Monday, October 31, 2016

A Drunk Guy Almost Punched Me

Hey everybody!

Not a lot of time today, so I'll have to keep it short but still try to include some stuff! 

This last week has been pretty great! Elder Timothy J Dykes visited our mission. He's a seventy, and had some really great insights. It was also really great to see most of the rest of the mission, because we all got together for his visit. Especially enjoyed seeing Elder Branning, Elder Andersen, and Elder Dixon. (Elder Aitchison went to a different conference.) 

In other news, a drunk guy almost punched me the other night! It was definitely a little crazy, but nothing ended up really happening. Elder Tupou and I were just walking and talking to some people late last night, and we came across a couple of drunk guys. We talked to them for five or ten minutes, but could see it wasn't going anywhere. When I said, "well, we have to get running", one of them got really upset with us. He started getting really angry and shouting at us, and his friend held him back so that he wouldn't hit me. It was pretty crazy, but I'm fine, and nothing really happened. Just one of those crazy Vegas stories! 

I hope all of you are doing well! Sorry I don't have time to write more!

I love you all!

Elder Excell

Elder Tupou and Elder Excell
Q&A - 10/31/2016

1.) Thank you, for sending us the audio file of your musical number with Elder Branning!! I loved hearing you play the piano again and have listened to it dozens of times this week! Is this an arrangement that you wrote or was it from a book that you have there with you? It was incredibly well done!! Both piano and voice!! -- It was a lot of fun to perform with him! Definitely a great way to end the transfer.

2.) Did you find some time to take pictures of your patriotic apartment?  --  Shoot! I forgot! Next week for sure.

3.) How are things going with Elder Tupou? Are you adjusting to a new companion?  --  Were getting along really well!

4.) What was your biggest challenge this week?  --  I actually got the chance to go on exchanges in a Spanish area for the first time. Not gonna lie, it was really confusing. Not sure how those missionaries who have to learn a foreign language do it! I was just really lost and confused the whole day. I did manage to learn how to pray in Spanish before the end of the exchange though!

5.) What was your biggest success of the week?  --  This was not necessarily this week, but just in general. I've got a couple of baptisms coming up that we are really excited about! We should have one this Thursday, and another on November 19. Really excited for both of them!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Great Start in Templeview

Bishop Nelson, his wife, and his daughter, Scarlett
 Hey everybody!

This week has been crazy! (As the first week after a transfer tends to be) but it's also been great! 

As I briefly mentioned last week, I'm now serving in the Templeview YSA Ward! This ward is really cool for a few reasons. (1.) It's a young single adult ward, which is pretty unique for elders to serve in. (2.) It covers a really large area, and is really diverse. (3.) We live right next to the temple, and the chapel we go to is right next to the temple as well! You can literally walk out of the front door and the temple is right there! We take investigators on temple tours all the time now! There are some great people we're teaching right now! We have a couple of baptisms coming up in the next few weeks. 

My new companion is Elder Tupou. He's from Montana, but his dad is from Tonga. This will be my 3rd Polynesian companion! He's a lot of fun. I don't have any pictures of him or the new apartment yet, but I'll send some next week. As far as the apartment goes, suffice it to say it's patriotic...  you'll see what I mean next week, haha. 

That's about all the letter I have time for this week. Just know that I love you all and that I'm so grateful for everything you all do for me! Prayers, emails, moral support, I appreciate it all!

Elder Excell

**Ty sent us the audio of he and Elder Branning practicing for a musical number they were asked to do for Eva's baptism - How Great Thou Art.  So fun to hear our missionary playing the piano again and Elder Branning has a wonderful voice!
How Great Thou Art from Traci Excell on Vimeo.

Q&A - 10/24/2016
1.) Did you get your new iPad yet? Did you get it when you paid or did you have to wait for it to be ordered from SLC? –- I got it the same day.

2.) Are you able to back your iPad up to the cloud? Did you ever do that with your old one that took an unfortunate tumble?  -- No, the iCloud storage space was full a long time ago, so most of the stuff is gone. I got most of the important pictures sent to you. The main part that I'm going to miss is all of the notes that I took from trainings throughout the mission.

3.) Do you still get dinner appointments when you're assigned to cover YSA Wards? -- We still get some meals; less than in a family ward, but still a good amount. Some of its fast food, some of its them inviting us over to their parents house for dinner, and some of it's just them cooking for us.

4.) Where is Elder Tupou from? What is your favorite thing about him? -- He's from Montana, but his parents are from Tonga. Or his dad is at least. This makes my 3rd Polynesian companion! He's got some really great people skills! He's a great guy, and I'm learning a lot from him about how to work with people!

5.) Honest feelings about your new area? -- I really love it. Obviously I'm really sad about leaving Sunrise Terrace and leaving Elder Branning, but this is a really cool area. It's definitely unique, because it's YSA, and there is a lot of great member missionary work going on! We've already had several people call us asking if we can meet with their friends they’ve been sharing the gospel with just since I've been here. And there are some amazing people we're teaching!
Me and Eva

Michael - an incredible young man!

Brother McIntyre

Eddie and Malinda

Brother Garcia

Brother Huntsman

Elder Branning and I went to Cheesecake Factory on our last day together!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Hey everybody!

This last week has been a really amazing one!  I have almost no time to email today because of some weird circumstances, but I'll do my best to fill you in a little bit!  

