Friday, September 27, 2013

September 26th letter

Dear Family,
     So I did get your letters from and probably is better to send them like that because e-mail is one time a week and is hard to get done. Hard to believe that only a week has gone by. The days feel like weeks and the week feels like a day. We have decided in our district that being in the MTC is like trying to drink from a fire hose. It doesn't work very well without the guidance from the spirit and the support of all the missionaries around me.
     I will be leaving the morning of October 2, that is a Wednesday and my flight leaves at 6:00 am to Minneapolis, where we have a 1 hr. layover. I don't know whether or not you want to talk early morning, or if you want to talk during the layover. Write me back and let me know what you want to do.
     So Concerning companions, there are three companionships in my district. Elder Walters and Elder Seeley, Elder Nielson and Elder Wilson,   Elder Allen and Myself . My companion has been a difficult guy from the beginning. On Monday my companion and I were teaching an investigator, ( Actors) and he cut me off from what I was saying and that was just one of the many things I dislike about him. So after we got done teaching we had a little chat and it turned into a yelling match and I hated my companion at that point in time. After we settled down a bit we talked it out and we are friends now. Sometimes explosions do solve you problems. As I said in my e-mail, we do live in the west campus in the Wyview apartments. There are 4 of us to a room. We have a private bathroom and shower, couches, desks, table, fridge, needless to say we have great living spaces. It is the HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE! This experience is like a roller coaster, very high when you can make connections between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The lowest points are where you are studying to know what to teach but you can't figure out what the Lord wants you to teach. You have to be obedient to the mission rules in all that you do.. Wake-up at 6:30 every morning , 16 hours of class and service and 10:30 bedtime. Hard to do, no naps, no down time. I wish that my brothers could see what happens here in the MTC and the spirit that is present here. Tell Chase that I loved his letter that he sent me.
     We have had a couple of devotionals and watched a talk by Elder Bednar. In all of them they talked about how we need to lose ourselves in the work. When we are tired and at our breaking point, God will give us strength to get through it.
     I have no concept of days, everything blends together. Homesickness only sets in when I let it and I forget the real reason that I am here. Glad to know everything is good at home. Hope that everything continues to stay that way. Hope you are still loving your jobs and that Dylan and Chase are still good in school. Tell me how Brandon is doing. Haven't heard anything from him yet. I know what Im doing is right. I know the gospel is true. I love it with all my heart. I love all of you and will keep you in my prayers!!
Love, Elder Laing

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Elder Laing's first note.....

Just been the most absolute craziest days. Finally got half a p day today so thats a plus. been learning so much about the gospel and about myself. have an interesting companion but thats ok, our other roomates are awesome. Food is great here 3 meals a day all the juice and chocolate i can drink so lifes good. no homesickness yet, but im sure that it is coming, living in the west campus so its a little different. deffinetly better appartments and more room to live. private showers. they gave us bedding but its paper thin so... ya. Nothing more to report. next p day is on friday so look forward to then.
Love Elder Laing

Departure Day!!

It was an early morning, with so many emotions going through my mind! Corey and I have raised this fine young man for 18 years and now it is time for him to leave his family and friends and serve the Lord. Blake has always lived his life with so much integrity. He has always chosen to live right, to be honest, to be a good friend and example to everyone. Blake has always wanted to Serve a Mission, and it's hard to believe that the time is here. We will miss everything about him! He has been a joy to raise. I have no doubt in my mind that he will go out there and serve with dignity.
We took a few pictures in the morning before we left Here he is already to go, feeling excited and yes he admitted it, a little nervous too! .

Blake slept most of the way out to Provo. We ran a few errands when we got there picking up last minute things that Blake was going to need. ( Which he ended up leaving in the car and we didn't realize it until we got home) We went to Sizzler for lunch before taking Blake up to the MTC. So this is a picture of  the guys enjoying their food.Our waiter was from Virginia, which is where Blake's mission is. He said that his parents feed the missionaries all the time. So that will be neat if Blake ever gets to meet them.  

There is a parking lot dedicated to families dropping off their Missionaries, just below the Provo Temple.
It is very peaceful there. Lot's of laughter, hugs, tears, and pictures. But with all of that, you can feel the spirit so strong. I Cherish the memories of our family there.....We all tried to keep our emotions in check. I didn't wan't Blake to be upset, as he was just glowing. He was set apart as a missionary the night before by our Stake President, Bradley LeBaron. And by looking at Blake you could tell that he was a Servant of our Heavenly Father.
The moment came when it was time to take Blake across the Street to drop him off for two years. We all hugged him and said our goodbyes. When I hugged him I couldn't help but cry! Oh how I will miss this boy, who turned into a man overnight! We gathered our family into a circle and Corey offered a prayer, it was a sweet tender experience.

 We all piled into the Truck and crossed the road to the Missionary Training Center. There were a sea of Missionaries, each one waiting to take an incoming missionary into the MTC. You don't have much time at the curb, so Elder Laing quickly hugged each of his brothers again, then his Dad and me. We told him how much we loved him, and He walked away. He didn't look back, He was so ready!

