Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 28th, 2013

Dear family,
This was another great week. I'll tell a couple fun stories before I get into the good stuff. So the subject line (Tacos) is from a sweet experience we had this week. We went by a former investigator and it said that her son is a convert and served a mission and everything, so she loves Mormons. She wanted to feed us something, but we said it was fine, but she insisted that she feed us, so she made us homemade-refried bean and cheese tacos. They were the best thing ever! They tasted so good! She did say that if anyone will convert her it will be her son, so not a ton of potential there, but it was super nice. Also, we found out from an investigator this week that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was right across the street from our apartment! Either it happened there or was just filmed there, but either way that is pretty crazy! I can't look at the little hill the same way anymore. Anyways it was a pretty great week. 
Monday we had a lesson with the L family and Sis L said she would email pictures of me and Elder V with Bridget. Hopefully she sent those. This ward is seriously so awesome! Elder T wasn't feeling very good, so we took it pretty easy for the rest of the night and not a lot else happened.
Tuesday we had a lesson with E and he said that his wife wanted to be there for it too. We had a lesson on the Book of Mormon and E said he wants to get baptized once he feels like he understands everything well enough. Perfect! His wife is pretty cool too and also really interested, unfortunately she can only move her left arm because of her MS. It makes it hard for them to make it to church. Pray for them for sure. We also had a lesson with J and A about the Book of Mormon and it was super awesome. The Spirit was pretty strong and we did try to get him to pray right there to know that it is true, but he rejected it and said he would pray on his own. Otherwise he is doing really well.
Wednesday we had dinner with the As and it was sweet! They are an awesome family. We had like 10 minutes to wait for dinner and the kids wanted to play with me so Elder T talked with Bro. A while I played frisbee and stuff with their kids. Kids rule. We had a lesson with the Ms, but the mom wasn't there. We watched a few Mormon Messages and it went pretty well.
Thursday we taught a guy that was a former investigator that I felt like we should go by, and he was really nice and we taught him about prophets pretty quickly and set up a return appointment. We were suppose to have a lesson with V at the O's house since they are suppose to be taking over the teaching, but V was sick and they didn't tell us so we went over and then they forced us to have some cobbler and ice cream (I'm not complaining). It was a weird situation, but we got them to reschedule a lesson for next week and I had a feeling that V was doing fine, so we stopped by and had a lesson with her. Her understanding of the gospel has really picked up and it is cool to see. 
Trunk or Treat Elder Pew and new companion Elder T
Friday was a crazy day. We had the trunk-or-treat party which was AWESOME! We had the genius idea of having pass-along cards for people as well, and we decorated our trunk. We taped some teeth on the bottom and top of the trunk and it looked like a monster. It was pretty cool. There were A LOT of nonmembers there and a few part-member families, including the Fs. We have worked really hard with them and haven't had a lesson yet, but we have become good friends with the oldest daughters since they like soccer. We got them to come to the trunk-or-treat by bribing them with a soccer juggling contest which I unofficially won. They are a super awesome family and I hope the mom will get more involved. She is super cool too, but will have a hard time getting back into the groove of things. The younger kids and Brother F both came to church so that was great.  This is just a fantastic ward. I wouldn't mind serving here for awhile. J and A came and they were able to meet a bunch of new people so that was awesome too. A couple teenagers in the ward brought their friend B. He is super cool and super nice  and we invited him to church. He likes choir and basketball, so we clicked pretty fast. We were in charge of the costume contest so I had to get up in front of everyone and announce the winners which was a little stressful, but overall it was a really successful night. I didn't realize how stressful it would be though, since I realized how much I love the investigators and how protective I am of them. I was constantly trying to make sure people were talking with the less-active, part member, and investigators. It was really fun to have so much to do. We had a few minutes before we had to be back, and I felt like we should visit a less active lady and as we got out of the car she was passing us and invited us over for lunch the next day. Sweet!
