Thursday, October 31, 2013


Alright so here's what we got...
Elder Johnson and I officially had our first member dinner yesterday... EVER. It was at a bai ren's house (white person's house)... Pot roast, potatoes and corn. Man oh man do I miss actual cooking.
Oh yeah get this... drumroll please?
This December coming to a mission south of DC.....
We are going to be able to use our personal facebooks to proselyte! Ah so cool!
Oh yeah, ipads mean BYE BYE AREA BOOKS! Woohoo! And we wont have to travel all the way to the library to do our maps for the stalk and knock approach :) How great is THAT?!
Hehe here is something way cool... or sad... take it as you will.
In the branch's gospel doctrine class, we had more investigators than members there ;) Members INCLUDING the five missionaries present was 7... We had 8 investigators there! (it seemed much more like relief society, however, because 5 of the 8 investigators were women who had to be over 75 years old...)
Hey, still counts.
Alright here is the thing I learned this week...
We met with this man named Joe (English speaking, so we ended up turning him over to the English speaking missionaries).
Very nice guy... He told us he has heard of us before. He said he respects us very much because he had former employees and associates were of our faith. This prior experience he had with LDS people made the lesson environment soooooooooo much better! No kidding. He told us he has only had extremely positive experiences with people of our faith.
Moral of the story?
How you act counts.
it really really does.
It may not seem like it immediately, but someday, when a missionary knocks on one of your previous acquaintances doors, your interaction with them could very well make or break their encounter with the missionaries.
It all boils down to example... People will often judge (THEY REALLY REALLY WILL) all of the LDS people off of one person.
We ran into a man who grew up in Salt Lake City.
He told us he was not interested because when he was growing up with LDS people, and they found out his family was not interested in becoming converted, all of their LDS friends became "disinterested" in them. He ended up leaving the boy scout program because he (14 year old) felt ostracized due to his disinterest in becoming one of the faith.
As a missionary, let me tell you it breaks my heart to hear stories like this. Really, it does.
I guarantee you if this man was more like Joe-- where he only had positive experiences with LDS people-- we would have had a lesson with him that day.
Show love to everyone, please please, please. Even if they spit on your faith, show love. It will influence them in the future, I promise you that.
Take care everyone! Love you all!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ooof not much time...

WE ARE GOING TO DC TODAY BECAUSE OF THE GOVT GETTING REOPENED! Unfortunately, that means my time is running short :(
Alright soooo here's how my mission works...
I'm in a car. All. the. Time. Since there are only two Chinese speaking companionships altogether, we take the whole mission and split it in half. One of those halves is my area!
We have a lovely little branch of about .... 20 people. I will be with them my whole mission!
Get this-- Elder Johnson will be my companion next transfer... and probably the following transfer as well.
Hahahaha man oh man this is so funny.
My mission president? The greatest guy ever. Really. Holy mackerel, he is so great. Love him to death.
I speak English more than Chinese! Often the doors we knock end up being English people...
Sometimes, they are Chinese people. Oh man, a couple times we find interested Chinese investigators (YES!), but they want to take English discussions or attend an English church so their English can improve(BOOO!).... When that happens, we have to turn them over to the English missionaries as well....
Hey here is something else that is pretty funny-- during my mission, I have only eaten Chinese food once! That was on the 4th day of my mission, when I was so desperate for Chinese food that I dragged my companions to a Chinese restaurant. All of my mission meals have consisted of whatever I have left, chopped up, mixed and cooked in a wok. It looks and smells pretty dang interesting sometimes.... needless to say, I have decided to pick up cooking. I thought I could handle the slop (that really is what it is-- cans of beans, corned beef, cheese, raviolis, milk, eggs, ham, salsa, plus anyone's unwanted leftovers, all mushed together and cooked then wrapped in a tortilla), but I just can't do it anymore.
Oh yes, let me drop some names here...
We have a baptism coming up :) Irene and her son, Joseph! (I don't remember their Chinese names to save my life.... they prefer us to call them those names anyways)
That is extremely exciting :)
Her husband doesn't believe in God, but does not oppose her getting baptized whatsoever!
We met with Jason Zhu.... College student who feels overwhelmed with all the different Christian denominations that say they are right (sound familiar?). Great lesson there :)
We have our awesome Beijing investigator whom I cannot understand to save my life! Jiao Dixiong :) (I'll be surprised if he doesn't end up getting baptized! IT'S GONNA HAPPEN!)
We recently met with a college student named Ling ling-- she actually came to church with us this previous sunday :)
Chou Lin! That is the Chinese lady who is married to the American who cannot speak a lick of Chinese... He is a geologist! I have some great conversations with him. Her (Chou Lin's) older brother just died, so we shared with her the message of the plan of salvation...
Alright everyone, I need to get going now! I will email you more next week!
Oh yeah PS my trainer is awesome. Seriously. AWESOME! Happy go lucky Chinese fellow. Never complains. Always slaps us on the back and says "THAS OKAY!" if something happens. Haha, seriously, love Elder Tang.
Did I mention he is training two greenies? Me and Elder Johnson? Yeah thought I might throw that in there. Stud.

