Friday, December 20, 2013


On Tuesday December 17, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, the time has come for my first transfer! I'm sad to be leaving Smithfield, I've really come to love the people and the area. But, I know the Lord needs me in Hooper, so I'm excited to go! My new companion (whom I haven't met yet, I leave tomorrow) is Elder Richie, and I've heard great things about him. He's been in Hooper for about 6 months now, so he'll be very familiar with the area and I'm sure he'll really be able to help me transition into serving there. And also, I've been told that it's pronounced "Hupper" so I need to be sure to do that from the beginning because apparently it's a big deal, haha. I don't want to offend anyone! But I'm excited!

On a more spiritual note, I really had my testimony strengthened this past week when we met a man who's quite literally lost everything. The tragedy he experienced humbled him so deeply that he suddenly turned to activity in the church after decades of inactivity. He was baptized when he was 8, but really never gained a knowledge of the Gospel. He said his eyes were opened in the past few weeks, and when I suggested that it was a miracle, he said that that was the third time he had heard that on that same day, and that he had never looked at it that way, but he really began to recognize it as such. The Spirit was intensely strong, and during the lesson we felt prompted to make a promise, that if he remained humble, repented, and turn himself towards Christ and His Atonement, that the Lord would lift him to a point even higher than he had been before. The words just fell out of my mouth, and that's when I really began to understand how the Spirit gives me the capacity to fulfill my calling. Without the Spirit and the setting apart, I'm just a 19 year old kid! That, in itself, is also a miracle.

I know this is the work of the Lord. I know that I'm serving here in this mission and these areas because it's exactly where I'm meant to be at the time that I'm supposed to be here. I pray that I will be able to touch the hearts of the people I serve as they have touched mine.

I hope everyone is having a great winter break! And congrats again to Mary for graduating!! WOOH!

Elder Kamilos

On Tuesday December 10, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I think you're getting more winter weather there than we are here! We got about 4 inches a couple of days ago. The only thing about it here is that it's FRIGID! I think it hit -12 degrees last night, and it's almost consistently in the single digits during the day. But it's bearable. At least it's dry here!

The Christmas Party was great! I got the package (THANK YOU!!) and we got to watch Ephraim's Rescue. Great movie!

As for last week's questions, I have not done any driving yet. I'm still in my first area and it's a walking/biking area. Although transfers are next week so you never know if I'll stay or go! I hope I stay though, I love it here in Smithfield. I've made some great relationships with some of the members, and the people we're working with are great! We're hoping to have another baptism in a couple of weeks (pray for us!). And we just go to the City Recreational Center. We got permission from the Zone Leaders. We go at 6 AM most mornings, and we got a huge discount for a one month membership, so it was really cheap. I don't know if I mentioned this in an earlier e-mail, but I think Smithfield is somewhere around 80-85% LDS. So, we're very well taken care of, to say the least.

Anyway, stay warm! Hope everything is going well and that conditions aren't too dangerous! Love you all!

Elder Michael Kamilos

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Catching up...

November 26, 2013:

Dear Mom and Dad,

That's cool! I thought maybe you had been in this area before, but I wasn't sure. And speaking of the Logan Temple, I finally got to go this morning! It's a beautiful temple. It really reminded me of how much I love the temple, and how much work there still is to do!

The work here is really starting to pick up! This week was very successful, and I honestly believe that it's because my companion, Elder Trujillo, and I have started changing our methods of finding and teaching. We've been following the promptings of the Spirit, and it's led us to so many more great opportunities! One of the biggest things was our decision to visit the various leaders in the stake. And it's no coincidence that the first people we were inspired to visit were the Relief Society presidents of each ward! They're all so amazing, and they really help us know and understand the more specific needs of the members and non-members in the area.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I hope everyone gains at least 5 pounds! Haha, I'll be lucky if I don't gain more than 10 on Thursday. But the good news is that I and the 3 other Elders I live with (including my companion) got permission and have started working out at a gym at 6 am every morning! So I'll try to work off some of the turkey and stuffing weight. The fact that I can even get out of bed that early every day is a miracle in itself! The Lord really does bless us with the capacity to magnify our callings if we are diligent and seek to do our best.