Saturday we taught M again, and we got her to commit to read the Book of Mormon! She said she would read the first chapter, and then she ended up coming to the first hour of church. She wanted to stay in Sunday School.. We had lunch with Sister T and her family. She is super funny. and she has a strong testimony, she is just going through some pretty tough trials. That evening, again, right before we had to be in I felt like we should stop by a less active lady whose grandson who lives with her is unbaptized. He is 11 and super nice. I had always felt in the past that we should have him get his grandma active, so when she said (again) that we should come back another time, I quickly asked if her grandson, S, wanted to come to church. He came out and so did she and he said he did. We asked if we could teach them a lesson sometime. She said she wanted to start coming back too and said we came at the perfect time. She just lost her job and wants to start coming back but she needs S to push her into going again. We will teach them next week and I have no doubt that he will be baptized! We also resumed teaching A and have a date set for November 9. By the way, the transfer ends on Thanksgiving, so we have a lot we can do before the transfer ends. I hope I stay!
Sunday was awesome. Sister T, her son, M, J and A, B, and the Fs all came to church! It's also cool now to sit in ward council and hear what the ward needs and to know more about these people than the ward council, so I've become much more active in those meetings now that I know so much of what is going on. I'm super humbled to see how much the Spirit has helped me lately. It has guided us so much and I've grown so much because of it. It is really cool to see great things come from small promptings. We sat with B at church and set up a lesson with him at the D's house. He is super cool, but not sure what to expect, so hopefully he feels the Spirit. If nothing else he is a really good kid and I'm glad to meet him. We had dinner with like 5 families in the ward which was really fun too. We tried stopping by a few potential investigators but didn't have much success. 
Overall, I have gained such a strong testimony of the Holy Ghost. I know that we can be guided in our lives and as we turn to prayer, our Heavenly Father does answer prayers. It is the best feeling in the world to feel a prompting of the Spirit, act on it, and be an answer to somebody's prayer. I have also gained a testimony of patience, and several weeks ago it was hard to see myself even where I am now, and I know I can continue to grow because of diligent work and the Atonement. I know that this is Christ's church on the earth and that He is the head of it and leads and guides it. I know that the Book of Mormon changes lives. I've seen it and I am so certain of its truthfulness. Thanks for all the love and support I've received!
Elder Pew

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Dear family,
This was a solid week with a lot going on, so hopefully I can remember everything. Before I start though, I need to say happy Birthday to Gwen and Emily this past week since I forgot to say something about it last week. I hope you both had awesome birthdays and make sure Emily stays away from the boys now.
Monday was pretty great. Zone P-Day was fun since it was everyone's last one together, so almost everyone was there and we played a fun game of volleyball that climaxed when Sister B (really good athlete) rocked Elder L's soft spot with the ball and stopped the game for like 10 minutes. We also taught Sister S, a lady who is completely inactive but wants to come back, so we talked about how she could gain that conviction she once had. It was a powerful lesson and it is really cool to feel the Spirit working in you, which happened many times this week. 
Tuesday we taught J for Elder V's final time. We went over the baptismal interview questions and the only thing he has a problem with is Joseph Smith being a prophet. He also needs to quit smoking and get married, but that will come shortly after he knows Joseph Smith is a prophet. We brought Bro. B who was also Baptist growing up and told of his decision to finally get baptized. It seemed to help J a lot and he is still really close. I continue to stress everywhere I am about the Book of Mormon, so we are going to teach a lesson about the Book of Mormon, and get back to the basics with J about praying to know the Book of Mormon is true and the testimony that will come that Joseph Smith is a prophet as well. He gets hung up on some stuff that he looks up and researches that is not a big deal, while skipping over the fact that he has accepted the Book of Mormon as scripture in the past. We also taught a lesson to R, and it went really well. He asked if we were there to convert and baptize him, and so we basically boldly said, "Yeah, we know that joining our church will strengthen your faith in Christ and that is our ultimate goal." He did understand the Restoration really well and committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. 
Wednesday not a whole lot happened. We taught two lessons to members about missionary work and those continue to have little visible success other than the families are more excited and set some goals and we continue to be indirectly blessed for our efforts to work with them. We also visited R and J one last time for Elder V. I am grateful that I had a chance to be his companion. He was an awesome trainer and let me do a lot. I know a big reason I have progressed as fast as I have is because he let me be so active in our work.
Thursday was transfers. We went to transfer meeting and before we even went I knew who my companion was going to be. I had felt like he was last time I saw him, and it continued throughout the week until someone at the meeting confirmed it before it was announced. His name is Elder T. He is really excited and enthusiastic about everything, and he has a very likable personality. He is also a district leader. They changed our district a little, but it is still a great district. Elder T is awesome and he has been out for like 9 months. He has served the last few transfers as a moving Elder, so he pretty much just went all over the mission moving furniture in and out of apartments. He enjoyed it though. Thursday night we had Bible Study and since Elder T didn't know about it, I pretty much led the entire thing. Only J and Sister R showed up, but we had a great discussion and the Spirit was really strong and they both said they had people they planned to invite for this next week. 
