Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 10th & 17th, 2014

March 10th, 2014

Dear family,
This was a slower week that got really good and then kinda tanked again. Elder W crashed on his bike again, but I totally missed this one. I was on the phone scheduling a lesson and we were at a busy intersection, and I crossed the street and was like 200 feet away before I looked back and Elder W was just barely crossing the street. I guess he fell over his bike trying to dismount and then his bike got stuck in his back pocket so he couldn't get up. Sounded pretty funny but unfortunately I wasn't looking. I'm going to go day-by-day this week since that will be easier.
Monday like I said we got a call that M had her probation issues all worked out, and she was really excited so we went to the church and had a celebratory dinner and a lesson on gratitude from some sweet things I found in my personal study recently. Basically all three times Nephi and his family leave Jerusalem and arrive safely, they offer a burnt offering in gratitude. Of course we don't live the Law of Moses anymore, so now we are asked to sacrifice "a broken heart and a contrite spirit" (3 Ne. 9:20) in gratitude for the many blessings we have. I thought that was pretty interesting so we talked about that and she was really thankful for the lesson and she was in a really good mood. 
Tuesday we had a lesson with E and Sister S. It went really well and Sister D continues to read from the Book of Mormon. We mostly discussed her reading in Moroni 10 because she was hung up again that in verse 34 I think, Moroni says that he will wait until his spirit and his body reunite or something, and she still doesn't believe that everyone is resurrected. We showed her a few verses in the Bible that clearly show that like John 5:29, but it doesn't explain what exactly resurrection means, and she just thinks it means living after your body dies. I studied every verse in the Bible that talks about resurrection, but all of them only talk about people being resurrected and doesn't define it, or talks about people being raised from the dead but doesn't say that it happens to everyone. It furthered strengthened my testimony in the Book of Mormon because what all those verses combined could kinda piece together what one verse in the Book of Mormon says twice in Alma 11:41 and Alma 40:23. Other than that, she is doing really well and her and Sister S get along really well. We also had a lesson with S that went pretty well but we couldn't get any member to come to the lesson. We taught him about reading the scriptures and praying every day. He's a good kid.
Wednesday we didn't have much happen. We were suppose to have a lesson with M but she got sick again, so we didn't. We had a lesson with the M. We had a really neat experience with M's lesson falling through. But I thought, well this must mean we are suppose to be somewhere else. We stopped by R and had a good lesson with him and he still has a few friends he wants to invite to learn more about the gospel. We finished the lesson around 8:10 and we were getting picked up to get the car back soonish, so he told us to wait in his house, but I really felt like going outside and trying to do something, so we walked down the street and we saw a few people moving stuff out of a moving van. We offered them help and they were really grateful so we helped them move their stuff in. It was a mother and her 14-ish year old son and their friend who we think also lives in the area. The other missionaries showed up with the car and they were able to help too and the family and lady friend were super thankful. We were already really late, so we asked if we could get their number and share a message with them sometime. They accepted and asked if we could come by in a week when they had everything settled. We tried calling them on Saturday and they didn't answer so we are going over tonight, but regardless, it felt really good to be in the right place at the right time and to help them out. Plus they are the P family, so that's got to be good. 
Thursday we had lessons with B and J that both went well and we taught J about the importance of the Book of Mormon and challenged him to give it to someone. He's a good guy. We also tried by a part-member family and the husband let us in and he was the non-member but he had learned about the church before. He told us he wasn't interested at this time and that nothing we said would be new or convince him to change. We just bore testimony of the truthfulness of the church and I felt the Spirit pretty strongly as I did. He's a nice guy though, so maybe someday. 
Friday we helped M with her yard, but besides that nothing else really happened.
