Monday, June 26, 2017

I guess y'all only get one more of these...

Family and friends,
It has been another amazing week for sure. I say it over and over and I'll say it some more, missionary life is the life. I love being able to just focus everything I do each day on inviting others to come closer to Christ. The week has been interesting, but we've been moving forward somehow. I'm just thankful we have a decent teaching pool as of now. If we didn't have anyone to teach and we still couldn't go finding things would be a lot tougher. I'm excited for this coming week though, we'll be able to do some finding because we'll go on exchanges with a couple different sets of elders. That's what our mission president suggested for us to do, set up days where another set of Elders schedules as many appointments as possible and then Elder Smith goes with them to the lessons and one of them goes with me so we can tract and contact all day. I've really missed finding these past two weeks. The hardest thing is trying to use our afternoons and mornings productive. If we head out and hit the streets hard in the mornings and afternoons or do service then Elder Smith is in lots of pain for our lessons at night and then he has a hard time paying attention to the lesson. So we do lots of making phone calls and texts and messaging people over Facebook to try to get as many lessons set up as possible with people already in our area book. It's easy to get discouraged but we're both keeping up a really good attitude and are trying to do everything we can and trusting that the Lord will make everything work out if we really do our best.
     Cristin is doing super well. We've pretty much taught her all the lessons, we just have a few principles here and there that we need to go over a little more specifically with her. Other than that she is on top of things. She loved church this last week so much. She is doing great at reading and studying and she takes really good notes. She has been volunteering at church to help out with service projects and participate in lots of activities. We'll probably be having her baptismal interview this Wednesday and then she's getting baptized next Thursday on the 6th! Please continue to keep her in your prayers. Her conversion is such a miracle that I feel humbled to witness.
     There's also Mike. He's an investigator that used to come to church pretty regularly but we haven't been able to get a hold of him for the last month or two. We met with him on Wednesday and he asked us if he could be baptize on July 7th in the Clark Fork River! Of course we said yes, but then he wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday so we're pushing his baptism back a couple of weeks. He's a really cool guy that has met with missionaries before elsewhere and is just now ready to make the commitment and bring his less active wife back into activity with him.
     Friday we had Zone Conference so that meant the Assistants were in town. Which meant we got to go on exchanges with them! I love both of our assistants, Elder Hoschouer and Elder Porter. I got to go on one final exchange with Elder Hoschouer from Thursday night until Saturday morning. It was really interesting to be doing missionary work together almost 2 years after we first met each other in the MTC. It was so fun to be together again. We did some solid missionary work and contacted tons of cool people. We contacted a guy that's a Christian rapper and he was showing us some of his stuff, it was pretty chill haha. It was weird driving around Missoula with him again. We popped popcorn that night and it burnt really bad so our entire apartment filled with smoke and it smelt really bad. Then our last night together we swingy the dollar store real quick and picked up a padlock and we signed it and put it on the Missoula lock bridge. It was a tender moment. Also we had dinner with the Griffins. He's our ward mission leader and she got baptized last October when Elder Hoschouer was serving here in Missoula 4th Ward. They're basically the best. Pictures to follow.
     Meetings this week were good. Zone Conference was really uplifting. It was the first time that I was assigned to lead some training at a Zone Conference so it was weird and a little intimidating but ultimately I think it turned out to be a success. I got lots of cool insights to finish off this transfer strong. Sunday meetings were great and uplifting too. It was weird though because I wasn't with my companion. Before you get all upset and accuse us of being apostate let me explain. The high councilor over missionary work in our Stake asked us to accompany him to the Thompson falls branch to speak in church and do some visits. We couldn't leave our area because we had lots of stuff to do so we just got permission from President Wadsworth to go on Splits so I spent part of the day with our ward mission leader, Bro Griffin.
     Just a quick thought about keeping the sabbath day holy. In 3 Nephi 11-18 Jesus Christ visits the nephites at the temple in bountiful. They are taught by Him and He institutes the Sacrament. In verse 1 of chapter 19 He leaves and ascends to heaven. Verses 2&3 describe the excitement at they all had in anticipation of the Savior's return the next day. It said "there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, [that] did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude." I guess I don't know what day the next day might have been, but I suppose we could imagine it was the Sabbath. Or at least we can picture that the day where Jesus manifests Himself to us each week is the Sabbath because in the ordinances of the gospel the power of godliness is manifest. When we take the Sacrament we experience the power of godliness in a very real and personal way. Make every effort every Sabbath Day to be in the place where Jesus Christ will show His power to you.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Second Companion with a Broken Bone

Family and friends,
     Apparently I'm really hard on all my companions in Missoula.
Except Elder Skouson, he's the only one that's healthy. So Elder Smith
got diagnosed with a stress fracture this week. It's not technically
an actual break but it's at the point where it could break any moment
if he puts pressure on it. So he's only on crutches now. So our pace
has slowed down because we can't go tracting and walking all day
anymore per Sister Wadsworth's orders but we're doing our best to keep
our fire up. We won't let this slow us down. I'm completely committed
to finish in a sprint.
Here's 3 quick highlights:
     First is pretty simple. I got a call from Kelsey back in Bozeman
and she was going home for Father's Day and that meant she was driving
through Missoula! So we met up on Friday with her and us! It was
really cool to just catch up real quick and see that Bozeman hasn't
burned down in the 3ish weeks I've been gone.
     Second is Cristin. Keep praying for her please, she's awesome and
such a miracle! She missed church this week because an emergency
happened on the railroad and she got called to go clean it up and
didn't have much of a choice. So we had some solid lessons with her
this week and she is cooking through the Book of Mormon and doing so
much studies on her own. She's finishing up last minute Word of Wisdom
concerns. So keep us all in your prayers because we need this miracle
to continue moving forward!
     Third, CLINTON! There was a baptism in Clinton and we brought an
investigator to it so that meant I got to see so many people from the
Clinton Ward that I love. I got to see the Egberts and the Nystroms,
the Hixons, the Tuhys, the Lemons and so many others. I cried a little
during the service because I felt such a powerful spirit there with so
many of the people that I loved, served and taught. It was a huge
tender mercy to see them all again. When I left Bishop Nysteom gave me
a big hug and said, "keep running. Finish strong." Bishop Nystrom was
such a huge influence on me. So that's my invitation to you all, press
forward and don't give up. The Lord has blessings in store.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Stay Humble My Friends : )

