July 6, 1998 - a letter to my brother

Dear A.,

Thanks for the letter, bro! I actually enjoyed all the different fonts - they add a spice to the letters. (But the spice is definitely different than the variety of Spice Girls' spice -- uggh!). So, Dad told me that Hogi Yogi gave you the bum deal. That's no good. I am sorry about that. I was fired from my first job. In the nursing home. (That was rough). I was depressed for a long time. There was actually a girl who helped me. She said something simple. "Pray, trust in the Lord, and you'll find a job!" It motivated me -- I went and found a job after that, and ended up paying my loan for my Marshall amp. That's when I got into fast-food. I've been in it ever since. But Hogi Yogi was a bum place to work. And if DB still manages it, tell her to give you your job back! From Elder Bettilyon. :)
I hope that you re reading your scriptures. i hope that you are praying every day, too! Ever since I started serving, I've started realizing how important the gospel is. There is nothing more important than Jesus Christ. I love Him. I know you know Him. He understands your pains, your trials, and your sicknesses. And your sins. Christ has carried me in His arms ever since I decided to serve a mission. He's guided me, always told me what to do - and what not to do, though I've sometimes done the "nots" I've always prayed for forgiveness, and Christ always grants it, though I had to take the correct steps to ask for Gods' forgiveness. It has always been granted, tough. Christ's grace is sufficient for all.
Canada is fun. The prophet is coming to visit on Aug 2. That will be cool. I now also live in the Canada Edmonton Mission. It was created July 1st. I haven't met my new mission president yet, but I have an interview with him this Friday. Take Care! Love you!

Elder Bettilyon

[as for the Spice Girls, I guess that even missionaries knew about them they were soooo popular. I remember one family in particular where we ended up discussing them at dinner for several visits in a row. I am a little embarrassed to read my preachy letter to my brother. No wonder he didn't write back immediately! ]

June 30, 1998

Dear Family,

Today was a good day I guess. First of all, it's my little brother's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY A.! Also, today we took a trip to the temple. Me, Elder A, our comps and one other set of Elders. it was cool. We're on the way back to Edmonton right now. It's a six hour drive one way, so 12 hours total, at the temple, we did one session and also several sealings. It was exciting and interesting to witness and participate in a sealing.
I hadn't been to the temple for so long, it was good go back and review everything. Lately I've been having a rough time, and my mind has been swimming. I've felt rather stressed and like I'm not doing a good job as a missionary. I can see the fruits of my labors, and they make me happy, but soon after the baptismal service or after the new member discussion, when I can see progression, I seem to forget my success and dwell on my failures. Satan is working hard on me. There is obviously a lot of work to do in St. Albert. I pray I can see it through successfully.
I know I've learned much at the temple, but I've found that a lot of the teaching seems to be learned through logic. The temple is a very logical place. I did feel the Holy Ghost, too, tough, which is important.
We're not having what seems like too much luck w/ anyone who wants to be baptized. I hope we can accomplish our goal of five baptisms this July. Take care. I look forward to your letters.

Elder Bettilyon

[interesting. What a change from week to week! Last week I was optimistic that we'd have 5 baptisms, the next week I "hoped" that the goal would happen. Not sure what I report in the future, but pretty sure we ended with zero baptisms in July, but one in August.]

June 22, 1998

Dear Family,

Thanks for the CDs. I've enjoyed them both. I remember Elder Ray had Living the Legacy, and I always enjoyed it. I was excited when I opened it. P-Day has been good also. i'm actually trying to work with an Elder in my district who is having a rough time wanting to work. He's just not working; which also makes it just a little tough for his companion to work. We went to his house this morning to study with him. That's where obedience begins, waking up on time and studying. Everything else is rationalization.

Tonight, we'll be working w/ the G. family. We're teaching a second discussion and will invite them to be baptized on July 5. Elder F. and I have been having a good time -- working well, too. On Saturdtay night, we sat down and set a goal for five baptisms in July and covenatned with each other and the Lord to wrok for it. And according to our obedience we will be blessed and see the people baptized.

The Canada Edmonton Mission opens July 1st, the new Mission President is President A. They're from California somewhere. President Hinckley is also coming to visit the saints in Canada in August. He'll stop in Edmonton August 2nd, which will be very exciting. I'll be sure to tell you about it.

