Sunday, August 25, 2013


 Monday August 19, 2013

So the title says it all.

       This week has been by far one of my favorites!

Monday: Monday was p day of course and we gave one lesson to an old lady named Candy. She is a nice old lady, doesn't have any teeth and cant be over 4 and half feet tall. When you sit on her couch basically a cloud of smoke covers you because she smokes so much inside. Very friendly, she lets us in mainly to have some company. We had a guy named Lance stop us at the Mcdonalds drive thru. He worked there and gave us his number and said he wanted to here what we taught. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.

Tuesday & Wednesday: These days are combined for they weren't the best days! Tuesday night we spent an hour walking up and down the street picking up trash! Didn't know that could be fun but I thought it was. We also had dinner at the Vandenbarcks which was nice! We had these way good shredded pork burritos with homemade tortillas. Other than that, those two days we just tracted.

Thursday: We went to Mission this day and had a way good day. We got in with Leslie and her boyfriend and that was fun as always! Her BF Cody actually sat down with us this time and basically said he wanted to take the lessons based off of how happy Leslie was after each time we left. I'm excited to keep teaching her and now him too. I think that is all we had that day to be honest. It was still a way good day. Attitude really makes everything so much more simple.

Friday: I had my first zone training meeting and that was at 11 am in Pierre SD. We drove up with a couple other elders and that was way cool. I had to give a brief scripture message on repentance and the BD gives a perfect definition of that. We had a member present lesson with the Barkers and Lyndsey who is on date to be baptized. The Best part about that was she brought a friend and her friend was pretty interested as well. We also had a lesson with a man named George who is older. He went Anti for a little bit because he got offended in church cause the Sunday school teach didnt acknowledge his answer the way he wanted. He is old school NA and hates pretty much every white person except the Elders? He loves us no matter how mad he is. He rages about a billion different things but it all has to do with him being abused in the catholic boarding schools. Forgiveness is a big issue with him. Over all a really good day.

Saturday: This day was great. We got to help Pres. Vandenbarcks son move out of his house and we loaded the trailer for him. That is always fun. I truly think the Church needs to start a nation wide moving business and either hire drivers and call elders to be the movers. That would be a dang cool mission! Just saying. We met a couple new people this day and had quite a bit of fun just being ourselves. The females of Winner Give us a really hard time. Its fun but it stinks at the same time. We got to teach/talk to Collins Flood today! I love that man. He is so down to earth. He is one of the most likable people I probably have ever met. Maybe besides Cory Webster.

Sunday: My favorite day of the week as long as we are in Winner! I love the Branch here so much! We had to speak in sacrament. Shocker! It was a good talk. I talked on D&C 4 again. I really really really like that section. In Sunday School we talked about how we should handle trails. That is always fun. The Our Heritage lessons are amazing!

D&C Section 128:22   "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad"

This is probably my new favorite scripture. Its so motivating for me. There is going to be a Victory. Heavenly father will win. Whether we are there or not is up to us.

After church we taught a lesson to a very kind lady named Jerry Valla. She is old and very very religious. She has no desire to change her ways but she loved meeting with us and hearing about what we believed. We went over the Articles of Faith and broke each one apart. Some she agreed with others not so much. Great lady. She really motivated me to learn more about the scriptures. Then we had A Correlation meeting with Brother Midgely and Pres. Vandenbarck. They both are so cool. Brother Midgely bought us lunch at subway and when he dropped us off he bought us a milk shake at McDonald's. Just funny. We got our first referral  this day and actually got a good contact with her. We also tried a former investigator named Krity Byrnes. She was very nice and wasnt too interested but man by looking at her home and just the overall appearance of her and the kids you would think they were Mormon. Overall a great day!!!!

Today: We missed a phone call today at 8 am from my favorite people here. Brother Bartlett. He left us a message, He in short said that he was in jail in winner with his wife Kathy and he used his one phone call to ask us for bail money. It was a dang good prank other than Kathy started laughing in the background and ruined it., I was rolling laughing so hard. Made my day. Then I got a package from my amazing mom:) Thanks for all the contributions. Courtney Chase. What is that symbol thing you drew? that was way cool!!!

Thanks so much for all who took part in blessing my mom with such an amazing b-day. I heard all about it and you all are so great! This week I think instead of just doing it for my mom. I think all moms are great and so if you have the ability do something nice for your mom this week do it:) Although Im proud to say, mine is still the best!!!

