Friday, April 4, 2014

March 24th & 31st, 2014

March 24th, 2014
Dear family,
Alright the subject line (running over Elder W) is brought to you by probably the funniest moment so far of my mission. We were backing out of an apartment complex last night and Elder W stands right behind the car until there aren't any cars and then he backs up and I follow him. Well he started to back up so I put the car in reverse and started backing, but then I heard a smack on the car so I looked back and Elder W had ran up to the car and smacked it because there was car coming, but they saw that I was starting to back, so they were stopped, but I didn't see Elder W at first so I accidentally bumped him with the car and he had a water bottle in his hand and it made him spill it all over the car and a little on himself. I looked back to see the thumping noise right as I saw that I had bumped Elder W and watched him spill the water everywhere. The person in the other car was probably really weirded out and I was laughing hysterically. Of course he wasn't hurt at all but it was really funny to watch from my view in the driver's seat. We had a pretty good week. We found some new investigators, but struggled to have many lessons with our other ones, but had lots of RCLAs, but didn't get people to church, but half the F family came. I really hope I can stay here a few months longer.
Monday was pretty sweet. We dropped by the Ks to see how they were doing, and Brother K came out and we talked about his family history quest. He and his wife had caught fire in family history and his wife was able to trace her line back to work that had already been done that went all the way back to like 200 AD. Instead of just saying they were busy, he came out and asked us a ton of questions about the church, mostly about the temple. We explained eternal families, but he had some tough questions about people who are divorced, what happens to the righteous spouse in heaven if the other spouse is disobedient, etc. It was awesome for him to be open and immediately I knew it was going to end well with his daughter. Sure enough, his final question was, "My daughter is nine and she wants to get baptized, where should we go from here?" He said that he already asked her if she wanted us to come over, but she is really shy so they said she won't do it until she feels comfortable. He told us he was planning to come to church last week but he got confused about which ward to go to, but that they were going to come this week. Unfortunately he had a job interview so they didn't come, but hopefully we start teaching their daughter this week. That was such a cool experience! It went exactly how we had hoped! We were super grateful for that.
Tuesday we had zone conference and interviews with President S. He gave a really good training on the Restoration and explained the little-known four accounts of the first vision so that we would be armed with the facts. He has an amazing understanding and testimony of the Restoration. My interview went well and it was pretty short. We have continued to receive more referrals lately but I'll explain a few of them later.
Wednesday was a good day. We had a lesson with M and we invited her to bring her friend M. M is a retired Methodist minister. We were planning to teach the Restoration, but M and M and such big talkers that we didn't get to Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon so we are meeting this week. I don't think M is really interested, but we'll see what happens this week. We had a pretty slow day until just before dinner we contacted the referral that we got from a lady in W and this time the lady J was in better health so S (her brother) let us in. We sat down and we invited S and some other dude who was there to join us, but only S and J came. J is really sick, but she never said what it was. They are really nice people and we taught them about the Atonement from the Book of Mormon since that seemed like something that could help them in their state as well as show them the power of the Book of Mormon. They liked what we had to say and were grateful we had stopped by. We can't really set things up with them since J's health is pretty hit-and-miss. We stopped by Saturday with copies of the Book of Mormon and J didn't have the health to meet but S was pretty excited to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. They are great people. We had a lesson with the Ms and Bro R came since he is their home teacher. It went better than most weeks and Bro M actually warmed up to Bro R pretty well. We had a lesson with R and he was really grateful we didn't give up on him since he ran off to San Antonio again but we told him it's never too late. I gave him a bunch of those papers that mom gave me and he loved them, especially the picture of Christ. He's going to be alright. 
Thursday we had a lesson with J ith Bro C who has a TON of evidence of the Book of Mormon from South America. It was really really cool. Basically he was a retired CIA agent who stumbled on a book in a library in Peru that was written by a conquistador who wrote the stories of the natives. He recorded legends of four brothers who fought because the youngest brother could shoot his bow the highest, a white God who came to them after there was no sun for three days, and a few other Book of Mormon stories. He was shocked and decided to search out other books like the one he had found. He has collected more than 70 rare copies from these Spanish conquistadors and priests that wrote the legends and stories of the Native Americans and found so many Book of Mormon stories. I don't have time to tell all the evidence but he knew stuff about Hagoth the ship builder from the end of Alma, the Jaredite people, evidence of Jared from Genesis 10, what the Curelom and Cummoms are, etc. It was fascinating. He goes to conferences all the time with his research and has a book called Voices From the Dust about it all too. J really liked it and he had watched the Restoration DVD. I think he really wants to know this stuff, he just has a hard time and can be stubborn at times. Him and D (his wife) took us out to Denny's and they were hilarious. I love those two. We had dinner with the Ss and G remains nice and supportive but not interested. Oh well.
