Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas time

Christmastime is here. Thank you so much for all the presents and the awesome tree you sent a little while ago. Everything is set up and ready to rumble for when santa comes Tuesday night. I haven't opened a single present or looked in the stocking yet, so be proud. To us it feels like it isn't even Christmas in many ways. We both sent off all of our presents early and we don't really stop and change when December rolls around so it is just normal.
We are planning on serving a dinner at some other Church on Christmas Day. There are some cool ones that have some amazing stained glass, hopefully one of them will let us help them out. It is nice to focus on the service and sharing part of Christmas. We are trying to help someone move today, and we are putting beds into a lot of  members houses tomorrow. Service makes me feel good. It is always fullfilling to me to give of my time or resources or whatever I have to someone who is truly in need. I think that might be a tradition my family and I have. We will go to the soup kitchen or something like that on Christmas day. That'll be nice. I hope we can find ways to serve every day this week.
In other News:
2 days ago it was 75 degrees
It is pouring rain right now
I saw my first companion who was visiting from Hawaii
I got a bag of Chocolate Truffles and I can not walk past them without taking at least one
We are skyping soon and I am excited about that
I have decided for sure that I am going to do Ironmans
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I love you all!

-Elder BIgelow

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week of Dec 16

This week has been another wild one in many ways, one of the most challenging things that has happened is that a pair of Hermanas had to take off. For a number of reasons they had to leave, but the tough part is picking up all the work that they left. They are amazing missionaries so they  had a lot going on. It has been difficult to distribute their load that is so important to the ward. I think we have finally figured it out but it will  just mean more hard work. That, afterall it what I am here for right? So it is great.
Niether Elder Clark or I have any idea what will happen to us for this next transfer. We both assume we will stay because it would seem kind of stupid to move us, from our perspective. But, there are so many other things going on in the mission, we might be needed elsewhere. Elder Clark and I have really started to work together and keep making more steps to become more unified. The stronger and stronger we get the more effective and excited we become.  As we start the Christmas season in full gear, we are not sure if work will pick up or slow down. Many people are leaving town but many others will be at home with their families. I hope we can share this message that we have through the Christmas spirit and bring joy into others' homes.
I am sorry I am kind of lame this week. It has been what seems to be such an average week. I will try and seek more of the extraordinary next week to let you guys know.
Good News:
We found another awesome family to teach
I found my battery charger
We got a ton of leftover food from Ward Christmas parties
I still love shoes
Bad News:
I am really tired
We still don't have Ipads
Love you all lots,
Elder Bigelow

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Red Lights

Fam + Crew,
Since living in Virginia I have picked up the habit of sorta kinda running red lights... It is just a thing that people do all the time. And, with the amount of traffic, the whole left turning lane thing takes FOREVER, so you take every opportunity you get. I am not talking about running red lights that have already been red for like 3 seconds, that would be stupid. That is what everybody else does. The funniest part about noticing this is that nearly every time I do it, there is always someone coming in behind me who does wait the 3 seconds and then run the light. The point is it is normal here. I have gotten used to it. It is something that over time has become normal to me. I related this to the rest of the habits that I have. I am trying to rat out bad ones and magnify good ones. In many of the classes or lessons we have had from my favorite Elder Jim Ritchie, we have talked about how we are all predestined to succeed. Not because we have a set destiny, but we do truly have the potential of God. We are inherently wired to succeed, the things that hold us back are only our bad habits, our wrong decisions. We have a celestial spirit inside trying to conquer what's on the outside, we just have to let it out.
What I have started to do now is go through my daily stuff and think about the good things I do and bad things I do. Or, in otherwords, find the things that are holding me back. Take care that when you do this, because of course you will, to take it slow because you can't conquer your entire being in one go. I know I have changed and I know I will succeed in my life in whatever I truly desire if I can apply and use my good habits.
I am out of time per usual. We had an "Ice Storm" yesterday that everybody freaked out about and and we cancelled church. I was underwhelmed.
Love you guys,
-Elder Jonathan Bigelow

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prayers are Legit

This week we had an amazing experience. We have been struggling to find, teach and even meet with members. We got rocked actually, but this was a ray of sunshine.

On saturday we had a return apointment with a potential we had caught up with earlier that week. We went over and on the way in to his complex we saw a sign that said "Absolutely no soliciting and or distributing of literature of any kind. All violators will be prosecuted". Usually that isn't the biggest deal in the world but our back-up had been to knock around and talk to people in that complex because we felt as if we should. We went to go see Marvin (the potential) and he was not there. I had to pee really really really bad so we left quickly to hit a 7-11 around the corner and came back to try Marvin again. Before getting out of the car we said a couple prayers about where/what we should do after Marvin if he wasn't there because all his lights were still off. We both felt in the end that there was someone we needed to meet, and we needed to find them.

We went and knocked for one last faithfull try and he wasn't there. As elder Clark was writing a note I started banging my head on the wall out of frustration because this had happened so many times this week. I began desperately praying again searching for any sort of feeling of where we should go to find these people we needed to find. I asked over and over again if we should go left or right after exiting the complex. I faintly felt left after going back and forth, trying to test my feelings. I told Elder Clark and took the lead out of the complex and just started walking in a direction that felt okay. I looked at a building and said in my head, middle to the right, so I continued toward that building. There was a little kid playing soccer outside of the building and I walked past him trying to follow my feelings. Elder Clark stopped and said, "lets talk to him". I said, "great, whatever you feel". We taught him about the Book of Mormon and a living prophet, we asked him if we could teach him and his family. He said sure, we could go talk to him mom right now in the house which was # 102 which was the building I had been walking towards, middle floor to the right. We went and knocked. Long story short, she said she knew of our church, was Christian, has a friend who is Mormon who went to BYU and that we could come back any time this week. Magic.

