Monday, December 13, 2010

Enviro log fires with their eyes all a'glow...

Dear family,

So last night we put the fireplace to good use. We were cheap and decided to buy our firewood from Grocery Outlet. We settled on the $2 option, Enviro-log. It is a 100% recycled cardboard/wax fire product good for three hours of fire. It worked. We had a nice toasty apartment. We didn't really need the heat; it's been in the fifties and sixties. None-the-less, we had fun. It was a test run for Christmas Eve.

We have been busy, busy, busy. We continue to find new investigators which is something we desperately need. We even were able to get one to church. This has been a big challenge. Everybody in this area seems to work on Sundays. Jobs are a lot harder to come by for Latinos than they were in Redwood City.

I can't believe that we are entering the last week of this transfer. Elder Russel and I were talking about it. It is amazing how fast time flies by. Before you know it I will be calling you on Christmas Day (probably sometime between 11 and 1).

Something that we find very interesting about this area is the large Christmas displays. It's as if the people here in California are trying to compensate for the lack of snow and evergreen. We had the opportunity to see deacon daves house (google it). It is massive. It reminds me of a Christmas story that Mom would read every year about a never ending competition of lights. I would hate to see the electric bill at Deacon Daves.

I am still working on Christmas Cards. It takes me a while to write each one, so I should get another batch out this Preparation day.

Dad, thanks for the card. I read it just after I threw away a pair of "holy" socks. What do you do now that you can't accuse me of stealing your socks?



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Beginning to look a lot like...

Dear Family,

What a week? I am so grateful that you read my emails and put up with them. This week has been... interesting. We have been busier than I have been since arriving in Livermore, however we still face challenges.

The main challenge this week has been transportation. My bike was stolen on Tuesday (our busiest day). We had chained both of our bikes together to a street post. We came back and found that my bike had been stolen along with the chain and the attached bike pump. It made things really hard because I have had to borrow some other Elder's bikes. The first bike a borrowed was from an Elder who is 5' 6". Let me just say, 5'6" is a huge difference from 6'. My knees were touching my chest. I then ended up borrowing another Elder's bike. It has fit me much better; however, I left church yesterday to find that I had a completely flat tire. I borrowed a pump from another elder, patched it up and went on my way. A few hours later I had another flat. To make matters worse, it was in a complete downpour (they only seem to happen on the weekends). My tire is now patched and ready for a week of good hard work. I am not quite sure what I will do about transportation. I will borrow a bike at least until transfers (December 20), then see what happens.

Despite my transportation difficulties we have been fortunate to find five new investigators, a family of six. The children range in age from three to fifteen. I would have never guessed we would have found them. The mom is the sister of a family that we began teaching a few weeks ago, but had to put on the back burner for a while. They live in a house on a street with other houses that must cost twice as much as ours. I was very surprised when we received the referral from the Zone Leaders. It will be a challenge to be able to teach to all of them, but we will do our best. I think the best thing we can do is teach to the children and really get them involved. As the parents see how it affects their family as a whole they will recognize the power of the Gospel.

It is amazing to begin teaching families. I have never done so before. I don't quite know why. The Mocho branch could use more families. Families are the most likely to stay active because they have that support structure to maintain them through the tough times. We are hoping to get the branch president involved in the lessons as their fellowshippers.

I was very glad to receive your letters this week. I finally got grandpa's letter with the Sizzler card. I don't think there is a Sizzler in Livermore, but I know for a fact that there are quite a few throughout the mission. I also enjoyed the story about the Safeway cards. You definitely would have been safe if you had sent a Safeway card (look at the back of a Safeway product and identify their headquarters and you will know why).

I have loved serving in the Christmas season thus far. We have identified our favorite Christmas cd's and listen to them constantly. "I'll be home for Christmas" is banned, but the rest are fair game. The Jon Schmidt Christmas CD is our favorite because we can listen to it during our study without getting distracted.


Elder Badger

Monday, November 29, 2010


Dear Family,

I am very jealous that you have had a white Thanksgiving. Has that ever happened before? All of the Latinos think I live in a place like Michigan or Upstate New York. Every time I say that I am from Seattle, they comment that it is snowing there. I can't believe it. I want pictures.

In contrast, we have been cold, very cold. We wake up to frost in the morning and are grateful to get back to our nice warm apartment at the end of a long day. The tri-valley is the coldest and hottest place in the mission. In the time I have been here I have seen 110 degrees and 30 degrees. It's pretty drastic. The car elders like to call drive by and call us from their cell phones to ask how we like the cold. If they are really messing with us, they won't even roll down the window, but just use the cell phone to so they don't have to let out the cold air. I guess I deserve it for being in car so long in my first area.

I would like to put all of Mom's fears to rest. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a great time. It was cool, crisp, and perfectly clear. People were walking everywhere, so it made for a good day of contacting. We started the day off with an early Thanksgiving Dinner with the Nelson Family. The turkey, yams, and potatoes were especially good. The company was amazing. We finished and had to be rolled out of the door as we got back to work.

Later that evening, we attended the branch's Thanksgiving dinner and dance. We dined, but didn't dance. Mainly, we cut pie and served drinks so that we could meet everybody there. It was fun. After staying an hour we took off and finished up the night by looking for new investigators. It was a pretty satisfying day. I had fun. We worked hard and were grateful for all of the blessings and miracles we have seen in the last few weeks.

Also, thanks Mom for all of the festivity. Our apartment looks like that scene in "Elf" after Buddy completely decorates the department store. We have a Christmas Tree, a holiday pillowcase, and the apartment even sounds like Nordstrom (thanks to the Jon Schmidt Christmas CD). I have had a blast opening the pre-christmas gifts. I have included some pictures of me opening the presents. As usual you can tell I pinched a few and have made some guesses in the pictures. There are some pictures where you can tell I guessed wrong. At one point I thought the Christmas tree was a potential tie. I was very surprised when I opened it.

I am glad my companion likes Christmas because I am always whistling a carol or two. You know how I get this time of year. I am like a kid in a toy store. Speaking of which, there is a toy store in Livermore, but it is closed on Mondays. This is very good for those who manage my bank account. The Lord knows me a little too well.

Have a holly jolly.....



Monday, November 22, 2010

A Week That Went Swimmingly

Dear Family,

This week went swimmingly. Quite literally. On Friday and Saturday we were hit by a deluge of water. Luckily, we didn't have to break any mission rules and swim home, but it was close. Elder Russell and I were very ready to do so if necessary. He swam for BYU before the mission so I am sure we would have been alright.

This week we have been witnesses to some pretty amazing experiences. We found a family. It was amazing to watch the father Omar offer the prayer as all of his family took the lesson. I have never had the opportunity to teach a complete family with father, mother, and children. I really hope they get baptized. It seems like they are really willing to act and get an answer. I don't think they were intimidated when we invited them to be baptized. We will see in the next few weeks how things end up going with them.

I am very grateful for all of the mail that I have received recently. I am still very sad to hear about Cliff Aalona. I feel like there will be a hole in the Lake City Ward without him. Please express my deepest condolences to the Aalona family.

Another funny thing happened this week. I have had to explain to many members just what is so great about Thanksgiving. I explain about the gratitude, football, turkey, pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce. My favorite response thus far has been, "wow, that must require a lot of tortilla's." Not wanting to explain that we don't quite use the tortilla as a utensil in American culture I decided to explain to him this is why Americans eat rolls with big meals like this. He still doesn't think it is a sufficient utensil like the tortilla, but it saved me from a long and lengthy explanation.

I was also surprised to get Mom's giant box of stuff. We don't have a Christmas tree, but we do have a funky lamp with different colored lights. We piled the presents around the bottom and took a picture. I will have to send it next week. It should suffice as a Christmas Tree for the season.


Elder Badger

Monday, November 15, 2010

Answers to Prayers are Powerful

Dear family,

I have my "hijo." Elder Steven Russell is from Dallas, Texas. He did two years at BYU prior to his mission so he is 21 instead of the usual 19. He just got into the accounting major at BYU. As a finance major I will overlook this since we get along really well. Already we have had some pretty amazing experiences. Below is an excerpt from my weekly email to President Jackson.

