Elder Keato's Address

Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda, Angola

Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's get this show on the road.

WOW. The last 9 weeks really have absolutely flown by. It's insane that in a week I will be out in the field doing real mission work with real people. Crazy! I won't lie, I'm pretty nervous to get out there and see what it is like. But at the same time, I am absolutely stoked to get out there and see what it is like. I don't know if you've heard this, but we got a dear elder from President Thompson yesterday that said that him and his wife are having Visa problems and that we are going to beat them there and that one of the Brazilian senior couples is going to be picking us up and all that cool stuff. The church must be true if a bunch of 19 and 20 year old boys can survive in Angola for over a month without a mission president in the country. haha.
It was a really good last week. With it being Pioneer Day on Tuesday and everything both of the devotionals were centered around Pioneers and how we can all be like them. Stephen B. Allen, managing director of the missionary department, spoke to us on Sunday night. He based his talk all around, "Come Come Ye Saints", it was super cool. He focused on a few lines from the song. The one that really stuck out to me and that I liked was "How can we expect to gain a great reward, if we shun the fight." The Lord needs missionaries out in the world, and we've got to join the fight in any way that we can. It was a super spiritual meeting, we sang "Come Come Ye Saints" like 5 times and everytime it was way powerful. The song really applies to missionary work perfectly. Our Tuesday night devotional was with Elder Coleman, an emeritus 70, he spoke about how we all still can be pioneers today and that we all need to be. It was super cool as well, he applied it a lot to missionaries in the scriptures and how they were out on the front lines leading the charge, and bringing the Gospel to those that didn't have it. We are so blessed here in the MTC to hear such powerful talks twice a week.
So yesterday we had "In-Field Orientation" where they got us super excited to get out into the field. They taught us a lot about the importance of members in the missionary effort. But, it's not only up to the members to give referrals out to the missionaries. Us missionaries need to be the kind of missionary that members will trust with their friends and trust us to help bring their friends unto Christ. We watched part of a talk from Elder Bednar where he talked about how a few Elders came to his house one day, ate lunch and stayed for about an hour, and as they were about to leave they asked for referrals. Elder Bednar completely shut them down and told them pretty bluntly how he wouldn't trust them with his friends because he could tell that they weren't very obedient Elders. He then went on to talk about how Elders should never spend that much time at a members house, they are on the Lords time and they need to spend that time working. I'm not exactly sure how it will be in Angola but I know in most missions members can be a major ally. And as Elder Bednar said, members can tell exactly what kind of missionaries we are. It's important that the members can trust the Elders, so I need to strive to be that Elder that people will trust with their friends.
It's all starting to get super real, today I took my first Malaria pill! I better get used to it too, because I'm going to be taking that pill everyday for the next two years. haha. So sad story, one of the Elders in my district, Elder Clifford has been having problem with his shoulder for that last few weeks so he decided to get it checked out, and I guess he is going to need to get surgery, which will put him back two months... He decided that rather than going home to get it fixed he is going to get it fixed here and stay in the MTC. It's a bummer cause me and him were super tight, but it's all good, he'll be out there in no time.
Yesterday was also the best day ever because I got 3 packages!!!! Wowzers. I'm definitely feeling the love. I got my most favorite thing in the world from Sam, Cinna Parts from The Pie! What a guy. They were eaten pretty dang fast. Then I got a package from Camille with tons of fun goodies in it. She is the best! And then on top of all that, I got a cake from Momma! The whole floor was very appreciative. Thanks guys!
Today we get to go to the temple for the last time for the next 22 months. It's going to be a very bitter sweet experience. Bitter because it will be the last time for the next 22 months, and sweet because it's the temple and I love the temple.
As I reflect back on these past 2 months, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I have learned so much about this gospel and about myself. This place is absolutely amazing, there is no other place in the world where 19 year old boys can learn so much. I have been super blessed with an incredible district that has taught me so much, and also incredible teachers that have helped us so much to get to where we are. I know that I still have a ton to learn and that I'm only getting started but I am so excited to start this chapter of the mission. I'm pretty nervous, and know that it is going to be a big adjustment for me, but I didn't come on this mission for it to be easy. Thank you for all of your continued support! I can feel your prayers!
It's crazy to think that next weeks email will be from somewhere in Angola. Wahoo!
I love you guys!
Elder Hyde

Monday, July 23, 2012

WAKA WAKA. It's time for Africa.

