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Scruffy Looking Nerf-herders

We had two Nerf wars this Friday and Saturday. It was so fun to have the first outdoor wars of the year! It’s getting so warm out! I got the chance to test out the new builds and was quite satisfied. The Friday war ended up being a bit impromptu with my sister and her friends. I didn’t plan on joining in, but was glad I did. I mostly ran around and helped other people with their blasters, but I enjoyed seeing everyone having fun. On occasion, I’d join in and take shots. We played in an open double tennis court. It was a night war, but it was lit up okay.

The Saturday night war was with Utah Nerf Foam Flingers. It was a smaller war, with only a few more advanced Nerfers there. The UNFF hosts general wars and advanced wars every month. I got to see Kenny, my friend from Armageddon a few years back. He’s still Nerfing well. When we got there, the person scheduled to bring the key never showed up so we ended up playing in the parking lot. Luckily, it wasn’t too cold and pretty well lit (it was also at night). It was another great chance to get to run around in a more open environment; this time, without a sprained ankle (although it’s still a bit swollen and sore).

This week, we’ve had exams, essays, and a lot of club activities. I feel like my English is still not where it used to and essays are hard to write. I’ve had a paper due in Biology and one in American History. The prompt for American History was on religion and government, which was a topic that was actually interesting to write. This next week, I’ll have an essay for my religion class due on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. I’m still not sure what I’m going to write it on, but it should be a good experience – I’ve never written a research paper on the subject of religion before. I’m actually quite excited for it.

I got to help out with middle school kids and underwater robotics this past week. We’ve worked on sheeting more roof with RHD (we’re almost done sheeting the whole thing now), translated for the LDS Gospel Library App (way fun), got to volunteer to translate for a four hours at the MTC for a new missionary, went to a Mechatronic’s club meeting and will hopefully be able to more fully participate next semester, went on a date to a Thai restaurant here which was a little less nerve-racking than I anticipated. However, we’ve both been to Thailand, interested in humanitarian work, and were passionate about Thailand, so that gave a lot to talk about. It was a successful first date that was not in a group.

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You’re a Child of God

Another great week! So much happens in college life that it’s hard to write it concisely. I felt inspired to share a few thoughts though.

Don’t ever underestimate the powerful or great example you have. So often, we fail to give credit where it is due and that goes for ourselves as well. There are so many influential people in my life and I’ve come to realize that many of them don’t even know how powerful that is. So think twice the next time you question your worth or wonder if you’re important. Remember, you are a child of God no matter how successful or unsuccessful you feel. No one can take that away and it will never change. In each and everyone of us is a bit of divinity that was purposefully placed there. We can use that special spark to uplift, enrich, and love others. No matter what happens, “let this sink in good and deep: You are a child of God”.

Here are some great talks!:
Blessed by My Faithful Sister
What It REALLY Means to Be a Child of God

I’ve been able to finish a few Nerf projects this week. All were projects started before my mission that are just now finally finished. I got to work in the Mechanical Engineering Projects Lab quite a bit this week and have learned a lot about the machines. After some safety tests and talking to the right people, I’ve also been able to gain access to the special student CapStone lab which contain’s senior projects. There’s much more to continue to learn. I was able to showcase some of the blasters made this week at a talent show that our ward put on. It looked like people had a lot of fun. There were so many talented people, I felt like I must have been at America’s Got Talent!

Most popular blaster: Crossbow. Best looking blaster: Pumpbow. Funnest blaster: Modified Nerf pistol. Most painful: modified air blaster.

Early in the week, on Monday, we had a ward bowling activity. It was very fun! Even though I bowled my worst game. In addition to the normal Rural Housing Development, this past week I also went to a few social dance classes. I’m slowly learning the standard waltz, tango, and some Latino dances. Dancing is hard! Hopefully I’ll be able to dance one day. I also got to go out and help middle school students build underwater robots. The robots have to submerge, open a PVC door, place a few weights in the pool, then retrieve an item from the bottom of the pool. I’ll get to help out every week. I still don’t really like kids very much, but it should be great to help the kids out. I also found out that the school used to have an archery club, but the old instructor had to stop teaching it because they got too busy. Maybe if I had some free time I could teach kids how to shoot a bow and arrow…hmm..

