Letter to James from Mom:

Dear Eldest Elder Berky,

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful that we could speak briefly with you today! 

Started to snow a little here, but not much. 

Grandma is in Saint George with aunt Wyn, because aunt Lynette had back surgery on Tuesday for a severe herniated disc. Lewis’s opted to stay at their house this Thanksgiving . 

We had our usual dinner at the Leavitt’s with Aubrey & Joe (with Kendrick  and Sterling), a couple of Joe’s single siblings going to BYU, and Kris’ nephew with his small family of wife and 2 kids. Austin flew out from Texas, but Brandon (now in dental school in Missouri), drove with a friend to Ohio for Thanksgiving. He’s saving his plane ticket purchase for Christmas break.

Stewart came over to Leavitts in the evening to hang out with boy cousins while his sisters watched a chick flick.

Dad and LaMont reminisced about their landlord stage with 14 4plexes in West Valley City from 2001-04ish.  I should have turned on my voice recorder to capture some of those stories for family history. Then they began talking FindACode business. Of course! The older my brother gets, the more and more he reminds me of dad, your Grandpa Leavitt. Even my older cousins say how uncanny it is that LaMont looks and acts like “Uncle Henry”. 

Holly and Tanner live in the basement apartment of LaMont and Kris, and have 2 new kittens. They are soooo adorable! Attached is a cute video of Ammon, Kendrick and Sterling playing with them. Their other cat, Oreo, got hit by a car in the river bottoms down from their house. Tanner’s is a cat person. so a few weeks after they buried Oreo, they got a new kitten. The new kitten is so sociable, but they were gone most of the day. They felt bad for the lonely kitty that they went back and got a kitty sibling so they could keep each other company during the day. 

Ammon and cousin Kendrick

It’s 7:00 and we are still having a great time hanging out, talking, playing board games, and playing with the kittens. I’m writing this now while still here, but my ears needed a break from the boomy great area room.  I’m hiding out in the front sitting/music room. Good news is that I didn’t have to bring my headphones this year to manage the pain of the loudness. But that’s partly because the hearing loss is setting in? 

Jacob, cousins Matt, Kendrick, Stewart, and Sam

I am full of gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I am a member of his restored church, temples, and eternal families. We Love you and are so thankful for your desire to serve and to improve yourself each day. 

Hugs and love, Mom

Ben, plate #1
Jacob and Sam
Anthony and cousin Austin
The pie table
Cousin Kendrick and Ammon
Benjamin and Anthony digesting

[S13E3] Bishop, that is bad fish!

This has been a pretty quick week, who would have thought that would happen when you work?

4: Food challenges are fun when you know Christmas trivia  We had dinner with at our bishops place, and they sure do enjoy being mean to missionaries. They do food challenges with all the missionaries who have dinner over there, and this time they did a Christmas trivia quiz. When you get a question wrong you have to take a shot of something gross, like cold squash soup (Not bad), a raw egg (I mean Rocky did it) assorted jelly beans (the pear ones are the worst) lime juice (Really? How is that bad?) and Slightly fermented Fish oil. There is not word enough in the English language, or hours in the day that I would take to describe to you the horror and revulsion that was this Fish Oil. I will have flashes of terror in the future about this fish oil. It will haunt my dreams and cause me no end of mental anguish.

3: I won a pinewood Derby I didn’t even know I was participating in! On Wednesday the senior couple asked us if we wanted to go to a Pinewood Derby in a branch we both cover. We rarely go out there because we only have the car on the weekends, and often times we have things come up on the weekends, so it was an invaluable opportunity.As we were having fun looking at the cars these kids designed, the Branch President asked Elder Stringham and I if we wanted to participate too. We didn’t have cars, but he loaned us some. The one that I picked out, an orange Camero was the fastest of them all. So I got a cute little wall trophy with the wrong Elder’s name on it. Had fun anyway, talked to plenty of members!

2: I finally wrote down my Testimony! Here it is! After being asked to by President Orton, I listened to the spirit and cast my mind back on why it is I believe in Christ.

I have always known that Jesus is the Christ, that God is the Father of my spirit, and that his church is re-established on this Earth preparatory to his son’s second coming. As Nephi said, “I… having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of [the Gospel]” The same is with me. Being raised with the knowledge of God is the greatest blessing that I could possibly ask for. But knowledge is not conversion, and although I knew of the truth of divine nature of such things it didn’t mean all that much to me, because I was not converted. But as I have been anxiously engaging myself in a good cause I have gained that heartfelt understanding of who God is, and what his Son Jesus Christ has given me. All this I have learned and been blessed to receive by the third member of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost has brought me to conversion by testifying in a way that is undeniable. Although I never had any doubts, that is not enough to mean anything. Faith is the first building block that everything is built upon in this life, I didn’t have much faith, I had knowledge. But ever since I have had ample opportunity to test that fledgling faith I have been blessed so greatly. The pure joy that faith brings is truly undeniable. I am so grateful for opportunities the Lord has given me to build that faith, I am incredibly thankful for the calling I have received to come on a mission. It has made me into the man that I am. I am exceedingly appreciative for the Founding Fathers and their divine inspiration to create the only country in the world that would allow the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I write these things under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