I had a pretty rotten thing happen this last week.  I was an idiot, and left my iPad on top of the car and then drove off.  It's way beyond repair, and as upset as I was about the money it'll cost to replace it, I was more upset about the pictures and videos that I had lost on there. I was pretty upset to begin with, but after a little while, I started to remember that temporal things just aren't that important.  When I started to see things in the eternal perspective, I remembered  that I didn't really come out on a mission to come home with a bunch of cool pictures, or an iPad, I went on a mission to help bring others closer to Christ.  I've actually had a pretty good couple of days since the accident, and even though I obviously wish I could go back and change what happened, because I still feel really stupid about it, I'm at the very least at peace with what happened.

On to better things - Eva got baptized!  It was probably the most spiritual baptism service I've ever attended!  Not only was it amazing to see Eva and the changes she had made, but she was also able to see all of her children that she hadn't seen in a year and a half at the service! Needless to say it was an emotional day.
In other news, I'm being transferred!  It was a big shock! We were both pretty sure that it was going to be Elder Branning who was leaving, but I guess you just never know.  It's hard to describe my emotions.  As seems to usually be the case, I'm absolutely devastated to be leaving, but also very excited about my new assignment!  I've been called to serve in the Templeview YSA Ward, which covers 3 stakes!  I'll be with Elder Tupou, who is a great missionary.  It's going to be really strange covering a young single adult ward.  There are only 2 in the mission that are covered by elders.  One by the AP's, and the other by the zone leaders in the Central/Sunrise zone.  It's going to be interesting, but I'm excited!  

Hopefully I'll get another chance to send off more of an email later, but if not, here's this at least!  I love you all! 

Elder Excell

P.S. Thankfully, I've had a wonderful companion willing to share a few pictures and he will be sending them soon...

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Best Sunday

Hey everybody! 

This last week has been great! (I love that he starts every email with this statement!!)  Eva has been approved to be baptized this Saturday, and Michael was baptized this last Thursday!  Michael was so happy the entire time!  He was especially happy when we told him that now that he's been baptized, he can come out with us and help us teach others! It's so cool to see what a strong desire he has to share the same things that have helped him so much with everybody else! On top of all of this, Eva's son also moved in with her this last week! She's been trying to get her kids back for a long time now, so she's incredibly happy that he's here.  Eva, her son, and another investigator named Gilbert all attended Michael's baptism, and were really touched by it. And then all 3 of them made it to church as well!  

This Sunday was pretty amazing, because in Sacrament Meeting, not only was it one of the best fast and testimony meetings I've ever been in, but also: 1. Michael got confirmed, 2.  Michael got the  priesthood, 3. Victor (the man who was baptized a few weeks ago with his wife Mary Lou) got the priesthood, and 4. We had a ton of investigators that are working towards being baptized at church!   All in all, I'd say it was a pretty jam packed Sunday!  

This p-day has been really crazy, so this is about all I have time for, but I love you all! 

Elder Excell

Q&A - 10/10/2016

1.) I know you got an email today from someone pretty awesome and I'm anxious to hear what you thought about it!!  (Courtney arranged to have one of Ty's favorite piano composers, Michael R. Hicks, write a surprise email to him!  Needless to say, it was an awesome surprise for him!) -- It was so cool and really inspiring to hear from him!  I'm amazed that he would take time to write to me!  I'll tell her as well, but be sure to tell Courtney thanks for making that happen!

2.) Update on the Utes: they beat Arizona 36-23 on Saturday making their record 5-1 for the season. Go Utes!! :)  --  WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

3.) Did you get the package I sent with your winter stuff? Wanna make sure it arrived safely! -- Haven't seen the mail yet, but I'll let you know next week!

4.) Are you healthy? Are you happy?  --  Probably a little heavier than I would like to be, but other than that I'm doing great!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Great Things Happening!

Hey everybody! 

This last week has been a good one! 

The weather has been really cooling down! When Elder Branning and I went outside this morning, it was 68 degrees, and we were both tempted to go back inside and grab some jackets! I may be in trouble for my first winter home...

We got some really great news on Monday night this last week! Some of you may remember me talking about a 15 year old kid named Michael. He's been our most solid investigator for quite a while, and is an amazing kid, but because he was really involved with gangs in the past and has had a rough upbringing, there were some things that needed to be sent off for approval before he could get baptized. We've been waiting for quite a while, and this last Monday, we finally got word that he's been cleared! He's been doing amazing, and he's so excited to be baptized! He'll be baptized this Thursday. 

Eva has also been doing really well! She's still excited about the 15th, and despite some major hardships and trials, she's still doing great! 

On top of that, general conference was amazing! It's always so great to hear from the prophet and the apostles.

Not much more time for writing today, but I love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Q&A - 10/3/2016

1.) When is your next zone conference? -- We just had one this last week. We have another one in 3 months, but we have a zone training counsel at the end of next week. We'll also have interviews before our next zone conference.

2.) What was your favorite talk/s from General Conference? (There were several that stood out to me, but one of my favorites was one I listened to this last week that I had missed from the women's session since we were cheering at Zack's MMA. If you haven't had the chance to read/listen to Elder Uchtdorf's "Fourth Floor, Last Door", I highly recommend it!!)  -- I had a couple favorites!  I really like President Uchtdorf's Saturday morning talk. It really is true how often we take the simple truths of the gospel for granted. I also really like Elder Andersen's, Elder Oak's, and President Eyring's in the priesthood session.  Also, as a side note, the story that Elder Holland told in his priesthood session talk, about the father who lost his son, is about a family from this mission. Elder Branning was actually in the family's ward when it happened! Crazy to have something that close to home pop up in conference!

3.) Did you have good company during General Conference? Hoping so!! -- Not as much as we would have liked, but still a couple of people that really needed and enjoyed conference!

4.) What are you most looking forward to this week? -- We have MLC this week, which is always a great chance to hear from President Snow!