Saturday we went to the ward service project at the R R Service Center because we invited E and S. They both came which was great. We were determined to get more lessons since we were having a slow week and the Lord heard our prayers. We asked M Friday if she would please respond and if we could have a lesson with her and P (her friend who has been helping her I can't remember if I told you about him). She finally responded and we had a lesson with both of them at the church. We focused on P mostly and invited him to read from the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. He is a good guy, but we aren't sure how interested he is and for now he is living in the same house as Meghan, so we can keep teaching him. We stopped by the Gs and we shared a message with Sister G and W. He is really warming up to us a lot so hopefully we can really teach him soon. We also asked J if J was still home and if we could teach both of them. We were going to watch the Restoration but his TV wasn't working so we just taught him about the Book of Mormon. It was pretty cool because he actually told us he was wondering about the Book of Mormon and wanted his own copy. We asked him what he is looking for in life right now and he said guidance, direction, a foundation for his family, etc. It was perfect. We testified how the Book of Mormon can help him and luckily J stayed quiet and didn't interrupt. It was a pretty sweet lesson, and then I invited him to be baptized. He said he does want to find a church to be baptized into, and so we testified that the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon would prove this is the church he should join. He also wants us to meet his wife and daughter that live in A, so hopefully we can teach them this week. He is a really humble, good guy and it's awesome since he has tattoos everywhere. He is seeking goodness so as long as he is willing to work for it, he can totally change and find everything he is looking for in the church. We found out from S that Sister L had invited the Ks to church and was picking them up the next morning. That was amazing news!
Sunday was the pretty rough day to end things off. We had to get up at 5:30, plus daylight savings, to make it to ward council with the Stake Presidency at 6:30. They want to focus on three things for the stake: helping others partake fully of the Atonement, share the gospel, and participate in temple work. Anyways, M, S, and Sister D all got sick, so they didn't come, although M did. We stopped by the Ls to ask about the Ks and we had a great lesson with them and they are just an amazing family. We love them a lot. 
Overall it was a good week though, and we are trying to stay positive and faithful despite our challenges. I know that this is the Lord's church and He is directing the work. I know that true happiness comes through living the commandments and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and has the ability to change people. I know that a man can grow closer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew

March 17th, 2014

Dear family,
This was a pretty solid week. Me and Elder W worked pretty hard this week and had some good results.One quick funny story. Elder W bought a Daikin (?) at the store last Monday. It's like a 2 foot potato looking thing that is white. It is really ugly looking which is the reason he bought I think. Anyways, he hung it on the wall and made a little sign that said "Daikin 16 inches Caught 2014" like it was a huge fish or something. It was pretty funny and then he brought it to district meeting and a bunch of us tried it at the same time. It was pretty gross, but not horrible. Kinda tasted like a mix between a cucumber and a potato. I will send a picture once I remember to bring my camera. On to the week.
Monday we received a media referral, my second ever (We racked up the referrals this week and weren't even able to contact all of them so hopefully the extras pan out this week). We couldn't get a hold of her by phone, so we had to bike clear out to the middle of our area, so that consumed most of our night. She wasn't home but her husband was and he was a nice black guy who really liked to talk. At first he wasn't interested at all, but he softened up and started telling us all about what he believes. He said some things he thought "would make us yell blasphemy!" but they were mostly pretty deep doctrines of the church. He said he would ask his priests growing up who Heavenly Father's parents were. We didn't say much about that one, but told him it was a valid question. He said we could come back sometime so we are going by soon and hopefully his wife will be home. 
Tuesday we helped the K family with their family history. It was sweet! We got a ride with them and the Family History center was open so the consultants were able to help both parents a lot. They helped us as well so we could know better how to help other people. I actually found someone who needs their work done in our family. I can't remember the name. I also read a bit of the stuff on grandpa and Benjamin Franklin Johnson while we waited for the Ks to finish which was cool. The Ks were able to find a few names of relatives they hadn't known before so that was exciting. We had a lesson with Sister D and Sister S and it went really well. We talked about her questions on the Resurrection and I showed her like 10 examples in the Bible that pieced together the Resurrection and then showed a single verse from the Book of Mormon that says it all. She is really starting to like the Book of Mormon which I love to see of course. 
