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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mission Thoughts for Mom

My mom was asked to speak in church this Sunday about what it means to us as family members to have my brother serving a mission.  Here's what Darrin and I came up with:

Our thoughts on what it means to us to have Jacob serving a mission:

Initial response with minimal thought:  It's great!  

However, if you're looking for an answer with more substance...It is first and foremost a great blessing to Brother for choosing to faithfully follow the commandments and serve an honorable mission.  The blessings he receives, and will continue to receive, by putting his thoughts and his concerns behind those of the people he serves will teach him humility and give him the ability to see many ways the Lord deeply blesses and enriches his life.  Having a missionary in the family has also blessed us and helped us to be more missionary-minded, service-oriented, and more Christlike in our daily routines.  We are definitely more consistent with both morning and evening prayers as we feel it completely necessary to pray for Brother individually (and the other missionaries serving in the field).  I will be the first to admit there were definitely times pre-Brother's-mission I neglected to pray for the missionaries.  Now, it is a staple.   I simply can't NOT do it.  We are also personally grateful for the reminder he has been of the importance of the scriptures in our lives.  We need the daily spiritual bread they give.  The lessons Brother learns and teaches from those sacred volumes will bless his life, the lives of the people he works with, and the lives of his future family forever.  

When Darrin and I were first dating/married, I found it interesting whenever we would go out to eat, grocery shopping, get gas, etc. and encountered missionaries, he ALWAYS offered to pay for their meal/transaction.  My usual first thoughts were, "HELLO!!  We are a young, poor, married couple and can easily use that money somewhere else!"  But with Brother out serving a mission, my heart has completely softened.  Now when we make that small sacrifice to pay for the Elders'/Sisters' meal/groceries/gas, I get pretty choked up (I tend to be an emotional wreck when it comes to anything related to my family or the gospel--so combine the two and there's bound to be waterworks).  I always think, "I really hope someone in the San Jose area thinks to be as kind and generous to Brother as Darrin is to the Elders and Sisters serving here."  

Having Brother on a mission has also allowed us to see a different facet of his personality.  His letters show a higher level of compassion and maturity as he responds to all the successes and challenges we are currently facing.  His comments and suggestions are definitely made out of genuine love and concern...with a little bit of dry humor and sarcasm because it just wouldn't be Brother without it!  Brother has been my hero since he was about fifteen and with that little, black tag, he has far-exceeded his previous ranking.  He claimed at his missionary farewell that he's led a pretty easy and charmed life.  I had to laugh a bit when he said it because it simply wasn't true.  He has faced MOUNDS of adversity physically, was teased profusely by peers, and a myriad of other things in his young life.  However, Brother simply chose to focus on the positive and completely forget the negative.  We are grateful to see the way he, and his choices, have blessed the lives of our family.  Just like that hero-worship I had for him through his teen-aged years, I (along with Darrin and I'm sure my other awesome siblings) still look to him as an example of one who focuses on the good things in life.  By serving a mission, Brother is reminding us all of the need to follow the commandments and be faithful in all that we do.  When we do that, those stumbling blocks life inherently throws in our path seem pretty insignificant.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Called to Serve

Jacob and the other missionaries in his district sang Called to Serve with a man playing the organ like a merry-go-round. I tried to post the audio file but couldn't. If you want to hear it, email me at jefanga@hotmail.com and I'll forward it to you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

E-mail to Aliese--Received May 24, 2011

hi liesey
 
i went on exchanges today and my district leader can't do e-mail mondays so while he's doing his weekly e-mail i get round two this week and thought i'd send you a letter. :)
 
first off i have found out why you have not been recieving letters from me... its cause i didn't recieve 2 or 3 from you until just barely, the mailing system for the mission was having some troubles so most of my zone just got letters that were sent from as early as january. one thing they told us was that dear elder was having some kinks in the system and that for the time being it would be unwise for amily to use it so i thought i'd let you know since i think thats the easiest way for you isn't it? anyway i thought i should warn ya :)
 
In mission news, on saturday i met with and chatted with elder m. russel ballard, no big deal.  :) alright yes it was, the mission conference we had with him was way cool! We were visited by him, Elder Richard Hinkley (Pres hinkley's son) and Elder Steven Allen of the missionary department. as well as our area seventy members elder's Clayton and Packard. it was really cool to get to hear from them all. Thecoolest thing by far though is the news they brought us. All we can say for now is that we as a mission will be piloting something new the church is doing and that we are the only mission in the world doing it (which is why we can't tell anyone anywho its way cool!

