Elder Huffaker

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas and Transfer

Note from Marilyn:

We were fortunate to get to talk with Cameron via Skype (video call on the computer) on Christmas Day! It was the BEST!! He has been transferred to a new area -- please take note of his new mailing address on the right. Since we spoke just the day before, he had little to say in his email, but sent photos from a recent missionary trip to the Los Angeles Temple. Enjoy!

He writes:

So here are the pictures I promised you. Nothing really to tell, I told you all I had to say yesterday. there's also too much data, I'll need to send two e-mails.

Elder Huffaker

The landscaping at the temple is beautiful, of course:

I love how he caught a newly-married couple getting their wedding photos taken:

And I absolutely love this picture of him. I looks like a windy day, so that gives him a missionary superhero look in the picture! Awesome!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

So as you may or may not know, as it is the week before Christmas week, missionary weeks and all (starting on Monday) the work is slowing down a bit. The confirmation of the person we baptized was yesterday, and since he doesn't have too many friends in the ward yet, we are working on that, my companion and I were privileged to participate in the ordinance.

On Saturday, the ward had it's Christmas party, and as missionaries, giving service and all, we helped out with the whole thing. We were there at 8 a.m. and the thing started at 5 with Santa, and the program started at 6 and went until about 8-ish. It was pretty cool, we had 24 tables, with a beautiful Christmas tree in the center, some decorations on the stage, all the tables had a lantern or candle of some sort, and were alternated with red and green table cloths, there was meat, real mashed potatoes, in fact I helped mash them, there were 2 pots with 4 pounds of potatoes in each, and there were green bean casseroles, and on each of the edges of the cultural hall except the stage there were servers with each of those items.

When we got there, 8 of the tables had been thrown away, so we had to drive to the stake center, 45 minutes away, to get more. It was a hard day's work, but it was worth it in the end. That was pretty much the highlight of the week.

Merry Christmas to everybody especially if I don't get to talk to you, which I should...

Elder Huffaker

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a Week!

So for starters, this week was going okay, and we met with a few of our investigators. We found out last Sunday that the one was ready to be baptized, so she was interviewed this last Friday, and she's all set to go and we set a date for the 8th of January with her.

That same day we met with another investigator who had the baptism date for yesterday, the 11th. There was a stake activity yesterday as well that involved the baptism room.
On another note, we thought he had a problem with tasting wine for his cooking class. We thought he wasn't going to be able to be baptized the coming Sunday. He has a slight mental handicap so we aren't able to convey information very well to each other. It took a bit, but we finally got out of him that he cooks the wine first, so there is no alcohol problem.

We then contacted the ZL's and through a series of information we thought we still couldn't do it on the 11th. Then they talked to our mission president, who talked to the stake president and got it worked out that we still could baptize him.

We ended up using the Tarzana building, which happens to be the area where Elder Grow serves. So he was there and filled up the font so we could do the baptism. That Sunday we invited everyone to come, and with the stake activity, hardly anybody showed up, but it was okay because he didn't want a huge baptism anyway. He wanted bishop to baptize him, but he couldn't be there, and none of the counselors could be there so the secretary was there and was the one to baptize him. I think he himself is a convert and it was his first baptism he'd done so it was a great experience all around!

We got the pictures of everybody, and one of all the missionaries, including Elder Grow, and it was a really cool event. Also for the baptism, we had no program, and so right before church we were allowed to use the clerks office and I was able to throw together a program for it. Pretty cool and a great baptism for a last minute thing.

After the baptism we went to the stake activity where we got to dress up as roman centurions and we did a thing called Journey to Bethlehem. We used almost the whole stake center for it. We started in the Chapel and then went to a room with King Herod where he charged his "subjects" the people we were leading through, to find the Christ child and bring him word. Then we took them to the stage where the 3 wise men were, and they did their thing. Then we went to an inn and the people there had to turn them away because the inn was full and talked about seeing Mary "big with child and her time was very close" and then we went to the angel room where they sang and prophesied concerning Christ. Then we went to the shepherds room where they talked about Christ too. Then we went to the room with Joseph, Mary, and Christ. In each room they got something to take with them, some were snacks, and at the end they got a CD of a song about Christmas.

Herod gave them a coin as a token for them to bring him news, the wise men gave them animal crackers to sustain them on their journey, and the people at the inn gave them pretzel sticks, and the angels gave them a candle to take the light of Christ, and the shepherds gave them a candy cane, and Mary and Joseph didn't give them anything, but they got the CD after that.

It was a pretty cool thing, and we were showed where to take the people once, and that was right before it started. We didn't say anything really, just led them along. The only exception was when we started, we would pound on the curtain divider things the churches all have, and say "We seek an audience with Herod the King!" Or some rendition of that. Pretty cool activity, we should try that some time.

Elder Huffaker

New Week

Cameron's letter of Monday, December 5th:

Hello to all from California.