Wednesday we had a little lesson with E. He said he is really trying to figure out what he's suppose to be doing right now. We talked about how to receive answers to prayers, but I hope he really gets what he needs to do. He also put this slime in our tires because Elder W got another flat and E says this "gorilla snot" prevents you from getting flats. He said we should be good for the rest of our missions. He is so funny. We had an absolutely killer lesson with the Fs because they didn't have soccer for Spring Break. Holy cow. Such a great lesson. We had planned this whole zombie apocalypse lesson since they love The Walking Dead where each person had a character who knew certain "rules" and they all had to work together to make it safely to the famous Owl Building in A that was the safe house. It was a big analogy for the commandments and it went perfectly. Each character had a specific commandment that their rules related to. The family got really intense like we hoped trying to decide what to do at each challenge. One of them was also "the Deceiver" who was trying to make them lose and knew all the answers and tried to sway everyone the wrong way. It made it really fun and was a perfect parallel to peer pressure and the Devil. We talked about how it related to the gospel and they understood it well. We focused on Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and coming to church. We asked them what blessings they thought they would get for coming and they had some good answers and then H said "bring us closer together as a family." Bingo. We told her that was exactly right and what an amazing blessing. We testified like crazy and told them how much we love them and wanted them to have these blessings. We invited them to church and A had a sleep over, and H said maybe. We asked her to pray about it and then we asked if we could come by Sunday morning and make them breakfast to help them come. They loved that idea. Such an awesome family! I really don't think I could love them any more. If you guys aren't nice to me when I get home I am going to come live with them. Just kidding. 
Thursday was a great day. Everyone wanted a lesson on Thursday. We helped Sister D with her fence again because people are still breaking it in. It's crazy! Afterwards we had a little lesson with her and Al. She was super thankful and said she really loves what we have done for her and Albert, and Albert really likes us too. We also had a great lesson with J and J. We only had like 15 minutes so we just shared about how we can repent- change and become better. We had a really good discussion and we shared some verses from the Book of Mormon. After one of them James said, "wow that was really powerful. I really like that book." He went out of town this weekend but he talked to his wife and we are teaching both of them next Friday, that should be awesome! We exchanged that night and I went to R to work with Elder S while Elder W came here.
We had a pretty good day and Elder S is a good missionary. He is a convert and has been out as long as me. He is a hard worker with really good desires. We had a good day and lots of biking. I guess they set up a lesson with their sweet investigator B-- a really ripped, fit, in-shape, 40 year old dude who looks 25, with sweet tight curled afro-dreads-- as a Elder Pew vs. B. He knows the Bible super well. It was an interesting lesson. He is a really sweet, nice, guy, but he has a lot of questions. I tried answering them, but he has thought through everything in the Bible and he had a verse to argue everything. A lot of the stuff I had never heard before in an argument, and I guess I'm considered an expert so it was tough. The problem was they weren't questions I could answer by reading a Book of Mormon verse. I held my ground pretty well though and I told him the real way to know the truth is by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know it is true. When he does that he can then solve these other questions. His problem is he trusts only the scriptures and not the Spirit, so he has to see proof in the Bible before he believes. I told him he needed to look at it a different way and basically told him that I have questions too but the difference is that I have acted in faith and been baptized, got the priesthood, gone to the temple, etc. He seemed to like the conversation but I'm not sure we made a lot of progress. Elder W and W were able to help J and B with family history and J found a line that goes all the way to 200 AD including a few kings, dukes, earls, and Robert the Bruce. B is really excited to do family history and hopefully we can get him to take names to the temple. Overall it was a solid exchange. 
Saturday we helped Sister D again with the fence and I found a sweet rock with fossils in it. It is pretty cool and Elder W was jealous so he picked up just a normal rock and just talks about it non-stop. Whatever. It's pretty sweet. Sister D wanted to meet so we set up a lesson for that night with Sister R and we had a really good lesson. Sister D gave us ribs, toast, and seasoned tomatoes, she is awesome. Elder W almost got killed feeding his bone to her psycho pit-bull. We invited her to be baptized and she basically said she loves everything about the church, she just wants to make sure she is needed. That should be pretty easy and she is so close to baptism. Our whole story with her has brought us so much joy. It couldn't have gone much better to this point. We had a pretty good lesson with S about the Holy Ghost, but he didn't end up coming to church. The Fs texted us that night and said that H, E, and T had strep throat so they wouldn't be able to make it. We got Bro J, Bro G, and Sister S (RS president) to invite them, and they said yes to all of them but then they got sick. We were pretty bummed. We dropped them off a pie on Sunday that Sister R gave us.a They will come soon.
