Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last Week

This is the last email which I will be sending home. I guess I'll be there soon enough that I can probably keep it short and just fill you all in when I touch down in Canada, but for the benefit of those who wont be in Calgary, I'll give an accounting of my final days in the Mission. 

Last Week was incredible! We had some great lessons, Wonderful Sacrament meetings, Fabulous meals, and 2 beautiful Baptisms! It was a huge blessings to be able to have both Jack and Sunny enter into the covenant of Baptism on November 10th. Strange to think that 2 years ago from that day I was entering the MTC with dreams of doing that very thing. Jack's Baptism was well attended by the YSA's and the spirit was so strong. It was amazing to think that his whole life has change in just the past 5 weeks. But he was prepared and happy to receive our message. His parents and grandmother drove up to see it and it was wonderful to me to see how his bold choice has had such an overwhelming effect on them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ Blesses Families. This I know without a doubt. Though we work with only singles here, we've seen how their families have grown with them. I'm so grateful that because my family has been so blessed that I've been able to help others experience the happiness that has meant so much to me. 

Yesterday we continued to teach. I'll admit its getting more distracting. Everyone knows I'm going home and many goodbyes are being said. I love the people here. One of the reasons its so tempting to come back to SVU is simply because of how great everyone I've met are. The Bishops, teachers, Students, and locals have won a huge piece of my heart. I will always miss this place.

Now I think I must come to an end. I'll put it in the words of the Apostle John in his Second Epistle:

 12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

And now I bid unto all Farewell. I loved my mission. I love The Lord, and I love each of you.

Elder Sunada

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello Sandy

Hey Everybody!

So I forgot to mention last week that we had a trip to Charleston on Tuesday for my last Zone Leader Council. Which just so happened to correspond with the land fall of Hurricane Sandy. So we left BV at 5:30am that morning with the Lexington zone leaders with us. Through Virginia we had several small flurries and it was chilly, but not too bad. As we climbed in elevation up to West Virginia conditions got worse and snow started to stick. The ploughs hadn't made it out yet so we were left to travel in the ruts of the few cars and trucks who'd gone a head of us. On one particular section of road we noticed that the other side of the median that both lanes were blocked by trucks who'd lost traction climbing a hill and remained stationary. There was no going back anytime soon. Shortly after we received an text from the assistants stating that President Obama declared that West Virginia was in a sate of emergency and that our Zone meeting was cancelled. After we informed them that there was no turning back President told all those who were on there way to Charleston to continue on and take our time. Lets just say that we made it there safely, but Mud and Sand tires just don't cut it in winter driving. 

Power was out at both the Mission office and the Mission home. We ended up having a modified zone meeting once all of us had arrived safely. We were informed that we'd be spending at least the night in Charleston till things cleared up. After our meeting we went to the mission home and had one of the best days I've had in the mission. President taught us some doctrine in a level of depth I had never even considered. Elder Holder and I went with the Assistants to Target to get some lights for the night as we only had a flashlight, 1 candle and my headlamp. After returning we ate burgers from the barbecue then gathered in the Living room for a Testimony meeting. It had been years since I'd had such a powerful and intimate meeting with these Elders Which had become my brothers. Truly one of the most sacred experiences of my life to sit in a dark room with some of the greatest and hear each bear testimony of Christ and how he'd shaped each of us to become far more than we ever thought we'd be. At the close we settled down to bed and went to bed being full both temporally and spiritually. By the Next morning things had cleared up and we were permitted to return to our areas. 

The Rest of the week has been interesting. I've never been one to count down the days, but when its this close there's not much you can do about it, realizing that this may be the last time I do this or that. Thankfully I'm surrounded by good friends who've been able to help me keep going. We had an exchange with Roanoke where Elder Muirbrook came back to BV to spend a day with me. We were the oldest companionship in the mission at that time. It was pretty cool.

Jack and Sunny are both stoked for their baptisms next week! Jacks will be at 10am and Sunny's at 7:30. Its going to be an awesome anniversary. This last week its going to be weird but I think I'll make it alright. Speaking of which, much too do. Little time! 
Much Love!
Elder Sunada

Monday, October 29, 2012

So much to do and so little time


So Before even going to my emails today I had to check out for the Calgary Alberta Temple announcement! Found out that President Monson Himself dedicated the temple yesterday!! Luckily there were several news clips of the cultural celebration and the cornerstone placement. I even saw Logan and Adam O'Brien singing in a video! I can't wait to go see it myself. I also noticed that there's a good covering of snow, something I've been missing out on. I think I saw more snow in those few pictures than I have in my whole 2 years here. Thankfully there's good news on the way! Well, maybe thats a little selfish seeing as I'm getting excited about a Hurricane followed by a cold front. I'm glad for the proper weather for the season, however I've been told that this could really mess things up on the coast itself. We've only heard bits of whats happening, but we know that much has been evacuated. Hopefully all the preparations will save many lives and what property they can. 

This past week has been pretty sweet. Interviews with Pres, My last one till I sit in his office the night before I go home. So it was a pretty simple one saying that we'll talk more then. Tuesday was our P-day. on Wednesday we got up early and headed for Roanoke to hear Elder Scott D. Whitting of the 70. It was incredible. He spoke to us so directly. One of the things that stood out in my mind was his talk of how little we were aware of going on in the church. The work of the Lord is truly being Hastened and such exciting things are happening. I feel that we are about to embark on an age in the church in this dispensation that hasn't matched since the early days of the Restoration. We will cease to exist in obscurity to the world. I'm anxious for what great things shall happen. I'm saddened that I won't be on the front lines of the mission field for it, but I hope that my efforts have steadied the foundation for the work. 