Prayer is sooo real, and God provides for his servants. I knew it, but to see it again was a blessing.
I have recieved the birthday presents, I LOVE THEM, THANK YOU. The journal is awesome and I love the hat.
It is getting cold here and I love it
Love ,
Elder Bigelow

My profile picture that didn't quite cut the mission standards but I still might try to sneak on

A really awesome family who's daughter just got baptized and my bishop

Monday, November 18, 2013

Faaaaaalls Church

Hey fam bam +,
I went to the Crystal City Mall just barely, I am pretty sure I just drove past our old apartments again. The Crystal House? We went to Costco just barely. To answer one of your questions, I pretty much only go to Costco for shopping and eat at members houses one way or another.
I really like Falls Church a lot. It has a lot of the vibes I like in a town. A little artsy, a little old and lots of stone and lots of people. I am really excited to work here. The members in our ward and seem to have a strength about them that is different than what I saw before. I think more than anything it is the direction the Bishop and the Ward Mission Leader have for our ward.  One of them named Bishop King who is a high powered lawyer who works "down-town" as I am told and the other works as a consultant for Deloitte.  They both have some really great ideas for our ward as well as the guns to back it all up.
Moving to a new area and "blue washing" (When two new elders replace sister missionaries) has been really different. I don't know any members well, and the few that I did know from before didn't even come to Church on Sunday. We are basically starting from scratch because the previous missionaries didn't leave us any sort of relationships with member families, less-active families or investigators to visit. Because of this we have had to change how we do things, for the better. Everything we do involves so much prayer. We have no sort of direction to go so all we do is ask God to direct us. Our first night when we really didn't know what we were doing we just looked through the ward list combined with a few former investigators and prayed about where on earth we should go. We ended up finding a name we both felt pretty good about. We went to the house with a result of a very nice little english speaking family. Before they kindly declined what we had to offer we asked them if any of there neighbors were spanish speakers. Long story short, one of their neighbors is now our first investigators. With time their whole family will join in and begin their own journey in this Gospel. Prayer is so real. Prayer is something I  have always known works, and that I have always felt the power of. One of the very best things for me about what I do right now is telling people they don't have to trust in my words, all they have to do is ask God in prayer. It is simple, all the answers they desire or are searching for are only a few genuine prayers away. I know I can always improve my prayers. I know that I can better use this divine conversation I have been given every day. Because, I know that prayer works.
I will keep you updated on all the good news from Falls Church Virginia!
Love You all
--Elder B
Ps. Do you remember the Allen family from the 1st ward? They meet in our building the hour after us. Cool huh, we are going over for dinner on thursday.

Week of Nov 11

This week is veterans day, which is kind of the worst because the libraries are closed so all of our computers get mobbed, so I have to wait for like 2 hours to get a tiny bit of time. This does mean however that I might get to email tomorrow too.

This week as I gear up for moving into a new area I have been trying to do everything I can to leave a lasting difference here in my area. This has meant particularly really ramping up work with members and within the leadership in the ward. One of the most meaningful things we have recently done is creating a vision for the ward over the next transfer or two. Taking time to create visions, goals, plans and creating an accountability structure has made plans that will greatly impact this ward for long after I leave, regardless if I am there. Doing this type of planning all the time has really changed the way I think about the rest of my life. Just to think about it is kind of weird. I  have planned out so much of my life already. Who would have ever thought of me as the long term detailed planning type? Thank you all so much for everything. I have to run. I will try to write a little more tomorrow!

I love you all so much.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Another food related musing

I still really like drinking coke, like a lot.

I hardly ever do but it is always a good experience. During weekly planning which tends to last around 4 hours if you do it right I begin to want to kill myself (because I have to be inside) or I drink a coke, it is how I get through friday afternoons. Planning is great, though often strenous. That is how it is supposed to be as I understand it, so I wear my thinking cap and drink coke and everything is better. That is something really cool about things that God asks us to do sometimes. We are allowed, and I think expected to find and use our own productive coping mechanisms. I am always all over finding ways to make everything we do a little funner, or bearable, depending on task. Something our Mission President quotes often is his defenition of discipline: "Doing what you don't want to do, when you don't want to do it becasue you know you should". Thinking about President Riggs saying that to me always helps me to get through something I would prefer to avoid, and eventually helps me develop a desire to complete some things. If something seems rough and right now is a really inconvient time to do something I can just say, sweet, I am a missionary and I do it. Because, I know that becasue of my calling I have to do many things, and I often have to grow into my calling. I am here to become the person God sent me to be, so therefore, I must be disciplined. Anyways, enough about the coke.
This past Miercoles was Halloween so we watched some movies, which was cool. We watched Megamind, which is always good and we also got to see Monsters University, also stellar. It was kind of weird to just watch a movie and it not be a big deal, even though it was. I also ate lots of chocolate.
I had an interview with the President this week. Those are always great/scary becasue he often rips you apart in a really nice way and then makes you feel better at the end.
This is my last week in my first area. I said goodbye in my testimony on sunday which was very odd. A quarter is already over.
This past week I have learned again a tremendous amount about how much this mission is for me and my own changes. Everyday I change more into the person God wants, and needs me to be. As we continue to be obedient, tirelessly plan and look for opportunites to exert ourselves we have not seen many fruits of our labors this past month, but the success is evident within ourselves our resolve and our new vision for the rest of our lives. I now know many things I did not know to start and have a much stronger faith and belief in others. This Gospel will bless the lives of those I share it with because of the Love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his truthfullness.
Change into what you want to become
I love you all so much!
-Elder B.
ps. we found these awesome posters in the street. there will be a video of the gallery tour


