Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gabe's Journey

A pass the pen story:  Co-Authored by David Horan and Richelle Robbins as well as special guest authors.
David Horan Once upon a time...

    • Richelle Robbins In a land far, far away there lived...
      January 11 at 7:48pm ·

    • David Horan a quaint little man in a quaint little village...
      January 11 at 7:57pm ·

    • Dennis R Sorensen Of the Hobbits...
      January 11 at 7:59pm ·

    • David Horan In this same village...
      January 11 at 8:00pm ·

    • Dennis R Sorensen The quaint little man had  a best friend named Ji
      January 11 at 8:03pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins Now it just so happened that the quaint little man's friend named Ji was actually a....
      January 11 at 8:06pm ·

    • David Horan Genie, who had been avoiding paying up on wishes...
      January 11 at 8:08pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins One of people who Ji owed three wishes was the quaint little man, whose name we will now reveal to be...
      January 11 at 8:11pm ·

    • David Horan Gabe. Gabe lived alone in a little hut, his life had been rather uneventful until the fateful day that he went on a journey to...
      January 11 at 8:16pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins Tinbuktu (not to be confused with Timbuktu). Now the remarkable thing about Tinbuktu was that everything in the land was made out of tin. In fact, one day while exploring this tinny place, Gabe found a tin lamp right in the middle of...
      January 11 at 8:30pm ·

    • David Horan a giant lake that was rumored to harbor the terrifying Tarasque, he had decided to search for the Tarasque because...
      January 11 at 8:31pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins in the quaint little village of the hobbits he had never encountered anything even remotely scary in his entire life. Just once, Gabe wanted to know what it was like to feel utterly terrified! (There might have been some additional motivation considering that the stinger at the end of the Tarasque's tail was rumored to have magical powers which would...
      January 11 at 8:37pm ·

    • David Horan make you live forever. Nobody knew why Gabe would want to live forever. Seeing as his life was rather mundane, at least, until his journey began. The first obstacle he met on his journey was...
      January 11 at 8:48pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins the very insistent Farmer Brown, or FB for short. FB was desperate for anyone who would help him on his farm, and he was determined that he needed a stallion!
      January 11 at 9:09pm ·

    • David Horan Gabe told Farmer Brown that once he made it to Tinbuktu he would have all the time in the world to help him find a stallion. Unfortunately, FB wasn't called insistent for no reason. He demanded that something be done and done this instant! Gabe made a run for it! Farmer Brown, without a stallion, could not catch him. As he was running away he yelled back and said, I promise I will help you when I can. Gabe would later regret leaving so quickly because he met his second obstacle...
      January 11 at 9:21pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins A large bridge loomed up in front of him. It was guarded by an evil troll! Cowering in front of the bridge were three billy goats--the Gruff brothers. They had been attempting (unsuccessfully) to cross the bridge for weeks. If only Gabe had a stallion with which he could out-run the ugly troll! Unfortunately, it was too late to go back and help FB so now Gabe's only option was to...
      January 11 at 9:36pm ·

    • David Horan tell the Gruff Brothers that he was on a journey to Tinbuktu, where everything was made out of tin. Gabe told the Gruff Brothers that they could travel with him if they made it across. Goats love tin, and with this new found motivation they came up with a plan to get past the evil troll. Their plan was simple, but ingenious. It was to...
      January 11 at 9:42pm ·

    • Matthew Melville Fart.
      January 11 at 9:45pm ·

    • David Horan With all the commotion the troll did not know what to do. He knew it was his one and only purpose in life to guard that bridge. Yet the terror of it all was just too much, even for the vilest troll to handle. The terrified troll trotted toward the trees. Gabe and the Gruff Brothers continued down the path toward Tinbuktu, and ultimately to the lair of the Tarasque. Unbeknownst to them the last obstacle, their greatest yet, was just around the river-bend.
      January 11 at 9:57pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins As those of you who are well-versed in the story of Pocahontas know, just around the river-bend happened to be a giant, talking willow tree--Grandmother Willow to be precise. After Pocahontas went back to England, Grandmother Willow was so lonesome that she became very bitter and took a vendetta out against all humans. The whomping willow in Harry Potter looked like an innocent, fluffy kitten when compared to Grandmother Willow's fury!!!
      January 12 at 2:17am ·