So this week we experienced good and bad. We had zone conference, so that took up one of the days. We went and saw one of our investigators who was progressing really well, but it took a turn for the worse. He is under 18 and his mom isn't a member, so we need her approval to baptize him. She was okay with it until just recently, one of her friends talked to her and now she is totally against him getting baptized. She threw away the Books of Mormon we gave him (we gave him multiple because he couldn't always remember where he put it) and we are no longer allowed to meet with him.

On the other end, we were meeting with someone who we couldn't meet with for over a month, and then just yesterday she came to church. It was really amazing. But, it gets better! We were at the Christmas devotional and we get a call from bishop, and called our mission president, and found out that she is ready for baptism, and will be baptized in the coming week or two! How's that for a turn around!

So this week, we experienced both ends of the spectrum, with two people who were so close to baptism, and one not be able to, and the other seemingly not able to but is now going to!

Elder Huffaker

This Week

Cameron's letter of Monday, November 28th:

This week in California has been pretty slow. As you may or may not know, I am companions with the district leader, and as such he has meetings. There were meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, the whole day, and district meeting on Friday. Thanksgiving was a non-proselyting day so we didn't do anything that day (except eat turkey!) So this week was full of meetings.

On Thanksgiving Day, we played basketball with a family (family of 11 I think) in the Van Nuys 1st ward, and so the other elders came along too. We played 5 on 5 full court, and these guys really know how to play. It was quite an intense game, well, games. Went home and showered and changed for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a pretty good standard dinner, lots of food, and we had pumpkin cobbler for desert.

Met with one of our investigators who is preparing for baptism on the 11th. It is quite possible that it will happen, although he has a slight mental handicap, but he has an aptitude of about a 12 year old. Things are going fine here, Hope all is well on your end!

Elder Huffaker

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello, New Transfer!

Okay so if you didn't know, which you should, we are in a new transfer, and I got a new companion. He's older in the mission and wanting to go home, but hopefully we will be able to work hard still. He is district leader, so there is an extra meeting once a week for them, and this coming week there is training for him, so I get to go with the other District Leader's companion.

This week for Thanksgiving, we are being fed by a member who likes to feed us a lot of food, and I probably won't eat lunch. In other news, Elder Mortensen, my new comp, got a hole in his bike tire, and we couldn't pump it up, so we left it at the house we were at, and walked home. We have yet to get his bike and fix it, and I'm not sure how soon that will happen because of the meetings all this week.

We met with one of our investigators who we haven't met with in a long time this week, and his only problem before getting baptized is that he is a social drinker. So he doesn't feel a need to quit because he isn't addicted. He decided to try not drinking for a month starting next week. Which means that he can't drink through Christmas. Hopefully we will be able to help him to quit.

It is starting to get a little cold at nights, like high 40's, (so you don't think I'm starting to feel cold at like 60). We ride with jackets in the evening, which is great for warmth, but when you sweat it gets in the jacket. Not much in news other than that, hope all is well at home!

Elder Huffaker

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Transfers: Staying Put

Hello everybody! For starters this week, if you are not yet aware, transfers are today. I am staying here in Sherman Oaks, and Elder Morgan is leaving to Canyon Country 2nd. He is going to a ward where we think his dad's cousin is. I will be getting Elder Mortenson as a companion later today, and he will be district leader. I don't know him, but from what I'm told he and I will get along great!

As for news this week, nothing really happened at the beginning. We had a few cancels, and it was just a dead week. But at the end of the week, starting on Friday, we met up with a family we have been trying to get in with for a couple weeks now, and it turns out they are a part member family. And they are watching her niece and nephew, who are interested. We came in there and met with them, gave them some Books of Mormon, and the nephew just dove right in to it. More than I've seen anyone ever do that. Then the niece showed up for sacrament meeting so that was pretty cool. We then got in with another part member family, the mom and aunt are less active, and the aunt is coming back. We are teaching a 13 year old girl with Aspergers. Hopefully we will be able to get in, because it has been hard to recently.

On Saturday, we went and saw our investigator who is paralyzed, and we are still trying to get him to see that there's more to life and there really is something after this life. Then on Sunday we went and saw one of our investigators who has a 23 year old son who lives with them and is a member. The mom has been sitting in and listening, and now we got one of the daughters to sit in too. It's a big family so hopefully we will be able to get them all! Slowly but surely though, and it's pretty well inevitable for them to not get in on the lessons.

So this coming week I will have to help get my next companion familiar with the area. Hopefully I have it enough, but we do have a big map at our pad, and a small one we take with us.

Hope all is going well at home, I have not moved so WRITE ME LETTERS! It's always nice to get them. My address is 13503 Erwin st Van Nuys California, 91401 That's a lot of stuff going on there, and not much is going on here.

Also, I'm really sorry, but I finally got the baptism picture sorta. The family picture is the one. The two kids in front are the ones that got baptized. I also am sending pictures of our Zone before everyone is leaving.

