Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mama Rika Appreciates Creativity

I placed a large stack of books on a step of the stairs so that I could take them upstairs when I was ready to go up.   When I returned, prepared to grab and go, this is what I found...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mama Rika First Ever Whole Family Picture

Modern technology allowed us to snag a picture of our whole family together in one live shot from three different locations!  Silly but fun first family picture.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sport Maki's Golf Pictures

Like Father...

Like Son
"Pointers" for big bro.

Kid Update with Pictures

The eyes checked out perfectly well and the eye doctor was even able to answer most of  this guy's questions.

Sharing a chair.


Little Striped Buddies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mama Rika Kid Pictures

Some pictures of the kids for your enjoyment...

Cool little dude at the dentist.

The bubble, made from the straw and goo stuff, used to be quite a bit bigger.  He is holding a patched up hole.

Sleepy bug.

Finally gets his first haircut.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mama Rika Random Kid Pictures

Awesome morning hair.


What he wanted Santa to bring!

Leaf fun

The help

Snuggling with big sister

New pj's

Making music with big sis.

Sleepy Bug with Big Bro.

Sleepy Bug with Big Sis.

Spidey on Christmas Eve!

Superman on Christmas Eve!

Tomten comes!

Swedish Christmas party.

Wrapping paper heads.

Kid food art

More kid food art

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mama Rika Update...Late Again!

Oops! Looks like I missed sending out an update of any kind last week.  So here is two week's worth of missionary updates.  I will try to see what I can do about posting some other things (pictures, etc.) in the near future.  With company and Christmas time, it makes life even more crazy than usual!!

Missionary Update

December 11th Letter


the Mannington Elders came over for laundry and whatnot. Since they were going to help out moving in the new senior couple the next day, and in an effort to save on our limited mileage restrictions, they stayed overnight. It was fun to blitz our area with them, we were able to get quite a bit done.


The majority of the day was spent helping getting the new apartment ready. All the furniture they got was brand new, and most all of it was had "assembly required" written on the box. Lets just say some of it proved to be more difficult than we wanted. Amidst all our packaging paper and plastic wrap, we slowly turned our empty apartment into a nice little home for them to live in. We were making great progress, but at about 3 o'clock or so, we recieved a call saying that they were on their way and would be there in a couple of hours. We weren't expecting them till the next day. We worked hard and we were able to finish assembling everything and clean up the apartment before they arrived. It was pretty great.

The new senior couple are pretty awesome. They're from Nevada, and have gotten straight to work. Within a few minutes of arriving in their new home, they headed off to have a meeting with Bishop about our Christmas program on the 23rd. They'll be a great help to this ward.


E. Boughan lost his voice somewhere along the way. He wasn't super sick, he just really couldn't talk at all. His voice would go in and out and was mostly just a whisper. This made our lives quite interesting as we tried to proselyte. The main thing that missionaries do is talk to people... well... missionary work practically halts when you can't talk. So we did a little service, a little planning.


Cool thing: So we started going out and introducing the new senior couple to a lot of the members. Well, we went to Mutual last night and found out that one of the less active members we'd been teaching off and on had quite smoking for the past 8 days. So on Thursday we went and taught him/ encouraged him to keep it up. Now  we just have to work on getting him out to church. Progress!


We had a referral from a member of the ward a few weeks ago that we haven't been able to contact. It was one of those that didn't have a phone number or address and was tucked away out in the hollers. Well, We were finally able to find a member that knew where they lived and we were able to get out there with them. The little girl is 9 and has wanted to be baptized for over a year now. Her grandma is an active member and he mother is an inactive one. I was very impressed with her. She's read through the bible, yes, the whole bible, the Book of Mormon, and we think she might have also read D&C. It was pretty great.

She was EXTREMELY excited to meet with us. One of the first questions she asked was if she could be baptized. When we told her she'd need her mom's permission first, she raced to the back room and asked immediately. Her mom gave her permission, and she came back out with a big grin on her face and asked us if we could do it on the 22nd of this month. We told he that would work perfectly. Sometimes God gives us a golden one out in these hills. :)


It was a big service day all day on saturday. First, we moved an investigator she'll be heading down to good old Arizona. There wasn't a ton of stuff to load, so we were able to finish in record time. Later that day, we helped out the salvation army and rang the bell outside of the grocery store. E. Boughan and I also decided that Caroling was appropriate. So we sang as we rang. A few people stopped to listen to our resounding renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

When we finished we went to the fairmont Christmas Parade. We knew quite a few people in it, and were able to bump into a few investigators there. Right before the Parade started, the fire trucks had to leave to help out with a structure fire on the other side of town. Well, that left Santa without a ride, so he ended up on a 4 wheeler at the end of the parade.