    • David Horan Gabe would never be able to reach the Tarasque unless he could get past Grandmother Willow. The Gruff Brothers decided no amount of tin was worth fighting such a losing battle, so they left. Gabe began to cry, he had come so far! Then he heard someone else crying. As he looked around he saw a tin man. After applying a little oil he was told that this man did not have a heart. Perfect, Gabe asked him if he would take his axe and kill Grandmother Willow. The Tin Man gladly agreed and chopped her to pieces. After, Gabe asked him if he knew anything about the Tarasque. The Tin Man told him that this river emptied into a lake where there had been many reports of its sighting. He gave him one word of advice before he continued...
      January 12 at 6:28am ·

    • Brian Lee The one word of advice the Tin Man gave was "Unless"...
      January 12 at 10:31pm ·

    • David Horan Unless what? Asked Gabe, but the tin man had begun to rust again. Gabe checked the oil can and it had a few drops left. He hoped it would be enough to get just a little bit more information...
      January 12 at 10:43pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins ‎"Unless you save a few drops of oil, you'll never be able to unchain the boat you need to ferry down the river and to the middle of the lake because it too has rusted over with time!" Drat! The oil can was empty! Fortunately for Gabe...
      January 12 at 10:48pm ·

    • David Horan his one and only hobby, his entire life, had been lock-picking. It didn't matter if it was old, new, rusted, slippery, you name it he could pick it. Gabe forged on, he found the rusty rowboat and continued down the river until he could finally see the legendary lake. The lake wasn't all he saw...
      January 12 at 11:13pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins In the middle of the lake was an island. In the middle of the island was a tree, and hanging from the middle of the tree was a giant...PINATA shaped like a...
      January 13 at 1:16am ·

    • Beverly Hellewell Heart. If he broke it what would he find. He found a stick and began to swing it. Out of the pinata fell a ...
      January 13 at 5:38am ·

    • Richelle Robbins lamp made out of tin! Now, what could he possibly do with a tin lamp?
      January 13 at 8:11am ·

    • David Horan As he was pondering the possibilities he decided to wipe some of the dirt off of the lamp. As he rubbed the lamp a genie appeared. Speaking to Gabe he said, "Hi my name is Ji, I will grant you three wishes, although I don't promise you will get them as quickly as you would like." Wow, 3 wishes, thought Gabe. As a man who had never ventured far from home, or been very adventurous, he had never thought about this question before. It took him a while to really think, after a minute he said that his first wish was...
      January 13 at 4:44pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins naturally for the ability to defeat the Tarasque (after all, that was the initial purpose for his quest in the very beginning). Ji gave him a ball and said "this is all you will need to complete your task." Gabe was rather confused. Only getting a ball when he could have wished for anything seemed rather dumb. "But what good will this do?" he questioned. "Sometimes the answers to our wishes come in unexpected ways!" Ji replied. Feeling more unsettled than reassured, Gabe set out after the Tarasque...armed with only a ball!
      January 13 at 5:47pm ·

    • David Horan Gabe got back in the boat and rowed back to shore. As he rowed he sung this song: "When I was just a little lad, I saw the knights in armor clad, dreaming of adventures I sat alone, in the small village I called my home, now the adventurer is me, what should I do with wishes 3?" As he was concluding the first verse the Tarasque came flying down, mesmerized by the tune. It seemed as though he would not need the ball at all. But, with the Tarasque so tranquil, how would he get it to sting him granting him the power to live forever?...
      January 13 at 9:24pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins ‎"Well," he said to himself, "Ji must have given me this ball for a reason." He held it up for the Tarasque to see who suddenly started wagging his tail with the stinger at the end. "Curious," he thought. Gabe was reminded of his own childhood dog. "This may seem crazy, but why not?" With that, he threw the ball with all his might, hurtling it across the sky!
      January 13 at 9:31pm ·