I've heard there is a new mission in Salt Lake, also. That is exciting. you will have to remember to share the gospel with your friends and tell me how it's going.

Elder O. has also moved up to Edmonton. I hadn't seen him for nearly six - seven months, which was exciting to see him. he says you (Dad) and his Dad keep in pretty close contact. That is good. I hope "everything" with mom is improving. I pray for you all and her often.

Elder Bettilyon

June 16th 1998 – The Utah Jazz lost again?!?

Elder Bettilyon

#295 – 500 Rivercrest Cr

St. Albert, AB T8N-3B9

Dear Family,

I’ve heard the sad news.  how close it was, the trial, the trevail, the sorrow.  The Jazz lost again.  Alas, and such a close game the last game was!

[2nd time in the NBA finals…Michael Jordan was just better than all of the Jazz put together, it seems.  I still don’t remember who told me about the game, but I followed most the series second-hand].

But with all the sorrow of the Jazz, my mind was elsewhere.  The W. family was baptized on June 9th.  It was so cool.  They asked me to baptize them, so I did, and I confirmed them a member of Christ’s church on Sunday, June 14th.  That was an exciting day.

We just got back from a discussion with a media referral.  We taught her a 1st last week & asked her to read & pray.  We followed up today & she has some misconceptions about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I always love coming out of a discussion, knowing that you didn’t back down from the truth, knowing that you fought for truth.  I always feel like Alma and Amulek, or Peter, or Paul as I testify boldly against the doctrine of the devil.  It always gets me excited.

I hope all is well at home; I’ve not heard much since my birthday.  I got a letter from [and aunt and uncle], which was a nice surprise.  Even if everything seems hopeless, you can still write me!  I know writing letters can be tough when life is ro ugh, but I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t talk to people who didn’t write me.  (joke!)

I love ya’ lots & hope you’re having fun!


Elder Bettilyon

[I don’t recall who the media referral I mentioned was, so it sounds like we never went back to her house.  I was pretty excited, apparently. 

The W’s baptism is truly one of the greatest highlights of my mission.  I am happy to have been the one to be there when they were baptized, but their decision didn’t have much to do with me, and had more to do with their own testimonies.  Some of you guys may be reading this; hope it isn’t too awkward.  :)

I also should comment on my continual stream of comments about getting letters from home.  After my parents split up I became extremely sensitive about getting information from home.  If I didn’t get a letter for a week, I would get very down.  The only thing I thought I could do was keep asking for more letters.  Many days out there I just felt sad and alone, thinking about my family struggling at home with this horrible separation of my parents.  The letters from home were pretty significant events.

I remember that each time I received a letter from my dad that it would contain another tidbit about the divorce, the family, his romantic relationship with his future 2nd wife; some new piece of information.  I would read the letters with joy and agony, knowing that I was being thought of, but each letter was another stab of pain that my family was changed and different, as evidenced by the new “tidbit” that I had just received.  I can still remember the feelings of depression now.   Some days I would sit at the chapel and play “Families can be Together Forever” on the piano, over and over and over.  I can’t sing that song without completely breaking down…yet, with the Lord’s help, I was able to digest most of the pain and move forward.  My parents are great and hearing about them any more doesn’t make me depressed.  :)

However, I am so glad to have a wife and family that I can be with and love all the time!]

June 8, 1998 – Idiotic and Embarrassing of me

Dear Family,

Hope everything is going well.  I had a good birthday.  I got the package from you all.  I also got a package from C.Y. and his family.  They always send me “the essentials,” if you know what I mean.

Today was a crazy day.  After playing volleyball, we were driving home two other missionaries.  My companion had found some waterguns in the apartment, and for the past week he’s been squirting everything.  He shot at a mother, and two of her kids, and I think that was too much for the Lord.  We got pulled over.  The guy was in his normal car, but just didn’t like it.  He took our names, and said it would cost us $75.00 a piece.  him, b/c he was shooting, and me, because I was driving.  I didn’t want him to shoot the water gun, but I was guilty because I didn’t make him stop.  This is a lesson I’ve always had a rough time with, being more assertive.  I remember in the MTC, the mission president’s wife said never sacrifice obedience for harmony.  Allow your companion to have flaws, but never allow them to be unrighteous, or disobedient flaws.  I didn’t obey this counsel, and now I’m going to pay for it.  I hope it will help me learn.  What’s worse, I got a speeding ticket last week also!  $72,00 for going 17 kilometers over the 70 km limit.  So I’m slowing down, too!