Hello everybody! I have had a great week! It was another really quick one. It's crazy that I have already been here for over 7 weeks, it doesn't feel like it at all. I have feeling though that now that I can count the days down on my hands they might start to drag on a little more. But it's all good because I need to take advantage of every moment I can.
So this Sunday night was way cool. Jenny Oaks Baker came and spoke to us and played a few songs on her violin. I don't exactly remember, but I think she was the one that played at Uncle Rick's Choir concert at the Cathedral of the Madeline. She is incredible! It took them a while to introduce her because she has such a huge background, and not to mention that she is the Niece of Elder Oaks. So she graduated with her masters from Julliard, played first chair violin in the national symphony, and was recently nominated for a Grammy for her Disney soundtrack. Pretty cool stuff. She spoke about half of the time and played for half of the time. She spoke about how she truly couldn't have gotten where she is now without the influence of the Holy Ghost in her life. She also said how we can't have faith in one particular thing, (in her case, winning the Grammy) we just need to have faith in Jesus Christ and he will help us through our tough times and everything will work out. It was really awesome. I felt the spirit so incredibly strong while she was playing, it's crazy how music can do that. My favorite song that she played was "This is the Christ", it was so cool. Oh yeah another part of her story is that she left the symphony so that she could focus on her family, she has 4 kids that all came and played I am a child of God. Her oldest was like 11 and her youngest was 5, one played the piano, violin, cello, and then the 5 year old boy played the guitar. It was way sweet, that is one talented family. There is a new Mormon Message on LDS.org about her, check it out.
It has overall just been a really great week. I feel like the language is coming along pretty well and that my testimony is growing a ton too. We have so much time to study, and I have truly grown to love The Book of Mormon. I don't think I appreciated it as much as I could have before the mission. It's a pretty awesome book, if you haven't read it, you should. :) We have grown super close to the other district in our zone, 2 of them are going to Angola with us, 2 are going to Mozambique, and 3 are going to Portugal. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone but I am so incredibly excited to get out to the field and start working! I have grown particularly close to the foreigners, one is from England and the other 2 are from New Zealand. They are the coolest guys, and have such strong testimonies. The 2 New Zealanders are super in to Rugby, as every New Zealander is, and say that they want to come back to Utah and play for BYU or something, which would be sweet. Again, being here makes me realize how blessed I am to have been raised in the Gospel in such an awesome family, I'm very lucky!
I also got to host for the first time this week, AWESOME. It's super crazy that I was the one getting dropped off on the curb 7 weeks earlier. It definitely brought back some emotions, but that's just because I love my family so much.:) So I got to host Ryan Anderson which was super cool! I wish I would have had someone I knew to welcome me... haha.
Elder Featherstone spoke to us on Tuesday night. He is an Emeritus 70. He gave a really great talk about the importance of following spiritual promptings when we have them. Because sometimes, especially on the mission they could change a person's life. He told a story about a personal experiences where he followed a prompting to stop and talk to a non member about the church and then ran into them 20 years later and he was super strong in the Church. Super cool. It really put it into perspective. It made me think a lot about Mom and her missionary experiences a few weeks ago in New York. You never know if the people you talk to will ever pursue the church or even have a second thought about it, but just like some missions, its all about planting seeds. As long as we follow the promptings we are given, we will be blessed to receive them more often.
Today we got to go and clean the temple which was super cool. We were assigned to clean the baptistery. It was a really cool experience. It gives you a different outlook on the temple and confirms just how sacred it really is.
To make this week even better, we got our travel plans! I'll be flying out Monday morning (the 30th) at 8 AM to Dallas where we have 5 hour lay over and then we're off to London where we have a 12 hour layover..... and then we fly straight to Luanda! Yahoo! I love this place, but I'm so incredibly stoked to get out into the field. It's going to be a long 48 hours of traveling though... We leave the MTC at 5 AM Monday and then land in Angola at 5 AM on Wednesday. Let's hope I can get some sleep on the plane!
The chuch is true ya'll! My testimony truly has grown so much over the 7 weeks I've been here. Eu sei que esta Igreja e verdadeira, e eu sei que Jose Smith restaurado o evangelho de Jesus Cristo. Se nos temos fe em Jesus Cristo nos podemos fazer tudos coisas, e ele vai ajudar nos quando nos precisamos ele.
I love you so much family! I thank Heavenly Father every night for you guys! I hope your summer has been as awesome as mine!
Com amor,
Elder Keats
Luke!: I heard that Football conditioning started this week, how fun is that! You are going to be awesome. Remember to score a few touchdowns for your bro in Africa.
Sam: Props on your license! Be careful out there!
Squid: I hope you're enjoying your time off dance! Live it up!
Con: Get some sleep boy, you probably need it after seeing Batman twice last night. Go see it 2 more times for me.
I love you guys so much! I couldn't do it with out you!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2 Weeks Left!

