Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 25, 2013

Dear family,
This was a crazy week! So much happened, and I don't know if I will be able to remember it all. I hope Zane had a great birthday, you litte pompeeface! It seriously feels like my birthday was months ago! I'd like to start by thanking everyone who sent me a package or email because they all meant a lot to me. Now with the craziest week of my life:
Monday was pretty average and all of our appointments fell through, it's basically the only day nothing happened. Cool.
Elder Pew's 19th Birthday!  Love this family for taking care of him!
Tuesday was obviously my birthday and it was a great day! I received a few packages the day before and so I waited to open them all on my birthday and they were all awesome! I loved everything that I got! Aunt Julia came by and gave me and Elder T Texas-sized Round Rock Donuts which was sweet! Apparently they are the biggest donuts in the world that they mass produce. The day went pretty slow and we had a few things that fell through again, but it was fine. I texted J to see if he was feeling better since we haven't seen him lately and he texted back and wished me a happy birthday. I had no idea how he knew, so I asked him and he said that I told him months ago and he remembered. He is so nice. Then he sent like the nicest, heart-warming text that I took a picture of and will have to send next week. He's the best. We didn't have a dinner that night but Elder T asked the S when I was on exchanges if they could feed us on my birthday so we ate with them. They are so sweet! I love that family! They made me a cake and everything. We got overloaded with food and as a result I spent only 6$ today for food. It was crazy. We taught J that night which was a great birthday present and we talked about temples. It wasn't one of our better lessons but we are running out of things to teach. A said that they just need to get married and she thinks he will get baptized. Unfortunately they will be moving at the end of December, but they are really trying to stay in the ward. They are so awesome. Overall it was a fantastic birthday!
Wednesday was amazing. Mostly. We had Zone Conference with Elder Golden. We got to drive past downtown Austin which was pretty fun. It started at 8 and ended at 4, so we were there like all day. We all got to shake Elder Golden's hand and we took a picture with us all.  Anyways, he gave us a lot of training. He goes all over the place and is super sporadic, but I learned a ton. Me and Elder T have been debating a lot of gospel doctrines and going deeper, and so he ended up answering a lot of those questions we have. I'm also developing a reputation for having a really good understanding of the gospel and lots of interesting questions. I didn't ask any though since they didn't seem revelant to missionary work. He did have a Q&A for any doctrinal questions and we discussed so many things so deeply. I don't have time to share everything I learned, but one cool thing he explained was that the pre-earth life was similar to our life here. We still had agency and we still needed faith, and the war in heaven was to win back the spirits who followed Satan. Essentially we were doing missionary work before this life. Pretty cool. We also talked a lot about the nature of Satan a lot and he was very blunt and talked a lot about how our purpose is to become gods. That is a really hated doctrine of ours out here in Texas. President Slaughter also gave a killer training on helping others see who we are and who they can become using the story of Living Water. The lady at the well first addresses Jesus as a Jew, in a derrogatory way, and by the end of the story she tells others about him as the Savior and Jesus Christ He said he was. Super cool. We had dinner at the L's and somehow they knew it was my birthday too so they had streamers and balloons and made me a cake too. They are SO awesome! It made my day! I wasn't expecting anything so that was too kind of them. They will likely send pictures soon. They also gave me an awesome poster that the kids made for me which no offense to anyone, but was probably the best gift that I got. Brother S also wanted us to come over, and he also got me a present! He wasn't there on my birthday, so he had us come over and he bought me a sweet AirJordan sidebag! We just found out we aren't allowed to have backpacks anymore so I was thinking I needed to get a sidebag, but he got one for me! I didn't tell him and he had no idea, he just thought it would be useful. I love this area!