After the main conference the Zone Leaders and a few other select missionaries were invited to meet with Elder Whitting in a smaller setting for some more personal council and question/answers period. I felt very humbled to be so blessed by this opportunity. I learned things that expanded my knowledge and increased my light. It was a profound experience. Reflecting on my mission I've realized that I've been privileged to be in the presence of many general Authorities. Elder Pieper, Elder Jay E. Jensen, Elder Lancing, and Elder Whiting of the Seventy, Elder Neil L Anderson and Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, and this coming week we'll be hearing from Russell T. Osguthorpe, General President of the Sunday School. Its been Truly amazing. 

The work in BV has been going well enough. Due to everything going on we had less proselyting time, but we still had some great lessons with Jack. He's so excited for his Baptism and he's determined not to let anything get in the way of the new found happiness in his life. We're Stoked for him! There's much to do here and so little time to do it. I've also seen other blessings come this week in others coming to me and sharing spiritual experiences. Man. I'm going to miss this. Gotta make the most of the time I got left so I'd better be going on now! 

Much Loves!
Elder Sunada

PS: Beka Rayburn Bids everyone back in Canada Hello! {She secretly wishes she was Canadian ;) }

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A good week.

What up!

So remember how last week I mentioned that I was staying in BV and not traveling around? Well that didn't happen. The night before the Blacksburg exchange we felt like something different should happen. So we prayed about it. And got the answer that I should go to Blacksburg with Elder Soloman. I was a little bummed, but only because I was more content to stay put rather than pack and such. But thank heavens the Lord knows whats best. We had a great exchange in Blacksburg and were able to get a lot done. Its cool to see what happens when you put your trust in him. 

Lets see, not a lot is coming to mind. Its been a good week. We have Jack on date for Nov.10th, and even though she's not in our area, Sunny's getting baptized that same day after a long delay. Kinda a nice 2 year anniversary celebration just before I go home. But I ran out of time to write today. 

Love Yall!
Elder Sunada

Monday, October 15, 2012


This week History has been made. We finally achieved the Missions Standard of Excellence! This is a first not only for this area, but the zone, as well as a new personal record. The Standard of Excellence are the base goals that we strive for as set by President Pitt in the areas of Finding, teaching and setting people with Baptismal dates. Not only did we meet it, but we exceeded it. But it was not so much that we are any good, rather that we were favoured and blessed of the Lord this week. We picked up and taught 4 new people, each with a strong desire to learn more and feel closer to God. At the start of the week we had set up 3 of these people to begin teaching. Then one day while we were filling time during a missed appointment I spotted a student who I knew wasn't a member. It'd been the first time I'd seen her since the beginning of the school year so I struck up a conversation. Assuming that she was a member, Elder Holder straight out asked if we could meet with her. Without missing a beat she agreed! Without knowing it, she'd also attended General Conference and felt really good about going. Somethings you just can't plan out that well, but The Lord is pretty darn good at it. Its so exciting to be serving right now. 

This morning we Got up early to go to the Butler home where newly called "ELDER Wesley Butler" was getting his suitcases together for his flight to Salt Lake City. He reports to the MTC on Wednesday. He gave a stellar talk yesterday. Elder Holder and I talked before him but he straight up blew us out of the Water. I'm excited to hear what great things he'll do as he serves in the Los Angeles Mission, Spanish speaking. It almost makes me wish I was just going out instead of going home. 

I did celebrate a little bit of Canadian Thanksgiving. One of our ward mission leaders is Canadian and after our Coordination on Monday he took us down to Subway where I got a Turkey Sandwich. Even with that I still felt pretty Grateful for everything God's given me. 

It looks like this week shouldn't be too out of the ordinary. We have a zone meeting but we're holding it in Buena Vista and afterwards I'm going on exchanges but staying here. The following week however is pretty messed up. We have President interviews on Monday, which means P-Day and emails will be pushed till Tuesday, then on Wednesday half the mission is meeting in Roanoke to hear Elder Scott D. Whitting of the 70 to speak to us. I'm pretty stoked. He spoke in General conference about Temples. Then in the following weeks will be more exchanges and at the end of the month another trip to Charleston for what will be my last Zone Leaders Council. Its going to be a wild ride to the end and I'm going to love every minute of it!

Love Yall,
Elder Sunada

Monday, October 8, 2012

Called to Serve Him‏

Holly Hannah What a Weekend!

Is it just me or does General Conference just keep getting better? The Lord surely is hastening His work with the announcement of missionary service now available to 18 year old Men and 19 year old Women!!! The ramifications of this will be huge! I can think of no better time in all the ages of the world to be a missionary than to be one in this present day. Sadly I will not be in the field to see these youngsters make their debut. However, I'm really excited to use these last few weeks to prepare as many as I can. We have a meeting with the Stake President and President Pitt later this week and I hope that they decide to let us focus even more on the Prospective missionaries here at SVU. At the time of the announcement Saturday morning the building erupted. Many men, including myself, sat in awe. Mouths gaping. Many Women Burst into tears and clung to each other. Now more Sisters than ever will have the opportunity to serve, and I believe the quality of those sisters will help to increase this work traumatically. I will always remember that day. I feel very blessed to be able to be here at this time with these people. 

The rest of conference was likewise inspiring. Addressing things that reduce members commitment to the Gospel Elder Cook said:
 "The first is unkindness, violence and domestic abuse. The second is sexual immorality and impure thoughts. These often precede and are at the root of the choice to be less committed."
 Elder Oaks spoke out strongly against abuses to children in all and anyway imaginable. He emphasized that 
“Children need the emotional and personal strength that comes from being raised by two parents who are united in their marriage and their goals.”
Though those talks outlined many evils we face in the world, I found it comforting that Elder Anderson then spoke on "How do we maintain our Faith" and Elder Bednar concerning "Testimony and Conversion." 