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cookies and life lessons

Dear Mom,
MMMMMMMM... Them lemon shortbread cookies you sent are real good. Thank you so much for sending them out. I am still savoring the ginger pennies too. They have lasted very well in their little zip-lock bag. My companion Elder Facer really loves them all too, I think he likes the shortbread more. I am so glad my companion and I get a long so well. We have been able to do a lot of things together, including buying food together and sharing everything, even our packages for the most part, I still safeguard my chocolate though... I have a bag of guittard left...

I think I am kind of tough to get a long with now and again.  I just like having my way because I think it is the best or I am right. I am sure Dad remembers that. I specifically remember a number of arguments with him about how totally certain I was about something someone said, or how it was supposed to be done. I still do that, but I never let it get to an argument, I just say yep, you are probably right and let it go. Look Mom, I am learning! Isn't that great? But seriously, it is cool to see how we change and grow. There are many many things that I have decided that I will do and will not do for the rest of my life in my professional and familial life. One of my favorite parts about being in this mission is being able to listen to Elder (Jim) Ritchie, who was a major part of the Franklin-Covey "how to be a successful person stuff." I am hardly ever a "listen to this famous/rich person and find their secrets" guy, but he is something special. He, of course, is a fabulous, charismatic speaker, with all sorts of engaging stories and analogies, but they all come back to basic principles of the gospel. All of the 7 habits of successful people are truly based on scriptures. One of the things that he has specifically asked us to do is create a personal constitution. Meaning, to write out a record of our values and ideal characteristics in an order of importance, all elaborated and specified to our individual lives. As I try to do this with what little extra time I have I have been able to look ahead with the end in mind. I see situations that may come up and my decisions have already been made because of what I have chosen to foreordain. It is a great experience to go through and gauge yourself and decide what truly matters to your future. It is a lifelong process I think as one continues to develop and I am excited to continue to develop. It is a cool future to think about when I know what I want to become. You should do the same thing, or give it a go at least, if you haven't already tried it or have one.

In other news, for Christmas I will be receiving countless presents from all of my family and friends back home. Much, much too much food from members in the ward along with some presents. Hopefully some letters from friendly friends, as well as an Ipad and Iphone from my mission president. It is official, we will be getting these new devices to "hasten the work" this coming December. I can think of all kinds of great ways that an Ipad will help us already, particularly in showing videos to people who don't have internet connections. I am not sure what an Iphone is going to do for us other than be convenient; however, I am sure there will be a manual on how it will help us be more efficient and all sorts of great stuff. I am not complaining at all, I am all sorts of excited. Is anything cool like that happening at BYU? Free Ipads for everyone! It is cool to see the church truly start to adapt and use the wonderful benefits technology has to offer. 

This week I have really been able to see how I am being prepared to meet people as well as the other way around, but particularly me. There are a lot of people in this mission who I think are waiting for me to find and teach them, I, however, have to be prepared for them and they won't be put in my path if I don't change in the way I need to. We always hear the miracles of investigators being prepared, but I think more than half the miracles is ourselves changing into a person who is ready to bring someone else into the gospel. I will keep trying to change in the ways I need to to bring those to the Gospel who are waiting for me.

I love you guys lots! Keep doing great. 

Love, as always,

-Elder B
P.S. Still love playing soccer on P'day

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week of Oct 21

Buenas Dias from Herndon Virginny,
This past week has been tons of fun, we had nuestro noche de Hispanidad, for the month of October. It was a blast, and sooooo  many people came. 

It ended up being about half and half, with respect to members and non-members. We got to meet so many new people and show all of them although we may be a little weird we still know how to have fun. We were so busy this week planning, following up, and preping for the event. On top of that we had all our normal responsibilities. Just to do everything that we have been assigned to do, and doing it well we always end up getting into bed late. That is the worst, because I am sick and tired. I have learned though, if I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and still keep going then I am doing at least some things right. This week has also been disappointing in a number of ways. This week, we have worked harder, planned better and taught smarter with the results being just the opposite (numerically). It is really frustrating to watch the things called our "key indicators" go down even when we do all we can do. The good part about it all is we are not discouraged because we know that God knows what is up. As long as we continue to plan smart, work hard, and teach well we will accomplish the things that God wants us to do. I will be provided for in all ways as I do his will. We will continue onward with that faith, humility and diligence.

Talking about those three things brings up something that we have been taught, and have been teaching frequently recently. We call it "The Grace Formula", I'm pretty sure it is from an apostle sometime somewhere. Anyways, When we place our faith in Jesus Christ that he does and will provide for us, while humbly acknowleding our shortcomings and diligently working to over come them... We begin to access the true power and beauty of the Grace of Christ. The perfect way to excercise all of these steps is partaking of the sacrement weekly. We exhibit our faith, humility and diligence all in just a short, simple time if we do it right. So, will you, family and everyone else who is listening focus on these steps while accessing the grace of God? Also, it helps to smile while doing it.
Here is a photo of a friend, Pollito, on his last day when he gave his mission farewell talk. 

