Email to Dad – April 6, 2015

Yeah, our water year is doomed.

For the guy with the WoW problem. I would say that God loves us and emphasize that, not his shortcoming on the word of wisdom. I’m thinking we’ll run up against a similar problem here soon. We teach a guy who’s flaming gay. Whatever. But back to the point, if we focus on the Love God has for us -despite our imperfections- it makes sense that he’d want to hear from us and if we’re going to talk to him, we’re going to need something to talk about. We might as well talk about the things that he recommends to talk about. Moroni 10: 3-5 Its a hard one though because it seems like he’s backed himself into a corner where he doesn’t think he can pray.

So did you get your answer about what to do on Sunday? I really liked Elder Anderson’s address. I also really liked Elder Oaks. “if this is not specific enough, young people, if you are texting during sacrament you are severing your connection to God.” Fantastic. I also almost sent a text to the other set of missionaries and the senior couple right after he said that. I stopped because (as hilarious as that would be) it seemed like a bad idea.

I’m more and more impressed with President Uchtdorf. He’s funny and pointed.

I noticed something this last week. I’ve been praying to be able to work on presenting personal issues calmly. Historically, when Mom and I have issues they are only resolved through a fight. That continued on for a long while here in the mission, but I’ve noticed that’s started to change. I’m a lot more patient. I’m still frustrated and I have something to work out, but I don’t address it by yelling.

So I started looking around and I’ve been really blessed. The Lord’s taught me a lot of useful life skills. He’s also taught me a lot about leadership skills. He’s also taught me about complaining. If you think you’re going to (or have) hit rock bottom, the Lord will slap you on a rocket and bust you right though solid rock and you’ll reach brand new lows! But more importantly, he shows you that by turning to him you can survive those lows and through him you can ride that same rocket to magnificent heights.

Also. You choose to be offended! We’ve got such a problem with offense here. Its unbelievable. Everyone is offended. I have personally offended EVERY SINGLE LESS ACTIVE AND ACTIVE MEMBER here. Which could be disastrous, but within a few days they found someone else to be angry at, so its okay.

It may not be what I want to do, and its not always the easiest thing to do, but it is so worth it. You told me to “choose not to be angry” and that’s some solid advice.

I’ll finish strong

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Mom – March 30, 2015

Okay, so I would totally shave my head if I could. I was going to take it back down to an all around 2 this morning, but I just didn’t really care to go through the effort.

I’m also okay with growing it out, it’s just annoying to deal with here.

I think the new natural history museum sounds cool. You should go see that.

We went to the Olympic museum today in Lake Placid. That was really cool. Did you know that in 1908, the gold medal was about an inch across. Last Winter Olympic’s bronze was about 6 inches across, with an inch hole in the center. HUGE. You could practically pass the 1908 gold through the bronze. Pretty funny.

I need to take more pictures, but its really hard.

Dad told me that my biggest challenge on my mission would be working hard with someone that I don’t particularly like. He’s right. I have to spend a lot of time calming myself down and trying to look at things from another’s perspective. As such, I don’t really have a lot of time where I go, “I’d really like a picture right now.” Its more or less, “Okay Heavenly Father, remind me of how much you love this guy right now.”

I’m excited for General Conference. My favorite talks are “The Voice of the Spirit” By President Faust and Jorg Klebingat’s “Approaching the Throne of God With Confidence”

The work went really well this week. We’ve managed to work with a bunch of less actives and we’ve started finding new investigators through them. We’ve officially surpassed our last peak (Elder Day and I taught 20 or so lessons a week, I taught like 6 total with Elder Peterson, then sent him home and we’ve recovered now). I’ve found that a lot of our success depends on my attitude towards my companion. If I’m frustrated and unforgiving then we’re doomed.

I’m not counting but I know how many days are left. For curiosity’s sake, its 58.

Elder Siddoway

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Email to Dad – March 30, 2015

Hey Dad,

This week was fun. I was starting to get really trunky and annoyed with my companion. Then I had a really great insight. I don’t need to worry about what other people think. Then things got a lot easier.

I also finally figured out (or at least I think I did) what it means to fear the Lord. When we fear something, like losing your job, or a fire, or whatever, we tend to ruminate and dwell on that subject as much as possible. So to fear the Lord is to think about him in everything, to keep him at the forefront of your mind.

