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!
September 30th, 2013
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!
October 7th 2013
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!