1: I really should have put that one at the end.  That would have been perfect to end on! How about I tell ya about how great Grocery Outlet is? Have I already? Too bad, here I go again! EVERYTHING IS SO UNBELIEVABLY CHEAP!!!! Sorry for that, but I just want to say that I got a YYUUGGGEEE thing of BBQ bar nuts for $7.00. Heck yeah!

I love you all, I love the Savior, and grocery outlet.

Ya Boi, Elder James Berky

[S13E2] The plauge has come back??

We were talking to a guy this week, and apparently the Bubonic Plague has been found in California. Scary right? But hey, maybe we’ll get the plague doctors back, they look pretty cool. Speaking of sickness, guess what happened to us this week?

6: That’s right, we caught the plague! Not really, we’d probably be on our way home. I got the common cold, and my companion got food poisoning! Protip, make sure your chicken stew is fully cooked before you eat it. So this week we were absolutely laid out. But whoever was cognizant enough to go out tracting did with the Zls, until they got sick. So uhhh, fun week.

5: WHAT? No lifting while sick?? That was real sad, while the both of us were laid out, our weight room was just collecting dust. So sad.

4: But when not sick, Missionary Leadership Conference is totally unnecessary The district leaders got the Privilege of going to MLC this week. In which we talked about useful things, like the Light The World Campaign, talked to missionary friends, and had some awesome chilli! but we also discussed for too long some useless things. Like the new District leader teaching program that I am not a fan of, but President Orton has decided that this is a thing we will be doing so there was no sense in discussing it. 

3: Service out in the boons! Yesterday someone asked us if we could help an older sister with chopping and stacking wood. It’s about 30 minutes away, but was plenty fun. The sister we helped really appreciated it, and it helped build ward trust! 

2: Christmas time should be in your heart all year long! Because I thunk Christmas should be in your heart all year long, we’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a couple new favorite Christmas songs, like there was a man named Parson Brown, and white winter hymnal.

1: Whät? I løve böąřđ ğåmëß Today we are playing board games, like cataan today. I’m pretty hungry so imma wrap this up with the fact that Jesus loves you, and you will live with your family after this life.

Ya boi

Elder James Berky 

[S13E1] Enter Elder Stringham!

5: Elder Stringham’s enjoying Oregon! My trainee is Elder Stringham, he’s from South Jordan Utah, and we’ve had a good time working, and getting to know the people of Klamath Falls!

4: Time to go to leadership conference! I am very much absolutely ecstatic to go to a leadership conference that I have heard my zone leaders complain about for the past 18 months! For some reason President Orton wants to bring all the District Leaders to participate. Lucky me, I wonder what he is going to talk about that requires the district leaders to be there.

3: I am going to purchase a Del Taco cheeseburger I will not say anything further about this subject.

2: It’s so nice to be able to study the scriptures For the past week, we haven’t had the chance to do a normal personal study, because of meetings and the such. So when we had the opportunity to do a 45 minute session before church, it was incredible! I was able to read about faith and how we need to be watering that seed continually. After a week of not having a study that hit me hard. I will do my best to do studies even on days with meetings.

1: It’s nice seeing my old companions As my Zone leaders, I’ve seen Elder Randall before, at transfer spots and Zone conference, but it Has been quite some time since I’ve seen Elder Jeanselme. It’s been good catching up and seeing how much we’ve grown as people in the past year and a half. 

I love you all, and want to let you know that Jesus loves ya too!

Ya Boi,

Elder James Berky

[S12E6] What? Finally training?

4: Transfer calls!! We got our calls from president Orton and while I will be staying in Klamath, I will be training! I’m heading up to eugene for a couple of days, and then I’ll bring my trainee all the way down here. Long couple of days in the car ahead of me.

3: White washing Zone Leaders? That doesn’t happen But it did! Elder Jeanselme and Randall will be coming in, two of my previous companions! It’s going to be a lot of fun.

2: the 2020 Tacoma has an eject button  Not really, but our new 2020 Tacoma does have an automatic 911 button. It’s pretty neat, pretty clean, and has under 1000 miles on it. I’m never going to drive a car this nice or new again.

1: lil Thanksgiving!  Because we are impatient our zone is doing a little Thanksgiving today. Complete with stuffing, green beans, rolls, rotisserie chicken (cause Turkey is expensive) and more. I’ve actually gotta start cooking the green beans now, so don’t have much time to embellish. Here’s some pictures!

Love ya – Ya boi,

Elder James Berky