Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 2nd & 9th, 2013

December 2nd, 2013

Dear family,
This was yet another very exciting and eventful week! It feels like it's been a month since I wrote, so much has happened.
Monday was a pretty normal P-Day. Since it was the last one of the transfer we all got together to play basketball which was fun. We also taught a guy who just moved into the ward boundaries who was just barely baptized. We met him Sunday night and we taught him Monday.
Tuesday was interesting/freaky. Our car was fixed so we now had two cars but some sisters in Austin needed the replacement one, so me and Elder T had to drive separately to Austin. It felt super disobedient to drive alone, but that's what the Office couple told us to do. It was just scary since I didn't know the area and didn't have a GPS or a phone, so I really had to follow Elder T. Turns out it was a good thing he had a phone (you'll see). We got just past downtown Austin and got off at our exit and we made it to the place we were going to meet the sisters, but we had like 40 minutes so we decided to get lunch. Elder T thought he knew a place, so I followed him. We ended up going through part of downtown Austin which is beautiful! I LOVE the big cities. It made me both super happy and also gave me the butterflies since it reminded me of my trips to New York. I was also blasting "What Child is This" by MoTab so that added to the affect too. Anyways, we were driving straight in front of the Capitol building when (I later found out) Elder T realized we went too far, so he pulled into the turn lane to do a U-turn (I didn't know this since there's no U-turn blinker) as the light was yellow so I had to fly into the intersection, but as I got into the intersection Elder T U-turned and I was already committed to turn left and I could back out since the light was now red, so he was headed south and I was headed west. Yup. I had no idea where I was and we were in the thick of downtown so I couldn't pull over anywhere and all the parking lots were full and you had to pay, so I had to just keep driving.  I was praying my heart out as to what to do. I didn't have the phone or know where I was so I knew it was all in my hands and not Elder T's, so after praying I decided that I would get back on the road I knew he turned down and just follow it until I hopefully saw him. I was praying that he would know what I was doing and that he wouldn't panic or do anything dumb. I was kinda thinking, "well we might never see each other again" but then I realized that he still had the phone and I had the number memorized, so we were going to be fine. I followed the road south until I was out of downtown Austin and could park at a gas station. I actually was turning left to park at a gas station and I saw Elder T flying by doing a U-turn and heading back into downtown Austin and he looked panicked. Oh man, looking back it was hilarious. In the moment it was kinda scary. I was waving like crazy to get his attention but he zoomed off. I pulled into the gas station and went inside and asked someone for there to borrow a phone and they gave me the shaft, but then the cashier said I could use their land-line, so called Elder T and gave him the street I was on and he came a minute later. He was freaking out and I thought it was pretty funny once I realized we were going to be okay. I will definitely find a way to never drive separately again though. Crazy stuff. We dropped off the car and grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to Round Rock. J had to pick up his kid so we didn't actually teach him which was sad to break the 17 week stretch, but I had a feeling there was a good reason. We ended up getting a call from the McNeil missionaries and they told us they have an investigator who moved into our ward boundaries, and they were teaching him at 8 and they wanted us to be there so they could pass him off to us. Him name is B and he is super sweet! He is like 29 and works for Blizzard entertainment. I guess that's a big deal from what I hear. He is super smart and super sincere and he really wants to get closer to God. He referred to the church as "his" church and our beliefs as "his" beliefs. It was awesome! They taught him the law of Chastity and that was the last thing he needed to be taught. He wants to get baptized but he hasn't been to church, so he said he has been saving up vacation hours so he could make it this week and he came to Sacrament! He is awesome! We set a return appointment at his new place for Saturday. We are SUPER blessed to have him fall into our laps. Tuesday night I was feeling better than ever before in my life. Maybe he wasn't a direct result of our hard work, but we were blessed to have a super ready, cool investigator drop into our laps because we have been obedient and working hard. It's the best thing ever.