Is it really Friday already??? Sheesh. I'm going to be out of here and in Angola before I know it. Which I am very much excited for by the way. Not that I don't love this place, it's just that I'm ready to go start Preachin'! I definitely still need these next two weeks for the language though, it's coming along, but I want to be as far along as possible. I'll probably be getting my travel plans this week! CRAZY. I'm actually going to Angola, I never saw that actually happening. haha.
So, it was another absolutely awesome week! It was more on the normal side but still way good. Like I said in my last email, the days are flying by super fast. The week started out great with some awesome donuts from Momma! Holy cow those were good. The whole floor demolished them in about 10 minutes. And the new ties! Ties are all I really get to change about my apperal so those were nice. Thanks Momma! Oh, I also got a SICK hand-made tie from Camille. LOVE IT. She's the best.
The talks were really good this week, but the one that really stuck out to me was a talk that we watched on Sunday night. (Every Sunday night we get to either watch one of the Joseph Smith movies or past talks from Apostles that came to the MTC.) We decided to watch a talk by Elder Holland called Forevor a Missionary or something like that. He spoke about how this isn't our Mission, it's the Lord's. One thing I liked that he said was this, "This is the Lord's work, we HAVE to do it his way." And that means that if we do it his way and are obedient to His rules then we will be able to have His spirit with us always. Which is absolutely essential. He also compared it a lot to the missionaries in the Book of Mormon and they always left their audience "Astonished". He challenged all of us to go out and "Astonish Somebody". Super cool. He also spoke about how salvation isn't cheap. It wasn't for Christ, so it's not going to be for us. We need to do all that we can to prove ourselves in this life. The last thing that he said was "If you do your mission right, it'll be hard." It got me so excited to get out into the field and start doing some work! I know that these next two years are going to be the toughest of my life, but I'm ready for it! Sure I might get Malaria (kidding Mom), but the gift that we'll be giving to the people of Angola is worth the sacrifice. I love the quote that Mom has in the house that says "A missionary is someone that leaves their family for 2 years so that others can be with their families for eternity." If you can't tell I'm really excited to get to Angola! But, I still have a ton that I need to learn here.
So I had another cool eye opening experience this week. We were doing an excersise that we do a couple times a week were we just teach one of the lessons to the other missionaries in 5 minutes or so. In Portuguese... It's pretty hard to fit everything in in 5 minutes but we make it work. One of our teachers wanted to get us thinking on what the center of every lesson was. We finally figured it out that Jesus Christ and His Atonement truly is the center of everything. With out Jesus Christ and the Atonement the Plan of Salvation wouldn't work, the Restoration couldn't have happened, and everything that our lives are based upon would be different. This really opened my eyes to the importance of the Savior in all that we do. I definitely had a testimony of Him, but it's definitely a lot bigger now.
As these next few weeks wind down I'm going to be trying really hard to get as much of head start on the language as I can, I want to be able to hit the ground running when I get there. Up on the soccer field this week I started talking to an Elder from Capo Verde who spoke to me in the African Portuguese accent. Super sweet. It got me so excited to get down there and try to speak the language with them. haha. If they ask me about anything other than the gospel then I'm screwed but I'm there to preach the Gospel so it's all good!
I'm so glad to hear that Bear Lake has been a blast! It probably would have been hard for me to be away from it if I didn't love being a missionary so much! A big shout out to Sam and Mom for being the Tennis Champs! That tennis acadamy paid off! I don't think I've ever made it out of the first round of that tournament. Whatever... Con boa sorte on your big bike ride around the lake. Ride that bike with pride, cause I don't think I really ever did. haha. How has Mafia been? Or did you just decide to take a 2 year break? Party hard for me!!
I love you guys so much! I have the best family in the world! Thanks for all of your love and support!
Com amor,
Elder Keats
Sam: Thanks for the email! I'm glad to hear that you're still alive and that you have had an awesome few weeks! Love ya sis.
Syd: I'm sure it's been good to have a break from dance! You're the best sista. Love you!
Luke: What's up my dancin' man! I heard you threw down some pretty good moves at the dance! Love ya buddy!
Con: You're the man, man. Props on your bike ride around the lake! I've always wanted to do that, but figured I'd golf instead :)