Saturday we were going to bring R to some lessons with us but he bailed on us. We taught S and Sis D. Our lesson with Sis D was interesting. She asked if we believed on Mormons were going to heaven. I told her the explanation wasn't that simple, so I explained priesthood authority and how everyone will have a chance and that just because someone isn't going to be condemned if they never had the chance and that it was authority, not Mormonism that mattered. She didn't really like that a whole lot and she seemed to think that was what I personally believed but she was happy that I believed it but she doesn't think it's true for everyone. We listened to Come, Join with Us, and she really liked that so that was good. She had to leave out of town so she didn't come to church. 
Sunday was eventful and pretty solid. Church was great even though only E, T, C, and Bro F came to church. We offered to make them breakfast again but they said it's too hectic in the mornings for them. They told us that Bro F was taking some of the little ones. It was good to see them in church and we heard from the Primary President that they seemed to enjoy it. Our meetings went pretty well and we were able to make some plans for the week. We had a lesson with B and he's doing alright despite the fact that he's missed church the past three weeks due to work. He is really trying to figure things out and he's at a huge crossroad in his life. He wants to find a real career and find a wife and be able to focus more on spiritual things like he wants. We talked about Prophets and Apostles and how he can receive answers to prayers at General Conference (by the way I am SUPER excited for Conference) if he goes in with faith and a desire to know what he needs to do. We also had a quick lesson with the Ls and they wanted us over for dinner today, so we accepted and then we realized we should try and get an investigator to come, so we invited S and his family and his mom accepted, so we are having dinner and a lesson with the Ls and the Ks tonight. Sweet! We contacted two pretty solid referrals and one was from J and it's his neighbor. She's a really nice older lady and she got choked up and was happy to see that there were still nice people who cared in the world. I testified that the things that we teach will help her through all of her trials and we set up a time to come by this week with J. It was really sweet to be an answer to someone's prayers. Oh we also had a cool experience where we were in a complex and I felt like we should talk to this lady that was pretty far away in her car, so we walked by but she didn't get out, but I felt like we should try again, so we looped back around and this time she came out and walked right up to us and asked who we were and we told her and she said she was from Utah and her sister is a member. She said she took it as a sign, but we weren't sure if she meant a sign to learn more, or a sign that she needs to move back to Utah, but she was really glad she saw us and we gave her our number so she can call when she wants to learn more. I hope she does call, she seemed really awesome. 
I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ and that true happiness does come through living the gospel. I know that we are blessed when we are obedient and work hard. I know that with faith we can accomplish anything according to the Lord's will. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is the evidence of the marvelous message we have that God still speaks to us today. Thanks for all the support!
Elder Pew
March 31st, 2014
Dear family,
Well this time we can pretty well know what happened, so I'm just going to get straight to it. This was my last full week in B. It was a good one. I'll just get right into the good stuff.
Monday night we set up that sweet lesson with the Ks and Ls, but when we went with the Ls to pick the Ks up, S wasn't there. It turns out he had baseball and they didn't know it. That was sad especially because that made it disobedient to have a dinner without a non-member there, but the L family sacrificed a lot to work everything out so we went with it and it was good to be able to teach Sister K and her daughter. The L family is awesome! 
Tuesday we had a lesson with Sister D and Sister S and it went really well. I really wanted to commit her to a baptismal date, but Sister D and S ended up side-tracking our conversation at the end so the Spirit wasn't really there. We did a lot of biking the rest of that day, but we were able to meet with the Fs briefly. We went over and Sis F, H, and A were gone, but they got back when we were talking with Bro F and E, and they had us come in even though they were busy. They sat us down and made us eat some of the Indian food they had just gotten and we talked. They are just the best family ever (The Indian food was good by the way). Like I said, they were busy but we asked if we could share a quick thought with them, so we talked about the Atonement. We also set up a final lesson before the transfer. That is going to be an intense lesson. 
Wednesday we had district meeting and we didn't have any lessons. So we did a lot of biking and not much teaching, but that's okay. 
Thursday we weekly planned which was strange to plan and finally know that I wasn't going to be there for all of the week. We had a lesson with M and we pounded the importance of the Book of Mormon. She is progressing ever slowly. We really emphasized praying to know if it's true. She accepted a commitment to pray about the Book of Mormon which is more than she would do before. I have a strange connection with her. Her friend M got basically eaten by a couple dogs so she's out for a few weeks. We had a lesson with J's neighbor and he came. She is a great lady. She isn't super religious so we taught her the Restoration and the Book of Mormon especially. She understood everything and that it would make sense for there to be a prophet on the earth today. She liked the part from 2 Ne 29:7-9 (I think) that talks about there being more nation than one and that God loves ALL people. She accepted invitations to read and pray and come to church, but she got sick Saturday night. J was great too.