Okay I need to go! OFF TO DC! WOO! I wish you all the very best :)


Elder Valentine
PS! Dear elders take FOREVER to get, so if ya wanna contact me (Please do :) I love hearing from people at home!) just email me at! Or write me :)
Take care! LOVE YOU ALL!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I only have fifteen minutes to type out this email so I will do my best to hit the highlights....
I have come to a conclusion! I like asian people much more than white people. (The real asians--not the white washed American born ones). Why? THEY ARE SO FLIPPIN NICE! If they do not give a care about your message, they will pretend to be interested and take whatever you have to offer and smile about it. I mean, shoot yeah, it stinks being asked for your number and name by someone who seems really truly interested and never receiving a phone call from them. Mmm that is much better than the alternative, however! Oh yeah, get this: the first white person I ever got while tracting yelled at us and cussed at us. I don't like white people anymore haha. Not nice.
I don't mean to be racist or anything, but man oh man, Hispanics are the nicest people around. No kiddin. 2/3 Hispanic people I have tracted accepted the message and invited us back. I swear, "Jesu Cristo" seems to be like the golden ticket or something. You say that word and their eyes light up and they get all excited to talk to you about it. Those people are so great.
Okay so here is a funny experience: we had a teaching appointment with this Chinese lady who is married to an American-- she cannot speak a lick of English and he speaks Chinese even worse! Oh my goodness! (Her name is ChouLin Jiemei-- sister Choulin... Oh did I mention REMEMBERING NAMES IS THE HARDEST THING IN MY LIFE?! Especially Chinese names! Blah! These words-- Po, Fang, Fa, Lin, Xiao, Zhang, so on and so forth-- have no meaning to me so I cannot connect a face to the name... blah.) They had this funky incense thing going on during our lesson.... Smelled like straight up marijuanna. In the elevator down from the room, this guy walked in. He looked around, sniffed a bit, then looked and said "Hahaha niiiice. You guys just roll a big one?" (Meaning, he thought we were huffin some Da Ma (marijuanna)) I told him "Noo, we were just in the midst of some heavy incense." He chuckled a bit. I don't think he bought it.
Man, MY SOCKS SMELT LIKE WEED TOO! It was so bad. Really funny though...
Speaking of bad smelling things....
We were driving down the street after a little bit of tracting aaand I heard Elder Johnson (PS HE IS MY COMPANION AGAIN. We share a trainer-- Chinese Elder from taiwan, name is Elder Tang) say "Awww dang it!" All of a sudden this rank smell just hit me. It smelt like legitimate filth.
"What the...."
We pulled over... yeah, it wasn't just on the shoe... he got it all over THE WHOLE CAR! Seats, everything.
Man, this reminded me of the time one of the kids went diarreah in Dad's BMW and I had to clean it up... It REEKED.
Okay, sooo Beijing accents.... SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND! Stick a golf ball in your mouth and speak chinese.... that is EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE! Ni hao become Rrr Hrrrr. Ni shi chuanjiaoshi becomes Rrr Shrr Chrrn Jrrr Shrrr. Blah. So difficult! I don't care if it is a manly accent-- GIVE ME THE FEMININE TAIWANESE ACCENT I CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND!
I was at the branch yesterday! It's like a small cute little family :) Apparently I will really bond with these guys because I'll be with them for two years....
Shoot, I have to go!
Here is how we find people: We use a government site to find the chinese people in the area then we knock on their doors.... "Oh hey you are Chinese? Wow what a small world! We speak chinese too! Ni cong nali lai?!" (Where are you from?)
We can tract to english speaking people but we have to give them up to the english elders if they want to meet again...
We met a nice (Brown) guy named estabon.... He wants us to return! We really should give them up to the english elders.... buuut (See we cover half of the areas in the mission- the other pair of zhongwen elders cover the other half) Elder Tang said the English elders of this specific area estabon is in aren't tooo diligent sooooo.... we are going to hold onto him for a bit... hahah, if we get a baptism here, they will probably be mad at us haha...
Alright gotta go! LOVE YOU ALL! TAKE CARE!