Friday was a solid day. We taught a man named E that went to church and was taught many times about a year ago. He is super funny and nice. Elder T used the ice cream truck analogy about having authority, and when he asked E what he would say if he was pulled over by an ice cream truck and he was like, "I'd tell him that my wife likes vanilla." He's pretty funny. We gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to pray and read it, and said he would and accepted an invitation to be baptized if he found out that it was true. Sweet! We stopped by R's and he had read the Book of Mormon and really liked it, however, when we asked him to be baptized and he shot it down and didn't want us to try and convert him so we dropped him right there. It was a little sad, but he wasn't willing to accept further commitments. We also had a long chat with a man who had a lot of questions about what we believe. It was more of an honest inquiry than a bash, but he didn't agree with everything we said. I do think that we asked him some really good questions that helped him realize that we have much more truth than any other church. He had a really hard time answering what God's purpose is for us, and I think he was a little surprised at how much we knew. Another guy tried bashing with us on the street, but we just kinda ignored him and it was nice to see that my faith isn't really affected by that kind of thing anymore.
Saturday was sweet. We went to a baptism in San Antonio from Elder T's last area since the guy wanted Elder T to baptize him. It was fun to drive all the way down to San Antonio. The baptism was sweet and the dude has a mohawk and tattoos but bore a really powerful testimony after he was baptized that nearly made me cry and I don't even know the dude. We stopped at Buc-ees (?) the biggest gas station in the world on the way back. They have like 83 toilets or something like that and the place is huge. You should all look it up. I'll upload pictures sometime. We also stopped by the mission office to pick some stuff up for Elder T and it was cool to see the mission office. We ate at an amazing burrito place called FreeBirds. We also drove past the temple and it made me want to go so badly. We got back really late in the afternoon and went to the Fs, a part member family. It was awesome. The wife has usually been really quiet and they don't talk a lot, but this time the wife was there and there daughters and she expressed her frustration with the church because of their experience in Nebraska which was pretty horrible. It was great to get those concerns out and she doesn't want to force her children to go to a church that hurt them so much, but she does understand the blessings that come from church. They said they would come to the Trunk-or-Treat and we have a lesson with them tomorrow morning. I have clicked really well with the teenage girls that we finally met since they are HUGE soccer players (oh, by the way they are only 13, 12, and 9) and Elder T is so outgoing and happy and they seem to really like us. Bro F did take the youngest 4 to church while the older girls watched a soccer game with their mom and soccer team. We hope to play some soccer with them at the Trunk-or-Treat and our trunk is going to be sweet. I had the genius idea of taping candy to a pass-along card, so every member who gets one can pass it out and every non-member who comes can have one. We also taught V, but she was pretty depressed and was talking about all sorts of stuff  Sunday was great. In PEC Bishop H welcomed Elder T and told him that he is working with an amazing missionary and we will do great things. That made me feel like 100 bucks. At church we helped out in Primary and got the kids excited to invite their friends to the Trunk-or-Treat. We also bore pretty powerful testimony in there and it was neat to see. When we walked in a bunch were like"Hey Elder Pew!!" It was sweet. Since we have been working with them more he was able to go off and meet them all while I went and followed up with all the families and saw how their goals are going. Elder T felt really sick after church but we had a lesson with a family in the ward. It went well, but he didn't feel better afterwards, but the dad was a chiropractor who apparently can heal anything with this technique that he has. He worked with Elder T for like 5 minutes doing all sorts of stuff and then Elder T felt way better. Bro D said he has had people get out of wheelchairs, get their sight back, hearing back, healed diseases, and all sorts of things. It was almost freaky. 