Apple beer. I swear.

That’s all that’s new this week. I’m working on decorating the apartment more and still volunteering to translate for the Church’s mobile app every week. This coming up week it looks like the free food is going to keep on coming strong and this Saturday is also the next Nerf war. Super excited.

I love you guys lots,
ลาก่อน farewell


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Lessons Relearned

I went to the Mechanical Engineering department and talked to the adviser about scheduling, classes, and planning. I had hoped to received some good advice and be able to decide on a good direction. However, when I left that meeting, I felt more frustrated than before. The advice I got was “don’t try to plan and just worry about this semester”. I wanted to know what direction I should be headed and all I got in return was “you can’t plan”. I felt so disappointed and more lost than before. For an adviser that’s supposed to help students plan, they didn’t do a very good job at all. As I worked these feelings off throughout the day, I was never any closer to figuring it out. It remained this way until I went to the temple. As I again sat pondering, praying, and contemplating all of the things on my mind, I had a distinct impression that I did need to worry less. Not necessarily plan less, but be less caught up in the future and work more in the now. Today.

God has a plan for us even though we don’t know what that is. All we can do is take it one step at a time and try to follow that plan as best we can as we walk it. God knows the whole path, while we we only see a bit at a time. As long as the path we’re on leads to our Heavenly Father and eternal life with our family, we’re on the right one.

I again had Elder Bednar’s video on revelation come to mind. I desperately wanted and sought guidance so badly that perhaps I had begun to forget that faith is taking a step forward at a time even if we can’t see the final destination. With each step, we’ll be revealed additional light and we’ll be able to keep stepping until we’ll look back and realize how much we were led by Him. This was the biggest lesson that I relearned this past week. Our attempts to ‘figure everything out’ can often led to us to being unable to see clearly. I also happen to run into several other sources of advice that I realized were all saying similar things. A good friend keeps saying ‘don’t worry, just make the most of today and it’ll work out’. I realized how right they were and that’s another new goal. To make the best now I can.

At RHD this week, a few of us stayed longer to help the home owners. It feels so good to serve and make a difference. As an added bonus, we were fed breakfast for lunch without knowing before hand. What a tender mercy!

I’ve started work on several Nerf blasters to take my mind off of stressful stuff and make good use of my free time. Our ward is going to have a talent show this Saturday that I’ll be able to showcase if I finish in time. Also, there’s going to be another Nerf war the week after. I’ll likely be finished by then. It’s relaxing building stuff.

I went to a Three Minute Thesis competition where students presented research to a panel of judges. I ended up going early and was able to set up and meet some new friends. It was great. Service and friends, and free pizza!

On Saturday night, BYU also had their annual refugee awareness banquet. There were some awesome multi-cultural performances and a lot of info on clubs and activities to support the less-fortunate.

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Weekend of Adventure

There were some technical difficulties this past week that made posting not possible, but now that it’s fixed, there’s so much that has happened this week.

This past weekend was a three day weekend because of President’s Day and it was an even more eventful weekend than usual. On Saturday, I was able to contact and go out with the BYU Airsoft club to an event Saturday morning. It was pretty fun, but I realized how un-practiced I really am. I probably didn’t contribute much to my team in regards to hitting anything, but I did help to run in and capture the flag a few times, before I twisted my ankle on a rock and was hardly able to walk. Luckily that was towards the end so it wasn’t too bad.

After the Airsoft war, we (my sister, cousin, and cousin’s friend) drove up to Smithfield for our Grandpa’s 80th birthday. It was a pretty nice birthday party for an 80yr old and it was great to be ble to see so much family again! Also, one of my cousins is engaged, too. So crazy! On the way back from Smithfield, we picked up a bunch of stuff that mom had brought down from Boise. I’m super excited to have somethings to work on when, and if, I find free time. Other than that, the best thing about trips is being able to listen and share music interests. Just this past Monday and FHE too, we carpooled to the FHE and were able to hear new music again, too. I guess maybe it means even more now that my headphones are broken and I don’t listen to music as often now.