Elder Huffaker

Celebrating Halloween with the District. They made a pinata, and then beat it to pieces:
The family & missionaries with the two baptized kids in the front:
Cameron's zone, just before transfers. Cameron is 4th from the left, with the green tie:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alma 53:20

Hello to everybody! This last week, in the training, Elder Morgan has decided that I got to be senior companion. I got to choose where to go what to do, planning, lessons, the like. Not fun! but I guess it was a good enough experience. However it is now over. We are going back to the way it was.

Unfortunately, as fast as the week went by, we didn't do too much. It has been getting a little cold at night, and the other day, I finally saw my breath! We wear our jackets while riding, which isn't that great because I get all sweaty in it. It does keep me warm, especially on bike at night in the wind!

So, apparently our apartment we are living in is pretty bad on cleanliness. However Elder Morgan and I spent a ton of time cleaning it. It looks much better than it used to, but it still isn't clean enough. Guess we just have to work harder.

On Friday, we had interviews with president, which went fine, although he did talk to me about training soon. Oh no. He said he'd give me at least another transfer, so we'll see how that goes. Also, president e-mails a weekly newsletter sort thing, and in it, he included a scripture he said came to him while interviewing a missionary. That missionary was me. It was a little random, he just popped open his scriptures and said, "this scripture just came to me, I don't know what it says, but the reference just popped into my mind." Well he shared that scripture with ALL the missionaries in the mission, and I was sort of the cause of it. Rather interesting moment. This is what he said in his e-mail. The missionary was me that he was interviewing, although the scripture had nothing to do with what we were talking about.

"This past week as I was doing interviews, a powerful impression came to me to share a particular scripture with a missionary. The impression only told me the verse but not what the verse said. So I opened my Book of Mormon to that particular verse and shared the following with the missionary I was interviewing:

"And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all; they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted." (Alma 53:20)

I guess that was really the only highlight of the week, the work continues and it's been a little more difficult getting in with people.

Darcie is taking drivers ed?!? Wow, now I'm scared. Hope it goes well, but I cant believe that's already happening, Alyssa's turning 17, and it's already November! So what's the cheesecake challenge? I don't remember or think you've told me about that.

So this week we went to an investigators house and watched the Finding Faith in Christ DVD, and were hoping he'd kind of react to that somehow. He still feels that there's nothing more to his life, and he's just hanging in there till he passes on. He is paralyzed from the waist down I think, and can't use his hands. He's actually living in assisted living or something; it's a little different. But there was no reaction from him as far as we can tell, we are not giving up though. The ward is doing great, we just got a new ward mission leader and two new ward missionaries. Hopefully they will all get into their parts and we will be able to work well together! Hope all is well at home!

Elder Huffaker

Monday, October 31, 2011

Biking Workouts

Well this week has been the usual week, running around on bikes and whatnot. In biking news, we went from the top of corner of our area, to the bottom opposite corner of the area, and then back halfway to the church to finish it off. Needless to say I was pretty wiped, and I'm sure Elder Morgan was too. We also had a pretty cool musical fireside last night, we went to our dinner with a member just before it and they took us there. The fireside lasted until about 8:30-40-ish and we went back to the members house after that. They live in the bottom part of our area, and we live in the top part of our area. Well we booked it back and made it inside at 9:30 on the nose! Talk about close. But I was completely exhausted after that. I hit the ground and didn't get back up for 20 minutes. THAT was a workout. We also had an investigator who was nearly done with the lessons tell us he couldn't get baptized because he was told being Mormon was a sin. Well he then told us he could be Mormon again because he prayed about it. We did have a baptism recently and we have yet to get pictures from that. We will definitely need to get those soon. Well the work is progressing, and Elder Morgan and I are working hard (really hard being on bikes haha) Hope all is going well there, and don't forget, Postal letters are great, even if they are typed up!
Trying (and failing, he said!) to mend his pants.
Heating his socks up -- must be chilly in California!

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hello from the great state of Claly-fornya

So this week was interesting. On Monday we went to an investigator teaching about tithing, and then he all of a sudden says that he prayed and talked to his mom, and came up with a baptism date! He has a slight mental handicap, and it took us by complete surprise!

Also for a funny thing, Elder Morgan and I were riding down the sidewalk and went down the slope on the edge of the street and was going to go up the other side, and realized that there's no slope! So he slammed on his brakes and skidded right up to the curb, and when I realized it, I slammed on my brakes, but didn't hit him. It was pretty funny though.

We did have a baptism, two kids got baptized. One was 9 almost 10 and the other was 8so only the one counted because the parents are members. They are a little less active so we will be working with them a little still, but it was great for them to come to the baptism!

So yesterday, we had a scheduled lunch with a member, and then a dinner with bishop. Lunch was at 3, and dinner was at 5. Woo! Lot's o' food! Needless to say, Elder Morgan and I were stuffed. Later that night we ran into a returned missionary on our street and he introduced us to one of his friends, and we had a lesson, and we left her with a Book of Mormon. It was a great unplanned experience, and we had the lesson with the guy we found and two other guys who were there, all were return missionaries.

