Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012

Last Email of 2012 for Elder Chandler!
Hi mom,
I am glad we got to talk yesterday and that I caught you at home and got to see everyone's morning faces!
We talked about everything yesterday, so bye!
Love, Elder Chandler
Just kidding, I always have lots to say, anytime any day!
I think that the reason President Cook is so good and has been so successful is because he holds his missionaries accountable, sometimes he just calls missionaries during the day and asks them what they have done the past 3-4 hours to fulfill their purpose. He also lets missionaries stay in areas for a longer amount of time than usual. Most missionaries stay for 6 months in an area so by the end the ward knows and trusts them and the missionary really knows the area and the people and the social circles so he can become really effective.
President Cook also knows, and I know that the Gospel is simple and when I talked with Harrison yesterday I told him that. Jesus Christ is the source of forgiveness. He wants us to return home to live with Himself and our Father in heaven and be happy. He provided us a way to do so. That is why the last thing I said was "follow the commandments" It was half-silly, but instead of saying something like "be happy" or "don't worry about me" I know that if we just follow the commandments then we will be set. I love sharing this message to the wealthy, yet unhappy people of California!! (That is just a general statement, there are poor people here and there are happy people as well, don't sue me!)
The work is about to pick up here, we have some big plans :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
-Elder Chandler

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18th, 2012

Surf's up in Oceanside!

How did you know I was transferred? And you aren't supposed to know I am a zone leader! To answer your questions I am serving in the Oceanside 1st ward with Elder Hammar from Rigby, ID and we are the zone leaders in the Carlsbad zone. We have the famous Oceanside pier in our area and we run there often in the mornings. It is a mission rule to run every morning by the way. 

I am glad you got to meet Kevin Clegg and get the camera card from him! He is a stud and a great ward missionary. I have a new card in the camera now, but if you send that other one back that would be great. I didn't have the chance to go through and censor the pictures, so I hope there wasn't any weird ones that people stole my camera and took without me knowing!

Yay, you got the Peace on Earth elf! That is from a lady who gets them every year and they are supposedly really valuable and she said to give them to our mothers. She had lunch with Russel Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio last week and is a really cool lady. i am glad that you got the package. I did get the stockings for me and Elder Hammar, thank you thank you! 

As a clarification that alligator was a conglomeration of pre-historic vittles that should have been buried 100 miles under the Bermuda triangle. We couldn't tell if it was alive, so we basically put on our gloves and big-boy pants and reached in and pulled it out piece by piece. First the heart, then the intestines then the thigh meat. It was just gross stuff.

It is snowing at home?! it is freezing here, I wore my sweater and long-sleeve shirts this week. It is literally 60 degrees in the morning and I can see my breath! It got down to 57 yesterday and it was hard to leave the apartment. it is going to be a real culture shock to come home to Oregon. 

Highlights of the week:

I have to shave every day out of necessity, not solely out of obedience now. 

Ioannies was baptized on Saturday, but I didn't get to go, because it was too far away. We have a baptism here though this Saturday which should be great, I am really excited!

CrazyRadar(This will be my weekly column, similar to the police log, of choice individuals who we meet during the week that brought joy to our lives):

Shadrac- On our way to an appointment we stopped and talked to a mysterious man in a long trechcoat. We asked him what he was doing and he told us it was "beyond our realm of comprehension" but then he started explaining that he needed to go back in time and deflect a solar flare. Something to do with 12/12/2012 he just kept saying 12-12-12-12-12-12-12-20-12. I wish I could explain more clearly about the self-proclaimed Galactic Rescue Ranger, but most of his physics were beyond my realm of comprehension.

Jared- Between appointments we were walking and started talking to a man who was already involved in a conversation. With himself. he told us he was a little busy with his thoughts, but that God is happy with us. We tried to share a card with him, but then he got pretty mad and said he was looking for a place to relieve himself. Elder Hammar notified him of a gas station in the vicinity and he started calling us super mean names and that we don't have any right to tell him where to do his business, in fact "I prefer to [do it] outside gentlemen!!" I hope he made it.

Karate Kid- Tender mercy. We were just driving down Pacific Coast Highway and happened upon a young painter who stood up and ran behind this van and then started doing something which looked like dancing until he threw a few kicks in. He did a beautiful martial art demonstration for us and then got in the van and drove away before I could get my camera out. This all happened in about 8 seconds.

Guy- Really, his name is Guy. he was walking around one night with a big coat on and carrying some dark object, but we stopped and talked to him and he was super nice so we gave him a card and the next day he called in and requested a DVD so we took one to him, but he said he had sever bipolar, so it wasn't a good time to talk to him. He was a little crazy, but Guy is actually pretty cool.

Merry Christmas to all and I am looking forward to talking with you in 7 days! Good luck in the treacherous weather of the Northwest!

-Elder Chandler

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 11th, 2012

My salutation today is a smile, because I am happy! 
I am impressed that even though you wrote me this email last night, you thought ahead and said good morning to me, because you knew I would be getting it this morning! 

Thank you for the email and good news from home. My news, as you know, is that I am headed to a new area this very day. The ward here has been so fun and people said they have spare rooms if I ever want to visit! I just might when it is 75 degrees in December!

My personal favorite experience of the week is hard to put a finger on. Elder Barton and I mentally and physically sprinted all week and were raring for more, but his new companion will just have to catch on quick.Any how, here are a few of my highlights(in no particular order):

-Ward Christmas party: Elder Barton and I cooked the hashbrowns and spilled a little oil. We did not think it was a big deal until Carter van der Linde, who is 6 jumped by us, landed in the oil, got some on his shoes and proceeded to run into the slick wood floor of the gym, make a sharp 90 degree cut to the left while his feet continued ahead and he landed on his rump. A little more wax on the floor please...

