Monday, December 14, 2009

WINTER WONDERLAND, INDEED

Mon 12/14/09 11:26 AM
Hello,
Yeah, this week was a new experience for me! I actually really enjoyed getting snow dumped on us. Tuesday was when the blizzard hit, and it snowed all night long and through a lot of Wednesday as well. We weren’t hit quite as bad as people further from the lake, but we still got a good 10-12 inches of snow. And that was plenty to get us shoveling. Wednesday morning we woke up with the power out and the house really cold. It went out at about the time we went to bed, and it turned back on about 30 minutes after we woke up, so that worked out well. Then we decided to start shoveling first thing, and helped 3 of our neighbors shovel their driveways as well. In total, we spent more than 5 hours shoveling throughout the day. We had 3 people from the ward call for us to help, and some of their neighbors as well. I enjoyed it, and it was a great workout. If it snowed like that every week, I would get pretty ripped. I’m sure Grandma Sharon had even more fun than we did, though. She wrote me and said that she got two feet of snow and went two days without power! Wow, that would be intense. I’m sure Elder Molano will write about that to his family.

That’s good to hear that you got an offer on the Las Sendas house, finally! Hope everything works out with that! I didn’t get your Christmas packages yet because the office is holding them until zone conference on Wednesday. So, maybe I should have just had you send them directly to me… oh well, I’ll learn patience. I hope I get one of the family Christmas letters that you are sending out!

To answer your question, Dad, I don’t hear too often what is going on in my last area, but I do know that Ralph’s daughter (“heart-attack guy’s daughter”) stopped investigating because of her husband. I still think things will work out in the future with her. And Ralph and Cheryl took a copy of the Book of Mormon from me and said they would attend church before I left, but I’m not sure if anything more happened with them.

Well, it might be the weather, or the season, but the work is slowing a bit in the area. We are doing our best to change that, but this past week wasn’t the best. Hopefully, zone conference this week will give us the push of faith and new skills to help things pick back up. A lot of the people who we thought would be progressing for different reasons haven’t been. We still have Nate with a baptism date, so at least that is working out. We will make this week better.

Hope you continue to have a wonderful Christmas season!

Love you!
Elder Vogan

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

STAYING IN MANITOWOC AND PLANNING FOR SNOW

Re: Hello!‏
Mon 12/07/09 4:25 PM
Hello! Yes, we got our first real snow this past week, and I was pretty excited! Almost all of it has melted now, but there is supposed to be a huge storm coming our way these next two days which will pour 6 or more inches. Shoveling will be a good workout. Haha. It has been really cold though; I can’t imagine how it will be when it gets down to sub-zero temperatures. I’m glad to hear that you guys have had good Christmas parties already this year! And I am looking foreward to those Christmas packages! If you want to send some oranges, that would be awesome! Our address is: 801 Columbus St. Two Rivers, WI 54241.

On Saturday, we found out that Elder Roberts and I are both staying in Manitowoc, so that’s cool. We are still working hard and teaching a lot of lessons, but I can’t really think of anything really new to tell you about this past week. We have been teaching this lady named Jamie and bringing one of the sisters from the ward to teach her with us, and that seems really promising. She did not make it to church yesterday though, which was a bummer. Last night, we came up to Green Bay to watch the First Presidency’s Chistmas message, and then we stayed the night with our district leader and his companion and spent our P-day here. (That’s why I’m emailing so late). There is a big group of missionaries all serving really close by, and Roberts and I are like the outcasts serving far away from everyone. Haha, but it is fun when we get a chance to come up here. We had this huge going away breakfast for the missionaries who are going home on Friday, and we played some basketball and some played a board game. We might spend the night again here tonght if we can, since we will need to come back up for district meeting anyway. I learned that one of the zone leaders from Green Bay will be transfering down and serving in Muskego Lakes, so I am way excited about that. They had to pull Stevens and his companion out and put the zone leaders in there, since that area needed a car. So, now that area is being taken care of by some of the best missionaries in the mission!

Well, I hope this email wasn’t too short and pointless. Thank you for your emails this week! I love you and will talk to you in another week!

Elder Vogan

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SIX BIG THANKSGIVING MEALS--READY FOR SNOW!

Mon 11/30/09 9:30 AM
Well, I hope your Thanksgiving went well with all of the activities that you had planned! We've been eating like pigs since Thursday. We ended up getting fed two dinners on Thursday, two dinners on Friday, and a buffet lunch on Saturday, and a big dinner last night. The weird thing is that I actually lost a pound..? Maybe my body burned all the calories just trying to digest it all. It was cool going from hardly even getting fed by anyone, to this.

I am looking forward to the Christmas season here. In downtown Manitowoc, they have already decked out the main street with Christmas lights and stuff. When it starts snowing, those streets will look like a winter-wonderland! It is weird that it sill hasn't snowed here, at least that's what people are saying. I am looking foreward to the first snow.

This past week went pretty well with the work here. We taught more people and found more people to teach than last week, and we set a baptism date with one of our main progressing investigators, Nate. We have just had to wait for him to get married to the lady he lives with, so it will be a week after that, on January 31. Hopefully I'm still here when that happens! Zoua's date will be postponed once we see her again, since she hasn't made it to church yet. She found out she was pregnant last week, and she has been too sick to meet with us.

Yesterday, Elder Roberts and I spoke in Sacrament meeting about members' role in missionary work, and that went really well. Hopefully the members will apply what we taught. I would send you my talk, but I went about this talk in a different way. I gathered some quotes and other material, and I spent my personal studies last week learning about the topic. In the days leading up to my talk, I prayed that I would have the faith and humility necessary for the Spirit to direct my talk. And in the days leading up to it, this approach was much more stressful not being organized or feeling as prepared as I do when I have my whole talk written out, but on the actual day of my talk, I was completely calm and confident. It was a really cool experience. When I got up to speak, my whole talk was laid out for me as if I had it completely prepared beforehand. And this was through seeking to teach by the Spirit.

Well, that's it for this week! I love you guys, and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Vogan

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"TOOJ KUB HANG"--A NEW HMONG NAME

Mon 11/23/09 1:32 PM
Happy Thanksgiving week family! This week’s emails were really good; I really enjoyed reading them. For Thanksgiving, we are having dinner with a less-active member of the ward and his family. I guess he has the missionaries over every year, so that will be fun. We might have another dinner on Friday as well. I hope we can play volleyball at ours too! Man, it sounds like your Thanksgiving will be a lot of fun! Congrats to Jordan getting asked to the dance! It’s good to hear that he and Sara are still friends after all these years. And I want pictures of Megan on the horse! And Jordan’s beard! Haha.

For Christmas, all the things you suggested sound really good – especially the fudge. (I haven’t eaten lunch yet). Also, I haven’t bought any warm winter socks yet, so if you want to throw those in with everything, that would be good. Or else I could just buy them. But yeah, the best part of getting mail/packages is the package itself. Coming home and seeing that we got something in the mail is the best.

My journal writing is decent. It consists on my daily planners, my study journal, my pictures and videos that I take (every now and then), my emails to you and the President, and my actual journal, which I write in every week. I know I should write more in there, but it’s really tough to do. By the end of the day I’m so tired that if there is any extra time after cleaning up, planning and getting ready for bed, I crash a little earlier and get an extra couple minutes of sleep that night. That is really cool though what the stake is doing. I am going to apply that more to how I study in the mornings.

It was really cool to hear about Dad’s trip to Chicago! I really liked those stories. We both drive the car now, but I think my companion during the winter will probably take over most of the time if he is from somewhere with snow. I’m not too worried about it though if I am senior companion and am the designated driver. I think I’ll figure it out soon enough.

This was another good week. We found some more new people and set a baptism date! We did more contacting this week than I’ve ever done in a week. I’d much rather be teaching lessons. Zoua Yang is the person we set a date with. She is one of the daughters of the Hmong family we found. They are all really sincere and seem like they all will accept our message. Missionaries out here get Hmong names and I got one from them: “Tooj Kub Hang”. “Tooj Kub” means solid gold, or solid block of gold, and Hang is their last name. They named me that, so I can be like a brother to them. Also, this week we got a call from a lady who was just baptized in Dallas, TX, and she wants us to teach her parents who live in our area. We will be visiting with them later this week, while she is here for Thanksgiving.

Well, I love you. Happy Thanksgiving again. And I will talk to you next week!

Elder Vogan

KNOCKED 4 DOORS--TAUGHT 3 GREAT LESSONS

Mon 11/16/09 11:32 AM
Hey family,I am glad to hear that everyone is healing from their sicknesses and heartaches, and it’s good to hear about all the fun things that will be happening this week! That’s cool that Dad is going to Chicago for a training, that’s like a two and a half hour drive from here. So, he’ll be able to see how it is climate-wise out here. That will be good for you to send out some pictures of the family to me. Elder Robberts wants to know what my family looks like, and I don’t have any pictures. And I’m still working on getting some pictures to send you guys too.

This was another great week, and in many ways even better! We didn’t get quite as many lessons as last week, but we were able to find several more new people that want to investigate the Church. We found 10 new investigators this week total, and several of those came from finding families who want to learn more. On Saturday we were planning on contacting some new people to see if they would be interested in our message, and we ended up only knocking on 4 doors because we were able to teach 3 great lessons.

