Sunday, November 29, 2015

"I am from Pakistan...We are all from Pakistan!"

Friends and family!

Hello hello how are you all doing this week!? Yet another Monday to
write home! I was pretty excited to write this letter!! A lot happened
this week. Like a lot... So for pday last week we played football and
it was super super fun! It was sunny and 75 outside in the fall!
It was beautiful! It was a good time! That evening we did some finding
but we spent most of the time planning for zone conference! We were
both so darn nervous for it! But we hammed out a pretty darn good
lesson plan! On Tuesday we had exchanges with the Chantilly elders! My
companion went to Chantilly and I got to spend the day with Elder
Krambule! He is a pretty cool guy! We had a good time we spent a lot
of the time driving the Centerville elders around because their car
was in The body shop! During our trips to Fair Fax with them we found
this super awesome place called "Duck Donuts" it's like the best place
ever... It's so good that I bought a shirt (sorry mom). Hahah they
make the donuts right in front of you and they are dang good! I got a
BACON maple donut...I wanted to die it was so good! Elder Vasilyev
loves the crud out of that place too! Mom and dad we gotta go there
when you come get me!:) anyways after we drove the Centerville elders around we
got to go to dinner with a family in our Ward. The Morse family! They
are so cool! We show up and they have this fancy meal made for us. It
was like this sweet and sour Chicken with this really well made Asian
salad with pumpkin pecan bread! Ahhhh it was so good! Brother Morse is
a professional chef and works for Bobby Flay!! So yeah the food was
good.... Ha we all left that night just dying cause we stuffed
ourselves! That night we went on splits with a member of the Ward and
elder vasilyev went with him  and elder krambule and I went to go
teach this guy Brian. We show up and he lets us in! He is pretty
prepared! We taught him the restoration and he loved it! He is pretty
open to all faiths but the spirit was there as Elder Krambule and I
taught him! We had a rocky start to the lesson cause we were both
pretty nervous but in the end the spirit taught him not us! It was
good! As we were walking out the door Brian offered Elder Krambule and
I an opportunity to play some fallout 4 and some rock band 4 with him....DANGIT!! We
wanted to play so badly...I was dying. Tuesday was a super good day
though! Wednesday was fun we had to drive the Centerville elders to
Fair Fax again for their car and we stopped by duck donuts's too good to not go there! Then we went to Chantilly and
helped out a member of the Ward rake and bag a whole bunch of leaves.
There are way too many trees and leaves in took us like
3 hours to rake and bag it all! Haha it was a good time though we did
a whole lot of laughing and joking during our work! We also ate at
firehouse subs and had the hottest hot sauce I've ever had in my life.
It almost killed me. That night we had a meeting with the young men's
stake presidency to help them plan for a big young men's missionary
splits activity! It was great and we got a lot of work done! On the
way home I ran a red light and almost killed a deer. Thursday was zone
conference and we got up early to get there! We were both so darn
nervous to present... But being around President was awesome! I love
the Huntsmans!! Elder Holdaway and I taught on chapter 10 of preach my
gospel! It was really good we presented for a whole hour so we were
both pretty happy! It was really cool to see my old companion Elder
Blanchard! He is an AP now so I barely see him he is so busy! After
zone conference I went on exchanges with the Fair Oaks elders and I
was with Elder Bigley he is new to the mission been out for 3 weeks.
he is a stud. anyways I went to Fair Oaks and its a bike
bike has a flat so I had to use a smaller bike...I looked so DUMB!
haha so we were riding down the road in the rain and the front brakes
only worked on the bike... Elder Bigley dropped something and slammed
on his brakes and I was following too closely and slammed on my FRONT
brakes... needless to say I flipped over my handlebars and almost
died. I hit the ground so hard and slid like 5 feet in the mud and hurt SO BAD! hahahaha but it was pretty funny. We showed up
to the appointment and I was muddy and gross. the family just laughed
at me hahaha. Tracting with Eder Bigley was fun though! on Friday we
exchanged back and did a lot of driving to the office and several
other places nothing too exciting. Okay so Saturday was by far the
craziest day this week and possibly my mission......