The area here is really taking off, and we are starting to have appointments filling the days! Sounds like things are as busy as ever at home. That's really interesting that they got in a big car accident, sounds like the one Brandon, Nathan, and I were in, but Alys wasn't driving so that's good. Hopefully she will learn from the experience and always wear her seatbelt, That was the way I was after Brandon's accident! Always always always wear a seatbelt. (especially in California!) They don't call it California driving for nothing!

Also we went to Costco, and got stocked up, and besides eating with members, we have been eating pretty well. The other day we had chili cheese dogs and cornbread!

Elder Huffaker

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pop of a Different Flavor

Okay so there is very little in news I guess, but we did get some new people in our zone and one in our district. Apparently Elder Morgan came out with the new sister we got in our district. Nothing exciting for food experiences, but I haven't had the same meal or similarity in meals twice from members.

If you have forgotten, I am in a bike area, but there are rumors about us getting a car. That would be pretty cool, but they're only rumors, and I'd be fine if we stayed on bike. I've done it one transfer, I can do it another.

Another note of news is that we found a couple part member families, one where a 17 year old is the member and another where a 22 year old is the member, but neither are the parents. We are meeting with the latter today, it is a family of 9 and one is under 8 so if we can teach all of them, it would be 6 new investigators, and if we taught the other family it would be 2 or 3 new investigators, so that's also exciting.

Also, one of our investigators is scheduled to get baptized next Sunday (the 16th) and has asked that I baptize him. Not sure entirely why, but that's fine by me. It would also be my first baptism on my mission. He is 13, but is about my height and he says he's a 38 waist. He plays football, so he's a big kid. He's still got a few lessons though, and so we have 2 more scheduled appointments this week and probably another one on Saturday, and might get interviewed then too. If that happens, then I'll definitely get you pictures!

Unfortunately I don't have really any pictures this time, nothing going on except the usual, but I will try harder to look for opportunities to get pictures. I do have a couple of the most awesome soda machine I've ever seen though. You can get a bunch of different shots of flavors added to the usual soda. Like there was a peach Fanta, I had a vanilla Sprite, there was a raspberry Coke and just a bunch of other stuff, and it was all on a touch screen.

Thanks for the pictures you sent to me, you should definitely send one of other parts of the breeze way. I love pictures printed out because I can hang them up. So send me more please! And also, if Grandma and Grandpa want to send me stuff too that would be awesome!

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Transfer, Same Area!

Okay first off, the first picture on the list is an Idaho picture. Everyone in that picture is from somewhere in Idaho, and these are all missionaries in my Zone. Transfers just ended yesterday so we have new people in and some older people out.

Also, the other picture is of me eating a 4x4 at an In-and-Out. For those of you who don't know, that is 4 patties and 4 cheese. One of the members in the ward always take us to In-and-Out and if you haven't gone with them before, they make you order that. That is way too much cheeseburger for anyone.

Well the week has gone pretty good, although I have recently gotten a flat tire which I have yet to fix so I've just been pumping it up as necessary. Like I said, transfers just happened, we lost/gained 4 people. One from our district, one of our Zone Leaders, and two from the other district.

In the new training program we have, new missionaries stay with their trainers for at least two transfers, so for the next six weeks I will still be with Elder Morgan in the same area I'm in. Still on bike for another 6 weeks. That's okay though, since we bike all over the place (p.s. Brandon, we are in earthquake area so the sidewalks and streets are all broken up), we have a pretty big area, it's hot, and we carry around all our stuff in our backpacks, so they're heavy, I have already gone down a beltloop size, working on the next. Also, as a district we tried to put on a sort of game night for members, and their nonmember friends, but that was a big flop. It was fun, but not productive.

My companion just reminded me, one time when we went contacting, we ran into this guy who liked to talk and had some questions about our church. Well the conversation eventually got to politics, and a Jamaican sitting on a bench about 25-30 feet away overheard us and the guy we were talking to and the Jamaican went back and forth. The Jamaican was saying "stop spreading lies!" I'm not sure what exactly about, I think it was related to politics, and the guy we were with was saying "And you're a Jamaican, sitting homeless on a bench!" "I like your CART!" Also we started to talk to another guy who talked a little about the incident that was happening and said he threw in something to just kind of make them turn their heads. He said something like "Go Lakers" and was telling us, "why can't we just get along?".

So my week has been like that so far, still working hard, I can't believe I've already been out for a transfer! Hope everything is going well at home!
Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Week

Not sure what to write about this week, It has really flown by. I guess the highlight has been that we got a baptism date!

We do a ton of biking all over the place, really sore in my legs. We've had a lot of people cancel on us so we are out on our bikes even more. I guess though, we just need to keep working hard and things will happen. We are working hard with people, but so is Satan, and people have their free agency, so there's only so much we can do. Already so much time has flown by, so much will happen before we know it.