Family and friends,
     Things continue to be swell in Zootown. I love Missoula a little too much. I probably say that a little too much too, but it's because it's true. This is a blessed area of Montana. I'm settled in pretty well and we're getting some great work done here. I still feel so humbled to be so blessed to serve here in Missoula with all the work that's happening here and with all the missionaries that are here.
     Last Monday was a pretty normal preparation day full of emailing and laundry. We also went frisbee golfing with the Ronan Elders and the YSA Elders. An awesome part-member family in our ward gave us a couple discs to use and we got some from a couple YSA members as well. There's a course out near Missoula on Blue Mountain. It was a beautiful area full of tall green trees and mountain views. It was pretty wild because it was really easy to lose track of the discs in all the plant life. But it was real fun as well to run around the mountain paths with the other Elders.
     Tuesday was completely full of driving. We woke up at 5 to meet up with the Kalispell and Stevensville zone leaders to leave by 6:00 to go to MLC in Helena. MLC was amazing like usual. It is one of my favorite things to go to any meeting where President Wadsworth teaches. One of the big things we talked about was attitude in general and how we need to adjust our attitudes, adjust the mission's attitude, the attitude of members and, ultimately, the attitude of the world. It was a powerful meeting for sure that gave me lots of personal inspiration. The only part of MLC that I did not like was when we did departing testimonies at the end. It was really weird to me to think that was the last time attending MLC. It added to all the self reflection that I was already doing. I definitely got teary eyed saying bye to lots of the missionaries that I won't be seeing again as a missionary. I've served around and got to know and love lots of the missionaries that make up the Mission Leadership Council. It was another tender mercy to be able to see them all again and feel their strength, support and love. Then after MLC we drove the 1.5 hours back to Missoula and then picked up some missionaries and drove 2 hours north through the Mission Valley up to Polson for a dinner with the Frenchtown Stake President with all the missionaries in the Frenchtown Stake. When I was in Missoula before it was just the Missoula Stake but the transfer after I left it got split into the Missoula and Frenchtown stakes. Polson is right on Flathead Lake, which is huge. It was so beautiful seeing the mission mountains over the giant lake. But that meeting was really great, President Smith is a great guy. Then we drove back again and didn't get home until 10:20. Long day.
     Wednesday was a pretty crazy day as well. The Polson and Ronan Elders both came down for District Meetings and then we had interviews with President Wadsworth and they don't have the miles to make the 2 hour trip again so we just tripled in our area. I spent the day with both of the Polson Elders and Elder Smith was with the Ronan Elders. We had some great success street contacting and did a baptismal interview for the Frenchtown sisters. Elder Parrish treated us out to Red Robin for dinner for his birthday with the money he got for his 21st birthday. He was super worried the whole time that they were going to find out it was his birthday and bring him an alcoholic beverage. 'Twas funny.
     Thursday was interviews which were amazing and refreshing like usual. In my interview President asked me about obedience and the effect it has had on my mission. Obedience is something that I have thought a lot about on my mission, the purpose behind it and what it does. The past two weeks I have been pondering a lot about obedience and the power of the Holy Ghost. A passage in Preach My Gospel says, in effect, as we obey He changes the desires of our hearts. Our hearts are changed inasmuch as we submit to God's will through obedience because as we submit we qualify for the purifying power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the power that works a mighty change in our hearts.
     Saturday was another amazing day that was completely exhausting. We got together with all the missionaries serving in the Missoula Stake to have breakfast at President Lindsay's home, is is in the Missoula Stake Presidency. The week leading up to the breakfast meeting I was getting everyone in the Zone hyped for 'missionary toast.' Whenever the missionaries come over for breakfast they make some of the best French toast ever with lots of fruit and powdered sugar to put on top. Then he led some training that was really inspiring. President Lindsay is one of the most inspiring men I've ever met on my mission. The whole Missoula Stake Presidency is amazing. When any of the three of them speak I just tune in and listen to everything they say. We talked about the mentors that we have had in our lives and the effect they had on us. We also compiled a list of the things that light a missionary 'on fire' for missionary work. All in all I was throughly inspired again. I'm more excited ever to give my all these last few weeks. After the meeting we went and helped a less active lady in our ward move with a couple of the members of the Elder's Quorum. That took us a couple hours before we went with the YSA Elders to go help an older couple move from the Sister's area to ours. This was the third time the missionaries have helped them and it took the rest of the day. They have so much stuff to move but at the end of the day they cooked us some mean rib-eye steaks and some other really good food, including brownies which are some of my favorites.
Sorry this email is getting a little long. I'll share about one more thing. Cristin is a super solid investigator. Right before I got here she just pulled over in her vehicle and called out to Elder Stone and Elder Smith to have them come over and talk with her. She asked them for a pamphlet and they swapped phone numbers and then she left. So then they stop by and have a quick lesson with her on the doorstep because there's not guy with them, then Elder Smith and I go back the day after I got to Missoula. We had a super solid doorstep lesson and she was just so prepared. They had given her the Plan of Salvation pamphlet because her father had died last year and she had read it and marked it up with all the things that stood out to her and questions she had. She loved the 3 kingdoms and everything about the Plan. She said the Plan gave her direction and peace. Then we taught the Restoration on Thursday with Travis and Emma, our ward mission leader and his wife. They were super solid fellow shippers and the lesson was so powerful. Over and over she kept describing how she felt at home with the things that we taught. She had felt so lost before but now found peace. She accepted the baptismal invitation and is preparing to be baptized on the 1st of July. So please keep her in your prayers. When we invited her she said she'd be honored and knows it'll be a big step in her life but is excited to work for it! She came to church and loved it. We have a lesson with her on Wednesday and then on Sunday we're having dinner at Bishop Hanni's house with her!
     Thank you all for the support. I'll keep chugging along and working hard! A challenge I would give all of you is to make sure everyday this week you have a personally revelatory experience. The Lord wants us to be able to feel the spirit in someway every day. So keep your eyes open, He will reveal things to you each day.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Back in Zootown