We had an interesting discussion on consecration and how to foster it. One of our great and mighty assistants decided that everyone should make a consecration goal and report that to their district leaders and then up to the zone leaders and then to president and the assistants. And then we could track whether or not they’re being more consecrated.

That didn’t go down well. I’m going to skip ahead, we’ll bypass the part of the story where I and my fellow district leaders courageously defend our districts from the evils of stupidity and fight off dragons with Minecraft Swords and Star Trek Phasers.

We found in Preach my Gospel Chapter 8 Weekly Planning step 13, Companionship inventory, that the first step directs companions to share their goals with each other, and ask for help from one another.

This was important because that morning I had taken a student manual on church history and opened up, with no effort on my part, to a quote by President Harold B. Lee. He had been assigned by the First Presidency to help church members become financially self reliant during the Great Depression. He went out into the woods to pray and had the “eyes of his understanding opened” to the church organization. He realized that the Lord had already given them the solution, they just needed to actually use it. This then led to an increased emphasis on Home and Visiting Teaching as methods for finding out what the needs of a family are and greater emphasis on the bishop’s storehouse.

I took this as, well, if you were really using Companionship inventory, and you were really accountable to each other and to the Lord, you would be progressing in your consecration/conversion.

So the answer should be that we teach our missionaries, we convert our missionaries, not go all out big brother on our missionaries and force them to set either meaningless or personal goals(that are sacred and shouldn’t be shared) and then flaunt them throughout the mission’s leadership and follow up on them with the intent to force them to progress.

But somehow, I don’t think that this is a new issue.

Anyways, it was actually really cool because all 3 district leaders were in unity on this, we all agreed and we’re working on an answer for our zone and we’ll present that to the Zone Leaders in a couple days. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we’re expecting a backlash from the assistants at any time, we knew there would be opposition, but we know that we have been inspired and we know what the Lord has told us and we’re going to stick to it.

Anyways, see you soon

Elder Siddoway

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email to Dad – March 23, 2015

I didn’t even think about how much time Grandpa had to spend taking care of Grandma. I remember one time he and Grandma came down to Bountiful. Roger came up and he went with me and Mom and Grandpa to a Chinese Restaurant in Colonial Square (because The Square is stupid). I thought it was just a whatever deal, I didn’t care, but that was a pretty big deal. I didn’t even think of that. He is a good man.

This week’s been pretty good. I went on exchange with the Elders in Plattsburgh. That was a good time. I have another exchange with them (so I can work with both Elders) coming up not this week but the next. I’m excited for that.

I remember you saying to me- at some point in my childhood- “Listen to what I’m saying not just the words I’m saying!” Its the weirdest thing, my companion is 18, he’s really 18. Years 18 and 19 and 20 are big years. There’s a lot of change that happens in them. So we had a three day comp inventory. Not that we were tearing into each other for three days, comp inventory just kinda stretched out over those three days. The main point we came to was communication. We struggle to communicate.

Last night he said the funniest thing to me. “I’ve always thought you were super judgmental and a horrible person, then I realized today that if I actually listen to you, rather than assume I know what you’re saying, that you’re not.”

Oh thanks pal.

But really though, its a big thing. I also remember a conversation that we had about priorities. Everyone has their 3 main priorities, whatever they are, say: Family, work, and education. And they’ll do their best to serve those three things (which are probably more specific than the ones I listed.) And everyone has different priorities, some people have compatible priorities and others do not. So I’ve been looking and trying to identify Elder Medearis’s priorities. Its kinda fun, and it kinda helps me understand the ‘crazy’ things he does. Because of his priorities, they seem like good logical ideas. Kinda fun to think about.

But back to the main point of communication, when we really try to understand another person, we have to listen. Which can be super hard, especially when 90% of the stuff that comes out of someone’s mouth is completely stupid, but its so worth working on, because then we realize that it wasn’t that 90% of the stuff they said was stupid, we just didn’t understand what they said and didn’t bother to ask for clarification.

Oh, and spring is some sort of sick joke here. Its still in the single digits. I mean, that’s better than the negatives double digits, but its still cold. I hope its warm by the time I’m leaving.

Elder Siddoway

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email to Mom – March 16, 2015

[Alaric’s Grandma Cheney passed away around 11am Mountain Time]
Well, at approx. 1 pm eastern time, I kinda felt a little off. I had just finished a baptismal interview and normally I would stay around a little longer to chat but I felt a little off so we left. It makes sense now.