As if Conference wasn't enough to make my weekend, We also have 3 new investigators lined up for lessons this week!! One at least directly from conference. I feel like the Lord was waiting for this week to bless us. I'll be honest, hitting the last transfer of the mission was tough. It was worse that I expected by far. But Conference is just what I needed to buoy me up and help my resolve to work hard till the end. 

Oh! I forgot also that we had a Zone Leader Council on Friday. Also a spiritual Highlight. I didn't have to drive which allowed me to sleep the way up so I didn't fall asleep this time in the meeting (a first). It was a great meeting in which I was truly enlightened. Learning from President Pitt shows me just how many more of the Mysteries of Heaven I have yet to learn. A life long process indeed. 

Well I don't think It gets any better than that. FALSE. I made Crepes this morning :)
Sure Love Yall!
Elder Sunada

PS I can't believe I almost forgot this part!! Sister Covington took Elder Wilder and I out for Lunch!! So Awesome!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Beginning of the End.‏


Here it is. I thought perhaps this day would never come. Tomorrow is the first day of my last Transfer!!!...Gosh darn. But the good news is that I'll be staying here with Holder. Elder Turner and Parker will also be staying. But...ELDER WILDER IS MOVING IN JUST A FEW DOORS DOWN WITH ELDER BUTLER!!! I'm so happy that I'll be serving near him. I'll have 2 of the greatest companions together!! So I'm pretty stoked for that. 

This past week was another fun one. Elder Holder and I managed to pull off a decent zone meeting in Roanoke, then I got to travel up to Blacksburg with Elder Morgan. The VT Campus has a very different feel. For one its a lot larger. And its a technical school so most of the students are engineers. I did my best to keep up with them but I don't know much about nano technologies or biomolecular compounds and things of that nature. It was a fun time but It was good to be back in little old BV where kids just talk about Dante's inferno. I think I can keep up with that. 

The rest of the week went on pretty normal. Lots of appointments. Lots of meetings. Saturday I was getting a bit warn down with everything. Just having one of those days where you do lots but wonder if it meant anything. Thankfully Heavenly Father knows when we're going through rough times and knows who to send to cheer me up. Also Sunday was such a good day! There were some wonderful testimonies born and I felt the spirit pretty strongly throughout the day. We had a lesson right after church with a girl who told us that she felt her faith was growing and she could trust God. She still had bad days, but had a determination to do be happy no matter what. Felt good to know that we had helped her along. 

So Overall it was a pretty crazy week. Oh!! Today we went hiking with Wes Butler. But it was raining and we got pretty soaked. We went to a place called the Devils Marble Yard. Pretty much just a big bolder field along the valley side. It felt great to get some rock under my feet and to know that I could still get around up there. I didn't even feel that out of breath. But Maybe I'll just be feeling it tomorrow. 

Well I think thats all I got for now. I love yall and Can't wait to here from you Before I get home ;)

Elder Sunada

Monday, September 24, 2012

Upcoming conference!

Four Strong Winds‏

Hey Folks!

Good Gracious I love being a missionary. It always seems to be getting better. Or maybe its because I'm getting so old in the field that these days just seem to be golden. 

I'm starting to feel a little bit like a traveling missionary as well. Lynchburg one week. Then Charleston. Roanoke this past week. And Blacksburg tomorrow! Yup. Found out that 2 new areas have been unofficially added to the YSA Zone. The Blacksburg YSA Elders and the Morgantown University Elders now fall into our jurisdiction for spiritual guidance and direction in the work of Young Single Adults. The best part? They still report their numbers to their local zone leaders. More connections without the added responsibility of tedious administrative work! :) I'm a happy camper about that. 

We decided to hold our next district/zone meeting in Roanoke tomorrow, so that afterwards I could do an exchange to Blacksburg. I've only ever been there in passing so this will be my first experience with the city. For those of you who don't know, Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Tech. Go Hokkies! Sadly Morgantown (West Virginia University--Go Couch Burning?) is nearly 7 hours away so no exchanges planned there anytime soon. However we are looking into meeting with them Via Skype. Pretty sweet stuff. But with all of this going on it will also mean Elder Holder and I will have to sacrifice part of our P-day to prepare. 

As for the work in our area, we picked up a new investigator. Greg is a 6"8 african american who plays ball at the school and beat boxes for the schools featured singing group "Fading Point". You betcha bottom Dollar I'm loving it! He could seriously facepalm my entire head with his hands. 

The rest of the Elders have been picking up new investigators as well. During my Exchange with Elder Raffenspargar, who's still in his first transfer of the mission, we saw huge success in Roanoke. I was able to to teach with him to a Recent Convert, a golden Self Referral, a member who's going to hook them up with some more referrals, and setting up another appointment to pick up a former. Its happened time and time again. The Lord Uses exchanges to get missionaries excited for the work to keep em going strong. He was almost bouncing in his seat by the end of our exchange yelling "I love being a missionary"!! I do too. Its hard to count how many ways being here has blessed my life. I hope that others will be able to see the changes that I feel. Don't worry, there's still plenty enough of the old me that I wont be hard to recognize. Just less of the junk in the mind and a little more in the trunk. JUST KIDDING.

Anyways, one more week left in the transfer. One more Transfer left in the mission. And every day I still think to myself,


Elder Sunada

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week in Review

Its been another great week here in the BV YSA. Lots to do yet. I'm still always tired. Maybe this is just the pattern of my life. This past week we had an exchange with Lynchburg where I got to spend time with Elder Johnson. He's a pretty cool cat and we had a great time teaching together. There are so many good missionaries I'm serving around I feel pretty blessed. 