Elder Valentine

Monday, October 7, 2013


Well, this Wednesday is it. The big shabang! AHHH! Wednesday at 2:30 I am officially off! Wappah!

Alright so this week was the SLOWEST WEEK OF MY LIIIIIFE. As soon as I got those travel plans, Old Father Time must have had a stroke or something. No kidding.
There will only be three people here on wednesday in my district... daaang.

Okay so unfortunately, today's email is going to be a little short due to packing and shtuff.... You know how it is!

I really, really hope you all got so much out of conference....

The talk that really stuck out to me was Elder Bednar's.

I know I know, I'm a missionary and I don't have to pay tithing.

The part that struck me about the talk was not about the tithing.... It was the part about answers to our prayers.

Sometimes, we will pray for outside help.... "Heavenly Father, provide me with someone or something who can help me with this problem..." or "Heavenly Father, please give me a solution to this problem." How many of you find yourselves saying prayers like these? I know I do it all the time.
Many times, instead of receiving a direct outside solution to the problem, our Father in Heaven will give us an 'inside' answer to the problem, such as granting us the ability to endure more or giving us the ability to work harder. . . it is often then, when we use those little gifts he gives us, that we are able to discover the solution to our problems. When we finally do, man oh man how sweet does it taste! How WELL do we know it. It becomes a part of the very fibers of our being!
I know, I know, it sounds a little lame, right? Why can't I have the answer now and skip the struggle?
Shoot, I experienced this frustration in the MTC ALL THE TIME.
I would ask my teachers "Hey, help me. I don't know how to connect these messages with my investigator.."
Instead of giving me the answer, they would say things such as "Well, what do you think?"
Or they would say "Hmm. Read your Preach My Gospel and pray about it."
My goodness I felt I was better off without a teacher sometimes! One of my teachers promised me there was an answer-- he was just not prepared to share it with me at that point in time...
I thought that was really interesting.

I was so frustrated. So blinking frustrated.
It literally took me weeks to find the answer to my problem. I finally did, after time. The answer is glued to my very being. It took so much effort and hard work on my part to finally figure out how to truly connect to my investigator that once I did I OWNED it.

Moral of the story?
The man upstairs knows what he is doing.

All we have to do is trust and push on. When we work for our solutions, through the added strength he gives us to push on, we will embody the solution. It will become a part of us. We will develop our faith too!
I know, "push on" is a little cliche.

I assure you, if we trust in the Lord, we will not be the boats borne ceaselessly back into time, as depicted in the Great Gatsby.
Let's be real here-- the Lord's boat is a cruise liner.

Let's get off our little row boats and get on the cruise liner.
You may have to swim through some choppy water to do so-- repentance (which really means CHANGE), gaining or improving our testimony, living the things we know to be true (aka EXERCISING FAITH)-- but man oh man how much more smooth do you think the ride of life will be once we get on the Lord's boat? We will still face choppy water-- big waves are always there in life.
The difference is if we are on the Lord's boat-- that massive cruiseliner-- no matter how big the tempest is we will not be turned over.
The little rowboat, on the other hand? You tell me.
Alright, I wish you all the very very best! Thank you for all the prayers! Fight on! Win the day!