"Wednesday night while introducing Elder Russel to our Elder's Quorum President, I asked him what he thought our investigator Ernesto needed to accept a baptismal date. He told us that he had actually prayed about it and felt that Ernesto needed to know how to get answers to prayers. He knew the how to pray, but didn't quite know how to listen.

The next night we began reteaching prayer. I thought we had done a sufficient job the first time, but I realize that we hadn't taught to his needs. This time was different. We taught him that God will answer him if he prays. We emphasized that the Spirit will teach us the things to pray for. After Ernest offered a kneeling prayer, we just listened for a good five minutes. We then asked him to be baptized. He told us that he felt different and that he had never felt that way before. It was wonderful to see this change in him. He didn't accept the date that night, but wanted to continue praying like this over the next 24 hours. We set an appointment for the next night.

In the time between the two appointments an amazing change occurred. Ernesto came to the Friday appointment waiting for us to ask him to be baptized. During that time he also was offerred a Monday through Friday job, something he hasn't had since arriving in the United States twenty years earlier. He knew he had an answer and was eager to accept.

It was amazing to see the difference between this lesson and the previous lessons. I realize we had almost been fumbling in the dark. It must have been the twentieth time he was invited to be baptized, but the change was definite. It wasn't until he learned how to receive answers to prayers that he was able to resolve some of his own concerns."

We are so excitied for this. Baptisms make me happy, very happy.

Please express my condolence to the Aalona family. I am very sad to hear that. I wasn't expecting to come back to a different Lake City Ward. It won't feel the same without him.


Elder Badger

Monday, November 8, 2010


Dear Family,

I thought I would take some time as we approach the Thanksgiving season to say some of the things I am grateful for. I realize that there is so much. It's hard to express everything. I feel like an idiot as I get a little teary writing it.

First off, I want to quote something that Sister Jackson says all the time. "It's a beautiful day; Everyday is a beautiful day in the California San Jose Mission." I am so blessed to simply be here doing the best thing I could possibly doing. It is hard at times, but easy when you work your hardest. I know that probably doesn't make sense. I am in a beautiful place doing a great work. Nothing can bring me down.

I am so grateful for simply being here. It has been almost two years since I completed chemotherapy. I feel better than I have ever felt. Each breath is a blessing. The greatest gift I have is the present moment I am enjoying. I have looked through all of the experiences I have had thus far in my life and realize that I wouldn't change a thing. Each one has been for my benefit. They were tough at the time, but with the clarity that comes in hindsight I realize that they were small moments.

I have a beautiful family with a Mom and Dad who love me as well as two intelligent and witty sisters. I wouldn't ask for anyone else. I always love the times when I get to tell investigators about my family or show pictures. They always comment that we all look so happy. I know why. It's because we all know how much we love each other. I can't believe how thoughtful and caring you are. I haven't had to worry about you at all. You know what is right and stick to it. I feel bad for giving you the scare earlier in the fall with the oncology appointments. You have all been so supportive of my every choice.

Finally, I am very grateful for the chance I have to share the Gospel. It is an amazing experience to know that if I were to make a list of priorities ranked on good, better, best I am doing the best thing possible. People hear the message of the restoration and make commitments. As they do so, their lives are changed. I have seen some pretty miraculous changes. I have filled two journals already with all of my experiences and could have written volumes more. It is 100% worth it because everything we teach is true. Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, our Savior Jesus Christ, all of it is true we cannot find happiness without it.

I love you all. I can't wait until I receive my trainee on Wednesday. I feel a little intimidated at the task, but look forward to working hard and relying on the Lord. I feel so happy. I think I just got happier by expressing all of these things. I wish I had more time to express all of the things I am grateful for, but that would take years. We are all so blessed.


Elder Badger

Monday, November 1, 2010

I am Still Learning

Dear family,

This week has been one of my best since arriving in Livermore. We have learned a few lessons this week. The biggest one is that the Spirit can be felt anywhere, including a dusty couch in the drive way.

We had decided to contact an old referral we had received four weeks ago. We weren't even sure if the person actually existed. Luckily, Ivan (the referral) was home. We then proceeded to teach him the message of the restoration. It is amazing how in a thirty minute lesson someone can go from no knowledge of the church to accepting a baptismal date. I guess I already gave it away, but as we began teaching him, he felt the Spirit. He even offered the closing prayer. After his prayer we invited him to be baptized. He asked us how and what it mean to be baptized. We quietly explained to him. He then told us that he would like to be baptized. It has been a while since we had someone accept a baptismal date like that. I had forgotten what it felt like. My heart pounds and my hands get sweaty. I pray as hard as I can. It is a feeling that you can't really know until you have done it. A year ago, I couldn't imagine inviting someone to being baptized after meeting them twenty minutes before, but we did. It's amazing how effectively the Spirit can work in the hearts of people. I feel blessed to be able to witness it.

Also, as I have mentioned before, we are now living in our own apartment. It is a lot easier to study now. It used to be a sisters apartment, needless to say, it is nice. We have a fireplace that you can hang stockings on and lots of windows. It feels a lot more like a townhouse than an apartment. Sometimes I feel spoiled.

Not too spoiled, we still have bicycles, but now live within our proselyting area. This is a huge change for the better. It saves us a lot of work and makes our commute back to the apartment at night much quicker. I sometimes neglect to mention how beautiful Livermore is. My favorite are the nights when we ride home through a wine vineyard. It's a really cool experience, especially in the fall.

We are still focusing on finding, but now have someone that is taking all of the steps to progress towards baptism. It feel much more comfortable now. I know how to organize my day better now that we have someone to focus on making daily contact with.


Elder Badger

Monday, October 25, 2010

Its Raining Its Pouring...

Dear Family,

This week has been very wet. I love it. It has drizzled just like it would in Lakewood. It would be a little nicer if I didn't have to ride my bike in this weather, but I am not complaining. It even smells like Washington when it drizzles.

Our work has been difficult these last few weeks. We are really trying to find people. They're there, but difficult to find. We set many many appointments, but no one is there for the actually lesson. Sometimes they even dim the lights and pretend not to be home. We usually take this as an opportunity to let them be. It would be a lot easier if we knew where we could go to find Spanish speakers. We our sifting through English, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese. We end up giving many referrals to the English elders, but can't seem to find anyone who is really willing to keep a commitment, let alone and appointment.

Our best investigator Ernesto is progressing very well. He is very close to baptism, but still hasn't accepted a date. Hopefully he will do so soon. I keep praying he will soon.

I did get the opportunity to return back to Redwood City to see two baptisms. Efrain and Esperanza finally decided to take a leap of faith and be baptized. It has been a five year process since they first met missionaries, but they are now members of the church. It was great to see a couple baptized. Bishop Ord committed them to prepare to enter the temple and be sealed a year from their baptism. He then made them turn and promise each other that they would prepare to be sealed in the temple. Go bishop Ord!!!!! He is so awesome. I can't wait to go to their sealing next fall. This is my first couple to be baptized. It was a really neat feeling. Hopefully their children will follow suit.

I realize that over the last ten months my blog posts have probably gotten pretty boring and repetitive. I will try to mix them up in the future. If you have any stories you want me to tell let me know. I have lots of stories and experiences, but seem to forget to send them all when I sit down in the library to send this post. I am sorry.


Elder Badger

PS I sent the Christmas List you asked for. I hope I sent you some good ideas.

"Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma."

Dear Family,

So this week has been one of the roller coaster weeks. All scans came back clear. Absolutely no cancer is present in my body. What a blessing. Dr. Chen seemed almost more relieved than myself. You should have seen him. He is a very good oncologist that cares for his patients. We made a good choice in doctors.