The first door was a Chaplin for Salvation Army, and he was awesome and spent at least a half hour talking with us and encouraging us in what we are doing. He said he would call us if he heard of any service that we could help with. The next door pleasantly declined our invitation. And then both the next two doors were families who invited us in, wanting us to teach them. The first of the two was a large Hmong (Asian) family, and they asked us at the end of our lesson to pray for their home because they were seeing ghosts and feeling evil spirits. So, we dedicated their home for them. Three of the kids said they really wanted to come to church with us, but when we went there the next day, nobody answered the door. The second of the two I was actually a little bit weary of knocking on because it said “no soliciting” and “no trespassing, trespassers will be shot…” on the door. And even though we aren’t soliciting, those people tend to be angrier with us than doors without those signs. But it ended up being the nicest family who had already had contact with missionaries and members of the church, and they were excited to invite us in. The two daughters, Christine and Angela, came to church with us the next day, but the mom couldn’t because she had to work.

We met another nice young family yesterday evening as well who wanted us to come back and teach them this evening at 7:00. So, if you would like to pray for us to teach well tonight and that it can be a successful lesson, we would appreciate it.

Well, I’m out of time. So, I love you, and I will talk to you next week!

-Elder Vogan

Friday, November 13, 2009

KEY TO SOLVING LIFE'S PROBLLEMS--THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST

Mon 11/09/09 1:39 PM
Well, I just got booted from the computer here at the library after writing a really good email, so hopefully it will still be pretty good for you. We had a really great week this week here in Manitowoc, Wisconsin! Both the weather here and the work we were able to do were awesome! For the past few days, it’s been surprisingly warm – up to 70 even on Saturday. I guess that’ll give me a little more time to grab a few more things for winter, like gloves and ear muffs. Mom, you can just send my letters and surprise packages to the Mission office. That’s where they prefer to have us tell people to send things. Just in case I get transferred or something, nothing will get lost.

I apologize for not giving you more details about my companion last week: his name is Addam Robberts, 20 years-old, Alpine, UT, graduated in 2007, went to a year of college at BYU, he has a cute sister, major is mechanical engineering, musical/guitar/songwriter, dated a redhead before his mission, he is 5’9 – 5’10, average/thin build, hazel or brown eyes (he says they change), he is somewhat preppy in style, he is not too athletic, easy to get along with, has been out for about 17 months.I will be sending home pictures and such hopefully soon, when I take some.

That’s sweet to hear about Jackson’s mission call! Stateside missions are the best, I’m convinced. Chris is already coming home, that is pretty crazy. I’m sure time flies even faster for missionaries! Missions are the best! I have learned so much out here and have grown so much in my knowledge, faith, and personality. It’s an awesome feeling to know that I can teach people the key to solving all of life’s problems and healing all pain – through the application of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That topic cannot be studied too much. I have been in so many situations and lessons in which I personally have no idea what the person is going through, but I am confident in showing them the way and promising them that whatever that thing is, it can be made right. Just to be able to take these two years to get out of “my world” and to be able to have the happiness of others as my top priority is an awesome experience!

And this week is one of those weeks that make it worth it. We were teaching one lesson right on top of another all week long, inviting all those we come across without fear, and with loving boldness. I am feeling like I’m settling into my new area(s) now, and I am getting to know many of the active members.

Well I don’t want to get “booted” again, so I will send this before that happens.
Thank you for your prayers, and I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Vogan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ELDER ZAK KEIR'S WELCOME HOME PARY











DETERMINED TO WORK HARD WITH ELDER ROBERTS IN MANITOWOK

Mon 11/02/09 11:37 AM
Thank you for your emails this week! Everything is going well here in Manitowok. It is a beautiful city, and our apartment is probably one of the nicest in our mission – 5 minute walk from Lake Michigan. Our apartment is in Two Rivers, but includes Manitowok and Chilton, and all the little towns in between. (big area) So, we still have a car – luckily. I was actually very… displeased when I heard that Muskego got their car taken. Those are my investigators that that is hurting. Elder Stevens and Johnson won’t be able to see them as often anymore, but hopefully all will still work out okay. And if there are any baptisms down there, I will hear about them, and there is a slight possibility that I would be able to attend.

That is awesome to hear about Scott Tibbetts’ mission call! Wow, that will be a great experience in Thailand. Yes, thank you for the extra money from home for winter gear! I do have that credit card that I can use, but Dad I am not sure if you changed the address for where the bill will be sent, or do you still check the Las Sendas’ mail box too? That’s great that the nice, retired people are giving you business!

That’s crazy about all the sickness going around! I think there was a case or two of swine flu among the missionaries out here, and there are several other people out here who say they are just getting over it. I sure hope Megs gets better soon! And hopefully Kyle does too. It is cool to hear about your Halloween parties and costumes! It sounds like it was fun. We dressed up as “normal people” and deep cleaned our house all day, since we aren’t allowed to work on holloween. I hope Jasmine gives the Book of Mormon a fair chance; let me know if she does! And also let me know how Megan likes riding the horses. Haha, I can just imagine it will be fun for you to watch her do that.

I’m settling in pretty well to the new area so far. Elder Roberts and I have worked well together this past week, and we have determination to work hard and do some good here. There are a lot of part-member families who are very nice to us and who we are working with. So, we should be seeing those people progress well. Our goal now is also to find and teach families too, so that will be fun.

Well, I need to wrap it up here. So, I hope everyone has a great week!

Love,
Elder Vogan

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TRANSFER TO TWO RIVERS

Mon 10/26/09 8:29 AM
Thank you for writing this week Hannah! I didn't get anything from anyone else, so you will be getting my weekly email. I am really glad to hear that you are having such a good time in orchestra; that should help you want to practice on your own so Mom doesn't have to nag you to do it, huh? Man, that rockband booth at the tailgate party sounds like alot of fun! I hope everything else is going well for you and for the family! I heard Megan tried to run away last week. Sounds just like back when we used to live there, and Megan would do that. Scary!

Yes, I am leaving Muskego Lakes tomorrow :/. I was expecting it, but it's been a bummer. I am going up to Two Rivers (pronounced "trivvers" and the place where the ice cream sundae was invented), which is south of Green Bay, and in the Green Bay zone. I'm sure Packers' season will be fun up there! Maybe I'll even get to go to a game. My companion will be Elder Roberts who used to serve with Elder Caldwell when he was in Brookfield. We used to do service with them at the food pantry, so I know him pretty well already. Elder Johnson served right next to us in Oak Creek, and he is coming to replace me. Elder Stevens is excited about that because they get along well. Thank you guys for sending out my ipod! It got here just in time so I can have some good stuff to listen to before I go far from the office. Yesterday in church, Bishop Fannon told the ward that I was leaving and asked me to get up and bear my testimony - that was a surprise! It made it easy on me, so I didn't have to tell everyone individually.

On Saturday, we were invited to Zak Keir's "welcome home" party. That was a very good opportunity for us to teach Zak's friends and family who weren't members. They were all asking us questions, and Sister Keir would point us out to everyone and say, "Look, those guys are doing what Zak did!" It was a really good time! Some of the most tasty chicken I have ever had, and an awesome bon fire. Also what was crazy was seeing Zak's pictures of when he was in Mesa, and seeing him in a couple of them next to Justin Miller (Kyle's brother)! That was cool.

Today should be an awesome last P-day here. We are planning on going to the Sprecher's brewery/factory, which is the best root beer ever. I haven't been yet, but I've heard it's 3 dollars for a tour with unlimited root beer!

So yeah, that's what's goin' on here. I hope you all have a great week, and I will tell you about my new area next week!

Love, Elder Vogan

Monday, October 19, 2009

AN AWESOME WEEK WITH NEW INVESTIGATORS

Mon 10/19/09 9:50 AM
You know, what's funny is it seems like alot of the "Wisconsin-ites" are even colder than I am. I am not going to lie though, I do keep my hands in my pockets while we are tracting because they get pretty cold, and outside sand volleyball isn't quite as fun as it was a month ago, but some people out on the streets already have on their heavy snow gear. Everyone that I talk to, who knows I haven't experienced a cold winter, is sure to do what they can to scare me - and sometimes it works. Last week I bought some long underwear, thick gloves, a zip up hoodie, and a sweater vest; and today I might buy some more stuff.

That's cool that Sister Little will be going out to Mesa and will be able to meet Mom and maybe the family. She had me write a letter for Mom that she could hand-deliver. I couldn't really think of much to say on the spot, so hopefully it is still worthwhile. I think it will be fun for you guys though.

I'm glad to her that you have a lot of people signed up for the seminars. I wonder what the chances would be that I knew one of the snow birds that go? Haha, that would be another crazy connection if something like that happened. And with that Mexico thing, I will remember to pray for your decision with that too.

Well this past week was awesome! Friday turned out to be a day of one thing after another, and we taught 9 lessons that day - 26 for the week. That day I was also able to meet the daughter (Katie) of the man who had the heart attack awhile back. She is being taught by the Oak Creek Elders and is on track to be baptized on 11/14! And another cool thing about that was that she was able to give me her parents' information so that I could contact them! I didn't think that there was any way for me to get in contact with them, but I was definitely blessed to be able to see them on Saturday. They live in our ward boundaries not too far away from the Littles. Both Katie and her parents (Ralph and Cheryl) had alot of emotions when I talked with them, and Ralph and Cheryl are going to have us over for dinner at their house on Sunday. We are working to see if Elder Vance can get permission to come down too because they really want to see him again too. Maybe since it's such a cool story President will let him come.