Wednesday was a blast. So fun! I had to go to San Antonio for a training meeting and so I got to drive down with Elder W and a few other missionaries to San Antonio which was really fun. The training meeting was interesting. President Slaugther threw away the old trainer packets and held up his scriptures and told us that these and the Holy Ghost are our packets and instructions on what to do. It was sweet. He is such a good president. Oh yeah, I walked in and he was already talking with some of the other missionaries that were already there and he said, "Elder Pew, I've been waiting for you. Come sit by me." So we were at the head of the tables in the High Council room and everyone else was facing us. I don't know why he had me sit right there next to him, but he did. He basically just told us to make our best judgment and follow the Spirit. When the missionaries asked questions he would usually just say, "What do you think?" or "It's up to you. I trust you." So that was cool. After we all went out to eat and then we headed back to Round Rock. Elder V's companion went to San Antonio with us and stayed there because he was on a trial mission, so Elder V didn't have a companion, so he was with Elder T and Elder L until we got back. When we got back we went in his truck out to T with Sister J and Sister B and it was quite the drive. It was super fun. Then we came back to B and so I got to be with Elder T and Elder V. It was sweet! We went to the As since Elder V loves them and we didn't have a dinner and it was super fun. We also had a lesson with the Fs that went really well. E (the 9 year old) wants to get baptized and so bishop is going to work with Bro F so that he can do it. It was an awesome night.
Thursday was turkey day, and I got to spend it with some of my favorite missionaries. Elder L and W came over and us five cooked ribs that E gave Elder T as a parting gift so we ate that for lunch and then skipped some rocks before transfer meeting. Transfer meeting was sweet. Sister Slaughter gave a great training on charity towards your companion which was helpful. The new missionaries walked in and it was weird to see Elder W for the first time. When he introduced himself in front of everyone he said that he likes to wrestle, but not with sisters. Our zone is different since it split, but a lot of people stayed in the same zone. Elder S moved to a different area with Elder D but I will still see them on P-day so that's awesome. Elder V stayed in T. Elder T headed off to the UT campus. It was a little sad seeing him leave. I loved serving with him and I learned a lot. I think my faith grew a lot with him and I learned how to talk with people and teach to their needs better. I've been blessed with really solid companions. We got sisters in our district to cover the Spanish branch in our zone and new sisters for the new ward as well. Elder W is cool. He is 18 and right out of High School. He is from Las Vegas and I don't really know what he likes. We didn't have time to take pictures or anything since we had to run back with Elder W with something Elder L forgot to bring, so no picture yet. Sorry! We went to dinner at the K's house and since it was a big family thing, we just kinda sat there and listened to their conversation, but it was good. We came in before 8 and got ready for bed.
Friday we stopped by bishop and talked over some of the concerns of the new changes to the ward. It was a great meeting. I honestly think that was the only thing that really happened on Friday.
Saturday we got on the bikes. It was crazy how big our area is on a bike! We had a sweet lesson with E and they said they would be at church but then they didn't show up. We biked all the way to the middle of our area and met with the Fs. It was H's birthday so that was good timing and we wished her a happy birthday.They are such a sweet family! We were suppose to have a lesson with J, but she cancelled on us. We had our lesson with B which was sweet! We brought Brother A and he was great. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit was really strong and we focused on the importance of baptism. He really wants to be baptized and he accepted a baptismal date of December 21st which should be sweet! We had to bike all the way back to our apartment which was a 35 minute bike ride and I was pedaling the ENTIRE time. Luckily I wasn't sore or tired, but Elder W didn't like it. It was a great day.
Sunday was awesome. Church was sweet and the ward is so nice. Ward council was exciting with all the changes that are going on. J was sick so he couldn't come to church, but B and E were there so that was good. We had dinner with J and he gave us a pie, but that was pretty hard to bike with. It was sweet though and he is my favorite. We stopped by J and A and showed them the new ward boundaries. We also stopped by H and she gave us a big bag of Muddy-Buddies. It was awesome! Overall it was a great week.