We do have a great zone, nobody is really a problem missionary, we all do the work and there isn't really anyone having to be taken out and talked to or interviewed. Apparently though in the zone, we (my companion and I) are at the bottom, but we've been told by our zone leaders that they know we are doing the work because they haven't had to come down to us to straighten us out so I guess we are doing good. My district leader wants to say hi:

Hey, I'm Elder Day and I'm Elder Huffaker's District Leader. I just wanted to tell you guys that Elder Huffaker is a WONDERFUL Missionary! He is truly a delite to have in the district. He has a hilarious sense of humour and is a great worker! Its a pleasure to know him! Thanks for everything that you guys have done to influence Elder Huffaker. He is a stud! You all are great! Love, Elder Day.

Elder Day is a pretty cool guy, he wanted to say hi and also because I didn't know what all to say. He's going home soon so he's just saying hi.

Elder Huffaker

P.S. From Marilyn:

We're including a few pictures of their apartment that Cameron sent.
And also, an unusual piece of trivia: we have three missionaries from our little valley that all currently serve in the San Fernando Mission (one is Spanish speaking). Cameron sent this next photo of himself standing next to one of them: Elder Johnny Grow! Totally cool!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Interesting Week

Cameron's letter from September 19, 2011:

All right, so this week has been interesting.

We have plenty of people to see, but a lot of them we were unable to see. We spent a good chunk of time contacting, and we thought we had some people, but haven't been able to catch them again. Also, we do eat with the members a lot, but a few of them also cancelled this week. We ended up doing dinners ourselves a few times, but that's okay, it happens.

I have seen two other people get baptized that other missionaries have taught, a few of ours are really close, but just not quite there.

I recently purchased a light for my bike because I have been using a flashlight and rubber band as my light. Elder Morgan got two flats, on the same day. One on the front and the other on the back. He had to patch them and then put slime in them, which ended up taking about an hour and a half of our time and we had to cancel on one of our appointments.

We have ran in to a few people who like to talk, mainly about how black people are going to be the rulers of the earth and that every one else isn't saved. Also that Christ will return in a UFO. Weird stuff like that, but then they also try to tell us what we believe because we are Mormon. But get this: their source of information about Mormons is...... YOUTUBE! Wooo! That's a very reliable source.

Also the other day, we were stuck in a lesson till about a quarter after nine and we had to be home in 15 minutes. We were about 3 and 1/2 to 4 miles away from where we live and I thought I was going to DIE. I did come very close to hurling, but we made it back at 9:31. Literally just a minute away. Kind of gives a new meaning to giving all your heart might mind and strength.

Other than that, we are doing fine, seems amazing how fast time is flying.

Elder Huffaker

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hollywood, Baby!

Okay so I thought I told you about investigators last week. But where are the pictures taken in the photos you sent me?

I'm sending you pictures of the old bike I was using for a day. We are using one of those things with the big blue jugs of water as our source of drinking water. We need to go about 3 blocks to fill those up, and there is a picture of me carrying one on my bike. Yes that is a full 5 gallons of water I am transporting on my bike.

We went to Studio City today and the Hollywood sign, we took pictures and I think I'm sending those too. Came back and found the box you sent to me, with all the green stuff in it.

We are riding our bikes everywhere and my legs feel sore a lot. We are also being fed by members like every night for dinner. We usually teach some spiritual thought, and sometimes we are having dinner with part member and we teach them a full lesson.

Elder Huffaker
(On P-Day or Preparation Day, the missionaries have a majority of the day to do other activities, including emailing and laundry. On this particular P-Day, they also went sight-seeing.)
The 5-gallon jug of water. (We need to ask him why they don't just drink tap water!)
Cameron's first box from home, the Greenie Box arrived that day, too. Since he's still pretty "green" at being a missionary, we sent a box full of green items:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Best Two Years

This week has been my first full week in the field that has been "normal" I suppose. We aren't having any training meetings or meetings with the president, the only meeting we've had is district meeting and the usual meetings at church (ward correlation and ward council).

I don't remember if I've said this before, but I'm in the Sherman Oaks Ward, and so far Elder Morgan is pretty awesome. He's only been out about 7 months, but he's doing fine as a trainer. We have a ton of people to try by, less actives, old investigators, people who haven't had a home or visiting teacher come by in a while and don't come to church etc., and almost every day we are having dinner with a member family, and sometimes we have had dinner with investigators or part member families, which are some of the best discussions we have. So far this week we have been teaching Sara, Burton, Rosamaria, Varo, Armen, and the McKinnens.