Sunday was solid. Church was great even though only Sister D came. M has been out of town. I have interviews with President Slaughter on Tuesday and I'm going to ask about her probation situation and see if she can be interviewed. Sister D loved church and she really likes the Relief Society. Our coordination went much better. Brother R is going to take Bro S and they are going to visit Sister D on their own, which should help her feel even more needed. He's also coming with us to a lesson this week and President Slaughter suggested watching the past CES devotional for our studies to the mission so we are going to try and have a bunch of less-active, recent converts, and investigators come to the church to watch it this Saturday. PEC went well and I gave the spiritual thought. I talked about how too many of us in the church get together and talk about things but we don't do anything and tied making plans into being "anxiously engaged in good causes." It went well and Bishop H reminded everyone at the end to make sure we heed my counsel and go out and "do". He thanked us for all that we have done for the ward and it was just a really positive meeting. We focused a bit on missionary efforts and they are really pleased with us. We had a lesson with a former investigator family that we have been trying to get with for a few weeks. They are really nice people. The dad is a chimney dude, and the mom and daughter play soccer. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they were pretty curious and asked some good questions, but I feel like we didn't do a great job answering. They accepted a return appointment, but they didn't set it until two weeks, so I feel like they will be a slower process, but they are good people and willing to learn. We did leave them a Book of Mormon to start exploring. I'm not sure how to handle to situation but it was a positive experience. We had a lesson with a member-family on missionary work and it was a blast. The mom is from the south and has a southern-twang and is crazy. She's really funny. Overall it was a great week and we are really pleased with everything that's going on! I have a lot to keep track of and to keep organized but I'm so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with the abilities to do so. As I've worked with other missionaries I've become more grateful for this gift that I didn't realize everyone had. I know that the Lord is aware of us and that he helps us. I know when we do what he asks and have the right desires we are blessed. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is essential for our salvation and a testimony of this, the true church. I know that Christ is at the head of this church and that He lives. Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew
p.s. President Slaugther gave our mission a bunch of talks to study to strengthen our testimonies of the Restoration and they are amazing! I highly suggest reading a few.
"What Think ye of the Book of Mormon?" Elder McConkie Nov 1983
"Joseph Smith-- The Mighty Prophet of the Restoration" Elder McConkie Apr 1976
"The Grandeur of God" Elder Holland Oct 2003
and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head

Thursday, March 6, 2014

February 24th & March 3rd, 2014

February 24th, 2014

Dear family,
This was a pretty great week! It was filled with lots of jokes about how long I've been here, and as far as we know, no one in this mission has ever been in an area this long. It's pretty sweet. I re-read my call letter and it actually says I was called to serve in the B C Mission. I guess I missed that. I think I might just buy a house here and move in and my companions can just room with me. I should be getting a calling soon and maybe they will move my records in too. Those are all JOKES but they have been the jokes that we've told or heard this week. People now call me grandpa Pew or warlock Pew, but that one was a request from me and I don't think anyone has actually called me that yet. Anyways, we broke our personal record for lessons with a member present, but we didn't get as many people to church or progressing as we would like. E and J had quiet weeks and we didn't talk with either of them for long. We are going to go by less frequently which is tough. E was talking about why he thought they kept me here and I was hoping he would say it was so he could get baptized, but he said it was probably to show other missionaries what we are suppose to be like.
We weren't able to get a lesson with the Fs either but we did have contact with them. One night we went by and they ended up telling us stories and thing for 30 minutes so we didn't have time to teach anything. We planned a sweet lesson on the commandments using a "Walking Dead" theme to get H and A interested. They didn't come to church and they are starting to get busy with soccer again.
We had a lesson with two part-member families that we usually don't get to visit. We had dinner with one of them and talked about the Book of Mormon and the other couple had us for dessert : King Cake and a message. They went well. Bro B showed us the REAL C3PO helmet and it was so cool!
