Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 15

This week has been another great one. But first things first, you will
be impressed and or appalled at my frugality this week. My sheets, I
realized, are to the point where I can separate parts using only two
fingers. They have been washed a couple times I guess... I think I
have had them since I was 14? Not sure though.  My slacks right now
are also wearing them and starting to split at the seams, so I am
going to by some new ones. So, moral of the story, even though I like
fancy things and often spend to much on them I will love them until
their last breath, and often even after. You learned that with my
Zuriks 😊 Dad, you will also be proud to know it hurts me in the
insides to throw away food, even if it's gross.

Anyway, on to things that actually matter. This past Friday we had a
"Christmas Conference" aka the whole mission gets together and we eat
and have a devotional. It was great. I learned a lot. Maybe better
said, I felt a lot. Particularly about a few scriptures and stories
that Steve Studdard shared. He is a two time stake president, mission
president and was THE mission representative on the preach my gospel
creation committee, which is cool.
😄 One of the scriptures he shared that impacted me the most was D&C
123:17, where it says--let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our
power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see
the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. I really loved
that. It helped me put in to perspective my work and my necessitates,
especially with relationship to the context of that scripture. I
recently had some reflection time on the word still, and what that
means, and how it feels. I think I had one of those moments last

Last night we went to the temple visitors center with Elizabeth and
Hector who were recently baptized. We planned a little in advance and
invited her whole family. She is the grandma/matriarch of a CLAN. We
have done MANY things over the past months to try and get her sons and
their families involved with the gospel with some successes and many
failures. We last night left to the temple just us four with hopes
that he others who "were coming late" (which usually means they don't
bother coming at all) would follow behind us soon. It turned out well.
We hoped and prayed and crossed our fingers before the end of the
night there was a group of sixteen people of the Barrillas clan
walking around the temple. They asked questions they felt great, they
loved the family time, and they were so happy they chose to come. Even
though there were many other things that fell through at the temple
that we had planned and the clan was missing one of the sons and a
daughter in law I felt "still." Which has come to mean to me: being in
peace, a sense of understanding, happiness and the recognition of
God's enormity in our lives.  It was a good night.

Get your "still" moment today! It only takes doing cheerfully in faith
all you can do for a very long time! But, it's worth it.


Elder Bigelow

Ps. Today I cut my hair ALL by myself. It looks good on the front...I
hope it isn't too bad on back. Mirrors can only do so much.

My sheets, I'm going to go buy some cool ones right now 

Week of Dec 8

Good morning.

So, just so you know we have this thing called weekly planning. We are
supposed to do it every week. It is supposed to last around 3 hours
and we are supposed to lay out all sorts of things for the coming
week: set goals!, possible appointments, what we might be teaching,
how we might be finding this coming week etc. That is normally
supposed to happen on Friday. Being the wonderful missionaries that we
are, we totally didn't do it at all because we were so busy. We had a
big leadership meeting all day on Friday and then appointments and
stuff so we never got to it. Moral of the story: it was a good thing
(just for the one time). I completely forgot about our "key
indicators"(numbers) and my goal of being a true disciple of christ in
charity and gratitude was really able to shine through. We had the
best week we have had in months.

A lot of that. Think also had to do with our preparation for, and the
actual fast we did this Sunday. I have learned a lot about the power
of fasting on my mission. One of the most powerful verses of scripture
that I have read concerning fasting recently are in Isaiah. I am sure
you have read them before. It took be about 10 times reading through
the chapter until I was really able to get it and begin to apply it to
myself, but now I get it. In 58:
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of
wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go
free, and that ye break every yoke?7 Is it not to deal thy bread to
the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy
house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou
hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 ¶Then shall thy light break
forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily:
and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord
shall be thy rearward. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall
answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.
I mostly identify today in retrospect with the very beginning and the
very end. People were freed and prayers were answered. I love that. I
am happy that I was able to see some miracles in action.

A continuación hay algunos milagros:
One of our investigators, Ever, has been really working hard to figure
things out and he received another answer to his prayers. In Sacrament
meeting in the last prayer I turned over to look at him and he was
wiping tears all of his face and just saying, "what the, I felt
something, I felt something. It made me cry, what was that." He
recognized after thinking about it for a little while that it again
was the spirit letting him know what he is doing is right. He was
pumped, so were we.