Anyway, now for the cool stuff. We received a referral about six weeks back from a member in one of the English wards. It was for a man named Antonio. Before we happened to check up on the referral we happened to run into another man named Antonio. Turns out that they are the same person. We made a call to try to set up an appointment. We found this to be very difficult because he was constantly on the road as a truck driver. The first time we called him he was in Phoenix. Over the last few weeks he has continued to call us with many questions about authority and the restoration. He has asked some very good questions that have made me have to think and really look for a good answer. Many times we have had to say, "We don't know, but this is what we do know..." He has been very open and accepting to all. He has called us from across the west coast. Last week we received a call from him as he was driving by the Tacoma Dome. Sometimes, he calls us whenever he sees an LDS temple. It has been a really neat experience. I have been surprised that I have been able to teach him over the phone. One of my largest hurdles with the language has been dealing with phone conversations. There is a very specific phone etiquette that can be difficult to learn. Also, there are no visual clues, which makes it very tough to understand what someone is saying.

Challenges aside, we finally received a call from him this weekend. He was in Livermore for three hours. We ended up teaching him a short lesson really focusing on the Book of Mormon. One thing he brought up was our discussion from before about baptism. He says that since we talked about it on the phone it has been all he can think about. He told us that he wants to be baptized. We extended him the date of the 27th of November. He didn't accept the date because he needs permission from his wife, but did tell us that he has that weekend off. Until our next lesson, we are working on getting him a local job in Livermore. He says he is willing to work for five dollars and hour if he has to. We even got permission to find him Spanish branches along his trucking routes. Yesterday he went to a Spanish branch in Medford, Oregon. We will have to see how he liked it.

Everything is going well here. I get to return to Redwood City next weekend to see the baptism of two of my investigators when I was there. It's amazing to see that the people I worked with our continuing to progress. Also, Dina Pena finished her radiation therapy. She will be starting chemotherapy soon. She has really been taking it in full stride. The Redwood City 2nd ward has really gathered around her. I guess it has been a big project from the Relief Society. She didn't realize that she would gain so many friends from joining the Church.


Elder Badger

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall is Falling

Dear family,

It was very good to get so many letters this last week. Aunt Debbie, sent some pretty sweet postcards from New York and I am glad to have a Joke Patrol headquartered in Salt Lake City. I have been in desperate need of one. I also got a letter from my roommate in Argentina. All the mail is making the other missionaries in the apartment a little jealous. Don't worry, keep it coming.

We received notice last night that our apartment will be receiving a fifth missionary. It's getting pretty cozy in our place. I am excited to make the move to our new apartment which will actually be within our proselyting area. It is a bit of a drag to have to bike to your area everyday.

The work continues to progress, but we really need to find some new investigators. We have one that is getting really close to really close. We don't let it frustrate us, but we keep praying and reminding him of his commitments to pray and read the Book of Mormon. Hopefully he gets an answer to his prayers this week. He has had all the lessons except for a few commandments.

We have been forced to drop more investigators that started to avoid us. Sometimes it's difficult for people to understand why we give commitments and why they should keep them. The investigators that are really ready for baptism do everything they can to keep their commitments and really show their desire to follow Jesus Christ.

I love you all.


Elder Badger

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lots of Lessons!

Dear family,

I survived transfers. I am still in Livermore with Elder Trent. The only real change that will happen this transfer is a new apartment. I am glad for this. I like living with another companionship, but it can make it difficult to focus on the work. It also makes studying a little bit more distracting. I will be glad when we finally move. Rumor has it the new apartment is a sister's apartment. I'm not sure if that means granite counter tops, but I have heard from a reliable source that there is a fireplace.

This week has been busy with many lessons. We have some investigators that are really getting close to baptism. Unfortunately, they haven't accepted baptismal dates yet. This is something that I don't like at all. We are working very hard to change it. When these people do get baptized, it will happen fast. We are really hoping that General Conference will help these investigators prepare for baptism.

As always, the week also had its trouble. We had some investigators drop us because of family situations. It is always a tough situation when the family is in opposition to the missionaries. There isn't a whole lot we can do. One of these investigators even told us that he wanted to get baptized, however, his wife was opposed to the idea. It isn't anything too new. It just means we need to get out there and find the people that are ready to receive us. They are out there. It will take faith to find them, but we can do it.

Also, this is a note to all cousins. I have sent cards this last week. They should be arriving tomorrow or the next day. Please notice that I said I would pay any dentist bills for cavities for Halloween. Please take note that this was a typographical error. The cards should read that Uncle David (Ely) will pay for all dental bills incurred through an excess intake of sucrose within the weeks leading and following Halloween.

Also, to Lizzy... (For Lizzy's eyes only ;)


Elder Christopher Badger

Monday, September 20, 2010


Hola familia,

I am doing well in Livermore. Things are continuing to improve. We have been teaching many lessons and really seeking to get the branch involved heavily with the missionary work. We know that all of the hard work will pay off soon.

This last week we had a mission conference with Elder Golden. It was very interesting. He is the type of person that can expound on four verses of scriptures for three hours. He did just that. It was very interesting. I felt like a learned a lot. I can't imagine how somebody can be that smart. I was amazed by the deftness with which he completely pulled apart a scripture, dissected it, then put it back together into one cohesive thought. Being from South Africa, he frequently used words like "cheeky" and "Balderdash." Needless to say, we were all entertained as well.

Much of his focus was on the choices we made that put us here at this time in this place. It really made me appreciate just how special everybody is. Even though we get frustrated with ourselves, other missionaries, and investigators, we must remember that they are our brothers and sisters.

Everything else is going well for us. We have had to teach some pretty tough lessons. Namely, the Law of Chastity. It's a hard lesson to teach when you know somebody has a problem with it. Luckily, I was on exchange with my district leader, who speaks Spanish, he helped out immensely. Also, the member we brought was able to offer a wonderful testimony about how he had been blessed through his marriage. Fortunately, our investigator didn't drop us and is praying about the commandment. The next obstacle we have is helping her accept baptism. It is much harder to teach the Law of Chastity before somebody accepts baptisms. I am saying a lot of prayers for her right now.

I have begun to receive letters from friends at BYU who were away for the summer. I can't believe BYU is stinking it up so bad. What happened? Anyway, I can worry about that in two years. It is nice to hear from old friends. As I grow older, the world shrinks. I keep running into missionaries that know mutual friends. For example, my zone leader saw a wedding announcement I received from an old roommate. The roommate married someone from his freshman ward. I guess the BYU bubble spreads to San Jose as well.

I am glad to hear that all is well in Lakewood.


Elder Badger

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh... it's fun to find all the time... especially from 6 to 9

Dear Family,

I am glad to hear that all is well. I have heard the news. BYU lost to Air Force. Que Paso. I can't believe it. Air Force!!!! GAG

Ok, I'm done.

Life is going well for me here in Livermore. The area continues to improve. We still don't have anyone lined up for baptism, but we are working really hard to find someone. It's been a little while since I have been without someone progressing towards baptism. Planning priorities change a lot when you have someone who is scheduled to be baptized. Hopefully we will find someone soon. Needless to say, the majority of our efforts are scheduled on finding. We end up contacting a lot of English speakers. Last week alone, our English referrals led to three new investigators for the sisters in the English ward. I'm glad that the hard work is yielding some fruit. I'm hoping that we find some prepared Spanish speakers. We found four new investigators last week, which is very good. Unfortunately, none accepted baptismal dates. I know that there are people out there who are ready to be baptized within the month of October. We will find them.

I finally received some mail from my friends. Tell Thaddeus thank you. I will write him soon. And Matt, tell that bum to get on it. I have yet to hear from him. Anyway, it's nice to know that everyone is doing well. I have another e mail out there with some requested addresses. I realize I haven't been as diligent on my letter writing as I should have been.

Yesterday we had stake conference with Elder Golden of the Seventy. Luckily, he didn't tour our apartment. It was a very interesting conference. He talked about some pretty deep scriptural stuff. It would have been deep in a BYU religion class. I liked it. It was a little tough for some of our investigators to follow. I could tell that the translators struggled too. All in all, it was a good conference. We have a mission conference with him on Tuesday. I'm excited. These conference are always good places to receive ideas about how to be better missionaries.