-Sunday: I accompanied the ward choir singing "Jesus Once of Humble Birth". It was nice to feel the spirit through music like that. I love teaching and testifying, but music really gets to me. 

Christmas caroling: A few times this week we went out with members of the ward or other missionaries to visit investigators, single people or just people who needed a cheering up to sing a few Christmas carols and read from Luke 2. That was really nice, and people liked it. 

Oh yeah, also during the Christmas party the young men and young women did a little act and I played the piano for them as they sang some fun songs. 

THE BIG ONE: We have a sweet, little, old sister who was baptized about 5 years ago. She loves missionaries! Now, that is all well and good, however, she is tight financially and is looking for a roommate. Well, what is the problem with that Elder Chandler? Her house was neck high in rubbish!!! Ward council has been discussing this problem for years: she needs help. Well That is what missionaries are for, so I told Elder Barton we need to do something about this. This sister has the most wobbly voice I have ever heard. I will call her after my mission just to listen to her voice, because it tickles me. 

We usually have a tough time getting elderly women to do what we want, but this time we had no mercy. We talked about bringing the spirit into her home, about getting money so she could experience the blessings of tithing, and being happy! She agreed to leave her home for a season while we went in to do some work. She warned us about the "alligator in the fridge" and I thought it was a rumor. Until I opened the fridge; there it was. 

We filled up the dumpster behind her house with newspapers from 1987 and canned food older than me. Once that was full we filled up the next dumpster with deteriorated pillows and warm meat juice. Elder Barton just about vomited a few times (haha)

She is still looking for a roommate, but she is very happy. As a goodbye gift I took her out to lunch yesterday and made her let me pay. She is truly a wonderful woman. 

I have to head down to Vista for transfer meeting and to practice a song that President Cook wants me to play for the meeting. 

That is not what is really important though, what IS really important is that we have God's church on the earth and the simple Gospel, which is the way for us to be happy. I know that it is true and real. A thought I have been pondering on this week is about vision. Well, vision and perspective. If I want to drive across the country I believe I could. However, all I can see at one time is the road ahead of me. If I crash in the middle, I will be stuck, and you never know what might be around the next corner that would deter you from forward progression. As we make decisions and goals in our life we must remember that ultimate goal that Father in heaven wants for us: to return to live with Him.

What I have been thinking about is that life is not all about what is happening right now. I was guilty in high school of being narrow-minded and absorbed in activities that were part of my vision, but I did not recognize the big picture. Only God really sees the big picture, but I have a strong testimony that if we just live the simple Gospel then we will be happy. As we do the right things and live the right way then there is nothing that can stop us from achieving our purpose in life. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is my elder brother and my friend. Please, please, please think about Him every day. 

Being a missionary is the bomb! Lovin' out loud is what it's all about :)

-Elder Chandler :):):):):):):):):)

December 4th, 2012

Thank you for the email Mom!

I am glad you like the photos, there is a ward missionary who is going up to Portland in 2 weeks and said he wanted to stop by you, so I asked him to take you up the camera memory card. I have another one, so don't worry, I will still capture pieces of my adventure for you. 

I am glad that you had a good week and that life is good. Life is good here too! Ioannies passed his baptismal interview and is really set on his date of December 17. Ever since we told him to read and pray every day and his doubts will dissappear he has and the doubts have disappeared. We are happy about that.

So Eddie Shin who was baptized last month goes to Humbolt State University. Sarah Martin also goes there and she was baptized this year too and they know each other and go to the same ward! When Eddie comes home for Christmas I am sure he will be excited to talk about that connection! 

Today is laundry day and I am going to wash my shirts because they are really dirty, but I was able to procure 3 additional shirts. They are nice and cleaner. An Elder had them before me for 2 years and they are cleaner then the ones I have had for 6 months. The only problem is that they are a little wider fit, so I call them my "fat man shirts" and I wear them with my "skinny jeans". They are still all missionary appropriate  my clothes just don't quite fit like they should so I think it is funny. I suppose I should be more politically correct because I understand you aren't the only one who may read this email, but it is too late now! 

Yesterday was superb! We are working on a family mission plan for all the families in the ward and one of the families we taught last night. They are the Brunelle's. We had a fun lesson on family prayer and they will now pray every night together. Towards the end of the lesson, however, brother Brunelle started just asking questions about Cain and Able, so we talk them that story and then he asked super random questions and I made the mistake of giving my opinion, instead of the doctrine behind it and said that "well, I don't know this, but I think maybe Cain is still here, I heard that one time, this is not to say for sure, but just my thoughts is he could be like Bigfoot  Not exactly Bigfoot  but just some thing that no one can find." And he just told me about how when I have my name tag on I really need to be careful about what I say! I was really trying to just suggest that I have no idea, but I have a funny thought! He is right though that people look up to missionaries and listen to what they say, so I need to be careful. They are a super fun family and no harm was done, but I learned a good lesson. 

Mom, for your "Arise and Shine Forth" kick-off I think that that sounds awesome! Looking back, now at the youth here in the Marina Hills ward they truly are an example and others look to them. We talked to a kid on the street and he said he knows some Mormon kids and they are only good, nice and loving people. That was a great testimony to me that living right is the best thing to do. 

I have been thinking this week that I want to share more of the things I am doing, and less of just random stuff. So today I am going to write a short list of people we teach and how they are doing. Nothing personal or details, and probably not even their names, but just some incredible changes that are happening. Sorry that my letter is jumbled today, my mind is on the things we have coming up this week. 

A. This person has stopped with her hard core drugs and got married and her and her non-member husband are coming to activities and church and we teach them regularly. 

B. He just got the Melchizedek priesthood on Sunday and used to drink and smoke, but now even though his family are all not members he comes to church. We are helping him get through the loss of his sister.