    • David Horan The Tarasque flew after it and quickly retrieved it, this game of fetch continued on for several minutes. As fun as this was, it wasn't getting him any closer to his goal. Finally, Gabe decided he wasn't going to throw the ball back. This made the Tarasque extremely angry and within seconds Gabe had been stung. The feeling did not feel much like a renewal of life and energy. It felt more like...
      January 13 at 9:36pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins his lungs were stuck in an iron (or tin) vice. He found himself gasping for air. Looking up, the sun seemed to be dimming. Suddenly he realized that the force of the Tarasque's sting had knocked him into the lake!
      January 13 at 9:40pm ·

    • David Horan As he sunk lower and lower he struggled for breath, and somehow, he received it. He felt as if there were hundreds of worms crawling under his skin. For a brief moment there was an intense pain coming from his legs. He had been turned into a mermaid, or more accuratly a merman. Several mermaids began to swim toward him. A particularly beautiful one told him that the stories of the Tarasque granting eternal life were indeed true, but that it came at a price. He would remain a merman for the rest of eternity. Gabe was devastated, until he remembered...
      January 13 at 9:51pm ·

    • Richelle Robbins he still had two wishes left! Rubbing the lamp, Ji appeared again with an air tank strapped to his back. Gabe told him his second wish was to be human again, but Ji reminded Gabe that he wasn't very prompt when it came to granting wishes. "Well, is there anything we can do to speed up the process?" Gabe asked in desperation. "Well, I might grant your wish sooner if....
      Saturday at 2:44am ·

    • David Horan No, you wouldn't want to do that." sighed Ji. "No I would do anything!" replied Gabe, "I have everything I need, this adventure was my life long dream, and boy has it been an adventure. I don't need anything else. I'll tell you what, if you make me human right now and don't make me stay a merman for years, I will give you my third wish." Ji was in shock, nobody had ever done anything for him before. Ji said, "You are a great man, I have met many travelers, knights, kings, and many of the greatest adventurers. But you are the greatest, I wish I had met you sooner." Sparks began to fly around them, "Wait!" screamed the genie, that wasn't my wish! Suddenly they were both in the hobbit village. There they remained friends for many years, and seemed to have been friends for a long time, but there was still one thing left undone...
      Saturday at 11:36am ·

    • Richelle Robbins One day Ji and Gabe were talking. "You realize," Ji said, "that you actually still have one more wish. You gave me your third wish, and I wished that I had known you sooner. That took us back to the beginning before you ever went after the Tarasque. It also took us back before you had a chance to use your second wish. You've been a good friend for many years. What would you like for your one last wish?"
      23 hours ago ·

    • David Horan I just wish that people would realize that it isn't a crazy adventure that makes a person happy, but the friendships that you make along the way. Without each other none of this would have been possible. Farmer Brown wouldn't have gotten the stallion we found for him later that year. I couldn't have passed the bridge without the Gruff brothers. The tin man made it possible to get past Grandmother Willow and I helped keep him oiled. Without you I wouldn't have made it past the Tarasque and you wouldn't have been freed from that lamp and been able to live free. I didn't need wishes or eternal life, I just needed a friend. So that is my only wish, that anyone who reads this adventure will appreciate what truly matters in life and gives it meaning, those that you can consider your true friends.
      23 hours ago ·

    • Richelle Robbins And they all lived happily ever after!
      THE END!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dave: The Story of my Life

So I have been working on getting the framework of my auto-biography done.  Most of this was written when I was 16.  Pay special attention to the word framework.  It is not super exciting right now because it's missing what makes any biography great, the stories.

That is where you come in, if you have any or many memories of me please add them to the comments where they most logically would fit.  Remember my posterity could someday see this and although I am fine if they are embarrassing, we are looking for good, honest memories.  You can also write it in a message and send it to me on facebook or e-mail me.

You are more than welcome to read some or all of this, but like I said, right now I am just throwing stuff out there and this summer I will try and make it more readable and flowing.  I appreciate your help and for all that you have meant to me and my life.  My life would have been nothing without you, and right now my auto-biography is basically nothing without you.  So comment away!  Thanks.