On Saturday we had a big zone service project. it was over in the
Centreville 2nd ward. It was the same thing we did for our last
service project. cutting down trees and planting trees and just a
bunch of manual labor! it was sick! we all got covered in mud pushing
a truck out that was stuck haha Elder Vasilyev was coated in mud the
whole time it was hilarious. during the service we got a call from the
bishopric and he was like "you guys got the baptism set up for today
right?" we were like..."uh no what baptism." so apparently nobody told
us we were putting on a youth baptism in 3 hours... it was crazy we
were frantically calling everyone trying to set up this baptism driving
from Centreville to Ashburn! my it was hectic! but Ian was baptized
and it was such an awesome experience! nothing like planning an entire
baptism in 3 hours! it was very spiritual! anyways after that we went
to another baptism down in Centreville for Leo! it was another
wonderful experience!

now for my favorite part of this letter...On Saturday between the
baptisms we were tracting and contacting people. We met this guy named
Tahir and he told us to come back at 8 that night. we were like
"sounds good!!" we come back and there is a big party going on at his
house and Elder Holdaway goes "Whats the worst that could happen? they
are all indian!" Tahir motions us to come around to the back of the
house and we are all sketching now. they have this big fire pit going
and we go down into the basement. we walk inside and there are easily
40 men just staring at wasn't even staring it was the evil
eye! so turns out they were all Muslim. I was sketching the whole
time. Tahir takes us upstairs and feeds us this crazy Pakistani food
it was like a buffet. it was gross (Kari you gotta try this stuff
cause you love trying weird food.) anyways we went back down to the
basement and I sat next this old man in white robes and I asked where
he was from...he leans over to me and says "I am from Pakistan...We
are all from Pakistan!" then leans back and says a few things in
Arabic to me which I had no idea what he was saying hahah. We had
several people come and tell us that the Book of Mormon is false and
tried preaching about the muslin scripture the Quran. the tension was
so real in that home so we left right after we ate. IT WAS SO CRAZY!
haha haha anyways church was good yesterday and teaching seminary was
fun this morning!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and remember what you are
thankful for!! I am thankful for each of you and for you examples that
you are to me!!

I LOVE YOU ALL! sorry my letter was so long there was alot more to
write but ill keep it short and tell you in person in 16 months;)

Elder Routsong

Friday, November 20, 2015

I honestly don't know what to title these emails haha!

Family and friends!!

Hello hello! How is everyone doing this wonderful week!? I'm doing
good here! It's seems like the weeks are just blazing by! I apologize
if some of my letters are all over the place or seem weird or
disorganized. I'm trying to think back 7 days of missionary work haha.
So after pday last week we spent a lot of time planning for Zone
training. We had to give a two hour long presentation so yeah we had
to plan a lot for it! We taught about revelation through church
attendance and also the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion! It
was a spiritual meeting! We had a few elders and sisters come up and
bear their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and when they came to
know it was the word of God. It was a good experience but Elder
Holdaway and I were so tired from all the planning and presenting we
just wanted sleep! On Tuesday I had exchanged with the Belmont ridge
area and I went with Elder Franko he is a new missionary only been
out for 2 transfers so it was cool to spend time with a greenie haha
it's funny though he is just always so excited and ready to roll! He
is a convert to the church so we talked about his conversion story and
all that! He is a good missionary! That night we taught a less active
family from Bolivia they were from la Paz so that was pretty cool! I
told them about you Kari and how well you did down there and how much
you love Cochabamba! I also asked them about saltenas! Grr I still
haven't been able to try them yet Kari but I will let you know as soon
as I do! They sound pretty good! Wednesday we exchanged back and it
was my rough point of the week just to lack of sleep and stress! But I
got over it! We went to this really good New York deli called santinis
and went to the mission office to get supplies for the whole zone! We
also helped the ashburn elders by taking them to a mechanic in Fair
Fax to get their car fixed so it was a busy busy day! That evening we
went and taught our investigator Morgan! She is so prepared! She wants
to get baptized but she is just a little nervous for it! We teach her
over At  Brother and Sister Westovers house and they are so cool!
Easily one of my favorite families in the Tall Cedars Ward!  It was a
great lesson we taught Morgan  the gospel of Jesus Christ and the
spirit was there! Thursday was just a typical day we had leadership
meeting in the morning and then cleaned our apartment and taught a
less a active family that just recently moved into the Ward! The
Sprouse family! They are so dang cool and the husband loves football
so I really want to keep working with them;) haha Friday we helped
Sister Williamson move some stuff to her basement from her friends
house! It was such a fun time and she fed us these really good
omelettes in the morning! Holy cow they were so dang good! They house
that we were moving this lady out of was an $800000 was so
huge... We are going to start teaching her though hopefully soon!!
Saturday we had a bunch of appointments and lessons fall through! It
wasn't too bad though we spent a lot of time finding. Sunday was a
great day sacrament went really well and I am really enjoying this
ward! I feel like I learn something new every sacrament meeting I go
to its great!! But the highlight of my week was teaching seminary this
morning. I love seminary! Holy cow I wish I would of taken it
wayyyyyyy more seriously when I was in highschool! I've said so many
things out here that I've learned in seminary it's insane. Pay
attention in seminary. I love it!! Anyways that was my week sorry this
letter was a little boring haha we have been busy and I don't have a
lot of funny stories lately hopefully if I go back to Alexandria I'll
have some funny stories hahah have a great week everyone!! Love you
Elder Routsong

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Living the Trio Life

Friends and family!!