C. (Andy Nelson :) Andy is doing great and we visit him every Monday at 1. He has started listening to the scriptures after 8 months of not doing anything. We teach and read with him and he gets to talk to someone. he is much happier.

D. She meets with us once a week and is a new member and felt really bad for herself for a long time, but now she reads the scriptures, comes to church and is looking for a job.

E. Their daughter died about a year ago and we help in their garden once a week. They are active, but just need visits. 

F. This family has a son called to leave on his mission in March, and he comes out with us. The family is not really active, so we teach them with the son. The son just gave his first blessing to his mom and the whole family felt better. 

There are so so many, but I will share some more next week. 

The Gospel is a wonderful blessing in the lives of all those who live it. I hope that at this Christmas time of year that we can show our Christ like love in word and deed. As President David O. McKay said "True happiness comes from making others happy." May we serve others and bring light and joy to all those and find peace and happiness in our own lives. I am grateful to be a missionary and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

California! -Elder Chandler

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 27th, 2012

Good morning mother!

Thank you for the email! Sounds like your Thanksgiving was really good with all the family, I am happy that everyone was able to be together! My birthday was very nice, thank you for the ties and treats! Elder Barton made me a muffin/cake and we put the 20 candles in it, we aren't allowed to use lighters so we just admired it, photographed it and then devoured it. I have lost 10 pounds since I have been in this area, I just realized this after I weighed myself after Thanksgiving to see the damage. It has been good to run in the morning and I think that has trimmed me down. I still weigh more than I ever did before my mission and I still look chubby, but that is okay, because right now my body is just a tool of the Lord, a vessel for His spirit to be worked and worn out in the service of others.

When I come home, I am not going to recognize you with a head of grey hair! Wow, sounds like this week has been busy, but I am glad to hear that everyone is safe. The Lord is in charge. Andy, who we meet with, always tells us that "No one messes with heavenly Father" because even though the heavens and earth may pass away, [God's] word will not pass away (citation needed)

 I am grateful for the lovely birthday cards I got yesterday as well and I will be writing back soon! I wish I had some funny stories to tell. One miraculous event happened last week that I neglected to mention: Eddie Shin was baptized and that was cool, but then the next day we went over to meet with him and his friend Iaonnies. We talked for a little bit and were about to start the lesson when sister Shin did something out of the ordinary and quite incredible. I have never seen anything done the way she did this. She looked at the ceiling and squinted her face up and sang the alphabet song backwards! I was mesmerized and astounded! It totally made my day! Just wanted to share that.

This week is looking good. I love being a missionary and we are super busy! A quick insight that I had this week was about serving others and how the Lord will consecrate our performance if we act out of love and Christlike care. I gave a training in district meeting and President Cook was there so I was nervous but I talked about how if we know exactly what our investigators need then we will know how it will help them. This seems silly and irrelevant, but in order to testify and promise specific blessings, we need to know that yes, what we are sharing is true, and not only that - it will bless your life! It starts with deisire. If we can discern the needs and desires of those we serve we can more perfectly serve them. Love you all lots and lots and I hope you enjoy the pictures. 
Baptism of Chris Allen


Elder Barton Eddie Shin (new convert) and Elder Chandler
-Axlakch Chandler

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 20th, 2012

Dearest mom,

Thank you for the wonderful update about the family! Sorry to hear about grandma Dickinson; she was such a wonderful and humorous woman. I am just sad that I won't be able to listen to her stories on the earth, but I am happy that she will be just as witty when I see her next. 

Today we were able to go to the temple and enjoy the rejuvenating spirit that is there. Work is going well. I feel an infinitesimally small portion of the burden that the Savior felt as he worked out the salvation of His brothers and sisters. I am grateful for the advice that dad gave me in his email that by doing the Lord's work and being His servant I can please God. By giving all that I have I will become who I need to become. God is easy to please but so very hard to satisfy. I never do enough to justify my sins. I need to rely on Jesus Christ to carry me on His shoulders when the load is too heavy. I now He is there and even more than that I know that God is mindful of me as he is of each of us. 

I didn't mean to get into the heavy stuff so soon! It has just been weighing on my mind. But this week was super fun! Missionary work is a ball. As serious as it is, it is so rewarding and we have a grand time! Yes my birthday IS this week, but it is on a weekend which means the whole day is considered "prime proselyting" hours. So I doubt I will be able to open my birthday box until about 9:30 after planning or maybe 10 because we need to make a progress record for ward council the next morning, but I for sure look forward to it! Thank you for thinking of me and thoughtfully sending me a package! I was planning on being in Mongolia and not receiving anything for 2 years, so this is way nice!

The Thanksgiving Turkey bowl is out of our area, so I won't be there :(

I lined up 5 dinners for Thursday... Elder Barton wasn't too happy about that. He was on exchanges 3 out of the 7 days this week so I set up a lot of appointments with less-actives and investigators and families that wanted us over. He appreciates my effort and enthusiasm, but he is very detail oriented and methodical (which keeps me in line) and doesn't hesitate to remind me that we will be on bikes that day and we need to eat at each house. We had 3 dinners last night, but we had the car, so it worked out. I just tell him that it will all work out and he shakes his head and sighs in resignation. That is how most of our conversations go. We teach really well together though! 

"Kennedy! Happy birthday on Thursday I hope it is wonderful. You can be a missionary in 6 years now! Love you sister."

Rocio heads back to Colombia Thursday at 2AM and so we won't see her until January 14. Then she will be baptized on January 26. She is doing great, but really just needs this vacation. Her son Ioannies is scheduled to be baptized on December 17. We had a baptism on Saturday and so Ioannies really felt the spirit there and is progressing towards a strong testimony. 

