Email to Mom – May 11, 2015

Hey there!

It was super nice to talk yesterday. I was pretty quiet myself, the last few days have been long. I’ve been pretty frustrated at least once most days. Plus I wasn’t feeling too good myself, since I had the ham fried rice food poisoning. I’m super excited to come home. But I’m also really sad to leave here. Its bittersweet.

I mailed home a package today with ALL of my thermals and socks and my last pair of pajama pants. I had to kneel on the box to get it to close. It’s awesome! Then I had to tape it like crazy. Hopefully it doesn’t explode in transit.

Tell E not to worry about it. Its okay. I totally understand. We can talk when I get home.

It is super sad not being able to drive. Its also super frustrating.

This next Monday I get to go to the Palmyra Temple. Plus we’ll go tour the visitor center and the Sacred Grove etc. I’m pretty excited. Monday night I’m driving down to Utica and then Tuesday morning we’re going to Palmyra and back, and Wednesday its back up to Saranac Lake. Its crazy, its happening so fast, and at the same time its so slow.

All of the members here are scrambling to find a time to do something before I leave. It feels really nice to know I’ll be missed. I’m going golfing my last Monday, the 25th. We tee off at 9:45 am. It should be quite fun.

I think that Lake Placid has been my favorite area.

I tried gel-ing my hair again this morning, and I finally got some hold. My hair is just barely long enough. But it’s fuzzed out now. It only made it a few hours in the humidity.

Well…. yep.

See you in a few!

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Mom – May 4, 2015

…If you can work out an Oregon trip that would be great, I’m more than willing to try taking work off. I’m sure Aurora is invested in being a bridesmaid, and I don’t really want to rock that boat. Pretty much, for me, priority number one is spending time with the family and everything else can get out of the way. And I really like Oregon. That’s like my favorite vacation.

However, I do respect that Alexis is getting married, and that’s a big deal, and she’s asked Aurora to be a part of it, which is also a big deal.

I’ll be calling home. I’ve pretty well accepted that its happening (end of the mission), plus I’m slammed schedule-wise for the next 3 weeks anyways. I don’t really have time to be trunky between meetings, exchanges and the people we meet with. The only days I don’t have significant events on are Saturdays (when we do the most teaching) and the last 3 days before I come home. Brother David White will email you and set up a time. I would try to set up a time, but honestly I’m not going to check my email prior to Sunday so that’s how it is.

I’ll be mailing home a package of winter clothes today.

The East Coast is TERRIBLE. Its also hot in the summer. hahaha, in all actuality though, its pretty humid here already, and I’m pretty far north. (an hour from Canada) Its going to be a hot summer.

Tell E I’m really excited to hear from her, since she doesn’t email. Does she have an email? She has too….. everyone has an email…..

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Dad – May 4, 2015

I would just dump girls camp and dance company. However, I realize that probably won’t work and it would put a lot of unnecessary stress on Cambria and Elenna.

I worry about pushing back experiences with the family. I regret not spending more time with Aurora, Cambria and Elenna when I came down from college. My priorities weren’t set straight then and I regret it.

I would be fine with combining a trip with Aurora, that’d be pretty cool. New York is pretty cool. I’m going to have to think about it and get back to you. I think those would all be pretty sweet. I worry that the longer we postpone it, the busier we’ll find ourselves and the harder it will be to schedule anything. So…. the sooner the better.

I’m really interested in the “intent of heart.” Its often our intents that make all of the difference. Example Amalickiah and Ammoron were murders (where Teancum, Lehi and Moroni) because their intents were evil. I’m really curious about it and its been on my mind for the last couple of days. I haven’t had much time to study it yet, but I’d be interested to see what you think about intent. Why is it significant? What difference does it make? Anything and everything about intent.

I also saw something really cool this week. We were using a 25 ton power splitter and I saw a piece of knotty maple stop it dead in its tracks. It barely even dented the wood. It was that strong. It took 6 or 7 different tries before we could make any ground on it, and even then, we just sheared off a side of the knot. It was really really cool.

On the spiritual side, I learned something about service. I knew that we were going to be wrestling rounds over to the splitter and these aren’t dried. They’re anywhere from 100-200 pounds. Big. So I thought about it for days beforehand. I prayed for strength and to be able to serve with all of my strength. After 4 hours of splitting these logs, I wasn’t sore. My back didn’t hurt, arms didn’t hurt, legs didn’t hurt. Nothing.

I am convinced that if I had tried to do this same labor, but for myself, I would have been sore. My back should have ached and should still be aching. However, in this case, we were helping someone that could never do all of this work on his own. There’s no way he could, he’s old and sick. And in serving I did the absolute best to do the best job I could for him, and that’s the same thing that the Savior does for us. He does the absolute best for us.

When we give all that we are and all that we have to the service of others that qualifies us for some interesting blessings. I don’t really understand it all yet, but I recognize that I had more than my own strength then.

Anyways! Have fun scheduling!
Talk to you soon!

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Dad – April 27, 2015

Hello, Father.