In other news, Elder V was transferred to T which is in our zone still and Elder S and Sister J stayed in their areas too, so I have a lot of friends in the zone still. Also, Elder L from the MTC came up to A so I was able to chat with him for a bit. He is funny. Thanks for the love and prayers, this has been a great week and I know it is from your help. I know that this is Christ's church on the earth. I know that Christ suffered for our sins so that we don't have to if we will take advantage of the Atonement and change to become better. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I honestly do consider it a friend. Sometimes I do just want to run on a roof and yell to everyone to read it. I know it will change our lives if we let it. Because of the Book of Mormon I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that he restored the keys of the priesthood back on the earth. I'm thankful for that knowledge and it has been a huge blessing in my life. Thanks again!
Elder Pew

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 14th, 2013

Dear family,
 Anyways, this week was really successful, although I am still having to work like crazy to stay somewhat positive, so that continues to be frustrating.
Monday was awesome. We went to B's birthday party which was AMAZING! She was so excited to have us over for her birthday, it was great. We played keep-the-balloon-in-the-air and I ended up with some marker from one of the balloons on my forehead which was perfect for a three year old birthday party. We had birthday cake and then set up a lesson with their family and left. Sister L did take pictures so we might ask to send those to you guys. Sorry I haven't sent more photos, but I usually don't have time and these computers are kinda weird. Anyways, the B-day party was the best thing ever. We were elated after that. We taught a lesson on missionary work to a family in the ward and we have helped each family set some goals which hasn't yielded much from them, but the blessings have been evident from us trying to work with the ward better.
Tuesday was pretty great. We had a first lesson! The guys name is H, he is pretty cool, although not that interested in joining the church, but we didn't even get to talk about the restoration yet, and he said to come back and tell him more. We had to hurry out of there because we had interviews with President Slaughter. He is super cool, but the interview seemed pretty insignificant. We also taught J that night and him and A watched like all of conference. Unfortunately he missed the talk by President Uchtdorf, the one for him. We really are lost at to what he needs to commit. We had a training on having the faith to say what needs to be said at Zone Meeting, so we do plan to be pretty bold with him tomorrow, especially since it's Elder V's last lesson with them (more info later). 
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting which was great. I really like our Zone. We had a lesson with A, Sister S's little sister. She is nine and wants to get baptized. She actually lives in a different ward, but since she will go to church with the S, we can teach her. Sunday though, we found out we still might have to pass her on to another missionaries which would be frustrating. She is really shy, but she wants to get baptized and she has a date set for November 2. We also taught Brother J's friend M and his children, unfortunately his wife had to leave, but the lesson went really well and it's cool to see members get involved. The S and Brother J are awesome. He said he would read the Book of Mormon, and pray and he came to our Bible Study class which went well. 
Thursday we had dinner with an older lady and her recently married husband who isn't a member. He is really cool and really nice, but he's like 85 and doesn't want to change. We had a good lesson on the Book of Mormon, but he rejected our invitation to read and pray about it. J, Bro J, and M were the only ones at Bible Study, but it went well. The Spirit was pretty strong and J shared his testimony with M as to how the church helped him turn things around in his life. Elder V was sick so we had Bro J help give him a blessing which was cool that M got to see that. The Spirit was pretty strong there and it was a neat experience. We had to head in early so Elder V could get some sleep and we were really happy with the day. 
Friday Elder V was too sick to work, which stunk. It was a pretty boring day and we pretty much watched every video we had, including a sweet one on the building of the Salt Lake temple which made me love it even more. We did have a lesson with A and a less-active member set-up, so we got a member to stay with Elder V and another to come with me to the lessons. I was glad to get out of the apartment, and the lessons went pretty well. I also made a pretty cool chart to keep track of all of the different people in the Book of Mormon and how they split off and who is in charge, where they lived, etc, with scripture references to back it up. It should be pretty handy once it is complete, I only completed it through Mosiah, since that is where I am in my reading.
Saturday not a lot happened. We set up a bunch more member lessons and had a lesson with R as well. It was a pretty calm day.
Sunday, church was awesome. I really enjoy going to church and talking with the ward members. The talks were really awesome about the importance of member missionary work. One speaker challenged everyone to find at least one person to bring to church, so we have included that in our member lessons. Also, Saturday and Sunday rained a bit which was really nice and I loved that. We taught the J a lesson on missionary work and finished with like 6 member lessons, 6 lessons with a member present, 1 other lesson, and 5 lessons with less active and recent converts, so we were blessed for our efforts to work with the ward by having many chances to teach. It was great. We had transfer calls, and Elder V is moving and finishing a training, and I'm staying here. I'm excited to stay in this area and I really like the members here.