I love you all, Do more fun stuff!
Elder Bigelow

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week of Oct 14

It is always an interesting thing to think about the impact a missionary can have over many years. I have actually been thinking a little bit about that recently with a specific person, one of our investigators. Gerson is 14 and his brother is Christian, the one who was recently baptized. He can't get baptized right now because of his Dad, but that's a different story. Anyways, we went to a soccer field to go visit someone a week ago and as we were leaving, like we do, we said hi to the guy who was getting out of his car next to us and started to talk to him. Having nothing to do with our little conversation of him being a referee for the next game he blurted out, "You know I really respect what you guys are doing, I had a few friends back in high school who went on missions. Is it one year or two years? I forget." We said two and then he continued to tell us how great it was that we were willing to sacrifice two years, and then he took off saying he was going to be late to his game so we couldn't get his number. This all happened because some of his friends in Highschool just went on missions. They didn't even try to share anything with him. This man will have the missionaries knock on his door someday and will probably let them in. Whether or not he will accept this gospel is another story, but he has been prepared in a number or ways. There are so many impacts into peoples lives that we make as missionaries. Specifically with Gerson: he will be baptized when his father lets him, he will be an example to all he is around, he will share the gospel as a friend and family member as he already is and he will serve a mission preaching the gospel in some part of the world. If that is all the change I help start in my mission, then it was worth it. I know, however, that I can help do much more than that. I still have a year and a half left to help bring about this change to many others, and I will.
Another missionary from our ward leaves this week, and another the next. I understand in such a greater way the importance this work, especially when members and missionaries work together. I am excited to see where it takes me over the next two years and what will happen over my lifetime.
I love you all!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week of Oct 7

Conference was an awesome time this weekend to take a break from normal normal work and do something a little bit different. I finished my first journal during conference, you will be happy to hear, and started my new one. I think I will be having about 1 every 6 months, so get all sorts of excited to look through parts of those. It is interesting how things change with perception. I have become someone who likes to write and record my thoughts and ideas, much because of how I think about it now. It is an awesome opportunity to express and learn of myself. I still don't think I will be writing a dissertation or anything like that, but I might write a small book or two in my day. We will see about that though. That will be a few years off.

Love Elder Bigelow
-Elder Bigelow

Week of Sep 30

This week has been full of meetings on meetings on meetings. How much we were able to teach greatly suffered, but that's alright, we learned other things. I know that you want to know those things that I learned, but we don't have time right now. I will  send some more stuff later today. We are going to DC today, thats why, so more good pictures are on the way.
I love you all!
-Elder Bigelow

ps. some crazy president of mine made me district leader now

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week of Sep 23

This week has been one of the fastest weeks of my mission so far. We had exchanges which means we switch companions for bit. That made the week go even faster. I only remember about an hour of that 24, it was nuts. This week some really cool things did happen though. I will share one with you specifically.
We received a number of people to contact via references and previous street contacts who all lived in the same area. Three houses, belonging to Carla, Blanca and Sonia. We had already tried all their houses before with no answer, but we decided to try again. When we went to try again it was just me and a young man, Carlos. He is the one preparing for a mission in Brazil. None of the three were there but at the last home of Blanca someone was home (not her). His name was Walter, we talked to him at the door and he told us to come in and have a little discussion. We ended up having one of the most powerful conversations and lessons that I have ever had. And certainly the most impacting Carlos has participated in. Walter was highly educated in Salvador but only in Spanish and he hardly speaks English. He is intelligent and well studied in the Bible. As we started he said that he had heard lots of things that he wasn't sure about the Mormons but still wanted to hear what we had to say. He truly does want to learn of Christ from any source he can. We were able to solve a few issues: we don't worship Joseph Smith, no we aren't crazy, we pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ, the house of Israel was the Jews, etc. All of which was fantastic. The truly miraculous part was something that I have never truly felt or recognized before.
Near the end of the "teaching" part of the lesson, we told him there was one more thing that proved the reality of all we had discussed and taught. We pulled out the Book of Mormon, and his eyes were immediately affixed to it. We explained it as another testament of our savior Jesus Christ and that it contains his teachings and his words, through prophets, and his coming to the Americas. I asked him to read the first four verses so he could make the connection between the Book of Mormon and Jerusalem. He took the book and with a special reverence began reading. A feeling in the room started inconspicuously building at first. It felt almost like a specific ray gun in Halo that you hardly notice is over heating but then you truly realize how powerful it is. As he read, it built and built. He was so engrossed in the testimony of Nephi and what he was feeling that he couldn't even turn the page to finish the fourth verse. The feeling then left in the silence quicker than it had occurred. He then said, "este es los otros" this is the others. He began talking of the other people, the other Children of God that Jesus had mentioned. We talked about the other sheep that were not of this fold. He said that he wanted to read it, before we had even asked him. He said he would read as much as he can before we come back. I jokingly said "voy a regresar entonces" I will return then, it was said in jest, but he understood why we were there and what he needed to do to understand this "Nuevo camino" new path.
It was only because of our persistence, our preparation and the spirit through the grace of God that we were able to have this experience. I am especially grateful for this experience for many reasons, many of which you all already know. Continue in your efforts for your answers, for your witnesses, continue in your faith and God will provide what you need to have to continue.
I love you all and hope you are doing well, we are running out of time like always, have a wonderful week and share this with whoever you like.
-Elder Bigelow