I'm grateful for the many wonderful opportunities I have to serve the people here in the Valley. They've blessed my life, and I hope and pray that I'm able to do all that I can to bless them as well. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the Razorbacks do better next year... But hey, we all have our trials! The team just has to work through some of theirs.

I love you all!!

Elder Kamilos

PS. I caught a glimpse on Facebook of Jessica's team winning the SEC!!! Congratulations!! Woo Pig!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life in Cache Valley

Elder Kamilos on November 12, 2013:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Everything about Cache Valley is true! The people are great, the members are super helpful and supportive, and the community is very strong here. Smithfield is beautiful, and I love the area we work in! My companion's mouth is healed now. We were very easy-going for a couple of days, making sure he got plenty of rest, but we're back up to speed now, and we actually doubled our lessons this past week! Of course, that was after the wisdom teeth week, but it was still very encouraging! Also, I was able to get a coat and a sweater and gloves for very cheap at the Deseret Industries in Logan! The weather this week has actually been really pleasant though, but I'm sure we'll get hit with winter soon enough. That's crazy that it's colder there than it is here! I'm not sure how long that'll last though.

It's great to hear that the work is moving forward back home as well! Is Elder McReynolds still in the YSA ward or did he transfer? The work is going well here, and the fact that we can get on Facebook is really just incredible! I feel like it opens up a whole lot of possibilities for missionary work. I can keep in touch with friends back home, as well as people here in this area! It's truly amazing how accessible the Gospel is in our day.

As for the visa documents, I'll get those taken care of and sent back home ASAP! I'm hoping that this means my visa paperwork is at the top of the stack now, haha. I'm sure it'll all work out the way it should. I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now, and I'd be fine staying here for as long as I need to!

I hope everything is going well back home! Give everyone my greetings and love!


Elder Kamilos

Elder Kamilos on October 29, 2013:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm in the field!!! And as you can see, my p-day is actually on Tuesday, so it's the same as in the MTC! My first area is Smithfield, which is pretty much part of Logan. It's SO beautiful here, I absolutely love it. My trainer's name is Elder Trujillo, and he's from Monterey, Mexico, and he's a great missionary! He actually just got his wisdom teeth pulled today, so we might be stuck at home for a couple of days :/ But my first week here has been absolutely incredible! I'm amazed at how much work there is to do out here! We cover the Smithfield Stake, which has 8 wards. We're in a biking area, but we actually walked last week because I was in a trio up until yesterday. Elder Jensen had been here for about 2 months waiting for a visa to Argentina, and he just left yesterday! So that was exciting for him, and now we're back in a duo companionship. We have a baptism this weekend for an 11 year old boy named Joseph Soto, and last
Thursday, I gave my first baptismal invite to a family of 5, and they accepted!! I felt so blessed!! Also, yesterday, we met with a 14 year boy named Larry Hernandez, and gave him the first two lessons and set
a date for him to be baptized on the 9th of Nov! He is SO prepared, and he's an awesome kid. I can totally see him being a general authority or something, because he has such a strong spirit about him.

About the mission! The Ogden Mission was the third mission in the WORLD to implement iPads into the work, so we're blessed with such an amazing tool to hasten the work. Along with that, we can also use
Facebook to proselyte! How cool is that!! So starting this week, I'll be able to log into my normal profile and hopefully get in touch with my non-member friends! The condition is that we can use it as long as we're fulfilling our missionary purpose, so as long as I'm discussing the gospel, fellow-shipping members, or doing other mission related things, I can use Facebook! The Gospel really has no limits now! And my mission president, President Hiers, made a great point: the middle-east doesn't have missionaries, but it has the internet and facebook! The message can be carried to pretty much any part of the world through a variety of ways!

Today was the first snowfall, but it warmed up and melted. But winter is definitely coming soon! And we're going to get me a coat and other stuff in a little bit today. Also, Elder Trujillo just got his wisdom teeth taken out today, so we might be stuck at home or nearby for a couple of days, which is unfortunate, but we'll get some good planning and study time in!

