Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 10th and 17th, 2014

February 10th, 2014
Dear family,
Can you believe that?! This Friday is my year mark for my mission call. That seems like a few months ago. Holy cow. This was another great week although not as much happened as last week. We put up similar numbers but that means less and less to me. We have had so many lessons lately that I have developed some new key indicators for us. We just split the member present and other lessons into two categories: progressing and not progressing lessons. A progressing lesson counts if we feel we helped them be motivated to act on their commitments. It's one thing to meet the requirements for a lesson, and another to help them be persuaded by the Spirit to act. We were fairly successful at that this week.
Monday we had a quick lesson with the Ds but A wasn't home like he said he would be so we just taught his mom really quickly and set up a return appointment. We stopped by S too and shared a thought with him and worked things out for a lesson and mutual the next day. 
Tuesday was pretty solid. We had a lesson with M and she is coming along fairly well and it has seemed to really help to have fellowship for her. We were suppose to help the Ds with their fence but it was cold and muddy so we postponed it for later. We had dinner with the As and they brought S to dinner too and then we had a lesson with him. We taught him the Restoration and then had some extra time before our ride was there so we reviewed with him and made up a game in the gym where he played around the world against me but you had to answer a question about the lesson before you shot. He is doing awesome and he really liked mutual. He is such a good kid. We also stopped by the Fs.
Wednesday was pretty good. We had a lesson with E and he was doing much better. He was happy to see us and we taught him about seeking the kingdom of God first. He said us coming over really helps him and brings the Spirit so we set up a time to come back on Friday. We went with Bro J that night and got Bro F a cake and took it to him for his birthday and shared a quick scripture with them. They were really thankful for us bringing that by and we left Bro J to continue to develop a friendship with them.
Thursday we had a lesson with the Ds and we taught them the Restoration. It went pretty well and they seemed to understand everything that we taught. Sister D is a really good lady and I think she will catch fire. She loves God and is constantly helping people around her. She said she has no use trying to please people and all she cared about is pleasing God. It reminded me of Mosiah 18:10 so we read that and I invited her to be baptized but she said she is Methodist and has different beliefs (we haven't found any yet) but she is open-minded and is willing to learn more. They committed to come to church and to read from the Book of Mormon. That was really all that we were able to accomplish on Thursday.
Friday was a fun day. We had exchanges and Elder W came here (he is our district leader). We had a pretty solid day planned but the lessons didn't go as well as we hoped. We had a lesson with J. He listened to the CD so we made him a new one, so I guess we'll see how he likes that. We had a lesson with E and we felt like we should talk about Joseph Smith and watch the Restoration DVD. We showed up and they were really happy to see us and I just love those two. We got talking about Joseph Smith and he was like, I just want to see kinda where he started and what his story was. Me and Elder W just looked at each other and we put on the Restoration. The Spirit hit me pretty strongly so I hope they felt it too and they enjoyed it. We were expecting to have to commit him to pray to know he was a prophet but he just told us he accepts him as a prophet. We also had lessons with R and J.
Saturday we helped the Ds with their fence again because someone keeps knocking parts of down as we finish other parts. We were patching a part by S's trailer and he came out and helped and then we asked if we could share a lesson with them. We went back to the D's house and the five of us had a sweet lesson about the importance of scripture study and they all re-committed to read and come to church. It was a neat experience to teach two investigators at once.
Sunday was pretty stressful. We spent a lot of time on Saturday making sure everyone had rides and everything and then 5 minutes into church we realized our WML was there but he was suppose to have S. We were pretty worried and right after the sacrament we ran out and called the Ds to see if they left yet and if they could get S. Sis D said she was going to come anyways but she felt really sick and she sounded like she was so we let them off the hook. We decided to just go back in and we went back in the chapel and Shane was actually sitting on our row. A (a really cool 16 year old) went to pick him up and waited for him to get ready and brought him. The deacons seem to like him and he likes them. It's great to see. The Fs were a no-show again and E had to stay home and take care of L. At church Bro R told us his non-member daughter was with them for the day and that he was worried that she wasn't baptized and he asked what to do to help. We weren't sure what to say since she usually lives in C and we didn't really know the situation but I felt prompted to just ask if we could meet at like 4 that day. We went there after church and his daughter was there (she's 14) and she was quiet but she said she loved church. The Mia-Maids did an amazing job fellowshipping her and saw her after sacrament and went up and introduced themselves. She loved that and she wants to learn more. It was a tough situation since we had no idea what to do going in, but we really followed the Spirit and everything naturally came up and we got her address so missionaries can go by. We had a lesson on the Book of Mormon because it sounds like her mom likely won't support her going at all so I figured if she isn't able to consistently be taught, the Book of Mormon will give her a great place to start and a solid testimony and things will work out. She is a great young women and I could easily discern that she is ready for the gospel. She easily accepted a commitment to read the Book of Mormon and to be taught more and work towards baptism. It was cool. We felt prompted to go by the L family and they were so glad we stopped by. They said it was the perfect time. We listened to part of the "Come, Join with Us" talk and talked about the blessings of the gospel. The Spirit was really strong as each of them bore testimony of the church and you could just feel their desire to experience the full blessings of the gospel. We asked for referrals and they didn't have anyone specific except Sis L described someone at work that is a less-active member that I immediately recognized as Sis K (S's mom) and she actually works with her has given her a few rides home and they talked about how they are members. She also found out that day she is her visiting teacher. It's awesome! What a testimony that God has a plan for everyone. We finally get to teach her son, she warms up to the gospel and then a sweet lady moves in and works with her and develops a great relationship with ends up being her visiting teacher. This is their time! Anyways, that was a cool experience and they are the nicest family and such a good example. They remind me of the Ss a lot. Very humble and obedient and desire the gospel to be everything for their family.
In other news we tried by the Hs and texted them almost every day this week and we didn't make any progress but in ward council a few leaders said they asked Bro H and he is crossing his fingers that everything works out this time. We need to get her interviewed and we can pretty much do the rest so hopefully it works out this Saturday.
I know that this church is true and we have the fulness of the gospel. The Book of Mormon is true. Christ is our Savior and He lives, and that is the glorious news of the gospel. Joseph Smith is a prophet and we have the priesthood power and authority to act in God's name. Thanks for everything you guys do!
Elder Pew