The member work is coming along pretty nicely. We now have ward mission leaders in every ward to help assist us in the work. Hopefully this will also mean my head will stop spinning as much as they will help us prioritize who needs help. One of them served as an Assistant to the President in the Salt Lake City mission. He told stories of how they'd always run into General Authorities and even the Prophet! Pretty Crazy. He's one on the ball guy and has experience in working a YSA ward. Actually at one point he Covered 41 YSA wards... what a headache! I can barely manage three! So his skills will be invaluable to the work. 

We had a great Specialized training meeting on Thursday and got to meet with President for a while. Its always nice to feel his love and see his example. Friday was our weekly planning and the evening was Bishop Walkers open house for the 2nd ward. He lives way out in the boons but has an amazing house. Probably most impressive is his sports memorabilia displays. 2 rooms filled wall to wall with autographed cards, posters, pictures, baseballs hats and anything else. Some of the greatest names in any game have their signature hanging from his walls. It was pretty impressive. 

Saturday was a Stake Luau, and they had a roast pig to boot! Cooked for nearly 20 hours in preparation for the feast. The activity was well planned and executed and everyone had a great time. Sunday night was the third Fireside we'd had in a row. This was a stake Fireside and it was way powerful. Wish I had time to go into more detail but Its time to go shopping and get on with P-Day so I'll say Adieu.

Love yall!
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good Day in the Woodshed.

Howdy Yall,
Another Great, busy, tiring week down here in good ole Buena Vista VA. I'm so tired all the time...haha but that's ok because we are getting work done! In one day we were able to teach over 20 students individually and combined. Its wild. I've never been able to get anywhere close to that in any other area in the mission. 

School is now back in full swing with the second week of classes now underway and kids are starting to get back in routine. For the most part that works ok though its hard to schedule appointments in the morning when most of them have classes. Most of last week was just spent working and teaching locally, which is great because this week is going to be more meetings and travels and whatnot. Leadership can be a bit of a drag sometimes because of how much things get shaken around. You have to have more things planned out in the weeks and months as opposed to the hours and days ahead. If I could I would have my own personal secretary to keep things straight for me and I'd just follow the program. But it seems that much of the purpose of all this is that I learn to do it. Or at least try. Remind me when I get home I don't want an office job. 

There were some cool events this past week however. Of course the Parade on Monday. There was a institute social on Friday which was well attended and allowed us to serve even more. We have several good looking potential investigators lined up (and by good looking I mean promising, they're all guys so far). And last night was Elder Hollands Church educational Services Broadcast. It was the Best!!! Maybe not as good as General Conference but just as cool because he can say things in a way that he couldn't at Conference. I highly recommend checking out the Broadcast if anyone who missed it has time. Pretty Powerful Stuff!

Anyways. I don't have much more in the way of big events or announcements but I do feel impressed to share how much serving a mission has meant to me. Its changed me in ways that I don't think any other experience could have. It continues to change me into someone better. I may not know what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I do know who I want to be and how I want to live. I'm come to understand to an even greater degree how serving others will always bring me more happiness that serving myself. Living the Gospel is the secret to happiness, the one thing that all the world is searching for, and its free for all. I'm sad that its getting so close to the end. I try not to think of it too much. Going home will be much harder than coming out. Yet I know the Lord will support me as He always has. I feel His love and I know with Him I can do all things.
I love you all very much.

Elder Sunada

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School!‏

Hey Everybody! 

Its been a pretty action packed week. Every first week of the month is usually pretty busy anyways and there's always something that makes it crazy. This week was no exception. Monday's Family Home Evening in YSA wards was a Marshmallow battle using cut up lengths of PVC pipes. Needless to say the Elders Dominated though I had several sticky spots which I had to clean off afterwards (The only way to get the marshmallows to fly well is to give them a slight lubricant...). Then It was early to bed, and much earlier to rise. We got up at 4:30 am to make the 400 mile round trip to Charleston for our Monthly Zone Leader Council. This time I was actually a Zone leader instead of a guest.  I also meant that Both Elder Holder and I had to do a heck of a lot more. 

Wednesday we had booked up almost full from appointments set on Sunday and we ended up teaching 7-8 lessons throughout the day. By this point many of the students, especially the freshmans, had signed into their dorms. Thursday was a painfully long day of planning. There is even more to plan for now. We had to prepare for our area, as well as for our Zone/District meeting the following day. Three hours directed between the two of us. There was a lot to cover and I was pretty nervous about going into it. But Friday morning we got up early again and made the trip to Lynchburg to meet with the other Elders. Surprisingly I think it went pretty well. I was much relieved when it was over. It was also helpful to get to know the new Elders in the Zone. We have pretty solid bunch and I'm excited to know I can trust them to work well in the area's they've been assigned too. That evening was SVU's freshman welcome party. This included many booths, an mechanical bull, Roof repelling, karaoke, blow up Sumo Suits, and many other stations. It was great to finally see the campus bustling again with students. 

Saturday we packed up early again to make our way over to the Washington & Lee campus in Lexington. It was their freshman check-in and the school had set up a local religious area where we were invited to set up a booth and make the students aware of our presence. The booth was kinda slow, Maybe we should have parked farther away from the Jehovah's Witnesses. But Elder Holder and I Reverted to the Ammon Approach by helping students carry baggage up to their dorms. We were able to talk to many more people this way. That night we had a great lesson with Navi. We'll get him one of these days!

Sunday was just as busy as all the other days combined. I think it will be a common occurrence for us to be at church from 8AM to 4:30 PM. Our evenings have been equally as busy with many appointments and firesides. 