Darin Perkins. I love you! and I can use as many of these !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as I want! so stop complaining! yah,  count them now:)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love all of you tons!!!! cant wait to here from you all!


I got a kick out of this reply from Braydon's uncle Darin after we forwarded his last weeks email out! Im sorry to say, Braydon got his passion for the use of exclamation marks from his momma. I too use them excessively and am not sorry about it. Hey I am just thankful he writes. The real fun part is reading his microscopic chicken scratch from his letters, but he writes faithfully and they are heartfelt and full of detail. I can feel his enthusiasm for the work and the love he has for the people there.

"From this email, it is difficult to tell if Braydon is excited about his mission and the experiences he's having.  I counted 88 complete or partial sentences, but only 99 exclamation points.  Even his time after church, which clearly isn't as much fun for him as the time up to and including church, is deserving of one exclamation point.  Now that's excitement for the work and wonderful to see!

If we combine Braydon's use of exclamation points with dad's unabashed and prolific use of "quotation marks" in his writing, the punctuation police would be overwhelmed.

Seriously though, it is great to see that he is excited and enjoying the work.  Keep sharing the news. "

This week was nuts! SO MUCH FUN!!

Monday August 12, 2013

Hey everybody! hows a-going!!!??

              This week has been great! I like my idea of breaking it down Day by day! Is that okay?

Monday- So Monday we didn't do much. We had a few less active members planned but they didn't let us in. We did however have a member dinner and that was good! We had a bomb chicken soup! the broth was the best part! They were the Vandenbarcks. Not president though, its his brother.

Tuesday- We went to the Bartletts for dinner. Well first we did a little less active hide and seek. The Bartletts live just outside of Gregory which is about 25 miles from Winner so we made a day trip out of it and went and saw a few LA members out there. Nothing to promising unfortunately but we did see a really cool house that was all turquoise. Kinda cool! The Bartletts are just amazing! Scott has some of the coolest stuff in the world! His whole house is just amazing!! He is a self taught leather artist of all sorts! He is just a cowboy! That is how he needs to be described! They cooked some dang good hamburgers and we had a blast! His wife Kathy is amazing too! Shes a weight loss specialist for some company and is just 100mph all the time! So much fun! Definitely going back there!!!

Wednesday- We had exchanges. I went to Chamberlain South Dakota and it was fun! They are right on the Missouri river so it was cool to see that all day long! Nothing to exciting happened there. I got attacked my a cocker spaniel. But He didn't really attack me. He was barking and going crazy but he wouldn't bite me. He wasn't used to visitors. Anyways.

Thursday- That was a long day. We had a lot of tracting and finding planned and we did just that! Nothing came out of it unfortunately but we did get to See Collins Flood again. He has been watching Sister Wives and thought that was the Mormons. We told him otherwise and explained a few other issues hes having. Great guy. He was the only person we got in with that day!!!

Friday!!!- We went back to Mission! Finally got to teach people again!!!!! I never thought Id miss the res till I didn't get to teach any more. We saw Nancy and mowed her lawn for her! People get really confused when they see us in white shirts and ties mowing a lawn! Kinda funny! We had a good lesson with her about building your foundation upon Christ! Helamen 12:3. Mathew 7:24

Saturday!!!- We taught Leslie! she is one of my favorite people to teach!! she is so open and easy to talk too!! Her kids are my favorite! Bella is 5 or 6 and Cadence is 2. Bella is always outside riding her bike when we pull up and she jumps off and runs and gives us a hug and says are you gonna teach mom? You always make her happy! yah talk about day maker!!! haha Cadence is just funny, she likes our name tags!! We also had a lesson with Maxine! Who is my all time favorite person to see on the Res. She is so funny and is always teasing us and having fun! We having been trying so hard to get her on date and we finally did!!! Plus we had dinner at the Barkers and had smoked ribs and chicken! Still not as good as Joe P's ribs!! Driving back to winner is about 65 miles and we saw 13 deer!!!! Dont wanna hit those in the Chevy Cruz!!!!

Sunday- We have a lot of fun at church on Sundays! We do the sacrament, give the opening and closing prayers and usually either talk or teach Sunday School!! Really fun! As far as the day goes, after church not much! We took sacrament to an older lady named Doyle! She is really fun to talk to! We had a correlation meeting with Brother Midgely and President Vandenbarck at 7 and that was our day!! Not to exciting but hey take what you can get!