Today we bought some curry powder. I’m going to make curry and it’s going to be great. Thought you’d want to know.

Also. We went and visited the Ski Jumps in Lake Placid. I have some great pictures, but I left my camera at the apartment. So….. you’ll probably see those when I get home. Lets be honest. But it was really cool. I felt like I was in the space levels of Halo II. Its a very similar architectural style. Lots of concrete and metal framed windows. Plus its the only bird’s eye view I’ve had in the last 2 years. It was as if I was descending on a space ship, pretty cool.

I think the Europe trip is sweet, I’m actually really jealous of Aurora’s drive. I’m impressed that she was able to save up for it and just go like that. I wish that I had been driven enough to do that. But whatever, maybe someday I’ll go.

As of right now. The last 30 days are the same as the preceding 700. Every day brings some strange new challenge. I’m expecting that the last 10 days will go by very quickly. But its all going pretty fast. We’ve managed to plan out a major event for almost every day that I have left, so its flying by. But that’s how it goes, if you’re busy, time just slips away.

It snowed this week, but the snow only stuck around for a couple days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities. Right now I have the missionary priorities, which are based around the gospel, but exclude other necessities like education and employment. So I’m going to have to change my priorities, that’s a blatant fact. Its what I’m going to change them to that I’m interested in. I mean there’s the obvious, I need to go to church, live the gospel, go to school, be employed. -Those kinds of things- but figuring all the details out, how much time I want to spend and where I want to spend it, that’s tricky and that’ll have to be determined by experience.

Which is kinda cool when we step back and think about it. That’s the same reason we had to come to Earth. We knew all about the right things, but we didn’t have any experience, we had to apply the things we learned. Its really interesting to see how pattern based life is. Its all like one big spiritual Mandelbrot. And if we can recognize the patterns we can prepare ourselves for the future.

Anyways, see you soon!


Elder Siddoway

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Email to Mom – April 20, 2015

I’m pretty good. I’ve gotten upset at my companion a few times. He’s not super confident, he’s a good guy, but he goes into quiet mode and then gets super whiny and awkward. So I’ll usually call him on it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyways, even if he drives me insane, which he frequently does, its okay. I only have a few weeks left. That’s the wrong point of view though, really I should be saying I only have a few weeks left to spend on figuring out how to not let that bother me, and learn as much as I can about getting along with others.

I was thinking about my schedule, I had originally wanted to dive right back into school and take a hard semester. Thinking about that, I don’t really want that. I want to get back into the groove of school life, I want a busy semester, not a hard one. So I think that’ll be just perfect. The only think left to work out is employment in Cache Valley. Aurora and I will have to go up a few times before school starts to apply and figure that one out.

I had a roommate that worked as a bank teller, I thought that was a sweet gig. I’d like to apply for that if I could.

It’s been up in the 50’s this last week. (which is hot enough to make me sweat.) Its going to rain this week and by Friday we’re expecting some snow flurries. Maybe a couple inches, but it won’t last. The work is going well. We’re still doing a lot of less active work. We’re always in finding mode. We’re always looking for someone to teach. We’re terrible at finding though. Its hard to get people to talk with us here.

Our most successful venture has been the bible study. We have an hour long study every week. Right now we’re in Acts. This week we’ll be covering the Transfiguration of Stephen. Its a touchy one because we have those deep doctrine members who think that their knowledge is impressive. (its not, a half hour with a bible dictionary and you’ll know just as much as them. 10 minutes on Google will do the same) Anyways, we read from the chapter and its an open discussion. It’s a lot of fun. I personally really enjoy it. We have a few non members come, their friends bring them. Its the way to go.
This last Sunday we had a few members bring their friends to church. They did a fantastic job. I think the sisters are teaching one of them (forgot her name). The second (Kristin) will be moving into our area in a couple months along with her daughter (kayleigh – these eastern spellings), so the Elders will teach them, but that’ll be after I leave.

I think I’m good on money, that said, I have no idea how much is in there. I rarely use the card. (I think I did 3 or 4 weeks ago because my companion’s card wasn’t working, but that’s the last time.)

Hope that’s enough deets

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Dad – April 20, 2015

Well. I’m getting used to dealing with other’s crap now. I like giving the trainings, I like working with the areas and being there to support them. That’s really cool. I hate working with the Zone Leaders with a passion.

They do some really dumb stuff.

They’re good guys though, and its not really fair for me to say ‘they’re completely under qualified!,’ even if it is true, because I was too. I had/have a lot to learn, so its okay if they do a terrible job. They’re learning. We all are. And they don’t do a terrible job, they just do things differently than I would.

I really think that consistency is the key. I don’t really feel pressured to get more done, because I’ve always tried to do my best. That doesn’t mean that I’ve always done my best, I fall short of that quite often, but it means that I’ve tried. And I’ve learned, at least a little, about Christ and the Atonement, and what it means to rely on Him and acknowledge Him in everything. And because of what I’ve learned I’m not scared to go home, or scared of the change, its just another phase in life. Another opportunity. All I have to do is turn to the Lord and then try to do my best in whatever circumstances or situations he places me in.