Family and friends,
     It's been another great week. I dare say it's been one of the best weeks. I love being back in Missoula a little too much, it's so great here. The work is doing great because super prepared people have been reaching out to the missionaries. Also the members are so great. I've been able to see lots of the families that I got to know when I was here before. I'll give a couple quick highlights:
  • I love Elder Smith. He's excited to work hard with me and to make this the best last transfer ever. He goes home next transfer sometime in the middle of the transfer so this is both of our last full transfers. We talked with our ward mission leader and bishop and told them both that we're here to work as hard as we can and do everyhinwe can for them to set the Missoula 4 Ward up for as much success as possible. I am so stoked to lose myself in the work completely this transfer.
  • I got here on Wednesday and asked Elder Smith about Adam and Mandy, two of the investigators I taught the whole time I was in Clinton. The Clinton Elders told me a couple of weeks ago that they moved to M4. Elder Smith was bummed I knew beforehand because he wanted to surprise me that we had a lesson that night with them at 7. So we got to teach them again and it was so weird but one of the best things ever.
     Sorry this one is short. The week has been so great. I'm sure Elder Smith is probably sick of me saying, "dang, it's so weird being back in Missoula." And every other variation thereof. It's just so great to be driving/biking these streets again. I count it a very tender mercy from the Lord that I get to serve in such a great place again.

Elder Garian Tippetts
1101 Greenough Drive Apt. E10 
Missoula, MT 59802

Monday, May 29, 2017


Family and friends,
     I guess I'll get to the most exciting thing first. Transfers are this week! On Sunday we got the call from the Assistants and it looks like my time in Bozeman is up...but guess where I'm going? MISSOULA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It breaks my heart to leave the YSA but I am so excited to go back to Zoo Town. So many people that serve in Missoula go back but I never bought I'd be a repeat, especially for my last transfer. I'm going to be serving in the Missoula 4h Ward with Elder Kole Smith, another companion from Vegas. It'll be fun serving with him and it sounds like some of my favorite Elders are still in Missoula. I could  think of a more perfect place to finish my mission. Trust me, we'll be working hard. I know a bunch of people in the 4th Ward because of all my exchanges with the Zone Leaders before so I'm excited. Sorry I've said excited so many times in this paragraph, I'm just really excited. This means Bozeman will be my shortest area with 3 transfers and I'll have been in Missoula for 5 combined.
     Now I'll get on to this week. This was a great week to end on. Monday we went on a hike with the YSA for FHE and lots of the members brought they're friends that aren't members so we got to meet a bunch of new people! It was a really pretty hike called "drinking horse mountain" I believe. I think I'm a little out of shape because I was out of breath and the next day my thighs were killing me. It was sad because it wasn't even that long or hard of a hike and it wore me out.
     Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Pett again. We went to go teach Hondo because Elder Pett taught Hondo when he was in the YSA last year. Elder Pett says it's insane how much progress he's made since last year. Hondo used to be on the verge of bashing with us and his main concern was that he couldn't accept Jesus Christ as the Savior. The past two weeks we've had a couple powerful lessons that were guided by the spirit and his heart was definitely softening. At the end of our lesson this Tuesday with a Elder Pett we watched the #BecauseOfHim video and you could just see the spirit working on him. After the video he said, "my perspective on the Savior changed. He seemed more real. It's more understandable." It seemed like a spiritual overload so we just had a prayer and moved on after giving him another assignment to read and pray about.
     Wednesday after District Meeting Elder Rich and I went on exchanges until a Friday afternoon. He's also from my transfer group and just such a hard working missionary. We did so much contacting it was crazy. We had a lesson with Kelsey which was super good. She continues to be just a spiritually in tune as usual. It was great because we haven't been able to have a lesson with her in a couple weeks because she's been out of town so much. So it was nice to see her again and see that she's still doing awesome. Thursday was when we had lots of success finding. We found a bunch of new investigators. We also had an awesome dinner with a member of the bishopric in the YSA that lives in First Ward with the first Ward elders. It was a blast for sure.
     Friday I got a Elder Ison back and that night we had a great last lesson with Milo. We talked more about enduring to the end again because Milo never wants to turn away from what he's come to know. He's such an inspiration to me. Saturday we had his baptism and it was amazing. There were lots of members from the YSA there and lots of Milo's non-member family as well. The spirit was so strong, the talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost were the most powerful I've heard at a baptism. Milo was just smiling so big as he got into the font and then after his baptism both him and Tommy, his nephew/our ward mission leader that baptized him, were crying. It was such a tender moment as all who were there have seen Milo go through a mighty change of heart. In Max's talk he said that the greatest miracle of all to see is a heart changing.
     The rest of Friday I was on exchanges with Elder Madsen and he is the funniest. He has the best laugh ever. We biked for 4 hours and it was the hottest day of the week. We also had so lots of success contacting people. A cool miracle was that we knocked on the door of a member we didn't know and his roommate answered. His roommate just moved here and is also a member but hasn't been to church yet because he didn't know where it was. It was cool because we just got his records in the Ward a couple weeks ago but it the wrong address. We tried to find him because bishop asked us to and then we just ran into him! That night we also had dinner and a lesson with Milo about the Holy Ghost to get him pumped up for church the next day!
     Sunday was a great last Sunday in the YSA. There were awesome talks and lessons. Also, there were like 16 random YSAs from BYU-I that were visiting a friend in the Bozeman Stake for the long weekend.
     Sorry this one is pretty long. It's been a great week and I love you all! I'll update my address just in case y'all feel like writing me a letter my last transfer :)