Also sorry if I missed anything or anyone, luckily we can get this fixed and add in that super important thing I forgot.  I couldn't even begin to include everything, but if it's good enough that you remember it after this long, it's good enough to write down.

Chapter 1: Intro
Chapter 2: Before I was, there were
Chapter 3: Birth-Pre-School
Chapter 4: Elementary School
Chapter 5: I grew up here
Chapter 6: Games/Activities I liked
Chapter 7: My First Love
Chapter 8: I wish I could see ___ again
Chapter 9: Jr. High
Chapter 10: Sophomore Year Classes
Chapter 10: Part 2: Sophomore Year
Chapter 11: Junior year 2000-01
Chapter 12: Senior Year 2001-02
Chapter 13: Pre-Mission/Miller
Chapter 14: Mission
Chapter 15: Glenwood/El.Ed.Program
Chapter 16: Sparks
Chapter 17: Now/Other


Now I live in Lehi.  I decided that even though I wasn't married I still needed to progress in life.  So I bought a house.  Jared and Chris moved in with me and it has been great, not quite as social, but great.  I have not regretted it for a moment.

I teach at Freedom Elementary still, this is my third year.  I love it as much, if not more, than I ever have.  I have tried really hard to continue to do better both as a teacher, and just as a person in general.  Hopefully the next chapter, of this book I call my life, will be marriage.



All of my friends were home from their missions now.  It was summer time and I always moved out for the summers.  2007 was no different, except for the fact that I was moving out for good.  Sparks was going to be my new home for at least a year, which ended up being two years.

Matt Melville had some friends that lived there, and so that is where we chose.  I am trying to remember who the original group of us were.  Well, here are all the people that lived in that apartment, with me, in those two years.  We never had an opening, someone always took the empty spots as quick as they could.  Either friends, or people living in other apartments that wanted in with us.  Matt, Jared, Dan, Jeremy, Jake, Spencer, Patrick, Jaren, Denny, Jose and Chris.  I hope I didn't forget anyone.  Jared and I were the only ones that were there the entire time that I was there.

When I moved in I told myself that I had to start giving girls more of a chance.  My first year there I had two brief relationships.  They each taught me different things, and were both not right for me for completely opposite reasons.  I don't think I would really even call either of them relationships, but more learning experiences.  Sometimes before you can find the right one sometimes you have to find what doesn't work first.

My second year there I started student teaching, and I was made the Elders Quorum President, and I had my first real girlfriend.  Needless to say, life was a little crazy.  I felt like I had three very important things, and each of them were worthy of my sole undivided attention.  None of them truly got the time and effort they deserved.  I felt like I did my best though.  Luckily I had great counselors, a great teacher to work with, and a great girl.

After dating for about three months or so we broke up.  I would have loved for it to work out, but it felt like we were just trying to force it after a while.  We both agreed that we needed to break up.  She was great and I was a better person for being around her.  At the same time I felt like a little weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

I graduated, no longer had a girlfriend, and they released me from my calling at the end of the semester.  I went from looking like a zombie, to having absolutely nothing to do.  I was looking for a job, but that was about it.  I interviewed for 3 jobs and 2 of them gave me offers.  One at Snow Springs Elementary teaching 5th grade and one at Freedom Elementary teaching 4th grade.  4th grade was what I student taught, and I loved Freedom Elementary.  They had a bunch of cool technology stuff, and everything I knew about the principal was really great.

Meanwhile, back to Sparks.  I had a TON of fun.  Slurpee runs, making forts, Arches National Park, parades, going running, dance parties, drives up the canyon, pool parties, Rock Band, and an amazing California road trip.

I kept some friends the entire time, and some apartments we cycled through each semester.  In 2008 I discovered this strange thing called a blog.  I have done a pretty good job of updating things since then. So I am going to let this project be done, for now.


2006-2007: Glenwood and UVSC El. Ed. Program

I got home from my mission.  So now what?  Go home and get married, they said.  How does one even go about this?  If this was your end goal why did you teach and train me how to do exactly the opposite the past 21 years?  Don't have a girlfriend before your mission, OK, I had a ton of friends and had a lot of great times, but I never let it get past good friends.  Then on the mission they say lock your heart, OK, it's locked completely.  Now go home and get married?  All I know how to do is keep my heart locked and be friends.

