Thursday, January 9, 2014

December 30, 2013 & January 6th, 2014

New companion, a Jamaican Banana

Christmas Eve Angels

Members of the church in Texas sent these to us! 
December 30, 2014
Dear family, 
Well it was great to talk to y'all on Christmas. I hope you enjoyed talking to me too. It was a pretty fun week. Well I'm too lazy to write everything that happened so I will basically start with Christmas Eve.
Monday was pretty fun and we mostly played sports. Nothing else really happened that day. Also happy birthday Joseph Smith.
Tuesday was Christmas Eve and it was a great day. We got a ride out to a lesson with the Fs and we gave them each Christmas Oranges and told them to look for people to help out. It was pretty sweet and they cooked us some really good food. We thought we were going caroling because the sister missionaries were suppose to pick us up from there but they got sick so we had to walk to dinner and then we told the sisters we had to walk home from the lesson and that it took super long time and that gave them a good scare. We had dinner with the Js and then we rode around the neighborhood and looked at the Christmas lights. It was fun. That was Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day!
Wednesday was Christmas (duh). We woke up and opened our presents and then came to the church and did studies with the zone. We then played sports and talked to our families. It was a fun time. We had dinner with the Js and it was fun. We went to the baptism that night and it was cool to do. Then we went caroling with the other missionaries and I convinced them to go to E's house which was sweet and he said that we made their Christmas. It was awesome!
Thursday we had a lesson with J and his girlfriend was there. We changed our plans to read Alma 36. It was sweet and she loved it. We committed her to read the Book of Mormon and she admitted she has some pretty serious issues. It was a great lesson though. Not much else happened but it went well.
Helping J move.
Friday was a decent day. We unfortunately (because he was moving out of their teaching area) had to help J move out to P. It ended up just being me, Elder W, and J. It took like 5 hours but was pretty fun and we got to talk to him a lot. A just sat on the couch and watched us move. We left him a little present, one of those pictures of the Savior and my testimony on the back. I told him to say hi to Curtis and Julia (uncle & aunt that live in that town) if he is in their ward. We took some cool pictures with him. It was sad to see him go but hopefully he will continue to explore the gospel. We had a bunch of things planned and most of them fell through. It was sad but we did have dinner with the Ss and G is the 80 year-old nonmember who isn't really interested in learning more but he is a really nice guy. Sister S wanted us to share our talks about baptism and the Holy Ghost and we did that but he he still isn't too interested.  He enjoys us coming over and he is really nice. We had a really sweet, sweet experience that night. We basically ran out of things to do, and so I said a quick prayer of what to do and the name of a member came into my mind and so we headed off to her house. We got there right before she was closing the door and she was bawling. Apparently it was the 8 year anniversary of her son dying and she was a mess. We offered a blessing and Elder W gave her a sweet blessing. Then she admitted to a pretty serious addiction and wanted a blessing for that so then I gave her a blessing. It was really cool. She was crying and could barely talk and was just thanking us so much for coming and that we were an answer to her prayers. It was a tender moment. I nearly cried. We thanked her and headed off. It was so sweet.
Saturday yet again we had a ton of things set up and almost all of them fell through. We did bring an addiction packet to J's girlfriend and we realized Alma 32 goes beautifully with addiction recovery so we read that with her, but that day she wasn't really into it.  So we left.
Sunday was great and church was great! B was confirmed in sacrament meeting and Elder W did the confirmation. It was a really spiritual experience for Elder W and it was cool to be a part of. One of the speakers said that he was really impressed with B and then in Sunday School and priesthood B was answering lots of questions and everyone was really impressed. It was a good day at church. Everyone fell through yet again that night so it was a slow evening. 
Well it sounds like you all had a great Chirstmas! I know that we do have a Savior who loves us and came to this earth who died for our sins so that we can return to live with Heavenly Father some day. I love you all and thanks for all the support this Christmas!
Elder Pew
January 6th, 2014
Dear family,
This was a pretty solid week. Lots of ups and downs, but it definitely ended with some huge ups. I'll let you all feel the suspense we did with transfer calls and save it until the end. The subject line comes from a four-year old boy who we went to his birthday party last night. He is sweet! He loves the missionaries and they saw we didn't have anyone signed up for dinner so they invited us over. He was talking about movies so I asked him what his favorite movie was and he gave me a little smirk and then said Frank Bob. So I was like, "what? Are you making that up?" Then he just giggled and said, "also, Kleenex (looking around the room for the next word for the movie)... popsicle." Wow that was pretty genius. Someone should get on that and make that movie. It was fun to attend yet another birthday party of one of my little homies. We ate cupcakes and wore party hats so that was fun too.
