This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Kind of a shorter post. On the 22nd, our mission had a zone conference consisting of all the missionaries on this side of the river. We had a few lessons, ate lunch, watched "Dolphin Tale" and played a strange live-action version of the board game Battleship. The whole event took 8 hours. We were all beat when it was over. We spent a lot of Christmas Eve helping Caleb Byrd put up more barbed-wire fencing. That project is finally done. It was fun to do! Very different.

On Christmas day, we attended two 1-hour-long sacrament meetings. Many less-active members came, which was nice. Of course, they're the people that would go to church on any given Christmas, so we just need to teach them that coming back is important. The programs were very musical. The Michaelis family had us over for the rest of the day, and we had an awesome barbecue brisket dinner. I got to Skype with my family, and they were all looking happy and healthy. I'm excited for the new year coming! Lots of miracles will happen. Thank you, everyone, for all you've done for me this past year. I love you all.

-Elder Staib

Pictures from the week before Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas is Coming

I hope you guys get a white Christmas. I'll introduce you guys to the family having us over for Christmas dinner - The Michaelis family. I'll talk more on Sunday, I guess. See you guys!


Heeeeeeeeeey everyone.

While it's on my mind, the football stadium from the last batch of pictures with the banner that says "Home of the Saints" was the exact high school Michael Oher went to in real life. We pass it every time we go to our district meetings every week. Pretty crazy, huh?

Michael Oher's High School
(He was the subject of the movie "The Blind Side")

We've had lots of good times with members this past week, serving others and attending the ward Christmas party. Elder Fry and I got our first Christmas present a couple days ago: Playing cards. The plastic matte stuff. We both got our own set. To be honest, I was surprised to get any presents here at all. I didn't know missionaries got anything from members! I don't really want or need anything for Christmas this year.

We also finally lit up our tree. A family gave us these special glasses that make small snowmen appear around a light, so I took that picture through the lens of the glasses. Pretty cool, huh? In another one of those pictures, you can see a bunch of decorations on top of a P.T. Cruiser. The train on top of the car actually runs. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen.

School is out this week, so we (hopefully) have the chance to teach a lot more this week. It's been hard on our bike week, with the weather changing every day, it seems. My back tire popped on Thursday from another missionary riding it, but we patched it up. Taking a hybrid on a curb? Really?

Anyway... I gotta get going. I'll update you guys on my Christmas experience next week. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! Love y'all!


Monday, December 12, 2011


Hey, everybody!

We had a baptism this weekend. Blake Sorrell was baptized on Saturday by his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Ian Weldele. It took 3 tries, but Blake finally went under. Elder Fry and I stood in as the witnesses of the baptism, and then on Sunday Blake asked us to stand in for the confirmation. It was a cool experience. Blake and Molly (his fiancee) have been awesome friends to us. They want to travel the world shortly after their marriage. I'm pretty jealous. The world sounds like a fantastic place!

We got snow earlier this week. It looked awesome, and brought thoughts o' me homeland. The branches of the dead trees caught white veins that floated in the air. It's melted since then. I'll be lucky if it happens 2-3 more times this winter. Apparently, an early December snow is rare. Must be my snowflake pocket watch (which is so much more legit than a wrist watch).

The members have been great, as always. We're set for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I've made many friends here that will probably last a lifetime. Heads up, parents. We may get visitors coming to Utah some time. Of course, many families here have lived in Utah at some point anyway. Collierville is a business community. It's the world headquarters for FedEx, International Paper, and some big medical company. We're very well-taken care of here.

With one baptism on Saturday, it's time to go back out and get another one. We've got a couple of potential people in mind, so we're eager to start teaching them this week. Not too much to talk about this week, I guess. Work has been slow. We're always keeping our eyes and hearts open for those waiting to hear the Word.

To Levi and Stephen: I'm sorry I haven't written a letter yet. Levi, I hope your mission plans are going smoothly. Stephen, I hope your school plans are going well, too. You guys are awesome, and I'm happy to be your friend.

To all my UVU comrades: Hope schooling and club activities are going well for you guys, too.

To my family, I love you guys and all your support for me.

The missionaries have been good to me. The members have been good to me. God has been good to me.

--Elder Staib

Pictures of the Baptism and Unusual Winter Weather

Monday, December 5, 2011

Collierville - Planning for a Baptism

Hey everyone.

This past week has been incredibly slow. Our potential investigators haven't been home. Tracting hasn't been too successful, either. There are many proud people here, saying, "We have our faith, and we're fine with it." They say they respect what we do, but they're not willing to listen to a message about Christ any day other than Sunday. We're working to find those willing to hear about the gospel.

The members are helping us tremendously. They drive us, feed us, and make sure we're taken care of. We already have Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day all set up with members. I have many friends in this area. Collierville has become a place I know I can return to and visit some time. It's nice to have so many friends around you, always willing to cheer you up. Our ward is pushing towards missionary work, no matter who you are. We're making sure new converts are welcomed into the ward, like Blake.

Blake has been in the ward for a couple months, and everyone is excited for his baptism. He told us that he had some doubts he didn't know he had before the baptismal interview, but when we went over the questions with him, he really thought about those things, and he felt his testimony grow as he prepared to be interviewed. Blake is too awesome. We're all excited for him. He's being baptized at 3 this Saturday by his fiancee's younger brother, and then we're going to have dinner at their house.

This weekend, we went to a service project at a Scout Camp -- Camp Currier -- over in Mississippi. The project was to clear a path through a forest to connect with another path on the other side of the camp. It was true forest wilderness. We came prepared with chainsaws, rakes, clippers, weed wackers... The path was about 200-250 yards. We tore through all the trees and thorns in an hour and a half. Our team of 30 people fluidly moved through the forest, and the path was cleaned up, with the exception of the layer of fall leaves. It was awesome, and we all had fun doing it. Everyone came out of there with a feeling of accomplishment. It was a joint effort of Collierville 1st and Collierville 2nd ward.

Afterwards, a ward member, Bro. Michaelis, took us quickly over to Graceland (since it was on the way home). We didn't look around too much, but we parked outside of Elvis' mansion and looked at the wall surrounding the grounds. It's covered in names people have written there. Bro. Michaelis showed us where his family had signed. Elder Fry and I signed right above it. It'll be there for at least 10-15 years, I predict. I'd like to try and go back someday, and see the entirety of Graceland. I was surprised, though. It's located in the middle of a tough. It wasn't like that 20 years ago, apparently. But now it's about as tough as most other places around here, which is kinda sad. It's amazing what gangs do around here.

It rained all day yesterday. It's raining all day today. And it will rain all day tomorrow. Collierville is one large puddle. Biking around has been miserable. We're getting around however we can. We get our car tomorrow morning.

I hope you guys are doing alright! I miss all of you over in Utah. Enjoy the snow. I know I would.

-Elder Staib