Our prayers for new investigators to teach are being answered these past two weeks. We had 3 last week and 2 more this week. Maureen was someone we started teaching last week, and she has a baptism (goal) date for the 14th of Nov. that we set with her on Friday. Our 3 "most taught" investigators Doug, Steve, and Zak are still in our teaching pool. Doug is pluggin' along - came to church, and back excited to learn, but Steve and Zak seem to be in a slump. Steve still doesn't return our calls, but we taught him twice last week and is still fairly interested, just lazy I guess. And Zak is a "cool" highschool kid, so that gets in the way. His two sisters are being taught by the Sister missionaries, and they are both still doing pretty good.

Well I hope this longer email this week makes up for some of the past few shorter ones! I love you and thank you for all that you have done for me!

-Elder Vogan

GETTING COLDER--TIME TO BUY GLOVES, HATS, SWEATERS AND LONG-JOHNS

Mon 10/12/09 9:17 AM
Family, Wow, it sounds like you guys are having an awesome time! I hope Jordan has a Happy Birthday! Man, I sure want to go out and check out that place in a couple years. Definitely let me know how it goes with that guy's potential business opportunity. I wish I knew exactly how much is in my bank account, so I don't overdraft... Today is going to be our shopping day because I need gloves, hats, sweaters, long underwear, socks, and maybe boots. It is starting to get pretty cold- 30's and 40's during the day. With the ipod, you don't need to worry about headphones or anything, but the computer usb cord would be helpful. There is an itunes account on one of the office computers with a bunch of really good talks, firesides, and music, so I want to have that before I get transferred far from the office.

Well we finished off the bread and have half a jar of jam left. The Du Charmes like that as much as I do! This week went pretty well. Almost all of our "numbers" for the week were really good.. except for the most important ones. Both of our baptism dates are canceled, and we haven't been able to set a new date with Doug yet. Steve started to get an attitude near the end of last week: he chose not to come to conference last weekend, and since then he hasn't been calling us back after we call or seem like he cares at all anymore. It's hard not to get discouraged when that happens. So, we are going to be giving him a break for at least a week, unless he decides to call us.

Zak also decided to "jump off the wagon". And we are realizing that is because it really has been just like a wagon ride for him towards his baptism, and he is not showing his commitment. He chose not to come to church yesterday, and he told his mom he didn't want to do it anymore. The Sisters stopped by yesterday before church and told me about that, and it knocked the air out of me. It's really tough when all we do is care about these people and spend so much time planning for them to help them be happier. But we spent some time with Zak and his family last night after church, and it is still hopeful but not as soon as were thought.

Doug is finally seeing a need for him to truly repent and have a change of heart before he can be baptized. And I am actually more happy to wait for him to pray about a date that he believes he can be ready for, than to set another one that would not be as sturdy.

We had a really good week with lessons and referrals though, on the bright side. And we actually found three new investigators to add to our teaching pool! To of them were referred to us by Sister Kabitzke (Rich's wife). It was a really cool experience. We went to both referrals, one right after another, and both said they would be interested in learning more and set up a time for us to visit them and their families this week. We will be teaching Maureen and her family tonight. She is very promising because she attended Rich's baptism and loved it, and she seems very humble and teachable.

Well I have 10 minutes before my session will close to write President. I hope you guys continue to have a great vacation, and a safe one as well! Love you

Elder Vogan

Monday, October 5, 2009

"LOVE" IS THE MESSAGE FROM GENERAL CONFERENCE

Mon 10/05/09 4:51 PM
Hey Mom, I apologize, this will be a much shorter email than normal because we are in a hurry tonight. But yeah, thank you so much for the awesome package with all the great goodies! That jam and bread is delicious as always. And it was really cool to have the Thompsons deliver it for you. They took us to lunch at Taco Bell on Friday. Yes, general conference was a blast! A lot of powerful stuff spoken. Alot about "love" it seemed, so that's a big thing I'll be taking from it. Man, you guys are going to Mazatlan? I'm sure that will be a lot of fun! But yeah, that work is moving along. Steve and Doug both did not attend any of conference though, which was a bummer. I heard alot of great things they both could have benefited from. Zak watched some, as well as this other investigator we just began talking to, named Paul. He is an interesting person... I will tell you more next week about it!

Love you! Elder Vogan

MICE BUILDING NESTS IN THE CAR!

Mon 9/28/09 9:05 AM
Wow, those are some awesome pictures, Dad! Congrats on the elk! I wish I could help you eat some of it. That's crazy that all those people are getting married; I kinda wonder who won't be when I get home, haha. I haven't received anything from Julie Moore, but I do think it's fun talking to her dad alot out here. He actually walked by us as we were teaching Steve outside on the grass in front of the church, and we asked him to bear his testimony, and that was really cool. Yeah, I talked to the Thompson's son on Sunday about the package, and I gave him our number and everything so we can meet up when it comes. I am excited for it! We have some awesome dinner roles that I am not eating too because I know how good they'll be with that jam.

It is starting to get a little cooler here. Today, we had to take in our car because a couple days ago, when we started the car, the 'check engine' light and traction control things were messed up. So after we dropped it off at the dealership, we decided to walk to the stake center to play basketball, and I was getting pretty cold. We found out just a little bit ago that it was messed up because some mice got into the engine in the night and decided to start building a nest with our car parts. They chewed through the fuel injectors and stuff, so we will be without a car for about a week while they wait for the parts. So it will be interesting to see how we can make it to all the appointments we have set up for the week..

We set two baptism dates with Steve and Zak this past week, which both seem pretty good. Steve didn't think we would be up for going to the Catholic church that he grew up going to, but we went with him yesterday, and that was an interesting experience. I have been to a few different churches since I've been out here, and it's always cool to see the similarities and differences of what different people believe. We met with Zak a couple times this week, and for a fourteen year-old guy, he has a much stronger testimony than I thought he had. The only problem with him is that his dad is pretty anti-Mormon and might not consent to his baptism. We had zone conference this week as well, and that is always awesome. It always helps to show us how we can be better and more effective.

Well, this is it for today! I love you and will talk to you soon!

-Elder Vogan

Monday, September 21, 2009

MEETING ELDER CALDWELL--MAY 14, 2009




A NEW INVESTIGATOR-- 14 YEAR OLD ZAK

Mon 9/21/09 12:11 PM
Hey Mom,
Yup, I am spoiled out here! I have met Kenny Banks at one of the baptisms I went to a couple transfers ago. I can’t remember what ward he was in though, maybe West Allis? But that will be crazy to see the Thompsons, if I do. If you want to send some stuff out with them you can, that would be cheaper. You can put some money in my account, and that will be helpful for when I am shopping for winter clothes. Speaking of accounts, I am still anxious to hear about any Mexbank updates. I’d rather be spending my money than yours. But yeah, we are really looking foreword to getting your jam.

The topic of your talks sounded like a good one. And that’s crazy what happened with Dad’s talk – maybe he just wasn’t supposed to read whatever he was writing in preparation. I’m glad it ended up working out well.

I’m glad Megan is doing better now; although it doesn’t sound to me like she is with how you described her: pale, bruised, and “skinny skinny”. Yeah, I bet it is tough for Jordan having all the youth in the whole stake going to a different school. Hopefully sports will be good for him when he does volleyball and stuff. And yeah, it seems like Hannah is turning into a whole different person now, all confident and stuff. That’s so good! Tyler and Branden Du Charme both think she’s a cutie.

Well this week went pretty well. We began teaching a new investigator, Zak. He is a 14 year-old, who is in a part-member family. The sister missionaries have taught him a little bit, but they think we would be better. And they are still teaching his sisters, Sammi and Kayla. The mom is a member, and she really wants them to be baptized, but the dad is pretty much anti-Mormon, so that’s interesting. The whole family missed church yesterday, though, because Sammi and Zak got really sick.

Doug and Steve are both still progressing slowly. Steve blew off church yesterday for the Packer game, and Doug slept in too late for sacrament but came for the rest. So, we were totally expecting at least three investigators at sacrament meeting, but we got none. That was a bummer, but we did really well with teaching lessons with members this week, which we usually don’t do as well with. We ended up teaching 9 of them. We are excited to be in a new transfer now, and we have set some new goals to help us see more success during these next six weeks. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this will be my last transfer here, but hopefully I’m wrong!

Thank you for your prayers. Know that I’m praying for you too! I hope Dad does well with the hunt, and that you do well with watching Donny Osmond's dance moves!

Elder Vogan

Monday, September 14, 2009

NEEDING AND LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW INVESTIGATORS

Mon 9/14/09 10:16 AM
Hi,
Wow, Mom, I almost didn’t get your email this week. When I first logged in, Hannah’s was the only email from home in my inbox, and then myldsmail started getting really bogged down, and we were just about to take off. But we tried it one more time, luckily.

Nope, no baptisms since Rich’s. I’ll be sure to let you know when we have them coming up. We set dates with Doug and Steve a little bit ago, but those were never that solid. We just wanted them to have a goal to work toward. I feel like I don’t need to send photos anymore, since you get so many from facebook now, haha.

However you send me the other Elders’ emails is up to you. Either way is fine.

I’m looking foreword to hearing about and seeing pictures of Dad’s elk when he gets one!