Funny story we were at a tongan members for dinner last night and they told us congratulations on the new baptismal date, we responded with "what baptismal date?" (because work in the tongan ward has been slow as of late) and the family said "well so and so said they were ready to get baptised and chose the day already". the funny thing is that this person stopped taking the lessons before  i got here but still had friends at church and stuff and just feels good about baptsim now so thats exciting.
 
well i guess thats all for now just wanted to give a quick update since  i had the time. :)
 
love you and miss you :)
 
elder chipman

Letter to Aliese--Received May 21, 2011

Liesey,

So I decided to simply start this letter over 'cause the Mothers' Day call kinda null and voided that one, eh?  :)  Anyway, it was nice to call home and talk to you all on Sunday.  It was a lot of fun to kind of take a break and joke around with you all for awhile.  It was much needed.  :)

So how are things in St. George?  Things have got to be pretty nice now that you have graduated.  Are you getting ready for summer?  Any big summer plans for you guys yet?  I don't have any real plans for summer yet myself because I am not sure where I'll be for the summer.  But I'll be pretty stoked if I can stay here for the summer.  I already told you our plans to visit the Monterey Aquarium.  We didn't go today, but we are planning to go next week with our whole district; that should be fun.  We are also still planning/hoping for a golf day.  Possibly at Pebble Beach, but more than likely not.

As mush as we love all the fun things we could go and do on P-Day, we still have work to do the other six days. This last week, as I told you, was rough with me being sick and all, so we hope this week really picks up to help pick up the slack for our sickly week.  Step one for that is finding some new people and with three referrals, we are very confident to get at least one investigator from those.

Well, that's what my week looks like right now.  I'll let you know how it goes.  :)  I hope all is well with you.  Love ya and miss you.  Talk to you soon.

Love,
Elder Chipman

Letter to Aliese--Received May 10, 2011

Hi Liesey,  :)

I got your gradee-ation announcement so I thought I'd do something fun to reply [the letter is written all in various colored pencils and decorated like crazy].  That's way cool.  I hope you get to relax a bit now that school's done.

Things here in Seaside are still going well, the transfer just ended so my comp. and I are both going to be here for another six weeks.  We hope that the work will pick up a bit during that time.

Easter out her was god.  We got a lot of candy and aren't sure what to do with it all.  :)  I, for one, don't think we'll finish it all but that's okay, I hope you had a good Easter.

All of these colored pencils aren't very sharp or don't write dark enough and it's getting rather frustrating.  Oh well.  Life goes on, right?

So I was given a Glee CD out here and I'm a bit ashamed to say it's turned me into a "gleek" but worse than that, it might have turned me into a Neil Diamond fan!  BAH!  I'd vowed since my days at Renee's I would not be a fan...I am.  Shame.  Oh well, it's good music.

Sorry this is so short, I don't have much time, just wanted to say, "congrats" and see how you were doing.  Love ya lots and I'll try and call in the morning on Mothers' Day so we can chat.  :)

Love,
Brother
Elder J.S.C. (Just So Cool)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Letter to Aliese--Received April 19, 2011

Dear Liesey,

How are you?  What's new?  Things are going well here in Cali.  You may have heard of my transfer by now, it's been great so far, but I'll get more into that later.

I'm glad you enjoyed the tie-burning pictures.  Sorry that I've been lazy with pictures lately.  I've no excuse, just had my mind elsewhere.  All the same, I'm glad you liked them and that you were able to appreciate my pyro-talents.

I'm glad you enjoyed conference; that's always a good thing.  I enjoyed conference as well, except for the raking through the coals for not getting married.  That part rather sucked for me.  Don't get me wrong, I love the talks, but I had different plans about getting married after the mission.  Apparently, I'm supposed to get married long before I originally planned.  My companion hated the talks on marriage...apparently the girl that is waiting for him has been dating him for about three years.  After the Sunday morning [session] he said, "If one more person talks about marriage, I'm walking home and doing it!"  Luckily, he didn't follow through with that.