Hey hey how is everyone!! I just talked to you all on Thursday!! But
I'm super happy to email this week! I'm doing good here and I didn't
hurt myself in any way playing dodgeball on Thursday! So that's pretty
good! An elder in my zone did get a concussion cause he got nailed In
the head so hard with a dodgeball. That was pretty cool I guess. He is
doing okay he is a tough kid! So yeah I am in a trio companionship. Me
and Elder Holdaway who is from pleasant grove Utah and Elder Vasilyev
from the Ural Mountains of the mother Russia! He is a pretty cool kid.
Elder Holdaway is afraid of him hahaha. We have been working hard
though! It's fun having three missionaries it's awkward but it's fun!
We have some fun times when we are not working it's always a blast
when we finish the day. So right after pday on Thursday we had splits
with a member of our Ward. Now when there are three missionaries in
one area two of them stay together and one goes with a member. So
brother Wolfe and I went out tracting and looking for people to teach.
We were having no luck...I decided that we should check up on a random
person we talked to about a month ago. Their names are Noor and Ahmed.
Can you guess where they are from...? Iran. Ha they were so cool! They
let us in and we got to teach them! They are Muslim so they had a few
different beliefs than us. But I loved them from the moment I walked
into the door. It was weird teaching a lesson basically on my own but
Brother Wolfe did an amazing job! We committed them to read the Book
of Mormon and Noor said that she was so excited to read it! It was
awesome! I felt the spirit in there and I know as Noor and Ahmed read
the pages in that book they will too! Great! Friday was a pretty good
day we helped a non member move some stuff out of her house because
she is getting a divorce. So sad! Luckily she is moving in with a
family from out Ward so we are going to start teaching her! So that
pretty awesome I know that the gospel can change her life for the
better! But yeah on the funnier part of Friday we had two dinners..we
forgot about one of them and he called us and we went over and ate a
whole bunch of pizza. Haha Elder Vasilyev got so sick it was pretty
freaking funny! Then we went on exchanges and Elder Holdaway went with
a member from our Ward and Elder V and I went back home cause he was
sick haha when then met up again and had another dinner at the
Camberos house! It was so funny we wanted to die cause we were so
stuffed!  Saturday was fun as well we went to President Dionne's house
he is the stake president of the Centerville stake and we had mission
correlation with him! He is so amazing and very spiritual it's great!
Then we had leadership meeting and it was mostly just busy work on
Saturday but we had our Ward party on Saturday so that was pretty
cool! We got to meet with the members and they are always so darn
nice! The Tall Cedars Ward is such a sweet Ward and the members are so
missionary minded. Sunday was by far the best day of the last two
transfers....KATHY GOT BAPTIZED. It was such an amazing experience I
got to see everyone from my old Ward and see Kathy get baptized. She
is so wonderful and I am so grateful that I got to be a part in her
conversion! She is amazing!! Anyways that was my week! It was good and
I am so happy for Kathy! Ahhhhhhh!!! Life is good. Many days are so
dang hard on the mission. But when you see even one person enter the
waters of baptism and progress toward the temple it makes it all worth
it. I used to tell my greenie Elder Snow "it's like finding a piece if
hay in a needle stack." Haha here is a scriptures that's been on my
mind since Katy's baptism  out of the Doctrine and Covenants section

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying
repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me,
how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have
brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your
joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.

18 Ask the Father in my name in faith, believing that you shall
receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all
things which are expedient unto the children of men.

how great will be your joy!! My dad sends that to me every week!

Life is good and working hard !

Love you all and have a great week!!

Elder Routsong

No Free Time This Week

Friends and family!

