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 www.zabasearch.com 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).

Thanks!!!!!

-Brandon


5 comments:

Dustin Clark said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is a great example of trying to maintain the friendships formed during some of the best years of our lives.

Anonymous said...
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Shy said...

Sorry guys, the two test's were me trying to see what would work for Dad (president hamilton) needed to do to post to the blog without a blog account....

Hay, great stories, I love how the Lord works through people we don't expect sometimes.....

HI TO ALL - Love Shylee Green (Hamilton)

Hey Maughan said...

Hi don't know if you have made contact with Darron yet...just stumbled across this and thought I'd comment since I am his sister.You can find him on Facebook or at the blog nilssonnutfactory.blogspot.com, or last but not least, riversendrafting.com. I'm sure he'd love to connect!

Hey Maughan said...

OOOOPS...sorry....just read the rest of the post. Obviously you DID make contact with Darron. I had only read the first few lines of the post and thought you were still searching. So instead of the contact info, let me say it was fun to stumble across your blog, and this entry was very touching. I served a mission too, and have a few long losts I so hope to find. Facebook has been an amazing tool. OK, g'day mate. That was just for you.