Monday was Labour day. Apparently that has been a historically significant day for Buena Vista, particularly in an election year. Back in the Day, BV used to be a bustling little town where politicians started their political campaigns. Now years later, The glory of the town has passed, but the people still seem to make a big day of it and have a parade and fireworks. We used to opportunity to get some cards passed out seeing as the local politicians were passing out so many of their own tracts. It was crazy to see how many thousands of signs (and thousands is no exaggeration) were posted along the parade route and around the town. American Politics... Thank heavens I don't have to pick sides or vote here. It was pretty wild. But we got through it and spent the rest of the day visiting students and bishops. 

One Crazy Week. I need a nap. But I'm grateful to be so busy and to be so useful to the Lord here. I couldn't think of a better cause to wear myself out in. 

I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
Elder Sunada

Monday, August 27, 2012

Amish Cupboard...yum!


So Its been a pretty stressful week. But In a good way. Elder Gurney made his rounds and we visited a lot of people (He'd been in the area 9 months) then Got up early Wednesday morning and headed out. Elder Weitz was assigned to me until my future companion showed up. We spent most of the day declutering our apartment. At about 5pm the transfer train arrived and 4 elders got off. Elder Vogl, the new Lexington Zone leader, Elders Turner and Parker, the BV YSA 2 Elders, and finally Elder Holder, My new companion. The first time I saw him he was holding a guitar case and I was going to be great. Thus far its been amazing!

He's from Southern New Mexico (2 hours south of Silver City) and about 16 months out in the mission. We are going to rock this area. But it was a rough week trying to plan for 2 sets of elders. Thankfully it started working out on Sunday and now the other Elders have a good enough grip on their area to plan on their own so we can focus on ours. It was kinda sad because a lot of my favourite YSA's fell into the other Elders area, but we still have some good ones to work with and we actually Set a baptismal date!!! Its kind of a funny story because she's not living in our area currently but we taught her and she's coming back here to get baptized so we get to count it. Made my week!

We also had a lot of good meetings with the bishops, who are still struggling to staff their auxiliaries with Elders Quorum presidents, relief society presidents, sunday school presidents and ward mission leaders. So its still kinda crazy but theres some exciting news coming up. Orientation for school starts on Friday. We have a booth set up and Washington and Lee University on Saturday, and I might not email till next tuesday due to Labour day weekend and there's a big parade in town we are hoping to be at. 

OH and ZLC tomorrow. They said it might run later than regular so we might be gone from 4:30am-8 or 9 PM. Lots of driving. And Its my turn. Fun. Anyways, I think we want to go shopping now. Mostly they. I'm broke this month. To many going away outtings for Gurney. And trips to the Amish Cupboard for fancy cheese, dips, candy and smoothies mix. 

Well, Hope all is going well back on the Ranch!

Elder Sunada

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Holy Heck.

What a Week it has been. Probably our best and craziest week yet. We've been able to keep pretty darn busy meeting with people and sharing the gospel. Found 3 new investigators, a first for our area, and had some really great meetings with YSA's returning to activity/looking for a testimony boost. Its been such a blessing to try and help someone, then have them come back in a week and tell you how life's been better. Not only does it feel like I'm doing what I came here to do but for some of those we meet with the choices and changes they're making will effect the rest of their lives on into the eternities! In the process I feel like I am also making some life long friends, even if I never get to see them again. I will always remember the times that I spent with them and the effect they've had on me in return. After a long summer of working our butts off to keep busy, we've finally had things just fall into our laps. 

But now the fun part really begins. This past Sunday I attended 4 sacrament meetings in 7 hours of church. For the first time ever I even played piano in sacrament meeting, actually for 2 of them. The wards have split and our summer ward has become 6. Everything I knew just went out the window haha. Every day I see more new faces that I haven't learned the names of. All the people that I did know are now scattered. The good news is I think everyone is a little bit lost and will be till the semester starts. Even the Bishops are struggling to figure out who's in their wards because everyone is still moving around and their records haven't landed in the right place yet.

But it gets even better. This week, Is TRANSFERS. No worries, I'll be staying here, probably till the end. But Elder Gurney got called to train in Clarksburg. The YSA elders in Roanoke are being doubled out and their area changed (the good news is that Elder Muirbrook whom I've been living with is going there and training a new Missionary so I can trust him). The Lynchburg YSA are getting 2 new elders to serve in a Tri-panionship, but only for 3 weeks as the existing Elder will go home for school then. 2 new Elders will be sent here to BV to become BV YSA 2 and help us out with the wards. I'll be the only one pretty much left in our zone. 

Oh yeah, my new Companion, Elder Holder and I, will have the pleasure of trying to make sense of all this mess as the new Zone Leaders. Yup, they made me a ZL. Don't know what Pres is thinking, but he's got some faith! I'm scratching my head over how we're going to split the wards and share a car here in BV, let alone what the rest of the zone is going to do. I think I'll be spending a lot of time on my knees. I am excited in a way for all this to happen. Its going to be full throttle to the end for me it looks like. And that's a good thing. Some Elders tend to lose their mind in the end thinking about home. I don't think I'll have any time for that. 

YSA's keep us pretty busy. For instance, where else can I rip a hole in new pants (sorry, Mom) while playing volleyball and still consider it to be productive to the work? You've got to go where they go and do what they do to build those relations. I know it may seem like we just have fun but that was also a big step in helping a returning less active feel comfortable at an activity. I love being a missionary ;).

Lets see, what else. Too much. My mind is already on overload. Got accepted to BYU-I. Might get accepted to another. Those things are still kinda off in the distance though folks here make it a point to bring it to the forefront. I finally have my camera and a cord so I can upload some pictures! But I think I'll save some news for next week. 

Hope all is going well back home. Ya'll better go check out the temple for me and tell me about the Open House!

Love ya Lots!
Elder Sunada

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time is flying

Hey Everybody!