I didn't go on a date for a few months, but I found some other things to keep me busy.  Nearly all of my friends, being younger than me, were still on their missions.  Luckily, Jared got back the week after me and Dan and Jeff had recently gotten home.  We did a ton together and found a group of girls that were really cool.

Since I got home in October school didn't start for two months.  So I got a job with UPS during the holiday rush and got to run around door to door and deliver packages.  It made me feel like a missionary, except people were excited to see me and it was really snowy.

During the first semester of 2006 I stayed living at home.  Then the summer came and it was time to move out again.  Jared, Dan and I moved to Glenwood apartments in Provo.  I was working at the UVSC testing center, and taking a bunch of summer classes, that whole get done with school as fast as you can thing.  So I felt like I wasn't able to get involved as much as I would have liked.  We had a blast still, and I made a few good friends.  But when the summer ended Dan and I each decided to move back home to save some money and Jared stayed behind.

The fall of 2006 I started the education program while I was still 21 years old.  Most 21 year olds are just getting started with college.  I guess the get done quick plan was working.

My first year I was one of only two guys in my cohort.  You hear some interesting things sometimes when people forget there is a man around...  I loved everything about the program, my classmates became my family.  We had the exact same schedules for the two years we were in the program.  The second year the other boy switched to a different cohort, so I was then the only male.  The first day of our second year everyone was fighting over who got me to sit by them.

We were the popular table, but mostly the kind of popular that everyone actually does like you.  Although when it appeared that we didn't work very hard and still would get the highest scores some people didn't like that.  There were a lot of overachievers in our class, they always amazed me, but I got just as good a scores as they did because I followed the rubric, nothing more, nothing less.

There were only two teachers that did not seem to like our table.  She who shall not be named, and our math teacher.  Our second year we got smart, we didn't buy any books until after the first day of classes.  We would find out what books we would actually HAVE to use and use a lot, and the ones that looked like we could get by with sharing.  Then we would each buy one of those books and take turns.  It took some planning, you had to read something early, or sometimes had to read a lot the night before, but it worked great and saved a lot of money.

Well one time in math our teacher told us to open our books, and none of us had that one.  It was the only day she had us open them in class all semester.  She asked us where our books were and we informed her that none of us had bought it, she wasn't very happy.  She docked us points, even though each of us had in fact read what we were supposed to.  We weren't lazy, just cheap, I mean smart.

I loved the program.  I loved almost every single one of my teachers, they were amazing.  But most of all I loved my classmates, if these are the people that will be shaping the future generation we are in very good hands.  There are times I miss it, I miss being a student.  I loved, loved, loved my time at UVSC.  Now we have all gone our separate ways, I kind of keep in contact with 3-4 of them.  I wish we could have a big reunion and share funny/crazy stories about what we have had to deal with.

I have had several people ask me, why a teacher?  I even have had other teachers ask that, you would think they would know.  I feel like it is what I am supposed to do.  I love it, I love my job!  I want to make a difference, and bring kids from wherever they are to some place better.  I'm not perfect at it, I'm not the perfect fit for every kid, but I try my best and I care about the kids I am trusted with.  I don't always like all the hoops you have to jump through, the school system is not perfect, parents can be a hassle, but the kids I work with are amazing.  They each have special talents and skills, I just have to help them see that and use them.



I went into the MTC as excited as I could be.  I had been looking forward to this point of my life for a long time.  I didn't have to learn a language, I could just hit the ground running and never stop.  Boy was I in for a big surprise, and it may not be the one you are thinking.

I felt like the MTC was a big step down, not up.  The MTC itself was great and amazingly spiritual, but I had never associated with such immature people in my life.  I was shocked at many of the kids and their attitudes and work ethics.  Luckily, the majority were great and I had a wonderful time.  I agreed with the saying, the church must be true or 19 year old kids would have ruined it a long time ago.  A lot of people say they hate the MTC, but I thought it was great, I was also only there for 3 weeks.  You got all the food you could want, you got to study the scriptures, meet new people and it was such a spiritual high.

