Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29th, 2013 From the MTC to San Antonio

I'll start off with the beginning of the week. Monday was the best day ever. The sisters in our MTC district going to Alabama were leaving the next morning, so we had our final time together. Our teachers took us into the room where the general authorities come in, and the Spirit was so strong. We had an incredible testimony meeting. Incredible. We were all crying and it was SO powerful. I love my MTC district so much, and especially the teachers. They seriously changed my life. 
We had our final lessons with our teachers and it was just the Elders and the lone sister, Sister J. We had a great last lesson and the theme of the day seemed to be the importance of Church Tours, something I've tried to bring up here in the area, but I've received little support. That night was the fireside at the Marriott which was great.We had an awesome good-bye to the other districts in our zone and they loved us a lot. I said bye to each one of them personally,and it was a great experience being Zone Leader. Ask me about the baby food story at the MTC sometime when I have time to tell you. It was hilarious!
Eating Texas Waffles at a members with my trainer, the member sent the photo!
We had to get up at in the morning to get out by  4:30. We scrambled to finish packing everything and left. Lo and behold, our teachers Brother Widtfeldt and Brother Corbett got up to see us off. Aren't they AMAZING!  I so wish they were here with me right now. We got on the bus and then Elder S realized he forgot his tie rack, so we had to run back and search through the keys to find our room key and then sprint to the Residence Hall to get them. He also left his towel, so we grabbed those and ran. Then we got on the bus and headed to the airport. We called you (our family) after we went through security and what not, and I felt bad because Elder F didn't talk to his family. He is so chill, and I don't know how he does it. Anyways, we flew to Fort Worth first and waited there for an hour flight to San Antonio. We could feel the humidity big time just getting off the plane. We boarded our plane and flew to San Antonio. We grabbed our luggage and then our district had our final prayer together. I'm going to miss them. The president came with the APs and they are awesome. President Slaughter has the "Abrazo" it's a hand shake then hug over the right shoulder with a pat or two and then another hand shake. We do it every morning before we leave the apartment along with complimenting our companion, praying, and bearing our testimony to our companion. So we went outside and we were immediately drenched in the humid sweat. It is just gross how humid it is. I'm already pretty use to it, and it doesn't really bother me, but it still bothers people who have been here for a while. We drove to the Mission Home and President Slaughter gave us an awesome presentation of his hopes for us, which pretty well aligned with my hopes. We had dinner and filled out paperwork, and hung around. It was us 22 Elders and Sister J and our district just sat and talked and had a good time. Then we went to the Alamo. Downtown SA is beautiful! The buildings are old school and it is great. They read the story of the Alamo and how the captain told everyone to cross the line if they were committed. Then the APs had each of us cross the same line to commit to work our hardest for the Lord. Then we got a Book of Mormon and had to place it. Me and Elder S combined and it was a weird feeling at first. We got rejected several times right off the bat but then we placed both right in a row to two older ladies. We had them pretty well convinced and the one had rejected two other Elders, but listened to us and was reading it when we passed by her later. Sweet!  We went back and stayed in the APs apartment and then left for the transfer meeting in the morning. They had a transfer meeting in SA and Austin. We had a meeting for new missionaries and they gave us our companions. I found out I was in Austin so I sat through the whole meeting and then drove to Austin (Everyone does the "Abrazo" with their new companion). My area is Brushy Creek just outside Austin. It's a car area and our apartment used to be for sisters, so it's pretty nice. My companion is Elder V. He is super nice and really smart. He's been out 10 months and I'm his first trainee. He is obedient. He does all sorts of stuff like long boarding, study language, sing, etc. so he doesn't really fit any mold. He's just himself. He's trying hard to help me adjust. We tracted.  We mostly teach less actives, because there are a lot in our area. The ward is super cool though, and they feed us well. I only met one real cowboy, and he is in our ward. He had the bolo tie with a tan jacket and cowboy boots. He's super funny too and the ward was really welcoming. 
Friday, we planned for the week and did some more tracting with more success. We track contacts, those who say something back to us, and QGCs (quality gospel conversations) which is a conversation about religion where we teach a principle and testify, and maybe leave a commitment to go to or something. We only had 9 in these five days, and about 8 hours of tracting.   Friday I was in a really good mood though, and we reached our goal of 20 contacts and 5 QGCs, so that was awesome. I was pretty sick with a sore throat so that might be why I feel down sometimes. I just don't know how to balance anything out here. Home and preaching, hard work and relaxing, funny and serious, being positive and desiring to get better. Friday night and Sunday night I was super happy, but I don't know what the difference was except that it should have been that I wasn't focused on myself, but that wasn't exactly the case. One really funny thing that happened, we were teaching a guy and his two kids, and his son was sitting on his lap, and he gets up for a second, and then sat back down and said, "I got up because I had to fart dad." It was so funny. His name is B and he is 6 years old and very matter of fact and it's funny. We have a girl who should have been baptized but keeps moving so hasn't that should be soon and one investigator working towards baptism. Well, please pray for me. I don't know what's wrong with me and why I'm having such a hard time. It's similar to how I felt the first night of the MTC, but then the rest of the week was the best of my life, so I figure this will turn around but I'm not sure what more I can try.  I still know the church is true and I know through the Savior we can become better and more positive* if we rely on Him. I'm trying really hard, so keep the prayers coming, and I'm having to really rely on Him to get me through this. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
Elder Pew
*Timo talks about being positive because Tim and I are both wrote to him about a talk we heard about the importance of being positive in learning/productivity.  It's a TED talk by Shawn Achor, worth the 15 minutes. Hopefully he can apply this info and have a better week and ignore the negative feelings/spirit.

Photos from the MTC one of his teachers sent to him so he forwarded them to us.

Leaving for the airport, MTC teachers who came to say good-bye.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First e-mails July 17, 2013

Dear family,
You've probably been wondering where I've been, but we only have ONE P-day and 1/2 hour to write.
And it happened to be exactly one week after arriving. Sorry, if you worried, but this was the only day, and since I leave next Wednesday, I won't have another one here at the MTC. The first week was awesome! I loved everything. The first day was tough, but I decided to be positive that day and everything changed. I have learned so much. My district is way awesome. Here's a quick bit about each of the members. Elder S is my companion. He is 6'5 and really long arms. We have destroyed at basketball. Everyone in the Zone basically loves us. Oh, by the way, I'm zone leader and senior companion! I got put in as Zone Leader last Thursday, so I've been thrown into some leadership already. Because of that I've been really busy and I have so much to do. Today I have to give a tour of the MTC for the incoming missionaries, but I've only done laundry once and I only know where food, residence, and my classroom is. Anyways, Elder S is awesome and we work well together. We have taught 4 lessons and the Spirit has been really strong. I committed our investigator in our first lesson to be baptized because that is what I felt prompted to do, and she accepted! But we have a lot to teach still, and not any time. We have had a really good time as a district. Elder I is short and super hilarious. He is really clever and really fun to listen to. His companion is Elder C. He is pretty quiet, but awesome. Elder F is pretty quiet, but he randomly says one liners that are random and funny. We also turned "Pew" into a verb that we use for everything, mostly going to the bathroom. Elder L is his companion and he is our District Leader. He is super funny and reminds me of Scott Brimley (Taran's friend). I enjoy being with them. We are almost too good of friends because we sometimes stay up past 10:30 talking. We are a really strong district. The sisters are also super strong, and there are four of them. All of us are going to San Antonio except three of the sisters. Oh, we also are big into riddles. Elder L has a ton and we all try to figure them out. I wish I could tell you more but I don't have any time. Part of the reason we have so much fun is because we have grown so much spiritually together. We have AMAZING teachers. Brother C, Brother W, and Brother W. They love us SO much and they are amazing teachers. Brother W reminds me of a prophet version of Alex Hansen. He is such a genius, it's amazing. Brother C shared a powerful personal experience with prayer that was the most powerful spiritual moment of my life. They are awesome. The three main things I've learned/realized are super important are to listen to the Spirit, Love EVERYONE, and to be more converted and have a stronger testimony of Christ as our Savior. I have learned so much this week! Mom, I don't know what happened to my garments, but I only 7 pairs today after doing laundry, so if you could quickly send me a few more pairs that would be great! I could also use a couple more normal shirts. I only have two short sleeve. Well, sorry I can't upload pictures or write more, but I know the church is true and I am so happy! Good luck everyone!
Elder Pew
(second email)
Oh, I just found out we have an hour! So I'll try to tell you a few more things. In our exercise times we have played basketball and volleyball mainly with our district and another district in our zone. We dominate which is pretty fun. I don't know if I told you this, but out of our district only me and Elder L are straight out of High School. It's strange since he is the District Leader and I'm Zone leader, and we are the youngest two, and maybe the goofiest also. The first day I was pretty boring, but our district really bonded after Brother C's personal story, and that made us all more comfortable, so now I'm totally my self. I've been working really hard on getting better, but my patience has been surprisingly good. I've just realized I need to really focus when I have personal study, since our extra time is taken up having fun. We really have fun together solving riddles and just talking. It's crazy how close we are after just one week. I've gotten SO much out of personal study, and I love it. At first, it was like, "I have so much time to study and I don't know what to do with it." But now it's like, "I don't have nearly enough time to study everything I want. Zone leader basically just means being a good friend to the Zone and loving all of them and then going to like four hours of meetings on Sunday. I've really learned how important it is to LOVE. I think that is way underfocused (is that a word) in the gospel. When you love the investigator, you listen to the Spirit to know what to say to help THEM, not just check off that you taught something. I'd say I'm already used to the mission schedule, and we get up at 6 to shower first. I have like 10 pages of notes already from my studies, so that has been awesome. We heard a talk given by Elder Bednar about the character of Christ that was amazing! It was SO good. He talked about how the Savior turned outward through any trial and never inward. He talked about a lot, but of other things, but that was the most impactful. The food here is decent. Dad's right in that cereal is the way to go for breakfast. I didn't have cereal the first few days, and I got super backed up! But the chocolate milk is the best thing ever, and I usually have two glasses with each meal. Surprisingly though, I think I'm in better shape, because I don't eat a lot and I work really hard whether it's studying or exercising, and my body feels tired, but great. I don't know how to upload pictures, but I took some of our district. We even have fun with the sisters. I guess I still get a little frustrated when we don't focus when we should be, and sometimes that's because the elders sometimes seem to want to make everyone laugh, but usually we're pretty good and I'm rarely miffed. My church shirts and pants don't iron very well, so that's frustrating, but I got some pretty good alone time to do that while everyone was down the hall in our room. Oh, I've seen 43 people I know, and that doesn't even include the people that will get here today. I've written them all down in my journal, and I think 25 have been recent graduates of Lone Peak. I saw Tyler the first day, but we didn't take picture, and he's gone now. It's funny how Ryan Wyman and James Lee and Austin Bitters will come and talk to me like we were best friends...Oh, I've seen McCoy, Lauren(?) Fonbuena, and Sara Hood, all Taran's friends. Well, I think that's all I've got. Just don't worry about me here, I've figured out the MTC super quickly and I'm loving it. I'm super happy. Well, it would be nice to have those garments and normal t-shirts. Also, I probably won't have a P-day until Monday the 28th, so it might not be until then when I'm in San Antonio that I talk to you all. Thanks!
Elder Pew

Saturday, July 13, 2013

First letter from the MTC via snail mail (we think he wrote it his first night)

Dear Family,
       The MTC has been an interesting experience so far.  I have enjoyed it, but I feel like we could be doing a much better job of focusing on what's really important.  My district is skeptical of people's ideas, and that's kinda tough.  I've been pretty bad at being patient with everyone, including myself, but overall I have had a great day.  I've focused on becoming better and that helped a lot.  I've learned that we must rely 100% on the Lord for EVERYTHING!  He is the only way to make it.  Well, my companion is pretty cool.  His name is Elder S. He's from Arizona.  He is 6'5" and loves basketball.  I'm having a hard time knowing how to balance fun & focus, but I'll keep working.  He is pretty awesome though and our district is fun but I don't know what to think.  One elder, Elder I is quite interesting, he is really clever and really funny and upbeat and fun to be around.  I don't know if anyone else has noticed him or not, but I think he is hilarious.  Just an interesting person to be around.  I'm just soaking it all up and trying to learn and get better.  I just can't wait until I can finally apply it all and get to work.  Keep praying for me!  I was in a much better mood all day, but now I'm a little unsure of what to think.  I know I am doing what is right and nothing else really matters besides the gospel.  Stick to it and you will be happy.  You're probably wondering if I need anything, but not yet.  Well I love you all and I'll send you more info later.  Oh, we also sort of taught,  but it was in a big group of us, and we were pretty horrible at teaching, but whatever.  Oh, I saw like 20 people I know including Tyler (George).  We didn't get a picture though.  Well suddenly I have a ton to say. (but no more room on the paper)  In my district I am one of 2 straight out from high school out of 10.  I'm kind of surprised.  I can't wait to hear from you all!
Elder Pew
Officially Elder Pew

Lunch at JDawgs before going into the MTC

Saying good bye, before the tears

Add caption

Mom last

friendly host elder helps Elder Pew with his bags

See ya in 2!

Elder Timo Pew's Farewell Talk

How I Deepened My Conversion Before My Mission

(These are the notes from his talk since he didn't write it out)
  1. Understand why I should be converted
    • Everything God does for us is to help us be happy
    • Conversion will help us to not only desire to do good, but to act in faith in obeying the commandments and give us the strength to consistently make good decisions
    • President Hinckley simply said, "Conversion makes the difference."
  2. It's a lifelong process
    • Line upon line, persistence and patience, leads us to do the will of the Lord.
    • Doing the little things every day: reading scriptures, saying prayers, going to church, attending the temple...
  3. Desire
    • If we desire to deepen our conversion the Lord will strengthen us.
  4. Obedience
    • Listening to parents
      • Our parents are given to us to help us, so we should listen to them. They love us and we should trust them.
    • Obeying the commandments
      • Like our parents, our Heavenly Father loves us, so we should listen to Him and trust Him
    • Happiness comes through obedience
  5. Repent
    • It will increase our knowledge and trust in the Lord and help us do our best
  6. Service helps us be more converted
    • By following the example of our Savior and helping others, you become converted
    • We are lucky to live in an area where there are many examples of daily service.
  7. The Book of Mormon and Prayer
    • The biggest thing my parents taught me is to pray and read the Book of Mormon every day.
    • The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and shows us the great things the Lord has done
    • We can pray for anything, especially our desire to become better.
    • It has taught me that Heavenly Father and the Savior are there for us
    • Increases our love for Them and Their plan
    • Our relationship with our Savior is an important part of our conversion, so we need to use the Atonement. The Book of Mormon helps us do that.
  8. Luke 22:31-32 "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren"
    • When we strengthen those around us when we are converted, it brings happiness to us and to those we help.
       Photos from the gathering after church.