Time really does fly down here in Buena Vista. Next Week is transfers again and everything is going to be turned upside down. Although I'm pretty sure I'll be staying here, it sounds like Elder Gurney will be leaving to train, which means there will be 3 new YSA Missionaries in the area who don't have a clue of whats going on. I'm still pretty clueless as to how its all going to work. Next Sunday the Summer ward splits into 6 wards and We'll have to manage that somehow. Not to mention the number of students coming back. I'm doing my best to meet people and memorize names but there are so many I normally just embarrass myself by calling a Melissa Melanie or a Tami Tina. But Hopefully I'll get that figured out... It is exciting though to see the school get geared up to go again. Our work load should increase and hopefully we'll be busy every day with appointments. 

I've really enjoyed working with the Less Actives especially. Sadly there are a lot. But For most they still welcome missionary visits and are willing to try some of the things we suggest. 

We Picked up a former investigator this past week. She asks a lot of really good questions which make us think hard, but that's ok because it shows that she's also thinking pretty hard about what we teach. It also makes be break habits of just saying what I've always said and force me to tailor a unique message. So we'll pray that we can keep teaching her!

Well, I know there's lots more that's been going on, but my mind just can't get it all out . So I'll have to share it with ya'll later.

Sure Love ya!
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This past week has consisted of more meetings and a few exchanges. We had our 3rd ZLC on Tuesday which meant another long day of driving, but this time I didn't have to drive so I just slept in the back. President once again blew our minds with some intense doctrine. It focused a lot on Hope, Faith and Charity but in a way that I'd never comprehended before. He gave us some handouts so we wouldn't have to take notes but I wish I had so I could remember how to relate the points. I've probably now taken more notes during meetings than I did in all 3 years of High school. Following the meeting we went on exchanges with the assistants. I got to go with our newest assistant, ELDER KLAIN!! It was the best exchange ever. The only problem is that it was too short. Elder Klain (From Cardston) had been made an assistant the Sunday prior to ZLC and this was his first exchange in that capacity. He's got a big task ahead of him as both of the other assistants die at the end of this transfer (Aug 22nd) and he'll have the responsibility of learning everything before then and training another assistant. We've already determined that we're going to be friends for life and live up life back in Alberta when our time is up. 

On Friday we had another meeting which lasted 3 hours down in Lynchburg, then I went on exchange with Elder Stoven to Roanoke. Its kinda funny to be back in places that are so familiar. We even got to visit one of the back creek families while doing YSA work which was a pretty sweet treat. I only wish I had more time to see them all but sadly that's not the nature of my current calling. 

Aside from all of that I don't think to much else happened this week. oh! We did meet one less active YSA that we've been trying to contact for a few months. It was awesome because he's a huge out door guy and we were able to talk about crazy mountain adventures and what kind of gear he was rocking. He was excited to take us out in the backwoods here, which I'm way down for. Hopefully Next Monday we'll go out with him and I'll be able to write you about it. 

Well, Sounds like the Crew's ready to rock so we'll catch ya'll later!
Elder Sunada

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Youth Conference

Good Grief what a week! Its been a busy one! Lots of meetings. Lots of
events! This will have to be a short email however.

We had our Photo night on campus Saturday! It was turned out well! Except
for the turnout that is... We didn't get as many families out as we were
hoping to, but what we did have worked out well and we were able to have
some small miracles work out of it. For instance, we found a  less active
YSA girl by chance. She wasn't even there for a photo! But we were able to
get to know her and she welcomed us to come by and visit sometime.
Also did our gig for the Buena Vista Stake Youth Conference. Had 4 classes
of youth come through and we taught for 45 mins. I feel like it went pretty
well and a few of the Youth had some really good responses.

Found out in President interviews that Elder Gurney and I will be split at
the end of this Transfer (22nd), but both staying in the area. That way we
will both get one incoming Elder and know the area well enough to get work
done. We'll still be living in the same apartment so its all good.

Sorry this has to be short. I'm loving these days more and more. I want you
all to know that I love the Lord and all that He's done for me. He Truly
answers prayers and is Mindful of us all.

Till Next time!
Elder Sunada

Monday, July 23, 2012


Another Busy week is on the horizon. Lots to do and hoping to be able to get it all done. This weeks line up, President interviews, Stake Correlation, youth Conference, Moving people and our Family Photo night. Next week will be another ZLC and Exchanges with the Assistants. Sometimes I feel like there's so much going on that my mind is swelling just trying to keep it all in. But Its been a fun learning experience, stress and all.
Our Family Photo Event is really coming along. Just a few more smallish things that we need to take care of. We were able to get it advertised in the paper, radio, and the public service station on TV! All for free too! So far we haven't had to cut into any of our budget we received from our sponsor. But the Event still looms over me as no one will know if it will be a success until it happens. I'm a little nervous but so far things are going well and we have lots of support. Just praying for a smooth Execution. 
Earlier this week we also went down to Lynchburg for an exchange, but we ended up both staying in the area (blitzing). I went out with Elder Price, who informed us that we'd also be doing splits with the members. Kinda funny being alone with a member of another area. But it worked out well. We visited a less active Family who lived out in Appomattox who happened to have 2 YSA's who were not active. I was grateful that though the circumstances seemed askew, the Lord was mindful of our objectives and we were able to help the Lynchburg Elders in their YSA Goals. 
We Were invited to help out at EFY this past week as well. It was pretty sweet. They gave us about 20-30 mins to talk to about 100 youth on how they could do missionary work and the effect that they could have on others. I love to work with the youth. My youth meant so much to me and I know that I was blessed with wonderful leaders and experiences that shaped my life. I really hope that at least some part of my future church service will be working with the Youth and helping them have the same kind of opportunities that were provided to me. 
Lately we've been struggling to get anyone on date for Baptism. That is the 1 or 2 people we've been teaching over the summer who are Non Members. I know Elder Gurneys discouraged by this and we've been working hard to have the faith that we can find and baptize even against the difficult circumstances of summertime in a Student Area. I'm hopeful that something will come through. But I'm also very pleased with the other work that is less visible in the statistics that we've done. We've been able to help several struggling YSA's to strengthen their testimonies and renew their commitments to live the Gospel. While it might not seem as exciting as seeing someone get dunked, to me this is just as valuable as there is nothing sadder than seeing one who once knew the truth of the Gospel and then fell away. 
If I were to do nothing here but to help the struggling members then I would feel a great measure of success. 
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mental Overloads‏

This may have been the fastest six weeks of the mission so far. And I can't even Recall half of what we did! But that's not for lack of doing anything. Rather we've been so busy that it all is just a big blur. 