My favorite part was the music though.  I also able to take part in the MTC choir, but also just singing with my group.  I also wrote a little song for my companion, that he loved.  Elder Loertscher, Elder Loertscher, it's time to get out of bed!  It may have only been three weeks, but I was with those people all day and our friendships will last forever.

Finally I got to fly to Seattle and meet my first companion.  His name was Elder Haynie and we were serving in the Issaquah 3rd ward.  They had just had like six baptisms the week before I got there.  Needless to say, they weren't really thrilled when they heard one of their missionaries was being transferred.  Luckily, they quickly took a liking to me as well.  Unfortunately, after all of their hard work, we really didn't have anyone left to teach.

We tracted a ton!  I think in the six months I was there only one person let us in at the time we knocked on their door, and he was a scary anti guy.  The only light in his house was a candle, and he sat on the couch with his guitar and I was scared he was going to blow it out and hit us over the head with his guitar or something.  He didn't, but at least I got in a door!

My first day tracting we had knocked for hours with not a single person answering.  Finally we walked up a driveway and I saw they were home, he had a video camera out.  In my mind I thought, how cool will this be when we baptize him and he has the time he met us on film.  He opened the door, took a picture with his video camera, while continuing to record us.  He then yelled at us and said that he told us to take us off his list and that he was calling our boss.  That he had told us never to come to his house again.  So much for showing that video at his baptism...

Finally I was able to meet the Hansens.  Barry and Anne were two amazing people.  Barry was a member, but Anne was not.  She was interested, so she decided that we could meet for half an hour every other week.  (Imagine how hard it was to find time when investigators weren't interested).  We tried to have as much contact as possible, but sometimes she was so busy with work that even these meetings had to be postponed.  We always had a fun time talking to Barry whenever we dropped by, even though he spent his whole time trying to embarrass me.  Barry did a good job of letting it be her decision as to how far she wanted to go and to let her ask questions.  He never forced anything on her or put any pressure for her to do anything.  It was a slow process, but one that was progressing and that had come a long way.

Then it was time for me to be transferred.  I had served in this area for 6 months.  I was sad to go, and hoped that things would continue to progress in this wonderful ward, especially for the Hansens.  My new area was in Auburn, with Elder Humpherys.  Here we served in 2 wards.  The Green River Ward, which included the Marshallese unit, and the Korean Branch.

The Marshallese are the people from the Marshall Islands.  Being assigned to work with them and also the Korean Branch were great experiences.  All 3 cultures I was dealing with were all very very different.  I gained a lot of weight in this area.  The Marshallese fed us whenever we went to their homes.  We tried to pick the most odd times, but they always had something ready.  Then we would have a dinner appointment at night, then we usually had a Marshallese appointment in the evening, and they would feed us too.  They also expected you to eat a lot.  Not only that, but a guy from our ward worked at Pizza hut, and if they ever had any left over pizzas he would drop them off at our place.

I loved my time in Auburn.  Auburn Love!  We were a tight knit group and we had a lot of fun.  We also kept busy and I was able to start seeing some success.  When transfers came after four months I was surprised to hear that we were both being transferred.  I would have liked to have seen at least one of us stay behind to help explain the cultures and be someone that the Marshallese knew and trusted, but I figured it must be the right thing.

I then got moved up to Bellevue.  It was a really nice area.  Ichiro, who plays for the Mariners, lived in that area, he lived next door to a member.  Another member in our ward basically lived in a museum, I was always scared to go over there.  They owned the worlds largest egg, it was pretty sweet.  One of the members of our ward was the President or one of those big guys of T-Mobile.  I remember for Christmas he got a life size poster of Catherine Zeta Jones and had her sign and write a message on it as a gag gift for another guy in our ward to give away.