Things are pretty good here, I’ve managed to makes some fantastic stir fries. We managed to find some other sauces, like Orange Chicken and Sesame Teriyaki sauce. Those are both fantastic. Plus I’ve learned how to time it so that the chicken is soft, like in a Kung Pow dish. I’ve also learned a lot about spicing, so I don’t have to use the store bought sauces, I can make my own (though I’m not super consistent and its not an official sauce like General Tso’s or Orange Chicken)

We’ve made a lot of progress working with the less actives here. That’s fun. By a lot of progress I mean we’ve actually met most of them now. We’ve been struggling to keep consistent appointments with them, but that’s starting to change.

We do a non denominational bible study and that’s one of my most favorite things to do. I love preparing and running that. Its super easy and I learn a lot from the class members. All I have to do is pick a few passages, read over them a few times and then we show up at the study, I ask people to read and I guide the discussion. That’s a lot of fun.

This week we have a Zone Conference in Potsdam, and we were asked to consider what we’ve learned over the last months/years. Its been super different here in Saranac Lake, I haven’t learned as much about teaching and proselyting here, but I have learned a lot about how the spirit functions, how He answers prayers and prompts me, as well as a lot of leadership things. Like running meetings and organizing and planning. Its actually a huge blessing that Elder Peterson was as lame as he was because it gave me a lot of time to consider and think and learn and pray which allowed me to understand and grasp leadership concepts that I would have otherwise missed.

The new companion is pretty good. He’s a really nice guy. The only thing I could complain about is that he cooks me breakfast and its not what I want. Really not that big of a deal. We have a lot of fun. He’s from Vernonia OR, where they filmed “Twilight” He’s also a runner. He’s an interesting kid, he has a lot of different ideas about life and the scriptures and their interpretations. He’s also a convert, he’s been a member for about 5 years. We have fun.

Elder Siddoway

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email to Dad – March 16, 2015

[Alaric’s Grandma Cheney passed away]
Yes. The email is sufficient. Its sad.

[Dad has a lung infection]
well…. tuberculosis. That escalated quickly. Hope it’s not that.

The work with the members is going…. My companion likes to talk about his “greenie fire” so working with members is dumb and we should go tract everyday. We managed to compromise and go after formers and less actives.


I will not be denied. So while we’re over there….. lets just go see *this* member. So its a little slower than I would like but it’s progressing. We’ve managed to teach all of the actives but only once, and we haven’t done anything other than the Restoration lesson (might be because we’ve only taught them once, but statistics are just fancy words for lies) which made it harder for me to convince my companion that we should teach them.

However, we’re making headway and we should be visiting several more members tonight and throughout the week.

We’ve found that some members are particularly good at pretending to be their friends, which is great because we get a lot of practice and they’re getting excited about inviting a particular friend. Some members are not as good, so they break character and bear testimony about the gospel every couple of minutes. We initially thought that this was pretty frustrating, but we’ve learned and now I almost prefer this method. We ask a member to think of a friend and then every point or couple of points we break and discuss how we know this is true, how to make this invitation, how to share this knowledge, etc.

The whole lesson shifts to a discussion and its not us lecturing anymore, its a conversation, which is what we honestly wish our lessons were like anyways. Its unfortunate that we have so much pride, because I would honestly just prefer to call most of my lessons conversations, we talk about God. When I’m the only one talking about God, they don’t care. Its just annoying. However, if we were to rename ‘Lessons’ ‘Conversations’ we would have such an astronomical growth in our numbers, they would be less accurate than they are now.

Things are going pretty good now. I’ve managed to keep some significant event scheduled every day this week, and the next and the next. Hopefully I can keep focused that way. We also have a zone conference this Tuesday on Consecration, that’ll be fun.

Elder Siddoway

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Working hard…

ly on the computers




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email to Mom – March 16, 2015

I did get the birthday present! Thank you!!

The weather is much better, we’ve actually seen above freezing. Its about 20 right now but that’s balmy compared to -20 and -30.

My new companion is Elder Medearis. He’s from Vernonia Oregon, which is where Twilight took place. Fun facts. He’s pretty cool. He’s got a ton of drive, which is nice because the last 8 months I’ve been more or less leading out with companions that didn’t want to/wouldn’t take any initiative… so I’m super burned out on getting companions to do stuff. Now I don’t have to, usually we’re running at about the same pace, but sometimes I’m struggling to keep up. Which, honestly, I really enjoy, not being a little behind, but being on the same page and having a good companion who, though imperfect, is honestly striving and wants to be here.