We had really good visits with J, B, and R, except R found out yesterday that his brother died, and his mom was already on her death-bed. We found out in ward council so we went by and he said he was having a rough day but we showed him a mormon message titled "Hope You Know I'm Having a Hard Time." We also sang him How Great Thou Art, but I had a hard time singing because I was so sad. I tried bearing my testimony but I was too emotional. It was kinda strange since he wasn't even crying really, but I could see how sad he was and how he is questioning why everything is going wrong for him and he is the only one in his family who has the gospel. It pained me and we gave him a blessing that I also had a hard time giving. I really love him a lot and I just wished he could feel our Heavenly Father's love for him like I could feel in there but there were no words to describe it.
The Ds are doing really well. We helped them fix their fence again (hopefully for good) because people keep breaking it. It's frustrating but at least it helps us teach them. We finally confirmed that her name is E. She read from the Book of Mormon and we had a great lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and she believes everything that we do, but she doesn't think so for some reason. but she does want to please God and so we invited her to continue to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and to know if she should be baptized. She came to church and Sister S, the lady we have been using to help with M sat by her and when we picked up our dinner calendar from the Relief Society they were talking to each other in there too, so that was amazing. She is really close, we just need her to realize that this is exactly what she believes, we just have the authority to act in God's name so she can enter the Celestial Kingdom. I would pray for her.
M had a pretty solid week except she got really sick Saturday night and couldn't make it to church. She got food poisoning or something. We had a really great lesson at the Ss on Wednesday about the commandments. It was perfect. The Ss are such a good example of keeping the commandments. With every commandment Bro S talked about how he overcame it, from the bigger serious stuff, all the way down to not listening to rap music that swears, watching sports on Sunday, and fasting the full 24 hours. He bore pretty powerful testimony which was sweet. We told her the story about fasting for T and we invited her and the S to fast this Sunday that her probation will get worked out for her baptism to be on April 5. We also committed her to completely quit smoking three weeks in advance, and she is excited for it all. The ward is warming up to her.
S had a pretty rough week. Baseball started up and we had things set up for him to get picked up an hour early for mutual but his ride called us while we were waiting at the church for them and told us he couldn't get him, so we frantically tried getting someone to bring him to at least mutual but no one did and we couldn't get a hold of him so he just didn't get picked up. He had a game on Sunday again, so he couldn't come to church. He is going to have some HUGE decisions to make in the next  year or two about who he really wants to be and if he has no gospel foundation he will go the wrong way. Without family support it will hard and the only thing to help him is the gospel as well as the good examples. We are going to try and set up a big FHE with his family and the Ls since Sis L and his mom work together. If we can get his mom on board with church that would be great.
We had a pretty funny experience Tuesday night. We were on the way to the Fs biking and I came off a curb to the sidewalk and when my back wheel hit the ground, I don't know what happened but I went flying over my bike and onto the street. I was shocked at how little I got hurt and really all I had was a scab on my elbow. I went flying pretty far and I don't even know how I landed, but I was fine.  I just picked up the stuff from my pocket and kept riding. I was cracking up because of how funny that must have looked for the cars that were driving towards us, they must have had a hilarious view. The Fs noticed the cut so we were joking about how I needed training wheels or something. Then on the way home from their house we were riding on the 620 (the big highway in our area) and it clearly wasn't safe and there was a little indent that I decided to pull off on to wait for cars to pass, but it was slightly higher than the road and when Elder W came onto it, he wiped out. I was dying laughing. He was also okay except he got a scab on his elbow in the same spot! He was pretty sore but I couldn't stop laughing because of how funny it was that we both crashed within an hour of each other. We were pretty defeated, so we just got a ride home. It was so funny and we were totally fine the next day.
I know this work is real. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet. Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew

March 3rd, 2014

Dear family,
Well we had a bit of a slower week as we didn't stop by some of the normal people and focused more on finding new people and we didn't have much success yet. Things are going pretty well with M though so that is really positive. Before I forget like I did with Micah, happy birthday to Izak and dad this week! I can't believe that Micah is already a deacon and Izak is a teacher. That makes me feel like I've been out for a really long time.
