Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 16th, 2013

Dear family,
This was a pretty solid week. We had a really fun time playing sports as a Zone on P-Day. Also, for some reason I still play AMAZING when we play basketball. I don't know why I'm suddenly really good at basketball. Anyways, we played another game called Scatterball that is really fun that I don't have time to explain, but basically it's free-for-all dodgeball and is really tiring, so we got exhausted by the end. Why do I share this? So Tuesday, we had to fix some stuff on our car because it is falling apart faster than Buster did, and we are in the shop like every other day, it's crazy. So we headed out a little later than usual to work that day, but Elder V accidentally locked the keys in the car. Luckily the Zone Leaders were in SA for a meeting and they were able to grab the spare keys for us. However, we had to spent from like 2-7 on foot without our car. We walked probably 6-8 miles and it started to rain and was pretty windy. That could have stunk, but for some reason I liked it a lot. However, we were really tired from playing that game and walking for 5 hours. Wednesday we had Elder C with us. He is an Assistant and he is a crazy hard worker. Of course all of our lessons fell through so we ended up trying to find new people to teach. He does an amazing job of easing into conversations with people, something I learned a lot from. He was also really bold, maybe even too bold and some people seemed really annoyed with him. He was a great example though and we talked to EVERYONE we saw, just like we are suppose to. Since then, we have done a much better job of talking to everyone, and easing into conversations better. I've found that one reason I'm probably in Texas is because of how much they love football. It makes an easy topic of conversation and instead of trying to avoid college football so I don't get distracted at all, I decided to embrace the fact that I know so much about college football and I started TONS of conversations with people with college football. If they are wearing any Texas gear, have a flag outside, or something, I usually talk college football with them, then we bring up, or even they bring up what we are doing and what we are sharing. So far no one has been interested in hearing our message, but they seem to enjoy us a lot more than when we go straight to the point. It has been hard though to not get distracted by all the college football talk. Thursday I was feeling pretty crappy, and I was just so sick of starting to be in a bad mood again, that I decided to start a few new things. First I made a list of things to remember that I keep in my pocket at all times. It says:
Things to remember:
-God loves you, He's proud of you!
-You don't need to be perfect
-Work on one thing at a time
-Your family loves you and prays for you
-The Lord is on your side
-Any positive thought is from God, negative thoughts are from Satan
-Trials are required to become better
-Trials make us better
-You will be blessed
-Things have ALWAYS worked out in the past
-You are learning things that will help SO much later in life
-Serve others
-Pray for strength
Then on the outside it has the quote really big from President Hinckley, "Things will work out." This helped a lot, just writing the things down, and I haven't needed to even look at it that much since then. I also have a space in the back of my journal where I write things that I love about my mission and I try to add one thing every day, or circle one that I already wrote. It has helped a ton to have a great attitude even though lots of our lessons fell through. We have a Bible Study class starting this week and our Ward Mission Leader is going to set up lessons with active members so we can teach them and get them excited about missionary work. Hopefully both activities can get us some solid new people to teach, because I'm starting to forget what that's even like. We have been to a lot of really good food places down here and the food is really good. Tex-Mex and Burgers are really good down here. However, instead of gaining weight, I've actually stayed at the same weight and built some muscle. It's crazy what actually working out can do to your body. I just do push-ups and stretch each morning and each like 2 bananas and an apple each day and avoid junk food. My cardio is probably not that great, but it's funny that I've actually built muscle since the older missionaries say that no matter what you gain weight on the mission. We had a lesson with J this week and we went in just hoping to answer any questions and really find out what is holding him back from committing. It went pretty well and it appears that he wants to understand everything 100% first, so we ended up talking a lot about faith and how we will never understand everything 100%, but need to act on the faith we already have. We also had a lesson with V, a recent convert who just moved in, and we had a great lesson on God's love and how we can feel it in our lives by praying, reading the scriptures, and going to church. My knowledge of the scriptures has improved a ton since coming out and I can find just about any scripture already, so I'm really grateful for that improvement. 
We met this really strange guy yesterday that was totally crazy. He claimed he was in the Luminadi and that he had died three times but came back to life. He told us about extra terrestrial life that he's seen and also how George Washington did too. It was really funny. He talked like he was giving a slam poem or something, and he was a pretty good speaker. Then he started predicting our futures, and he said I looked like the next president. He said I'd be married in 3 years and Elder V in 4. He said my wife would find me, that she would wear plain, but beautiful dresses, walk with a pivot, have dimples, and when I see her toes I will know she is the one because I will blush. It was really really funny and we both pretty much just sat there and listened to him for like 30 minutes while he rambled and told our future. Apparently we will both be leaders too. It was really awesome. Also, that really cute girl that gave me a hug last Sunday continues to LOVE me and Elder V and yells to us whenever she sees us. I guess she is turning 4 on October 7 and her mom invited us to dinner that night since she's pretty sure there is no one she'd rather have at her birthday dinner than us. She is so cute and we are so excited! Anytime anything bad happens now, we're like, well at least we are going to Bridgett's Birthday party! It is really awesome. Anyways, I know that no matter how tough the work is that I am doing the right thing. I know that the Book of Mormon can bring us closer to God than any other book on this earth. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and I know the happiness that can come as we strive to follow the example of our Savior. I know that if we turn to Him, He will help us with anything if we accept it. He died so that He would know how to best help us (Alma 7:11-12). Thanks for all the love and support! Go BYU! I hope they take the Utes down one final time!
Elder Pew