Jordan’s ankle issue doesn’t sound to fun to deal with, but I’m glad to hear he is still working out even with that.

Yes, I would love it if you sent me some of your jam! And if you want to send bread too, that would be awesome.

The work this week went pretty well. We taught more lessons than ever in a week, but we didn’t get any new investigators, which is something we need and are looking foreword to. We got word that Elder Stevens and I will both be staying in the area next transfer, as expected. I’m glad too; I would stay here for my whole mission if I could choose to do that. Transfer day is Friday this week, and we are getting a new sister missionary in the area. Sister Warner will be training her. I can’t think of anything worth writing about from this past week other than that.

Well I love you, and I will write again next week!

Elder Vogan

THE PERFECT SETTING: GET-TOGETHERS--MEET AND EAT

Tue 9/08/09 11:20 AM
Hi,
Since it was the holiday yesterday, we had to wait till today to write home when the libraries are open. That’s good that you are able to see pictures of what I’m up to from other sources, since I don’t take pictures very often, and I don’t get around to sending pictures home very often. The Littles are an awesome family! We are actually going to their house for dinner tomorrow night. I’m glad to hear that you had a good time in Oregon! That is really scary about Megan; hopefully they can correct whatever is causing that problem. Man, I miss that little girl. Congratulations on your new calling, Mom! That sounds like it will be fun for you.

This past week went pretty well. We have really been working to get in sync with the sisters who serve in the ward with us, Sis. Warner and Sis. Earl, so that we can see more progress and success in this area. Sis. Earl is here while she waits for her visa to go to Madagascar French speaking, but Sis. Warner will be here for a while. They are both really good, so we are lucky to have them.

Saturday was really cool. We got invited to a family/friend get-together with a lady from our ward who is the only member of the church in her entire family. We were able to meet and talk to and even teach many of the people who were there in a more casual setting. It was the perfect setting; if only all the members did something like that and invited us. That’s what our goal is though, for us to be involved in tons of things like that to give us more effective opportunities. We even got invited by a group of the lady’s family members to go to a fair with them on Monday morning, and we all went.

Sunday night we went over to the Keir’s house, and we had a great time talking to “Elder Keir” and Sister Keir. Zack was an awesome missionary, and he was able to really help us in our work. I went from being pretty overwhelmed and less confident about training, to being very confident after a couple great weeks, and now recently, almost back to feeling overwhelmed and less confident again. So, the things Elder Keir talked to us about really helped. We are going over there for dinner tonight.

Yesterday was the big day for our zone. The Milwaukee North Zone challenged us to a game of football. So we made some sweet uniforms with spray paint, and we were decked out ready to play. But we lost.

Well I will talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Vogan

P-DAY: VOLLEYBALL AND BBQ WITH 60 MISSIONARIES

Mon. 8/31/09 12:33 PM
Hey, It’s always good to read your emails! Elder Stevens is adjusting well to the missionary life. He said he expected to be a little home sick, but since we are always doing stuff, he doesn’t even have time to think about that. So that’s good. But yeah, we are having some great experiences together. I am less of a fitness trainer for him than I have been for other Elders because he is very happy with how he is right now, and he isn’t looking to improve anything, but we do exercise together every morning doing push ups, sit ups, and pull ups, and then we play some intense basketball for a little bit. I am up to 93 push ups in a row, even though I should be at 131.. I guess you do hit a wall after awhile. Elder Stevens is doing it to, and he is at 48.

I got to meet Elder Keir briefly yesterday after his homecoming talk. Man, I hope my talk will be half that good when I get home. I am sure he did a lot of good work in Mesa, AZ. I’ll ask him if he knew “Elder Hoyt” if I get the chance. You are making me jealous talking about how nice the pool is, it sounds like it would definitely be fun though. That is really sad about the Skidmore’s baby; I am sorry to hear about that. No, I don’t have contact with Brock yet, but that would be really cool if I could. I am also interested in hearing how Dad’s mine thing goes.

This week was pretty good; not quite as good as last week though. The difference between having a dinner set up for us and not having one is huge. We had dinners almost every day during that really good week we just had, so we can plan for who we would visit in the certain areas we knew we would be in. This past week, we only had one or two dinners planned, so it was tougher planning for most of those days. We had a lot of lessons with Steve and Doug again. Doug came to church again, like usual, but Steve hasn’t come yet. Both Rich and Nate received the priesthood yesterday, and we were able to help with both of those. Today, we have a fun Preparation Day planned, straight from here we are going to President Orne’s house to play volleyball and have a BBQ with our whole zone and some missionaries from other zones. I heard there should be about 60 missionaries there. Lucky for us, President Orne is in our ward, and not too far from where we are now, so we don’t have to worry about car pooling or using too many miles or anything.

I hope you guys have fun in Oregon, and good luck, Dad, with the hunt! I wish I could go! The only thing I might need, Mom, is for you to have Dad check my bank account to make sure I’m doing alright. I’m sure I am, but that is the account that I used to purchase my GPS, so just in case. But I’m not stopping you from sending random packages or letters…

Love you, Elder Vogan

Monday, August 24, 2009

AN INVESTIGATOR HELPS SHARE 'THE WORD'

Mon 8/24/09 9:41 AM
Congrats on the buck, Dad! Too bad I can’t help you eat any of it. I asked Elder Stevens if he knew any of those people that you asked me about, but he doesn’t think he knows them. He lives pretty close to there, though, at 40th S and 48th W. Man, Jordan’s done with football? Guess he’ll need to get a job then to keep him out of trouble. I’m anxious to hear about the results from the ortho. Haha, that means Doctor Hrasky will have the opportunity to have worked with our whole family now. It sounds like you guys had a fun anniversary! 75 pounds of meat is a lot of protein. Let me know how that goes with the welcome home party!

This last week was awesome – 21 lessons, 11 referrals received from members and non-members, and we set a baptism date with Steve. Since I started training, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed knowing that I didn’t want to start Elder Stevens off on the wrong foot, and I felt like there was more we could have been doing. We have tried not to spend too much time tracting, but we decided that we would commit to knocking on at least 3 to 5 doors or inviting people in the street around each of the places we go, unless we have somewhere we need to get to. And since Thursday, when we committed to that, our lessons per day shot up, and I am feeling much more confident and happy as a trainer.

So, we were able to start teaching Steve again, and he even spent the day with us on Saturday. Whenever we taught him, he would always say, “Aw man, that’s so great that you guys devote so much time to going out and helping people and sharing uplifting messages with everyone. I need to do more things like that.” And since then he started working at a soup kitchen in Milwaukee a few times a week, and we also told him that he should come out with us on Saturday and spend the day with us doing service and sharing “the word” with people. He had a really good time with us, and he said we wants to keep doing that every week. Haha, I’ve never heard of missionaries doing that with their investigators before, but we are. It’s cool too because as we are teaching other people, members and non-members, he is taught indirectly, and sometimes he’ll jump in and help teach and teach himself as he understands more.

Well that’s it for this week. It’s always fun to write home about this, and it’s fun to hear about everything back home!

Love, Elder Vogan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"And please bless that everyone in the world can be baptized like Grandpa..."

Mon 8/17/09 10:23 AM
Wow, thank you all for emailing this week! I love to get mail/emails, I just wish I had enough time to reply to all of them. Mom, if you mailed me the other missionaries' emails, that would be really cool. Man, I'm sorry to hear about Jordan's leg! I know how that feels.. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be too bad. It's good to hear you are officially settling in now with your record in the Princess Park ward. I hope that is going well for you. So, is Hannah still at Fremont then, or Shepherd? It's crazy that school is already starting again. Out here, I think they have at least a couple more weeks.

This week was Rich Kabitzke’s baptism, and that went very well! Every thing worked out perfectly as planned, and maybe a little better. There were several non-members in attendance as well, which was really cool to see. The Spirit was very strong during the baptism meeting, especially from the time after the baptism to the end. During the reverent time, we sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”, and right afterward showed the testimonies of a few of the Apostles from Special Witnesses of Christ. Alyssa (Rich’s step daughter) gave her talk after that, and she was emotional through the whole thing. To finish it off, Alyssa’s 5 year-old son, Kohl, said the closing prayer. In that he prayed, “And please bless that everyone in the world can be baptized like grandpa…” That was the best closing prayer I’ve ever heard at a baptism. After the baptism, the Kabitzkes invited everyone to go to their house for some refreshments and socializing. That was a good opportunity for us to talk to some of the friends and family who came, and it was a more casual setting where they felt comfortable asking us questions about the baptism and the church. Hopefully something more comes of that.

Well I think that's really the only thing I can think to write about. So, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. And let me know if Dad gets anything hunting!

Love You Elder Vogan

Saturday, August 15, 2009

AUGUST 2009--VISITING THE KEIRS



Add Image

ELDER VOGAN PLAYING A MUSICAL NUMBER




MOM AND SISTER KEIR EMAIL EACH OTHER

Thu 8/13/09 4:34 PM
Hi Amy,
So nice to hear from you! I've been meaning to write and send pictures, but got caught up in things. We had the Elders over just before E. Vance left. Then we went on a long weekend to Nauvoo and I've been trying to catch up since then.