Sara is a really awesome investigator, she's about 22. We are teaching her in the home of who we believe is her boyfriend, we aren't sure if they're actually a "thing", but her boyfriend is K.C. He's in the Elders Quorum presidency and he plays Elder Rogers in The Best Two Years:

He's quite the uh, character. We almost have a date for baptism with Sara, and we've taught her lessons 1-3 and part of lesson 4. She says before she gets baptized she wants to have her families support. She also says that she has made the decision to get baptized even if she doesn't have her families support, but would like it.

Burton is in his 70's. I would say he's not quite progressing, we teach him a lot and he expressed a desire to come to church, and apparently has been invited several times, but hasn't been to church once. He hasn't been taught a single lesson and hardly or never reads the Book of Mormon. He does however, enjoy us coming over, but we are trying.

Rosamaria is also awesome, and is in her late 30's we think. She was raised a Catholic, but has said it never feels as good at church like it does at an LDS church. She hasn't been taught much but has a real desire to learn. We are hoping to set a baptism date within a week or two.

Varo is Armenian and so is his wife. They are probably in their late 20's to early 30's. His wife Sophia has been baptized and we are really trying with Varo. He needs to read and pray about the book, which is something Sophia has done and Varo hasn't. Hmmm.

Armen is atheist. He really wants to learn about us, but doesn't want to do anything, like reading or praying, or the like. He's a good guy, and might come around eventually, but not yet.

The McKinnens are a part member family about in their 50's. Bro McKinnen is less active, and apparently his problem is that it really was Adam's fault because he didn't tell Eve not to partake of the fruit and she did unknowingly, even though it says in Genesis 3 that she said straight up - we are commanded not to partake of the fruit. Oh well, they attended a temple marriage, and waited in the waiting room and Brother McKinnen asked Sister McKinnen if she wanted to learn more, so we are teaching them. Sis McKinnen has taken the first two lessons and we are trying to get her to read the Book of Mormon.

In other news, we are biking all over the place. I'll see if I can send a picture of our area, which is pretty large. We are planning to go to the hollywood sign as a zone and obviously we will be taking pictures. There has been rumors that we have a lot of movie stars living in the lower part of our area. Also that Elijah Wood lives across the road from the bishop. No confirms though. Our zone is full of lots of characters I guess, but other than teaching not much is happening. We do a lot of teaching.

Elder Huffaker
(Photos Cameron sent of the old bike he started out with. He has since upgraded to a better bike!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Area, Van Nuys

All right, here's my (I guess) long e-mail back to you. First off, going to do e-mails was kind of dropped on me; didn't know we were coming to do that, so I forgot my reader to send pictures (sooo sorry). I have a ton though, so I would probably send multiple e-mails in order to get them all sent.

So about getting sick, I actually had a cold recently, that I got in the MTC, I don't know if I told you that yet or not. I actually knew that dad was looking to get something like a tablet, I just didn't know if he was actually going to do it or not. That's pretty cool that he got one though.

That's cool that you finally opened your Mothers Day present, took you long enough, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Glad Darcie got to go to the temple. My mission just had a recent temple trip, and we go about 3 times a year, so we won't be going anytime soon. But the temple we would go to is the LA temple.

Okay, so we had 15 missionaries flying with us, and we went to the Burbank airport from Salt Lake. (I actually saw the flight that was heading for Lewiston on their reader board thing, but I didn't try to get on it. (like I would, LOL). My trainer is Elder Morgan, we get along pretty well, we are serving in Van Nuys (pronounced like very nice, with an accent, I'm not sure which accent) and we are a.............................................. bike area! I'm told this is the biggest bike area and we arrived during the hottest time of the year. Woohoo! Elder Morgan is from Show Low, Arizona, northeastern mountains.

We live with the Andersons, in a sort of guest house out behind their house. It's pretty big, bigger than I thought I'd ever have out here. Anyway, we borrowed a bike from them and while riding it, it pretty much fell apart. The tires don't hold air very well, the brakes are awful, the pedals are somewhat broke, the frame is literally starting to fall apart, it was hitting the back wheel, the shifters don't work well, the seat pad fell of so we had to tape it back on, and it was a city bike so there were no shocks, which you think wouldn't be a big deal, but with the earthquakes (which we do get, but I haven't been in one yet) the sidewalks fall apart and are very rough, which is not fun on a city bike. Oh well, anything to get around and do the work is fine, especially since we just got a bike from one of the members who never use their bikes. It's a really nice 21-speed mountain bike with a bigger seat on it. Can't wait to try it out.

I also had to get a library card so I could use the computer here at the library for an hour. Next week though, the library will be closed because of the national holiday so we will just go to the church.

So, we are getting fed really well, the members here are awesome. We have a calendar specifically for the ward to sign up to have us over for dinner, and we are almost booked through September, there's like 2 or 3 days that are open, and some of the members say, "If you don't get anyone for that date, just come over and we'll feed you." So there's no worries about going hungry here.

Also, for the most part, when we are not in a discussion or eating, the rest of the time is usually spent getting from place to place. I haven't done street contacting or door knocking since I've been here (except for knocking on doors of previous investigators).