Saturday evening we went to a Nerf war in Orem. We got picked up by a pretty nice stranger, who we now know, and had a Nerf war indoors at a large church building. We’re not sure how they got that approved, but they’ve been having them there for almost a year now. It was David’s first Nerf war and we got to meet a bunch of people. It was pretty awesome being able to relive the glory days, although my ankle was still pretty sore so, again, I mostly limped and hobbled around. Next month I’m determined to play at my best. We did a few different game types, including Humans vs Zombies. I would’ve loved to run around as a zombie, if I could’ve ran. Also, because it was in a church, I couldn’t use any blasters too powerful, but once it warms up, they’re do events outside, so that’ll be fun.

Over President’s day, I went and visited Temple Square again. It’s 35 acres of pretty much pure cool. I visited a few museums and toured the Conference Center for the first time. I was impressed with the amazing paintings and history that I hadn’t known before. There’s a new Joseph Smith movie in a special surround theatre and new Meet the Mormon’s videos. There’s a new segment about a family of Japanese performers that was really interesting, as well as a horse trainer, and a couple who’ve done a lot of humanitarian work and the husband eventually ended up becoming a member. I would highly recommend checking it out if planning on visiting Temple Square.

Other things that have happened: I’m still doing volunteer translating, I was able to start some projects in the ME machine shop, went to a dance class, visited BYU Mechatronic’s club, went to several seminars on Bio-mechanical Engineering which were interesting, haircut, went to student symposium, and I also ran into Kyle Dildine who was down in Provo for his wedding.

It’s so great to be able to catch-up with and see people when you haven’t for a while. I guess that’s how it is when you’re older and move to another place and life takes its hold on our lives.

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Next Week, Mid-Terms. Eek!

Swinging trusses.
This week has been such a great one! No sickness or serious injury, so definitely one of the better ones! Next week will be the start of mid-terms week, so we’ll see how that goes.

Last Sunday, we had a special fireside. It was a typical fireside for a YSA ward. It was on relationships, dating, and marriage. Our bishop shared some advice and points of view that really made me look at things in a different way. He emphasized that we must be genuine, honest, and brace in serious relationships. When the time comes, be courage and clear. It’s not some kind of weird game, he said. If you like someone, tell them you like them and see what happens. They also focused on the fallicy of looking for the one right person. Maybe other people have adifferent opinion, but they said don’t get caught up in finding the one. It’s our decision and if we spend all our time waiting and searching for ‘the one’, we may end up finding that we’ve just wasted a lot of our time. Just be true to who you are, be brave, and go for it.

At the end of the fireside, they announced that they’re going to start a Dating Box. You put your name, or other’s names, or two names together in the box and they’ll be drawn out and go on a date. It’s kind of a fun, forced way to get people dating. I put my roommate’s name in a few times.

This week, I’ve completed my second interview for the MTC and should hear something back again this week. If it’s good, there be another round of interviews. I’ve also volunteered to help translate for the church. For family search and the Gospel Library App. I’m really excited to get to continue to grow my language abilities. I went into a Thai class here on campus, but they said we’re not allowed to just sit in on classes without registering for credit, so I’ll have to consider taking a Thai class or not. In the meantime, I’ll be translating things here and there for the church! Also, I just got Thai keyboard stickers for my laptop. I can type in Thai now! เย้ๆ

Baby cougar.
A big highlight this week was going down to the BYU ME projects lab. It’s a lab full of sweet, big tools. They have mills, lathes, CNC, and a waterjet cutting machine. The best thing is, it’s all free to use for students for nearly anything we want! I’m super excited! We had a safety instruction and made little aluminum medallions. I’m feeling like I’m enjoying this Mechanical Engineering track and maybe I am in the right program. As far as working with one’s hands and being physical, people at the shop class kept saying that it was a place for those that liked to work with their hands to get some practical experience. Kind of like street smart vs book smart. I’m thinking that kind of work is looking more and more attractive to me, but we’ll see.

This past week I’ve diligently exercised everyday. It really does make a difference. “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124). Yesterday my sister and I went shopping and I found some new athletic/running shoes, so maybe I’ll possibly start running everyday, too.