So you went and saw a gay show in Vegas, eh?  How was that for ya?  Awkward much?  Probably not, it sounds like it was family friendly.  I would have been kinda weirded out through.  I'm glad the trip as a whole was a good experience.

Hmmm...five racing suits for $100...not a bad deal, but I think I'd have stopped at two or three suits.  Hopefully that does help you get into the pool again.  I know how you feel about not having any desire to get your knees "fixed" ever again.  The time after my knee surgery was the most sinfully boring times of my life.  I wanted to go to work instead, for Pete's sake!

The Due West concert sounded like good fun and it [is] way cool that they do "Tip Jar" for people in need.  That's way cool!

Alright, mission news.  There's nothing terribly exciting about the transfer, kinda the same old missionary story about teaching and tracting.  I do love the people we teach though; they are awesome.  We have four people very close to baptism.  Other cool things about the area is right now I cover and English ward and a Tongan ward!  So I'm learning some Tongan slowly bu surely. :)  The area is also way pretty.  I live in Seaside City, so I'm of course next to the ocean and have a great view of it from our apartment.  Last Monday, we went on a 20-25 mile bike ride across the coast which was way pretty; I got some fun pictures of it.  One of them at Pebble Beach!  One of the members in our stake lives on the Pebble Beach golf course, the 18th hole is the family's backyard!  So we might get to go golfing there!  That'd be way cool!  Anyway, that's all I have time for now.  Talk to you soon!

Love you, miss you!

Love,
Elder Jacob S. Chipman

(Two pictures were also included:  One of the ocean and some surfers which read, "So...This is what I have tempting me EVERY SINGLE DAY!  It's hard, but I've been offered surfing lessons by members afer the mission though. :) "  The other has six Elders on P-Day lookin' all posed and GQ with sunglasses on a bunch of rocks.  It reads, "When we become a Boy Band and make it big, this is going to be our album cover."  Hilarious.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Letter to Aliese--Received March 21, 2011

Hi Liesey!

It has been awhile!  It's good to hear from you.  I'm sorry you've been so sick.  :(  That's a long time to feel yucky.  In spite of that though, it sounds like you had lots of fun with the family on Presidents' Day.  Possibly expensive it sounds with all the shopping, but fun.

Pretty cool about your new job; being the Staff Developer sounds like a fun job.  A little bit of added stress maybe, but still sounds cool.  It's also pretty cool that the current one put your name in for the job and that you got it!  That's cool no matter what the job is.  It's also pretty cool you got to "upgrade" your current job along with the developer job.  An Honors' class and they bought your prep class :)?  That could have pros and cons though, I guess.

Your Vegas deal sounds friggin' sweet!  That is a pretty amazing deal, especially since the show tickets alone are like 30% of the cost.  Very cool.  That should be fun, too.  And a good way to kick back a little before your Admin Praxis test.

As for Cali, things are okay.  Our investigators are currently having some trouble which was a bummer to try and deal with while training a new missionary (that's right, I don't remember if I told you, but at my 6-month mark I started training a new missionary).  So that was rather stressful for a time.  The real bummer is now tomorrow, I'm getting transfered.  So, with all these investigators who are having trubs right now, this greenie...is supposed to help them...I hope he gets a REALLY good, new companion.  The fact that I am getting transfered is bittersweet, I love A LOT of the people here, but I'm exhausted trying to revive a dying area...Bottom line, I'll miss this place but I'm ready to move on to something new.

Yeah, time is going by quickly.  I can't believe I'm basically 1/3 of the way [through] with my mission!  But still have a ways to go, so let's not be talking about the coming home-getting married-and having babies yet, okay Monica?  :)  It's weird to think about the time and age factor of it all though; I only get to be a teenager for four months longer...But I'm not allowed to act like a teenager. :( Oh well.  this is a worth trade I'd say.  I guess that's all for now.   I'll let you know how the new area is when I get there.