Monday the Js wanted us back over for dinner and their youngest son R had a friend over so we were able to teach them and we invited the friend to learn more but he wasn't super interested. 
Tuesday we weren't suppose to proselyte after six for New Year's Eve. We had a really great morning, but thing turned south. We stopped by S and were able to have a quick lesson with him. He is so close to just coming to church, being taught, and being baptized. It is a little frustrating how close he is and that more progress hasn't been made. We tried by a former investigator that I had already stopped by but Elder W went through the Area Book and he said there name which is Francis Nottingham and I thought that that name was definitely worth another shot. We need a few more Francis Nottinghams in the church. It was almost a joke but we went in with a lot of faith and the lady that answered was not Francis Nottingham but she was interested in the learning more about the church and how it strengthens families. She said she would be more comfortable with Spanish so we got her information to give to the sisters over the Spanish branch. We left them a voicemail.  The sisters had a lesson with her and she accepted a baptismal date so that was pretty cool! The Lord works in mysterious ways. We biked to R's house but he was gone and a lady approached us and introduced herself and said she is really struggling with her faith right now since everyone is leaving the church she loves so we read some comforting verses from the Book of Mormon and asked if she wanted to learn more about how the gospel comforts us but she wasn't interested then but she was a super nice lady and I bet she gets baptized someday. We went back to the bikes and Elder W's tire was completely flat. We don't know how that happened so fast but we didn't have anything to fix it. We tried calling a bunch of missionaries but no one answered so we started walking to the F's house since we told them we would come by. The Zone Leaders called us back and said they would pick us up and we went to CVS to wait and got Gatorades after our long walk . We stopped by the F's but they were really sick so we couldn't have a lesson. We managed to get to the J's for dinner and we helped them make like one million egg rolls.  We came back early and were told by Elder W (district leader) we were giving a training in District Meeting the next day about gifts of the Spirit and the light of Christ/Holy Ghost. I found some really cool stuff about gifts of the Spirit because I decided to focus more on how to obtain them. D&C 46 talks about them a lot and it says if you ask in the Spirit you will receive in the Spirit and then later explains that asking in the Spirit means asking in accordance with the will of God (like verse 30 or something). The will of God is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39) so if we ask with the desire to help other people to obtain eternal life and exaltation we can receive them. I thought that was really cool. Our zone always eats lunch together and that has pretty much turned into everyone listening to me and Elder W's stories about funny things that happen to us. The zone really likes us and it is pretty fun.
Wednesday we had a lesson with R, we answered some of his questions about different doctrine. We also stopped by E and L and we found out that L was in the hospital with a serious illness and was likely going to die. Obviously that was really sad to hear and we taught P (E's sister)  there and then tried getting a hold of E. We told him we were praying for them and to let us know if there was anything we could do. He said he would like it if we could visit them in the hospital. Of course we agreed so he said he'd be in touch with us the next day. We had a lesson with B and we talked about temples and baptisms for the dead. He was pretty excited about that and we got him the number to schedule an interview with bishop. He got cleared to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and go to the temple with the youth on January 18th. That should be sweet as long as the membership record is made fast enough. He is doing really well.
Thursday morning we did the same service thing with our district we have been doing and it was super cold. It was pretty fun though. We weekly planned and we felt like we should really try and use family history more in our missionary work. Elder W suggested it almost as a joke since no one really uses family history but now we are really trying to pick that up. We got a text from E saying we could come that night after her two surgeries. We had Bible Study but only J was there but we had a good discussion and he is really close to getting the Priesthood. He is awesome. We planned an uplifting thought for E and L and headed off. They were SO thankful that we were willing to come to the hospital for L. We had to wait a few minutes outside the room with E while they were doing some tests. We waited there for a few minutes then they let us in. L said she was doing fine and we were so happy to see her. We talked about peace and comfort that comes from the Atonement and the comfort the gospel brings. We shared a story I found in an Ensign that talks about a lady who sacrificed and lost so much but the gospel brought her peace and happiness despite it all. It was a powerful story and it seemed perfect for them. I brought up baptism again from before and E said he is working towards that and wants to be baptized. We told him he can be ready by February 8th, we promised him he can if he works for it. It was such a great meeting! I love those two so much! I got the privilege of blessing L. I don't remember what exactly it was that I said but now that we found out L is miraculously coming out of the hospital everyone thinks I healed her but I think the only thing I said is that if she had the faith she could be healed and that was it.I honestly don't want to receive any credit of healing L. It was a really cool experience though. The Spirit was very strong. 