Elder Garian Tippetts
1101 Greenough Drive Apt. E10 
Missoula, MT 59802

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Family and friends,
     Yet another amazing week, life in the MBM is the best kind of life. So many things made this a great week. We were a lot busier with better things. Lots of fun activities and of course, Mother's Day!
     Monday night we played ultimate frisbee again for FHE and Elder Ison and I got to know some more non-member cousins of our ward mission leader! Ultimate frisbee is one of the best games out there for sure.
     Tuesday we had one of the most awkward lessons of my life. The guy was really quiet and doesn't really respond or participate too much, but he's a good guy. I was super worried the whole lesson that I was going to say something stupid and eventually I did. At the peak of the lesson I was bearing my testimony on the Book of Mormon and said, "because of the Book of Mormon, I know that Joseph Smith is our Savior." There was an awkward pause and I corrected myself very quickly. I was thoroughly embarrassed. We also met another super smart guy. We meet lots of smart people that are going to school here that are 'scientific' and therefore don't believe in God. But this one was really nice and said that he'd love to believe in God, just doesn't feel he can yet. So he's going to be reading and praying to find out if God exists!
     Wednesday through Sunday we tried to work ourselves into the ground. Despite our best efforts we weren't able to get any appointments set up those days. The only appointments we had were dinner appointments for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. So we were just grinding all day long tracting or street contacting or trying old referrals. We found 3 new investigators from street contacting and 2 from contacting formers! We were definitely seeing some good success from working hard and putting in the effort. It was nice that there wasn't a whole bunch of administrative stuff didn't get in our way.
     Thursday night and all day Friday we went on exchanges with the 1st Ward elders and had a blast. I was with Elder Pett and Elder Ison went with Elder Baum. Elder Pett is also from my transfer group so it was a blast being with him. I've never actually served with him before. We worked hard and met a lot of cool people.
     Saturday night we got a hold of Abdula, a potential investigator we met a while ago. We followed a prompting to go by his place and as we showed up he was just getting home and invited us in as well! He's from Saudi Arabia. We sat down with us and talked a lot about both of our religions. It was cool because I don't really know anything about Islam so it was an awesome experience. I really felt the spirit with him. It was really cool because he kept telling us that he believes what he believes but says that if he finds more truth he'll believe it. So he's also reading and praying now! We taught him how we pray and he showed us how he prays. I love seeing other people pray because I still feel the spirit, God appreciates anyway we reach out to him. He is also going to be coming to church, he says he loves going to Christian churches and has never been to ours before!
     Well that's about it for now, obviously I got to Skype home yesterday and it was great. My family is indeed the best.

Monday, May 8, 2017

More Holiness Give Me...

Family and friends,
     Some awesome things definitely happened this week but again we had a bunch of things take up all our time. I'm definitely learning a lot of patience right now. In the moment it doesn't seem bad but then looking back on the day or the week it's easy to be discouraged or feel like you didn't accomplish much. No worries though, we're working hard and trusting that the Lord will make everything work out in the end. I'll share a little more about that at the end.
     This week we had our last lesson with Alex. That was definitely a sad day. She's officially back in Washington and the missionaries in Washington are teaching her now. She was such an inspiration to me. Her and lots of her friends that she made in the YSA were freshman and all live in the freshman dorms so we made plenty of good memories there. Lots of good laughs, tasty dinners and spirit filled lessons. This last lesson we went over the baptismal interview questions and the importance of always remaining faithful to our testimonies and to the Savior. I've been thinking a lot about the story of Lehonti in Alma 47. Even though they were described in the scriptures as "fixed in their minds with a determined resolution," they fell because they compromised and came a little off of mount Antipus. That led to Lehonti being poisoned by degrees until he died, leaving his followers and soon to be the entire Lamanite nation under the control of wicked Amalickiah. Moral of the story is we cannot compromise on spiritual matters. Sin will always be sin. Obedience to God's commandments will always bring promised blessings and protection.
     We had an investigator this week tell us he's not sure if he wants to meet anymore. He said last week he talked with some friends that don't have high opinions of the LDS church and since then he says that he is no longer sure how he feels about everything we've taught. When we asked him if he has been reading he said no, we asked when he stopped and he said it was the day his friends talked to him. Hopefully by the end of our quick lesson he was able to see that if he wants to keep feeling good about everything we've taught them he needs to keep exercising faith. We can't compromise on the small things. The important things ARE the small things.
     Another sad thing is that even more people are moving out. Church was lacking some of my favorite people. One that will definitely be missed is Meg. It's crazy to think it's almost been 4 months since I first got here and she had only been baptized for 24 days. Goodbyes are definitely not my favorite things. So on Thursday us and our ward mission leader and elder's quorum president went and helped her get all packed up. We had a final lesson with her where we shared the Mormon Message "Good things to come" by Elder Holland. Tears were shed all around. Then she left that night on her way down to Utah.
     The last exciting announcement is that Milo is on date for baptism now! All the interviews are taken care of so he'll be getting baptized on the 27th of May! He is so excited and ready for this to finally happen after waiting the whole year so far. He is another person that has inspired me so much being here in the YSA.
     Back to the beginning. This principle applies to repentance, personal weaknesses and the short comings of those who might let you down as well. Don't make a big deal out of it. Too often we take ourselves too seriously but we don't take the Savior and His gospel seriously enough. Coming to trust him requires a mighty change of heart. Sin is turning away from God, repentance is re-turning back to God. It takes humility to recognize  what happens has happened and you just need to keep moving forward. Elder Ison and I were watching a church history video is last week and this quote from Emma Smith really hit me hard. "No amount of sorrow can make things right. Only the Lord's love can, if we let Him." We let the Lord take an active part in our lives by actively seeking Him. We can't purify, sanctify or justify ourselves. Only the atoning blood of the Lamb can. The trick is we need to use the gift of agency and repentance to allow Him to cleanse us and make all our wrongs right. I love the Hymn "More Holiness Give Me." The key word there is GIVE. All good gifts come in, through and because of Christ.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I bought a sandwich for $75.60...