On a dreary Wednesday afternoon we had no set appointments but really
wanted to find some new people. We went to go check up on some members
of our Ward who we didn't know, aka, they probably don't live there.
It turns out they don't, but we began teaching about the meaning of
Christmas and why we represent Jesus Christ, they let us in and asked
us to come back. Cute family from Honduras! We are excited to teach
them some more.

In short, I am really feeling the mission love right ow and very
grateful for how I feel and what is happening right now. I hope to be
able to continue it. Love you lots!


Elder Bigelow

Also things you should know
- I just gave a great haircut-I accepted payment in chips and salsa.
- last week I cut my own hair, and didn't do to bad
-I ran 2 miles this morning and am still pumped about my shoes
-I will still be with elder Clark for Christmas and New Years. We are
excited to go to a soup kitchen on Christmas. We are trying to hunt
one down.

Thanks to the Giving

This week was great!

This week was also crazy, we had meetings ALL day on Tuesday which
kind of killed my buzz at around 3 o'clock on that day but then we had
interviews with our Mission President, so that brought things back up
to speed. It was another different week but again so full of many
little miracles, sweet and simple.

a few of them....
On thanksgiving day we had a lot of places to go and eat. That had
mixed emotions in itself because of how much food we had to eat. But
anyway, after trying to find some things to do ,because they asked us
not to proselyte as we normally would, we were going back to the
apartment to grab something before going our first dinner. We saw two
people moving a bunch of things in to our very same apartment building
from a Uhaul. We insisted that we help even though they said no they
were fine and we moved all their couches for them. They in the end
were very grateful and it turns out they they are our new across the
hall neighbors. It felt so good to serve a little bit to start the
day. We have resolved to go to a soup kitchen on Christmas day or
Christmas Eve. It will be the best.

Last night after our appointments had fallen through we were zooming
around an apartment complex talking to people and trying to find
someone willing to act on our message we knocked on the door of Alex.
He didn't really at first want to talk to us and told us being in the
military he had talked to missionaries all over the place. When we
asked him where he said, "well.. Connecticut, new jersey, north
Carolina, Virginia, oh! and south Carolina, new York and yeah,
Massachusetts too." We insisted that we deserved another chance and
long story short he did! He has had a rough go of it in life but has
recognized God's hand throughout his time. We were able to connect
with him through that, and even though he wasn't screaming to have us
back he knew what we were about and said that it would be okay if we
came by next week to talk to him again. He is puerto rican (they might
be my favorites)

Last but not least another family who has been less active for YEARS
came to church again. The wild part about them is the Dad was a
Bishop, the son was a missionary etc. etc. We had a brilliant and
brief discussion about the atonement on saturday and the week before,
and they came back. The truth is though that we are just lucky enough
to see them take the step. They have been prepared for years by God,
and we just followed a prompting.

Something all these experiences have in common and something I have
been thinking about over the last few days is one of favorite
scriptures in Spanish. (it is also great in English)
Matthew 25:31-40 ending with the following...
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I am so grateful to serve and for all I have learned. I am grateful
for you and for God.

Be grateful always! life is better that way.


Elder Bigelow

Here are some photos of our first Thanksgiving. It was 100% Bolivian
and soooo good. Our second was American made by Guatemalans our third
was also made by Guatemalans but they made some of their own food. I
seriously almost vomited at the end of the night, I was contemplating
forcing it I felt so full. Anyway, pictures

Week of Nov 24

So, another transfer has come and gone. I am still in my area which I
love and I got this guy back as my companion! (ps. he is wearing the
tie you gave him for Christmas last year, he has mentioned like three
or four times how grateful he is for the gift and the thought. So good

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Firstly thank you all so very much for the gifts! My birthday was
wonderful, due to your love and lots of great people here. 

I have been thinking I know a thing or two about being a missionary
recently. I have even more recently realized the vast expanse of
knowledge I haven't even touched yet. I have so many more reasons to
be humble, rather than prideful in what I have learned and do do well.

I am extremely grateful for everything I have around me to help me learn.