The new senior couple gave talks in church. Mostly about Tithing. Sis. L shared some cool stories about how tithing had brought many small miracles into her life. Bro L talked about the importance of tithing and tithing settlement. It was a couple of really good talks. We went out with our elders quorum president to go see some less active members. I felt like were starting to make some progress there.

 December 17th Letter


Had our Specialized training/ Zone Christmas Party. It was pretty sweet. The actual training part was pretty cool. President Pitt normally will sit down with each new trainer (the missionary getting a brand new greenie companion) and give them specific training. Well, since there's going to be a ton of new missionaries due to the new announcement on missionary age, he just gave the specific training to the whole zone and said that basically all of us would be training.

After the training part, we had the Christmas party. We played silly games, like the type that would be on the game show "minute to win it". The first game I got our team off to a great start. The object of the game was to "football hike" rolls of toilet paper from the ground through a hula hoop a few yards away. Our district won that one, and ended up winning overall even with an intense tie breaker of m&m sorting.

To top it all off, E. Boughan and I were able to set a couple of people on date for baptism in the upcoming months.


Pday was pretty fun. We randomly found this brightly colored green bird on the hood of a parked truck. It looked like it either escaped from the zoo, or it was straight out of the rain forest. It was pretty cool, so of course we tried to catch it. We came pretty close, but sadly, we were unable to do so. The whole flight thing made it really difficult.

Later that day we were driving out to the church. The car in front of me was stopped at the stop sign and started to pull away. Well I wasn't paying enough attention and didn't realize that he'd stopped again. So I slowly rolled into the guys hitch. We got out to check the damage and there was nothing on his car, so he told us, "it's cool" and drove away. We had a small, round dent in our bumper. We got an estimate later on in the week, and apparently it costs $470 to fix small dent. 


Pretty slow day overall, we mostly just street contacted all day long. It was kind of cold outside, so not too many people were out and about.


More car stuff... We looked down at our emissions sticker on our windshield and realized that ours was about 4 months overdue. So we went and got a new one.


Busy day. We planned our ward Christmas party for Saturday, so a lot of the day was spent inviting people to that. We ended up with a really good turn out. 

Earlier this week I got a package from home that had a 12 days of Christmas theme to it. Each day, twelve days before Christmas there's a present and a scripture that goes with the present. So far I have yet to guess correctly the present based off of the scripture. Friday was the first day I got to open one of the presents. Mostly they're just some silly things, but I've had a lot of fun with them so far. The first gift was a small plastic pipe when that when you blow into it, it makes a ball float in the air. "like magic!" it says on the package. We've found out that it also works with mini marshmallows.


Ward Christmas party was pretty great. We basically helped set up all day. It turned out really nice and we had a bunch of non-members there. I was able to perform a Christmas medley on the piano using "Silent Night" "Angels We have Heard on High" and "Joy to the World". It was fun.


President Pitt called me and asked me if I would be a zone leader. I was somewhat surprised since I wasn't currently serving in any other leadership role other than Senior Companion. But I'm excited for the road ahead. The cool thing about it is I'm going to Clarksburg, one of the neighboring areas to Fairmont. My new area is only 15 min away.


Said some goodbyes to a lot of members here in Farimont. I've grown attached to this area and will definitely miss it. I might still be able to go on exchanges down here though. We'll see. :) Exciting stuff.

Love ya tons!

Elder Brayden Connole

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mama Rika Random Pics

Eating a carrot corn-on-the-cob style.

Dressed for the skit they did for Family Home Evening.  Take note of the all paper outfit made by Princess & worn by the littlest guy.
This shows three Lego forts we built for Peanut's presentation.

Princess decided to snap this shot of a sunset from our  back porch.

Brotherly love.

The 4 y/o read every word of all of these + more in one day.  Craziness!

Princess' Taj Mahal complete with reflection pool.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Short and Sweet Mama Rika Update

This cute little "Who" is all ready for dress rehearsal to begin!  The show went well and she did a great job.

And here is this from my missionary:  

So this week was probably one of the slowest so far on the mission. I've been sick all week, and not really able to go out much. Well, I'm able to, but by command of the mission nurse and by courtesy to not spread disease, we stayed inside. However, we still had a couple of really cool things happen. Disclaimer: these will not be in chronological order. 