Family and friends,
     This week was interesting, we still taught a decent amount of lessons and got a lot done but I wish we could have done more. Yet again things just keep popping up over and over and over that keep us from doing what we want. Sometimes I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or if the Lord is trying to teach me something. Don't worry though, I'm pressing forward and will keep on keeping on. I'll go through the week day by day so you get a feel of it.
     Monday: Classic preparation day full of too much basketball. I think I have improved a lot on my basketball skills but it's still not quite my favorite sport. We taught a quick lesson to Kelsey right before FHE and then had FHE. FHE was supposed to be broom ball but only us and like one other person brought brooms so we all played ping pong for a bit and then played soccer together. We had like 15 of us in a circle and we were trying to keep the soccer ball in the air until everybody had hit it at least once. It took us almost an hour to accomplish it but we did it! We taught Petyr again and this time we met his roommate, Cam. He's just as smart as Petyr too! The two of them double teamed us with tough questions but we were able to keep on top of it and satisfied them by the end. Cam is now also reading and praying about the Book of Mormon to see if it's true and he should get baptized!
     Tuesday: MLC! We got picked up at 6:30 to drive to Helena. MLC lasted until just after 2 and we covered a lot of subject material. I learned so much on Tuesday, especially about leading with a Christ-like example. We got back and talked as a companionship about how we could apply what we learned to our Zone before going to dinner and then institute. That took up the rest of the night.
     Wednesday: We had district Meeting and then split up for exchanges with the Belgrade Elders so Elder Ison could go do some baptismal interviews. Elder Earl and I taught a bunch o lessons on Wednesday and just had a great time together. We were able to get a hold of our investigator from Eritrea and give him an Arabic copy of the Book of Mormon! It's not his primary language but there isn't one in Tigrignia and Arabic is closer than English.
     Thursday: Did service in the morning, got lunch and then went to the truck dealership to get our truck inspected. The blinking red dashboard airbag light was going off so we figured we would like to play things safe. The 2 hour wait for them to tell us that our seat belts were faulty was a buzz kill. We just barely had enough time to do some study together to prepare for our lessons that night. During comp study we get a text from President Wadsworth saying he wanted to go to some lessons with us that night because he was in town. So now we're scrambling to get a hold of our lessons that night because they still hadn't confirmed and the members that were supposed to come with us cancelled. Dinner also cancelled. But both lessons, one with Hondo and one with Milo, both went well. Teaching with President is a neat experience.
     Friday: We had interviews and I got my companion back. Milo had his final interview and we're doing the very final preparations for his baptism! This Wednesday we're setting an official date with him so keep us on your prayers! We went to lunch at pickle barrel because we've heard they're sandwiches are amazing. That's where I bought the $75.60 sandwich. The sandwich itself was 15.60 but I didn't realize I parked illegally so I also got a $60 parking ticket. Ouch. Bummer. Then we realized we had the baptismal interview forms for the Belgrade Elder's baptisms coming up so we drove them out to them because they sort of need those pretty bad. We had to fill in some paper work online at the library. On our way home for dinner we watched a car crash so we had to sit there for almost an hour while the cops figured things out so we could give our statements and contact information. Another damper. We weren't able to really start working until 6:30.
     Saturday: We had Zone Leadership Council in the morning with the District Leaders and then had a lesson and then did Weekly planning finally. So another day inside filling out paperwork and planning. That night we had some fun tracting and street contacting though so it turned out well.
     Sunday: Again I just felt like I was receiving answer after answer during church. I learned more about where real confidence with God comes from. We need to honestly give our best and turn over our hearts to God. He is then able to change us and make all of our experiences work together for our good. After a rough week of seeming disappointments I see what the Lord is trying to teach me and I hope I can catch on quick so we can move forward. If you want real joy go feast on the Word of Christ and honestly strive to listen for the Holy Ghost.
     That's about it. I'll send pictures next week! Things are good. Life is good. Elder Ison is good. Bozeman is good. The MBM is good. I'm happy! :)

Elder Garian Tippetts
311 Michael Grove Unit B
Bozeman, MT 59718

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Semester is Winding Down

Family and friends,
     Obviously this week was Transfers and I'm truly bummed to lose Elder Schneider. These past two transfers have been a blast. I really grew a lot and learned a lot about myself and my personal desires. Definitely more maturing came. Now I'm with Elder Ison and I'm loving it! We're getting along well which I guessed would happen. I've served around him before and was excited for him to be here with me! Also over transfers I got to see so many missionaries in a while. The one I was most excited to see was without a doubt Elder Skouson. It's been 6 months since I've seen him and in all likelihood I'll never see him again in the mission because he got transferred to the far edge of the mission on the other side of Montana. I legit almost cried it was so good to see him. He pulled into the parking lot and I ran over and practically tackled him as he got out of the car. Elder Schneider said it looked like a scene from a romance movie. What can I say? I love that guy! Just not in that way...anyways! It was just good to see him and catch up on how he's been.
     Elder Schneider's last night here was a grueling game of Ultimate frisbee with the Ward for FHE and an awesome lesson with Petyr, an investigator, afterwards. He is a SUPER deep thinker. SUPER. It's a testimony to me of how God prepares His children, that the Holy Ghost will give light and teach truth to anyone that tries to follow Christ. He wants Prophets to exist and wonder why God seemed to stop speaking. He wonders why we live the gospel and keep the commandments and has come to the conclusion that it is to become pure and holy like God is, to attain unto some form of Godhood. He has tried to figure out how God saves those who don't know the true gospel in this life and figured that there must be different degrees of salvation and a chance for His children to accept it after this life if they didn't have the chance in this life. Those are just his simple questions, it would take a while to write out the rest of them. We're just turning all his questions towards the basics of the gospel and the need to find out if our teachings are true.
     On Wednesday we were going to go meet with a girl, Destiny, that Elder Schneider and I had tracted into at 8:55 last week. We tried for days and all the day of to try to find a guy to come with us because we couldn't be alone with her. It was to no avail. We tried so many people, pretty much every active guy in the Ward and were about to start asking inactive guys. Then I remembered there's a kid in 2nd Ward that is about to graduate high school and he has his mission call to Lima, Peru. We got his number from the 2nd Ward elders and Braden was able to come with us! When we got to her house there was a kind note on the door that expressed how here and her husband (apparently she wasn't YSA...) were not interested at this point in their lives. It was a bummer, but nothing we're not used to. I was worried it would be a bad experience for Braden but when we turned around and looked at him he just shrugged and said, "well, who's next?" So we went and tried some former investigators and less active members with him. He asked us what weird things people do when they see us and we told him about the classic drive by "hail Satan," he didn't believe that actually happens. We felt a prompting to knock on this random door with him so we did and it turned out to be a frat (I don't know how we didn't notice that, there were some weird statues out front and huge Greek letters...). The second the door opened and they saw who we were a guy way in the back of the room yelled, "hail Satan!" One of his friends actually hit him in the head and told him to show us some respect and we had a quality conversation with two of them that led to a politely declined invitation to learn more about the restored gospel. When we got back in his car we laughed hard. Making memories :)
     Last cool thing I'll share this week is that on Tuesday Milo drove all the way down to Salt Lake City to be interviewed by Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy! Milo loved the experience! He even saw President Uchtdorf in the halls! He didn't get to talk to him but he said that when he saw President Uchtdorf the spirit just washed over him and could feel a powerful presence. Pretty neat! So we're just waiting on word from the first presidency now and then Milo will talk to a President Wadsworth one more time and then he'll get baptized!
     Please keep all these people and us in your prayers! Also, don't forget to do as President Hinckley taught, to pray that you can act and help the missionaries in your own area succeed!