I am sorry I am a little without words this week, for now at least. I
have been doing a lot of thinking recently but I don't know really how
to convey anything useful home. For now anyway. We are on our way to
the library of congress right now, so if I think of anything extra
good there I will write it up.


Elder Bigelow

So excited to open them! Valene sent me a package too.-- you all would
be so proud. I even waited until my actual birthday.

I am not quite sure how I forgot, but I remembered what I was going to
write you about this week... The Salazar girls got baptized! Andy and
Aury were baptized this past Saturday. It was tremendously small and
pretty private. The two extremely reserved girls didn't want many
people to come. It was a really special experience. Mostly because of
the preparation, work and care that it took the dad to baptize them.
He had to wait a little. We were involved but really it was all up to
him. He did an amazing job.

When they were baptized the simplicity of the process was so powerful
to me. All the the lead up was evident went they went down into the
water. I don't think I have been at a more powerful or passionate
baptism. For me at least.

Also, we just went to the library of congress after we had gotten our
library cards. We went and read a first edition copy of the Book of
Mormon. It was owned by some guy neither my companion or I knew but
Martin Harris and joseph smith had signed it. So that was pretty

We are on our way home now so, I will talk to you next week!


Elder Bigelow

Monday, November 10, 2014

We are helping a family through an interesting situation right now. They are a wonderful family who have been going to a local Lutheran church for the past 20 years. The interesting thing is that the parents and the oldest daughter are members. The girl was baptized when she was 8 and remembers hardly anything. The parents have deep running testimonies, that have been uncovered slowly by missionaries for the past while. In the middle of our teaching the mother jumped out of her sullen cage of a countenance and said, "I am coming back, we are coming this Sunday. When does it start? I am coming and I am bringing Sara." She finally made the decision to come back. She told us that she has actually stopped going to church over the past three months and is going to go to talk to her Lutheran pastor this week. She told us that she has finally promised God that she will raise her daughter Sara in the gospel even through her other kids have missed out. This all happened because because of Sara I think. She is this women's youngest daughter who finally got here from Bolivia. She is so smart and so inquisitive and has so many questions about the plan of salvation. That is what we taught her last night. She finally reached an understanding and her happiness has helped her mother change. They are nearly done with the excavating, and they are going to get to work on the bridge building. Their journey will be long and difficult, but they are going to make it, the mom dad and Sara at least. The other three children is still left to be seen. I really hope for them. We are going to work for them too.

I am grateful for the gospel in my life. I am grateful for the way that you have always encouraged me to love it and live it but never forced anything on me. Keep up the good work! Keep fostering those desires for good in everything you do especially in those that you would hope that the Gospel would grow again, or for the first time. Keep inviting others to enjoy some of what you feel. I have appreciated your invitations to me. 

I have a sticker on my door telling me that Fedex came to the door but I haven't got the package yet. I think I will get it later today and I am sure I will love it! So thank you in advance. 

Also, I loved the pictures, and expect a really cool quilt for my kid. REALLY COOL. But don't worry, you have quite a few years to brainstorm. 

Send everyone my love. <3<3<3<3


Elder Bigelow

Here I am back with elder facer, my second companion. We are back to basketball

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nov 3

Today I am happy, again.

I love being happy. I love being peaceful and I love understanding.

Those are some of the main reasons I think I have come to love the
gospel. As I continue to study I continue to find answers and develop
a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father. Of course I continue
to have and unearth new questions and curiosities but I am confident
that in time all things will be brought to my understanding.

Many of these things I owe to how I have been raised and what I have
learned throughout my life.  One of the people we have been teaching
for the past few weeks is finally starting to really understand how he
gain can the same sort of understanding. He came to church for the
first time yesterday. We challenged him earlier this week to write
down a personal question to bring to church with him. We promised him
that if he did so and was attentive to the spirit during church he
would receive an answer. We asked him after the services how it went
and he told us they answered his question 4 times! We were pumped! He
is starting to have a lot of the same experiences while reading the
book of mormon on his own. The thing that is so amazing about this is
that he is finally becoming spiritually self-relient. That is the
process I have gone through and am still working on. It has been so
great to help him through that same thing, because he started at
basically 0. You really do learn a lot while teaching.

