Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Right Place was Taco Bell

Week 1 Day 1 Transfer 3 in La Grande

Okay, so I gotta tell you about today.
Our plan was to shop, have lunch, email, and then go hiking. Well after we shopped, we went to taco bell for lunch (the ALWAYS delicious Taco Bell). We went in at the same time as a homeless guy. He seemed like a nice guy, he held the door for us, we said hi, he ordered first and sat in the corner to eat his food. We sat down and started eating and I got this impression that we needed to go talk to him. It kept coming and kept coming, so I decided "okay, we'll go over and talk to him after we eat." Well right as we finished eating, HE came over and started talking to us. He said that when he was in LA he had had discussions with missionaries, and he was excited to see us again. His name is Matt B----. He's 52, he's from Salt Lake, he went to college, and then shortly after that he just left. He's been on the road constantly since 1996. And he said that other than the other missionaries, we're the first people in years that have talked to him for more than a couple of minutes. We got to know him a bit, and Elders S---- and D----- taught him a lesson right there in Taco Bell while I called everyone I could think of trying to get transportation for him. I offered him a Book of Mormon, but he said that it would be too heavy (he travels light), but then I remembered the military size Book of Mormon that I had at home. Normally I keep it in my jacket pocket, but I'd left it at the apartment. So, Matt said he was headed to Wendy's for a frosty (he LOVES ice cream), so we told him we'd meet him there in fifteen minutes. We rushed home, I grabbed my Book of Mormon, got a red highlighter, and sat down. I quickly wrote a short testimony in the front, and circled as many verses as I could think of. It was really cool, because as I was sitting at the desk verses to highlight just kept coming to me at a million miles an hour. Verse after verse. Every few pages had at least one verse that was circled. Elder D----- got a picture of the Savior that would make a good book mark, and I clipped my highlighter on the cover so that Matt would have something to mark his scriptures with. We headed over to Wendy's and had frosties with him. Turns out, he really wanted to get baptized in LA, but he ended up having to leave right before his date. But he still really wants to be baptized, so he asked us what he would have to do. We explained everything that needed to happen. I'd already talked to Bishop K---- (fourth ward bishop) before about the ride, but I felt like I should call him again to see if there was anything he could do for Matt. Bishop K---- said he would be at Wendy's in fifteen minutes. He got there right on time and started talking to Matt about the options. Once Bishop figured out that Matt was a really sincere guy, he called a member of the ward who owns a motel and asked for a room. Bro S------(the motel owner guy) said for sure. Bishop K---- drove Matt over to the motel, he's going to help him look for a job in the area (if they can't find one here, Bishop is going to help him get to Boise. The LDS employment services there have a lot of opportunities), and we're going to go over to the motel and meet with Matt again tomorrow.
I don't think the story gives the experience full justice. Somehow, God led us to find a soul that was lost. That had walked across the entire nation, from Florida to Minnesota, to California, to Oregon. Our day suddenly switched from ordinary to extraordinary. It's amazing to me. Here I am, a far from perfect missionary (all of us are), and yet God trusted us enough to put us in the right place at the right time. And the right place was Taco Bell at 12:22!! I just struggle to comprehend it all. I needed this experience more than I can really say. It's easy to feel like a failure when you're in an area that's struggling, when you haven't had a baptism in months, and the members are luke warm towards missionaries. It's been difficult. It's been a blessing that I've been able to serve around other missionaries that have become like brothers to me. Experiences like this one today are what keep me going. God knows me, He knows the other elders, He knows Matt B----. He's got a plan for us.
There's not much left of the day, but I know it's gonna be good. I can't wait to hike Mt. Emily, especially now. I love the earth. I've been thinking a lot about how my blessing says that I'm meant to appreciate the beauties of the earth, and teach that to other people. The world is so beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me. I wish we could teach missionary discussions on mountain tops. I think that's the perfect place to ponder the Plan of Happiness.
Anyway, today has been great. Mission ups and downs will continue as always. They're just there to help me prepare for life's ups and downs, which can be a lot more dramatic. But even though I know that there will be more downs, I know that the highs will follow. That's simply the way things work. I think our lives in many ways act like a wave. (In my mind, the wave almost has become a symbol of imperfection, whereas a straight, unchanging line is perfection) We fall, but Christ provides a way to get up again, and every time we get up we try to get a little closer to perfection. Then a down comes again, and we have to keep using Christ. "God doesn't care so much about where we are, as where we're headed." He doesn't expect perfection, He expects improvement, progression, growth. He looks upon the heart, not the outward vessel.
Anyway, I love you guys. This stuff is true. I'm thankful to my Heavenly Father for putting another miracle in my life that I can draw hope and strength from when times are tough. Your are always in my thoughts and prayers.
Elder Matt Waller