This weeks challenge!!! Tuesday is my amazing moms Birthday!!! yes. You are required to at least tell her happy birthday and brownie points if you get her a treat!!! Love you guys

   All is good!! I am having fun and doing the work! Take life day by day minute by minute! but plan ahead and be prepared! Sometimes we get so caught up in the future we forget to enjoy the now! Love all of you soo much and cant wait to hear from yah!!!


The first couple weeks of him being in South Dakota were a little rough only in the sense of mail failures! In Braydons previous email he had mentioned that none of the mail we had sent since he had arrived in South Dakota had found him, and we had not received anything from him including the letter he had sent home including hid SD cards with pics from the MTC. We finally got all of our letters returned saying undeliverable. It made me sad he hadn't gotten them. His emails are short and sweet as well as ours to him and we save the details and the longer correspondence for the letters. So it had been minimal communication for a few weeks. I/we (it's really a toss up who is more neurotic about checking the mail, me or the girls??!!) have been checking the mail daily for weeks waiting for the letter with the pics to show up and to no avail. I was kind of sick thinking that all his pics had been lost and bummed because other than the pics the Barkers had texted we hadn't seen any since him leaving on his mission. It had been 3 weeks and no letter so I had resolved that it was lost in mail no mans land somewhere. UNTIL, a random Wednesday night when in the middle of making dinner the doorbell rings and it is our neighbor 4 doors down and behold she is holding a little white envelope. I SQUEALED, I know what that is and all but gave her a big hug. She was apologizing because she had been out of town so it had just been sitting at her house for a couple weeks. As we chatted she shared that she had just been to South Dakota and Wyoming, what a funny coincidence!! Kiley and a few of the friends were down watching Duck Dynasty so Mal and I loaded the pics and enjoyed looking at them all by ourselves when the kids finally made their way back up and saw what we were doing this was the scene that transpired. It literally melts my heart to look at this and realize how lucky we are to have the friendship/relationships we do! Just look at the besotted look on my girls faces.
When everyone was done it dawned on me that Braydon had made reference to 2 SD cards in his letter but Malerie had only produced one. I asked if there was another one in there and she answered no, but just to satisfy myself I double checked and sure enough there was another one stuck in the very corner of the envelope. SCORE!! More pics.
As I looked through these I had such a mix of emotions. Thankful to see my sons smiling, happy face but heart broken for the mother of the missionary that had just passed away. He was one of Braydon's room mates at the MTC and a great number of the pics were of him. As a mother I cannot even begin to imagine the great loss his mom and family must be experiencing. I know Braydon as well as a number of missionaries that served with this young man had instantly grown to love him and they had formed a tight bond right from the beginning. They shared a letter the mission president read at a service the missionaries held for Elder Bennet, it is one of the most beautiful, insightful, comforting things I have ever read. I would love to post it because I know there is definitely something to be learned from it but feel it would be a violation of privacy. We will continue to pray for comfort and peace for his family and loved ones.

Just a few of the pictures from the MTC.
Elder Perkins and Elder Dunlap- Clearly having a good time!
 Not sure what these two were about but thought they were fun!

President and Sister Anderson

This week was a roller coaster!!!! good thing I conquered Six Flags!!