I know that this is Christ's church on the earth today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it brings me such peace when I read it. It helps me to know that God loves His children and provided a way through Jesus Christ for us to make it back to Heaven. That is comforting to know, and I am doing all I can to get there. It will be so rewarding to know we have tried our best to do our Heavenly Father's will and to enter into His presence. I know this through the power of the Holy Ghost that has confirmed this to me. Thanks for all of the love and support, I'm going to need lots of prayers as I transition into this new transfer with a new companion. Thank you!
Elder Pew
Elder Pew and companion photo sent by a member family in Texas

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oops! 3 weeks worth of letters September 23rd, 30th and October 7th (a photo)

September 23rd

Dear family, 
This was a pretty awesome week! I have done SO much better with staying positive. Sometimes I still get a little frustrated, but it's not with myself so much anymore and more with the fact that we have little success finding people to teach. So, besides the fact that we haven't taught a first lesson in over a month, things were pretty great. Monday we went thrift shopping at Goodwill because Elder V needed a new suit. My thrift shopping experience from DI really paid off and I found some pretty wicked awesome stuff. I found an awesome red suit jacket, and some other sweet suit jackets but obviously none of them are approved so I didn't get any. I did find three really cool ties that I bought for like 3 bucks each. I'm starting to run a little low on ties since they seem to get ruined pretty fast. Tuesday was really awesome. Elder V had a meeting he had to go to so I worked with Elder M who has been out for one transfer more than me. We were going to ride our bikes since they took our car to the meeting, but Elder Vs bike had a flat tire, so yet again, we were on foot. I adjusted our plans a little bit to walk less, but we still walked close to 3 miles. Elder M is a really cool guy, but he is pretty quiet, so I pretty much had to do all of the talking. It was a great experience though. At one point at a stop light a guy approached the light too, so I talked with him for like 5 minutes about his work while we waited to cross the street and then crossed it. After a while we started talking about the gospel, but he wasn't really interested. Oh well, it was still cool to talk with him and who knows what that might do for him someday. We stopped by a few people with not any success and then walked back.  J called us and asked if we could pay him a visit, so we did and he is having some more family issues, and we taught him about how the small and simple things keep us on track. We had dinner with a cool family and their mom's boyfriend who isn't a member. The bishopric really wants him to join, but he's a little stubborn and doesn't come to church. We had Whataburgers, which are the best burgers I've had to this point. They are amazing! We shared the Earthly Father, Heavenly Father video and bore our testimonies about families and our Heavenly Father's love. R (the mom) told us as we left that it was exactly what her boyfriend needed. He has been confused about our beliefs concerning God, so we were able to clear that up. That was awesome! The Spirit was really strong. Then we had our lesson with J. We were going to go over the baptismal interview questions, but we sat down and he asked us if we could discuss some things he researched in the scriptures. He ended up giving us like a 30 minute sermon on the nature of God using scriptures from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Bible. It was really cool and the Spirit was pretty strong. Clearly he has a testimony of this church, we can't figure out why he hasn't committed to a baptismal date. We even asked if that means he knows his answer, and he said it helps. WHAT? After teaching us from the BoM and D&C, how can you not have a testimony? As we explained it to our district, his feet were dangling over the cliff into answerland, but now I think he has fallen in and just hasn't realized it yet. He came to church and the ward did a great job fellowshipping him again and he talked with the bishop afterwards, but we don't know what about. Hopefully getting married. He is SO SO SO close. Wednesday we had an awesome Zone Meeting and I learned a lot.  Thursday we had our Bible Study class, but it pretty much bombed this week. We prayed a lot that people would be able to come, but only our WML came. However, at church a bunch of people said they are coming and several are bringing a friend, and Josh said he would come and we have like 10 other potential investigators that we are going to try and get to come. Friday was AMAZING!! The hurricane weather hit us, and it hit us HARD. It started out as a light drizzle, but by like 3 it was absolutely dumping rain on us. It was so great. The roads were flooding and it was the most wet I've ever been. We saw a lady who was needed to fill up the air in her tires, so we did it for her in the pouring rain and just got absolutely soaked. I think that those suit pants might be pretty much ruined, but I'm going to get it dry cleaned and see if that helps. They smell like moldy wood. We didn't really find anyone that day, but the rain was SO awesome and it dumped all day! Saturday we had a lesson with V, the recent convert, and I really like her. The ward and other missionaries have a hard time with her, but I think she's awesome.  