Monday, October 5, 2015

Elder Dixon and General Conference!!

Hey all!

So the big two topics of this weeks letter will be Elder Dixon and General Conference.

First off, I LOVE ELDER DIXON!!!    Elder Wihongi and I were able to get along well enough that we were able to work together, but Elder Dixon and I are already like best friends!  He's from upstate New York, and grew up in a town with population 50 (not unlike a certain Cokeville Wyoming).  He's older than me by 21 days, and has been out on his mission for 3 months, so we're both very young in missionary time.  He went to a small community college for a year before coming out, and majoring in electrical engineering with an emphasis on robotics.  The two of us have TONS of similar interests, and we get along really well!  We're both really excited to get to work together and try to get this area to be really productive!  Picking Elder Dixon up was definitely an interesting day.  To make a long story short, after dealing with an Elder who got food poisoning the night before and was thus unable to travel out of valley like he was supposed to, traveling across Las Vegas not once, but twice, and helping another set of Elders move into a new apartment, along with plenty of other nonsense, we were finally able to pick him up at the mission office, and go home.  In our free time, we've been deep cleaning the apartment, and it's pretty hilarious some of the things you find in a missionary apartment that hasn't been cleaned for a while.  For instance, we found not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR hacksaws in our apartment.  I'm sure there was a very good reason for them to be there. maybe. probably not. almost definitely not.
Elder Dixon!

Now on to conference. I LOVED CONFERENCE!!!  Conference as a missionary is a little bit different than conference at home, but I loved it all the same.  Elder Dixon and I were unable to find a ride there, so we had to take the 30 min. bike to the stake center on our own.  Because it didn't make much sense to bike home for 30 minutes, do 30 minutes of tracting, and then bike back for 30 minutes, so we just saved up all of our paperwork and weekly planning to do in between sessions.  All of the missionaries in our stake got together at the stake center to watch, and with as easy as it is to watch from home nowadays, we were almost the only ones there.  It was also not nearly as stressful as I thought it would be! We told all of our investigators about it the week before, but again, with as easy as it is to watch from home, most of them opted for that route rather than dressing up and going to the stake center.  I'll include some of my favorite talks, thoughts, and quotes from conference:
-I loved the first talk of conference by Elder Uchtdorf about not over complicating discipleship.  "Tell a man there are trillions of stars in the universe, and he will believe you. Tell him there is wet paint on the wall, and he will touch it just to make sure. Sometimes the truth seems to simple for us to appreciate its value."  "Exaltation is our goal, Discipleship is our journey."
-Larry R Lawrence gave an awesome talk that I think can be summed up by this one phrase: "What lack I yet?"  He talked about the importance of going to God to ask what is keeping us from progressing, and talked about the fact that sometimes we'll receive very specific answers. Super excited to try out this new principle! Also really like the quote, "When it comes to eternal progression, our direction is much more important than our speed."
-Robert D Hales and Bradley D Foster both had talks that were really good, and I definitely want to go back and read once I'm home from my mission, because while they may not apply as directly to the phase of life that I'm in now, they both have really good advice in them!
-For most of my conference talks, I have very detailed notes, but although it was one of my favorites, I have very few notes on Elder Holland's talk.  That's because I spent the majority of my time during his talk tearing up, and far too mesmerized to take notes.  All I can say, is if you haven't had a chance to listen to Elder Holland's talk, GO READ IT. If you already heard it the other day, GO READ IT AGAIN.  It was definitely one of my top picks for the weekend.
-I was definitely a little sad after the priesthood session that I was unable to fulfill my usual tradition of going out for ice cream with Dad, but it was awesome none the less!

-I'm also super excited to ponderize!  For those who weren't able to catch the talk yesterday, it essentially means that you choose one verse of scripture a week, and put it in a place that you will see it often.  As you see it and ponder it over the course of the week it will give your mind a higher place to go when the pressures of the world get to you.  I'm super excited to try it out this week and in the weeks to come! My verse for the week is Ether 12:27, and I'm excited to see what I can learn about it!

For those cooler Las Vegas days... a sweater made by Dad!!
Those were some of my favorite parts of conference, and I hope that all of you had equally uplifting and enlightening experiences with conference.  I'm also excited for the talks to be published so that I can go back and reread them, because I always pick up things that I missed the first time around.  

Thank you so much to everyone for your continued love and support!

Elder Excell

Finally, some pictures of the apartment!

Go Utes!

It's important to stay hydrated in Las Vegas!

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