 Monday, August 5th

 Hows agoin everybody!?
        This weeks has been NUTS!!! We finally started our work in Winner, South Dakota. What a cool place! Im moving here when I get done! Just saying! If you saw it you would too. So unfortunately this week hasn't been all that great for teaching or really much of anything except knocking on doors.
               Tuesday we woke up planned and got a phone call asking for help from the Elders (that's me) to help move a family out of there house and into a moving truck. We said yes and finished up all of our meetings and studies and stuff we had to do at about 2 and then we were off moving. The Branch Presidents Wife, Sister Vandenbark picked us up in their 2011 ford F-350. There was no better treat than riding in that truck for 30 minutes! It took almost till about 6 to finish moving and then the Vandenbarks (President included) took us to a diner cafe deal! It was about 45 minutes back to the cafe and we talked about farming bees the whole time! That is what president does obviously.  He has 10,000 colonies of bees! It was way cool learning about that. After dinner we changed and went out and Met with a less active lady named Shelly. She was pretty cool and we taught her the first part of the Restoration and then got on the topic of church attendance and various other things. That was our Tuesday.
             Wednesday we planned on tracting the whole day! and we did. But before we started we got stopped by a lady named Barbara in a mini van she stopped us right in the middle of a main road. Finally she drives ahead and pulls into a neighborhood. Turns out she was a member from Cali visiting her daughter who isn't a member who is going through a divorce and Barbara is watching her kids and house. She asked for a blessing to help her resist the urge to smoke and so we did, on the back of her van on a neighborhood street! What an experience that was! We got her contact info and then left! Funny lady.
The rest of the day was literally all tracting until 9pm along with Thursday and Friday and Saturday. We have had some pretty rude people answer the door and just rip us a new one. We Just shook their hands as they were yelling and said have a nice day! probably the hardest thing I have done!
            Sunday was a good day! We had church at noon and that was great all of 12 people there. Bore my testimony on the blessing of missionary work! We took the sacrament to an old lady named Doyle and she was way cool! Super funny! and then Brother Midgley who is a court reporter and is like 120mph everything he does bought us subway! haha Im not sure why! It tasted good. We then visited a few other less active. Specifically Bob and Mary Gilmore. They were cool she is  a member, he is not.  Then we had a Branch Coordination meeting that night and that was awesome! Learned alot and created a pretty good plan!!

All in all a good week! Tracting is tough and really boring usually but its gotta get done! Im doing good! and all is well! If you feel so inclined please write me!

Also I havent received one follow up on my challenge to all you to tell my mom she is awesome! So now the deal is that plus you have to buy her lunch!! YAh!!! and then follow up!!!

Love all of you tons!!!!!

Hows A goin

Monday, July 29th

Hey everybody!!

            First off I would like to apologize to everybody who has hand written me a letter and gotten it back or I havent got it yet. The mission home never told us to move till this last Tuesday but they thought we already had when we called so all of our mail was being sent there and nobody was there to get it! Whoops! Im moving there today though and that apartment is flipping sweet! Its two stories, we have temper-pedic beds and a huge kitchen and two reclining chairs and a pretty sweet study! Ill let you all know ASAP when I get the address.
        This week has been great! Had a couple run ins with some wacked out drunk people but it was kinda fun! One guy his name was Eddy and he was mammoth big tried to kill us but we talked him down with the gospel. Another guy has seen God 12 times and has read all the Harry Potter books 7 times each. Kinda funny to be honest. We had not the best week numbers wise but the quality of lessons was really solid. Had some cool experiences talking to just random people on the street and I got to be the senior companion for a while when I went on exchanges. Its nuts how far 164 dollars will go. We make all of our food. We don't buy the freezer food crap. Much better that way! So if your ever feel inclined to send something I suggest that!!  Just saying. We get fed by members about twice a week and this last week we got invited by one of our eternal gators (somebody who wont let us go but doesn't really progress). I got volun-told to cook hamburgers, brawts, steaks and hot dogs! Talk about a Sunday lunch! Lets just say we didn't eat dinner. The weather is great here its not as hot as AZ fortunately but its warm enough and this last week has been 75-80 all week with a ton of cloud cover. Wednesday and Saturday I probably walked close to 8 miles. No joke!! Kinda fun! Im not gaining that 15 pounds I promise. If anyone wants a dream catcher or some Indian stuff send some money and I will buy and ship it to you! There is a cart that this guy owns and he has some pretty wicked awesome stuff.
     Kiley & Mal I have a suprise for you!:) The Dream catchers are anywhere from 10 to 50 dollars depending on size!
We had one lady this last week Leslie and she (I thought) was dodging us but turns out she was just super busy. I learned that just cause something doesn't go right when you want it to doesn't mean its going wrong! Definitely will remember that! We are pretty popular with kids around here. We have Jesus Christ pass along cards and they love em!