"To celebrate your birthday we will be having breakfast at Dean's restaurant on Saturday.  Looking forward to ringing in your 20th year with bacon!" -Mom
Just know that my spiritual mouth and stomach will be there for the left overs! Feel free to send them to my physical mouth and stomach if you want.

I love being a missionary and my testimony is that miracles happen everyday. I feel bad that I don't share miracles that much in these emails, because they are just all over the place! Some are very personal, but little things happen everyday that are changing me and those that the spirit comes into contact with. 

Happy Thanksgiving and I will give you a weigh-in next week.
Gobble Gobble! -Elder Chandler

November 13, 2012

Hi Mom!

Thank you for the update and great diet advice. I will definitely recommit myself to eating right! Last Monday got up to 100 degrees and yesterday was down to 38, so I am enjoying wearing my sweaters, they sure do keep me warm. Yesterday was 80 again, so I am not quite sure what the man upstairs has in store for the week, but I am excited!

Rocio is still recovering from surgery and she has a lot of stitches, and unhealed incisions that cannot get wet. The doctrine of immersion is true, therefore we had to postpone her baptism for the second time. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and has such great faith and a strong desire to be baptized, that we are not worried, but continue to be patient and rely on God's timing. 

One of my favorite experiences of the week was talking with a 21 year old, bed-ridden young man who has not been out of his bed for 8 months. His name is Andy and he is one of 8 special needs kids that has been adopted by a member of the ward. He is really disappointed that he cannot serve a mission, so we try to bring the missionary spirit to him. We stop by every Monday for about 40 minutes and read scriptures and just talk. At the end of our meeting his 5 year old little brother, Matt, came in and we asked if he wanted to pray with us and he said he would say it. He started saying a great prayer, but quickly ran out of things to say, so Andy helped him out and Matt repeated word for word every sentence that Andy said. It was a great testimony to me of the love that God has for us that he will help us whenever we run into a roadblock. Andy helped Matt when Matt was unable to go any further. There were many, many small experiences this week that helped me feel God's love for each of us - including every person on this earth and me individually. 

Last night Elder Barton and I taught a short family home evening to a group of single adults. We talked about service and we talked and gratitude and how giving service, any time of year, but especially now, is a great way to show our gratitude to God for all that He has given us. I thought the whole venue was rather enjoyable. There were about 12-15 people there and they were all single and aged from 35-55. I hope my next comment is taken in the spirit that it is intended: each of them have reasons why they are not married and when they were all together it made for a humorous evening. I felt right at home! 

Sorry all I can remember is stories from yesterday, but time is a little strange out here; last Tuesday feels like it was a long time ago, but June feels like only a few days ago. The work is moving fast out here and a quick stat to emphasize this is that the California, Carlsbad mission will be increasing from 170 missionaries to 250 in the next 3-6 months. Wow. I am stoked!! The Lord is preparing people here and everywhere to hear about the restored gospel. A hard part of this work is talking to every one and opening my mouth when I feel apprehensive or uncomfortable about never having met a person before, but I have found the Lord trusts me more and more as I simply do what He asks. We are promised in the scriptures (D&C 31?) that our tongue will be loosed, as we pray always. It is true. 

May your week be eventful in an uneventful way. 
-Elder Chandler

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 6, 2012

Good morning Mom!

Thank you for the email this week and for the package last week, the healthy foods have been a wonderful alternative to Halloween candy. People seem to think that missionaries need their left-over candy. We really don't! 

I have really been loving the work here and the service that we have been able to provide, no matter how hard it can be at times. We had our investigator, Chris get baptized on Sunday! I met him my first night here in Laguna Niguel and have been amazed to see his transformation over the past two months. The gospel has given him confidence and most importantly direction. He still constantly asks us, and he is 33, what it is that he is supposed to do. As we have consistently and earnestly given him the primary answers to read his scriptures and pray he has had experiences with Christ, his heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost. It took me years and years to understand many of the things that we must do in our lives, and I am so happy to see the spirit working miracles in the lives of those who let it in. 

Elder Barton and I are having fun and working hard everyday. I have sometimes felt ineffective and useless being in America. For so long my heart was in Mongolia and I had a vision of what it was that I needed to do as a missionary to fulfill my purpose and be about my Father's work. I have always loved being a missionary and exerting every effort to do God's Will, but I took a long time to feel like a true missionary. I still am working on how I can be better, and I know that will never end, but serving in the same country I was raised in seems like I am still just being a good example and doing my best, but not becoming a new person. The work here stretches me in different ways and builds my personal testimony and conviction of the truth. I want to influence the lives of many and help them receive the enabling and empowering rock of the Atonement in their lives. I pray each and every day that I may reach my potential and do good and be good. I am grateful that I am here and know that there are many reasons for each circumstance. 

Rocio is doing great, she is going through many trials and struggles and we have spent some time trying to help her through some difficulties. She is being baptized (if all goes according to plan) this Saturday, November 10 and we are excited for her!

There was a neat opportunity for a few of us full-time missionaries to help teach and train prospective missionaries for the 4 stakes around here. They put on a "Mini-MTC" and had speakers, classes and even taught discussions. One companionship taught Rocio! Two highlights for me:

I carried two ironing boards up into a room for a demonstration. Then I was setting them up and as I was setting one down the other slipped and fell, so I quickly and instinctively reached back to grab it and I caught it! That felt good. But the moral of the story is that when I grabbed is the middle and ring fingers of my right hand got caught by the sharp metal on the bottom of the board and it sliced them open to the bone. My ring finger would not stop bleeding! We went into the bathroom and washed it out and stuck some paper towels on my hand to keep the finger together and moved on. 