Friday we had a lesson with this sweet dude named R. He did most of the talking, but he was asking for advice, so we just taught him principles here and there. We invited him to church and he really wants to try it and he wants his whole family to also. We later found out that he knows R and A who are members that live close to him and they are a cool family, so we told the Gs to work with them. He wants to meet every week.
Saturday we realized we were almost out of miles, and even though in the past we just went over, we decided it was more obedient to not, so we brought our bikes and then drove to the middle and biked around and then drove home when we were done. We had a lot of things fall through but we had an amazing lesson with R, one of the best experiences of my life. We talked about being consistent and staying firm in the faith. He said he has finally made a change of heart and no longer wants to sin (Mosiah 5:2). He said our dedication and not giving up on him has helped him more than anything else. He told us he was about to give up and take a bus as far as he could and start over, but it was us that made him come back. He got very emotional and said that if her were the only person we were to convert on his mission it would be worth it to us. He cried and said that when he finally makes it to the Celestial Kingdom he will be so proud to see us and that we will deserve so much for all that we have done. It was an absolutely beautiful thought and the Spirit was SOOOO strong. I was crying it was very powerful. I'm really going to miss him. It was a very tender moment and made me realize why I do what I do, to help people, motivated by love, come to Christ so that they can have eternal happiness in the Celestial Kingdom. I don't think it was moved by the Spirit, but he keeps getting discouraged so I told him that by the time I come back to visit he will be married to "his mormon girl" like he always talks about if he stays strong and is patient. Such a great guy. We had dinner with the B family which is the couple that speak different languages. Bro B is an inactive member who speaks only English, and Sis B is not a member and only speaks Spanish. It was the BEST dinner ever! We had chips and dip, then tostadas, then corn on the cob, then steak and potatoes, then smoked salmon, and finally...crab! We were in heaven and they are awesome. We shared an Easter thought and Elder W bore his testimony in English about the Atonement and how we can be cleansed from sin (for Bro B) and then I bore my testimony in Spanish as best I could about Christ and invited M to church at the Spanish Branch and to their baptism that was the next day for Sister S and A's dad. My Spanish wasn't too bad, but she just didn't see the point in going to a baptism. Bummer. We had a lesson with E and E was really sad about me leaving, but it was fun to see him again. 

Sunday was the day of days. At church both me and Elder W bore our testimonies and it was a good experience. I got a little choked up and it was cool to look around and literally know every single family. Elder W did a good job too. Of course everyone could guess that transfers must be rolling around and we had a TON of people come up and thank us and wish me well even though I never said I was leaving. In PEC Bishop thanked me again and everyone was asking about me leaving, but we just said likely, but won't know until tonight. I was very pleased that they asked what they needed to do to help some of these people we are working with. This meeting was great and they really want to help the F and S. It was sweet. They expressed the need to help the Fs since we wouldn't always be there. Bro A said, "yeah it will be tough now that the icon is leaving." It was a little uncomfortable but I'm glad I could have made an impact here. We had a lesson with the S family again. It went super well and they read the Intro to the Book of Mormon. We taught the Restoration and they understood it really well. They were excited to read from it and were open to watching conference and going to church. I felt really clear-minded with them and we explained things really well and the Spirit was strong. They are a great family! Bro J picked us up from there for an early dinner which was kinda awkward since it was fast Sunday. We had a good dinner and then for the spiritual thought, Bro J asked if I could bear my testimony and if Elder W could share some things he has learned from me. I bore my testimony and I was a little choked up thinking of all that I've learned since I've been here. It was a tender moment and the Js were crying, thanking us for the work we do. I got waaaay more attention than I wanted this week. We ended up getting back to the apartment really late from our lesson, dinner, and other visits, so we just decided to head back out instead of studying. We got our transfer call at 8:30from President S. He said that I was leaving, unsurprising, and that Elder W was staying and getting a new senior companion, also unsurprising. Then he said that I would also be a district leader in my new area. That was a little surprising. Of course I accepted, but it was strange to think about and I did feel like I was being prepared for something a few weeks ago. I am both excited and nervous to go to a new area and to be a district leader. I have a lot of thoughts and yet I'm not sure what I think. We had a TON of members that wanted to know what was happening, so we texted them all. I am so thankful for the many things that I've learned here in B. I'm grateful for the amazing relationships I have developed for so many people. I have seen the power of Charity, the pure and perfect love of Christ. I know that when that is our motivation, our effectiveness increases. I'm thankful for the members in this area and all they have done for me the past 8 or 9 months. I truly love these people. "Their souls are precious, and many of them are [my] brethren." (Alma 31:35) I will forever think of these people and what they have done for me and the friendships we have. I know that the gospel is true. It makes bad men good and good men better. It truly is what will bring true, eternal, happiness. I know that we have prophets and apostles on the earth today and we are so blessed to hear from them this weekend. I know that our message is true and a marvelous work and a wonder. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Christ lives and he knows each of us individually and perfectly and he loves us. Thanks for all the support!
Elder Pew