Our Tuesday devotional was by Elder Cook. It’s so cool to get to hear from general authorities on a semi-regular basis! Such a blessing! He spoke on the WoW and LoC, also about the importance of having children. A bit far into the future for me, but it was a good talk non-the-less.

This past week there was also a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics career fair and I got to talk to a lot of interesting companies and learning more about internships. I was mostly interested in the ones that worked with the military and did mechanical work, although most were looking for Informational Technology type majors. I also stopped by and talked to the ROTC department about opportunities. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in, but never super strongly. However, what it has to offer seems to be very in-line with what I’m looking for, so I’ve decided to give it a go. I’ll take some ROTC classes starting next semester and see how I like it. Maybe a dead-end, but it couldn’t hurt much to try, I hope.

Also, with Rural Housing Development (RHD) I’m now official a Program Director. I’ll be in charge of helping coordinate, train, and lead volunteers. I’ll also have a chance to drive a very large van around. Might be fun. This past week I actually got to use power tools and build things. Fun Fun.

We took our temple trip on Friday this past week because Tyler, our roommate, works on Saturdays and wouldn’t be able to go. We did baptisms Friday night and it was a pretty cool experience. Afterwards, we talked the temple grounds and sat in a separate part of the temple that they build as a kind of waiting area. It is such a beautiful place. He and I sat and talked about relationships for some time, too. He’s planning on serving a mission this coming summer. He’s a super insightful guy and wise beyond his years.

Also, what a big change to hear mom is selling the house! I’ll have to start making plans to move some things here. Luckily, I just found out that our apartment has a semi-large storage room that is also attached to it so there’s plenty of space! Also, I’ve gotten David a big excited about putting together a Nerf group this coming up month/Spring. Way excited!

คิดฮอดหลาย!! กึ้ดเติงแต้ๆ!!

Miss you!
Love you!
Derrikk Sun

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Cupcakes, Donuts, Flying Pigs! Bacon?!

Hello all!

This week went by really fast again. Last Sunday was cool because some people from our ward saw us walking to church and offered us a ride. We’re actually making new friends! Yeah! Monday’s highlight was ward Family Home Evening. Because there are so many people here, we split up into groups and have FHE. At ours, we learned how to decorate cupcakes the fancy way and it was actually really fun. I only wish there were more cupcakes to eat, but regardless, it was super fun to get to know our neighbors! There are so many new people we meet all the time, I got to pondering, what is a real lasting friendship? And what does it mean to be a true friend? So many people we meet, we only ever see a handful of times, so what does it mean to have a real lasting friendship? Thoughts?

This past week was a bit academically hard for us. The kind of stress that comes from wanting to do good, and trying, but not grasping knowledge or performing exceptionally well on tests and get to you. We try to do really well, but sometimes just don’t quite make it. It’s important to realize that despite all that happens, our Heavenly Father has a plan for us that, as we continue to strive to follow Christ, will gradually be revealed to us. Today in church, our Sunday school lesson was on recognizing the Spirit. It was such a powerful lesson! Our teacher shared one of Elder Bednar’s videos on revelation. It came to me that a lot of times we really expect ourselves to be able to receive answers and know exactly what we’re supposed to do. But, even for a member of the Quorum of Twelve apostles, it’s more like moving through fog or a sunrise, so for us, surely we shouldn’t expect too much!

In my Physics class, our professor opened up class with a scripture. D&Covenants 109:7 “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom”. She said, someone of you are doing great in the class, and some of you aren’t. The class grades ranged from 20%-100% with the majority in the %70s. She said some of us may not have faith, or a knowledge of physics, but those who do can help! She spent the first part of class giving a motivational speech and having those who felt like they understood move and sit by those who didn’t. I thought it was way cool that the professor would care that much about the students and the motivation they gave was much needed. Also, pigs do fly!

Flying Physics Pig

This past week or so, I’ve put off applying for a teaching position at the MTC for a long time, but I finally did it! I don’t think I’ve been so nervous for a teaching appointment before. A tip for those wanting to apply: the people there are all so incredibly friendly and welcoming, don’t be nervous! The ten minutes of teaching goes by incredibly fast. Plan to just share a little and a commitment to give and let them do the talking/learning. We’ll find out the results of my interview in around two weeks.