So tell me, how is Dad doing at Welenco? Is he getting plenty of business? Is Brandon helping him a lot? How are things at home? Please ask any questions, I will try to have photos next week, and ask questions I forgot to answer too.

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Growth at the MTC

Okay so this is my last P-day in the MTC. By the way I said previously that I can't send pictures from the MTC. I will have to try and see if I can send them from the field. There is something with the programing that doesn't allow me to add attachments to my e-mails. Sorry about that.

The MTC has been a great experience and quite a testimony builder, we learn so much in so little time. It feels like I've been here for ever, yet I'm already leaving. We are also starting on this new "program" where, when we get to the field, we, instead of our trainers, are the ones leading.

I'm pretty excited to get out of this place and into the field. I know it is going to be one of the hardest, if not the hardest thing I will ever do, but I can already tell it will be totally worth it. There's no where else I'd rather be than serving the Lord.

Already I am adjusted to the schedule, I can especially tell when I'm waking up just a couple minutes before the alarm goes off. We did pictures the past days with our district and our teachers, and I will do my best to get those sent.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More of MTC Life

So I'll try to send pictures later, I forgot my camera and card reader. Doing laundry again, this is my last full week in the MTC. Feels like I just barely got here and now they're about to send us out.

We are singing, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in Sacrament Meeting this Sunday; the sisters volunteered us.... oh well. Elders Irvine, Kruger, Rasmussen, and myself have the bass part, Elder Beasley had the tenor part, and the other elders are just going to sing the melody. Elder Tollworthy, Gallup and Stevenson..... two of them are TONE DEAF. Doesn't help when we are singing separate parts.

Nothin’ much to report other than I just tried the SD card USB reader, and the MTC computers are incapable of reading it. Probably some security thing. Oh well, ask me questions.

Still don't have a scripture or quote or anything, almost never have time for myself. Oh well again, that's the way it is.

[After my return email with questions for him, came his answers in this follow up email:]

Okay, so Elder Kruger is from Red Deer, Alberta Canada. MTC food sucks, and yes, he is also going to San Fernando. We have two 4-hour classes every day except for p-day and Sunday. We went to the Provo Temple, which is round, and we are going today. I have 30 minutes for e-mail. No general authorities have spoken, and it [speakers] is in the gym. I do get to help with hosting [the new, incoming MTC missionaries] tomorrow.

Life at the MTC

Hi everyone. So the first days started out as the easiest and then turned in to the hardest. After Sunday though, it feels a little easier. I'm probably getting used to the schedule.

Anyway, the second full day we were here, they threw us right in to teaching investigators. They are just our teachers for our class, but it's kind of stressful when you don't know what you're doin' and they make you teach. Also, none of the returned missionaries can give me any advice about the MTC really, because we are the first group of missionaries that they have implemented a new course, which is apparently nothing like the old one.

Our schedules are pretty full and we are either in class, studying, eating or in the gym. Except for p-days and Sundays. We had a fireside on Sunday, which you need to be 45 minutes to an hour early to in order to get a good seat. We have a devotional tonight, so we are going to head to that super early.

Other than that, we have laundry and we get to go to the temple today. Washing machines are hard to find because they are all full, and we have way more dryers than washers. I suppose that is a good thing when you need to move your stuff, there is always an open dryer. By the way, Mom, air drying the towels did nothing for them. I am washing my towels and drying them here. All of them, because after using the shower and drying off, I had little towel fuzzies all over me. Nothing else really to report other than I want to get a picture of my district, my companion and I next to the map, and a list of their names. I know them all, but I don't know how to tell you so you know who is who.

In companionships we have: Elder Kruger and myself, Elder Irvine and Elder Beasly, Elder Tollworthy and Elder Stevenson, Elder Gallup and Elder Rasmussen, Sister Tapusoa and Sister Jensen, Sister Snater and Sister Thompson. All of us are in the same district, 7a, and Elder Irvine is our district leader.

Oh by the way, I received my pants from the Missionary Mall, but they also gave me 8 shirts, so now I have 18 shirts. What do I do with the other shirts? They are still in the package.

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hello, MTC!

On Wednesday, August 3rd, Cameron entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah! The MTC has changed their missionary check-in method since the last time we were there, so our family experience was a bit different this time.

Unlike previously, when the families went in with their missionaries and had a short meeting, now the new missionaries are dropped off at the curb. There were missionaries helping to direct traffic, and along the curb there were about 30 stations, each with a host missionary there waiting to greet the new arrivals, guide them where they needed to go, and help them with their luggage. We had all the family (except Brandon, who had to work) to say goodbye to Cameron. We had spent the previous week in Salt Lake while the girls were at a BYU camp. During that time, Cameron helped in providing some service to his aunt, and we also made a trip to the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square. It was a good transition from civilian life.