So I love and miss all of you! keep writing me and Ill do the same for you!
Everybody that gets this letter, Remember That my mom Elisha Perkins is the most amazing mom in the whole wide world!! and everybody that sees her this week owes her a hug!
Also the Perkins, Wright and Bakutis Family are all amazing!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Missionary Moms Unite

Tuesday, July 23rd

One of the most amazing things about having a missionary is being a MISSIONARY MOM, just sayin!! I have made so many acquaintances and friends so quickly. It has been a blessing and a relief to be able to have the support and expertise of moms that have done this before or other newbies that have different experiences and perspectives than myself but most of all just the simple love and  camaraderie we feel towards one another.
This morning I had the opportunity to meet one of these amazing moms for lunch! Only in our church can you meet a total stranger for lunch and spend 3 and half hours talking like we have known each other and been close friends our whole lives!! It was so fun to connect in person and share stories and experiences with each other. I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many friends not only here at home but all over. Life is good.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another Monday

 Monday, July 22nd

Thankfully this summer had been jam packed so it has helped the weeks between emails fly by!
The three kids (only 3 kids is still so so weird for me) along with Kirsten, Sydney, Avery and Caleb drove up to Utah on July 19th. The girls are all going to EFY,  and all but Kirsten for the first time and we decided to make a real trip of it.
Monday, July 22nd I drove them all to Salt Lake from Midway (we got there 2 hours early) finally got them checked in and found their rooms etc grabbed Aaron Pemberton who had flown in from Oklahoma for EFY as well and we went for Pizza. There is a story to go with that adventure that sadly and funny enough these kids will probably never forget (it included a NAKED guy!!)
As I was getting ready to head back up the canyon after getting them back to campus that much anticipated email came through!

You know it's all good when the subject line reads

I LOVE IT HERE!!!!!!!!!
Dear Everybody whom I Love,

        SO this week has been amazing! I have grown so much its just unreal! We are teaching about 25 people and have another 35-40 possibles! We cover Mission, Rosebud, and a bunch of the real small surrounding towns. Im not sure when but we are supposed to be moving to Winner soon to a real apartment. I mailed home a bunch of photos so hopefully mom can post them all! We do all of our laundry at the Allens who is our neighbor. They own the trailer we stay in. So the people here are in big time poverty due to there own lack of motivation and disrespect of themselves. But it is really cool when they see us helping out in various ways and they just don't know what to say because no one ever stops. Especially "White" people. For example the other day we were driving down the road and a trailer with three pallets of frozen peas was dumped by the wind so us and one other police officer stopped and helped them pick it all up! The guys were speechless. We teach a woman named Nancy who is just awesome. She is our res "mom" she really studies what we tell her and tries to have questions and even tests us quite a bit. We had a guy slam on his brakes and crank his car over to the side of his side of the road jump out in front of us and said "HEY!!! are you the mormons?" and were like yah.... "Well I wanna know more and can I have one of your books?" we look at each other and say sure! Pretty funny! We get stopped to pray for people all the time! another funny story! We were tracting and this teenaged girl answers the door and we tell her whats up and shes like my little bro might be interested. Well... He was 6 so he got a high five and we left! It was the best dodge I have seen yet! So Dad(Eric) Brother Gilson who is a member here had been companions with Junior Gonzalez on his mission! how crazy is that!? We also started naming all the different waves we get from people were at like 20 different ones. Once again Im out of time, so I gotta go:( LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL!

First Pday in South Dakota

I have no idea what the Pday schedule is like so from the minute I get up Monday I am checking my email like a neurotic freak!! At first I would check every 30 minutes or so but the later it got in the day the more frantically I began checking!! I was seriously out of control, I knew it but I still couldn't help myself!! By late afternoon I was beside myself knowing that there is a 2 hour time difference and I was losing hope that we were gong to get an email. I know it isn't the end of the world by any means but it didn't stop me from feeling sad and maybe a little down right grouchy!! By dinner time I came to terms with for whatever reason we weren't getting an email. Eric got home from work close to 7pm. and after the usual chit chat he says "so did you read Braydons letter?" my reply UHH NO because I didn't get one!! A couple minutes later I say "did you?" He gives me a funny look and says ya.  As irrational and unwarranted as it is and it TOTALLY is I want to punch him in the face!! Doesn't he know what kind of torture it is for a mom not to hear from her child when she is counting on and looking forward to it!!! I probably not to nicely say to him "well did it not occur to you to forward me the email or shoot me a text or anything???!!! He replies "no, because your name was on the email too so I assumed you got it" Perfectly reasonable to a rational person. As he looks at the email he says OHHH he typed your email address wrong and then promptly forwards it!!
 I feel like an addict as me and my phone scurry off to a quiet private place so I can FINALLY read the email!! Oh heaven help us, it is going to be a looong 2 years!!