Zak gets home in 12 days! Yay! I can't wait. I have to tell you what he wrote in his last e-mail...I hope you don't mind. It just made my day:)

"P.S. You must have been praying for me today because I gave a talk in Zone Development Meeting today and it felt really great. We all felt the Spirit really strong. I made a decision today. Everyone was talking about dating today and I told them that the first girl I was taking out after my mission was going to be my Mom. I said it partially just to make them feel bad about talking about girls, but I ment it. Isn't that going to be fun? :) I love you!"

Elder Vogan told me you just moved...and back to your old house. That's pretty neat! It must be so nice to be "home" again. Our school starts Sept 1st. I just had an interview this afternoon to teach Kindergarten. I feel like it went well, but it's so competitive out here and so few teaching jobs. I just have to trust in the Lord and put it in his hands.

Thanks so much for keeping in touch. I'm looking forward to having Elder Vogan and his new companion for dinner:)

Love,
Leslie

p.s. Elder Vogan played a lovely piece from the Suzanne Cianni music you sent him. I had never heard it before. Beautiful!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 4:01 PM
Hi Leslie-
I was just wondering if you got your missionary home yet? I bet you are so excited!! I hope everything is going well for you. It's probably a hectic time of year for you as school will soon resume. We just moved back to our old house that we sold 3 years ago. We are renting it while we hopefully can sell the 'spec' home we have been living in 'temporarily' (for 3 years). We are hoping it will 'show' better when we aren't living in it. My kids started back to school today. They were ready...so was Mom. :D

Best Wishes & Blessings!

Love, Amy

Monday, August 10, 2009

A NEW COMPANION--ELDER STEVENS

Mon 8/10/09 9:10 AM
The first week with Elder Stevens went pretty well. The only problem so far has been that I have no sense of direction, but that will get better hopefully. Elder Stevens is from West Valley City, UT. He is big into water sports: swimming, water polo, wakeboarding, and everything else behind a boat. He likes the heat, but he is used to the cold. Loves snow boarding and working on cars. He takes quick showers and eats fast, which is important so we can workout together in the mornings. He is easy-going and down to be obedient. He graduated 2008 and will be going into hospital administration.

So this week we have been really thinking about and focusing on finding new people to teach. Right now, our only strong investigators are Rich and Doug, and now I’m wondering if Doug is even that strong. He has a lot to overcome. So we have been thinking of ways to build stronger relationships with the ward members and leaders, and hopefully we will meet some of their friends to teach. We are making it more of a habit to ask everybody for referrals of people we can teach or do service for, and yesterday it worked out well. On our way out the door last night after dinner, we asked Tyler Du Charme if he had any friends who we should stop by and see. I wasn’t really expecting him to give us a name, but he did and when we stopped by, his friend’s mom was very open to us. We taught her the basics of the restoration, and she scheduled an appointment for us to go over next week and teach her again with her family when they were all home. That was pretty awesome! This will be my first time teaching a whole non-member family together. Usually we teach single people or part member families. We told her that we would go to her church with her if she would come to ours, and said, “Oh yeah, of course!”

Rich Kabitzke is really excited for his baptism on Saturday. We heard his testimony last week, and it was really strong, more than I thought. It will be awesome to see that happen! Peter got baptized on the 8th. (The guy who took us to lunch and was drinking awhile ago). Elder McCoy and Marchant were pretty nervous about that, but they gave him a blessing a couple weeks ago, and since then he hasn’t had the slightest desire to drink. We were able to attend the baptism, and I got a picture with him that I will send you.

Well I will talk to you next week. Good luck with everything!

-Elder Vogan

Thursday, August 6, 2009

TRAINING

Mon 8/03/09 10:08 AM
Hey, I am really glad to hear that everything went well with moving back to the old/new house! It will be fun to go home to “home”. Haha, that lady that called Mom is Sister Krommenhoek, who is Sister Keir’s mom. I don’t think it’s cheating at all that these people contact you, but if I find out it is I will let you know.

Well Friday we got the call about transfers from the president, and Elder Vance is transferring out of the area this week. President also told us that we will both be training. I was definitely not expecting that because I still feel brand new. It will be good though and help me to grow faster. Now that I bought a GPS, I can find my way around, haha. So yeah, I’ll only be two transfers older than my trainee, so I’m sure we will both be learning a lot together. We are hoping Elder Vance goes to Brookfield to train because then we will do service together, and we’ll be able to hang out every now and then on P-days. Elder Caldwell told us that he and his companion are both transferring out of Brookfield, so it’s a good possibility.

So that is the big new of the week, but other than that we had a pretty good week. We taught a good number of lessons, and we saw Rich get stronger in his faith. His baptism is pretty much for sure on the 15th. His wife’s son is LDS and he is flying out from Florida to baptize him, and he already has his flight plans and everything. We saw Doug improve too, but we also saw things in his life that he’ll need to work on a bit, so he won’t be baptized this weekend like we had planned with him. Hopefully he’ll be ready within a few weeks. It was funny, the Du Charmes invited Doug to come to dinner at their house last Monday, and during that Brother Du Charme showed him a couple quotes from the book, “Mormon Doctrine”. And since Doug liked it, he went home and bought it that night and had it shipped from Chicago. So now he owns a large print quad scriptures combo, a gospel principles book, a couple of Ensigns, and Mormon Doctrine.

That’s all for this week, so I will let you know about my new companion and everything next week!

Love you! Elder Vogan

Monday, July 27, 2009

MOVING FORWARD

Mon 7/27/09 9:20 AM
Wow, that’s crazy to think I’ll probably be coming home to the old house I grew up in! Yeah, Sister Du Charme was actually the one who told me that you were moving – I guess she read Hannah’s facebook status last night, haha. That’s funny that they are friends on there. I hope the moving goes well, and I hope it isn’t as stressful as the last one! Yeah, everyone here seems to have some kind of connection with me; it’s weird. Sister Little (we went to the temple with her and her husband), she actually grew up with Danny Beecroft’s mom, Dana. I guess they were even best friends, but they had lost touch with each other. And so when Sister Little went to look me up on facebook, she saw that Danny was one of my friends and was able to get back in touch with his mom. And this week she is down in “the valley” spending some time with her. So that was cool.

But anyway this week went well! The highlight was definitely Nate’s baptism and confirmation on the 25th and 26th. You will see some pictures of that soon, hopefully. Rich Kabitzke had a cool experience this week. His wife is already a member, so the home teachers were over meeting with the family, and they were talking about temple work and genealogy. Before that, Rich didn’t know too much about those things, but he was interested and said he was excited to do some work for his parents and ancestors after he was baptized. And then Sister Kabitzke remembered that Rich’s second cousin was a member, and had a strong feeling that the work for his parents was already done. So, that night they went to the family history center, and they found out that Rich’s dad and that whole side of his family had all the work done back to the 1800’s. They really thought that was cool. Rich is awesome, and he will be baptized by Sister Kabitzke’s son on the 15th of August.

Doug also had a great week. We taught him the Word of Wisdom on Wednesday, and that was a little shaky. He is an alcoholic, smoker, and loves coffee. At the end of the lesson, when we asked him if that was something he was willing to do, he had no problem committing to stop drinking and smoking, but he couldn’t commit to stop coffee. He said it was one of his only pleasures in life. But I know he will soon because he loves most everything about the church, and he attends all the activities and meetings. So we are still hoping on August 8th for him. That’s it for this week.

Love you guys, and good luck with the moving! Elder Vogan

Monday, July 20, 2009

AN AWESOME WEEK!!

Mon 7/20/09 12:11 PM
Thank you for writing again this week! Man, that fried ice cream sounds good, you should make that again in a couple of years, haha. That's cool that Brock had his farewell; he'll have alot of fun in the Phillapeans for sure. Speaking of Chantell and Brock, I sent letters for them to our address a few weeks ago because I didn't know the Perry's address, did you get those to them? And I did the same thing for Bishop last week.

This week was probably the best week for missionary work of my whole mission! We are really starting to see the payoff for stepping up our efforts to be exactly obedient. We had 3 investigators at church again: Doug, Rich, and Will. And we set two baptism dates with Doug and Rich for August 8th. Both of those seem really solid. And Nate will be baptised this Saturday, so all of this is really cool to see. We also had 20 lessons this week, which is alot better than any of our past weeks. Obedience in just the last week or two has also helped me to love my mission, my companion, and the people here alot more, and I feel like I am learning so much more as well. We committed to "stepping it up" a couple weeks ago in a companion study we had, in which we studied and discussed the relationship of faith and obedience, and the power that comes from obedience. It was definitely the best comp. study I've had, and since then this concept has been our "default lesson" for people we haven't specifically prepared another lesson for. Since we have seen such great things from that lately in our work, we feel like everyone should embrace it, and Elder Vance and I teach it well together.

Well something else new this week was Steve. Steve is a young guy who works at a place called Health Hut, which is owned by two members of the Church, and alot of the youth from the stake work there. So we go there occasionally, and we've talked to Steve before. Steve isn't a member, and lately he's been having a REALLY tough time. I don't want to explain all the details, but a little over a week ago we were told by someone that a young guy named Steve walked into our church because he said he needed to pray. And after the guy explained Steve, we knew it was "Health Hut" Steve. So, last Thursday we went in there to see how he was doing, and he told us he really needed something that would comfort him, and he felt like we could give it to him. When he got off work, we met at our church and taught him in one of the rooms about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and we gave him a Book of Mormon and read some of it with him. Just reading from the Book gave him so much comfort, he didn't want to stop. He just kept wanting to pray and read. He told one of the Single's ward guys who taught with us that we "saved him". We met with him the next day, and he was a little bit better, and we had basically the same lesson from the day before. On Saturday, we decided to fast for him. We haven't seen him since Friday, but we are looking foreward to seeing him today.