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 2nd & 9th, 2013

September 2nd, 2013

So I would first like to start off by saying that all of you guys's (?) letters have been a huge help. It is very comforting to know that when I get on the computer on Monday that I won't find that my family is having troubles or anything. I did get the package, and we ate the Hi-Chews in like 2 minutes, and then Elder V and Elder D wanted even more, so we went to the World Market so they could buy themselves more. Funny guys.  Anyways, this was a busy week. Covering two areas is pretty crazy and we went way over our miles for the month. Also, our tire popped yesterday, so we had to pull over and change the tire, but Elder D is really good at that kind of thing, but we still have the donut on it. We visited a TON of less active and recent converts, which was perfect because President Slaughter also got rid of the contacts and QGCs that President Jones had established. He doesn't care if we ever tract because his whole training was on how we can find through the less-active and active members. So, we didn't hardly tract at all this week. One day, I think Thursday, we happened to stop by all these people at the perfect time. A part member family in W R was home and the lady who isn't a member let us in and said it was interesting that the missionaries always stop by when they are going through a hard time. Coincidence? I think not! She has had the lessons before but she asked each of us to say why we know the church is true, so it was just a little testimony meeting. It was awesome and she said she would come to church. Being in a threesome is pretty awesome. My favorite part might be that I don't have to be a second pair of eyes to watch to road and since we are in the car a lot I just sit in the back and read as many conference talks as I can. It's awesome. We also were going to stop by a family in W R but when we got out of the car there was a guy with really long hair who immediately told us to come inside. He said not to say one word about Jesus or he would punch us in the face. He is huge into family history and he has a lot of information but he wants to find more. He knew our church had big archives and wanted access to it. We referred him to the Family History Center at the Stake Center where he could get more information and help with his family history. Also he seemed to like us a lot even though he wasn't interested at all in what we believe and he actually called us the next day to offer us some furniture that he didn't need. His name is H. T's baptism fell through again and I'm doubting whether or not the family understands the importance of baptism. We taught J again and his son B had a super funny quote. We were talking about the priesthood and he asked if we had the number 1 (Aaronic) or number 2 (Melchizadek) priesthood, and we told him number 2 and he was like, "I'm never going to get the number 2 priesthood, because I don't know how to swim!" We explained that the only requirements are being worthy and having the Aaronic priesthood, but that was really funny. We also visited a less active family and they have 4 kids, two 3 year old twins. For some reason they all decided to attack me while Elder D and Elder V talked with the parents about the Army or something. There kids were jumping all over me and stabbing me with swords and sharks, but it was super funny. I was basically running the nursery while the other two talked. I didn't even hear that we set up an appointment to teach them because I was getting attacked. The two friends of the young women have not received lessons yet because the young women never set up an appointment even though we asked almost every day. Whatever. we'll get them some day soon. Two more crazy stories. So we didn't have a district leader because he was Elder D's companion, so they had me give a training. Me? yeah I don't know why they did that, but it was a super cool experience teaching these people who are all like 1-3 years older than me about how to learn by the Spirit from Preach my Gospel, but they seemed to learn a lot and it was clearly led by the Spirit. Elder V gave the other training and also did great. That was awesome though, I loved teaching. So me and Elder V are staying, and Elder V will be the new District Leader, which is exactly what I predicted. He thought he would go District Leader somewhere else, but I knew he would stay, and I was right! It should be a solid transfer. Last crazy story. So we went to dinner in W R with the N family. They are a super cool family and it was fun to get to know them. They actually had us play "Spot It" until dinner was ready which was a blast. Then at dinner they were talking about there son who had recently left on his mission to Arizona. Anyways, they asked me how long I'd been out and I told them like 1.5 months, and they asked what day I reported and I told them July 10 and that was the same day as him. They said he was dropped off by his family but first they went to J-Dawgs. I was like, " I totally went to J-Dawgs too!" They asked what time I reported and it was right after him, but we were at J-Dawgs at the same time! Remember that aunt and uncle with the nephew from Austin that was going to Arizona? This was his family! As we talked more and more, the more I remembered seeing him there. The mom showed me a picture of him at J-Dawgs and our minivan was totally in the back! Isn't that the craziest thing ever! He was probably in my MTC resident hall and everything. It was crazy!  Well, the last story I want to share is more spiritual. So I was feeling a little down a few days ago and so I opened up to one of my favorite chapters recently, 3 Nephi 17. It is when Christ is about to leave but he can tell the people want Him to stay longer, and he ends up healing all the sick, blessing all the children, and praying for the people. It is one of the most powerful chapters ever and it shows how much Christ loves us. I sat there and read it and I was literally crying a bit as I read this passage again and how much Christ loves us and how much the people loved Christ. I think if I could teach that chapter to anyone, they could have no doubt that the Book of Mormon does in fact testify of the Christ that they want to know and love, and that we are not full of it for believing the Book of Mormon, because of its testimony of the Savior. Preach my Gospel says to refer quickly to the restoration and the Book of Mormon, because that is what separates us. It usually gets a door slammed in our face, but at least we aren't trying to get around the fact that we believe in the Book of Mormon by saying something universal like about Christ. Anyways, I know that Christ is our Savior and that He loves each of us SO much. I've felt his love out here and I know that the Book of Mormon is from God. I LOVE reading from it and it brings me so much closer to God. I'm thankful for the support and love I feel from all of you, it means so much to me!
Elder Pew

