This was taken toward the end of my mission. These photos were all taken with my 35 mm camera (A couple of photos were sent by friends, but they were also taken on film.) I apologize for the quality. This was an impulse post, and laziness prevented me from attempting to scan the photos. But my iphone 5 did alright. Roughly chronological order and roughly July 2001-October 2002
This is at the Seattle airport. I’m about to head to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah- for about 3 weeks of training. Uncle David is on your right and Uncle Tom is on your left.
That’s my friend Deloy. We went to college together and he was in the MTC with me. Since he went to Russia and had to learn a new language, he was in the MTC for 2 months or so.
Elder Gunning, if I remember correctly. He studied with me in the MTC, but went to a different mission. Oklahoma, I think.
I got the “MIssionary Goggles” early, as I’m only taking that photo because that girl was relatively scantily clad. Everything is contextual.
My mission was called the Colorado Denver South Mission. It covered the Southwest part of the state and into Kansas. My trainer and I were based out of Ulysses, KS, a town of about 5000 people.
Interstate 70 dissected the South Mission from the North Mission. I think this is to give missionaries a little taste of everything (city/country) Though I never served in Denver. This was a special trip where we were allowed to see a baseball game on our day off. We often didn’t have to dress in “proselyting clothes” on our day off, but President made us dress to the game. To keep us in check, I think.
Elder Mississippi Smith. The Mississippi is because there was always more than one Smith in the mission at a time. He was from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I remember because NFL great Brett Favre had a home there and Smith told us stories.
Girls. I wasn’t the only one who did this, okay?
Even awkward when I kiss a car. But it’s an M5. This car was all the rage when it came out.
This was taken in my second area. I was transferred from Kansas to Colorado Springs. Usually about 12-14 missionaries in a zone. (My mission.)
This youngster lived in the neighboring apartment and he’d walk in and hang out.
We were lucky to live in an apartment with another companionship. (Other people to talk to at the end of the day.) Langston on your right, was my companion. He was a great young missionary, only out a few months longer than me. Martinson in the back and his companion Idaho Ray.
Every 6 weeks, the mission was shaken up with a Transfer. Elder Ka’onohi (Elder K) was transferred in as my companion. Elder Kieth and Tennessee Ray replaced Idaho Ray and Martinson. There is the child again.
Elder Kieth, on the right at a transfer meeting. Those were days off as well. Kieth wasted no time getting ready for basketball, which was played in the gym at the church where the meeting was held. He always wanted to roll his sleeves up, which was a source of tension. Photos were always taken at transfer meetings as missionaries went in and out- often transferred hundreds of miles away, with the possibility of not seeing some of the guys until after the mission.
Kieth VERY QUICKLY put me into this position.
We found this suit when we cleaned out the apartment.
Elder K. Nice of him to take this photo after we parted.
Okay, check this out. Natasha, in the front there- well we baptized her- so now she and Elder K are engaged, more than 10 years later. No joke. Elder K asked her mom what hymns we should play at the baptism. Her mom suggested “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.
Elder K was in love with this new bike he got at a Transfer Meeting. Elder K was one of the best teachers in the mission. When I found out he was going to be my companion, I was told “You’ll get in some doors.”
Elder K and I hung out with this woman Rita a lot. She wasn’t interested in the church though.
The old fellow is Bob and he’s taking a photo of Elder Smallwood. He’d been baptized a year or so before I met him, and always hung out with missionaries. He was very serious about his portraits. We did laundry at his house and occasionally watched TV (Not supposed to watch TV.)
I think this is the transfer meeting where I became a trainer. 6 months into my mission. I went from being jr. companion (Where the other guy is in-charge) to Trainer. It was a big deal that 5 people from my group-you’re always compared and associated with the guys you came out with-5 people from my MTC group trained. I was nervous. Elder Tikalsky from South Jordan, Utah is my new Greenie. And he is to my right. K and Langston are my old companions when this photo is taken.
Posterity photos are a popular thing at Transfers. K trained the tall guy, who trained the other two. (When I posted this I didn’t realize that the “Tall Guy” (in the middle of the three white guys) is barely taller than the other two.
K and Bob.
Langston made the cake- he was really into it. It was important that it be made from scratch- no cake mix. I think it was Bob’s 61st.
Sadly, Bob passed away a couple of years ago.
Bob had fake teeth. We didn’t know that and he freaked us out the day he took them out. Here is Elder Haukenema paying tribute.
When my dad saw this photo he said that Haukie was a “big boy.”
He was big.
Elder Caldwell. He was on his way out when I met him. One of those guys you listened to because he’d been around a while.
Elder Lane Foulger out of Eugene, Oregon. I really liked this guy.
My companion Elder Duff, from Poland, Maine. He kept me up at night telling stories about growing up there. I fell in love with Maine and he’s the reason I always wanted to move there to write. Duff was a convert to the church- baptized about a year before his mission. He was a darn good missionary. Despite what his hairline tells you, you’re looking at a 19-year-old.
As with all things, it took me a while to figure out how to make a good pancake. (My problem was the batter was always too thick. Once I learned that, I made some decent hotcakes.)
Duff and Me. We were taken to Zio’s for pasta. we loved when members of the church took us to Zio’s.
Duff is pointing out that “Door” is spray-painted to the side of the door.