Well, on another note, the weather here is really stange. It's been in the high 60's and dry for the past week, which is very strange for the middle of July. Oh, and by the way, Peter ended up going to church, and he is still on for his baptism on August 1st. Haha, crazy.

Well that's it, I'll talk to you next week! Love you Elder Vogan

Monday, July 13, 2009

A CRAZY LUNCH DATE ON SPLITS

Mon 7/13/09 9:52 AM
Hey, I was good reading your emails today! I'm glad to hear you are working to do good missionary work at home, and Dad, that was crazy to see that guy's bicep picture. That definitely would not be fun to have happen. I will be writing letters to Jordan and Hannah today because I feel bad about not writing after their last letters. Well this week went well and was eventful! The Safehouse was pretty cool, but I hear it would be a lot more fun at night when more people are there. The people who don't know where the secret passage is or know the password have to do funny things before the restaurant will let them in. The room has a camera in it, so everyone eating can watch it, and laugh. It's spy-themed, so there is a lot of James Bond posters and a bunch of different spy-related things in the restaurant. Decent food too.

Tuesday and Wednesday were highlights of my mission I think, so far. We went on exchanges again, this time I went with one of the zone leaders (Elder McCoy) to his area - West Allis and South Milwaukee. That area was so much fun to work in. It was a very different type of neighborhood than my area. Everyone is outside walking on the street or sitting on their porches, and everyone we talk to and teach are very interested in our message, and they even thanked us for talking to them. One lady we taught saw the missionaries before and said she was hoping so much that they would come talk to her. They decided to talk to her the day before I was there, and they taught her about the restoration of the Church and she said she wanted to be baptized and has a date for that and everything. So that was really cool. We got to teach her and her family when I was their, and it looks like the whole family will be following their Mom (Rachel) with that too.

We also met with a guy named Peter (small Philipeano guy)... On Tuesday, we had an amazing lesson with him. It was the first time Peter wasn't drinking while the missionaries were teaching, so he was coherent and understood everything and was very excited to learn. After the lesson, he was in tears while he said the prayer. We had set a date and he was for sure going to church and everything - probably the most powerful lesson I've been involved in so far, Elder McCoy is an awesome teacher. Anyway, so the next day he calls us, and he confesses that he lied to us about his Mom being killed by a drunk driver. He said he felt like Heavenly Father wanted him to tell us that. And he said he talked to his mom, and she wanted him to take us to lunch. So we went, and when we got there, he was drinking... And it was pretty uncomfortable. He told us he wanted to pray outloud because we were all "Brothers in Christ" (which is cool, but he said that over and over) and he didn't care about the "physical people around". He told the waitress, "Treat these gentlemen well, they are my brothers, my brothers in Christ." He was so happy, telling us alot how he loved us and appreciated us, and he loved everyone and everything. Then, something snapped, and he went completely opposite - which made us even more uncomfortable. He all of a sudden went silent and was just staring. Elder McCoy asked him what he was thinking about, and he said, "suicide". It was a little scary. Then he started staring down people and mouthing swear words at them. Started swearing alot all around actually, at the waitress too. So when we finished up and he was paying, we told him we had to get going, and he said, "Yeah, whatever.." So as we were walking to the car he runs out after us yelling and swearing at us saying he wasted his money on us and stuff. It was crazy! I thought he was going to punch McCoy, so I was getting ready. But anyway, it ended up working out. I think he completely forgot about all that or something, because he was at church yesterday. Haha.

So, that took up all my time writing that, but it is the craziest story I think I have so far. We got to see a baptism last night of someone Elder Vance used to teach. And we had 3 people at church. So that was good, the work is always improving. I'll talk to you next week!

Love you!
Elder Vogan

Ps. Mom, I will be forewarding my emails to the President to you as well, so I can go back and read them at the end of my mission. And so you can see more of what's going on inside the mission.

Monday, July 6, 2009

HAPPY FOURTH, AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHITNEY!

Mon 7/06/09 9:10 AM
Well today will be the shortest email yet, I think. We have plans to go out to downtown Milwaukee and eat at this place called The Safehouse with the other Elders pretty soon. It's a "secret" restaurant hidden in an allyway and you need to have a password to get in and stuff - I hear its pretty cool. I apologize for not writing you back after your last letters, Hannah and Jordan, it's really difficult to find time to write letters if we are exactly obedient in following the schedule - which we are really trying to do. I really enjoyed the birthday package! And the bread is still good; I actually had some last night - thank you Mom! The Du Charmes and Elder Vance love it too, and Mike Moore had some when he came over and also really liked it. And Hannah, that pop-up book is awesome! Haha I don't even know how you were able to do it. I have it taped up on my wall above my desk. We've been listening to the cd's too, thanks for those!

This week, we had zone conference again, and it went really well - really motivating. Friday, the 3rd, we went to this lakeside picnic/party by the lake and watched a firework show. And then on Saturday, we went out to a couple of parades for different cities, and then we went to that fair and went on rides and watched fireworks. The people we were with both of these nights were mostly not members of the Church, so we might have an opportunity to teach some of them more than we did. It was a really fun week, and we invited a lot of different people to let us teach them. It's crazy how many people think we are either Jehovah's Witnesses or FBI agents, haha. Well, I gotta get going, but I love you! And tell Megan I love her and miss her too! Thank you for all the emails this week, that was awesome!

-Elder Vogan

Friday, July 3, 2009

DINNER WITH THE KEIRS

Fri. 7/3/09
Hi Amy,

The Elders came over for dinner last night. It was nice to see them again. I'm sorry to say, it's been a few weeks. But, in that time they both sure have grown spiritually. Elder Vogan is growing into a wonderful missionary. Elder Vance is a great trainer/teacher. They make an amazing companionship!

From your blog, I got the feeling that Elder Vogan may play the piano, so I asked him. He said he knows Stairway to Heaven. I even happen to have the music...so Elder Vogan played while Elder Vance sang - very nice voice. I told them they should sing and play for sacrament meeting...a different song of course.

We had shishkabob for dinner and the fruit pizza for dessert - only I made a flag out of it instead. As soon as Elder Vance saw it, he put his hand on his heart:) Silly guys.

Hope you enjoy the pictures! By the way, we were talking about the best things to get from home and both Elders agreed that getting photos from home is a great gift. So, there's hint for you. What we do with Zak is he bought an extra memory card for his camera and he sends one home at a time on occasion with pictures. Not sure what kind of camera Elder Vogan has, but there's another idea.

Take care and Happy 4th!

Leslie

DINNER WITH THE KEIRS











Monday, June 29, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELDER VOGAN, DEAR!!!

Mon 6/29/09 2:07 PM
Thank you for your B-Day wishes! The package that hasn't come yet, but I'll probably get it later today. Thank you for that too! I'm up to 68 push ups, so I guess that means I've been out for 68 days. It's good to hear the update for the family, so that I know you guys are doing alright. Oh and I got a knock knock joke for Jordan, "knock knock... Acai (ah sigh ee)... acai yesterday walkin' your dog.. mhmmh." Haha he'll probably be the only one besides Elder Vance and Jordan Bailey who'll think that's funny.

Anyway, this week was a good one. It was really hot most of the days though; it felt much worse than AZ too because of the humidity. But today it feels good, Happy Birthday to me! It will be perfect for playing football in a little while. A couple major highlights were with Doug and Nate.

Doug is a 54 year-old biker dude, who now works as a private investigator, and he was only a potential investigator of the Church before last Tuesday. Before he would usually just carry on casual conversation with us when we would stop by, but we didn't really teach him too much. But on Tuesday, he was really open, and we were able to have a really good lesson with him. He was curious about our quad combo scriptures, and he really liked the footnotes, bible dictionary, and maps that we have; so after we left he went online and bought a set and a case from the Chicago distribution center. It was crazy when we heard about that the next day when he called us. We met with him again on Friday and Saturday, and he even came to church with us on Sunday. He really enjoyed the talks that were given (and they were really good), but he thought that our hymns are way too slow. He thinks they should be double time. Since he was dressed a little less formal, people noticed him, and the members of the ward were really nice and friendly in welcoming him. In the gospel principles class, he participated more than alot of people in the room too, which I thought was cool. He told a few people that he would be coming again next week. And he wanted us to come by again on Tuesday (tomorrow), so we are excited for that.

Nate set a new baptism date, but this time it is for sure, for sure. He even announced it during the second and third meetings, so that is really cool. We weren't too sure if we would even be here to see him baptized. He's already working with his girlfriend's family in setting up his baptism. Also, it was cool to see him meet and talk to Doug a little bit at church and to hear him tell Doug to "follow my lead". They actually have a lot in common too, so we will try to bring Nate with us to teach him soon.

One last thing I'll tell you about: On Wednesday, we were invited to eat dinner with a less active/part member family, and they took us to have a picnic at the beach of Muskego Lake. Every Wednesday night they have a cool ski show where local ski teams put on a show for the community each week. It was really fun. We also ate with this family's neighbors who aren't members, and they were really cool. After dinner, we played soccer with all their middle school to high school aged kids. It was cool. They are having us again on the Fourth of July to go ride rollercoaters, I can't wait!