Part 2: Then we taught some of the 16-18 year old young men how to teach the first lesson. My finger stopped bleeding for the time when we were demonstrating and instructing. There was a great spirit in the room as I got to work with a few companionships and help them teach in unity and with power. My finger should be fine, but everytime I look at the scar that will be there I will remember how I felt working with those young men. I don't think I told the story very well, but it really had a big impact on me. 

The time that I have as a missionary to serve is very short and limited. The time we have on this earth is as well. I pray that we may be able to make everyday aligned with the will of the Father. He has placed us in the places that we are in for a reason. The most helpful thing that I have done in order to understand what it is that I should do is to pray. Praying for help and protection is one way God will help us. Praying for direction and confirmation of truth is another. I know that God listens and grants unto each of us according to our faithfulness blessing and guidance in this life because He loves us. I know that prayers in behalf of others have been heard and answered. The love and light of Christ can give us comfort and I am so grateful to be sharing that message of hope and peace as a servant of the Lord! 
Happy election day!
Elder Chandler

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30th, 2012

Dear Mom,

I learned something interesting this week that I had never heard before. I always see pictures of the inhabitants of ancient America eating and drinking out of bowls. Our mission president told me why that is when I spoke with him on Sunday:
"Because Moroni buried the plates!"

Just wanted to pass on some knowledge this week and express gratitude for humor in a world of trials and tribulations.
Love, Elder Chandler

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 23, 2012

This world is so beautiful! Thank you for the picture of the garden, looks like it is growing quite a bit. God's work is also growing here in Laguna Niguel. This week I just feel jubilantly joyful in all things, and I want to share that! We had quite a few ups and downs: Rocio was not baptized  we attended a funeral, Elder Barton had some sad news from home and one of our investigators did not come to church. On the other hand, Rocio received a powerful confirmation that she needs to be baptized  we invited three people to be baptized, we are healthy, and we rebuked and evil spirit!

Here is the latest on Rocio: she is wonderful and an incredible woman and mother. I will keep my comments positive and not too personal, but she really, I mean REALLY wants to be baptized so she will. She is in for surgery today, but perhaps will be healed enough before November to be baptized  Why wasn't she baptized? We have been teaching her son for quite a while now and ever since his mom started investigating and he met this "new friend" he does not keep any commitments and is not progressing. There is a rift between mother and son that Rocio will not allow to be widened. The gospel is a message of unity and baptism should not be a wedge, but a sealant to a relationship. We are waiting on the son to come back and employing every honorable mean to provide him with a fair opportunity to choose between liberty or captivity. We love them both dearly, and pray for them every day.

A few fun moments of the week:

We had three dinners on Sunday and they were all really good, so we had to keep eating - just preparation for Thanksgiving! 

We met some people in the middle of the parking lot, we came from the Wendy's side and they from Patsy's Bar side. One was the designated driver and was the member who had gotten civilly married last week. She invited a few of the guys there to be baptized and one said yes and came to church! Another one "Jeremiah Peter" requested us to say a prayer all together, so we huddled around and football style came in, hands stacked high, to listen to Jeremiah Peter say a prayer. It was interesting to see how every type of person needs God in their lives. 

One more drunk man story; we were leaving our apartment to go to a lesson, and before we could get to the car a man missionaries used to teach yelled "Oi, Brothah!" and marched over with a phone playing "Death and Destruction" by a band I never want to hear again. He bellowed a few lines of the song for us, and then said: "I know you can't listen to music, so I brought you some to listen to, because you can't stop me from listening to it next to you, right?" 
We said: "Sure, Super Dave." Super Dave is his alias name when he is intoxicated. Then he showed us the intro to a Ramones song, and we really tried to leave, but then something unexpected happened. He talked about how he is going to become a Catholic and wants to stop drinking, but knows that "no one can ever change me!" We invited him to church to feel of the spirit, and counseled him, quoting President Monson that "Leopards may not be able to change their spots, but we are working with men. Men can change!" That was neat, but here is the best part: right before we left he said "We need to fight against Satan"
We agreed and I said "We are all part of God's army" 
Then I stood right next to him, shoulder to shoulder and stood up at attention, like a soldier. His slumped form instantly straightened and dignified. We saluted and he said, "I feel like we are all brothers. Can I say a prayer with you"
We said "yes, please."
He draped his arms onto our shoulders and we bowed our heads while he pleaded with God for strength and deliverance. 
Immediately following the word "Amen" he started twitching a little and got really scared. He told us that he felt tingly where any part of his body had been touching us. He came to church and cried because he really felt the Spirit. We are going to meet with him later to day and he wants to get baptized now. I'm telling you, missionary work is a blast!

My personal studies have been enlightening and I feel the fire of testimony burning inside of me as I read the scriptures. I know this is God's work and I am not sure some days how we do what we do. There is a fun phrase I really like that helps me be a better missionary: "Lovin' out loud is what it's all about" I love being a missionary and helping people overcome the influences of the world through my words, actions and testimony is what it's all about! Sorry this is so long this week! I know that through "Lovin' out loud" we will be happier and everybody wants that! Let's bring joy to the world.

-Elder Chandler

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 16, 2012

Salutations and sunny skies!

We had a thunderstorm on Thursday! The heavens opened and let loose; I took pictures, but I brought the wrong cord to connect to the computer, sorry I often do not send pictures. This was quite a week.

Elder Barton and I were able to attend two weddings. A temple sealing on Wednesday and a civil marriage at the bishop's home on Thursday. Also a great man who was instrumental in bringing the family that got sealed into the church passed away the night they were sealed. Then it rained and rained and rained until a full and beautiful rainbow arched across the sky. His funeral is this Thursday and we are going to help with food. 