Friday We had a pretty good day. We had another lesson with R and shared the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. We stopped by J and ended up having a really good lesson with him. He said he really admires our church and he continues to complain about his church. I asked him why he doesn't come to our church then and it's mostly because he has been a member his whole life and isn't healthy enough to change. He said he is really interested in our church and wants to read the Book of Mormon. We promised him he would have the health and energy to do these thing if it was really his desire. It was great. We had a lesson with J that was good. We read Mosiah 3 with him.
Saturday morning was pretty slow but we got a call from the ward clerk that there was a lady who has been trying to call the church several times and wants to meet with missionaries. She was taught by missionaries like 6 months ago. He got her info and we stopped by to meet her. She is a great lady. She had been taught for awhile and has a testimony and loves the church and everything but she has some things to resolve that are keeping her from being baptized. We told her if she sets a goal of faith that it can be accomplished and she can be baptized.  She is cool though. She has a really cute son named N. Oh and her name is M.
Sunday was interesting since we now have 8 o'clock church. Sacrament meeting was pretty good and there was one testimony that just blew me away. Bro. B (C3PO) bore a very powerful testimony. His wife isn't a member and he talked about how during the holidays he was with his family and his parents told her that they have been praying for 20 years that he would leave the Mormon church. He just laid it down though  and bore a very powerful testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon. It was sweet and inspiring. We had PEC afterwards and Bro. R has done a good job as Ward Mission Leader. We had a lesson with A about the commandments and that went pretty well. I've had mostly Elder W and the Ss teach those lessons to help Elder W and Brother S with their gospel knowledge. We tried to have a lesson with the Fs but they are still sick.  I was really nervous about transfer calls because I wanted to stay but I couldn't feel either way if I was staying or going. I have only heard of two other people staying in their training areas for five transfers, but I am also training Elder W, so it was 50/50 for me.  We were expecting calls at like 6 and 8:30 rolled around and we still didn't have a call. I realized that that meant President wasn't calling since he called the last three times since Elder V was a district leader, then training, and then I was training and Elder T was a Zone Leader. That clinched that I wasn't going to a new area to train, but I could still leave and just be senior companion, but that would be unlikely so we were more sure that I was staying. Everyone in the Zone was texting if we were staying or not and we just ignored them until we got the call finally. The assistants told us they have heard good things about us and that I was...staying. Woohoo! I was super happy. I just love this area and it would have been sad to leave. I am SO EXCITED for this next transfer. We have so much going on and I am so thankful to be staying here. Everyone else was really anxious to hear what happened with us but we kept them in suspense and only told the zone leaders who sent out a voicemail to everyone with all the news. They announced everyone and when they announced ours they said that it was the one that everyone was waiting for and that everyone is looking forward to the "perfect team" to stay together. That was really nice and made us feel good. It re-affirms that the other missionaries are really watching us and we have a unique opportunity to be examples even as young missionaries. It is pretty fun.
I know that this church is true. This is the true church. I know that the Atonement is real. We have such a deep understanding of Jesus Christ and the power that comes through his sacrifice. It is real and we can access it. I know that he suffered that he might know how to succor his people. I know that the gospel bring peace, comfort, and understanding that nothing else can bring. We have the truth. Christ came, lived, died, and rose again. He loves us. He lives. As we turn to Him, He can heal us. Through Him we can become better each day and as we follow Him we will find true, everlasting happiness. I know this is true and that one day we will be so happy for our decision to stand by Him and follow Him at all times. I love you all and thank you for your prayers!

Elder Pew
Elder Pew with a friend from Lone Peak high school who is waiting for his visa, in Texas!
Fun to see him at the mission Christmas party.

MTC district elders reunited at the mission Christmas party!