Hey Everyone,

          So here it is:) P-Day. Monday. Its been a blur of a week. So starting with Monday morning at 4 am, we had to be up out of our residency by 5. I still had a little packing and cleaning to get done which stunk a little but obviously well worth it. We got out me and the bus driver loaded all the luggage and then we were off. Most of us literally. Half the bus was sleeping and the other half was making fun of the people sleeping! We then got to the airport and were super surprised we had a Gate reserved for us on the TV it said Welcome LDS Missionary Travelers. So all 26 of us loaded our bags on the scales. WHAT A BLESSING. Again mine weighed 49 and 50 with a limit of 50. God works in mysterious ways. We made it to our gate and then the double wait began. The wait for the phone and the wait for the plane of course. When I finally got to talk to mom and Dads and family I was about to throw somebody I was so excited. Finally on the plane the game started of who got to sit next to a non member so we could talk to them.... Not me:( That was okay I sat by Elder Price who is going to SD spanish speaking! HOW AWESOME. We flew out of utah and I was giddy as always because I love flying. I made Elder Price trade me so I could sit by the window. When we finally arrived in SD on our final decent I looked out the window and almost started crying tears of joy! It was so green and wide open and no big city I loved it sooo much. We got our bags and met the mission president who is just awesome. Such a great guy! Unfortunately Sister Taylor had one of her bags sent to the wrong mission. Which really was kinda funny cause when we were waiting in line to get bags she made the comment of how terrible it would be if someone had lost a bag. So we drove to the Mission home and I dont think the van driver liked me very much cause I asked her about a thousand and one questions about the area. We got to the home and had a fight for one of the 18 bunk beds down stairs. Had lunch, a quick lesson of the Elders that assist the mission president and then had a delicious dinner and then we finally got to find out where we are going. When it became my turn they introduced Elder Schneringer as my trainer and then talked about the Rosebud Indian Reservation. They talked about the quarter of a mobile home trailer we lived in and how in the winter sometimes you get snowed on through the window and how there is a hole in the floor. Then they said my name. Kinda nerve racking not gonna lie. Oh well. Finally Tuesday morning I got to drive to Vivian with another Elder and meet my companion. He is an awesome guy. He was a rancher for the church in Nebraska. Such an awesome trainer and has repeatedly said I came pre-trained. Not sure what that means. So after having car troubles and driving an extra 200 hundred miles we finally made it home. And then turned around and went right to work. I have learned to love walking. I wont go into super detail about exactly who we are teaching for this letter as I'm almost out of time but there is tons of drunk or high people out here and everybody smokes. The houses we go into are terrible but the people are great! Its weird. They had a pow wow this weekend where all the dancers come dance and you can watch them and such. Way cool. A lot better than any American dancing. "Just Saying". We have a lot of crazy people stop us and ask us to pray for them. We have a 2012 Chevy Cruze that we drive but we have limited miles so we usually drive to a central spot and walk! lots of walking like 4-8 miles a day. I will end up buying a bike soon. Not to sure about the winter gear yet. I gave a talk on Sunday and the ward literally no joke can fit behind our podium in our building. Kinda weird, but cool too!
Alright I Gotta go! write me letter!!!!!

Tender Mercy # I've already lost count!!

Tuesday July 9th

All day today all I could think about was I wonder where my son is? I wonder what he's doing right now? I wonder who his companion/trainer is and if they will have anything in common? Over and over again!! So later that evening Eric and Keat had gone to the Diamondbacks game with all the Pottle boys and the girls and I had a belated bday dinner date for Mal with the Chase girls. As we are waiting for the Toni and the girls to show up so we can be seated I get a text from a number I don't recognize and when I open it the message says "does one of these fine Elders belong to you"? and there was a pic of Braydon with his new companion. I very nearly cried right then and there! This thoughtful, kind member and her family had the missionaries (Braydon and his Comp) over for dinner his first night there. I now consider her my personal angel of mercy and BFF!! We proceeded to text back and forth for nearly an hour! (this was after the missionaries had left of course). He is in Rosebud, SD which is basically part of the reservation and covers a petty big rural area mostly all reservation. About 90% population of Sioux/Lakota Indian. She said her husband and Braydon became BFFs over dinner as they discussed hunting and weapons almost the entire time!She told me all about the Branch there and reassured me that they have the missionaries over usually a couple times a week and she will take great care of him! WOW what a blessing. I felt so relieved and at peace after hearing from her. I don't know if she will ever really know what her little thoughtful act of service meant to me! She had continued to send me random texts with updates and an occasional picture. Up until this week the pics she sent me were the only ones I had received.