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week of Sep 16

This week has been another fast one. Things have just been going so fast recently, I hardly remember anything unless it is monumental. So it is a good thing I have been writing in my journal and am keeping all my letters. Dad, how much of your mission do you remember? Was most of it a blur? I don't remember too many stories from your mission, do you just not remember many like I feel like I won't one day?  There are a few things that I do remember this week though that have been rather large. We went the the Nationals game to represent the church at the kick off of the service thingy which was great and a ton of fun. I always love going into DC, especially on the metro. We had a zone conference that lasted 8 hours-ish, but it was great because President Riggs taught a lot of it and he is pretty stellar. Both Mom's, my and probably your prayers came through. I so deeply respect and love my leader, which makes it 10000000000 times easier to want to obey rules and do the things he asks. I don't know what would have happened otherwise, I guess Ill just be grateful for what I have. We talked all about prayer and it was great, because I really really like prayers and it is one of the very most basic points of the gospel that really resonates with me.
Have you seen the new Mormon message series entilted Daily Bread? You should if you haven't and do some cool family home evening on it and make everyone be there. It talks about the necessity of daily communion with God in the same way we need daily food and water as sustinence or we cannot survive. Through dwelling in the presence of God we can provide the sustinece our spirit needs to not only survive but to flourish. We need to elevate ourselves to a higher plane of spiritual sensitivity and strength. When we pray daily, really conversing and sharing with God while letting him respond, we can elevate ourselves. When we thoroughly read and study the scriptures in a new way applying them to our busy lives we can elevate ourselves. When we simply love one another and show that God loves them through our own actions we can elevate ourselves. We must continue progressing spiritualy. If we are not climbing upward towards God we are falling down the other way. I have seen this in particular with one Man in particular. His lack of daily interaction with God with real intnent is holding him back. He is sooo soo soooooo close to baptism. His wife was recently baptized and he has even told us that he knows that everything is true. He just does not have a strong enough personal feeling to make a promise with God, which is fair enough, but we and he knows exactly how he can get that feeling. He just won't do it. This saturday we had one of the most spiritually intense lessons I have ever had on my mission. We showed all the right scriptures with powerful testimony with so much love and happiness directed by 4 missionaries (the sisters are teaching the family with us). After all this from us and his wife, he would not pray. We invited and invited but he wouldn't come down to his knees to pray with us. I tried grabbing is hand to pull him down to pray with us and then we waited and asked for literally 45 minutes on our knees. Forty minutes of that waiting in silent prayer pleading with Heavenly Father to give this man whatever he needed to begin praying. It is so frustrating; I think this is what is holding him back, because he can't truly obtain that conviction to commit if he doesn't act first, it is just not how God works. Obviously this isn't your trouble but I would challenge you and the family to do better in your prayers. Find ways to change them and  truly make them in the name of Christ, using His words and His desires for your surroundings. I know when we make an effort to change ourselves and transform our desires, God will make it possible. 
I love you all so much. Keep doing what I know you do.
Elder Bigelow

Week of Sep 9

This week we have been doing really well. I have started to learn how to really do missionary work, I think, for myself. It is much much different taking the lead and being in charge of our daily doings. I am happy and I am working hard. This week I will be at the Washington Nationals game on Friday night, with the whole mission! If you can catch a glimpse of the game you might see a sea of white shirts and ties, who knows you might even see me!

Somebody told me that I have been on my mission for quite a bit, I counted and it is almost 5 months, that is crazy! Almost a quarter, I hardly remember half of it. Time really does fly, whether you are having fun or not.
 I am doing great; still land learning a lot about myself this week. Love you lots and talk to you soon!
Elder Bigelow

Friday, September 6, 2013

This week has been another kicker, Lots of things have been happening. Mercedes got baptized (pictures next week) which has been basically the work of my whole mission so far. It was so amazing and so gratifying to see her finally take that step, now it is on to the rest of her family who are so close to it as well. They will be such an amazing family together in the gospel when that finally happens. 

This week someone told me I have been out on my mission for a little while now. At first I didn't believe them but then I counted and I almost have 5 months gone from home. That is pretty close to 1 quarter of my mission! I can't believe how fast it has gone already and how much I have left.

Elder Facer and I are really getting into a groove now. These next three months will also fly by and hopefully much success. I think we are doing everything right, or at least trying our best to.

My spanish is coming along, but of course much much more to go to be anywhere near fluent. I am excited to see how we do together this Christmas. I know study is key for me right now, I learn a lot just from talking but I need the backbone of solid gramatical correctness to keep me speaking well.(even though I dislike it thoroughly).

As always it seems I don't have near as much time as I would like to email people, this week we went to the Temple and shopping at sams club so it cut down our time we have to email. I will try to make it happen next week, if nothing else, expect pictures next week.

Te amo mucho, quidense mucho
Nosvemos pronto

Elder Jonny Bigelow 

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Address

This week has been wild for me too. I got a new companion, and I am training  him. His name is Elder Facer, he is from Tennessee, no he does not have an accent and he is so good at Spanish and working hard and being obedient and desiring the best for everyone else more than himself. I love serving with him and we are going to be able to accomplish some great things together over the next 3 months. This past Sunday I gave my first talk in public. Everyone I asked said they understood everything and I only made 3 mistakes that I was able to correct. I am still sure they are lying or weren't paying attention because my Spanish really isn't that good and I was a little nervous to try and give an organized talk. I also did the confirmation of Jiulianna Cespedes which I was much more worried about than my talk, but that ended up all right too. So My Spanish is coming along. This coming week we have some large goals coming up. But through putting our faith and confidence in the guy we are doing all this work for (God) he can make it happen for us if we work hard. That was basically the topic of my talk anyways so I need to put my money where my mouth is. We will tell you how we did this coming week!
Here is a picture of my trainer, me, and my new trainee.