From the looks of it this next transfer wont be any less rapid. We've got district meetings in Lynchburg, President interviews, Church Pioneer day picnics, 4 workshops at a youth Conference and all of the planning and execution of our family photo event. And this all in the next 2 weeks!! It has been unreal. I'm not sure how its all going to get done but I'm sure we'll find a way. Lots of planning, but mostly lots of praying. Prayers from home always appreciated!

Amidst all this I've been able to find more time to do some cooking (students feed less that families) and have been learning to cook fish, chicken, beef and pork. I even made Tonkatsu! Mexican Burritos for the first time last night. I get really excited about the produce section of the grocery store, particularly if we don't have to shop at Walmart. Speaking of which, We have to get going to shopping cause everyone else is finished. So I'll catch yall later! 

Elder Sunada

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yee Haw!

Hey Everybody!

Man its been hot!! And Humid. Ugggh. I know I shouldn't complain seeing as there are thousands of Elders in warmer places than I am, but still. its been in the high 90's and 100's (+32-38C) for the past 2 weeks. When your outside working you get used to it but the moment you step in or out of an air conditioned building the reality hits you in the face. Literally! Thankfully its cooled off a little this week. In fact, the Library's AC is currently down and its cooler outside than in. I'm sweating a storm just sitting here! The forecast is calling for lots of thunderstorms which is nice because the rain cools it off even more, about 70F (21C). Can't wait for some good ole Prairie weather!

Otherwise the work has been going well this past week. Not so much in terms of big events. EFY (Especially For Youth; a youth church summer camp) is in town at SVU and a lot of our students are working it for the next three weeks. We've been able to teach a few good lessons even though our Non member teaching pool is pretty small (normally 1 or two people). Oh! We had a great Sunday! There were some recent converts who spoke in Sacrament meeting that did a phenomenal job and really brought the spirit. We finally got some Ward missionaries and a Ward Mission Leader assigned to help us, which should make finding and teaching a lot easier we hope. 

This week is also transfer week. Elder Gurney and I will be staying together, though that's no surprise. I'm hoping to Die here, But so is he. Its inevitable before the end that one of us will have to leave to train who ever is coming into the area after us. However Elder Gurney's been in the BV area for 9 months at the end of this transfer and I doubt that he'll make it to the end. But Then again President Pitt has been unpredictable in his Transfer assignments. He threw several more Curve balls and moved people around that we didn't expect. Sadly Elder Kieren, One of the Younger Elders who lives with us will be going to Roanoke North, with an Even Younger Elder Confer, also from the BV/Lexington area. We're going to miss them but They'll both love each other and Roanoke North where they'll be stationed. 

Well I think that's all the News I have for now. Have a Great Stampede for everyone back in Calgary! Go Ride a Horse for me or something!

Elder Sunada

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Good gosh, where do I start? Ah, Monday.

With our new determination to Use P-days explicitly for what is outlined in the Missionary Handbook (laundry, shopping, writing, cleaning etc), its become one of the busiest days. No more naps, Its all I can do to find time to write out a short letter or two. But I'm going to try and squeeze out a few extra minutes to write to those that I really need too. Monday night we stayed the night in White Sulfur Springs again as we would be traveling to Charleston again in the Morning. From BV to Charleston its almost exactly 200 miles and 3 hours one way. It was my turn to drive as well. I did pretty well considering I slept on the floor and probably for only a few short hours. We had another Great Zone Leader Council and left uplifted. 

One of the things that has kept me busy almost since the first week that I got here was a project that Elder Gurney and I have been working on. We are planning an event to be held at SVU entitled "Preserving the Family". Its a free family photo shoot where members of the Community will be able to come as a family and have a professional Photographer take their picture and later receive a high quality 8x10 photo. At the same time we will be having other booths sharing our beliefs on Family Values and strengthening the family in today's world. I've never really taken on a project of this size before and I've been doing the majority of the planning on it, though we have formed a committee to help us delegate some of the responsibilities. This week we got permission from both the school and the Church to go ahead with the event so we've been scrambling to get everything in place and get advertisements out. 

Thursday was our Exchange with the Assistants to the President. Elder Gurney made the trip to Charleston for the day and Elder Brady and I were able to stay in BV and continue working. It was the first time I had to plan things out in this area on my own, which was stressful because I'm still learning lots but we were still able to have a Very Productive day. The Lord certainly blessed me on that one because I was fretting we wouldn't have very effective plans that day. We exchanged back Friday morning and we're able to plan for the rest of our week. That night we had another surprise though.

We got into our apartment and had just finished praying for our daily planning session when we heard a tumultuous noise outside. We opened the door and were hit with massive winds. We'd received a text from the Assistants earlier asking Elders to report damages from a storm, but we'd figured that it was somewhere else in the mission. Apparently it was a freak storm system called a mirco burst. But there was nothing Mirco about this storm. 80mph winds blew down tree's and wreaked havoc from Ohio through West Virginia and Virginia to New Jersey. From what we've heard over 6 million people are without power and water, including the greater part of Lexington and Rockbridge county. We are all safe. All the Missionaries are safe, however mission damages so far report 46 missionaries without utilities and 1 car totaled. The death Toll in Virginia alone was 14 people. 