 Goodbye Elder Laing! You will be a fantastic Missionary and will be able to serve the Lord with all of your heart, might, mind and strength. You will learn so much about yourself and the Gospel , and you will bless the lives of so many! God be with you till we meet again! WE LOVE YOU ELDER LAING

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day before Departing

The day before Blake left to go into the MTC was a busy one. Of course we didn't pack until that afternoon, and it was nice, because it was just me and Blake, the kids were at school, so we didn't have any body interupting us. We went through the lists, and got it all in with room to spare:) Including a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper...haha

Blake will be riding a bike on his mission. So we decided to save some money and use the bike that Corey took on his Mission. It is a really nice heavy duty bike, but it needed a little updating. So we took the bike over to Altitude cycle in Vernal and had them do a complete tune-up on the Bike and make sure all cables and everything was new. They did an awesome job and it only cost $150.00. We have to ship the Bike to the Mission home in Washington DC, so today Blake and his Dad took the handlebars off and a tire, and fit it into a bike box. 

I keep asking Blake if doing all of these things like packing and getting the Bike ready is making him nervous or excited.....he just smiles and sais, What is there to be nervous about! I'm just excited!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Elder Laing's Farewell

Blake finally decided to sit down, and focus on getting a talk for Sunday, last Thursday morning. He was assigned the topic "Being a disciple of Christ". It didn't take him long to prepare it, and he said he wasn't going to look at it again until he gave it on Sunday. After hearing him get up on Sunday and give the most amazing talk, I have no doubts that Blake will be an excellent missionary. We had a lot of family come this weekend, which was fun to see them all again. Blake is setting a great example to all of his cousins, and they all look up to him. It was also nice to have a few of Blake's friends that he grew up with in American Fork come out. Tyson Green who is headed to Bulgaria, Alex Hess and McKay Coleman. After the Farewell, we all went over to Constitution Park for a luncheon. We have a great family and everyone brought food. It was great to all be together as family and friends before Blake left. Blake received quite a bit of money from his family and some ward members, that will be helpful in the next few months on his mission. What a blessing to have wonderful people in our lives.  He will have a lot of support while he is gone!
 These Boys have been Blake's best friends while growing up. We were missing Garrett Taylor that day. Christopher is the closest cousin in age to Blake on the Laing side and they have always been close. These boys could go three years without seeing each other. Blake is the first of his friends to go on a mission.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cousin and Friend Party

What a great, fun, crazy weekend all rolled into one! It started with having all of Corey's family coming in from out of town for Blake's Farewell. It was so fun to see everyone again. It had been a long time since we had seen some of them. Saturday night before Blake's farewell, Blake had some of his older cousins and some of his friends from American Fork over for a little get together. We lit a fire out in the fire pit, and broke out the Smores. It was a great night with lots of fun and laughs.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hot Date to the City!

     With Blake getting ready to leave in a week, I thought it would be fun to spend a day with him in Salt Lake. Kind of a last Mother and son date. So I decided I wanted to take him to the Salt Lake Temple. It's so beautiful there and different from the Vernal Temple where he has been serving as a Temple Worker for the past 8 weeks. We got up that morning and it was pouring down rain, but we didn't let that stop us.
After we did a session, I wanted to take Blake over to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to the top floor. He had never been up there before. I wanted him to be able to look down on Temple square.

After finishing up some last minute Missionary Shopping and Lunch at Pizza Pie Café with Brandon we headed home. It was so much fun but we were definitely exhausted when we got home.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Last family trip for a few years

We didn't go far, but we were together! We knew this would be the last family trip for a few years and with a missionary going out, we wouldn't be able to do a huge trip, but that didn't matter. A good time was had by all. We left here early on Saturday morning and met Brandon at the Timpanogos Temple. It was the first time that we had all of our boys in the Temple together. What a wonderful feeling that was for Corey and I, knowing that they were all there serving. After we did Baptisms, we took them to the cafeteria for Lunch. They say now that they have eaten Temple Food! It was really good, but for four growing boys, not quite enough!

 I love seeing all of my boys dressed in their white shirts and ties. These are our Missionaries, and I hope that they will all follow the example of Blake and serve their Heavenly Father.

I love this Picture of Blake, not sure what he's thinking or even what he is laughing at, but this is Blake's true personality, always smiling, having fun, and always Joking.

These two guys have become pretty close lately. We are very proud of both of them, and now that they are out on their own, we know that they will be great in whatever they choose to do with their lives! They are such great examples for their younger brothers.

On Sunday, we went to the Salt Lake City Cemetery and used a map to locate where some of the LDS prophets are buried. It was a spiritual experience also, as we read about each prophet.  When President Hinckley passed away, we were living in American Fork, and were able to go up to the Conference Center to the viewing. President Hinckley was the Prophet that my older boys grew up with, so they have always loved him. 

    We had no idea that Porter Rockwell was buried there so it was quite a surprise to happen upon his resting place. Corey told the boys a little about him and how he was a body guard to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

 Monday was labor day, and we took in a movie together, lunch and some shopping. It was a fun time to be together as a family....the last time in a long time I'm sure!