Elder Badger

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

¿Where are we?


Greetings from Livermore. I must begin by telling you something. This week we took a wrong turn while looking for a former investigator from our area book. We learned the hard way that we need to bring a map. Our wrong turn took us through a neighborhood that reminded me of DuPont. When we exited, we found ourselves surrounded by vineyards. It went from suburban to rural within a block. After pedalling about a mile we found ourselves back in downtown Livermore. It's very weird to be so close to the country.

The work here is continuing to progress. We spend the majority of our time finding. The mission has set a goal of 85 baptisms in October. We can do it. We really want to contribute to this number, but will have to work very hard to do so. In August we broke a mission record with the number of baptisms. It's very rewarding to know that we are pushing the mission to a new standard.

This upcoming week we have stake conference with Elder Golden of the quorum of the seventy. He will also be touring the mission and holding two zone conferences, one with each half of the mission. We are a little intimidated because we hear that he wants to tour some apartments. We spent the majority of our preparation day cleaning and making sure that everything was ready. We have a feeling that he might be visiting our apartment since we live in the stake having stake conference. Say a little prayer.

Once again, the work is progressing. We are beginning a new finding technique as a mission that utilizes the Book of Mormon as referral source from members. It has been immensely successful in the San Diego mission. We hope to put it to good use here. I know that we will see success from it. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool we have as missionaries. Almost every concern that we encounter can somehow be tied back to a lack of testimony about the Book of Mormon. Sometimes we have to help our investigators realize that they have a testimony by teaching about the Book of Mormon. It really is the most correct book on this earth.


Elder Badger

Monday, August 30, 2010

What a Week!!!

Hola familia,

This week has been crazy. We have had zone conference and exchanges. Sometimes I feel that all of the meeting leave little time to actually do missionary work.

We have faced some interesting challenges this week, namely, the heat. With such hot weather, we have to plan our finding activities so that we can stop and get water at a member's home. Sometimes we use our wilted and exhausted appearance to our benefit. It actually gets some people to open doors. Who would have thought, sweaty missionaries get in doors better than crisp air conditioned missionaries.

It's interesting to note, that thus far, I have yet to serve in an area original to the San Jose Mission. A year ago when the San Francisco mission was dissolved, the San Jose mission gained the Menlo Park Stake from San Francisco and the Pleaseanton and Livermore Stakes from the Oakland Mission. You would be surprised at how long it takes stakes and wards to adjust to different missions. For example, when I attended the baptisms of an investigator in my last area. I had to inform the member who drove us that we had to take a longer route that kept us within our mission boundaries.

I really like the branch here. The people are very nice and eager to help. They are eager to have some baptisms. There haven't been very many baptisms in the recent history of the branch. I'm glad that they are just as eager for baptisms as the missionaries.

Unfortunately, I don't have any exciting news. All is well.


Elder Badger

PS Good luck with school.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I feel like I'm stuck in Jacob 5

Hola Familia,

First off, I want to say I love you all and wish you the best of luck as you begin school and other activities. I am well. My bike works well and I have a helmet that protects my best asset. The subject line is inspired from the acres of wine vineyards that surround the city of Livermore. When I got my mission call I didn't expect to serve in wine country; however, here I am. It reminds me of Jacob 5 which has quite a bit to do with mission work. It reminds me that as missionaries we are the workers working to gather Israel.

Transfers have changed life quite a bit. To give you an idea we are now in an apartment with another companionship. This leads to many exciting moments. Luckily, they have a car and are more than willing to help us with our transportation needs.

We are currently in the thick of the finding. As of now, we have no one that is moving towards baptisms. We are hoping to change this in the near future. It reminds me of when we first got to Redwood City and had no investigators. Some of the investigators we had when I got here have been put on the back burner. Until they make an active choice to progress and keep commitments there isn't much we can do as missionaries to help them follow Jesus Christ.


Elder Badger

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bicyle!!!!! Bicycle!!!!!!!!!!! Bicycle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am no longer greeting you from Sunny Redwood City (Climates best by government test), but rather from the scorching City of Livermoore. It's hot here (like 80 degrees is a break from the heat). Also, I am on bicycle. Hence the greeting. Imagine the subject line sung to some lyrics by Queen and it makes more sense.
Before I tell you what I know about my area I will tell you what went down at transfer meeting. We were blessed with a surprise. My trainer, Elder Tidwell, was made an Assistant to the President. He looked like a deer in headlights when President announced it in transfer meeting. Spanish assistants are rare. He'll be great. I'm not sure if I've made mention of this, but our mission has four AP's. He will be companions with Elder Woolf from Pennsylvania, while Elder Monday from Great Britain will be companions with another mission friend of mine, Elder Provolt. I know it doesn't matter much to the rest of the world, but I thought it was good.
Now, about my area. This area should be good. I am in a Spanish Branch. We live in an apartment with two other Spanish missionaries and have a lot of work to do. We currently don't have any people with baptismal dates. This will change. My companion has been out for six weeks and is being broken. (Mission speak for second companion) I am eager to get to work. I have yet to see any huge pockets of Latinos, but they're out there. We just have to find them.
I love you all. Good luck with school, work, being awesome, and your letter writing. I appreciate all the postcards and letters I've received. I'm also glad to hear that Grandpa is doing better.
Elder Badger
PS Tell Casandra that her hair cut makes her look "Muy mona" That's Spanish for "very cute" or also "Very monkey." It doesn't quite translate directly.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Can he go for one more transfer?????


Here's the deal. I'm crossing my fingers I'm staying in Redwood City, but I really have no clue. I had interviews with President on Thursday and not a word was mentioned about transfers. I gave up asking two transfers ago. I figure I'll just focus on the work. If I'm getting transferred, I should know on Monday after transfer meeting. On the bright side, I know that there are quite a few baptisms I will be coming back for. All in all, I think my time here should yield over ten baptisms from the different people I've taught. We're allowed to comeback and see our old investigators get baptized if we have members take us, so I can look forward to that.

I've decided that Summer is the weirdest time in the mission. All the kids are out of school and life for everybody else moves at a different pace. It makes it really weird for missionaries. Instead of talking to adults when we try to do finding, we only find kids. Kids are great, but we really can't teach much to children unless their parents are on board. Besides, we want families. I'm sorry to hear that Grandpa is ill again. Wish him well for me. I am always eager for your letters.

I've received a few questions about Prop 8. I haven't heard much, which is surprising when you consider that I am only forty minutes south of San Francisco. Most of the people we teach are more concerned with things in Arizona. To be honest, I know nothing of the news. I was a news junky before the mission, but am grateful to be away from all of the slant and slander. I realize it can drag on people.

Our investigators are doing well. We found a family that had been taught by the missionaries four years ago. They are really eager to learn and realize that they are missing something that they felt when the missionaries were teaching them. The missionaries even arranged their wedding. They all know that they need to be baptized and we are just struggling to commit them to a date. These are the trickiest situations. These are the type of lessons where you go in fasting and praying hoping that you can convey what the Lord needs you to say. I've had them before, but they are always tough. They're the type of experiences that leave me completely exhausted at the end of the day. It's a different type of exhaustion.

Hey, I don't have much time left. Love you all


Elder Badger

Monday, August 2, 2010

The highs are higher and the lows are lower

Dear family,

The sun still shines in Redwood City despite the letter I sent this weekend. You all received the news that Dina, the woman that was baptized in May after three weeks of knowing the church, has cancer. I mispoke in my letter and made mention that the cancer was gastric cancer. I have found out that it is actually Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 2B, the exact same type of cancer I was diagnosed with two years ago. It's very unfortunate that she has cancer, but she received a very favorable prognosis from the doctors. They put her chance of survival in the ninety percent range. In place of chemotherapy, they are planning on doing radiation. It will be tough, but I'm sure that she will be able to make it through. She has a lot of support from her family and understands he place in the Plan of Salvation. I really think it's been harder for her twenty-three year old son. He is taking good care of her, but has many question for me about the cancer. She is really beginning to wrap her mind around the diagnosis and is now grateful that she can treat the source of her health problems.