I know that the Lord supports us in our trials. I know that he knows and loves each of us. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and we can learn from it and feel the Spirit every time we read it. Thanks for all the love and support!
Elder Pew

December 9th, 2013
Dear Family,
This was a fantastic week. Lots going on up here in the B. It was SUPER cold this week. Not just like Texas cold, but like cold cold. The lowest we saw was 25 degrees, but it didn't get above freezing until yesterday. For some reason we were able to get into a ton of less active member's houses this week and so we racked up the less-active lessons which I guess is pretty sweet.
Monday was pretty sweet. P-day was fun and we played basketball and volleyball as a zone. Sister C is amazing at basketball which is shocking but pretty cool. That night not a lot was happening and Elder W was really pushing to get a McRib, but I told him that we had to work really hard for 2.5 hours before we could get one. I think he loves them mostly as a joke, but it was funny so finally we got one. Right after that R called us and asked if we could come by so we did and answered a few of his questions. He also sang "Thank you" a random song about thanking those who serve the Lord and so he sang it for Elder W since he is just starting his mission. Luckily I had the genius idea to record it on the phone so now we have a very coveted recording of R singing his famous song to missionaries. It is sweet!
Tuesday was cool. We found out that we had interviews with President the day before so we had to go those and it went pretty well. We showed up a bit early and there were still like 12 missionaries waiting to be interviewed so we told them we were going to go back out and work some more. We stopped by A, J's ex-wife, and asked her how things were going and she was really glad we came by. I didn't know that we were suppose to have a scripture to share with President, so that made it obvious that I didn't read his weekly email which of course was the first time on my mission, so that caught me by surprise but obviously I have a huge bank of scriptures to choose from so I picked Mosiah 2:41 since it has been on my mind a lot lately and he had me read and explain it. He was impressed with the way I explained it but then he re-read it really slow with emphasis added on certain parts and then talked about how we can explain verses simply how we read them to people. That was really cool. We stopped by E and L came out and was really happy to see us as always and he actually read the Book of Mormon! We were super excited because we thought we were going to have to sit down with him and explain that we couldn't come over if he didn't read the Book of Mormon. We read 1 Nephi 8 with him and explained it to him. He understood it and it was sweet. Our lesson with J went really well. We were teaching the Word of Wisdom and so we got J (just quit smoking) and Bro M (who we also found out had to quit smoking to go on a mission) to come with us to the lesson. He obviously knew about it already so we wanted to emphasize the blessings of keeping the Word of Wisdom. We talked about a bunch of blessings from D&C 89, the Word of Wisdom pamphlet, and talks. Bro M asked an awesome question, "do any of those blessings stand out to you?" and J responded with how he liked the part about receiving answers to prayers as the one that stuck out the most. Perfect! It was exactly what we wanted to talk about and so I pulled out the Obedience Brings Blessings talk by President Monson where his main emphasis is that we can only receive revelation when we are keeping all the commandments. Then Bro M and J shared how they quit and gave J and A advice. Then we bore testimony about how we don't know what it's like but the Savior does so he can always rely on prayer to help him. It was powerful. Unfortunately they still need to move, so I'm really praying they will stay in the area. It was a great lesson.
Wednesday was our less-active and recent convert day. We taught A the Plan of Salvation and it went well. She is continuing to progress in the church which is cool. She understands things well for a nine year old. We also had a lesson with C and his family and it went well too. We had a lesson with Sister S and she came to church for the first time in 26 years this week. Sweet! For some reason we have been really successful at reactivation even though that's not really our purpose.
