Monday, February 29, 2016


This week's email was brief, again, but that's okay. It's also very, very Brandon. :)

First, the picture he sent. For those of you who know him, you know Brandon has always been fascinated with law enforcement. So this will come as no surprise to you.

P.S. This HWY Patrolman made my day. :)

Being 18, it doesn't quite occur to Elder Chesley to tell us what the patrolman did that made his day, but you know, that's not the point really.

The point, to me anyway, is that it's Brandon, and it's a police man, and to me that says that while some things change in huge, epic ways, other things stay remarkably constant. Never changing. Always the same.

Like the things that speak to his heart.

Elder Chesley's email can, at first, be looked at as kind of a downer. Here's what he says:

This past week was a little slow, in relation to the work. All of our teaching appointments did not work out, not everyone answered their doors, but we did have some people that told us to come by this week, so that is good news.

If you've been a missionary, served with a missionary, or sent out a missionary, you know that's how it is. A lot of the time the plans you make fall through, and you have to make new plans. A large part of your day is spent on plan B, C, get the idea. This is something (I guess in a good way) his childhood with us has well prepared him for.

But, you notice at the end he focuses on the positive. This is the message of the Atonement. There is ALWAYS time to turn things around. It is NEVER too late.

This next part made me laugh:

 I found out that I be a little more careful how I eat, which is kinda hard seeing as the members are fattening us up for something. But its working. I have gained 15 lbs since I left home! Which for me is a lot, seeing as I have been 135-140 for the past 3 years. So, yeah. I need to change a few things.
Bear in mind my son is 6 feet tall. 140 lbs?! While, obviously, it's a bad idea that he gains 15 lbs a month while on his mission, it's totally fine that he fills out some. We even left him some room in his suits for it.

He leaves us with some inspirational words:

The members out here are wonderful. They are so welcoming and very supportive, which was one of my biggest concerns.

I did not bring my journal so I cant give some "inspiring" words form the 1st book of Chesley, but instead I will share some actual inspiring words from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.

"Dare to be Mormon. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known"

I loved that as a youth, and I love it even more now. As a missionary, I hope to be seen as a representative of Jesus Christ, just as described in 3 Nephi 5:13.

I love you all, and I wish the best for you all. This week will be the best one yet.

-Elder Brandon Chesley

Thursday, February 25, 2016

February 22 Email

This week's message was short, and without pictures. Though Elder Chesley did purchase a new camera, so we should get more pictures soon. Honestly, I'm hoping he's too richly engaged in the work to worry so much about photos (even though I'd love to see his smiling face).

He did send this:

To be here in this wonderful mission is a great thing. I am learning so much and hope and pray that my investigators are learning as well.

I know I am where the Lord needs me and there is much work to do here.

I love you all. May the Lord bless you all in your lives. I pray for each one of you and I wish you all the best.

I would very much like to here from all of you and I will write again next week.

-Elder Brandon Chesley

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Settling In

Elder Chesley arrived in CA safe and sound (as reported last week), and has spent the last few days settling in to his new home. He requested letters rather than emails, since his online time is fairly limited, and--of course--packages are welcome. :)
I call this "never go to the Provo temple when it's missionary day"

Here's his address:
Elder Brandon Chesley
1700 Camino Olmo Apt. #G
Thousand Oaks CA 91320
In case any of you were concerned that he'd lose his particular brand of humor, here's a selection from the email he sent:
Hello Hello from the Ventura California Mission, the greatest mission on earth (or so they tell me).

I admit I had a 'squee' moment when I saw his name tag. :)
I am doing fantastic. There is so much work to be done and I am exited to get to it!
The trip from the MTC to the field was incredible. I got to fly over the Tooele valley, my old home, and also the grand canyon. My flights were from SLC to PHX to Santa Barbra. California is so beautiful this time of year.

My companion, also my trainer, Elder Peart, is a wonderful companion. He has been out 6 months. I am learning so much from him. The area I am serving in is called the Los Robles area (I think).
I will now share some "scripture" from my personal journal, The Book of Chesley. This is, The water bottle miracle.

20) Behold, I did Have an experience, yea, an experience of much learning, for as we concluded our lesson with George, I expressed unto my companion my desire for water. Therefore me maketh a plan to stop by the apartment to drinketh thereof. But behold, as we did journey, my companion was overcome with the spirit, that we should return unto an investigator of much potential before returning to the apartment.
21) And it came to pass that we did stop by, and behold, we did receive an answer, but to our disappointment, the person whom answered was not whom we were seeking. But behold, the grace of God was upon us, and she did offer us water, yea, even to quench our thirst.
His District at the MTC. Lots of eager young spirits happy to serve God.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Planted in the Field

I've heard quite a bit from my missionary in the last couple of weeks. :)

First, he emailed me from the MTC with his impressions and also a few boring housekeeping items. I'm going to share part of his email here:

Hi mom and Family.

I am having the best time here at the MTC. I have learned so much since I have been here. The spirit has never been with me more than I am here, except maybe the temple (of which I will go to today).

The food here (you are probably laughing right now) is amazing. My companion elder Holm is extraordinary, and we feel like brothers. My district is fantastic. We consist of 4 elders and 4 sisters. 320 missionaries came in last Wednesday. *Jan 27, 2016

I fly to Santa Barbara on February 8th with a 3 hour layover in Phoenix. I also get to ride the UTA FrontRunner to SLC International. 2 hours to PHX, 1-ish to SB. It will be a long day.
I have only met one person who I know I know, ya know? Zac Moon, Excelsior Academy, will serve in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania mission, the same mission as my friend James Richens (Bond).

The MTC is like a college campus, and is part of BYU. Everything I need is right here. I could live here for the rest of my life, but, that is not an option.
Give my love to everyone there. I miss you all, but probably not as much as you miss me. Sorry.

-Elder Brandon Chesley
 Yesterday, obviously, was February 8--his travel day. Surprisingly, I was at the Dr yesterday morning and received a call from an 801 area code. Lo and behold, it was Elder Chesley calling from the SLC airport! Being a mom, I had to ask him if he'd gotten permission to call me. :) I was so unprepared to hear from him that I didn't have much to say--it was just good to hear his voice. I couldn't believe how  much he'd changed in just the TEN short days since he entered the MTC. He sounded so happy, too, which was good to hear. He said he'd try to call me again from PHX during their layover. I had to hand the phone off to my mom to talk to the Dr, so she got to talk to our favorite missionary too!
That afternoon I was home (briefly, between Dr appts for me and my daughter) when I got a call from a 602 area code. Now that I knew (kind of) what to expect, I answered it and Elder Chesley and I chatted a bit longer. Again we had a lull in the conversation, so he filled it by saying, "So, how was the MTC? Oh, Mom, the MTC was great!" and proceeded to give details. Again, I'm stunned by how much he had matured. This time he got to talk to his youngest sister before he had to go (eat and catch his flight). We received an email from the mission home that evening stating that he'd arrived and been received by President Felix and his wife, Sister Felix. 
So, he's there. Ready to go to work for the Lord. He's arrived in his mission field and is ready to serve. I'm so excited for him.
Yesterday, I found myself breaking out in tears for what seemed like no reason at all. It was kind of a high pain day for me, so I was feeling tender hearted anyway, and I imagine that contributed to my overall feelings. As I lay in bed last night, ready to fall asleep, I felt more tears form and slide down my cheeks (well, kind of toward my ears--you know, gravity and all). 
This (sending a missionary out) is an amazing, wonderful thing. I literally have no idea how it will continue to affect me. I'm just sort of taking these new things as they come.
Feeling the Lord's hand in our lives more than ever now.