In other news, we are working our tail off this month trying to make the mission goal of 80 baptisms. The mission achieved 60 in February, but would like to shatter the record. It's interesting the entire mission is trying something that Elder Tidwell and I used our second transfer that contributed to much of our success. We have promised the Lord what we as missionaries in the San Jose Mission are willing to sacrifice and have set this goal according to the Spirit. To achieve this goal, Elder Metcalf and I really feel like we can contribute three baptisms in the month of August towards this goal. We have two lined up right now, but have this feeling that there is one more out there. I don't know who it is, but I know we will find them, if we live up to the promises we've made. Please mention the 80 and the three whenever possible in family prayers. We are trying our hardest to find people. It probably will mean having to take some dinners to-go, but we know we can do it. The person is out there, ready and waiting. We just need to find them.


Christopher Badger

Monday, July 26, 2010

Baptismal Delight!!!


Once again, I greet you from wonderful Redwood City, "Climates Best By Government Test." Now you know the cheesy motto that I see every time I drive through downtown. I see it everywhere. They have arches that make it impossible to forget. I still wonder who determines what the best weather is. Call me a little bit of a cynic or maybe just conservative, but I'm not sure I trust the government to determine the best weather. I'll leave it at this, the weather here is good.

Even better than sunshine is baptisms. This weekend we had the baptism of Adonay Luna. It was amazing to hear him talk to us after his confirmation. He told us that now his life is different; he has the help of the Holy Ghost. I'm glad he gets how important the Baptism and Confirmation really are. It was really nice to see the baptistry of the Menlo Park Stake Center full with members ready to greet him as a new member of the ward. I really have been spoiled in my first area with a ward that is eager to help. We rarely have problems getting members to appointments or getting them to give talks at baptisms. We have begun to use some of our recent converts in some of these roles as well. It's very nice to hear them share their simple, yet powerful testimonies as they progress as recent converts. The progress they make in a few short weeks is remarkable. It increases exponentially once they receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

I'm glad to hear that things continue to go well at home. Kate, please be aware that I prepared a discourse of why you need a car this year at BYU. It is in the mail and should arrive "muy pronto." My favorite reason is so that it means that it would be my turn to have a car in about 17 months. I tease. I still have a long time to go. Do whatever you want as long as you make sure to contact Matt and Thaddeus and tell them what bums they are. I haven't received so much as a postcard from those guys. For all I know Thaddeus could have grown a beard and is under deep cover in Afghanistan. Matt could have.... well...heaven knows what Matt could have done. I think I'll just wait for him to tell me. It's probably better that I not guess.

Love you all,

Elder Christopher Badger

P.S. Please tell people that letters are greatly appreciated. I still have about six inches left in my shoebox of letters. I've got to fill it up before I get transferred.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We Have A Go!!!

Hello once again,

Things are bright and sunny in the San Jose California mission. We've been working hard, teaching lessons, and preparing for a baptism. I love weeks like this. They tend to be the busiest. I don't know how we're going to have time to eat dinner this week. I think we'll just have to get it to go. I don't really mind. I will do just about anything to make sure a baptism goes down smoothly. These are some of the best weeks in the lives of missionaries.

The man getting baptized this week is Adonay Luna. He was a referral from the English elders. He's from El Salvador and drives a truck for some construction companies. (Side note: construction is a good job for our investigators, it means they usually don't have to work Sundays). He remembers taking the missionary lessons as a child in El Salvador. His family never did get baptized, but jumped at the chance to bring the Spirit that he remembers from when he met with the missionaries years ago.

It's amazing to hear his understanding of the Gospel. All we have to do is teach for a minute or so, ask a good question and let him go. We find that we end up learning more from him then we could ever teach. It's as if someone is feeding him conference talks.

I've hear that there is some inner tubing going on back home. I'm a little jealous. Then again, I am doing better things. I'm sorry this letter is short.


Elder Badger

Monday, July 12, 2010

I don't speak that Language!

Hola familia,

Once again, the work progresses here in Redwood City. Things have been a little bit of an adjustment since getting my new companion. It's amazing how much I got used to leaning on Elder Tidwell's Spanish to fill the gaps. I realize I still have a long way to go. Luckily, my understanding is very good. I'm just waiting for my mouth to catch up. I can translate from Spanish to English comfortably, but thinking completely in Spanish has yet to come. I guess it probably won't come completely, due to the fact that we use English a lot.

Right now we are teaching men. This is a nice change. It will be nice to baptize some prospective priesthood holders into the ward. Every ward can use more priesthood. Each investigator has very unique challenges that make teaching different in each situation. For example, we're teaching a man named Abel who lost his eyesight in a construction accident. We spend a lot of time stopping by and reading the scriptures with him so that he can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He has such strong faith. We taught him the Law of Chastity and asked him if he wants to get married to his girlfriend of three years. He said "Of course, if God says so, I need to do it." We then asked him if his girlfriend wanted to marry him, his response was, "I sure hope so." I can't wait for his baptism.

Also, we are beginning to teach a man named Moclovio. He is deaf but knows ASL and reads Spanish lips. With the help of the ASL Elders we hope to be able to teach him. It makes things very interesting because there are a lot of languages flying around the room as we teach. Sometimes I get confused and forget which language I'm speaking. I also find I make things worse by trying to talk with my hands. It doesn't help the situation.

To top it off. We're teaching a man that broke his leg playing soccer. There you have it. Blind, Deaf, and Lame. We got it. All are wonderful people and have already begun to see the changes that come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love you all,

Elder Christopher Badger

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hola familia,

Once again I write you from sunny California. I'm doing well. Happy, healthy, and ... I can't think of any more H words. Anyway, here's the big news. I survived transfers. I'm still in Redwood City. Elder Tidwell went to Marina with a companion from my group. I have a new companion that came in a transfer after me. His name is Elder Metcalf, he's from Draper and seems like a pretty nice guy. I have learned to avoid transfer meetings like the plague. Unfortunately, the odds are I will probably go to next transfer meeting and get a new area.

The work has been progressing well. Elder Tidwell and I began teaching a man on Friday. He had an accident working in construction and lost his eyesight. He accepted a baptismal date on the spot and was very excited at church. He should be baptized on August 7th. The cool part is the fact that he wants us to teach his family. This would be the first complete family I've taught. It's also very good that he accepted the date first. Usually when the head of household is baptized, the family follows. The rest of our investigators are progressing very well and we are set to have quite a few baptisms in August. August should be right now three are very solid while one is kind of up in the air.

I realized how different it is to have a different companion after four and a half months with Elder Tidwell. Last night I completely forgot how to speak Spanish for about ten seconds, even worse, when I remembered how I had forgotten the lesson we were on and almost taught a principle from lesson 5. I guess it was funny at the time, but I'm sure Elder Metcalf must have though "This is going to be my companion." I guess I just need to relax, when I get nervous I forget everything I have learned.

I'm really trying to relax after yesterday. With all of the hype that gets added to transfers it really can make one tense. This morning is much better. I can feel myself beginning to settle into the routine of missionary work. I'm sure I will still have to make adjustments, but the biggest one is out of the way.

I'm glad that the family reunion went well. It sounds like the tardiness was perfectly in line with some of the meetings in the Spanish program. Sacrament meeting can be pretty empty when the world cup is on.

Les Quiero mucho y espero que esten bien. Disfruten su semana.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Six months gone in a blink!

