a big animal in the brush. A large herd of deer had recently been through the area leaving tracking and places where they had bedded down.

It was intended to be a quick trip and we drove back home to Salem on New Year's eve. It had snowed in the Colorado mountains while we were there and while the roads were plowed, they were still pretty icy all of the way over the pass. We went home over Cochetopa pass.

I know that a lot of this doesn't have to do specifically with Jeff's preparation for his mission, but going to Colorado was part of what he wanted to do before leaving. Next post will probably be after he speaks in sacrament meeting on the 10th.