September 9, 2013

Dear family,
This was a pretty interesting week. Monday night we had family night with the S family. They went through the temple like 1-2 months ago and are awesome! They are a pretty young family with six and two year old kids. We had a nice little lesson with them on the Restoration, and then they had a game planned with an object lesson in place too. We had a partner and one person had a blindfold on and the other person tried to lead the other person through their yard that had crumpled papers. The guide was the Holy Ghost and the papers were sin. It was a cute little object lesson and I loved seeing how hard this family is trying to do what the prophet has said, even though they are somewhat recent converts.We have moved basically completely away from tracting, but we are a bit confused as to what we are suppose to do now. We try stopping by members, but we haven't been able to get any referrals from them. They are all excited to help us and they really like us, but they still don't seem to really grasp how much we need their help now with us not tracting really. We did stop by a less active lady who no one has ever met before, and she has a boyfriend who said he will take the lessons to gain an understanding of that part of her life. That was pretty sweet news, and is our only real progress this week. J didn't come to church and T didn't get baptized. We are going to go to T's house and sit down and see if we can find out why they are holding back from the baptism. We think it is her mom who is inactive and she is holding things up, but we aren't sure. We had a lesson with J and A which went pretty well and we committed them to fast  this coming Sunday for J to receive his answer. We plan to go over there this week and see if we can figure out exactly what he expects his "answer" to be and how to recognize it. R's friends didn't come to church either and she didn't tell us anything else about them, so it looks like that was a false alarm referral. Whatever. Thursday was transfers, so Elder D got a new companion for the W R ward. It was cool to see the new missionaries come in and how happy the other missionaries are. I can't wait to have that same enthusiasm for the work. I need to work a lot on being positive and not focusing on the negative. It really makes things so much harder, and hinders my effectiveness. It is just hard when we only have like three or four lessons each week. We also taught J, and he is really awesome. He's going through some really hard things with his family, but he has a lot of faith and he is really humble. I won't explain all the details, but at one point in the lesson he heard something going on outside his house and he ran into his room and grabbed his shotgun to see what was going on. It was pretty awesome. I have to say he did have a pretty good reason for doing so with all that has happened, but it was crazy awesome. That's a Texas experience I can check off. It is also funny to me how I've already sent like 300 more text messages on my mission than I have the rest of my life combined since we have a cell phone. Church is always pretty great and I love being able to rejuvenate for the rest of the week. Also one of the cute little girls in the ward came running up to me and gave me a hug on the leg, which I guess is technically not allowed, but it made my day to know someone really cares about me out here. Elder V has been a great help these last few weeks since I have had such a hard time. He's been supportive of me and really encouraging. Lots of missionaries tell me that I'm doing so well for a new missionary. I agree with them except that I have such a hard time being positive. I've gotten pretty good at talking to everyone we see, studying really hard, and teaching well, but if I don't have a good attitude then it kind of negates the rest. I know with faith in the Lord we can get through anything, and I know our trials are only there to help us become the people we need to become. I know why I have trials, I just need to figure out how to overcome them with faith and a good attitude. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I love reading from it and I know that if we stick to the Book of Mormon we can make it through anything. I love you all and thank you for the support you have shown me!
Elder Pew
p.s. there is a totally crazy guy sitting a few seats away from me talking to himself a TON. It's pretty funny.