Hola familia,
I can't believe that I hit my six month mark this week. I can't be in the middle portion of my mission. They say that the middle year is the best year. I hope that's true because the first six months have been better than I would have expected. I have loved every minute since arriving in Redwood City. I have even better news you won't believe how good it is. I would make you wait until next week to read it, but I just can't contain myself...... Drum roll. Ok, the big news is.............................Mexico lost! I know I shouldn't be excited, but it will do wonders for the work. The only thing better than Mexico losing will be when the whole World Cup is over on the eleventh of July. Please don't misunderstand me, soccer is a wonderful sport and Mexico is a team made up of find children of God, but soccer isn't conducive to missionary work. I don't know how Dad survived in Spain when they hosted the World Cup. The first six months of my mission have been more than I would have ever expected.
I also can't believe that I am rounding my two year mark since I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's been an interesting two years. It's amazing to contrast the feelings from when I found out I had Hodgkin's to the feeling I've had in the first area of my mission. Baptisms have really proved to be one of the best experiences of my life. We are excited by the continued work. We continue to find new people and have another man set for July. He is really solid and began coming to church even before we started teaching him. With any luck, July and August should be a repeat of May. Each interview, President asks me how I like the area. My response is always a fervent "I love it." Unfortunately, things can't stay the same forever.
Elder Tidwell and I have a feeling that next Monday (transfers) will bring change. I have a feeling he will be a Zone Leader in San Jose to finish his mission. This means I'll get a new companion and will have what we refer to as your "breaker." I'll adapt. It will be good for me to see other ways to work; although we've enjoyed every minute of our time together in Redwood City. I'm pretty sure that I'll be here until late August when they bring in sisters. This will put me at a total of four transfers in Redwood City which tends to be the average for an area. Usually if you are doing well and working hard President will leave you relatively unchanged. The only reason he tends to change things around is to help spread the good work around. Tell everyone I love them and wish that I could be at the family reunion. You'll just have to have another one in two years when I'm back.
Elder Badger

Monday, June 14, 2010



Once again, we have had a great week in Redwood City. It has been well into the 90's and hot. The work has been about the same. This week we've really been concentrating on contacting everyone. We're running out of supplies from all the contacting we've been doing. As the week has progressed, we've gotten bolder and bolder. One of the things I have begun to apply in my street contacting is extending the baptismal invitation on the street. Amazingly, it's not a bad contacting technique. It's yielded a few appointments and some church attendance. Five months ago, I would have never tried to invite somebody to be baptized after meeting them thirty seconds before. I realized that once I began trying this, a lot of the fear I have had about talking to people on the street has evaporated. I try to talk to everyone. As I get better at talking to people I begin to notice little clues that help to strike up conversation. Things like soccer jerseys, mops on balconies, imagen, and all sorts of things have made it a lot easier to identify clues about everything from religion, work, kids, and school.

At times these clues have been deceptive. One mistake I made this week was contacting a Filipino man in Spanish. He was wearing a jersey from a Mexican soccer team and looked like he was rushing home to watch the world cup. Turns out he spoke Tagalog and a little English, but absolutely no Spanish. My greeting was lost on him. Anyway, we still contacted him in English and referred him onto the English elders.

Speaking of the World Cup, we're a little afraid what that will do to our work. Already, we find people sitting in their front yards with their TVs watching the latest game from their team. It may make this week very hard because we'll be contending with the largest religion in Latin America, outside of Catholocism, futbol!

With our added emphasis on contacting, we've still managed to baptize this week. Gloria Castro was baptized on Saturday. It was a very nice service. Our recent convert Dina shared her testimony and we had several members comment that the spirit was strong. Gloria had been preparing for along time. She began attending church back in March when we first arrived in the area and hasn't missed a week since. She loves the emphasis that the church puts on the family. She also likes that she can really feel the spirit without any excessive show ore pretenses.

I hope all is well back home.


Christopher Badger

Monday, June 7, 2010

Voy a ganar!

Hola mi familia,

Once again, greeting from Redwood City. We have enjoyed another wonderful week filled with future stories.

My favorite story of this week is in regards to our recent convert Dina. This week Dina gave one of the simplest, but most heartfelt testimonies I have heard since starting my mission. Her testimony was centered on the promises contained in the Book of Mormon. She talked about how she knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet because she had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. It was so powerful we have asked her to share her testimony at next weeks baptism.

We were also pleased to see the ward thank her for her sweet testimony after the meeting. They were touched as well. We were glad because it resulted in referrals after church. Many ward members have recently been very eager to introduce us to their good friends. It has helped bless some of the the other elders as well because many of these referrals happen to be in their areas, so we get the opportunity of passing them on.

I have been healthy and doing well. A few elders in our Zone have been hit with a small bug. Fortunately, we've been spared from any illness.

Also, this week Elder Tidwell and I have made a competition between us to try to talk to more people. We keep a simple tally each day. The loser has to share the spiritual thought at the next dinner appointment. If there is no dinner appointment, the loser is required to make all of the phone calls the following day. We find that we try especially hard on the days when it would involve phone calls. (Phone calls are not our favorite thing).

I hope all is well back home. I hope Grandpa is feeling a little better. I have a CT scan today and a doctors appointment at the end of the month.

Hasta Luego,

Elder Christopher Badger

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

85 Degrees and Hot!

Hola family,

Once again, we have had a pretty good week. For the first half of last week we had to host another companionship of elder's in our apartment. We have one of the larger apartments, but still found it quite crowded. Fortunately, they left a few days ago and are now in their own place. It is nice to have the place back to ourselves this makes it much easier to practice our Spanish and prepare for lessons in our own space. It also makes it easier to keep clean.

I'm sorry to hear that Grandpa isn't feeling well. I hope he's feeling better. One thing I also learned this week is that there is a Dr. Badger in the Menlo Park Stake. I was a little dissapointed to learn that I won't be the first.

I also learned through exchanges, that no one can tell the story of Joshua having to fit in the shoes of Moses like Steve Young. We heard him talk about how he had to fill Joe Montana's shoes. It was probably one of the best sunday school lessons I've been in.

I'm sorry, but I don't have a lot of news for this week. Elder Tidwell turned twenty-one yesterday and we celebrated with a rousing game of Monopoly City. I happened to win. After four hours of playing I decided not to make any missionaries cry so we put away the game and finished Preparation Day. No baptisms this week, but we should have one on June 12, 2010. I hope all is well.


Elder Badger

Monday, May 24, 2010

One Fine Day

Hola, una vez mas

I'm very glad to hear that all is well with the family. It sounds like you had a good time with the entire family gathered together. Once again I had a wonderful Saturday. Saturday can be a very tough day for finding and working because people tend to be "busy" with all of their relaxing.

We have decided that a way to make Saturday's better is through baptismal services and sealings. This last Saturday we began the day by attending a sealing in the Oakland Temple with some of Elder Tidwell's recent converts. It was the first sealing I had been too and really enjoyed the Spirit that was there. It was amazing to see and entire family sealed together.

We then concluded the day by having the Baptism of Dina and Ashley Pena. The baptism went very well and the Spirit was very strong. Dina's husband, Santiago, attended and told us that he felt something different at the Baptism. He even attended their confirmation the following day in church. We are hoping to begin teaching him. I would love to see them a year from now in the Temple when they get sealed together. It was the best day of my mission thus far.

I also have some good news about transfers. Elder Tidwell and I will be staying together, but will lose more than half of our area. Unfortunately, all of the area we have really been focusing on will go to some Spanish elders on bike. I really wish I was on bike so I could stay in that area. Most of our people who are progressing towards baptism are in that area. I didn't realize how attached I was to the people in that area. Also, I didn't realize how stressed I get around transfer times. We will also be turning over every single appointment in our planners. This leaves us with one appointment for the week. It is very frustrating. We also have the two elders staying in our apartment until the mission finds an apartment for them. We will make do, but feel as if we're really the ones white washing again. It takes a lot longer than I would have expected to bring an area up to speed. The new elders will be blessed with an area that should yield baptisms in the next transfer.

Anyways, all is well here. Mi espanol esta progresando bien. Con tiempo voy a hablar sin miedo. Espero que ustedes esten bien en Washington. La obra continuara. Tengan una buena semana

Con Amor,

Elder Badger

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good 'ol way....

Querida Familia,

Tuvimos un bautismo. Estamos muy agradecimos por Oscar y Marisol Buendia. Su mama estuvo contenta cuando los dos fueron bautizado. Tuve la opurtunidad bautizar a Marisol y su amigo, Hermano Olsen, bautizo a oscar. (forgive me, but I can't figure out how to change the library keyboard to spanish, so some accents are missing). Vente cinco personas estuvieron ahi.