Thursday we went out to lunch with a few of Elder T's past companions since one of them is going home and one of the office missionaries were there that they worked with closely, so we got to go to downtown Austin again! It was pretty fun. I felt bad how long it took and so did Elder T, but he already turned down going to San Antonio again for a baptism with this past companion so we couldn't say no this time, but it was fun. We taught C and his friends again.. They are so awesome! They said they would do anything for us if we need it. They also came to Bible Study and so did J. We had a great meeting again and we closed with the "None Were with Him" mormon message which was really powerful since we are finishing out Matthew. The Spirit was really strong and I've already used the mormon messages a lot. We use the Thanksgiving one to talk to people and it's a great asset. Thanks! Thursday night it started dumping rain which was SO awesome! We ended up needing to go in like 10 minutes early because of how bad it was, but it got so bad that we literally couldn't see two inches outside the car, so Elder T slowed down and I felt us go onto the grass! We ended up on the side of the road! It was so cool! We were close to the apartment so we were able to get back safely and enjoy the rain. I LOVE the rain here! 
Friday we had an awesome lesson with E and L. We brought our cardboard cutouts of the Plan of Salvation and taught it to them. They were really receptive and we asked E to be baptized again and he said he wants to come a few times to church before he commits to anything but otherwise he is in. He's doing really well. They also gave us ribs which were super tasty. We told them that we might be getting moved out of the area and he was upset with that and wanted our "bishop's" number so he could tell him we needed to stay, so we actually did give him President Slaughter's number so he could call. That should be cool. We also taught a part-member dude, but I don't think he's really interested so we will see what happens this week. It was also like 34 degrees so we were freezing cold and all of our evening appointments fell through, but we survived. 
Saturday was pretty cool too. We had dinner with another part-member family and they are super nice. The husband is a member and hasn't been to church in forever, and the wife is from Mexico and doesn't speak hardly any English, but he doesn't speak Spanish! It's pretty funny! Elder T mostly talked to him and talked to her in Spanish most of the night. It was super fun to use my Spanish and I told her about what we do and she was really impressed. They fed us amazing Mexican food as well and they were really happy we came over. We are definitely sending the Spanish missionaries over there. For some reason I used my Spanish like 5 times this week and I did pretty well. I set up a lesson for the Zone Leaders in Spanish and talked with a few more people that didn't know any English. I was completely honest with the lady on Saturday night and told her everytime I didn't understand because I didn't want to accidently confirm myths about Mormons that aren't true just because I don't understand what she said and just nod my head, but in the hour or so that we were with her I only didn't understand her like 4 times, so that was good. We also had Stake Conference which was awesome. It was all centered around member missionary work and the youth. President and Sister Slaughter spoke and they both did an AMAZING job. President Slaughter is such a good teacher and everyone loved him. He's funny, super smart, and has a powerful testimony.We are very blessed to have him. 
Sunday was crazy too. At Stake Conference they made all the changes. Our ward surprisingly didn't get changed that much. We only lost a section of it and the rest remained. We didn't lose a single person we were working with and it is a section that has never had much going, so it didn't affect us a lot. The Zone split down the 35, so now Elder V, Sister J, Elder L, Elder W, and Elder S are all in a different Zone now. Elder Corbridge and Elder Villa-Real gave talks and they were great. Elder Corbridge gave an unbelievable talk and he opened very seriously, "What do you really want? What do you think about the most?" They were very penetrating questions and they he used a bunch of scriptures that point out that the ONE thing that matters most and what we should desire is to be cleansed from our sins and enjoy all of the fruits of the Atonement. Some of it was over my head, but it was really good. He talked about how it's all about having the Holy Ghost with us and keeping our covenants so that we can be endowed with the power of God. It was really powerful. You will have to read all of my notes on it someday. We also got our transfer call from President Slaughter. We actually already knew what was happening since the moving Elders told us earlier that day, but we had our knowledge confirmed. Elder T is leaving and becoming a Zone Leader at the UT campus Singles Ward, the most coveted area in the mission, and I'm staying! I'm super pumped to stay. We also found out that it will be a car share with the new Zone Leaders so we will split the car and bike half the time. It will be interesting to see how that works out. Oh, I'm also training a brand new missionary, so that should be pretty fun. I already know his name, but obviously nothing else about him. I'm a little nervous. It will be fun to go down with Elder W

to the training meeting. I'm sorry I don't have more time to write the 19 most important things I've learned in my life or write a few things I'm thankful for, but I hope you all know that I know the church is true and I'm thankful for the chance to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love you all!
Elder Pew