I am surprised that the ward still trusts me with food. At the stake hoedown my first week here I carried a big tray of baked beans into the park, but my bag got caught on a rope and I lost my balance just enough to spill the beans onto the grass. I quickly recovered my balance but just as suddenly lost my composure and dignity. Fortunately the beans were nearly all salvaged and properly placed back into the pan and, with some added-all natural flavors, were consumed by the hungry pioneers. Then on Wednesday we had dinner at a restaurant after the temple wedding and as I was sitting, talking to the family another member of the ward approached us and I stood up to shake her hand. In the process of moving my body into an upright position my center of gravity swung around and tilted an adjacent table just enough tumble all of the plates and silverware onto the floor. Usually when people clink glasses like that at a wedding reception they are informing the guests that they would like to propose a toast. I had no such intentions. I shook the woman's hand and busily went about picking up my mess. We are accident free now for 6 days. 

That is not the important part about my missionary work in the Marina Hills ward though! We have a baptism this Saturday for dear, sweet Rocio. She is doing great and is excited to follow through in her desire to covenant with God that she will serve Him. Stay tuned - more to come on that front. 

We started teaching a Hispanic family this week. We have three other investigators with baptismal dates: Chris, Ioannies, and Eddie, but they all are going to start going to the single's ward, so we probably won't be teaching them anymore, but hopefully we can go to their baptisms. On a typical day we spend about 4-5 hours teaching lessons and I have only tracted a total of 30 minutes so far on my mission. I tracted more at home, just on splits! We spend the rest of our time contacting referrals, visiting potential investigators, doing service, eating and sharing a message with members and meeting with members of the ward council to coordinate activities and appointments. 

A few other new and exciting developments that we are starting to implement are as follows: (DISCLAIMER: These are exciting to ME as a missionary, but that is not to say that you normal people living normal lives will find them invigorating in the least)

1. Bi-monthly family home evening in the park for investigators and new move-ins and less active members and long time members as a casual way to get to know people. We had our first last night and it was a big success! Our assistant ward mission leader provided treats, and we thought he was hosting it. Until he told us to "go a head and start whenever" We had a prayer, activity, spiritual thought and refreshments! 

2. Weekly splits with members of the ward. We were able to bring two young men to lessons with us this week, and are setting up a system with the high priest group and the elder's quorum to get more members of the ward involved in the missionary effort. 

3. We are teaching hang-gliding classes from the roof of the stake center. 
Not really, I just wanted to see how you would feel about that if it were true, mom :)

Other than that Elder Barton and I are doing well and life is good. I have been thinking about Elder Ballard's talk from general conference wherein he related the significance of each worker bee in a hive. Throughout the duration of the bee's life he/she(?) contributes a mere 1/12 of a teaspoon to the total amount of honey in the comb. We each have the responsibility to bring our 1/12 to the place we are serving as missionaries, members, or just human beings. God has allotted us all a set amount of time on this earth. Each day we have the opportunity to make choices that will help us progress of hinder our growth. I have tried to eat better, act more wisely and become more like Christ. I feel that some days I live my day up to its full 1/12 of a teaspoon worth! Other days I know that I need to strive harder to work better and and become more Christ-like. I pray that each of us, myself included, will be busy bees and industrious insects and Christian Christians. We can do that by serving, reading the scriptures, praying and going to church. Keep on buzzin'.

-Elder Chandler

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

Happy Tuesday,
I heard it was Columbus day yesterday when Elder Barton and I tried to visit the library to explore and genealogy resources, who knew? I need to get myself a national holidays list so we can avoid that mistake again! It is good to know that life goes on and that this mission is not just one long day, but that time is moving and changes are happening. Sometimes I feel like I have been on my mission for about a week, and some days I feel like I have been up for months.
Conference was quite the spiritual boost and I have a lot of spiritual and temporal action items I want to implement. I think you are exactly right, mom: I really should eat around the gluten and dairy items at people's homes, but most especially in the apartment. I let myself slide into complacency in my diet, Ramen is a stable and Nutty-Buddys for breakfast have been my life the past month. Whoops... No wonder I got sick. Anyhow I definitely feel that I will be less "foggy", as you like to say, if I can refrain from the bad and fill myself with the good.
I was inspired by the impressions that came to me as a missionary while watching conference, for my investigators as well as for myself. We had a man named Chris with us on Saturday morning who we invited to be baptised the end of the month and he enjoyed the talks. I feel like Elder Nelson's "Ask the missionaries" talk was really good for him specifically. There were many many times when I wrote down notes for myself that seemed completely unrelated to the talks, but for me were somethings that the spirit whispered I needed to remember and learn about. A BIG impression was to ask Father in heaven what I need to do to become a better servant of the Lord. I am astounded over and over again and filled with wonder and gratitude that the Supreme Being of the Universe has a personal concern and so much individual understanding for me. I need to keep refining myself and listening to the guidance of Him who sent me here.
A few weekly highlights:
Ocean in view. On exchanges with Elder Bradley we biked up a mountain in my area and saw the ocean from the top! Hearkened me back to the treks with Grandpa Craven retracing Lewis and Clark's trail
Old man's FHE. Last night Elder Barton (my full-time companion) and I went to a member of the high priest's house for dinner and family home evening. This was memorable because there were about 20 people there, all over the age of 40 and none currently married. Next month they asked us to give the lesson, so that will be fun. I hope that when I am 40 I will still be able to have the energy and attention span of a 15 year old in the right circumstances.
Bashin'. Tuesday we had a lesson with a family of a different Christian faith. The man's name was Rich and he is very nice. My favorite thing he said was "Intent comes before content" referring to receiving answers from prayers. I agree with him. he was pretty hung up on the Trinity, and doesn't really want to learn so we are not going to teach him anymore. He thought he proved and God is everywhere and nowhere and that He is 3 in 1 and 1 in 3, but he just wouldn't accept that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate and distinct personages.
I am having a fantastic time on my mission. I am a happy Carlsbad missionary! We are still looking for Mongolians to teach, but no one knows anyone! Imagine that. I know that this is not my work, but the work of the Almighty, so whatever He has for me is what I shall do. I am grateful for correct knowledge of truth and I do my best and work my hardest everyday so that I may do the work that He has given me. There is no better place for me to be at this time and I am grateful to be a missionary. 
Xairtei shuu! -Elder Chandler