Friday, July 6, 2012


Holy cow the weeks are starting to fly by! I have been super blessed with a really cool district and zone, which helps time to fly by. We're all practically best friends all ready. It'll be hard when our 9 weeks are up and we all go our separate ways (Angola, Mozambique, and Portugal). But, obviously we're all going to have way more fun when we are actually in our missions doing work!
We had a very spiritual Sunday this week. Fast Sundays are awesome. So like I've mentioned in my last emails we have a fireside every Sunday night and usually it's a general authority that speaks with his wife. But, this Sunday we had a pretty rare fireside. A man named Ted Gibbons came and did a whole monologue type deal playing the part of Willard Richards. I had never heard of Ted Gibbons before, I'm not sure if you have... But, he's a super cool guy. I guess he's written quite a few hymns and books. So, his monologue was him recounting his experiences with Joseph Smith. I'm not going to lie, I had no clue who Willard Richards was. He was one of the 4 men in Carthage during the Martyrdom. It was the most amazing thing, I have never heard such a powerful witness and testimony of Joseph Smith. So Willard Richards was an apostle and the personal secretary/assistant to Joseph. One cool story he told was this:  He talked about how one day while he was in his office writing, Joseph came in in tears, he said he could tell he was receiving revelation. And Joseph told him "Balls will fly like hail stones, your friends will being falling on your left and right, but you will not be touched by a single ball." (This was almost a year before the martyrdom). I didn't know this full story but he told it incredibly. He gave us the play by play of Carthage in his own words which was so cool. He first told of the death of Hyrum while they were holding the door, and how Joseph ran to his side devastated. Then how John Taylor was shot in the leg and temporarily paralyzed. As he was falling towards the window not being able to control his body, he was shot in the chest, but the bullet was stopped  by his stop watch which pushed him back into the room. While all this was happening Willard and Joseph were continuing to fight off the mob through the door by hitting their guns with a stick. Joseph had fired the last few shots in his gun out the door, which made the mob think that they were armed. When Joseph saw that there really wasn't much of chance, and in effort to save the life of Willard, made his way to the window. When the prophet was shot through the window and fell, the mob stopped pursuing them and fled. Willard hurried and took the body of John Taylor and hid him under a mattress in another room, fearing that the mob would return. He said he heard the voice of Joseph more clear than he had ever heard before "Balls will fly like hail stones, your friends will being falling on your left and right, but you will not be touched by a single ball." In tears he continued to bear the strongest testimony of the prophet I had ever hear. He was asked how he still believed that Joseph Smith was still a prophet and he said "I don't believe that Joseph was a prophet, I know that Joseph was a prophet." After his monologue everyone sang praise to the man, HOLY COW. It was so incredibly powerful and spiritual. My testimony of Joseph Smith was strengthened immensely after that fireside, SO cool. (I tried to remember it as best as I could... You kinda had to be there...) Oh, and I saw the Mciffs again! It's always good to see some familiar faces.
Not a whole lot happened out of the ordinary this week compared to past weeks, but it was still awesome! I feel like the language is really coming along. Yesterday we tried doing the language the whole day... Sheeeeesh. It was super tough and involved a lot of thumbing through the dictionary, but it was super good practice. It helped us realize how far we have come but also how far we still have to go. haha. This week we had a sub for a few days because one of our teachers was out of town, we had a guy that served in Portugal. Which was nice because so far our teachers speak Brazilian Portuguese and have been trying to speak Continental (Portugal) Portuguese. They are fairly similar but it was nice to hear the accent that we'll be speaking in for 2 years. I guess he taught a ton of Angolans in Portugal and said that they are the absolute most humble, amazing people. I'm so stoked!
Oh yeah, I totally forgot! The 4th of July! It was actually a really awesome day, one of the best yet for sure. Most of the day was pretty normal but then at around 8 we went to a cool Independence Day Program. It was really laid back and fun, there were a few musical numbers. One girl sang, "You Raise Me Up". Man I love me some Josh Groban. It was the first time I'd heard a song not by the tabernacle choir in quite awhile. haha. They made sure that all of the international kids didn't feel left out so it was kind of just a celebrate the world day. Some Judge came and spoke to us about America and how blessed we are to live here and how the religious freedom of America allowed the restoration to happen. Pretty cool stuff. And then at the end they had a flag ceremony with all of the flags of the Elders and Sisters in the MTC. It was pretty cool. There were like 30 different countries. Super cool. Then after that they surprised us with ice cream and let us all go outside and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Waaahoooo! It was awesome, they told us we couldn't go back to our rooms until the fireworks were over, which was like 11:00. Lights out is at 10:30 so we were pretty excited we got to stay out a little later and party. It's funny, we have 3 international Elders (2 New Zealanders and 1 from England) and they were super proud of their countries all day. The one from England refused to participate in anything American. Haha He's a super funny kid. Watching the fireworks really made me miss and reminisce about the good ol' eaglewood fireworks, I think this is the first year I've missed in a pretty long time. I hope they were good this year!
I'm sending home a memory card today so watch for it:) I got a lot of good pictures of the 4th of July n' stuff.
Again, thank you for all of the continued support! I'm a pretty lucky guy!
Have fun in Bear Lake Fam! I think this is the first year I've missed it since birth... It's just not going to be the same for you guys, you might as well not go.. haha I joke, but still... Golf hard for me!
I love you all!!
Elder Keats
Syd!! I'm so proud of you! That's super cool that you guys took first! You're going places sista.