During the storm the 8 elders in this area gathered in our apartment parking lot and examined the storm. Probably not the smartest Idea. We we're all blinded by sand and rocks as one particular gust hit us and almost knocked me off my feet. The sky was the strangest blue I'd ever seen. Apparently the same colour it turns when a tornado is afoot. I think I heard reports that some touched down near by but I'm uncertain. After the storm quieted down in our area we retired to bed. A phone call came in at 11pm asking us to meet at the school to help with clean up in the morning. At 7 am we were there and finally saw the damages. Lots of trees down on the hills especially. Tree shrapnel littered everywhere. on our walk up to the school we came across a members house where their carport had been totaled by a large oak, but fortunately the cars were saved with a few scratches. Others were not so lucky. We spent from 7 that morning till nearly 5 that evening helping remove trees from the roads and sidewalks. Most of the town was alright, but I think the outlying areas had more damage and power outages. They say there are chances that more might come up but we don't think they'll be as strong. Fun times though! Great Services opportunities! 

Well I think thats enough excitement this week so I'll Leave you till next. 

Love Yall!
Elder Sunada

Monday, June 18, 2012

Llamas! ...actually, they're Alpacas‏

Haha so its been a pretty crazy week. We've had a few pretty important meetings with the Stake and Mission Presidents, zone and also our activities committee. It was great to finally be able to sit down with the YSA stake presidency and President Pitt to talk about exactly what we are trying to do. The comforting thing was at least we weren't the only ones who where still struggling to figure that out. There are a lot of special circumstances around this particular stake and no one's really experienced with what's going on so we are all pioneering in our own callings and trying to figure out the "how" of what we are doing. But we're off to a good start. I think the most flustering part for me personally is the paperwork. Not only is the stake new but the wards are constantly changing with the school year. Trying to keep track of where people are is a nightmare. We've been trying to go around and talk to members from the conventional wards as well as the YSA's to see if they know people who we can see. The Records are scattered everywhere! Its going to take a while to clean that up but at least it gives us something productive to do! 

Another great perk of being a YSA missionary is going to activities! We've made appearances at water fights, service projects, A paint Dodgeball fight, and this week coming up our first Stake Social Ice cream in Maury River Park! Its strange being around people my own age again. Especially now that I'm 21 and considered an Adult by the State. Just a weird thought in my mind. 

So I'll share a quick story of how some of our adventures go. We had a name on a list of a YSA who's been inactive for a little while. We Got Thomas, an SVU student, To come along with us to find this guy. We had an address but the GPS couldn't find where he was. So we got some mixed directions from several members and started off on what would be a 2 and a half hour hunt to find our friend. Finally we found what we were looking for. An Alpaca Farm. Yup. Llamas. But Not who we were looking for. His family owned the place but he lived somewhere else. The good news is now we know how to find him! So goes some days. 

Oh! And we got a visit from the Covingtons for lunch this week! It was good to see some familiar faces again from Good ole Gretna. I hope to be able to see that town once more before I leave the mission, God Willing. 

Well I think that's All I have time for this week! 

Love ya!
Elder Sunada

Dana's Note: SORRY for the font/color weirdness on the blog!!!! I have been on a few times to try and get to the bottom of it but somehow it cannot stay fixed! I'll keep trying, stay tuned! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

ZL Conference

This has been quite the ride so far. I don't think my planner has ever been so full. 

Last week was pretty sweet. I was invited to go along to the Zone Leader Council, even though I wasn't a zone leader. I found out the night before too which was cool because the original plan was for me to stay in BV with the other Elders for the day. But Monday night we got together with the other zone leaders and drove to White Sulfur Springs to stay the night so we wouldn't have to get so early to make it to Charleston in time for the meeting. 

White Sulfur Springs is a small town just on the West Virginia side of the Border and is mostly known for its proximity to the PGA Green briar. But we'd have to be driving on past it. More important business was ahead. The Meeting itself was an eye opener as to how the mission really worked. It was especially interesting because most of the participants, including myself, were there for the first time. President had used the craziness of the last transfer to hand pick exactly who he wanted to lead the mission. And I don't think he could have pick a finer group. I knew many of those that sat in the circle. I have served around a lot of them and knew that they were solid in both Testimony and Deed. This ZLC was a special one. It was time for the mission to make some changes and President now had a group of faithful elders to do it. 

We reviewed that the mission had increased in our teaching and finding skills, but we were still not reaching our goals. He taught us how he received the revelation what needed to happen. He brought several things to our attention then turned it over to the council of Elders to determine what we should do about it. Many things were rough on us as we heard that we needed to changes some of the traditions of the mission that we had always been accustomed to. Even those that had always been accepted as okay. But as we sat there each of us received a witness that those were not only things that we could change, but things that we must so that the Lord could bless us more fully. In simple words, we committed to be Exactly obedient to all mission rules, and to be examples to the rest of the mission. We were to define the mission culture and chose that day the direction the rest of our missions would take. It was the most inspired meeting I have ever been in and driving home our attitudes were positive. We talked about things that we were excited to get rid of and habits that we were happy to drop. President Pitt is truly inspired. 

This week we have even more training meetings and 2 meetings with the Stake to determine the role we will play in building the stake. It's way exciting. 

Oh no! I have to Run! Love you all! Can't wait to share more! One of the things I've committed to do is to only email family as is outlined in the guidelines so I if you want to hear from me personally you'll have to write! 

love yal! 
Elder Sunada