Elder Valentine

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


So let us start with the fun stuff shall we?
I LEAVE IN ... A NUMBER OF DAYS THAT IS BELOW TEN! (Too lazy to do the math... I leave on the 9th at 2:30 AM. Party over here woo woo party over there woo woo!)
After the 8th, if ya wanna contact me, shoot me a letter at:
Elder Kelley Valentine
Washington DC South Mission
5242 Lyngate Ct
Burke, VA 22015
I would really really hate to miss any letters :( If you want to dear elder me, send them before the 8th! Otherwise, they will get stuck at the MTC :( You CAN dear elder me at the dc south mission, but that does cost money so... might as well write me a letter! They really do make my day! Thank you so much for sending me letters, dear elders, etc so on and so forth :) They truly are great!
Elder Johnson (my companion) accompanied Sister Astle (short sister in my district) for the big sister missionary relief society shabang soooo.... I got to go >:) The sisters have it good! They have like a full blown general conference status thing! Priesthood reminds me of single's ward elder's quorum.....
Ahaha. I got to sing As Sisters in Zion with a few hundred sisters.... Needless to say, Elder Johnson and I rocked that alto part (it was no sweat for him-- he has such a high voice he can sing soprano). I got some winks and thumbs up from the Senior sisters...
Go cougs.
Alright so we had a series of amazing devotionals this sunday/tuesday... I'd love to share with you my favorite parts!
Let us start with my most recent thing.... The Tuesday Devotional...
So this is the Provo temple president talking....
Back when he was a Bishop at BYU, there was a young man pacing back and forth in front of his desk for a very long time.... Finally....
"Are you Bishop Daines?"
"Yes, yes I am."
"I want you to excommunicate me."
What followed was what the President described as the most horrifying and obscene story filled with a life entangled in sin. He literally had to look up the terms in a dictionary and had to get help from his friend to figure out all of the terms the young man used. He told us if ever he had met a son of perdition, this was it.
Back in that time, in order for someone to be excommunicated (in a Provo ward or something, I don't exactly remember), they had to go through President Kimball or someone else. They were assigned President Kimball....
The then Bishop Daines took this young man to Kimball... The young man repeated his story to the President.
The President looked him in the eye and said: "I want you to answer three questions.
"Do you want to be forgiven?"
"... Yes."
"Do you want to have all the blessings promised to you?"
"More than anything."
"Do you want to be sealed and have a family for time and all eternity?"
At this point the young man broke down and nodded.
"I need you to do one thing. Get up in the morning and ask the Lord for all the strength in the world that one day. In the night, you thank him for that strength. The following morning, you get up and plead with him for the strength you need to get through that day."
"Oh one more thing... On your way out, look both ways before crossing the road. Stay alive."
I thought this was profound advice. Profound.
The President went on to explain what President Kimball meant in his last words to the young man....
Yes we can repent in the next life. This life, however, is the time to change our actual character. What we are now will carry over into the next life.
That young man could not afford to die at this point in time.
Neither can I.
Neither can you.
We need to keep pushing, keep breathing, and keep turning our hearts to the Lord. We can do it one day at a time. All we have to do is keep GOING.
I am out of time to email! I will write more next week!
Suzanne, Dad, Marianne, Scott, Grandma Blake, Aunt Lori, Sophie, Garrett: Thank you for the Dear Elders. They mean a ton to me. I really do appreciate them.
See you all next week! I am glad to hear you are all doing well!
Love you!

Sooo that right there... that is Nutella. NUTELLA. Maryann, in all her wit and wisdom, thought it would be funny to feed my dark obsession.... ARE YOU HAPPY NOW MARYANN!?
haha she sent me a big package this week :) I was seriously the happiest guy on the block. No joke (that shirt is from her as well-- she sent me a plethora of things... whole wheat bread, stickers, mustaches, Luis-- my new horse teddy bear--, markers, the new strangely Twilight-like cards, so on and so forth) Moral of the story? You want to be a good girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband/ so on and so forth... emulate her! She knows what shes doin. I was skippin through the MTC and blue birds were whistling with me. 'Twas a good day indeed :)


These friends are dear to me :) My old roommate, Spencer Coakwell, and my old fhe buddy, Jessica Bagley.
I really hope those two date after the mission.
That would make some fun times for us indeed.