Needless to say tracting was not very successful here.  It was nearly impossible to find anyone home, maybe someone doing yard work or landscaping, but not an actual person that lived there.  So I decided to try and be creative and work with the members.  We came up with all kinds of quotes, lessons, excuses to get in as many members homes as we could.  We tried to do it the right way, and not become annoying or be over there more than what was appropriate, but we did what we could.  We did not do a perfect job at this, but we tried really hard and brought members with us to any lessons that we did have.  It did not show any more results than knocking on doors.  I like to hope at least it got missionary work in their minds and brought the spirit and gospel into their homes a little more than it would have.

During this time I got a brand new missionary, Elder Moultrie.  We had a great time together and tried to work really hard.  We talked about a lot of things, but I mentioned the Hansens to him a few times, and said that if I could have any one thing, it would be to see Anne get baptized.  Sadly, transfer time came again.

Not only was I being transferred, but I was being made a Zone Leader.  I had 9 months left and would end up spending them all in Federal Way.  They just couldn't get rid of me for some reason.  I started out with one ward, after 3 months I got a new companion Elder Bunker.  Along with him we also were assigned the Singles ward along with our other one.  Then the next transfer we got assigned a third ward.  Only one other companionship in our zone had more than one ward.

During this time we started a new Zone Leader meeting, other than what we had normally done.  Each companionship in the mission was supposed to come up with people they were working with that just weren't progressing.  We as zone leaders then took this information and we talked about it.  Sometimes other zone leaders would have good information that we didn't know, either they had served there themselves or talked to missionaries that had.  This would help us know what directions to take, what members could help, things to avoid, and patterns to see.  We discovered that many had similar problems and we tried to think of general things to help overcome some problems.

We only did this once or twice, because we saw a lot of patterns and it really gave us great direction.  But at one of these they mentioned the Hansens and how they didn't seem to be progressing and were not taking the lessons anymore.  I was able to tell them how busy she was and how their pace may not be the same as what most missionaries would like, but that she will progress if you let her and aren't overbearing.  The mission president gave me special permission to go back to that area one day and to be there for a lesson.

The missionaries there didn't like the idea when they heard it, they didn't understand.  They took it as some zone leader is going to come and do what they can't.  So it didn't happen, until the next transfer when Elder Moultrie got transferred there.  He would have done anything to see me anyway, so I was able to go with him and his companion to a lesson at the Hansens.  She didn't have a lot of time that day, but allowed us to come since I was going to be there.  I don't think I did or said anything great, but she decided to keep studying the Book of Mormon and the missionaries kept going over and working with her.

She ended up deciding to get baptized.  When I heard I was so excited, I wished that I would be able to be there to witness it, but it wasn't my area.  Then I got a call from Elder Moultrie.  He told me that she had asked that I baptize her.  He told her that we weren't allowed to leave our areas, but that he would talk to the president.  So they talked to him and he decided that since I didn't ask and that it was coming from the member that he would give me permission.  They kept it as a secret from her until I showed up at the baptism.  It was one of the highlights of my life. 

I was able to be there for a part of the process with other people, and may have meant something to them, but I felt like I was sent on my mission for them.  Or maybe they were sent there for me.  I learned a lot from them and was so glad to see the entire process through.  After my mission Elder Moultrie and I drove up to see them sealed in the temple, which was another miracle in of itself.

I was in the middle of student teaching and I could not miss any days.  But the day they planned it happened to be a break at the school I was assigned to.  It was not a college break, just for the elementary school.  If it had been any other time I would not have been ale to go.  Just another tender mercy.

Anyway, back to the mission and to Federal Way with Elder Bunker.  We kept busy with our three wards, being zone leaders, going on exchanges, and working with a very large zone.  Somehow with all of this going on it was the most productive time of my mission.  We had baptisms in each of our wards and I never worked so hard in all my life.  We stopped having dinner appointments, they were a complete waste of time.   We woke up an extra half hour early on a regular basis and would go and run 3-4 miles.  It was great, we found a good balance between the two of us, although it took a month or two, and pushed each other to greater heights each day.  We served together for six months.  I would have stayed another six with him, but they told me I had to go home.

It was a great and terrible day.  I felt like I had done my best, I was worn out, but it was the greatest thing I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.  I loved my mission, and hope to go on more when I am older.

Sorry, I got a little photo happy.  I actually narrowed it down quite a bit.