Okay well that's it for this week! I'm glad to hear about Whitney and her trainer! And I'm glad Megan still remembers who I am! I'll be looking for that package! Thanks again!

Love you! Elder Vogan

Monday, June 22, 2009

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

Mon 6/22/09 11:59 AM
I'm glad to hear the Father's Day went well for you, Dad! Yeah, my talk in church went pretty well, except midway through my throat was getting dry, so I was coughing alot. But I will be sending home a couple letters today, one with my talk in it. Jordan, I don't care what you add to the ipod, just don't delete anything. That's crazy that you just barely got that letter from that I wrote a month and a half ago, I wonder why it took so long? Yeah, having the gym down stairs at the Du Charme's has been good, and they even hook me up with a bunch of vitamins and supplements from when their son and daughter worked at a local health food store. It's really nice. And the transfer ends this Wednesday, but as expected, both Elder Vance and I are staying in the Muskego Lakes ward. So that's cool. Oh, and I keep forgetting to say that Brother and Sister Du Charme both do financial planning, and I think they work with the same annuities and investment companies dad does. And another thing that was cool was on Sunday when I met a guy named Mike Moore from the high council in our stake, and he asked me if I was by chance related to any Vogans out in Placerville, CA. And I told him my dad was Jeff Vogan and he grew up there, and he couldn't believe it. He told me to ask my dad if he remembers the guy who used to sit outside the front of the school and read the Book of Mormon, and that was him. I guess he worked with Jim and Laura when they first got married and stuff too. Really small world huh?

Well the highlight of this week was LJ's baptism on Saturday and confirmation yesterday at church! That was cool to see that happen. Elder Vance was asked to baptize him, and his dad confirmed him. I'm sending home a picture that Sister Little took of us at the baptism too. And Nate told us he would be sitting down with his family and picking a baptism date with them last night, so we will be looking foreword to when we hear when that is. We went over to Will and Ashley's apartment last night for dinner, and we had an awesome lesson with them. Alot of the things Will was doubting or not sure about were cleared up, and we could see in his expressions that he was really excited. Ashley has always been the more believing of the two, and I think she might have been doing more of the teaching than Elder Vance or me. Well, when we woke up this morning, we had a text from the member who referred us to them, or them to us, and he had foreworded a text from Will. It was like 8 text pages long saying things like, "I thank God so much that I met you and your family, that you could send the missionaries to us and we could learn how our family can be happy like yours. After the missionaries came over tonight, I really believe that if any church is true, it's Mormon church. It makes so much more sense now." It was a lot longer than that, but that was pretty much what it was saying.

I am having a good time out here; the mission is awesome! I now know what humidity is, it's pretty much like a steam room. Alright well be looking for my letters in the next week or so. Love you! Elder Vogan

Monday, June 15, 2009

THE CHICAGO TEMPLE & A PRIESTHOOD BLESSING

Mon 6/15/09 8:42 AM
Thank you for all the emails this week, I really enjoyed them! I'm sorry that I won't be able to reply to them though because I have really limited time today. So, I will just say, I'm sorry you were sick for awhile, Mom, and I really hope you are doing better! It's awesome to hear about Hannah's successful, little business too! And it was a lot of fun reading about Jordan's experience with the superactivity, haha. Pretty crazy though too! And I'm glad Dad is still doing alright with business. And I am glad to hear Megan's foot is healing properly, and that she still remembers me! I am so glad I have that cute video of her on my camera from the drive up when she was really happy. Yeah, I heard about that swine flu situation in the MTC. So I guess it was necessary to have the "no handshake" policy when I was there. The whole time I thought it was pretty ridiculous too. But yeah, I love both, emails and letters. Sometimes I won't be able to reply to emails, but so far I've gotten around to replying to the letters I've gotten.

Well there are alot of cool things from this week. Wednesday, Elder Vance went out to his leadership meeting, since he's the district leader; and there, they had men from the missionary department in Salt Lake who came and taught the leaders cool things about effective teaching and obedience, and they promised it would "quadruple the success of our mission". So that was exciting to hear. I learned this week that the Wisconsin Milwaukee mission has the record of being the "hardest" stateside mission, or the one with the least baptisms. At one point the missionaries here were so bad that they almost closed the mission, only a few years ago. But now, with President Barrett, I think we will begin to see a boom here, and this mission will become one of the best. I am really excited to be here at this time.

Our ward, the Muskego Lakes ward, is catching the spirit of missionary work very well. Many people are starting to bring friends to church, and give ideas of how our ward will be better with that. Last night, our ward mission leader, Brother Du Charme, said that the ward is becoming zion-ized through the efforts too. It's awesome! Elder Vance and I actually just moved into the Du Charme's house on Saturday night, and we are living there now. It's been really nice so far! I woke up early this morning, and went down to the basement where they have a nice home gym with a lot of machines and equipment, and worked out. I know we will save a lot of money living there, since they tell us everything is provided, and they don't want us to buy our own food anymore.

Another cool thing we did was go down to the Chicago temple on Saturday. It was awesome! (haha i feel like i have said that too many times in this email) We were invited to go down with a newly activated family we have been teaching, the Littles. Brother Little was receiving his endowment, so all of his family drove out from Snowflake, AZ to be there. I could tell the family was so happy to see their brother and son come back to the church - they were all in tears actually.

And then last night, Sunday night, I had the opportunity to give a blessing for the first time. It was pretty random how it happened. Elder Caldwell actually called me at around 7 and said there was a guy who's girlfriend was really sick, and they wanted her to receive a blessing as soon as possible. Elder Caldwell and his companion still don't have a car, so they asked us to do it, and they were actually in our area anyway. So we went to the house and met Forest and Myra, who had actually just moved in here from Texas and Idaho, both were inactive members of the church. So yeah, I was a bit nervous, not knowing what to say and everything, but the Spirit was very strong in that room, and I guess the words the words that were said gave her alot of comfort, and were similar to the feelings she had felt before the blessing. They didn't want us to leave after that, so we stayed and shared a message with them.

So that is the email for this week - alot of cool and awesome stuff going on! I hope I don't hear anything about Jordan wrecking the truck! I love you! Be good, and do your best to be good missionaries there at home. I really wish I would have done more of that before I came out here. If you could only see how the families of this ward are being strengthened, and the joy that they are experiencing from it. Okay, well I will write again next week! -Elder Vogan

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SAY 'QUESO'!!!

6/14/09
Hi Amy,
We took the Elders out for a Mexican meal Friday night and I remembered to bring my camera. So, attached is another picture - actually, I just viewed it and accidently took a video. I'm not sure how I did that but will try to do it next time so that he can say "hi" to you all. I'm afraid the meal wasn't as good as it usually is, but it was nice to eat outside on a beautiful day. We had tostadas civeche (sp?) for an appetizer. It is my favorite. Elder Vogan told us that his father makes it when you are in Mexico. I am so jealous...I would love that recipe. Surprisingly we have quite a large Hispanic population out here, particularly in Waukesha where we had dinner.

The Elders just moved in with a family yesterday. I'm sure he will tell you the details in his own e-mail. Our son is living with a couple. He is still in Paradise Valley with his companion for another transfer, but has been transferred to another ward. He's pretty sure he will remain in that area for the duration. Sounds like he's already making plans for a trip back to AZ to introduce my husband and I to the lovely people out there.

Rest assured, Elder Vogan is well! They have been so helpful to us. The other day they helped us shovel and spread mulch in our garden. Friday they did the same as part of a community project. They are very hard workers! Even my mom commented on their work ethic and she's a pretty tough one since she was raised on a farm. You can be proud:)

Love,
Leslie

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A NOTE & PHOTO FROM SISTER MAXWELL

Tue 6/09/09 2:49 PM
HI Amy,
It was exciting to finally get our boy's missionary plaques up last Sunday...hooray! I wanted to tell you that Austin sent home a photo of him and Taylor in front of the Provo temple. It has been so fun to keep up with Taylor on your blog!
Love, Lisa Maxwell

ELDERS TAYLOR VOGAN & AUSTIN MAXWELL


Monday, June 8, 2009

B-BALL AND DO-RAGS

Mon 6/08/09 11:57 AM
Hey, Thank you, Dad, for checking my debit account for me and adding more in that, im glad it wasn't overdrafting. I will try hard not to use any of it, but its good in case of emergencies. I still haven't gotten Mark's package yet, but I'm still looking for it. I bought a pretty nice used keyboard last Monday for $20, so it's fun to have that to play on at night. If you guys want to send me a package some day, it would be nice to that that Suzanne Ciani piano book I bought awhile back.

Well this week went by really fast. On Monday afternoon we played some basketball with some black guys with do-rags from North Milaukee. It was alot of fun; they were really funny. When it was my turn to sit, a guy named Big D and another guy (forgot his name) also sat for that game, and i got to talk with them about our church. It was funny because they totally knew everything that they did that was wrong, and told me they could be missionaries if they didn't do this and this and this and this. Haha. They all were sure not to swear around us and apologized if they slipped something. But anyway, they were interested in being more religious, and i offered to give them some pass along cards and a Book of Mormon, "but only if they would read it", and they were really interested in reading it, so I gave it to them.