Institute this week was on repentance and teachings of modern day prophets. It was a really great lesson and discussion, also another great opportunity to continue to build friendships and get to know people. I was able to get a ride with a few people from our ward and get to know a bit better. Repentance is actually a theme that I’ve noticed throughout this past week. My Saturday was a day we didn’t have classes, but it was probably the busiest day of the week!

I went out with RDH again and made some new friends! I ended up carpooling with some other people who were also freshman and pretty cool. We all worked together to help build these houses. We had to unbury a lot of large tarp-blankets that had been laid down for pouring concrete for drive ways. These tarps were buried under snow and we had to do a lot of work to get them unburied. We realized that if all of us pulled on the tarps at the same time, even though there may have been some snow left that we didn’t clear off, we were able to pull and slide the tarps away where we could dump the snow. Teamwork really makes things easier!

After that, we went to a session in the temple. We went for endowments, but ended up doing sealings. It’s always such an AMAZING experience to get to do temple work. You can really feel the Spirit and everything things to be put into perspective in the temple. Having been switching from sealings to endowments week to week, I’ve really noticed even more how important the family is and how greatly we’re blessed to have such ordinances such as sealings. Not must marriages, no. But eternal family Sealings.

Afterwards, we went shopping, did homework, and went to my first BYU Men’s Volleyball game. I ate my first cougar tail which was a two-foot long maple donut! So good, and so much sugar! Usually you just get them to share, but because it was my first, I was told I had to try to eat it myself, which I did and am mildly proud of. BYU won and it was actually a really great time! We said next time we’d just need to try and invite other people to go, too.

This is already so long, but one last thing I learned about repentance. We can change. On the nice peaceful walk back home from RHD, I re-listened to the song Second Hand Heart by Ben Haenow. I realized it was such a great song about change. I’ve been thinking about much I’d like to change, and we really can if we just try everyday. We can repent and be better. I thought so much about how badly I wanted, needed, to be different. Grow, become, develop, improve, progress, mature, learn – that’s why we’re here in this life and we can do it. On the way back from the temple, I thought about this again, but about missions. Guess what? The Lord didn’t send me, doesn’t send us, all over the world for 18 months to 2 years to just teach the Gospel. He most definitely sends them to change. To learn to grow, to repent. To finish serving a two-year mission and say you’ve been successful, you really can’t ever stop serving. That’s our purpose here and the conclusion I came to in the temple, that we need to serve. As much as we can gain from a career, expertise in a field, a family, we do so in order to serve and contribute back. I have to write a scholarship essay and that’s what I wrote it on. What motivates us to serve. It’s something I’m relearning time and time again. We went to a tennis match a few days ago, and on the way back, I talked to a stranger I bet along the way. I got to know him and talk to him. It was really easy and felt genuine to just talk to someone. Service and meeting new people are actually really easy and I’m going to make it a goal to do it more! I hope you had a great week!

Love you!
Derrikk Sun

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Wow, what a week!

It amazes me how every passing week, probably every day even, is just so different and filled with so many blessings!

In the weeks that have passed by, I’ve noticed that as I’ve had diligent scripture study and had my priorities straight I was more able to face challenges with optimism. On the flip side, the times were I started to lessen my diligence in scripture study were the times other parts of my life gradually began to suffer as well. I noticed this in school work, relationships, my enthusiasm, and even physically sometimes. It’s been an interesting few weeks of relearning and I have since not missed a day of scripture study.

This past week I was able to give a blessing to one of my roommates who had been pretty sick. He was feeling pretty down physically, as well as emotionally and asked me for a blessing. I felt humbled by the experience and totally didn’t expect to give a blessing that day. I realized just how important it is to really always be prepared because we don’t know when the Lord may need to call upon us.

Recently, school work has seem to be going really well. It’s not as stressful and pretty easy to manage. It just takes a bit of getting used to, and I also contribute that do Gospel and scripture study. It also really helps that my religion class is definitely my favorite class too.

Biology Lab
On Monday, we also started to identify the insects that we collected from the Provo river last Saturday. Bugs are weird, and smell gross, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Afterwards, I walked through the Bean Life Museum with a classmate from my bio class. We were super impressed by all the stuffed animals there. I got a picture with probably the largest elephant I’ve ever seen. But I’m still not going to change to be a biology major.