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Samurai Investigator, Hiking and Old Friends

Heyya Everybody!
Today is Tuesday. The 28th of June. I just thought you might be wondering. It's now week five. Which is insane. The transfer is almost over. It's been getting pretty warm here: 90-95 mostly. It's not bad outside since it's dry (nothing like what I'm sure it is back home), but the lack of AC in the apartment is a little irritating. Peeved. That's a good way to describe the resultant feeling. It's pretty warm at night even with the windows open and fans blowing. We're hoping to get another fan from DI today though, and we might try to rig a fan system out of the kitchen, through the hallway, and into the bedroom. We recently got a small window AC but the only window big enough for it is in the kitchen. So the kitchen is extremely comfortable.
We found three new investigators this week. One of this is a Karen refugee that's actaully been in the states for a while. He looks to me like a Samurai. No joke. He's actually really open. He lives with some of the Burmese members, so he knows a little about the church already. The first lesson with him was really good. He speaks good English, so we didn't need a translator, and he commented and told a few stories and actually said that he knew what we were saying was true. It was pretty cool. As with the other Burmese, the trouble is getting them to church, because the only jobs they can get are those that force you to work on Sundays, and if one of them doesn't have a job, they're always out trying to find a job. That's the case with him. He says he wants to come to church, but we didn't see him on Sunday. We're going to make sure he has a ride and everything.
What did everyone think of the pictures of Shoshone Falls?
(Haven't gotten any yet)
It's pretty intense. I took a couple short videos just so you could see the water flowing and hear how ridiculously loud it was, but they're to big to send in an email. So I might make a cd or something to send. You would love it, Mom. I've never seen a waterfall like it. I also went a few days ago to Twin Falls. It's much smaller, and due to some hydroelectric projects Twin Falls is technically just single falls now. But it was still cool. I was on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and we were in the area so they just pulled up to the parking lot. The observation thingy is like ten yards from the lot. I got some good pics, but the light wasn't quite right. I'd love to take pictures of the falls at Sunset, but the sun sets at 9:30 here, so it's past curfew. And past the end of p-day anyway. Sigh.....Oh well.
I heard from N. J. (formerly Elder J.). He said that he bought an engagement ring yesterday. Him and C.S. both. Pretty crazy. Poor guys. He seems to be in really good spirits. He's a good guy. Both of them are. I think they're probably the ones that made me realize that missions were fun and cool. When we're about the Lord's work we need to be mature and focused, but it doesn't mean we have to be 'pious' all the time. It doesn't mean we can't laugh and be ourselves.
Well, I hope this week's been good for all of you. Don't take any wooden nickels. Also, if by chance you meet a frown, tell it to do a backflip.
Elder Matt Waller

Friday, June 24, 2011

Update on Elder Waller

Elder Waller (aka Matt, The Guy in the Cool Hat who is now The Guy with the Most Awesomely Expedient Nametag...) has asked that I revive, update, enliven and otherwise resuscitate his blog with news.  So...

Here's the latest from the Guy with the Never-ending Tie Collection.  To preserve his contacts' privacy I will shorten or change names...  Currently he is serving in Twin Falls, ID in a three-some instead of the usual companionship.  They teach a lot of refugees from Burma and other Southeast Asian countries there, and need to have a translator.


Hey Everyone,
First of all, the search on Mormon.org won't pull it up directly, but my profile has been published!  This is the URL:
I had lunch with C.S. yesterday. Do you remember Elder S.? He served in Lancaster with Elder J. and they both helped me with my Eagle project. Elder S. actually got "Dear John-ed" the day before helping with the project. Poor guy. But he lives in -----, and I got a hold of him and he came down to catch up and introduce me to his soon-to-be-official fiance!!! WHAT?? They were coming down to Twin to go ring-shopping. Poor kid. He's in big trouble. Haha. He's been home for about a year and three months now. It was a little weird to see him with civilian clothes, a baseball cap, and a beard. And a girl. That was quite weird. Elder S. is getting married. Kind of a trunky thought, haha. It didn't help that a few days ago we swung by the stake center to grab something only to find that there was a wedding reception going on and bridesmaids were everywhere. Odd. Bizarre. Haha.
This past week has gone pretty well, especially on the Burmese side. We're finally getting lessons coordinated, though it's still hard to set up solid appointments with the language barrier. We can't expect our translators to be free all the time either, so there's a lot of schedules to match up. Still we had three really solid lessons with several groups of Burmese. Two of the newer Karen refugees have already said that they really want to get baptized, and two of the Chin refugees are getting extremely close as well. It's pretty exciting.
We're really trying to boost our finding efforts in all the wards. We're setting up meetings with all the bishops to talk about the individual wards, and I've been trying to get all of their email addresses so I can send them the progress records every week. So far the efforts on that front are moving forward gradually. But they've expressed a lot of appreciation for being more included, so I think that things are going to get a big boost once we can work out schedules.
We're going to go see Shoshone Falls today. They're called the Niagra Falls of the West. And from what we've been told they're bigger right now than they've been in many many years with all the rain we've had. Don't worry, Mom. I'll get pictures. I'll try to send them next week. :)
(When I receive said pictures I will endeavor to post them) --KR
What's going on in the world? What the status on the situation in Japan? Iraq? Have they announced any cool new movies? Cool songs? Have any of you happened across any Jazz piano sheet music? If so, I'd love a copy. I'd really like to learn to play Jazz.
I love you guys. I hope you're all doing well. I hope you always know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Elder Matt Waller