On a good note, the W family will be baptized tomorrow.  They’re a great family.  on another good note, President Hinckley will be up here on August 2.  We’re all hoping he’ll announce a mini-temple [in Edmonton], but we’re really not sure why he’s coming.  Needless to say, we’re all excited about it.

Hope all is well.


Elder Bettilyon

[Uggh. This is a pretty poor memory from my mission.  I remember this “officer” (I’m convinced now he was a security guard that somehow got me to pull over, I don’t remember how he got me to stop the car) made my comp go back and he interrogated him in his car for 5 minutes, then he made me go back there and get interrogated by him.  He asked me the most humiliating questions ever.  Where are you from?  Salt Lake City.  Why are you here?  I’m trying to teach people about my church.  Which Church?  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  You’re trying to be a good example, and you are letting this guy squirt a mom and her kids waiting for the bus?  Yeah, it’s pretty lame of me.  I really screwed up.  He kept it going for a while.

He scared us into stopping, going home, calling our superiors (zone leaders) and telling them about it.  We gave him our names and address so he could send a ticket, or something, and I thought we’d end up going to a hearing.  So we went home and obediently called the zone leaders and told them everything. 

Then, nothing ever came in the mail.  Whoever this man was, he was a good guy to stop a bunch of us idiots from being idiots.  How dumb.   And how much damage did we do because of our idiotic behavior?  Regret it still…

As for the speeding tickets, I ended up getting 2 speeding tickets and one illegal left turn ticket while in the field.  I’m still not sure why I didn’t get “ex’d” from driving, but so glad that I never did.]

June 1, 1998 - Another Special Transfer

Dear Family,

Hope all is well back home. There was a "special transfer" up here. Elder C went to Calgary, and now I'm serving with Elder F. He's from Yorkshire, England. (Now I've served w/ someone who isn't from North America!). perhaps you served around there - perhaps you didn't. I don't know which mission you served in.

[I was talking to my dad in that last comment. He served in the England, Manchester mission]

Anyhow, we had a good week last week regardless of the special transfer. The W's will be baptized on June 9th. They committed to the date yesterday. We fasted with them Saturday to Sunday. And we committed them yesterday. They're a great family.

I got some pictures back from a few things. Elder P and I made a trip to Slave Lake to do a baptismal interview, and we took some pictures along the way. Some turned out pretty good. Hope you enjoy them.

I had a good experience last week. I was rereading a letter from Grandma Sadler. She related an experience she had when Jory took his endowments out. I read it, and read it again, having the overwhelming feeling that all would be well. My answer didn't tell me what would happen, just that I would be hapy. I am content with that.

"Things" aren't all fun 'n games out here, but I'm happy today. Things have been improving for the past while. If that means more trials, well, I guess that's life. Christ will help me through.


Elder Bettilyon

[As for my not-so-sneaky comments at the end of the letter about struggles and strifes, my new companion that was special transferred to me, Elder F, well, we didn't get along so well at first. It was really hard. We would fight about a lot of things, including which side of the road was the "right" side to drive on. I always purported that I was driving on the "right" side, and English folks drove on the "left" side. He never thought it was as funny as I.

I'm not sure how many details I share in the coming letters about my struggles to get along with Elder F (and he with me!), but in the end, we both agreed that the companionship was a learning and growing experience and that we were both the better for it. We both learned a lot from each other.

As for the W family, it was very rare in the Canada Calgary/Edmonton mission to teach and see a whole family converted at the same time -- this was the only time in my two years that I saw it happen. The family was Six people! The dad was already a member of the church, but the entire family was taking the discussions. It was a rare and wonderful experience.]

May 28, 1998

Dear Family,

I guess I missed you last week! Everything's still good. The new area is different, but I"m still doing well & going strong. We went tracting in the rain last week. It's been raining a bit around here lately. Today we went shopping and it was clear outside, when we came out, it was pouring rain. It was fun.