She calls us fairly often, so Elder V just has me talk to her. Her prayers are amazing. One of the only people who you can actually tell is talking to God, something I wish I could emulate. Church was pretty great and the ward seems to genuinely like us a lot. We just need to start visiting each family so we can get them excited about missionary work. I've read like 5 talks and 100 scriptures about missionary work, so we are pretty much ready to teach people.  Also, Bridgett, the 2 year old who is obsessed with us made her family sit by us and their family is really cool. She is SO cute and her mom always tells us that she gets excited to come to church to see the "mishinawies." Kids continue to impress. I know that this is Christ's work here on the earth, and I'm so thankful He has helped me to turn things around as far as my attitude goes. I know I couldn't have done it without Him, and I know our Heavenly Father is SO much more merciful and loving than we can even comprehend. Like I told V in our lesson, if we truly understood how much our Heavenly Father loves us, we would always choose the right, we would serve others, we wouldn't worry about ourselves or our weaknesses, and we would do EVERYTHING to do what He wants us to and make Him proud. I know He has a plan for each of us and that He loves us. Thanks for everyone who has helped me so far on my mission, I couldn't have done it without all of you!
Elder Pew

September 30th, 2013

Dear family,
This was another pretty great week! A lot happened. Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder A. We were on bicycles which was a cool change of pace. I enjoyed getting out on a bike. Unfortunately, I had to use Elder S's (yup, my MTC companion, super tall) bike and it is HUGE. I needed a ladder just to get onto the thing. Anyways, we biked like 15 miles and it was really cool. His bicycle seat is basically a piece of metal that is like 2 inches long, so my bum got destroyed and it still feels like I have a bicycle seat attached to my bum. We were able to meet with a few less active members and share a quick spiritual thought with them. We also taught one of their investigators, and she really likes the scriptures and so we retaught the Restoration but I pretty much used every scripture that I know that has to do with the doctrine in the first lesson because that is what she wanted and she loved it! She wants to get baptized but her husband won't let her. It's too bad. It was cool to see all of my studying pay off there and the Spirit was strong as we shared and answered questions from the scriptures. Unfortunately that meant that I missed the lesson with J, but it sounds like he is still really close and he came to church, so that was great. They also taught J and G, a family we've been keeping an eye on for a while, and they answered some of their questions. Hopefully we can teach them again this week. Friday we also had an exchange with the Zone Leaders but for some reason they sent their third wheel with me in our area, so I was senior companion for the day. It was a little stressful to be in charge but Elder V has trained me well as well as my own work, so we had a great day even though I didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing. We took a cool 18 year old guy to a potential first lesson with us, taught A, stopped by several members, and tried to find new people to teach. My companion for the day, Elder Y came out with me, but he has very limited experience with teaching or contacting since he is Spanish speaking and with the Zone Leaders and he refused to talk much in contacting and teaching, so I pretty much did everything that day which was awesome! I learned so much! Elder V says that I'm ready enough to train, but that would be crazy. I am grateful though that I've progressed pretty quickly and that I came into the mission well prepared. You can never over-prepare! Oh yeah, our Bible Study class kinda bombed out again, but we've invited like 30-40 people on the streets and the ward sounds like they will try coming more these next few weeks.  Saturday was AMAZING!  We met a really cool guy named D who is about our age and looking for a church. He was busy, but we left him a card with the church address on it and he seemed interested. We also met a female rapper named T and she was pretty cool. Her and her boyfriend talked to us for like 15 minutes and they were also semi-interested. I tried to get Elder V to rap with her, but they didn't. We also visited a lady in the ward who is in the hospital and we shared a quick spiritual thought with her. We had a lesson with V and it was the greatest lesson ever! So 3 Nephi 17 is probably my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon, and we left that with her to read last week, but she didn't read it and I was prompted to read that with her which turned out to be genius! We got to like verse 8 where Jesus says that His "bowels are filled with compassion" and V is like, "wait, I've never felt compassion in my bowels before. Is that where we are suppose to feel compassion?" And we were like, "no it's fine if you feel that in your heart that is totally normal." And then she says, "well what does that mean. Did he have diarrhea?" Of course we absolutely died laughing. It was so stinking funny. We tried reading some more, but we couldn't stop laughing. Then she was like, "if I was them I'd be like 'whatever that is don't do it here!'" So again we were dying laughing and then she says, "sure fill my heart with