Monday, September 29, 2008

Singing Lullaby Hymns

A short post from Sister Jenn (Bishop) Eardley:

"It seems like forever ago that I received my call to serve in the Australia Perth Mission, which I soon came to know as the APM.
The flight from the MTC to Perth was long and tiring.. but also exciting and spiritual as the missionaries and I were able to share a Book of Mormon with a fellow traveler.

"One of my favorite memories was that first night spent at the mission home with President and Sister Hamilton and their small children. It caught me off gaurd to hear Sister Hamilton and the children address "daddy" as "President." Years later I understand the respect they had for his calling.

"That first night in a strange place felt so at home with the Hamiltons. I clearly recall bedtime when President sat at the top of the stairs and sang Hymns to his children while they lay resting. A great example of love and devotion to his family and his calling. I look forward to hear him sing at the mission reunion. It has been too long."


The reunion is just a few days away! I know I am looking forward to seeing you all! -Brandon

Read More......

Friday, September 19, 2008

My MTC Comp - Don't Stop Looking

With the reunion approaching rapidly (two weeks from tonight!), I've been trying to follow my own advice. I've spent a few early mornings scouring the internet hoping to find information that would lead me to find some of my "lost" companions. I've spent time looking at the "lost" list looking for familiar names and trying to remember any crucial info that would help me craft a *better* Google search.

Let me share a few success stories, and encourage you to do the same this weekend...

My MTC comp was Elder Darron Nilsson. We kept in touch for the first few years after we got home. I remember getting his wedding invitation, and I think we exchanged a few emails, and then, we lost touch.

Here's a picture from our first day in Australia (Darron is on the left, I'm on the right)...

I finally found Darron on Facebook. Last week, we finally got back in touch. I called him, and we talked for almost an hour on the phone. We talked about our wives, our jobs, and our families. One thing that broke my heart was when I found out that his parents had divorced since the mission. Why did it break my heart? Because I realized I should have kept in touch with him and I should have been there to support him during this time. Why? Let me give you a bit of background...

When I was in the MTC, my parents filed for divorce. It was a pretty big shock to me, as I had been away at college for over a year and hadn't spent a whole lot of time at home. Elder Nilsson was my rock. He was my support. I remember a lot of crying, praying, pleading with the Lord, pondering, and I remember Elder Nilsson's infectious smile and his reassurances that everything was going to be okay. I remember some very spiritual experiences in the Provo Temple, with Elder Nilsson by my side. When I realized I had missed part of the opportunity to do the same for him... I felt regret.

But, it was still great to catch up... I don't feel like the opportunity is completely lost. And, in fact, another prayer was answered this day. You see, there was one other former companion that was at the top of my "must find" list. You see, I knew this particular elder had some struggles when he left his mission, and we had completely lost touch. Last year, after hearing Pres. Hamilton talk about our responsibilities to reach out... this was the one Elder whose name continued to press upon my mind. As Darron and I talked about finding others, I casually mentioned this comp's name and how I really wanted to find him, but I had "struck out" at every turn.

There was a pause on the phone... and then, "Brandon, his parents were in my ward for several years. They just moved out, but I have their contact info. I've seen him (this elder) when he has visited, and I can get his contact info!" Sure enough, a few days later, he got the email address! Imagine my surprise and joy!

Here are a few other experiences I've had:

* Finding another MTC district companion (Sam Mounga) after finding his brother's email address at North Dakota State (of all places!) online.
* Finding Jack Schweiger's picture online at a blog after finding out that he played football at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville after the mission!!!

I just received another email from a former missionary who took a different way home from work and happened to see another former missionary working out in front of a house. He stopped, reconnected, and we've added his info to the list!

Needless to say, if we each try, I know that we can find a few more people. The time is running out for this reunion, but there will be more reunions in the future. Let's take the time and find them!

A cool website I've found is Under the Advanced Search option, you can enter in a name, a home town, an approximate birth year, and you may get phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Take the time today and find one more person! If you do get contact info, feel free to send it to me at bwsavage at gmail dot com so I can update our master list.

In addition, please send me any more mission photos or personal family photos. I have over 100+ photos so far. I'll continue to take submissions until Wednesday of next week (the 24th).



Read More......

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The First Day

I got off the plane and everything was *different*. The steering wheel was on the wrong side. The trees were different. The grass was spongy. Instead of the snow storm I had just left 24 hours earlier in Salt Lake, it was HOT! Like, 100+ degrees, HOT. My body was tired because it still thought it was the middle of the night. We drove for a while and eventually arrived at the mission office where we met our... trainers!

We probably all remember fragments of that first day... Well, here are pictures from it!!! Sis. Hamilton just sent me a whole bunch of photos... in fact, *all* of the photos from The First Day during their tenure.

Take a look, and remember!

Click on the photos for increased detail...

Click below for more photos!

Read More......