We're trying to work w/ a lot of people right now, but only two families are currently being taught. The W family, and S, a media referral. She is the mom of a family, we taught her a 1st last week, and a 2nd this week, I hope. Th W's are doing great. T., the youngest, is grand. He told us "I'm ready to be baptized" and the rest of the family is close behind. It seems like they have been preserved for the gospel. They are so honest in heart. The family loves each other. I'm sure there's the usual fight or squabble, but they're quite cool.

Elder Kenneth Johnson of the seventy toured the mission last week. He was awesome. I learned a lot that I can do to improve my/our companionship & my abilities. It was rad. We're doing laundry at a member's house, and they all say "hello!" with a wish you well.

Love you lots!!

Elder Bettilyon

May 11, 1998 - Transfer to St. Albert

Elder Bettilyon
#295 500 Rivercrest CR
St. Albert, AB T8N-3B9

Dear Family,

Not too much is going on quite yet -- I'm getting transferred to St. Albert - a suburb of Edmonton.  My new comp is Elder C. He's from California - and in inch taller than me!  We'll be sure to scare many people!

[I'm 6'4" which means he was 6'5".  Quite a pair]

Mother's Day was good -  feel like I've said all that there was to say yesterday, have a good one, & hear from you soon!


Elder Bettilyon

[I think St. Albert would actually be more accurately termed as a bedroom community near Edmonton.  Here is a map:

27 April 1998

Dear Family,
Whew!  That was a quick month.  It's been a good month, too.  No baptisms, but still a good month.

Yes, so I'm a DL now.  the district name is Whitemud.  It's kind of an odd name.  It took a month of living in Whitemud to get used to it.  There are 5 sets of missionaries in the district.  Us, a couple, and 3 more companionships.  One area has six commitments for baptism right now!  We hope they go through.

As for my area, and E. A's, we have too commitments for baptism.  CL and T.  C is totally cool -- she's been coming to church for six months or so.  We taught her the 4th, and when we asked about the Word of Wisdom, she kinda chuckled.  7th Day Adventist is more strict that us on their health law, which is something I never knew before.  She said she didn't totally adhere to it -- she uses mustard.  (sheesh)!  The story of T is in E's letter right now - so she can show it to you if she's not too busy.

I'll be transfered in two weeks, but I'm not too sure which area exactly.  But I'll be near this area, so I'll be able to get my letters & such.  Hope you all hav a good one.

Love ya'

Elder Bettilyon

[E's letter didn't make it in to my collection, and I didn't post anything about T in my journal, so I guess her story is lost.  I don't even remember who she is.  That is too bad.  So many people over two years, I tried to record a lot of it, but I am learning more and more that there are many people I taught who didn't get baptized that I forgot about.  I remember some of them pretty well, but others....well, I just draw a blank.

Another letter about everything else except me.  Hopefully some exciting, juicy stuff will come up soon.

For those who are interested, Whitemud is a region of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Sort of the North West corner of Edmonton -- by the really big, famous mall (which was off limits to missionaries -- probably something to do with the movie theater and the indoor water park with a high probability of scantily-clad women.  Just a hunch, though, since I never actually went. :)]

April 20, 1998 --

Dear Family,

Here's my REAL letter.  I just got your FAX, Dad, I was actually aout getting mail & there were letters for everyone, but me, and the new roomie, and I walked in & got a FAX!

The work is going okay right now.  We're working with C, she's committed for May 16th.  She's been coming to church since November, or so, and is doing great.  The Bishop talked to her for a while & finally convinced her to take the discussions.  She's a really sharp gal.  R is still slow-progressing.  I think he might have a Word of Wisdom concern.  But he just doesn't want to progress right now.  It took him 6 years to join the Catholic church, and he keeps on saying that it took Brigham Young 2 years to get baptized.  I always think, "It took Parley P. Pratt a day."  He's coming along, but slowly, I guess.

We taught a 2st to some gals yesterday -- they were funny.  We'd ask them to share their feelings about something & they'd say, "We don't know, that's why we want you to come over & teach us!"  It was fun.

I hope you all have a good week.

Sure do love ya'!

Elder Bettilyon

[Seems like this has been the same letter several weeks in a row. How dull some of these must have been for my family to read every week.]

Counter and Ads!!!

Try #3, maybe it will work this time.