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012

Dear Mom,
The work in Laguna Niguel is going well! Thank you for the email and snail mail this week! It got hot again here and we bike a lot of hills. I haven't been on a scale for a while, but you saw from those pictures yesterday that I still have my insulation. My companion is wonderful and we have seen much success. Our investigators are progressing and I love meeting with and teaching them! We had a really neat experience that I will share in a minute. I also really enjoyed the message on about the currant bush by Elder Christofferson. Some advice and direction to change is really not so fun to hear. Just like Matt Lorenzen*, the pro golfer had to start from scratch at the height of his success and re-invent his swing, we must accept the Will of the Lord to change. At times we may feel restricted by the imposition of a model of behavior and lifestyle, the Lord know how to help us bring forth fruit to bless us in our lives and aid us in our journey home again to the Being who created us.
 *(name has been changed to protect privacy and not bring up a taboo subject [Tiger Woods]:)
This week we went to a back to school BBQ at the bishop's house for the youth and shared an impromptu message about missionary work. The youth especially enjoyed it when I bore my testimony in Mongolian. I feel more comfortable sharing what I believe in another language. I sometimes think that I was called to Mongolia and learned Mongolian so that I could learn from the beginning how to say the core beliefs that I hold dear. At times I would rather not say anything in English, but I would not hesitate to share my faith in Mongolian, so now I need to apply the skills and courage I gained in that learning experience to bless the lives of everyone who has ears to hear.
 I can't think of any amusing stories to share, but I do have two experiences I want to talk about. I was feeling a pretty sick during the week and was not being as effective as I wanted to be. The Lord has blessed my tremedously with a desire to serve and to dedicate myself more to this than I ever have to anything else before. The Lord also has provided a standard that is to be upheld and lived. The Lord does not want His servants to try to outdo that standard. I was not taking care of my body and did not sleep as much as I should have and the Lord reminded me that He know what He is doing better that I do. I prayed and asked for forgiveness and strength. As I changed my ways and relied more on the Lord and leaned not unto my own understanding He provided ways for miracles to happen and work was accomplished that my companion and I could never have done on our own no matter what manly means we may have employed. I think that is actually a kind of funny story, but maybe that is just me.
The second experience was last night and my highlight of the week! We have been meeting with Ioannies (I-O-neighs) and his mother Rocio (Ro-ci-o). Last night we had dinner and a lesson and talked about priesthood authority. She asked if she could have a blessing for her back and we gladly did so. Elder Barton did the first part and I gave the blessing. I was a little nervous, but I asked God to help me and He provided His words for me to say. After the blessing she described what she was feeling as calm and peaceful, but hot and burning. All in the room could feel the Holy Ghost. We testified that the sensation was the confirming of truth by the Spirit of God. I know that the Spirit testifies of true ordinances. The priesthood has been restored and I am grateful to have the opportunity to lose it. Then we invited her to be baptized on October 20 and she basically yelled YES! That was an example to me of how the gospel changes lives. People just need to be invited, because most do not know what to do. Even if they know the church is true they need to be given direction. Baptism is the first step and we can begin our journey back to God through it.
I know conference will be a revelatory experience and I am stoked! Hope home has happiness. And all homes throughout the world.

Love, Elder Chandler

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012

Dear Mom,
I am emailing from temperate Laguna beach! Yes, just like the reality show. I have a fantastic companion named Elder Barton and he is from Provo Utah and played lacrosse with Elder Omori, who was one of my MTC companions! There have already been so many little things like that that have outlined the Lord's omniscient hand in my journey.
We found 3(!) new investigators this week, and I am so excited to continue to teach them, but we are just getting started. There is a lot of wonderful, busy and wholesome work to do here in the Marina Hills ward! I am very happy here. We work hard all the day long every day.
I have learned about 250 names so far of the members in the ward, but the tricky part is matching up those names that I have stored away with the faces attached to the hand I am shaking. Usually I get the names wrong, but that is the best way to learn, especially while I have the "only-been-here-for-3-days" excuse. My biggest challenge is geographically understanding the ward boundaries and the various landmarks and people we visit therein.
I am glad you got my package already! It was heavy, but sent for pretty cheap. I was sad to send those materials and clothes home. If you wear the clothes then you have to study the Mongolian books too! Then you will understand my testimony when I get home and share it in Mongolian!
To answer your questions; I am just regular English speaking, but I have used quite a bit of Spanish so far, but I have a handicap: when I want to say something in Spanish, I think it in English, then translate to Mongolian before I can reverse the sentence structure back again to normal and then try to get it into Spanish. It is so frustrating! For example I tried to ask if John was home:
English: Is John home?
English to Mongolian structure: John, at home is yes/no?
Mongolian words: Eon gert bain oo?
Spanish words: John casa en la aqui esta?
Spanish structure: John esta aqui en la casa?
I usually don't make it all the way to that last step, so I am stuck fumbling for some incoherent mix of Mongolian grammar, Spanish words and awkward eye contact. My companion loves to watch!
Even though at times I struggle with my many flaws and natural temptations I know that I have a message of great value and importance that has, is and will change the lives of those that accept it. I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I pray every day for the strength to continue to follow His example and serve Him with faith unto works, charitable consecration, uncompromised honesty and willing happiness! I am a happy Carlsbad missionary! Thank you for the letters from people in the ward this week, they have really brightened my spirit and helped me focus on my purpose and remember the One who knows and directs all things.
Have a great week! -Elder Chandler