When we eat with members, its anyone’s guess. There’s some Italian influence up here, but most of those people moved here at some point in their life. With native Adirondackers…. it’s anyone’s guess. They make some amazing pancakes. Its the strangest thing. They’re just better.

I guess if we were going to start analyzing their food, its extremely high in carbs. But then its also high in carbs and fats and proteins. Then we realize that they just eat a lot because you have to if you don’t want to freeze to death. Its strange, people (and animals) here have weight fluctuations with the seasons. In the summer, everyone is lean, they eat less, everyone is out and exercising. By the winter, they’re all inside and growing guts. Seriously. Its weird.

I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve had a little side pain from IBS now that I have a good companion who doesn’t stress me out. Its been kinda rough for the last few days, lower quadrant pain like appendicitis, and then pain shooting up behind my right shoulder blade like gall stones. Then every now and then pain up through my left arm like a heart attack. But I don’t have any of these more serious conditions. :) Just IBS coming down off of a stressful period.

To summarize my last few transfers.

4 1/2 months with Elder Shillingford, who is awesome, but is like me and has strong opinions. He’s also shy so he wouldn’t lead out on anything, so the full weight of initiative was on me.
6 weeks with Elder Day, who is a good kid. 18 going on 8. He threw temper tantrums. I spent most of the time patching relationships with members who he offended. He wanted to work, it was just a challenge to get him to not do more damage in the process.
6 weeks with Elder Peterson, who didn’t want to be here and made it so no one else wanted to be here either.

So its been frustrating. Its still not very easy now either, but then I suppose that there will always be opposition, all we can change is how we handle it.

My back is feeling pretty good. My shoulders started clicking this last transfer so I did a bunch of the physical therapy exercises for a torn rotator cuff, and that seems to have fixed the problem. I’m actually feeling much better than I ever have and my lifts are smoother.

I’m really excited because Elder Medearis was a long distance runner, so we’ll be jogging here in the next month or so. He also broke his leg about 5 months ago and had to go home to heal. So he’s super out of shape! Which is good, that way I can actually keep up with him.

Things really are pretty good right now. Plus I really don’t have that long left, so even if Elder Medearis went nuts, I’ve had to hang on for longer before! :) But things are good. Honestly I don’t think that I would choose to spend my last few months with another companion, he’s a really good guy.

Elder Siddoway

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email from Church Travel Services – March 3

Delta Air Lines DL 015

Departure 28 May 05:10 PM Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Atl (+) Terminal: S

Arrival 28 May 07:19 PM Salt Lake City Salt Lake City Intl (+) Terminal: 2

Duration 04:09 (Non stop)

Booking status Confirmed

Class Economy (K)

Baggage allowance 0PC

Seat 14B confirmed for Alaric Cheney Siddoway

Equipment AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A320-100/200

Meal Food for purchase

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email to Mom – March 2, 2015

That’s weird
1. that you met Ashley at Winnie’s and 2. that she even knew who I was. I don’t think I said 100 words in that class. Whatever. I’m glad my brilliance and hilarious nature precedes me. All should be aware.

AND JURY DUTY. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I’ve always wanted to be a part of a jury….. dang. That sucks. maybe someday. Have fun figuring that out. If there’s anything I can do let me know.

Those were a bunch of sweet pictures from Idaho. Hope everyone had a good time. Please call Grandma up and tell her “I love her and I’m thankful for her example and her love for me. I’ll miss you, but I’ll go run with you someday.”
I’m starting to miss home a bit. Its been a long time.
I miss hanging out with Russ and Roger and well everyone else. Those were always a lot of fun. Kinda sobering.

As for my homecoming talk, at least I have a decent topic. I think I’ll get up there and speak by the spirit…..


That’s a terrible idea, I’ll plan something out my last night in the mission so I have something to keep my mind busy. That’s going to be super weird to have to speak in front of hundreds of people again, almost all of my mission has been in small branches.

Anyways, my companion heads back home for Utah on Wednesday and I’ll pick up a new companion then. Hopefully my last, since I don’t want to get transferred my last 6 weeks.

Not a ton happened this week.

But thank you for the pictures again, I really enjoyed those!

Elder Siddoway

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