Holy cow it's been like three years since I've written home...well it
hasn't actually been three years but it certainly felt like it!
Geeze!! This has been a crazy week and my brain is totally fried..
Blah! Thank goodness it's pday today! pday last week feels like an
eternity! I hit my 7 month mark last week so that's pretty cool I
guess! On Tuesday of Last week I went on exchanges with a Spanish
elder that is struggling with being obedient on his mission so it was
pretty interesting. We are good friends but he just doesn't want to be
obedient. We spent a lot of time at this families house and he kept
flirting with this girl in Spanish...I was like DANGIT! It was pretty
cool though cause when the family was around I could kinda follow
their conversation in Spanish! I guess I really did remember some of
the stuff I learned almost three years ago in highschool! Hahaha so
the last Tuesday of every transfer we have this thing called transfer
doctrine where it shows everyone who is getting moved and they opened
up another area in the tall cedars Ward...I was so ticked!! We have to
share an area now and house! But I was only ticked for a short time.
On Wednesday of last week we didn't have much just district meeting
and office runs! It was good and then this  less active family
invited us to come to Red Robin with them! I was pretty pumped about
that!! It was a good time and we were building trust with them so
another good part of that too! That night we moved the house around so
that the other guys could transfer in and have their beds set up. It
was weird. Thursday was a pretty hard day for me... I had to say bye
to a lot of people that were going home... It totally was awful. I had
to say bye to Elder Adair. It was really rough. I looked up to that
kid a lot and I'm going to miss him. He was a great example to me and
taught me a lot.  But I'll see him when I go home and he has still
been my favorite companion! That night after transfers took one of my
favorite Ward members out on splits his name is Brother Batty and he
is such a genuine guy! We taught Anmol and Indy about the importance
of the Book of Mormon and Anmol got pretty confrontational... And once
confrontation starts the spirit leaves right away. But by the end of
the lesson and the sharing of our testimonies of the Book of Mormon we
invited the spirit back and had a great rest of the lesson. Friday was
an alright day I guess we had leadership meeting and the Ashburn zone
also did at the same time and afterward there were like 20 of us that
went out to eat afterwards so that was pretty funny we as a huge pack
of missionaries walk into fudruckers it's a burger place and they were
just like oh crap there are so many of them! Hahah it was pretty
funny. After lunch we had to drive some elders to the office to get a
phone set up and we got to hangout there for a little and say bye to
Elder Egli who was going home! It sucks saying bye to all these super
awesome missionaries!! DANGIT! While at the offer Elder Rice told us
that Elder Holdaway and I have to give a training in missionary
leadership council in front of a general authority... DANGIT! Saturday
was Halloween and it was pretty fun! We didn't do much of anything we
actually helped the Oakton Ward set up their Halloween party and then
we went to a members house to watch this movie called the Cokeville
Miracle. It's about a bombing at an elementary school. Its actually a
pretty incredible movie if you pay attention to the messages taught in
it. The acting was pretty bad though...but hey it's the only movie
I've seen basically in the last 8 months. Hahah. Sunday was church and
we got a new Ward mission leader and our investigator Morgan was there
again and we are teaching her soon!
 So after last week we had a general authority come into the mission.
Elder Anthony Perkins of the first quorum of the 70! We had the
opportunity to listen to him this past Monday (that's why pday is
today.) we were all in the Centerville stake center and when Elder
Perkins walked in the spirit confirmed to me that he is called of God
and represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He
talked to us about the importance of preach my gospel and the power
that it has in missionary work and in conversion to the gospel of
Jesus Christ.  I can't wait to go back and study my notes from his
presentations they were so darn awesome! During lunch on Monday Elder
Perkins sat at my table and I got to have a conversation with him
about the life of a member of the 70 so that was pretty cool! He is a
busy guy and works hard to represent the church throughout the entire
world. He also is in charge of the missions on the east coast so he
sees all the work that we do here! Tuesday was a pretty stressful day
because we were told that one of the missionaries living with us was
thinking about going home.  We spent the whole day with him trying to
help him feel better we played games with him and we felt like he was
doing better. We also planned for our presentation for Mlc in front of
Elder Perkins. Yesterday was such a stressful and emotional day for
me. We spent most of the day in meetings and presentations were spent
alt least 7 hours in meetings yesterday.We presented to Mlc and to
Elder Perkins and we did a pretty good job I think! We had a stake
young men's meeting that night and talked about this huge missionary
activity the Ashburn stake is going to do with their youth and the
full time missionaries! It's going to be so cool! That night we came
home and Elder holdaway really wanted some Chinese food so we bought
him some Hunan village cause we always drive past it and he always
makes fun of it haha but he finally got it! Right as I was going to
bed that night I got a call from President Huntsman telling me that
the elder was going home the next morning...I was so shocked and
so sad. That night I sat down with him and talked to him
and he felt so embarrassed and sad but I told him he would be okay. So
now we are in a trio with Elder Vasilyev who is from Russiak. So it will be an interesting 5
weeks...haha yay! That was basically my last week or so. Lots of stuff
going on haha lots of emotions too! I hope that everything is going
good back home and you all are doing well! I worry about each of you
and pray for each of you every night. Don't worry about me I'll be
fine here in Virginia. The mission is hard but the church and the
gospel are true. I am so thankful to know that my Heavenly Father
loves me and knows me and I can still speak to him. I'm grateful for
the Savior and for His atoning sacrifice so that my imperfections can
be made whole.  My brother Keith sends me this quote all the time
"everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" life can be hard most of
the time but if we rely on the Savior we can truly see the beauty in
life and know that there is a plan for each of us to return to our
Heavenly Father. Love you all so much!
Elder Routsong