Much much love,
Elder Jonny Bigelow
ps My address to send things to now is 13022 Weeping Cherry Walk, apt. 204, Herndon, VA 20171-2851, and you don't have to send stuff only through Priority Mail now because that is my apartment. Please let some homies know via the blog.
This past week has been some more of working hard to work through well to the end of this transfer. I find out tonight if I actually am training and staying in this area. We do the actual switch on Thursday. I will be able to email you later this week to tell you if I am staying and what the address that you should send other things to.

 I don't have a lot of time again, like always, because we don't have our computers like we normally do. 

I sent a little hand written home today with the temple cards. Talk to you soon! love you guys


Elder Jonathan Bigelow

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dear Family,

This week has been an interesting week. So many powerful ups combined with a few demoralizing downs. We had a lot of meetings this past week which means we got to hear from our amazing leaders which is really inspiring. We had a lot of really great talks from them that have helped me know what I want to make my mission and how I want to work while I am out here.
Lots of our investigators are progressing and it is wonderful to see them choose to actually be baptized and take the steps they need. I love you all, I am sorry I have to be so brief.  I don't even have as much time as I normally would.
Elder Jonathan Bigelow

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Week in the life of my little ole' mission

Good afternoon family and friends!
This week has been a lot of the same runnin' around trying to teach lessons to all of the wonderful people we know and want to help. I played lot of soccer with investigators and our ward members. A lot of meetings and studies. Especially Spanish Studies, that is one of my main goals right now.
The one thing that was really special this past week was this Sunday. We had the opportunity to go to the DC Temple Visitors center twice. That place works magic! Well really it is just an absolutely amazing resource that can invite the spirit in such an amazing capacity. Because of the experiences we had yesterday we were able to help 2 people get on date for baptism this month! Our second time up we took Harrison, Christian's brother. He is amazing. He reads like crazy, says some of the best, most specific and sincere prayers. We were able to speak about the Holy Ghost and ask him some inspired questions to help him really think about the answers he has received and is always receiving. There was a moment right after we had talked about how to receive and how the power of the Holy Ghost feels. I asked him what answers he had received in the past and what his next action should be. He started to really think and was struggling with words to explain what he was feeling. In the end he basically said that these feelings of warmth, happiness and joy while his heart was beating so quickly was his confirmation that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that he needed to get baptized.
I have still never received that kind of answer that he had last night. That burning, or warmth, or tingling, or absolute calm or enlightenment while reading, talking and or praying about the Book of Mormon. I have however felt the Holy Ghost and know what it feels like for me and I can tell when someone else is feeling it. So, I have a strong faith, a firm belief that this Church is the Church of God and that the Book of Mormon is a book of God. It is kind of weird, but that's where I am at and how it is.
Know that I am doing great and loving it. I will send more pictures soon!
Love you guys so much!
-Elder Jonny Bigelow

Monday, July 29, 2013

I don't have a lot of time, but know I love hearing about your trips and bike rides and everything. I will give you a little update of what is going on.

This week has been another wild week. We have been working a ton and met with all of our investigators many times. We specifically have had a lot of success with playing soccer recently. Being able to bond with the people through this thing that means so much to these people has really helped them be comfortable with coming to church and specifically with our own relationship with them.

The youth here are amazing. They are an amazing example to me and how I want to raise my children, especially in a place other than Utah. The more time I spend out here the more I want to spend more time of my life moving around a little. I definitely want to spend another year or so living out here after my mission. This area really is something special. Speaking of, I went to The Crystal House this past week. I went to Alexandria for an exchange and was able to go over. We looked for the Pentagon City Mall and then saw the park, the fire department building and then the library. It was so weird to be in that area. I didn't really remember too much, but it felt so familiar. I will go back and take some pictures to send home.
I am so sorry this is so short. Where we normally email is being remodeled so we only have a little bit of time to get stuff done.
I love you so much,
Elder Jonny Bigelow
Dear Family,
We have been doing a lot of the same things. Lots of teaching, a fair amount of soccer and lots of good stories. One of the most impactful days this week was yesterday, Sunday. We had the second installment of our 3 part "teach how to share" firesides. This time we had a small presentation and showed the video "I'll go where you want me to go." You guys should go and look it up on It really is a great example of how big of a difference one family can make through their example and simple invitations, just like you are doing right now. We then had one of the presidents of our mission, President Burton, speak who focused on: how we receive revelation of who to teach, how to do it, and how to obtain the desire for it as well. I love him. He is loud, energetic, passionate, and a little crazy. He is actually a lobbyist for an oil company and has a suite on Virginia Ave. needless to say, cash money. He shouted "Abrir la Boca," literally shouted, as the way to break the ice. Be forward and frank as to who you are and your desires for your friends and family. Of course there is only so much we can do, but often love will do the rest. We then taught and showed how to share the Book of Mormon, the Proclamation to the Family, and a restoration pamphlet.
 Love you Mom, Dad, Julia, and Evelyn
Love always, Spread it where I can't,
Elder Jonny Bigelow