Elder Garian Tippetts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Transfers yet again!

Family and friends,
     Another great week. Great because of the fact that we're missionaries and the Lord's hand is in His work. It was a struggle again this week because we had so much we wanted to get done but time and time again things kept coming up that we couldn't put off so we didn't accomplish everything we wanted to but hopefully we accomplished everything the Lord wanted us to. So I guess we did accomplish everything we want to, because I want to do what He wants me to do!
     We got transfer news on Saturday because Transfers will be on Tuesday this week rather than Wednesday. I'm staying here in the Bozeman YSA and I'll be getting Elder Ison as my new companion! He was one of my Zone Leaders back in Missoula so I'm super excited to be with him, he's a great missionary. Elder Schneider is leaving and going down to Cody Wyoming and I'm actually pretty jealous of him. My first choice would be to stay here for the rest of my mission but if I had to leave and could pick where I went I would definitely go to Cody because I love the Wyoming West Zone so much. It looks like this transfer will be awesome though! I'm stoked beyond belief!
     I'm not going to make this email very long because I haven't sent pictures in forever so I'll send a bunch this week. Just keep Tatum and Milo in your prayers. Tatum showed up to FHE last week and over a game of ping pong I was able to follow up with her on how her Book of Mormon reading and prayers are going. She's still diligent with it all, we're just hoping she's ready to start having lessons again. Milo is getting interviewed by Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy tomorrow! He's driving all the way down to Salt Lake for it! Then we just wait for word and approval from the First Presidency before our Mission President will talk with him one last time and then he's good to be baptized whenever!

1. Elder Hoschouer and I saying bye to our Vehicle Coordinator, Elder Baird.
2. Selfie from my first MLC.
3-6. Temple!
7-10. Pictures of our Zone my first transfer here in Bozeman.
11-12. Our District my first transfer here in Bozeman.
13. Selfie wi Elder Cronin.
14. Elder Schneider and Elder Rich.
15. Kelsey!
16. Carson!
17, 19. Basketball, our yellow team one!
18. Cool Montana sign here.
20. A member from one of Elder Schneider's previous areas took us to Wasabi here in Bozeman, it's one of those Japanese Hibachi grills.


Elder Garian Tippetts

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Frat Houses...

Family and friends,
     This has been an amazing week. Even when things don't go perfectly as planned it's still great. The longer I've been on my mission and the closer I get to finishing I am grow in my gratitude to my Savior for my call to serve as one of His full time representatives and my assignment to labor in the Montana Billings Mission. It's a privilege to be persecuted and to struggle for Christ's sake.
     There was one pretty crazy thing that happened this week but other than that things were pretty calm. So last transfer the Sister Missionaries got a self-referral from Church Headquarters named Canton. They went over and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he was super excited to meet! They talked to him a little bit before they realized he's YSA age so they passed him off to us and told him some guy missionaries would contact him, he was still down to meet. We call him and the number is disconnected so we go by his place, he answers the door, we tell him our
Church is on the corner of South 5th and Grant and set up an appointment to meet with him. He doesn't keep this appointment, doesn't answer texts or calls and doesn't come to church. So we keep trying but can't make any contact. Keep in mind, this all happened last transfer so for the past ~6 weeks we've been trying to get a hold of him with no luck. Then this past week we give him a call, he answers the phone but hangs up when we tell him we're the missionaries. We text him to see if he's still interested in learning more because the phone call was cutting in and out a little. He responds that he already joined us and is confused as to why we're trying to contact him about learning more. He says for the past six weeks he's been learning about the history channel and at the end of the week he was planning on becoming a full fledged member! Now we're really confused. We tell him we're the full time missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that our church building is at 1316 S Grant to which he responds that he's been going to the building at 1321 S Grant and thought it was also the Church.............guess what's across the street at 1321? A college fraternity house. So we tried to clarify and he hasn't really responded since. Ladies and gentleman, this is the story of the time we got a baptism for a frat house. I don't think they baptize people but same idea. We were a little embarrassed when we told our ward mission leader and he just laughed his head off. This is just one example of something that didn't quite go the way we planned but you learn and move on.
Also on Tuesday we did service at the Community Cafe with our ward. It's a really cool restaurant. It's the only 'pick your own price' restaurant in Montana. They serve a different meal each night and you can literally pay anything, the suggested price is $5 but if you only have a nickel or if you want to pay $100 they'll feed you! They have a lot of homeless people come through that don't have much else to eat. I got to pull out my Chick-Fil-A skills! They assigned me and my companion to do's the only place where we could stay together for sure the whole night. It wasn't actually that bad, I had a blast. Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, Meg and Kelsey went down to Utah for conference and watched some of the sessions at the conference center and even went to my home for breakfast and the Sunday morning session with my family! But on their way back we get a phone call around 5 on Monday saying that they're just pulling into a CFA in Idaho on their way home. So my companion and I got to order some and we made a drop off in town when they got back. I think this makes the 4th time I've had Chick-Fil-A on my mission with the only one in boundaries being up in Kalispell and I've never had any from their. #blessings #membermissionarywork
     We had 2 solid lessons this week with 2 different new investigators we found last week! We got members to come to both! One was with Suzanne and the other was with JT. Suzanne had heard lots of bad things about Mormons and what we believe but let us teach her and at the end of the visit she said she learned that we really do love Jesus Christ and that our church is focused on Him! She's excited to learn more and we'll be teaching her again this week! JT is super solid too, he's really curious about religions. He's kept all the commitments we've given him and apologized for ONLY reading the first 7 chapters and all the introductory material in the past week. JT, don't worry, you're doing fine!
     We've been doing lots and lots and lots of finding this week. We usually just walk around the streets surrounding campus and look for apartments that college students probably live in. We're always on the look out for big apartment buildings. Another big sign for wether a college student lives there or not is if they drive a Subaru Outback, have lots of bumper/window stickers or have a license plate from a different state. With all the time we're putting in we aren't seeing too much success but we are seeing progress. I think one of the biggest blessings I see when we do some good finding and don't slow down even when we don't see fruit is the change in me. The gospel doesn't make sense according to the world because it teaches that we take more responsibility upon ourselves and forget about ourselves and then our burdens are lightened. The world teaches to only care about ourselves but that only brings the heavy load of narcissism, loneliness and pride. We need to take Christ's yoke upon us because His burden is light. We do so by facing all trials in life with a spirit of meekness and lowliness of heart. With that attitude we can endure faithfully in submission to the Father's will and His will is only to make us better, even if the refining comes by fire.
     Even though not much happened this week I learned a lot about myself and my Savior. I was getting frustrated a little bit at the beginning of the week but humbled myself to submit to His timetable. I know that if I'm honestly trying my best to be worth of and to follow the spirit then He will hasten His work in His own time. It's a comfort to me know that if I give my heart, might, mind and strength to him completely then He will move His work forward regardless of my weaknesses. God's will and plan is for all of His children to make it back to Him and truly the only thing that ever interrupts His plan is each of our individual wills. God's plan is about repentance, it's about change, it's about Joy. In short, it's about Jesus Christ, He who is the Giver of all good gifts. Press forward and trust that His grace sufficient.