It was an amazing experience to have our first baptism. We were surprised when President Jackson showed up to watch our baptism. Luckily, there weren't any complication. Everything went the way it was supposed to. There mother, a recent convert, was especially happy that her family can be united in one church. They are all planning on performing baptisms for the dead in the Oakland Temple in three weeks when the ward takes all twenty-six of its recent converts.

We are also blessed to be able to witness the baptism of Dina and Ashley next week. Both are very excited and have adapted well to the ward. We began teaching Dina two weeks ago. Already she is in Alma 15. I won't be surprised if she has finished the Book of Mormon before her baptism. Her daughter Ashley is eight years old and is more eager to be baptized than her mother. She asked me if she could be baptized this weekend. We told her that it would be best to wait one more week just to make sure that we had taught her everything she needed to know.

It's amazing how the Lord has helped us this transfer. Through prayer we set goals at the beggining of this transfer. We also sought the spirit as we decided how er were going to achieve these goals. As we did the things we promised to do to find these people the Lord put them in our path. In Dina's case, She called US. This rarely happens. We feel so blessed to have been worthy of witnessing these blessings. I realize how little I actually do as a missionary. We simply try to bring the Spirit so that the Lord can go to work. This seems to be the most effective way. Amazingly, it isn't something they teach in the MTC.

I hope all is well at home. Things are wonderful in Redwood City. We're in the sixth week of the transfer so we should find out about transfers next saturday (say a prayer that Elder Tidwell and I are still together).


Elder Badger

We had a baptism. We are very grateful for Oscar and Marisol Buendia. Their mother was very happy when they were baptized. I had the opportunity to baptize Marisol and her friend. Elder Olsen baptized Oscar. There were 25 people there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Miracles Make my Day

Hola familia,

We have had an amazing week once again. We found an amazing new investigator this week. Her name is Dina Pena. The ironic thing about finding her is the fact that we did nothing; she found us.

We were in a teaching appointment a few nights ago when we received a phone call from her. She said that she had been reading the Book of Mormon over the last year and wanted to meet with missionaries. We set the appointment for the next day and were very excited to meet her. Our excitement grew when she called us back and told us that she wanted us to bring a Book of Mormon in English for her daughter.

We visited her the next day. She explained to us how missionaries had given her a Book of Mormon a year before and how she was unable to meet them because she was paralyzed. After much physical therapy she is now able to walk and function normally. She had been reading the Book of Mormon. Surprisingly, she is the type to read the last chapter first (Moroni 10). She then began reading from the beginning. She knew that what she had read was true. She also understood that because she knew the Book of Mormon was true that Jesus Christ is the savior, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that we had the true church. Shortly after this, she saw four advertisements for the church on her television in one day. She took this as a sign that she needed to call the number left in her book and meet with missionaries again. We were blessed to be those missionaries.

When we arrived we began talking about what she knew. We asked her what she thought she would feel like if the Book of Mormon was true. She described the peace, calmness, and assurance that accompanied her prayers. She then told us that because we were there she knew that she had received an answer. She told us that everything she read seemed familiar to her; although she had never read it before.

Interestingly, she was a practicing Jehovah's Witness for thirty years. She left the church when she received a blood transfusion that saved her life. A few of her questions were related to the questions she had about our beliefs. One of the things that helped assure her that we were the answer to her prayers was the fact that we believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate beings. Our appointment got better as she used an analogy we often use as missionaries. She talked about how, like a family they work together to achieve the same thing, but are distinct and separate from each other.

As the lesson progressed we learned a great deal from her. We could feel the strength of her testimony, a testimony rooted on a conviction that the Book of Mormon is true. She did as Moroni says; she read in the Book of Mormon, pondered its words, and prayed. She knew everything she needed to accept a baptismal date. She will be baptised three weeks from that first lesson. We hope to teach her daughter and baptise her as well (she's eight). They both attended church yesterday and loved every minute of it. She has an amazing fellowshipper that has already befriended her. They talked about all aspects of their families and background. Her daughter loved primary and sang some of the songs to her mom afterwards.

It was interesting to hear President's response as we told him the news. She had been prepared and knew it. I feel blessed to witness this miracle. Elder Tidwell and I are reminded that we have no claim to a baptism. The Lord has prepared people to be baptized.


Elder Badger

Monday, April 26, 2010

Be Bold, but not too Bold

Dear Family,

My language skills are progressing significantly. I am much better at expressing my thoughts and have begun to think in Spanish. Because our ward sometimes has talks in English I often find myself translating in my head by trying to think about how I would say what they're saying in Spanish. I have also found it interesting that already my Spanish is beyond the English ability of most of the Native Speakers. This doesn't say a lot, and still means there is a lot of room for improvement, but we find that it helps to bridge the language gap that often exists between generations in Spanish speaking homes.

A good example of this is a lesson we taught last week that involved a mother and her two children. She didn't understand English very well and her children didn't understand Spanish. We took turns summarizing in the different languages. This made for a very long lesson, but allowed mother and child to communicate on a level they don't always get. It also helps because of the presence of the Spirit. It tends to bridge language barriers better than my inadequate Spanish.

Spanish has also yet again gotten me into trouble by being bold. We had our first guy who really wanted to bible bash. It wasn't an effective use of our time, so we tried to wrap it up after the first ten minutes. Needless to say, he didn't want to be done with us. Fortunately, my WONDERFUL Spanish came out in command form this time. I guess I was a little more direct with him than I needed to be. Luckily, I through in a por favor at the end to make it a little bit more polite. I guess I still need to work on being a little more subtle. I'll have to practice passive construction.


Elder Badger

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Week Come and Gone

Dear family,

I am glad to hear that Kate has survived another semester at BYU. I'm glad that you enjoyed mission prep. Many of the things I learned in that class have helped me as I have sought the Spirit in teaching. We had an experience that has demonstrated to me how important the Spirit is in conversion. It really is the third member of our companionship. Miracles happened with the aid of the Spirit. So often people truly hearing the gospel is dependent on them opening up their hearts to the Spirit. Like it says in Alma 32 if they will give the seed of faith a little bit of soil to grow in it can be nurtured by the Spirit and grow into true conversion. The number of parables related to faith, seeds, and the Spirit are great. I now know why Grandpa likes botany.

Much of this weeks experience is contained in a letter I sent home last week. I am very excited to call home on Mother's Day, not because I am homesick, but because I am anxious to tell you about the baptisms we will have had by then. We should have our first baptism on the first of May, two more on eighth, and at least one more on the twenty-second. We are very excited. We have gained more area and are now using a little area along Middlefield referred to as Little Michoacan. When we work in Little Michoacan we feel as if we are in Mexico. All we hear is Spanish. I didn't know places like this existed in the United States.

We are also glad that the weather is finally brightening. This means that Carne Asada season is in full bloom. You can smell the meat grilling everywhere we go. We were amazed that we hadn't had any taco's during my first month in the area. This has changed. the last three nights have been tacos, tacos, and tacos. It's a good thing I like them.

I hope you get that letter very soon. The experiences we had on that day were amazing. I will not forget the miracles we witnessed that day.


Elder Badger

Monday, April 12, 2010

One Transfer Down

Dear Family,

I can't believe it's already been a full transfer. I have been blessed and will stay with Elder Tidwell this next transfer. We even get to keep the same area plus gain a small Latin pocket we affectionately refer to as Little Michocan (a city in Mexico). An added blessing, we get to keep the same apartment. I'm kind of spoiled with an indoor parking space, a view of downtown Redwood City, and granite counter tops. It will be hard adjusting to an Elder's apartment whenever I get transferred. We are a little bummed because our District Leader, Elder Pitcher is getting transferred. I actually knew his cousins, the Snow's from Camp Helaman. His uncle is Dr. Snow in the Olympia Stake. He's Canadian which is forgivable. The Stanford's single ward will miss him.