Monday, July 15, 2013

Family and Friends,

This week has been pretty amazing. We taught tons of lessons and were able to help a lot of people. This week Christian was baptized. It was such a great event and he even asked me to baptize him. He was so nervous that he did not sleep for a second the night before but came to church on time and was baptized that afternoon. He was so happy and I think just overwhelmed by the spirit. Some amazing talks were given and a few people were, I think, inspired to challenge him to go on a mission because of their experiences. The ward mission leader Hermano Penaranda taught a 19 year old in Bolivia and later in his mission got a letter from that young man saying that he was serving in the very same mission he was. They were able to grow together in the Gospel over the rest of their missions and see more changes they could bring to others' lives. One of counselors in the Bishopric, Hermano Aliaga, was able to tell his story of being baptized at the very same age as Christian and his own path to the mission that he was able to serve. Christian was challenged and encouraged many times to go on a mission and has even talked about it before in our lessons. Later that night we had a fireside that we (the missionaries) coordinated centered on missionary work. Christian went to it along with all the other youth. It was a very interactive fireside about revelation, with over 60 people there. Despite all this, and it being his first day of being really a part of all this, when the stake president asked who wanted to be a missionary soon, he stood up. I think it is something that will be very good for him and I think there is a really good chance he will do it. I am excited to see where this Gospel can take him and what he will do with it. I am even more excited that I get to be in Virginia for the next two years to stay in touch with him and watch side by side more of his changes.
We are going to DC today for the first time for real and I am way excited to go to the Smithsonian. We are busing and then taking the metro in--true big city style. We are going in with all the youth so I will be taking a bunch of pictures and videos that I will send home shortly. There are all sorts of great families and great people I am excited to come see again after my mission.
I am excited for this next transfer; our goal is 7 baptisms! My job is to make it happen.
I love you guys so much,
-Elder Jonathan Bigelow

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Week before the transfer

The Fam Bam,
This week has been really interesting and different because we have had a meeting pretty much every single day. It was exhausting but we learned a fantastic amount
One of the coolest and profound things we listened to was actually a rebroadcast of a Brad Wilcox I have seen before. I did get a lot of new things out of it this time. The most impacting thing was referring to Christ's Atonement and the plan made for us. Brad addressed the atonement in the steps we teach it: faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism. receiving the holy ghost and then enduring to the end. He said some of these things that evoked some of my thoughts. 
Without faith there is no desire to change and come to Christ. This being the first step is essential. The more and more I think about this Gospel the better I understand the need for faith and why it is faith rather than knowledge that we are to walk by.
Without commandments there is no bar or standard to measure our change or repentance that is needed. We need set guidelines to see our progress and make the necessary goals to come unto Christ. We need to know where to go before we get going.
Without endurance, or keepin' on keepin' on, there is no way to imbed and internalize that necessary change to prepare to meet God. We need the opportunity of endurance to helps us better understand and realize the importance of all these things and because of that learn about God. When we do that we learn more about ourselves.
He said, "without practice you can never become a pianist" or in other words without going through these trials we can not become the thing we need to meet God. We do not become the pianist. That is why this whole earth phase was and is necessary for all of us.
Learning about this stuff from so many different sources, circumstances and viewpoints is something I have really enjoyed. We also have the opportunity to learn from a guy who was one of Steven R. Covey's primary partners, Elder Ritchie. He has a lot of knowledge I get to pick at for two years. He evoked something that I have heard before but have never felt the same. I feel different because I never have desired success like I do now in all parts of my life. "Be the change you want to see" Be Bigger, Be better, Do more. I have already tried to apply this to myself more and more. I am trying to lead by example even though I am a newbie.
I am excited to keep working and I still love and miss you guys a lot.
Love you all so much, spread my love where I can not.
-Elder Jonny Bigelow

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To all sorts of everyone,
This week has been really interesting again. We have lots of ups and downs, like anyone, but at the end of the week we are still able to look back and see what an amazing few days it has been. This past week we have really connected with a couple less active member  families and some part member families who all live in the same house that are becoming stronger and more active. It is great to see this real growth in a family who lacked the same sort of conviction as some of the stronger families in the ward. We also were able to take Christian, our 19 yr old investigator, to the temple visitors center and he liked it a lot. He even  asked what he needed to do to become a missionary later on in his life! I am pumped for his conversion to continue, for him to love the Gospel, and to begin to share something that blesses his family and his life.
This coming week we have a ton, a ton, of very long meetings. We had one yesterday so we had to switch our pday. That meeting was almost 7 hours darn long. It was full of a lot of great teaching, practicing and learning going on. Our Mission president shared a couple of experiences about how revelation blessed his life and particularly how asking "is there more?" when we receive some can be. He was working on a case that was going to be made in to law (as he is a lawyer) and he felt very passionately about how the law should be and how he thought God would have it be. He had solid arguments for 4 out of 5  points but was very weak on the fifth and couldn't think of where else to approach it from. When he was driving to a pre-lim case, as he described it, he was listening to a conference talk and the thoughts just began flowing. As he was driving  and after as he pulled over, he wrote down all his thoughts that he felt inspired to jot down. He then asked, is there more that I can have, that I need to know for this case? The revelation from heaven started again and he was able to construct a strong defence against the other argument. As we live our lives and we have the few or many experiences of revelation, we need to ask for more. Sometimes the Lord is just waiting to see if we have the faith to ask for more. Or, at least that is what I got out of it.
We went to the DC temple today. It was tremendous. I loved the stained glass and the rich wood.  Most of the decorations were timeless and full of class even though they must have been at least 10ish years old. The Celestial room was stunning and our session was great too. A recent convert was getting her endowments out for the first time at 50ish and our witness couple had dreads, and tats, one of them being deaf. It was the most diverse temple experience I have ever had (it is DC, so it makes sense). I love that no matter who we are, what we look like or what we may have done in the  past we can change, find a new passion and, through this Gospel, become more like Jesus Christ. That is what I try to imagine every time I look at a new person.  What kind of strong ward member can they be? We met an older guy from Salvador yesterday who would be the fiery, excited, spiritual pocket rocket on the member soccer team; or like a few weeks ago, the strong minded tenacious Baptist lady who would give the best testimonies. Also, Christian, who has the potential to be the sharp new missionary serving who knows where. This is why I serve, so I can help others find these people inside themselves. It makes me happy to watch this transformation, to see the happiness it brings them. Everyone already has the skills, the talents, and the desire somewhere inside from their life before this. The only thing they have to do is let the spirit change them through their simple actions; like coming to church, doing service for others or praying because of their lack of "truth" in their lives. The same goes for all of us, I think, who are already on the path.
Love you guys so much and still can't wait to see you guys again
-Elder Jonathan Bigelow