We had an appointment with an investigator which we had scheduled a while ago. She called us up and asked if we also wanted to have dinner before the lesson. Being the hungry missionaries that we are, we obviously we agreed to the terms. Dinner was good and then our investigator introduced us to her boyfriend. We invited him to sit in on the lesson, which he did. For the most part he was taking care of the  year old, and it didn't seem like he was able to pay much attention. We invited him to read a few scriptures, which he did, and the lesson went rather smoothly. Toward the end of the lesson, the Boyfriend was really interested, and he started asking a lot of really awesome questions. "which church is the right church for me?" "do I need baptism too?" "How can the Book of Mormon help me?" "Where will I go after this life?" Etc.

We gave him a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment the next day. We met with him then, and taught him more about Joseph Smith. Hopefully we'll keep meeting with him and help direct him to where he needs to go. 

Sometime during the week, we decided that, first of all, we needed to get out of the apartment, and second we needed to get some earmuffs. (I'd started getting the beginning signs of an ear infection and decided to get as much protection as I could) So we start looking for ear muffs. 8 stores and a couple gas stations later, the only pair of ear muffs we could find were pink and had little piggies on them... Somehow I don't think our mission president would approve those for me. :) We tried Rite Aid, Family Dollar, a couple clothing stores, Dicks Sporting Goods, Dollar General, to name a few. Walmart didn't even have any! It was ridiculous. Finally we tried Gabes and they had the perfect set. Who knew that ear muffs would be so difficult to find in West Virginia.

Anyway, Sorry it's short, love ya tons!

Elder Brayden Connole

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mama Rika Update...I'm Getting More Boring

I keep thinking I will post more often, including funny things, tips and tricks, etc.  All I seem to manage right now is throwing some pictures down and giving a missionary update. of these days...

We went to the grocery store and I treated them for a ride afterwards.  

This year's Thanksgiving tree.  We write something we are thankful for on the leaves.  Hopefully the leaves are totally stuffed with thankful for words by the time Thanksgiving gets here.

Princess went outside to do her school work.  It was a little cold, so she bundled up in a sleeping bag.  Her littlest brother had to come snuggle with her.
The boys decided they needed their Peruvian hats to keep them warm while working on their schoolwork.  Princess is off looking for hers.

This little guy decided to change his Sunday clothes look by wearing his shirt backwards.  He did it all by himself.

Missionary Update:

Well, I've decided, being sick is no fun. Being sick while being a missionary is doubly no fun. You can't decide whether to stay in and rest or go out and work, either way you feel terrible. One for not doing missionary work, and the other for being sick while doing it. Bleh... But we did have some really cool things happen this week.


Zone Conference! Yes! Zone Conferences are awesome! If you ever get the opportunity to go to a zone conference do not pass it up. I was asked to give a special musical number, so I played a rendition of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" I played 5 verses, on the 3rd and 4th I switched into minor key which really added a lot to the whole piece. Overall It was one of my favorite special musical numbers I've done on my mission. I seem to have done a lot more musical performances out here as compared to back home. I think it was easier to fly under the radar back home.

 Pday, we did laundry, wrote letters, played games, the usual. Then we had dinner with some members, and picked up a bookcase from a member to add to our furniture in our new apartment.


Went on exchanges with Morgantown 2. E. Cameron and I really worked hard up there. We had a couple of really cool things happen. We stopped in to try and see an investigator, but they weren't home, so instead we tried a potential down the street. While the potential was excited to see us, he couldn't meet with us right then, but he did tell us to stop by their neighbor. When we dropped by, we found out they'd already met with missionaries before and would love to have us come back. We set up an appointment for later that evening when the husband would be home, and taught them that day. It was a pretty cool appointment.

After we taught the lesson and whatnot, we were about to leave, but the husband stopped us. He looked down at my shoes and asked if he could polish them for me. Since I'd never had an investigator offer before, I wasn't sure what to say. I told him not to worry about it, but thanks for the offer. He insisted and pulled out his shoe shining kit, and polished them for me right then and there. I left that place with a big smile and some shiny shoes.


Started feeling pretty sick and stayed inside most of the day. We had a 3 o'clock appointment and a 7 o'clock appointment. In between was sleep time.


Felt much better during the day, so we got out and worked, but toward the end of the day, I could feel the cold creeping back into my head. We had some awesome members that brought by some home made chicken noodle soup. It was perfect.


We found out that E. Boughan and I are staying another transfer together. That will mean that I will go for 10 transfers with 4 companions and 3 areas. President Pitt doesn't like to move me around much. :) I'm ok with that.


Went home early from church to avoid other people getting sick too. We were able to organize/ clean the apartment for a bit, but the rest of the day was pretty dull.