That's really cool that Sister Keir is keeping in touch with you now; she is such a nice lady. We did end up going back over there for dinner on Wednesday and ate the best pizza I have ever had - chicken bacon ranch stuffed pizza. And thank you for telling her i like peanut butter! Now she makes us these awesome peanut butter cookies, and just gave us some more yesterday.

Yesterday was an awesome church day. It seemed that there was twice as many people as normal that came, and several non-members and less active members. It was fast and testimony meeting, so it was perfect for them to feel the power of the testimonies that were borne. There are some guys living out here from Salt Lake City, who are selling security systems, and they are awesome missionaries. They have brought probably 8 to 10 people to church, and we are teaching alot of them. Well, I hope to hear from you guys soon! Hope everything is going well there! I havent taken many pictures since being out here, but I'll start doing that and send some home. Love you! Elder Vogan

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"TEACHING" SISTER KEIR'S DOG









Mon 6/01/09 4:49 PM
Hi Amy,
Just wanted to send a few more pictures of the Elders trying to teach our dog some tricks. The Elders were over on Friday evening. We found out that since it was the end of the month they were out of food, money and mileage. They were full of faith that the Lord would provide...or they would fast:) No worries, they left well fed with t-bones and fresh baked peanut butter cookies. Sent a few frozen pizzas along with them too...just in case.

I'm happy to report that Elder Vogan's black eye is all healed. He related all his mishaps over dinner. Elder Vance was amazed and decided it is a good thing he is the driver:) Sounds like he's going to keep an extra eye on Elder Vogan's safety:)

Anyway, we may see them again on Wednesday. I called them today to make sure they had meals for the week and commented that I didn't see the missionary dinner sign up sheet at church yesterday. They told me the Mission Pres did away with the calendars and someone has been assigned to call members to set up appts for them. In the meantime, they didn't have any appts for this week. Again, they were not concerned and are certainly practicing the commandment to, "Take ye no thought what tomorrow will bring..." They are such faithful servants. I told them to come over tonight if nothing turned up. Well, they ended up with an appt. In the meantime I had called and told my mom and she will have them tomorrow night and us on Wed if no schedule is made.
Rest assured, we will see to it that they are well-nourished.

I hope all is well with you and your family.

Take care!
Leslie

P-DAYS--MUSIC AND SPORTS

Mon 6/01/09 9:42 AM
Hey guys! I got your letters last Tuesday right after we did emails, hopefully you got my letters by now! I will answer all your questions first, Dad. On P-days out here, we usually start the day, after morning study, by jamming with Elder Vance's keyboard and guitar. Haha, we've actually made up some pretty cool songs. The main things of the day to get done are emails, laundry, and shopping. And after we get all that done we play alot of sports for hours, alot of basketball and some soccer and frisbee. We will be getting a football today too so that will be cool. And then after dinner we finish up the day with proselyting.

It's wierd to see that alot of our investigators actually slowed down after getting dates. William and Ashley, we haven't been able to teach and they haven't been to church in awhile because William started getting really sick; he was thinking about going to the hospital yesterday. Steve and Shelley are not progressing at all anymore, which is also not cool. They were supposed to come to church the past couple weeks but didn't, so we may have to drop them. LJ Little is one that is still doing well; his entire family is active already though, but we count him as an investigator at church anyway. Nate is also doing some crazy stuff now. He was all set up and excited to be baptized on the 6th, but when we talked to him on the phone the other day he was irratated at us for telling people he had a date, for ridiculous reasons. But yeah, now he will most likely be postponing that date.

We met a new guy named John last week, though, and he is awesome. We will have a date for him next time we meet im sure. It's funny because his sister is a Lutherin minister, but she wants him to be a member of our church. I think she will end up joining our church too because she has nothing bad to say about it, and she told us things like: "Oh, I'd be the perfect little Mormon girl" and "A mom couldn't want anything more than for her daughther to marry a nice young LDS guy". We biked once last week for the first time, and it was pretty fun, and it made us pretty sore. Haha. Everything is working great though. I may request that "big butt girl seat" actually. That's cool that you got that Sci-Vation Extend stuff. I remember everyone on bb.com talking it up alot, i always wanted to try it.

I hit most of what i was going to write anyway while answering those questions, but one new thing is that i found out ill be speaking in our ward on Father's Day. The topic is: "I want to be like my father because..." So, I'll send you my talk in a few weeks. Okay well I'm getting off now, good luck with everything.
Love you! Elder Taylor Vogan

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A CAR ACCIDENT AND A HEART ATTACK

Tue 5/26/09 7:52 AM
Hey, This week was pretty good, not quite as good as last week though. It's good to feel not so new. I was able to open up the pics this time, very cute; so are Jordan and her "goin' out" now? Man, it sounds like he's growing! Glad I never bullied him or anything or I'd be scared to go home. I don't have much of a workout routine right now, I'm just doing pushups for the days I have been out, adding one more each day - so hopefully ill be up to like 700 when i come home, haha. We will probably be moving in with some members who have an awesome home gym though too, so that will be nice.

We just put together our bikes last week, but we haven't used them yet. We will have to start using them this week though because we only have a couple miles left for the rest of the month with the car. I'm lucky that Elder Vance is a good mechanic, because I forgot everything you showed me about puting the bike together. I would have probably figured it out if I had to though. The weather is amazing her right now, warm with just enough breeze, and there aren't too many bugs out yet. You can continue to do email if you want, but its nice to get letters too. dearelder.com would be convenient for that, I'd think. I haven't received Hannah's and Jordan's letters yet, but hopefully this week.

So, one main highlight of this week was when we had to rescue Elder Caldwell and and his companion after they got into an accident- I'm sure you probably read about that yesterday in Elder Caldwell's email. They were fine, but the car had to be towed to the Chevy dealership. It was funny because that morning we were doing service with them at a food pantry, and we were just talking about the Elders who had gotten in accidents and how inconvenient it would be to be in one.

Another crazy thing that happened was on Sunday when we were out and about, actually on our way to a dinner. And we saw a lady pulled over with her hazards on, so Elder Vance decided we should go help her and we turned around and parked in a parking lot by where they were. When we walked down to the car, we realized there was a man in the back of the car groaning and kicking - he was having a heart attack. It was pretty scary. We asked the lady if there was anything we could do, but she just said she had already called 911 and they were on the way. So, we just decided to pray. As we knelt and prayed for the man (Ralph), one of the paramedics pulled up behind the lady's van. We she started checking out the man, and lady (Cheryl) walked around by us. We were really simpathetic to her, and asked again if there was anything we could do for her, and she just said "Just give me a hug", so I did. I wasn't sure if she would ever let go. Another ambulance pulled up, and the driver happened to be the second counselor in our ward's bishopbric who we had been talking to alot at church, and we could tell he was really surprised to see us standing there. Cheryl was pretty comforted and hopeful to hear that we prayed for her husband, and Elder Vance told her that he felt like everything would be alright. She called us "her angels", to one of the paremedics and to us. I didn't feel like we did anything, but I guess just to have us there was comforting to her. After they took her husband, we waited with her for her sister to come, and talked to her for a bit. We gave her our number to call us if she needed anything, so we hope she will. Okay, well I look foreward to more letters and emails from you guys. Love you! Elder Vogan

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MUSKEGO LAKES

Tuesday-- 5/19/09
I came at the perfect time of the year! It's green, cool, not too humid - gorgeous area. The Muskego Lakes ward is the ward that the mission presidency is in. We are right down the street from the Mission home and office. I am very fortunate to be in this area to start my mission. We drive probably the nicest car in the mission, a dark grey '09 Malibu (from the picture that Sister Kier sent you), and our apartment is really nice too. We might be moving in with some members soon though, the Du Charmes. Brother Du Charme is the new ward mission leader, and the family is really cool. Their house has plenty of room for us too, I think we'll have our own part of the house to ourselves.

Oh and I haven't even talked about my companion. His name is Elder Vance, from Boise Idaho. He was a convert to the church at 18 years old, so that is cool to have that story when teaching. He is 22 now. He's really good at skateboarding, snowboarding, guitar, singing, rapping, and beat boxing, and I'm sure other stuff I don't know about yet. He was in two different bands back in Idaho that were pretty good, one Indy/rock band and one hip hop group. We work well together, and get along well.

Well, this first week went really well. I really liked meeting the members of the ward, and we were able to teach and invite alot of people. Everyone here is so nice. I don't think I've talked to any mean people yet. Everyone here seems is really religious too, mostly Catholic or Lutheran. Right now, we are teaching a little 9 year-old named LJ, a yound couple - Steve and Shelley, another young couple, William and Ashley, and a guy named Nate. And all these people have baptism dates within the next month, and we set them all since I've been here so that's really cool. Steve and Shelley, and Nate have all been meeting with missionaries for years and never committed, so it's crazy that I am here when that happens. We've met with a lot of other really nice people too, who we hope we can continue teaching. It's easy to teach when we have this fail-proof method to know if something is true: prayer. Most people really like it when they realize that we don't just want them to take our word for it, that we encourage them to sincerely pray and promise them that they will know for themselves if the things we teach are true or not. We aren't salesman, we are mailmen - delivering a message.

That blog looks really cool Mom, I like it! And just like Elder Caldwell said, I got to meet him last Thursday at transfer point! It was really cool to meet him, and we aren't too far away from each other so we might meet up on P-Day one of these weeks. Alright, well I hope you guys are doing well! Keep me up-to-date on how everything is going! Love you Elder Taylor Vogan