                     Elder Perkins and Elder S-first day in SD

         Elder Perkins and Bro Barker

Elder Perkins and Elder S.

South Dakota Bound

Monday July 8th

I had forgotten to ask Braydon in our last email if he thought he would be able to call from the airport. So when my phone rang early Monday morning with an 801 area code I nearly squealed out loud!!! It was really him on the other end of the line! He sounded so good and was soooooo excited to be heading out to South Dakota. He told me all about the awesome experiences he had in the MTC and especially about his fellow South Dakota missionaries. I could really feel the love and respect he had for them. I woke up the other kids one by one so they could have a chance to say hi before he had to go. The best kind of wake up call ever!! After he finally hung up with us he called his dads. Such a mix of emotions I felt. Excitement for him to finally get out there and get to work, anxiety, a little fear, nervousness, sadness, joy!! The next week of waiting for Pday to hear what area he is serving in and to find out how his first week in the field went is going to be one of the longest weeks of my life!! Patience is a virtue is my new mantra!

Second and last email from the MTC

Friday July 5th

Hey Everyone,

                      How is everyone doing? I hope all is well! How was the 4th? Did anybody get to blow something up? I was so surprised yesterday when they announced that we got to see the stadium of fire show (just fire works, no Carrie UnderWood) but what was really special was before that we had a devotional and the president of the MTC spoke a little bit but then they surprised us all by putting on 17 miracles!!!! HOW COOL!? The MTC is still awesome, we are teaching two to three investigators in a day now along with classes and a lot of study time. I had a really good experience on Wednesday with our TRC (the most realistic teaching appointments they can create). We taught her about the restoration and man it was so cool. The spirit just spoke right through us. When we were done we walked outside and were like what just happened. You should have seen how excited I was! Our schedule is pretty crazy and with Sunday being fast Sunday Im not sure how Im going to stay awake. Today we started packing for Monday and man am I excited. There is so much excitement in our districts about leaving we are all bouncing up and down. I guess I should tell you the first part of that TRC. We teach each investigator twice and the first time we went in and messed up so bad, so we thought. We were all over the place throwing this and that at her and she had a really hard time keeping up and we were very disappointed in ourselves, but as I was pondering everything that went wrong, I thought about how we didn't prepare enough and how mentally we weren't ready to go in there and so I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for teaching me those lessons. That led to our amazing experience, and i think that was a blessing given to us for being so willing to learn from what we did wrong. We also got to see them set up and take pictures of the new missionary ipads outside our classroom. Sunday we got to go walk around the temple in Provo and that was really cool. Me and Elder Dunlap practiced bearing our testimonies to strangers and that was so cool! SO much fun! Monday we had that first TRC experience, which was still good and then had our usual classes. Tuesday was regular schedule until we had the big devotional at the Marriot Center. The devotional was really good. The speaker was Brother Richardson of the Sunday School first presidency and he talked on President David O' Mckays founding thing "Where Er'er thou art. Act Well thy part" and that really hit home to me that we cant and wont be the fantasy people the world idolizes but we can be the best "ME" and that is what we should strive for! Wednesday the new elders came and that was cool. There was 26 more elders and sisters added to our zone and they are all going to Iowa, So half of the zone to SD and the other to Iowa. Thursday was whats called In-Field Orientation and that was really long, 8am-5pm and it was a lot of small classes and seminars on how to work with people in the field. They put on a play at the end and it was super funny. And Friday (today) we got up real early to do laundry and then we hung out for a while and then did the packing and now we are at study time/lunch/class for the rest of the day. Saturday we have 4 teaching appointments and then Sunday is church and all the crazy stuff that goes on all day then and then Monday we leave here at 5:30am. So I am doing really good and Im so happy to be here. Oh I had an unfortunate experience trying to iron! Someone had melted there shirt to the Residency iron and I didn't realize it until after I started so my one SS shirt is now cooked:( hopefully I can get some more from home and have them sent to me in the field. I would recommend to everyone not to write me letters anymore cause I wont be here to get them. Does DearElder work outside the MTC? BUT DONT STOP WRITING ME! just dont send here. That's one of my favorite parts of the Day. So I love you all and I cant wait to write you again next week. I personally enjoy handwriting letters more than I do emailing. Mom Dad(Eric) Dad(Joe) and Melissa: Easton, Kanyon, Keaton, Malerie, Kiley and Caleb, Cole ( don't break anything at my house please) Kylee and Chase kids and all my other amazing friends and Family, I love and miss you so much! Stay awesome and do whats right!