Elder Garian Tippetts
311 Michael Grove Unit B
Bozeman, MT 59718

Monday, April 3, 2017

🎶Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice🎶

Dear Family and Friends,
     Everything is still going great here, especially with General Conference. I was literally just so stoked for this conference and it definitely didn't disappoint. These past few transfers I've come to appreciate more and more what a blessing it is to have the knowledge that there are living prophets on the earth today. We had a bunch of errand and places we bounced around between Saturday and Sunday and it was so weird just seeing people going about their normal lives while such an amazing event was happening. I was yelling at people at the top of my lungs, "DON'T YOU KNOW THERE ARE PROPHETS SPEAKING!?!?!?" But alas, my sly companion locked the windows so I didn't make a fool of us. This weekend I especially felt the need to go tell people that God hasn't left us alone to kick against the pricks and try to understand scripture and His will all alone. There is so much hope in knowing that He's speaking today, that He hasn't changed.

Here's a couple quick moments from the week:
  • Last Monday we had our lesson with Tatum and she really enjoyed it and the spirit was strong but at the end of the lesson she sorta dropped us. She's a very independent person and until about a year ago she wasn't actively religious at all. The past year has led her to try to find the truth and seek God's will with an honest and open heart. The good thing is that for now she hasn't dropped the Book of Mormon or the Church, just us. She said she feels like we've given her what she needs for now and she'll continue to read and pray everyday and to come to church when she can but she doesn't want to meet as regularly with us. She's afraid having too much will falsely influence her own opinions so she's taking a couple steps back to examine where she wants to go from now. I really admire her personal maturity in taking charge of her own life. The day before this lesson happened I fasted to better understand my situation in this area and with our investigators and I just felt peace that things are working out. With this lesson there was of course the potential to be completely bummed out but I just felt peace.
  • Wednesday night we had dinner with our recent convert, Kelsey, out at her place in Belgrade. One of our Ward missionaries, Max, came with us and we got an awesome meal and the opportunity to meet all of Kelsey's roommates! All three of them were so nice. During dinner we brought up the church and they were all so curious and had never really known much about Mormons besides: Polygamy, coffee and the Book of Mormon. So we got to explain all that and answer a couple questions! We left them all with copies of the Book of Mormon and they said they'll definitely read. Kelsey was so excited to see some of her best friends open up to us and consider our message. They said they're definitely going to have us back over again because that means Kelsey has to cook a family meal again. Both College students and missionaries appreciate home cooked meals more than ever before.
  • Milo is rocking life! He is doing so well. He's been reading the scriptures more consistently and is loving the lessons. We taught him the night before his interview and talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ and it's significance in our lives. He said he didn't feel nervous at all for the interview because he's becoming more confident in his testimony. The interview went well and now we're waiting to here from the first presidency for what the next step is. Most likely Milo will drive down to Salt Lake to meet with a member of the Seventy. He watched all of Sunday Conference and gave the honest response that some of it was boring. But he said he watched it anyways and a couple of the talks were super interesting to him and helped him find more courage to continue pressing forward.
  • Do y'all remember Natnael? I think I mentioned him a couple weeks ago. He's the one that came here from Africa and after we met with him and he ate up the message of living prophets he talked to a lady that was very anti-Mormon. We haven't been able to get a hold of him since that happened about a month ago. We felt to go stop by his apartment on Saturday and he was home and let us right in. He had been filled with so much anti so we went through the process of cleaning up so much garbage. From secret handshakes and clothing to coffee and continuing revelation. His big focus was that he was told we look to many other sources for salvation other than Jesus Christ. We assured him, with special emphasis after Saturday Conference, that "salvation comes in and through the atonement blood of Jesus Christ and in no other way" (Bruce R. McConkie's final testimony in conference). As we just continually testified of the Savior's saving power he listened more and more. He won't cut ties with those the other church because of some obligations but we helped him understand his need to get our side of the story. He even agreed to come the Sunday Afternoon session of conference! He came and enjoyed it! Hopefully things will continue to progress there now. He says he hopes he becomes convinced of our message, he loves the idea of living Prophets.