This is my favorite picture. We often rode around in the backs of trucks. To and from Transfer meetings. Duff and Elder Goettman on the right. Goettz was quiet, but about as cool as it got. He played in a band back home. He was into the Black Crowes and stuff.
Goettman is pointing out an attractive female in this photo.
Elder Hiestand, on the right, was a good friend of mine. That’s a member of the church in the middle. We looked up to him because he had a beautiful wife and was super cool. He drove us around in a convertible Ford Galaxy from the 60’s. We were in that car one night when he took 4 of us to buy ice cream. He opened his wallet and said “Get whatever you want Elders, I have eleven dollars.”
Hiestand was a darn good baseball player.
I think this is outside Red Robin, a real fancy chain out West.
Elder Fineangenofo. Elder F was Hiestand’s Greenie. So he was doing the whole missionary thing while also learning English. Not easy.
Okay, so this guy, his name is Doug. Doug is a whole other blog post that involves a limo, a fancy hotel, and stripper cash (That’s what he’s holding.) But like I said- another blog post. Yeah, that’s a bottle of wine, and yeah, he’s wasted.
That’s Smallwood inside Doug’s limo. Doug didn’t come with us, so we got to mess with the radio and stuff.
Elder Moses is standing in Doug’s hotel bathroom. Hotel Monaco, in Denver.
I think we’d been playing baseball in our proselyting clothes. Foulger on the right and Romney on the left. (Google says the word is proselytizing, but we said proselyting. One less syllable.)
Our job wasn’t easy, so we kinda went crazy sometimes.
This toilet setting is very cliché, but for a reason.
Again with the crude.
The cigarette ain’t lit, and the TV isn’t even on.
This car was owned by one of the “lesbians” from the apartment upstairs. The sticker reads “When I was your age we had to walk 2 miles to get stoned and have sex.” This is a very typical missionary photo.
The caps are on those bottles, we didn’t drink beer. We took the beer from a couple of women. One or both of them were members. It was like a confiscation thing. The women later came back and got it- I think. I remember for sure that they called and told us to give their beer back. We may have poured it down the sink, I don’t quite remember.
Also, I don’t remember where we found this keg that Elder Hanson from Des Moines, Iowa, is holding.
The keg made a very mediocre night stand, as you can imagine. The mission wanted us to get rid of it, even though it was empty. You can see that other missionaries autographed it.
The only time on my mission we entered a liquor store. We got five bucks for the keg.
This is another blog post as well- Elder Steed crashing into a rock pile after riding his bike down a set of stairs. The Good Canadian cut up his hands pretty badly but didn’t utter one swear word.
The Fountain zone- we called our softball team the Cottontails. We were supposed to play another team comprised of mostly a family. The Bartons, if I remember. They had beaten a couple of other, past zones in softball. The Bartons played a real smoke-and-mirrors/finesse style of softball. When I was in Fountain with Hiestand, Foulger and company, I knew we had a zone that could beat the Bartons. So we made t-shirts. But the Bartons didn’t even show up. DIDN’T EVEN SHOW. Cuz we would have annihilated them.
Typical day off. P-day, or Preparation day. That’s when we were supposed to do laundry and stuff.
What a squad.
Elder Steed. We called him Prince William.
The Olympic Training Center was in Colorado Springs. A visit there was a decent P-Day activity as we weren’t allowed to do much else.
We weren’t allowed to kiss girls, so Hiestand is settling here.
I remember that it rained this day and that Elder Smallwood attacked Elder Moses. The fight was broken up pretty quickly.
We used to watch the girls play softball out of the window in our room.
And we’d tell Moses to calm down and not yell vulgar things loud enough for them to hear- we represent the frickin’ church, after all.
Moses. I don’t know if this is the day our companionship began or ended.
Moses is burning a tie on his sixth month anniversary, as was customary. Ordinarily a mission is 2 years.
This photo was taken in Pueblo, Colorado- my last area. Pueblo is an hour south of Colorado Springs, where I’d just spent 10 months. The missionary on the far right is Elder Thurgood. We were together two transfers and had some serious fun. He was my 2nd greenie. This is a posterity picture. Tikalsky is next to me with his first Greenie. I became a Grandfather this Transfer.
Wood is making the goofy face.
We went to a game in P-day (plain, not proselyting) clothes and got busted. President was not happy.
Must have been the first game, as I’m wearing proselyiting clothes or simply- pros.
My Greenie, Tikalsky.
My trainer, Elder Arizona Ray is in the hat. This is his posterity photo.
This is the famed “Girl Across The Hall.” Or Gath. In the hallway, as she was coming or going, Elder K told her she had beautiful eyes while talking to her about the church. She lived DIRECTLY across the hall.
We spent Christmas with a Mormon family, as is typical. You see Bob came along.
Taken in Denver. Sorry about the ink stains.
Elder Milius came out of the MTC with me, though I never got to spend much time with him. He’s wearing Bob’s cardigan.
A photo sent from my friend Deloy in Russia.
Life-Long Pal Tyson sends love from Africa.
He’s protesting having to wear Pros to the baseball game by wearing a bow-tie. Missionaries don’t wear bow-ties.
There is a sneaker in front of the door to keep it from swinging all the way open. I don’t want it open. I only want it a few inches open, to say, I’m approachable, but I’m not really crazy about doing anything. Being bugged. But you don’t have to actually call or text of you need something. You can even poke your head in before knocking. But I’m watching a Justin Bieber video right now, and I’d prefer to be alone.