February 17th, 2014

Dear family,
This was such an eventful week and I don't have a lot of time so I am just going to blow through some of the very crucial things that happened this week. Amazing week though!
So I'll start with the baptism of T. We were able to make very slow progress throughout the week and we found out that the family didn't want any program at all and we got an official time so we coordinated all of that with the ward mission leader and Bishop. We set up the baptismal interview and she easily passed. We got everything together for the baptism on Saturday and set up the G building. The Spirit was really strong at the baptism. It was a small baptism, but it worked. It was just us, Bishop, Bro R, and their family. We had a prayer, baptism, confirmation, and closing remarks and that was it. Like I said though, the Spirit was really strong and it was evident that despite the families struggles in the gospel they really loved each other, so that was cool. I felt a total feeling of peace and fulfillment. The Spirit also confirmed that this was one reason me and Elder W were together when we were because we handled the situation the way it needed to be handled.
Next, we had a great week with the Ds. We had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation and they followed everything well and Sis D didn't really agree with Resurrection or the kingdoms of glory but we showed her evidence in the Bible and she seemed more sold on the idea. We had things set up with her to take S to church to knock out two birds there but S had baseball. She still came to church and had a great experience and the Relief Society did a great job. We had a lesson with S and he enjoyed mutual and he's coming along really well except this new baseball problem. We will have to figure out that one. M had a great week and we had two lessons with her including a FHE last night with the Ts that went well. At church the lesson was on baptism and she broke down and basically talked about how badly she wanted to get baptized but she has to wait because of some issues. A few women who were in there did a great job of comforting her including J, the recent-convert who has recently come back to church and wants to meet with us regularly. She is amazing! I love her a lot and I have barely started to get to know her. I just can't say enough about her. After class she went over and hugged M and comforted her despite the many trials that J is going through. It was beautiful. Then she texted us later and told us to let her know if she could help in any way.
E and J are still struggling to progress and we will likely discontinue visiting them frequently.
We had a lesson set up that we had to cancel because the ward and stake leaders set up a visit to their house. We were excited about that but when we went over the next day they told us that no one had stopped by and they never got a phone call. They were just sitting there until 9 p.m. waiting for someone to come! That broke my heart. We found out in our meetings with the ward that there was scheduling mess-up. That was a bummer, but we had a great object lesson on the gift of the Holy Ghost. We had a bunch of paper balls spread over the floor and blind-folded the kids and the first time someone would give them directions but only every 30 seconds. It took them a long time and sometimes they would touch the paper anyways and lose. Then we had them do it again, but this time the person giving them direction could do it the entire time. This illustrated the difference between the power and gift of the Holy Ghost. There are so many parallels to draw and the kids loved it. H was actually listening very intently and at the end we asked them each about baptism again. E said sure, A said no, but H said she wasn't sure. I could see it in her that she wanted it. She was torn because she doesn't know what would happen but I could tell for at least that minute she thought it would be worth it. We invited them to pray on that. They have got to start coming to church though to see how it will help them. They are so amazing!
On a much better note we had a really cool experience in our PEC meeting. Everyone pretty much knew that I was going to leave so when they were going around the circle asking if anyone had anything they needed when it got to me Bishop H said "thank you Elder Pew for everything you have done. Your service has been much appreciated." I said thanks but then it was still quiet and I was looking down, so I looked up at everyone and everyone was looking at me and nodding and looking at me intently with looks of gratitude on their face. It was kinda awkward so I just smiled and thanked them.
We sat around waiting for our transfer call and it didn't come until like 9:30. I was starting to get second thoughts about the possibility of staying, but I thought I was just telling myself that because that is what I wanted. Finally we got the call and it went something like this: me "Hello this is Elder Pew." them "How are you?" me "good" them "any predictions?" me "I don't even want to" them "what do you want to happen?" me "I think we both want to stay but.. them "well let's do that then." me "okay." them "alright have a great night." me "okay, you too." them "bye." I hung up and I was super confused. The whole time I was waiting for them to tell me they were kidding but they never did. Elder W even called them back and asked if they were joking and they weren't, so we are staying! I can't believe it! It is so crazy. No one we have talked to has ever heard of this happening. I am super excited and we are going to work hard to get tons done. Our entire district is staying the same. It's so crazy! I am so grateful. We found out today that President Slaughter is making some major changes too. One of the assistants is now just a normal missionary training a new missionary, a few zone leaders are becoming district leaders to lead out in example districts, as well as some other shocking changes. President Slaughter is really raising the bar here and sometimes it's pretty overwhelming because of how far below his bar I am but he is so incredible. He has changed the culture of the entire mission. Crazy stuff. 
I know that God lives. He knows us, He loves us, and He is aware of each of our needs. I know that the gospel and the Atonement has the power to change lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I have read every page yet again and I know that it is true. I know that this is Christ's church and living the gospel brings true happiness.

Elder Pew