I am, however, very ready to sleep in past 6:29 and to go to bed whenever I want.

Speaking of training though, I had a really fun time preparing this one. I went and found a bunch of obscure objects, and some not so obscure ones. I have a camera, some caliper sets accurate to the 1/1000th of a millimeter! cool! (technically external micrometers , but whatever, close enough) and a carved whale vertebrae. I’m going to present the objects one by one and ask questions about them. What is this? What is it used for? What is it made of? Etc. The camera is obvious. The caliper sets, a little less. That takes a little education to know what those are. The whale bone is just weird. There’s no way anyone will know what it is.

Its the same with us. We can obviously be representatives of Christ, or we can be good people- and if you ask us questions we’ll tell you that we’re here to represent Christ, or we can be completely obscure.

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Mom – April 13, 2015

Please tell me you were able to register for classes…. Somewhere in the files we had an academic plan, and it had the classes I need to take. Otherwise I don’t know what to tell you, you might have to call the academic counselor.

Its too bad that Aurora had a bad experience dating, but it seems that’s how Highschool goes. Oh well.

It seems like there’s never a shortage of drama. My companion just hit me with the car, twice. I got pretty upset at that. Its sad.

I learned something important this week. I regret my anger more than anything else. When I’m angry I do dumb things. I haven’t done anything spectacular, like throwing a cup and shattering the oven. But I’ve said harsh things, and I’m smart enough (and dumb enough) to sharpen my comments. I’ve given correction while angry and yeah there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but when I’m angry I fix it in the worst way possible and now I have a handful of new issues to address.

Its something I need to work on. I felt like I was doing really good, and I’m pretty sure God opened my eyes to understand my actions a little more clearly. Its actually a blessing that I have Elder Medearis, even though he’s accident prone, and a little absent minded.

Its been good for me.

I realized today that Mother’s Day is 28 days away. So….. talk to you then!

Anyways, that’s what’s up with me.
Elder Siddoway

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Email to Dad – April 13, 2015

Things are going good. I (and I say ‘I’ for a reason) planned out our branch family home evening for tomorrow, and I’m almost done coordinating everything for a community family history program. Turns out that there used to be a local genealogical society, its been disbanded for like 10-15 years now, but all of their resources are still stored at the local library. Also, very few people here care about God or Christ, but they’re all incredibly interested in family history. Obsessed might be the right word.

And my mission is the epitome of a Potemkin village. Its kinda frustrating.

But while we’re talking about President Uchtdorf’s talk. I know that I get angry at my companion for the innocent mistakes that he makes on an insanely regular basis. I have to ask, what is my ministry? Is it to get the most lessons? Is it to have the most impressive trainings? Is it to be the most effective missionary? No. Its to help and love and serve the people here, and that includes my companion. That means that even though I’m very unhappy with a lot of things he does, I have to love and serve him all the same.

It’s not easy. I still get angry a lot.

I hope I can do better this week.

Elder Siddoway

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Email – April 13, 2015

This is me and my district at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. It was a lot of fun.


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Email to Mom – April 6, 2015

No, it snowed yesterday.

The pictures of the natural history museum looked sweet! I really would like to go see that! I realized today that I have 7 more Mondays to email you. In 4 Sundays is Mother’s day.

Conference was fantastic. I really like Elder Oak’s talk. He’s a cool guy. I couldn’t believe how frail President Monson looked! It was like he’d aged 20 years! And Elder Packer and Elder Hales! They’re hanging in there like champs! But I think we’ll have quite a few new apostles here in the next few years. Then again, its the will of the Lord, because we’ve been thinking that about Elder Packer for a long time, so whatever he has planned goes.

I have a great story to tell you.

So in our apartment we have a single hot water main that comes up to the third floor. (where we live.) My companion is a little OCD and hates having dirty dishes. If he see’s dishes they have to be cleaned. Now. Unfortunately, because there’s a single water line, the shower will go ice cold if you turn on the hot water.

So this one morning, my companion has a stew pot to clean. (I made some stew the night before, it was good) So he’s cranking the hot water on and off and I’m dodging and playing shower ninja while the water is cold and then trying to shower while its hot. This went on for about 20 minutes. Every thirty seconds or so he’d turn on the water and it’d run for 15-20 seconds and I’d be trying to dodge the icy jet. I was getting pretty tired of this.

At this point, he’s just about done cleaning this pot, so he fills it up, and its a big 2 or 3 gallon pot, with hot water. I dodged for about a minute and a half and… oh I was getting tired of it. I was praying, PRAYING in my head, Heavenly Father, please get him to stop so I can finish showering and start my day.

Keep in mind that our shower is about 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet so its not large.

Then my companion dumped the pot. We only have one waste water line. So the huge influx of water shoved water up my line. So the shower flooded with bits of food and junk.

Well….. its time to get out. I’m done. God says my shower is over. Let’s go.

It was pretty funny! We bust up every time we think about it.

Elder Siddoway

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