Thursday another great day. We had a lesson with the S family, another less-active family in the ward and they straight up told us they don't believe in the church anymore. The dad said he wants to but has a hard time after some stuff he's seen (anti Mormon material). I honestly had no idea how to react since they seemed pretty set on that, but we went ahead I felt like we should share a Christmas mormon message and then discuss how we can remember Christ during this season. It went well and the Spirit was strong as we discussed how they can rekindle the testimonies they once had. We will see if anything comes of it. We had our Bible Study class and that went pretty well. Only J came but we also got to meet Sister R's friend who came to a Relief Society thing so that was awesome. We had a lesson with B that night. For some reason no members could come, but we had an incredible lesson. We went over the baptismal interview questions and he is way ready for baptism. As I read the final question which asks if you are willing to take the name of Christ upon yourself and always serve Him, the Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks confirming that this is all very real and how important and how big of a deal baptism is. It was really cool. I really like B. He's the best!
Friday was fun. We had Elder W with us so I had two newbies with me but it went really well. We had a lesson with a lady in the morning who isn't really interested but was really nice and let us teach her a lesson about the Book of Mormon. We baked a cake for E because it was his birthday and we wanted to say bye before he left on his cruise Saturday. We baked a cake that was really interesting. We didn't have any measuring utensils so we guessed on water and oil, and they ended up with a dense, sponge-like texture. We boiled some caramel and toffee we had and spread it over the top. The topping was really interesting. It tasted good but the more you chewed it the harder it got until it was basically toffee again. Anyways, we took it to his house. Eric wanted us to pray with them, so we said a prayer to bless them on their trip and they were kinda in a hurry so I asked if we could share a quick message with them. I just shared Alma 37:37 about prayer and it was cool and they responded really well. Then E was like, "I just want to tell you I have a testimony..." and so I thought he was going to say prayer because he says he is always praying, but he finished "...of the Book of Mormon. I read it the other day after you guys came by and it hit me harder than anything else I've ever read. I didn't think it could have such a huge impact on me." It was AMAZING! We had no idea how to respond so we just told him how great that was and how it would continue to bless him as he reads it. He said he will definitely set aside some time to read on the cruise and we didn't even ask him to. He is sweet! We walked out of there on a spiritual high since no one else has been able to get him to read the Book of Mormon and now in just a week he has read it and knows it's true! The power of the Book of Mormon is real folks. We had a fun lesson with A's family and we played the flour game with them and talked about having a foundation of faith. It was a great day.
Saturday was a pretty slow day. Not much happened until the evening. We taught J and his girlfriend was there. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she was actually pretty receptive and believed it all. Unfortunately she got really tired and left to go to bed before we finished. Me and Elder White get along really well. We have had a ton of fun together and he is a happy guy. We have a great relationship. The other missionaries are always talking about us because of the dynamics of our companionship, it's pretty fun. Anyways, we had dinner with J and B was suppose to come since him and J would be best friends but he had to work late unfortunately. We ended up staying there more than an hour which I felt bad about but we didn't really have much of a choice and Elder W really wanted to stay. I was able to justify it though since it was below 25 degrees.
Sunday was pretty good. Church was pretty sweet. The children continue to absolutely rock and we sat next to the Ls so T and B were trying to talk to me the entire time. It was fun. Ward Council was also sweet. We picked the five focus families for the year. One member also suggested that anytime we have a lesson with one of them to let Bro. J know so he can email the ward council so they can come. It is awesome! That would help a ton. We had dinner with a family after church. Then it was up to us to go to the Christmas Devotional, and we decided to try by the Fs first and right as we got there Sister F pulled up with H and E. I love it when the Spirit directs us to perfect timing. They let us in and we talked with them for awhile. They are doing pretty well. They didn't come to church and we weren't able to set anything up earlier in the week, but we had a great lesson on the true identity of us all being children of our Heavenly Father. H, E, E, and Sis F have opened up so much. I love that family. E still wants to get baptized so that is great too. 
Well it was a great week and the work is really hastening here. You can feel it in the air with all the changes to missionary work, the stake, the ward, ward council, people are being prepared to come back or to start learning about the restored gospel. It is great to be apart of and I know the work is real and true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I was beyond happy to see it change E the way I know it can. Thanks for the love and support!
Elder Pew