Here are some fairly recent pics for ya! (They included a baptism, a 6-month tie-burning shot, and then one blowing oil on said burning tie with a rather large inferno).  Hope all is well with you.  Love and miss you lots.

Love,
Elder Jacob S. Chipman

Sorry so sloppy...no time...had to pack! :(

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Letter to Aliese--Received February 4, 2011

Liesey,

Glad to hear things are going so well for you back home.  I'm glad the stress about your Master's stuff is finally at an end. All the classes are done and thesis written and submitted.  I say 78 pages is pretty crazy long.  It's like you wrote a book...that no one will read...(Ross?)  :)  I'm glad you are done with it all the same.

It's cool Darrin filled your car with balloons to celebrate, I think it's funny there were only five people in your class; that's so small, but it's good you all had some fun your last day.  Sorry your car smells like Latex and that you had to take the balloons for another day.  It's kinda fun to keep that kind of stuff for awhile though.  I remember I didn't wash my car for weeks after we won state because people painted such nice/cool things on my windows.

I hope Darrin is enjoying Carlsbad, that's kinda odd he has to come out here to finish his class, but also kinda cool.  Hopefully he's having fun and that you aren't all bored and lonely at home.

Hmm...things new with me, actually oddly enough A LOT will be changing this week.  Last week Elder James and I found out we are both going to be in leadership this coming transfer.  Sadly, that meant we are getting split up.  It's a bummer because we had loads of fun, but still got a lot of work done.  We had three baptisms together and just a good three months' worth of work and fun together.

Anyway, what the change ended up being was that on Tuesday this week, Elder James is going to be a District Leader somewhere and I am TRAINING!  I can't believe it!  I really did not think I would be training a new missionary this early in my mission.  It's kinda cool; I'm excited, but pretty nervous for it.

...[story which can't be added to the blog]...

Anyway, that's what is new.  Hope all is well back home!  Love you and miss you.

Elder Jacob S. Chipman

P.S.  Oh, and my bike got stolen so I...acquired a new one; talk to mom about the details.  :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Letter to Aliese--Received January 24, 2011

Liesey,
Hey there, how are things?  I'm sorry it is taking forever to reply and send out weekly letters.  Christmas has just been crazy and then I had a baptism right after, so I've been super busy and stressed, but I'm catching up to all the Christmas stuff I need to reply to.  But things are going well here right now.  Elder James and I really need some people to teach though; we just have had two baptisms and will have two more before then end of February, but need new people to teach.

Anyway, Christmas day, after we chatted, we played some games with the family I was visiting and called from, then visited lots of member in the ward (all of which tried to feed us dinner) because it was a normal proselyting day, so we had to go out and teach still.  We got stuffed with A LOT of food!  In fact, I am really hoping I am building some muscle or something because I weigh 185 lbs. (20 lbs. more than when I left, but all my clothes fit the same).  Anyway, if I am getting fat, I'm doing my best to work it off.

Moving on, I did see the video Dad made.  I almost cried often but never actually did.  It was wonderful though; I loved it.  Grandpa's was funny when I noticed you guys joked about it, but at first I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, he's has forgotten me after six months!"  Oddly enough, and I kind of feel bad, but I got most worked up about seeing old Madrigal videos on it.  That was the closest I came to crying.  Loved it though.  What a great gift; thanks to you all.

It sounds and looks like you guys had a great Christmas.  Mom recently sent pictures so I saw the highlights of the gifts; it looked lots of fun!  I'm glad the crappily made card was appreciated.

It sounds like Christmas and New Years were both lots of fun.  I'm glad the family was able to get together for them and have shopping fun and such.

Sorry this letter is so short.  I'm trying really hard to get all the Christmas stuff replied to and such.  But I hope all is going well.  It sounds like school is going well for you which reminds me, I may come down there for school when I get back so I can get full use of a new toy I'm convinced of getting after being in California (Motorcycle!).  Everyone I've met has tried to show me how economical it is to have one and I'm convinced.

Anyway, that's all for now.  Love you lots, miss you, here are some pictures.  Mom and Dad will have more soon.

Love, Elder Jacob Chipman