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 18, 2012

OH yeah! highlights of the week!
Went to the temple and got to see a family get sealed that Elder Lake taught!
Elder Lake tore his meniscus and will need surgery when he gets home...
I don't know which pictures they are, so I don't know how to describe them.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 11, 2012

Dear mom,
This week was great! I am having a fabulous time here and the people we are meeting with have needs and concerns that can ALL be addressed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We had a district meeting yesterday and some of the mission leadership was there and I gave a training about contacting every single person we meet. I spent hours and hours studying the why, what and how of contacting and learned a lot about the sacred call that I have received to be a missionary and represent Jesus Christ. I am also almost done with the big book "Jesus the Christ" and am just scratching the surface of the depth of understanding that I want to have and that will transform me.
Every morning I have about an hour after running to do everything I need to before personal study starts at 8, so I have been memorizing a scripture every morning the past two weeks and I love it! Elder Scott said that scriptures are "packets of light" and I know that I have been having less and less un-missionary like thoughts as I keep the words of God treasured up throughout the day.
I set some goals and wrote myself a personal mission statement to aid me in fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. I am really excited to be a Carlsbad missionary! Elder Scott Hicks is home isn't he?!!? Wow, that came fast. I will send pictures next week. A transfer is every 6 weeks and what that means is that the mission president and his assistants pray about and think about which elders and sisters would serve where, then they make those changes. Not for sure yet, but President Cook told me I would probably be moved to a different location next week and I am excited to see where that is, or if I actually stay here. I have come to love this ward that I have been in and I think of it as my first "real" area as a Carlsbad missionary.
As I said in the first sentence of this email, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can provide for each and every person's greatest desires and most pressing needs. Whether it be a longing for a sense of belonging or peace in this life and the hereafter or a search for purpose to their life or providing for a family or just a set of morals in a world of changing values, I know that my duty is to take this message to all the world because it will change lives. I am blessed to see the miracles that happen around me everyday and the changes people make and the brightness that enters their life and their eyes as the accept and embrace the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I cannot express enough how much I love this work. Even days that never end or when we get forgotten about at dinner time (That is my LEAST favorite!) it helps me realize that I am about my heavenly Father's work. I know that God is real and loves each of us.
Have a great week! Love, Elder Chandler

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mission update

Jefferson has been permanently reassigned to the Carlsbad, CA Mission.  Unfortunately, the Mongolian government is now requiring at least a Bachelor's degree in order to come into Mongolia and teach English.  You may continue to write him at the Vista, CA address.  That will be his address for the remainder of his mission.

September 4, 2012

Mother dear,
The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways! The work has been getting better every week and I am really loving life and thriving here in Temecula. Which is a good thing, because as you know I will be serving the duration of my mission here. There is no place that I would rather be than here at this time. I really believe that. I do not think that the Lord doesn't need me in Mongolia, but He needs me here more. Would you be able to send me a guide on "How to throat-sing"? I still really want to learn! I have 5 minutes in the shower everyday.
The other three elders besides Elder Hegland and I have been re-assigned to the Oakland, Sacramento mission. Elder Hegland and I will both be staying here! I will be sending home some of the books and sweaters that I would have needed in Mongolia, but no longer require. After I figure out where I stand and how empty my suitcases are, I will let you know what I can't get here and ask for help, thanks.
Elder Lake and I have been working hard this week and having a great time! It is hard to believe that it is September already! I do have a great love for the people of southern California already and want to do all I can to help them all find happiness to the fullest of my abilities. I love this missionary work and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides a way for us to obtain lasting happiness. Joy that will continue beyond the grave. I want to do all that is required of me and more. I have a personal goal to exhaust myself to the point that when I come home I will sit down somewhere and not be a missionary and sleep for 72 hours. Then I got sick this week and had to slow down a little and pace myself. Working hard without working smart is not pleasing unto God. Working too hard, even if it is smart, to the point where it is not sustainable also, is not good, because the Lord requires effective servants that are always at the top of their games.
As I tried to express last week before the time ran out, this work is a literal battle that we missionaries are waging against the unembodied hosts of the adversary. The fight is over the bodies of each of God's children living on this earth. Satan's legions want us to be miserable like unto themselves, and Christ is working through us to defend truth and liberty. As Moroni experienced of old, the conflict can seem overwhelming, but the war is one that we know we will win. We have been promised by God and through latter-day prophets that God is on our side and will come out the conqueror. I have tried to be more bold and fearless this week in proclaiming the Word to the hearts of the children of men, whose hearts have been prepared by angels. Alma taught that in order to receive exaltation, we must humble ourselves before God and bring forth fruit meet for repentance. Often we need to pray for guidance and listen, we may need to let go of our pride, we may need to forgive and move on, or perhaps, we need to just lose ourselves in a relentless push to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The difficulties arise when our enemies (those spirits who chose to follow Satan) try to lead us away from the straight and narrow path to eternal life. I have no greater conviction in this life than my knowledge that this church is true. I will not allow myself to falter in the march towards victory, nor will I pass up the chance to extend the invitation to all to join the ranks of our Father. Every singe person living on this earth has a body and that alone provides power of the bodiless forces that seek to oppress us and enslave us with the yoke of bondage. I, more than ever, know that this fight is not easy. Even missionaries have our struggles and challenges, but faith and submission to the will of God have given me hope and power to endure each trial. May each of us this week stand a little taller and know that we are on the path that God wants us to be on. I am grateful for the peace that this knowledge brings. I love being a missionary.
Love, Elder Chandler