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week, well one of them, I don't remember Still Cookin'

This week has been killer again. We have done so much and there has been so much change, which has helped me stay in my groove. We had a new elder come up into our area and met a bunch of RM's who are selling pest control for Alterra. We are able to have splits with members (young men in the ward).  All these Spanish speaking RM's that are in our apartment complex and are even comnig to our ward now. We are able to get so much work done with all these willing members. I love it.
The other thing that I have noticed this week goes along with everything we have been able to accomplish this week. I have tried to strive for a new life goal: "Do More." This has always kind of been active in my life and I have said it before but this week it has just been on my mind always. I want to live my life in a way where I accomplish so much in all areas in my life. I want to do it with my family, my career and of course my mission where I am right now. I want to do more than others think I can do; I want to do more than I think I can do; and most especially on my mission I want to do what God knows I can do, through him. Dad has said now a couple times "Look to God and Live." I have gained a new understanding and new appreciation for this through this past week. When we do all we can for what we are pursuing whether it be a new investigator, a new career, a new song, or a new goal. If it is good for us and for others and then turn to God when we can do no more due to exhaustion or the efforts of others against us, God can shake and bake where we cannot. In the mission this is God's work not ours so he is extra sensitive and willing, I think, to lend a helping hand to bring others to Christ and to Him.
I don't have much time again, I will try to write again as well!
Love you so much!
Elder Jonny Bigelow

Monday, June 10, 2013

While in the MTC Jonathan was among friends.

Jonathan and Christian Garrett

Jonathan and Aaron Davis

Dear Mom and Fam,
We are doing great here and having all sorts of changes and all sorts of success. We have lots of investigators in nearly every stage of their spiritual knowledge and development. We have 3 people on date now for baptism, which is so exciting. One family (who we took to the visitors center this Sunday--Mercedes and Raul) love learning about the Gospel and know they need more in their lives. They have both said they know it's true but want to learn all the commandments first, which is what we are supposed to do anyways. The other person who has committed to a date is a guy named Christian. He is 20 and loves learning about the Gospel. It is amazing how hard he has taken a hold of the Gospel and wants to learn more. He has already changed so much and made huge efforts to change. He has stayed home from parties and turned down alcohol and drugs, all before we have even taught him all the commandments. I love teaching young people. I get to see many of the same realizations and epiphanies that I came to recently about my life, my purpose, and the Gospel. Watching that same thing happen is an amazing experience and helps me learn so much more about myself. I want to do more and achieve more and help more people change. I know that through my efforts, and the help of the Lord in His own work, those goals I have are possible.
Like always, I don't have enough time to tell you all I want to or get pictures together and all sorts. But, know that I love you, I'm working hard, and I'll try my best next week. Spread my love to whoever needs or wants it. Peace
Love Always,
Elder Bigelow

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Virginia Bound

Jonathan is now in Virginia--Herndon to be exact.  We recently got our first email from the mission field:

Mom Dad Fam and Loved ones,
We flew into Dulles airport so we didn't really get to DC. We just saw the outskirts of Virginia. The mission president and his wife picked us up and then we went to his house for a get to know you, an interview and dinner. The next day we went to a transfer meeting and got our companions and our area assignments. I am in Herndon Virginia and have a few other towns like Reston, Sterling, and Franklin. My companion is Elder Earnshaw. He is a enthusiastic, excitable, and hard working. All are good for me to learn and work hard in my area. I love the people here and am teaching people of all sorts. I will probably stay in this area for awhile, at least 3 months, and then go to Alexandria or Arlington, both of which I would love.
Everything is going well here except the amount of spare time I have. I was gone almost all day today doing errands and going shopping getting set up and cleaning. Hardly any time to email, and the first thing I sent got deleted somehow, long story--don't worry. Next time will be better. But know I love you guys and love to hear what you are doing. I will tell you investigator stories soon! Love you lots and thank you for all the help.
Elder Bigelow

He also sent photos with the DC South Missionaries and Mission President.

"These aren't the best but here is our crew!"

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 We dropped Jonathan off at the MTC on Wednesday, April 17.  We took a few photos beforehand.


At the MTC they have developed a quick drop-off drive-through experience.  Jonthan was greeted by some great friends who are a few weeks ahead of him in the MTC.  Jonathan was "stoked" (his word), and Claudine and Mark managed to shed only a few tears.