Speaking of the Stanford's single wards. I've been on a few exchanges with the Elder's that cover the university. I've learned two things from this experience. One, take dating advice from the Stanford Singles First ward, it's a marriage factory. Two, don't take advice from the Stanford Singles Second ward, the twenty-five and up ward. From the second ward I've received advice such as, "Roses are better than dates because their cheaper, easier, and the girls like them better." I'm not sure I will be following this tidbit of wisdom when I begin dating again.

One of my new talents I have developed on my mission is readily switching back and forth from Spanish to English. It's amazing how much we have to do this especially when bridging the communication gap that often exists in Latino families consisting of first and second generation immigrants. We even find our Spanish handy in places like Jack in the Box. It really helps when you want to order a "Yumbo Yack."

I can't believe how fast time has been going by. I have been pleased to hear that Kate is successfully dominating Brigham Young University. I sounds like your hard work has been "vale la pena." Are you flying back or driving? I hope all is well. We have been having a wonderful time here. We have a full functioning area now and hope to harvest this transfer.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger


In my aged state of twenty-one years I have learned many things. The most important of these things is patience. The challenging thing about patience is that it is never fully learned and ironically it takes great patience to learn patience. Through patient learning I have learned that I will never learn perfect patience. It would require perfect patience to do so and thus the paradox is formed. As you can see I thoroughly enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's talk from priesthood session of General Conference. I wish I had heard it sooner. Yet again, I had to patiently wait to one day hear.

Conference is a wonderful thing as a missionary. It is the only church meeting you can invite and investigator to without having to fear false doctrine. We brought an investigator to the Saturday afternoon session. From this session I learned two things. One, Elder Christopherson prerecords his talks in Spanish and speaks like a native and, second, that if Elder Holland speaks about the Law of Chastity you might as well say amen and consider that principle as taught.

You will also be pleased to note that I have been thoroughly stuffed with cake on my twenty-first birthday. I baked the cake mom sent, had red velvet cake yesterday at a lunch the stake put on for the missionaries between sessions, and then had flan cheesecake last night at a member's home. I am stuffed with cake. As for my birthday, the plan is to explore downtown Redwood City and then play a rousing game of Monopoly with our district leader and his companion. There have been threats circulating for a week that Elder Pitcher has made other missionaries cry as he made them mortgage every property in their possession.

In relation to the work. Last night we taught one of the best first lessons in one of the best situations yet. We committed our investigator and her two children to baptism in the home of a young member family. It was the perfect situation because the family then had her stay for tacos barbacoa (yum). They were able to help resolve many of her concerns because they were converts from the Catholic church and had many of the same concerns. She is excited for her baptism on the 8th of May and began to make quick friends with the member family we introduced them to. Members really are the best missionaries in a ward. We should think of a nonmember family back home that we could invite to do the same.

Thank you for the birthday wishes.


Elder Christopher Badger

A Long Week

Hola familia,

It's been an especially long time since I have talked with you last. This week has yet again been amazing, but especially long because of our delayed preparation day. We were delayed because we were assigned to attend the temple this day. Fortunately, it is only four short days until I write again. In that time we will be blessed to listen to general conference. I'm looking forward to testing my Spanish comprehension skills.

We have been working furiously to prepare people for baptism. We have already had to make the tough decision to drop investigators that aren't willing to keep commitments. I didn't realize how important small commitments such as reading the Book of Mormon can lead to the larger one of Baptism. Fortunately, we still have a good number of investigators that are on track for their baptismal dates.

President Jackson has taught us to commit to baptism every lesson. This sounds harsh, but it really helps us devote our time to the people who are prepared to hear the gospel. Often we find this sifting process saves hours of time that could have been better used with someone who is ready to follow the Savior. This reminds me of something I learned in my New Testament class. The whole time during the Savior's ministry he brought his disciples through a sifting process. When we read about the bread of life sermon we learn that many of his disciples walked with him no more. This commitment process does this. It also helps these people realize that we are here to help them follow there Savior, not to talk about nice ideas and simply teach. The gospel requires action as demonstration of faith. This is the hardest challenge for most of our investigators.

Once again, I love you all. Happy Easter. I look forward to sharing my thoughts about General Conference.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Gates of Hell

Hola familia,

Don't let the title of my email alarm you. I wish you could get the pictures immediately, but the Gates of Hell is the name of a bronze sculpture on Stanfords campus that we got pictures in front of. It's about twenty feet tall and very intimidating. We couldn't help but get some pictures there as missionaries.

This week has been amazing. The weather has decided to be sunny for the first time since I've gotten here. We even got into the eighties on thursday. The citrus trees have fruit and the whole world is perfect. We have been very busy this week with trying to get our investigators to keep commitments. This has been the first real test of their level of commitment. Some have proven to be less committed than others.

I go on exchange tommorrow with the District Leader, Elder Pitcher. He's in the two Stanford singles wards. This will give me a chance to practice some of my rusty English skills. I'm always amazed at how long we can go without speaking English. Sometimes it is a little tricky to guess which language to use at certain times. I'm beggining to read the body language of peoples responses and begginging to be better at making the guess. For the most part, people under the age of eighteen all speak English and are much more comfortable reading and speaking English, however, they understand Spanish perfectly. This sometimes makes for weird family relationships where parent and child speak their respective languages and both understand the other enough to communicate.

Once again,


Elder Badger

Monday, March 15, 2010

Loving it here in Redwood City!!!


I feel like I say this in every letter I write, but I feel like I have never been busier. I love it!!!! Elder Tidwell and I have really been going to work in Redwood City. I can't believe they had to consolidate this area; there is so much work to do. Last week we were a little disappointed because we taught a grand total of one lesson.

This week has been much better. We went from having zero new investigators to an amazing ten. Of these ten, we have set baptismal dates for five. So far we set five dates in the last four days. We've been on a roll and hope to commit some more investigators tonight. It's amazing to teach people that have been prepared. We have felt the Spirit in every single one of our lessons but are always amazed when these people commit to baptism. It usually ends with fist pump as soon as we get in the car. Sometimes, I just hold my breath and wait for Elder Tidwell to confirm that I translated what they said correctly. It's an amazing feeling.

Speaking of translation. This week I had my first major translation mistake. We were introducing a young man to the Book of Mormon. This young man was very interested in how the Book of Mormon could bring him financial success. He then proceeded to try to sell us on a multilevel marketing scheme from Amway Global. Both Elder Tidwell and I knew the ethical implications of this and felt very uncomfortable. I decided to end it by mentioning our next appointment. Here's what I said "necisita salir. Tenemos una cita." Translated I said, "you need to leave; we have an appointment." I guess it came off a little rude, but it did the trick and got us out of an awkward situation. Oh, I forgot to mention that he picked Starbucks as a meeting place, so we felt very uncomfortable. I guess there are worse things to say in Spanish.

I love this area. The people here are so humble. We often find single bedroom apartments with a family of eight living in it. They are usually furnished comfortable, but you will often find a closet full of twin mattresses for the end of the day. I also love the diversity of people in this area. We have taught people from Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, and Honduras. This leads to a very diverse diet of Latin foods, much of which is very good. It makes me glad that I'm in the US because I get to experience all of these cultures, but enjoy the comforts of stores like Target, Grocery Outlet, and Taco Bell.

As for our apartment. I feel a little spoiled. Our apartment is in the heart of downtown Redwood City. We have a very large living room and kitchen with granite counter tops and large picture windows that look out on City Hall, the city library, and the Caltran station. Needless to say, it was a sisters apartment. The members in this area are amazing. There is a strong young adult population with Stanford ten minutes away which helps us to ensure that we always have a priesthood holder with us when we teach single sisters.

We will be exploring Stanford today, which is very exciting. We have proselyted just off the campus. This experience makes me appreciate the humble Latinos even more. I would much rather talk to a Catholic than an Atheist who wants to talk about Jesus as a philosopher. I hope all is well back home. You would be surprised how much Redwood City reminds me of Lakewood. All the rain lately has made me feel right at home.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger