Thursday, August 29, 2013

2 Letters August 19th & 26th, 2013

August 19th 2013
Dear family,
This week was a lot slower than last week. We didn't have very many chances to teach which was pretty sad. This area has picked up a lot since I got here, but this week it slowed back down. We only taught 3 lessons. J is progressing decently and he came to church with A and their daughter who is like 2. She's super cute. They seemed to enjoy it and church was awesome! I loved it! The talks were about missionary work because it was A's homecoming. The W family is like the hyper-active family in this ward. He gave a great talk and it was about his mission obviously but he talked about not getting discouraged if you can't find people to teach, which is exactly what I needed to hear because it was pretty frustrating to not find people to teach. After church they had this thing called "Linger Longer" something that better be instituted in Utah before I come home. Basically the entire ward stays after church and has dinner together. Everyone brings food and you sit around and eat with the people in the ward. It's genius! Seriously it needs to be used in Utah. It's funny though how unsocial I already am. Me and Elder V kinda just sat there because we don't really know how to start normal conversation anymore. It's kinda sad but also funny. Also, a ward members friend came to Sunday School, and supposedly he is really interested in the church and felt a prompting to get more involved with our church to help out his family in a time of trial.  We weren't able to meet with him yet. Of course Elders Quorum was about how serving others help us through times of trial. It was frustrating that we let him get away and that the Spirit was telling me to get him, but we let him get away  Alright, backtracking to earlier this week. Monday we played basketball.  My skills have improved in the mission--I don't miss. Anyways, we were out teaching and these two pitbulls started chasing us. It was pretty freaky and we were pinned on these people's porch for like 5 minutes until Elder V grabbed a rock and then we ran past them to our cars. It was pretty scary.  Elder V said it was the scariest moment of his mission. We went to a place called Freddy's for dinner this week that have amazing steak burgers. Best burgers I've ever had. The food here is really good and the ward feeds us really well. You'd think that I would gain weight, but so far I'm still right below 140 pounds. Hopefully that continues. The kids here continue to be super funny. The same kid who yelled "There's poop outside!" had another awesome day. We had dinner with them again and I was in the middle of our dinner thought and he tooted super loud. It was hard not to laugh and Elder V couldn't talk. Then he said the closing prayer and burped really loud in the middle and was like, "excuse me, that was really loud." and then he was laughing once he finished. He's super funny. We had an interesting experience teaching a guy named T. He didn't agree with anything that we said and it sorta turned into a nice Bible bash. It wasn't a big argument, but it was just tossing scriptures back and forth, but he wasted a lot of our time. This area has interesting demographics. There are some parts that are just older, decent neighborhoods, and then there are really nice areas. There is also a lot of Indian people here working for Dell. There is also a trailer park and we spent some time there this week. It's interesting how much more willing the poor people are to listen since they are humble compared to the rich areas. That's usually where we just get doors slammed in our face.  We have continued to do a lot of less active work, and we have tried to visit every single person on the ward list that is less active. We have several lessons scheduled with some of them. We taught R this week, but he disappeared and wasn't really in the mood for the lesson. He left halfway through to go to HEB with his sister who was willing to drive him. I don't know if I told you what HEB is. It's like the Texas Wal-mart. Everything is produced in Texas, and it's high quality stuff and really cheap. It's where we do all our weekly shopping. We did teach a new guy named V from Vietnam. He doesn't believe in God so we started from scratch but he was really interested in what we said and we tried for like 10 minutes to get him to pray to know that there is a God, but he wouldn't. He said he'd try later though and we are going to stop by this week. Friday was Elder V's birthday and Round Rock donuts dropped off a Texas donut and a box of donuts. It was awesome. He got lots of stuff from his family and it's funny how I haven't really got anything in the mail yet and he gets something like twice a week, and the stereotype is that greenies get all the mail. It doesn't matter to me though, I just think it's funny. We also had apartment check on Friday and a senior couple came to check our apartment. We got a really good score except the tub because it has a black ring in it that I tried scrubbing out for literally 20 minutes with no success. The ward put on a Mystery Dinner. It's a mystery play and they feed you dinner throughout the play. It was pretty clever and fun to see people from the ward. Unfortunately we couldn't get any investigators to come but J came one night and the J family had friends come that we sat with. They seem to have some potential, so we'll see what happens. Saturday I felt really sick and my stomach killed and so did my back. Also I have a random gash on my heel that makes it hard to walk, so I was in a lot of pain. I didn't eat anything until the Mystery Dinner so I was pretty exhausted from tracting all day with no success finding people to teach. I felt pretty junky, but then we found V right before the dinner, so I was really thankful that Heavenly Father let us have that lesson and I wanted V to know so badly that he has a Heavenly Father who loves him because I know how much it will help him. He thinks his life is pretty rotten and doesn't have much going for him, so I want him to see the happiness the gospel can bring so badly. I'm taking a much more active role in lessons and contacting and everything. We pretty much split everything evenly, even planning and weekly planning. I'm glad Elder V's letting me do more so I can improve quicker. I'm still not very patient, especially with myself, and it's hard to know sometimes if I'm really doing all I can to get better. I still feel a little overwhelmed with all that I have to improve, and this week was pretty rough, but I had a much better attitude than before and Sunday made things a lot better. Having a good attitude makes such a huge difference. I'm not going to lie though, I can't wait for the changes they announced with the Work of Salvation. Tracting clearly isn't the best way to find people, especially in the morning when no one's home. We average like 5-10 contacts at most in the morning with maybe one person who actually wants to talk to us. It's pretty rough. Keep praying for me and the love and support has been huge. I know that what I'm doing is the right thing even if it's hard and I have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and I KNOW it can change these peoples' lives if they will just listen. I know that we can grow closer to Christ by reading it and it truly testifies of Christ. Oh, we rescheduled Ts baptism for August 31st and it sounds like we might get a third companion from our district since his companion is going home a little early for school. We'll see what happens. Keep praying for me and I know I'll make it. There's always hope in Christ. I love you all!
Elder Pew Jr.

August 26, 2013

It's crazy that school is starting for everyone, and I'm not going. School is not even in my vocabulary anymore. It feels like that is way in the future. School starts for Texas today. Alright, well this was an interesting week. So we got Elder D to join us. He covers a different ward but his companion went home early for school, and for some reason he is with us. It is difficult to cover two areas and there is literally nothing going on in Elder D's area, so we didn't get much done. We only had like one lesson, but part of that is because a few people cancelled on us and our potential investigators were never home. J is doing decent, but he didn't come to church and honestly I don't know how much he really cares. Elder V is convinced he is really progressing, so I guess we'll just keep teaching him even if he doesn't seem to care. His girlfriend does, so hopefully she gets him more excited. Thursday we had a special training meeting with President Slaughter. He is amazing! It was about Finding with Faith, exactly what we need here in this area. We have an awesome ward, but we just have a rough time finding people to teach. I thought it would be on how to talk with people better and stuff and having faith to find people, but he focused solely on working through the members to find people. We role played asking for referrals without asking, "Do you have any referrals?" And instead he taught us to ask them about their families and coworkers, and then have an environment where the spirit is really strong, and then ask if they have felt any promptings on who might be ready to receive the gospel. Unfortunately everyone after that took us out to dinner, so we didn't really get to try that yet. I  get a bit of crap for growing up in Utah because everyone here has really crappy perceptions of what Utah is like. They think that everyone is so exclusive and judgmental for people that aren't Mormon and that we are all exactly the same. It is really frustrating to hear since they have NO IDEA what it's like. I stick up for our ward every time though because I'm so glad I grew up in a place where everyone had high standards. I honestly think we are out here trying to make every community as strong as our ward back home. Not that it's perfect, but it's proven to be so successful in raising amazing people. I usually don't get bothered by people giving me crap, but this has worn me out a little. It hasn't bothered me too much, but it's still annoying. Thursday night was super awesome though. We were in Elder D's area and there is one section that has beautiful houses that are all spread out and it's the most beautiful part of Texas I've seen. Every time we've driven through we have seen at least 10 deer, no joke. You are guaranteed to see deer there, especially at night. So we were driving through this beautiful scenery with awesome houses and deer all around, and we had some Mo Tab playing and off in the distance we could see lightning. The lightning here is really cool. It's really high up in the clouds, and often times you can't even see a bolt, it's just a flash of light that lights up the clouds. It was just a really cool moment and I knew that that moment was there for me to know that God loves me and is there for me. It was almost a sacred moment. So this whole week I've been praying that we could find new people to teach and to have the faith that we will. It's been hard to not be discouraged, but I thought I did a great job. Then Sunday after church a young women came up to us and asked if it would be okay if she set up an appointment with her two friends who are investigating the church so we can teach them. Heck yeah that would be alright! So we have a legit lesson set up this week as well as a few others to less active and part member families. After church we also got into a house of a less active family and their 20 year old son wanted us to teach him, but we didn't have anything prepared, so I pretty much just taught a lesson on faith using Alma 32 and Ether 12. I'm kinda glad that Elder V and Elder D just let me take the majority of the lesson because it's hard to get better when you don't teach. It went really well and we committed him to come to church again. He said he would love to and is really excited. It was awesome! Then we were on our way back to the car for the night and I saw a lady getting out of the car, so I had an entire QGC with her and set up an appointment to come teach her about the Book of Mormon which she said she is interested to learn more about. It was a super solid night and I'm super grateful that Heavenly Father blessed us for our faith to find people to teach. This week is looking really promising. Oh, that lady N that we visit occasionally is super cool. We talked to her and set up an appointment to teach her, and then she told us she has a deal to sing with Chamillionaire. I don't know who he is really, except he is a pretty famous rapper. She acts like it's nothing because she also doesn't really know who he is but I guess she is an amazing singer. Pretty cool stuff though. So R and J have both disappeared since they are both super cool, although it will be a big concern if we still can't find R this week. Well, I love you all and I know this church is true. Even though it's tough sometimes I know that everything that happens is for my benefit and will be worth it. One quote that Brother Widtfeldt shared that I love from Elder Scott goes something like this, "Essential personal growth comes as we struggle to listen to the Spirit." I've definitely seen that here and I know I've grown a ton. Thanks for the prayers, and I'm sorry these are still pretty scattered and not that funny. Also, I haven't received any packages yet and hopefully I can send some pictures today (none of them worked :()
! I love you all!
Elder Pew