compassion but don't give me whatever that is!" It was so funny. After like 5 minutes of laughing and joking we got serious again. As we continued to read the Spirit became really strong as we read over the account of Christ's love for the people and their love for him. We were able to get through the chapter without anymore laughter and the Spirit really guided our comments and it really helped her to read that chapter. Plus, it was the funniest moment of my mission. Then we helped her look for her phone that she lost and she let me walk her dog  and if you talked to anyone who knows V you would know how significant that is. Anyways, as we got back to her house Elder V asked if she checked in the couch cushions because that's where he always found stuff, she was like, "did you check in the bowels of the couch?" It was the perfect ending to the perfect lesson. It also dumped rain on us again which was really awesome and I loved it so much. We stopped by J during the rain and of course they let us in and gave us Apple Juice and cookies. We talked with him for awhile and he is going to take us out to lunch again this week and we are going to watch Conference with him this weekend at his house. YES!! He is so cool! Sunday was pretty great. I fasted to know what exactly we need to do to get the members excited about missionary work, but I still haven't had much inspiration. I've compiled literally 100s of scriptures and quotes about missionary work, member-missionary work, and promised blessings of it, but I'm not sure what to do with it all. Anyways, J was at church and so was Brother J's friend M. It is interesting how much your perspective of testimony meeting changes as a missionary with investigators there.  I wish people would stick to the four things that everything should be based on. Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the key/priesthood. Those are really what matters and it would be nice if people stuck with them. We went to a fireside that night because a nice lady in our ward's husband who isn't a member was going to be there. It ended up being one of the most powerful meetings I've ever been in. It was a couple who got back from a senior couple mission, and they basically shared experiences and testimony from their mission. The Spirit was really strong and it helped to inspire me in our efforts. I also received inspiration to help V stay active by going to the temple soon. Also, she probably has lots of family history she can do and she is really good on computers, so it's a perfect match! That was a really neat experience. Well I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that he loves us. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it has influenced me so much in my life to do good, it is clearly from God. Because the Book of Mormon is true I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He restored the priesthood keys to the earth that we need to perform essential ordinances like baptism, and ordinances of the temple and I'm so thankful that I got to go through the temple before my mission. No matter what opposition comes the church will always move forward and nothing compares to the blessings of the church. Thanks for the love and support!
Elder Pew

October 7th 2013

Dear family,
This was a bit of a rougher week. Things actually went pretty well, but I think because things are going well that Satan is really working hard on getting me discouraged. It wasn't as bad as the beginning of my mission, but there were times I was pretty discouraged. However, pretty conveniently I am in Mosiah Chapter 24 in my Book of Mormon reading which has some great things to apply. First, the Lord chose to put the people of Alma in bondage to test their patience and faith (Mosiah 23:17 or something) and it wasn't because of unrighteousness. Also, those who put their faith in God through their trials are blessed (next verse). The people pray for strength and the Lord doesn't take away their burdens but he gives them the strength to carry them. Good application.
So Tuesday was another exchange. This time I was back with Elder D in our area. It was the reunion tour for him, so that was fun to work with him again. We had a lesson with J (our only investigator, but you could pray for J and G, W, Bro. B's wife, R, M and M, and the M family since they are all people we are trying to work with) that went pretty well. It sounds like he still has questions on Joseph Smith and isn't willing to put the fact that he knows the Book of Mormon is from God (whether he will admit it or not) as evidence that Joseph Smith is a prophet and is hung up on some of the history. It was pretty easy to discern these concerns from him, and Brother J, a member, did a great job talking about how we don't need to know everything to know Joseph Smith is a prophet. Just like President Uchtdorf said, "doubt your doubts before your faith." Hopefully J has watched all of conference and especially that talk because there was good stuff in there for him. Anyways, we talked a little about receiving revelation and promised him that if he went into Conference with a question that he would get an answer if he truly wanted it AND was willing to act on it. We will see how that went tomorrow. It has been a great experience doing exchanges because this exchange, the exchange with Elder Y, and Elder L (I'll talk about that in a second) have helped me to see what it's like to totally run an area, and helped me to essentially do everything, so I know that I have the abilities to be a good missionary. 