Being in a whole new phase of life, there’s so much more going on. We meet so many successful people who have seen the world, big business CEOs, recruiters, program managers and directors, people who have a lot of say, responsibility, and make real difference. It’s really intimidating. We had a career fair this past week and a lot of guest speakers in seminars and lectures. It’s hard to imagine one’s self possibly being in those kinds of places in the future. Right now, I’m just trying to get settled in, getting a job, participating in a couple of clubs and just trying to stay alive eating my own cooking. Maybe someday we’ll make a difference, but we’ll take it one day at a time.

Rural Housing Development
On that note, just yesterday I went with Rural Housing Development (RHD), a volunteer club here at BYU, to help build houses for members of the community who are receiving gov’t help to build their own homes. It was a pretty fun experience and I met a bunch of new people. Also, they’re looking for new program directors so I’ll probably apply and be more involved. Last night, David and I also went to a training for the Underwater Robotics Club too. Aside from some free pizza, we’ll be able to help local schools design, build, and compete in an Underwater Robotics competition. Way cool!

One thought that I had this past week, on a spiritual note, is that when someone we really love parts from us, it really takes its toll. It’s really hard. It can leave us with an emptiness that longs to be filled, but is never satiated. We can either let it fester and make us s ad, or we can learn and grow from it. We can then learn how to love more truly. It’s a choice we have to make when things happen. It may take some time to readjust and learn how to get over that, but after the initial affect passes, it’s then up to us how we will move forward. As we then turn outwards and look towards others, we’ll be able to find ourselves again and rediscover all of the hope and love that is still in the world that we may not have seen before. So count your blessings. Realize the grass is always greener on the other side if we choose to see it. We are the sum total of all that we experience, say, do, and think, so don’t let the negative or sad occupy our minds. Choose the good. Choose to be happy!

Ghetto Pizza Part

Studying with Live Music

Other things that happened:
*Club night(free pizza)
*Business Strategy in Engineering seminar (free donuts)
*How to Travel the World seminar (free pizza)
LDS Church at Career Fair
*Service Abroad info Party (free pizza)
*Disney trivia night (awesome new song)
*Music Friday (free chips and salsa), also an awesome church history section

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The Start of Something New!

I’ve learned so much in the past years, but continue to relearn things. The post-mission transition is quite difficult. From work, school, cooking, budgeting, social relationships, etc there’s an infinite number of things that change. As a missionary, we rarely ever do anything for ourselves. We serve others for two years straight, giving all our time, energy, and commitment to the one task of serving others. Coming back, now it feels like much of what we do is so much for ourselves. We work to get money, we go to school to increase our knowledge, it often feels so incredibly different from a missionary life. A career and education are essential for our lives. Despite facing so much change, the purpose is still the same. A two-year mission, a four-year degree, or a lifetime career, they all point towards the same end of returning to live with Heavenly Father and an eternal family. It’s just a different, but essential, approach to it. Through everything that has happened since being home from my mission, one thing I’ve seen stay the same is that our Heavenly Father is continuous helping us. He’s assisting us every step of the way. Never has he ทิ้ง’d us or left us alone. Often the many trials we face in life can leave us feeling lost, discouraged, broken. But He is there.

Heavenly Father has a plan for us that is more wonderful than we can imagine. As we are obedient, repent, and strive to have the Spirit, we will be led to know what it is He would have us do. God is always there and I’ve definitely seen the truth of this, not only on a mission, but from everything that has happened since, and I know for everything that will come, too. So many scriptural examples show us that it may take many times before we truly learn what we need to know, but He is loving and patient with us as we strive to understand.

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No Place Like the Y

We have so many laughs in biology!! And no other place can religion be talked about in a place of learning. Biology teacher testified so powerfully. Science proves religion to be true and I’m so glad that I know that. And that people here at BYU know that. All of the professors make such a great first impression.

It’s awesome to get to learn secular AND spiritual knowledge at the same time. My Eternal Family class is by far the most interesting. We review all of the points, principles, and doctrines of eternal families. I’ve already learned so many things that I had never known before.