Dad(Joe) can you send me a hand written letter? You didn't put your address in my book so I don't have anyway of getting it:( love you!

PS Thanks mom for the Cinnamon rolls. Its kinda funny kinda sad cause three other elders all got the same ones earlier in the week so nobody wanted them:( haha LOVE YOU, YOUR THE BEST!!!

First email from the MTC

Hey guys!!!!!

                    Like you said, I love it here. Its just so amazing like I was told for weeks. I have had soo many spiritual experiences already and im only on day 2.5. To be honest that whole home sick and "hard times" thing that everyone talks about hasn't hit me yet and Im hoping it wont. I got here and we jumped right in, didn't have much time to think. So when i got through security at the airport and made it to my gate, I walked into 15 elders and sisters already sitting there and total on the flight I counted 24. It was so warming to know I wasn't alone. It was really cool when I got onto the plane, the co pilot and pilot were welcoming us and i was the first of the missionaries to board and he asked me right off the back where i was headed on my mission and i was shocked at first and told him and then he replies "Cool, and by the way Im a stake president and the co pilot is a high council-man. It was really cool. I ended up sitting next to sister Taylor who is originally from Russia but has lived in mesa the past few years and is going to Virginia on her mission. She was way cool and we had a good time sharing stories about ourselves and such. Then I had lunch with Grandma and Grandpa, Brad and Nora, Missi, Cody, Lisa, and Mckay and kellian and Inga. It was really nice and then off to the MTC it was and I was so excited. Our days are packed with so much stuff and learning its just soo cool. Our first day we had to "teach" 3 different investigators as a zone. Now i know why they send us in twos and not 50's. It was a good experience and i learned alot. My companion is Elder Wilikinson, hes from Bountiful, Utah and we get along great. We work as one and are solid in everything we do. The other two elders in our resisdency are interesting characters but good ones. I had to write a talk today for sacrament meeting and the strategies and tips that i was given on how to write my farewell talk came into play and it took me 15 minutes. If you ever have a chance to read or at least look through true to the faith, do so, Its extremely helpful and has a ton of scripture references to use. Our district is sooo awesome and I have no doubt in my mind that all 12 of us are called to South Dakota for a reason. I noticed yesterday that everyone of us is either from a small town, lives in the country or has a lot of outdoor experience. It was cool when I brought that forth and everyone was like yah you are right. The sisters are great and really bring forth a lot to our discussions. Its been a full day of us meeting and I feel like we all know each other so well. Keaton I hope you get to go climbing soon:) I talked to a few sisters and elders here who have done that as sport and its crazy how strong they are its really good for you. Maybe look into doing that more frequently? Kiley and Malerie, you guys are awesome I love you both sooo much. Easton and Kanyon, I love you guys a ton and I hope you guys continue to grow and be the amazing boys I have seen you grow into so far. Of course I cant forget MOM:) she is without a doubt the best mom and the best friend anyone could have and I hope all of you at home treat her like that:) My Dads are amazing hardworkers and great examples to me. I talk about you guys a lot. Melissa you are and have been such a great mom to me too:) you are always so caring and loving to everyone around you and thats one thing that I have learned big time here, thats what its all about. Its not about any lesson its about love and showing endless love for everyone. To all my friends especially Caleb, Cole, Connor, Carson, Kylee and everyone else, I love you guys and specifically to the boys, I want you to watch out for each other and make sure you make the decisions that will bring you here to the MTC and then on to the mission eventually. You guys are all so great and I love and miss you guys. Thanks for everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                   With Love,
                                                                                                                                                                                   Elder Perkins

P.S. my PDAYS are friday here and i can send a recieve snail mail whenever. and mom can you get this letter to everyone else:) I love you eat some sushi for me:)