Well we had a really eventful week with M. She called us Wednesday when we were on our way to a lesson with the Ss. She was super stressed and asked if we could meet. We weren't really worried and we knew everything would work out but we stopped right there and called around to set something up. The As offered there home and we had a lesson there. It went really well. She said she is terrified but she knew that getting into the scriptures would help her feel peace. It was awesome and the As were super nice and had prepared popcorn and cookies for us all. The Spirit was really strong and we just read from the Book of Mormon since we didn't have time to prepare a lesson, but it was a great experience. We found out later that her homeowner figured things out so she gets to stay! We helped her fix her car on Saturday which was a mess because everything is broken and she just read how to fix it, so we basically followed her orders trying to jimmy-rig the roof of her convertible and it took a few hours, but we got it mostly done. We had a stake priesthood leadership meeting that was entirely focused on missionary work and so we were invited and they really emphasized the ward mission and the ward being much more involved. Brother A (the High Priest Group Leader) even told us that we are the best missionaries he has ever seen in the church, anywhere. He said the Stake emailed in prep. for the meeting and asked what the missionaries in the ward could do better and he told them "Nothing. They are out here kicking butt every week working really hard ever day." That was a really high compliment since he's been around TONS of missionaries as a 70 year old dude who worked for LDS family services for 40 years. That felt sweet! He's really nice. Brother G came up afterwards and also told us the same thing that he wrote essentially the same thing to the Stake.
We had a good lesson with S and he went to mutual, but again, he has baseball on Sundays, so we need to figure that out. We are trying to set up a FHE with the Ls so his family can be more on board too.
We had two really good lessons with E this week. We taught her Thursday and A was too tired to come, so we had a lesson about the Book of Mormon and the gift of the Holy Ghost and she likes the Book of Mormon.. Sister S also set up a dinner with her on Saturday and so we had dinner and a lesson with them on the Atonement. It was right after helping M and we didn't really have time to plan the lesson, but we talked about three aspects of the Atonement: it cleanses us from sin, brings us comfort, enables us to do good. It was a powerful lesson and I really like teaching her. She understands everything so well and believes the same we do, it's just showing her that means this is the true church and that really sinking in. 
We had a lesson with M, and we shared powerful testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon and it seemed to hit her pretty hard. We had a great lesson with the Fs after a really rough Friday where no one was home and our appointments canceled, and I've stopped by literally every single LA member and former investigator in the area, so it's hard to know what to do sometimes. We just talked about adversity and the peace of the gospel, and H was once again very engaged in the lesson. It is really cool to see the progress she's made, hopefully they will actually come to church someday. I really think there will be a miracle with them soon.
Nothing happened with M, so that's a little worrisome. Hopefully she is still interested. 
B is doing pretty well, although he missed church again and he is pretty stressed about work, but he's trying to change jobs. 
A is doing well and the sisters are teaching her and Sis S's dad so that should be good.
We stopped by E and it was sad because we taught them a little bit and E said they are pretty good with where they are at so we bore testimony that they need the church in their lives and need it to be a priority. I was filled with the Spirit as I told them how much I loved them and I wanted them to have every blessing that I've ever had. They said they would try to make it to church in a few weeks but they were busy yesterday and this week. They probably won't change right now, but it felt good to say everything we said and then in E's closing prayer he thanked God for us and for the light that turned on in L's eyes every time we come over. I almost cried when he said that. My heart aches for them, but it's alright. 
We tried something new this week that actually worked pretty well. We tried knocking, but instead of immediately talking about the church, we asked if we could sing a hymn. We got a lot of people that said yes, and then afterwards we asked if we could share how Christ's gospel has been restored. We had one lady who had 10 minutes so we quickly taught the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. I don't think she was super interested and we haven't heard from her yet, but it was a cool experience. 
I know this church is true, this work is real, and it's our Savior's work. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and Christ is our Savior. I know we all can receive comfort, love, cleansing from sin, and be enabled to do good, through the Atonement. Thanks for all the support, it means a lot!
Elder Pew