As for the package, I can't think of anything I really need right now. Just whatever you'd like to send will be great for me!! I'll let you know next week if I need any cold-weather supplies, but I should be able to get what I need here. I probably won't need another suitcase, the ones I have are enough for all my stuff.

I'll try to get you some pictures next week! I left my camera at home (we actually live with at a member's home in the basement), so I'll make sure to get some next week. I'm glad you got the pictures from
Sister Davis of me singing! It was a lot of fun!

I'll talk to you next week!! I love you and I pray for the family every day!

Elder Michael Kamilos

Ps. There are so many awesome members here! We have dinner appointments everyday, and actually on this last Sunday we had two...I was SO full afterwards, because I had to eat a full dinner at both
appointments. And then we had a lesson that night, and they gave us peach cobbler and ice cream. It was all so good, but I felt like I was going to explode. There are also a lot of places in Logan where we can eat lunch for free (we just tip well). Oh the joys of being a missionary in Utah, haha.

Pps. OH MY!! I forgot to tell you something awesome! So last Friday, we had dinner at a member's house, and it turns out his mission president was President Monson! But that's not all! Apparently just two days before we were there, President Monson was at that house visiting them!! We were completely surprised! Apparently President Monson woke up that morning and felt like he needed to visit him and his wife, and so he stopped by that afternoon and gave him a blessing and everything! Sooo yeah, Thomas S. Monson was in our area, a couple of blocks from our house, just four days ago. Only in Utah, haha. But it was really cool to hear the story! I wish I could have been there when he was there, but I know President Monson would rather have us out doing missionary work, which is what we were doing, haha :) But yeah, that was one of the more exciting experiences I had this week.

Love y'all!!

Hey Mary!!

Ogden indeed, haha. And actually, my first area is in Smithfield, which is just outside of Logan. It's beautiful here! I love the people and the town. My companion and I cover the Smithfield Central Stake (yeah, each companionship gets a whole stake), which has 8 wards. I'll put all the details and stuff in my e-mail to Mom and Dad, but I love it here!

Also, this mission was the 3rd mission in the WORLD to get iPads, so that's pretty sweet...

But yeah!! I'm way excited to be out here in the field. Today we had the first snowfall of the year, but it's warmer now so it didn't stay. I'm already starting to witness miracles, it's absolutely amazing. I feel so blessed to be out here serving the people of Smithfield and the Lord. Despite the huge number of members here, there's still a lot of work to be done, and I'm so humbled to be a part of it.

Also, I'm glad Elizabeth sent you the pictures! It was a lot of fun singing at the departure devotional, and I felt so privileged to get to do that.

I hope everything is going great! I pray for everyone in the family every day, and I appreciate all of the prayers you send me!

Elder Michael Kamilos

Monday, October 28, 2013

Two P-day Catch Up - Re-assignments and Devotionals!

Monday October 21, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Bom dia!

They actually gave us time today to do our weekly e-mails today, so I sort of have a preparation morning! I'm doing laundry right now to get ready to pack later today.

I'm glad I have e-mail time today because so much has happened this past week and I want to make sure I get it all in! On Friday I was only concerned about working out reassignment info, so I never got to tell you about the devotional we had last Tuesday. We had Elder Dallin H. Oaks come and give the devotional! The first thing I noticed was how the atmosphere of the room LITERALLY changed when he walked in. When someone who is such a strong influence and vessel for the Spirit, it's hard not to feel the difference. He then gave a great devotional on the Atonement, and the way he gave was really quite enlightening. It was SO simple, and it made me think: this is how I'm supposed to teach as a missionary. Simplify the message, testify of the truthfulness, and not let any of my own thoughts bar me from the direction of the Spirit. A few weeks ago I came up with a saying for this: Simplify, Testify, and Sanctify! This thought that I had had weeks before was just reinforced by Elder Oaks' message.