With the length of our trip, by the time we went to the MTC, Cameron was pretty anxious to get going and truly start on his life as a missionary. Cameron does not need to learn a language, so he will only be there for about 3 weeks before leaving for southern California. He will leave the MTC about August 24th. The other interesting thing is there are two other missionaries from our valley that are serving in the same mission, and Cameron’s best friend is serving in neighboring Riverside! Please see the sidebar for his mailing address. These are a few pictures from our day - enjoy!
Final family picture -- except we're missing Brandon with us! Then it would have been complete.
Cameron & his sisters - life is nothing if not interesting!
Cameron and Emma. We think she'll have an easier time remembering Cameron than she did with Brandon.
At the MTC, curbside, we said our final goodbyes. Here's father and son:
And a posed picture with the mom:
Nothing was going to slow him down: Cameron was READY to go:
Good luck to our missionary!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Call

Missions always begin with receiving the mission call in the mail. Cameron's mission call arrived and he opened it on June 1, 2011. You can see he was a bit excited to tear into it:

Then came the reading:
He is heading to the California San Fernando Mission, and reports to the MTC on August 3, 2011. Cameron was (and still is) pretty impressed by the letter. As with all mission calls, it is signed by the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. It's humbling and touching to know that it was hand-signed. Cameron will truly treasure it forever.

He had about 2 months for the remainder of his preparations before reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. More than enough time!

One Mission Ends, Another Mission Begins

Thank you for reading about Brandon's mission experiences in Jamaica! He returned home on May 5, 2011, having served faithfully and honorably for his two years. Brandon is currently working and looking forward to college life in January.
At this point, we are changing this blog to now share the mission experiences of Cameron, who is called to serve in the California San Fernando mission. We are so thrilled to have another missionary son serving the Lord.

We invite you to keep reading, as Cameron's mission unfolds before us.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three Days

I'm not really gonna say anything... I'll be home in 3 days. No surprises! No parties! I just want peace for a few days. If anyone brings me fast food. I'm throwin' it away.

Oh, and here's one pic for ya. My last district meeting in Yallahs. The Flakes brought an amazing lemon cake!

The last of this Elder Huffaker

Monday, April 25, 2011

Like I Just Got Sucker Punched in the Stomach

If you are wondering about the title of this email. That's pretty much how I feel whenever I truly think about going home. It hits you like a ton of bricks. It feels like you just got sucker punched in the stomach. It feels like the end of the world is nigh. Going home is something I've been looking forward to, but at the same time, it's almost like something I'm dreading. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing in particular, other than school starts in the fall.

Getting back to Jamaica... this week seemed to fly by. Elder Madsen and I have been tearing it up and having a good time. Working with some good people still. Wish they'd actually do something though.

I went on my final tradeoff on Wednesday. I went with Elder Brough, once again, in Kingston. We did a little souvenir shopping while waiting to tradeback - especially since we go home together. We also went to a dinner appointment that I had to laugh at. The member wasn't expecting me. Elder Emery also showed up with a different companion - Elder Stone - and he wasn't expected either. It was supposed to be a going away party, but not quite what the member expected.

Overall, there's not much to say. The double digit days to the end are now gone. No pictures today... sorry.

Elder Huffaker

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Many Fingers?

So with the picture, you will see Elder Brough and I holding up our hands on Thursday. We can count on our hands how many days left on our mission. Ok, well it took both of our hands, but at least we can count! Zone conference was on Thursday. It was a very long zone conference. I'm not sure why, but I have this curse where I either arrive very early or very late to missionary meetings not in my area. Elder Madsen and I arrived at 8:20 and the conference didn't start til 9. No one else but the Assistants were there when we arrived. It was long, like I mentioned before because we didn't leave til after 3 p.m.

After the conference, Elder Madsen and I went and got some jerk. Not just any jerk, however. This goes on the new foods list. We had jerk pork and jerk lamb. The Pork had a lot of fat and sometimes if there was skin - there was hair. Doesn't gross you out unless you eat it.... We didn't leave Kingston til about 6:15. We had to stop by the mission office and the office Elders sent us in a big circle. Elder Madsen and I walked around for a long while. When we reached. I realized that they could have given us a shorter route if they would have told us to turn around.

Not much else for this week, same old - same old!

Elder Huffaker

2 1/2 weeks

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

This week there isn't much to say... but I do have to say that we had one heck of a Saturday. We road our bicycles up the side of a mountain to a place called swamp. I haven't gone there in a long time. On the way up, my bicycle chain broke TWICE! I was more than upset on the second time. Thankfully it made it up and down the hill. However, it broke again later that day.

So now I'm on a new bicycle chain. I can't get the one I've got to last me three and a half weeks. It was worth going up the hill though to go and see a really good investigator. While we were there I finally saw the national bird. A two tailed hummingbird!

Also in this week, Tracy Meddow thought she'd be funny and caught me and put a little "twist" on my hair. So I went around for about 24 hours with it in my hair. I got a few comments and weird looks. Don't worry, it's not permanent!

Elder Huffaker