Tall Cedars Madness!

Hey hey!!

How is everyone doing this wonderful week!? This week has been pretty
good! It wasn't the best key indicators wise but it's all good! So in
last week's letter I totally forgot to tell you about my new companion.
He is a bro. Elder Holdaway he is from Pleasant Grove Utah. Only my
second companion from Utah! He is seriously the man. We get along so
well he likes all the stuff that I like so we are doing really good!
I'm glad! He is 20 and has been out a little under a year and also is
half Filipino and half white he is also in a bullying Mormon message
so that's pretty cool!  So on Sunday night we got fed some under cooked I got food poisoning...I'm getting wrecked out here!
Gah! So I was sick till Wednesday but I didn't let it stop me!! Monday
we went to the city and then had a lesson with the Williamsons they
are sweet! We just teach them the new member lessons so that they can
feel the spirit cause Ronnie is struggling! So it's always nice to get
over there and help them out! Tuesday was a pretty rough day. I spent
a good amount of the day in bed because of food poisoning and I was on
an exchange with a missionary who is struggling. I really love the guy
and he wants to do right thing. That evening we were really struggling
I was sick and he was depressed. Oh gosh it was hard and all of the
appointments we had cancelled so we were finding and getting wrecked!
But the very last door we knocked we found a family from Ghana! They
are so humble and so nice it made our day! We are going to go back and
teach them this week! When we got home that night I quickly went to
bed! Wednesday I was still sick so I was out that morning and
afternoon but that evening we had the chance to teach Morgan the plan
of salvation and she loved it! It was one of the best lessons I've
taught so far on my mission! And her fellowshipers are the Westover
family and they are so dang cool! Morgan is 20 and going to nova and
her parents don't care about religion but she does! She has helped
Sister West over teach primary for the last 3 months. She shows up to
church every Sunday 15 minutes early! It's so awesome yeah it was a
good lesson! On Thursday I was finally feeling better  and we went on
exchanges with the Chantilly elders! I got to hangout with Elder
Haddon and it was so much fun! He is a great guy and I want to hangout
with him after the mission so that's pretty cool! We did a lot of work
except I accidentally brought the tall cedars cell phone with me so my
companion didn't have a phone the whole night hahaha. Friday was a
pretty good day we taught a boy whose  mom is so hard
hearted and won't let him get baptized. It's so sad. It stresses me
out seeing somebody who wants to get baptized and get better but his
mom won't let him. We will continue to see him though he is such a
smart kid! Elder Holdaway spent some time cold calling people from our
area book and some dude told us his net worth was $286000 hahaha were
were like "that's cool..." And he hung up haha It was funny. We also
had dinner at Red Robin with the Decoursey family! They are so sick I
love them! He is a hunter and has basically killed all the wild life
in Africa and has them hung up all over his house! It's so sick!
Saturday was a good day as well we taught two lessons at the door way
and they went well we have to get an Arabic Book of Mormon for this
guy named Magdy he is pretty cool and we are going to go to his
Egyptian Orthodox Church so that's pretty awesome! Sunday was my 7
month mark. Can you believe that? It's flying so far. We had church
and we got a new bishop and got to sit in on this sweet ysa meeting
that was awesome! I was fasting for one of our investigators and for a few other
people so I was dying the whole day. But that evening we had a new and
returning member fireside and we invited our investigator Morgan and
the Westovers! They loved it! This recent convert gets up and she has
white dreads and says "Joseph smiff is the COOLEST!" She pauses for a
second and this  guy in the congregation yells "you got this
girl" hahahah right in front of President Huntsman hahaha it was so
great!! After that meeting I got the chance to go and talk to Elder
Adair! I love that guy I'm so sad he goes home on Thursday... I really
look up to that guy. We came home and did key indicators and went to
sleep! This morning Elder Holdaway and I taught seminary! It was super
fun!! That's my week! Love you all stay safe!!
Elder Routsong