Last night (Sunday), we had our departure devotional, and another Elder from my district (Elder Green) and I had the privilege to sing for the special musical number for the hundreds of missionaries leaving this week! It was so awesome! And I think Sister Davis (Elizabeth) snapped a picture of us, haha. She'll probably send it home, so you can ask Sister Davis (Carmen) at home if you want to see it. We sang How Great is the Miracle by Sally DeFord. I had never heard it until we practiced it, but it's a very reverent and beautiful song (and we knocked it out of the park, haha).

Those were the two big highlights of this last week (besides the reassignment).

I hope everything is still going great back home!! I'm excited to get to Ogden, Utah tomorrow morning and start my in-field missionary service!



District 70-D at departure

Our district with all of the Branch Presidency members and their wives. I had the BEST branch presidency.
Elder Kamilos and Sister Davis! :)

District 70-D at departure

Elder Kamilos and Elder Green (via Sister Elizabeth Davis)

October 18, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

UPDATE: I got my reassignment yesterday!


I've been re-called to serve in Ogden, Utah until my visa comes through!! I leave on Tuesday, October 22 at 5 am.

I'll be on the computer tonight at 6:45, so if you see this e-mail before then, then we can do a 2-way chat at that time if you're available. We can talk about what I'll need and how we plan on taking care of certain things (like a coat and other cold-weather stuff).

Love you all!

Elder Kamilos

October 15, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Everything is still great at the MTC! I'm learning more and more Português everyday, and I understand more and more of the Gospel and the doctrines as well. My teachers Irmão Dodge e Irmão Laws are both incredible! Irmão Dodge is more calm and quiet, and I can really tell that he cares a lot for us. I learn a lot from him everyday. Irmão Laws on the other hand is very energetic and excited when it comes to teaching. He has a way of explaining things so clearly that he consistently blows my mind away everyday!

I should be getting my reassignment on Thursday, and as far as I know, I'll be able to e-mail you when I find out where I'm going. Also, in my next e-mail I'll leave some details about my travel itinerary so we can set up a quick phone call for when I arrive at the airport that I'll be flying to. I think Elder Young leaves tomorrow morning, I made sure to give him a big hug last night in case I don't see him today, haha.

I saw Elizabeth once on the day that she came in, but I haven't seen her since. I got a picture with her and Brandyn though, so I can send that while I'm doing laundry later (I forgot to bring my camera to this building).

Let's see... a typical day in the MTC. Well first, a little bit about my companion. His name is Elder Beavers, and he's from Gresham (I'm not sure how to spell it...) Oregon. He's 20 years old, and he's very intelligent. He really likes to read, and he's always talking about some of his favorite stories. For the most part, it's not too distracting, we just have to make sure that we stay focused on the Gospel, haha. A typical day involves a LOT of study time. Personal/companionship/language study takes up probably 7 of the 17 hours a day. I have two 3-hour blocks of class every day, and then the rest of the day is spent with meals, exercise, and other stuff. All of my meals are early: Breakfast at 6:30, Lunch at 11, and Dinner at 4. Also, we have gym time 4 days a week, which I always spend playing volleyball! I've gotten pretty good at it; I might keep playing in intramurals or something when I get off my mission.

On top of all the fun I have here, I really do learn a TON about the Gospel every single day. My testimony of the Savior and His atonement grows every minute as I strive to stay worthy and do all I can to be the best missionary I can be. I've read about half of the Book of Mormon while I've been here, and I have to say that my eyes and my heart have been so opened and enlightened since I've been set apart as a missionary. I know this work is true! I can't wait to see where I'll be serving for the first portion of my mission! I know there's somebody in my home country that needs to hear the Gospel from me, and I'll make sure I do everything I can to find them!

I hope everyone at home is well! I'll let you know where I'm going when I get my reassignment! I love you!

Elder Michael Kamilos

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Conference was SO good!"

Dear Mom,

It's so hard to believe that I've already been gone for a whole month!! There's so much that goes on here and life is so busy that everyday feels like an eternity, but when I look back on the week it's just a blink of an eye!