Watching him receive a testimony has turned me to think a little bit
more about the "daily bread" videos again from Elder Cristofferson.
Daily spiritual nourishment really does/can make all the difference.
Small revelatory experiences day after day can bring us to a higher
plane of understanding.

This past week was packed with meetings, long ones too! We have three
more this week two of them really long. In my job in real life, I
would prefer not to have so many six hour meetings. This whole foreign
service thing sounds more and more appealing ever day... I think I
want to go to africa and learn french. :)

You are all number one!


Elder Bigelow

Oct 28

Yesterday was a really, really good day.

We had a half mission conference with a man named Elder Kopischke. He
taught me a lot and he invited the spirit in a way that taught me a
whole lot more. The German, Elder Kopischke, taught me that. He taught
me, Jonny Bigelow, to relax, to loosen up and be okay with my
shortcomings, and to STRIVE to become better. He invited the spirit to
teach me that ME is what the Lord wants, and he wants me to be ME. I
hope that makes sense. I feel liberated in a whole new way that I have
never perfectly felt before. He invited me more fully to use my
freedom to choose to create a better life for the good person I
already am. He taught me through his yielding to the spirit its
absolute power and authority in this work.

I have recently learned that more important that my recognizing of my
weaknesses is my consistent striving to slowly but surely become a
better me. One day at a  time. This gospel is much more a thing of
hope than that of condemnation. It is of light and peace not of
overwhelming tasks. All the dark, heavy and worrisome things are true
but much more important is what we can gain if we choose Christ.

It is all about choice. My life is all about choice. I will do my best to
live my life within a given frame to be the best me I can be.

That was one of the highlights of my past week, and of my mission. I
don't have a whole ton of time to tell you about it right now but I
wrote it down in my journal and will write even more down, so you can
ask me later.

Concerning the things you write about in the email, you are great. I
love your emails and they do not make me homesick. They make me happy.
Facebook, you don't really communicate with me on facebook so its not
a problem. Just don't start tagging me in stuff or making not gospel
centered comments on my stuff that I post (I don't think you will, so
you don't have to worry!)

What do I need on my mission? AKA things I might receive on my
birthday....:) ----Craisens and Roasted Almonds. Another cool journal,
I am almost done with the red one. And I still longingly miss my
dear Arc'teryx Atom jacket, it was the bomb. But, really, I have everything I need other than that, and those
things are pretty wanty.

You are great, keep being great.

Elder Bigelow

ps. you can show this to the crew. I love this shirt.  THANK YOU by the way, one of the
dopest packages a missionary could ask for.

Oct 20

Highlights of the week:

-someone at church thought I was from Puerto Rico after I bore my
testimony last week.

-we started teaching the Dominican guy that came to church out of
nowhere and he feels a love and support that he has never felt in his
life before. He recognized the spirit and wants to change so he can
have more of it in his life.

-We went to the Masonic Memorial thing in Alexandria last pday. It was
crazy, and pretty cool. We went on a tour and learned all about their
clubs within their clubs and just all sorts of stuff. The coolest
thing was learning about the origins of the organization and why it

I realized the other day how much time I really have left in my
mission. It is nothing, it will be over so soon, so fast, so quickly.
I really want to give everything  before it is over. I felt really
good at the end of this week, numerically it wasn't the greatest but I
felt really accomplished. I think I finally totally know what feeling
satisfied with my work is like. We really worked hard in the ways that
we have been asked to. Or course there are so many things we messed up
in and so many ways we can improve but we really worked hard. It was a
coinciding of my understanding and my willingness to give more of
myself. I want to see miracles and I know they will come.

One of my favorite talks this past conference was the skier guy. Elder
Kacher talked about currents in our lives and how we can let them take
us to the highest heights or to the bottom of a deep dark ocean. I
know that as I continue to try and let this good current take me where
I need to go I can be made whole in my service as a servant of God. I
can be made into something that I cannot become on my own. That is
really what I want. I want to be powerful for Him.

Thanks for being great, and thank you for the pictures from Henry's
thing. If you see him at Harmony any day wish him my best.

Love you lots!


Elder Bigelow