Wednesday we had a lesson with the Ms (wife is not a member and they don't come to church) , but instead of having us teach a lesson they just read from their spot in the Old Testament which is pretty dry stuff that we had to stretch to pull doctrine out of and testify of. Whatever, I'm not sure what it will take for them. 
Thursday we had our Bible Study class and we actually got J to come and R, a potential investigator. I stopped by him Tuesday and invited him and he invited his entire Methodist Sunday School class, so hopefully some more people come from that. He is really impressed with us and our study session went great. We taught with the Spirit and the discussions were good, even if there was only 6 of us. We invited R to watch conference, so hopefully he watched it at home since he didn't come to the church.
Friday was another exchange with Elder L who has only been out one transfer. Also, we were in his area (a bike area) and he has limited experience so I had to plan things for all of our time besides the two lessons that were previously set up. We went to the outskirts of their area and we had to go up a huge hill that was tough. Elder L felt pretty sick, so we stopped at a gas station to get water and then went back out on the bikes. We met some really cool people and had some great discussions. One lady was a former investigator I planned us to go by and she was really cool and I played basketball with her three year old while Elder L talked with her about the gospel. It was really fun. We answered a few other peoples' questions and then headed off to dinner. We had an appointment right after with a couple who won't keep commitments. We had to bring the member we had dinner with and it was the wildest lesson. The husband (S) was this super cool, humble guy from Houston, and we told the member that we needed to be pretty bold with them and tell them they needed to keep commitments. The member took over right from the start and was really bold with them but did bear pretty strong testimony, Elder Lee ended up sharing another 30 minute story, so by the time I had could say something we had to leave, so I just bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and told them they can know it's true for themselves. We had to hustle to our next lesson which was a first lesson. We did a pretty good job teaching her and clearing blind spots, and resolving concerns, setting expectations and things, but she simply told us she didn't believe the First Vision and wouldn't read the Book of Mormon. I was pretty frustrated since we taught pretty well and this was my first first lesson in over a month, so I was praying fervently for things to change. Elder L bore a pretty powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and explained the connection between Joseph Smith and the importance of the Book of Mormon well, and then I was overcome with the Spirit as I bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. She had already shot down a baptismal invite, but she suddenly changed and said she wanted to give the Book of Mormon a chance, and so we talked for a couple more minutes about it and she was suddenly very grateful for us and everything and wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true. She said she would like a Spanish Book of Mormon more, so they referred her to the Spanish Zone Leaders who will teach her. It was a really cool lesson and a rewarding day.
A member in his mission sent this photo of Elder Pew and his comp!
Conference was pretty awesome. It really does mean more to missionaries and I took a TON of notes. My favorite talk was by far President Monson's on Sunday Morning. It was super powerful. I also really liked both talks by President Uchtdorf and the one should really help J. Bro F and J both came to priesthood session, so that was really awesome. I also felt prompted to go by R's after Priesthood, and Elder V said it was too late, but I was like, no the Spirit told me he's there so we need to go. So we drove by and sure enough, the lights were finally on in his house and he was there. He said he's been looking all over the place for our numbers to get in contact with us. It was sweet!! We got him a ride to conference yesterday and then stopped by and had a lesson with him that night. He was really grateful to see us again and it was cool to so clearly know that he was home after months of disappearing from the Spirit. Sunday we also had our first lesson with members that we have been praying over for a long time. We taught them the importance of missionary work and mostly focused on blessings and how we are here to help them in their efforts. We are trying to get lessons with every family and have them set a goal they can achieve as a family. The first lesson was a success and I felt the Spirit as we discussed and taught.  The Os  were pretty excited to set goals and they plan to invite their friends to church in two weeks and over for dinner sometime we can stop by and meet them. We plan to follow up every week or two with the members with goals. We have another lesson tonight and have a few more scheduled for the rest of this week and hope to get TONS more set up too. 
Also, we are going to Bridgett's birthday party tonight! It should be sweet! We've been looking forward to this for awhile. 
I know that this work is real and that the Lord does love us all individually. He is anxious to help everyone and He has a plan for everyone to be saved. I know that Christ died so that we can get better and that is what makes us happy. Thank you for all the encouragement, sometimes I really need it! Thanks!
Elder Pew