Life is going absolutely great! I think this past week has been my best week so far, and I think a big part of that was General Conference! It was SO good!! I wish I brought my notes to the computer so I could share all of the revelations and insights I had, but I remember the biggest ones so I can share a few thoughts on those. I think one of my favorite talks was Edward Dube's. He was very straight forward, and expressed the importance of looking forward with faith and not dwelling on the past. It felt like a lot of talks were centered on missionary work this conference, but maybe I just noticed it more because I'm on a mission, haha. Another talk I really enjoyed was L. Tom Perry's, because he expounded a lot on what my MTC teacher Irmão Laws has been teaching us about, which is to learn and understand the doctrines and principles of the Gospel before applying and teaching them. And of course I'm sure Pres. Uchtdorf's line "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" has gone viral by now, haha. What a motivating talk! Everyone has something to give, whether it be time, talents, gifts, or service.

Those were just a few of the many things that stood out to me this conference. Maybe I'll have to send another letter to share more of the details. Also, a scripture that really stood out to me in some of my personal reading last week is 2 Nephi 10:23. It's so simple: cheer up! I can choose to be happy! It's really helpful whenever I'm feeling kinda droopy (which 2 Nephi 4:28-35 helps with a lot too. Lehi's last testimony)

As for the snow, we haven't had any hit the ground, but it is definitely getting colder and the mountains are capped with snow, so it's coming! Also, I'm hoping I see (Sister) Elizabeth Davis tomorrow! I'm looking forward to that! Seems like I just came in yesterday for my first day, haha.
I believe Elder Young and the rest of his district get their reassignments this Thursday, and--if I don't get my visa in the next week--I'll be reassigned next Thursday along with the rest of district. If anyone wants to guess where I'm going, send it in the next e-mail and I'll let you know when I get it! It's sort of like getting another call letter! Haha, but hopefully I'm not delayed for too long. I want to get to Brazil ASAP! I don't want to lose any of the Portuguese I've learned, haha.

Anyway, I hope everything continues to go well back home! Give the family my love :) Have a good stake conference too!


Elder Kamilos and Samuel Smith, the first Latter-day missionary!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Familiar Faces and New Friends

Dear Mom,

I am having a great time! It's hard work, but it's definitely the most rewarding experience of my life.

I got the box! Thanks for the twizzlers! And floss, haha:) And I made sure to lock up my shot records in my drawer, so they aren't going anywhere until I leave! And as for the sweater, I was thinking of the long sleeve green/blue striped sweater. It should be in there, hopefully you can find it. I can't think of anything else that I need right now, so that should do for now. Thank you!!

I see Brandyn just about everyday, it's great to have at least one familiar face from home around here, haha. But I'm making a ton of new friends, and I honestly believe that my district is truly the most diligent and dedicated group of Elders in the MTC right now. They're all incredible, and I'm so blessed to have their friendship. Also, 8 of the 12 Elders in my district are going to Joao Pessoa! I realized I didn't mention that in my last e-mail. But that's really cool!

Unfortunately, I'm out of time, so I'll have to cut it a little short this week. But it sounds like it's beautiful back home!! The mornings are reaaally chilly here, so I'm just waiting for the snow to hit in late October (maybe, haha).

Give the family my love!!

Elder Kamilos

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

First P-day

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Well it's my first p-day, and I have to say that so far life in the MTC has been life changing. I think I'll have to write a letter with all the details (for the sake of time) but I want you and everyone to know that I couldn't be any happier in my life! My companion and I get along really well, my district (12 Elders) is absolutely incredible, and I've already had to teach three lessons in Portuguese, haha. But the amazing thing is that we were able to share a really good spiritual lesson, even though it was in very broken and simple Portuguese. So far the highlights have been going to the temple (which we did this morning) and this past Sunday. We had a devotional from Brother and Sister Tanner, and after that we watched a recording of the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. I don't know if you've ever had the chance to see it, but it completely changed my perspective on true conversion! It's an incredible devotional, and it's apparently one of the all-time favorites for many missionaries in the MTC.

As I said, I'll send a letter with even more details, but just know that I couldn't be happier. I love this work, I know it's true, and I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I love you! And let everyone in the family know that I love them!
Anyway, I love you! I hope y'all are doing well! Give the family my love!

Elder Michael

Elder Michael Andrew Kamilos
2009 N 900 E Unit 100
Provo UT 84602