Monday, June 21, 2010

The less serious stuff.

Currently listening to: Mae playlist

So, I had a chance last week to spend some time with a friend I haven't seen in a while. We chilled around town, watched some Doctor Who (best show evah), and did a little hiking. While we were hanging out I also got a chance to do some photography, which was very nice.

Here's a rule of thumb: If you're going to be photographing outside, the best time to do it is when the shadows are longer than you are--i.e. sunrise and sunset. These are the times when you have the most interesting light, and understanding how to use light is crucial to making quality photographs.

Well, I need to start packing. I'm leaving tonight to go help a boy scout troop with their summer scout camp. Being a leader will be pretty easy: I'll make sure they get up on time, make sure they go to bed on time, make sure they don't kill each other, and make sure they get to their classes after breakfast every day. Once they're all off at classes, I'll just be chillin' in camp with a good book, taking plenty of naps, and taking walks through the woods. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be back in a few days, so I'll give a quick report then.

Take it easy everybody!

--Matt (the guy in the hat)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Current Events Rambles

Currently listening to: Classical Music Playlist

I've been reading up on the BP oil spill in the gulf. According to FOXNews, BP is hoping that by late June they'll be capturing about 90% of the oil flow and keeping it from entering the ocean. The relief wells are expected to be finished in August. Fingers crossed. I hope the situation is resolved quickly.

Politics have been another matter of concern lately. Pres. Obama continues to irk me to say the least. He's frequently insulting our allies, Britain in particular. The BP oil spill has truly been a tragic event, but Obama seems to be using it as an excuse to attack a major British company. Though Pres. Obama, of course, denies this. On top of that, there is the recent issue of Representative Joe Wilson shouting "You lie" at Pres. Obama during a speech concerning the healthcare bill. According to the New York Times, the republican and democratic parties seem to agree that the outburst was inappropriate. I feel the same way. But what bothers me is that even though Joe Wilson formally apologized, he is now the target of many efforts trying to undermine his personal character and the republican party as a whole. In my personal opinion, this is drawing dangerously close to "silencing those who speak out against the government". Sigh, perhaps I should stop my rant here, just in case "Big Brother" is listening. But I'd just like to say that this disgusting tripe that we call Politics is NOT good government. Politics is all about personal gain, and I feel that this is a major underlying motivator in the Obama administration. They are not interested in the American public our or allies. They are interested in getting more power; in making our nation ever more socialistic. It worries me greatly. Government should be FOR the people.

Anyway, gonna post some less serious stuff in a few minutes. Right now, I'm gonna go whip up some dinner. Mac & chees, pork tenderloin, mixed vegetables. Mmm.

--Matt (the guy in the hat)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Matt!

Heyya guys!

Sorry for the long break between posts once again, but I'm back! I hope you've enjoyed the music while I've been gone. I've added a little here and there. As always, the best taste in music is an ecclectic one.

So, brief update, the semester went immensely well in the end, despite some periods of doubt in certain classes. *cough* CHEMISTRY *cough, cough* But like I said things went very well, and I'm quite satisfied. Now it's just a matter of finding a job for the summer (a venture which I have in particular been pursuing today, but to no avail as of yet). In the meantime, I have applied to be a volunteer at the humane society, which I look forward to. I thought it would be cool to do something like that on the side so that I can start taking steps as an Environmental Conservative. I'd like to prove to people that such a thing exists.

Ah! I have also started playing piano again. I took lessons for eight years when I was younger and did quite well, but I haven't really played since starting college. So far I've been enjoying picking it back up. I need to start practicing guitar again as well. I really do want to start a band....We'd be so cool.....

I'm interested in starting to blog in earnest, and I'm curious about new things to talk about, so if you have any ideas, send 'em my way. And as always, the guy in the hat is happy to answer questions about life, the universe, and everything, so if you have any, ask away!

Anyway, later!

--Matt (the guy in the hat)