     Thanks again for all the support. We'd appreciate prayers in our behalf as well as Tatum, Milo and Natnael. Don't forget to pray for your own missionary efforts to, never stop praying for opportunities to share the gospel yourself. Missionary work always works best when members are the source from which new investigators are found.

Elder Garian Tippetts
311 Michael Grove Unit B
Bozeman, MT 59718

Monday, March 27, 2017


Dear Family and Friends,
     Things have been super awesome this week! I'm really just loving life and working hard. Elder Schneider is such a stud, I seriously feel so blessed to be his companion. This area is so awesome too, everyone in the YSA is awesome and missionary minded. The work here is hastening.
     Lots of good things happened this week. On Wednesday our Bishop was signed up to feed us dinner but he lives ~30 minutes outside of Bozeman so he signs up on the days that he has work and then has meetings at the church so he can use the hour break he has to eat dinner with us! So he took us out to a Chinese buffet. And I love Chinese buffets. They're by far one of my favorites. So that was a plus indeed. Bishop Smith is such a great, honest, kind and spiritual man. I've learned a lot from him so far about compassion and reverence. You can't help but feel the spirit around him.
     We had Zone Conference this past week on Tuesday. It was all the way over in Helena with the Butte and Helena Zones as well. So we had to get together with all the missionaries in the Zone and coordinate a carpool caravan with all the elders fit amongst the smallest amount of vehicles possible to conserve miles and the sister's following us. It was a fun road trip with 5 of us crammed in our truck rocking out to youth music, the lower lights and MoTab. The meeting was amazing, I really left uplifted. The Assistants weren't able to make it to this training so the Helena Zone Leaders did their assignments for them, another reason why I'm thankful we weren't hosting it in Bozeman. We learned lots about recognizing the Spirit and becoming better teachers. Also, the Helena Zone Leaders asked if I would do the special musical number but I said I wanted to give someone else a chance because I've done it for 3 of the last 4 Zone Conferences and this most recent MLC. And the musical number was awesome that happened! I like singing and all, but I don't like to do it every time because then I feel like I'm showing off.
     Tuesday night was institute and it was so amazing having Brother Bishop back. He's such a great teacher. I don't think we did a shabby job when we taught, it just definitely wasn't Brother Bishop status. Every time I hear him teach and usually just anytime I speak to him my mind is blown. Sometimes he goes pretty deep into things but I especially love it when he talks about the simple and basic principles of the gospel. He lays them out so clearly and they are brought to a new light and level of understanding. Kelsey loved institute and Brother Bishop was super impressed by how well she participated in class! Also, yesterday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in our Zone at President Repscher's home, our Stake President. He's a really young guy but he knows so much about the gospel too. He reviewed the Stake and Zone goals we have and taught us how to more efficiently reach them. Then he just said, "okay Elders and Sisters, ask me any question! Any question at all about the gospel!" It takes a lot of confidence to make a statement like that and he has the knowledge to back it. A simple question was asked about preparing investigators for baptism and then aiming for the temple and a powerful 20 minute discussion and scripture chase ensued. Again, mind blown.
     The only Investigator I really feel to tell y'all more about is Milo. He's the one with 56 siblings. We had a lesson on tithing with him on Wednesday and he accepted the commandment just like everything else we've taught but in the process the concern came up that he wasn't sure whether or not President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God or not. We realized that we had taught him about the need for living Prophets and that there was one but that we hadn't spent too much time on it and we hadn't checked for understanding. Because he grew up with a polygamist background in a church that had broken off of the True Church he was really unsure about that. He was taught growing up that somewhere in the process of the original church stopping polygamy they no longer held the priesthood and a man led their colony with the proper priesthood. Then that man died and he always thought we were just living in apostasy again. So that can throw a wrench into things, you can't really get baptized if you don't believe in the prophet of the church your getting baptized (or at least you can't if that church is true 😉). So we assigned him a talk by President Monson to read, "Dare to Stand Alone", because Milo really wants to be firm in his faith so he can be a good example to others. So until our lesson on Saturday we kept praying so hard for him to come to know for himself that President Monson is the Lord's living prophet on the earth today. We get to the lesson on Saturday and start with the normal introductory stuff and followed up with him on his commitment to watch that talk and pray about it (and we had texted him a reminder to do so earlier that day #dailycontact). He said he did it and prayed and got an answer. Milo bore such a powerful testimony that brought the spirit into the room in a way I haven't felt in a long time. Possibly ever. Tears were flowing everywhere (except for me but I'll get to that later). Milo is so confident in his decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. He loves the church and everything it has to offer. He's found the peace that comes from the realization that God hasn't left us alone but has given us lifelines to stay linked with him. So Milo is getting interviewed this Friday by our mission president to get the process of having someone else come interview him, usually a seventy.
     About the not crying thing. There have been very few occasions when I've cried feeling the spirit. And when I do it's usually a single solitary tear. This has always bothered me. I've always seen so many people that get emotional when they're feeling the spirit and I've thought many times that something was wrong with me because I wasn't feeling the spirit the way they were. Sometimes strong emotions are a product of the spirit but that's not the way it works with everyone. A missionary shared this with us a couple days ago in another meeting we had and it stood out to me. "President Howard W. Hunter offered this counsel: “Let me offer a word of caution. … I think if we are not careful … , we may begin to try to counterfeit the true influence of the Spirit of the Lord by unworthy and manipulative means. I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the Spirit. Certainly the Spirit of the Lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the Spirit itself” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 184). The Spirit of the Lord always edifies." (PMG pg. 99). I've read this a bunch before but it really made sense to me recently. "The spirit of the Lord always edifies." To edify mean to instruct or improve or to build up. When we need to recognize the spirit ask yourself if God is building you up, if He's instructing or improving you. That's what the spirit ALWAYS does. When Prophets say ALWAYS they mean ALWAYS. Over this past week I've been able to recognize the spirit more in my life as I've thought about this. I'd encourage you all to think about this in preparation for General Conference. Think about your struggles, weaknesses, trials or anything and I promise that the Lord will build you up, instruct you and improve you through the mouths of his chosen servants.

Elder Garian Tippetts
311 Michael Grove Unit B
Bozeman, MT 59718