Friday, May 30, 2014

May 19th & 26th, 2014 and photos

May 19th, 2014
Dear family,
Every week I come here and I think that it was the busiest week yet, but here I am again, and this certainly was the busiest week because of transfers. 
Monday we didn't have much success, but we worked pretty hard.
Tuesday we didn't even have time to proselyte we were so busy. We left really early and had to get extra beds in the apartments that had new trios for the new transfer. There were a bunch so we spend a lot of time doing that. We also helped with the departing missionaries. They met at the chapel and we picked up all of their bikes and luggage, and we took their bikes to the bike shop to be shipped home, and we brought their luggage back to our apartment complex for them since they stay with the Assistants their final night. It was fun to talk with them. I loved it. I was so happy to see them complete their missions after all their hard work. We also had to set up our apartment for the incoming Sisters that would arrive the next day. It was a really long day.
Wednesday was a lot of fun. We had an equally busy day, but we also had a few lessons. We had a final lesson with the Rs before Elder N left and we also had a great lesson with Brother H. We weren't able to keep it very structured, but we answered a lot of his questions and left him with Elder Corbridge's talk (my absolute favorite talk ever) on Joseph Smith and Elder Adukaitis (or whatever it is) on receiving answers to prayers. He wants us to teach his pastor friend, so we'll see if that happens. We obviously had to spend the night with the Assistants since Sisters were in our apartment, and it was really fun to be with the brand new missionaries. They seem like a good group. Teresa said to look for an Elder D, and I talked with him a lot. We also had to figure things out for all the missionaries coming up from the Border for transfers. Super busy and long day, but it felt good.
New companion and Elder Pew
Thursday was definitely the most chaotic. We had to go pick up all the new missionaries bikes and bring them to the church for transfer meeting at 10. Then we had the San Antonio transfer meeting and I found out my new companion is Elder R. He was with Elder S (Timo's MTC companion) up in S and I was super excited to get him, more details later. After the meeting, chaos ensues. Luckily Elder N was going up to Austin, so he helped out a bit and Elder D was going up too so he was my little helper. We had to make sure all of the luggage, bikes, truck, two vans, and all the people being transferred to Austin made it there, as well as get missionaries things they asked for that isn't worth driving out to deliver. Once we got to Austin, we had the transfer meeting and I also found out that Elder D was going to be with us until Saturday to get surgery. That was fun to be with him again. Other transfers worth noting: Elder W (Timo's greenie) went to O, the ward we shared the car with, Elder V (Timo's trainer) is still in C, Elder T is in I which is really close to us so he comes to zone P-day, and Elder N went to S to be with Elder S (Timo's MTC companion), so him and Elder R switched spots. Elder R is sweet. He's been out three months (just finished training) but you can't tell. He is a really really good missionary. Like way better than me. He is from Lehi and graduated in 2013 too. He's an inch or two taller, but probably doesn't weigh more, so we are easily the smallest Moving Elders ever. He really gets what he's doing and is really good at teaching, testifying, planning, and he really understands his purpose and also is very motivated to change things up with our Moving Elder responsibility. I'm a little embarrassed at how good he is at everything, so my goal is basically to get out of the way and let him really develop. After transfer meeting we darted out to unload the luggage and bikes and get ready to take the missionaries, luggage, and bikes going back to San Antonio. They had about 26 swap from Austin to San Antonio, so it was a lot of stuff. We delivered those back to San Antonio and went straight to work deliver beds to the trios we hadn't been told about. We barely had time to eat, and didn't get back until about 10. 
Friday we left early too and picked up the things that the missionaries we are moving this Tuesday needed and then delivered some other things we needed to get done. Elder P also needed us to help him pick up new cars which was sweet! I drove us five down, and then I drove the truck and Elder P, Elder R, and Elder D each drove a brand new 2014 Corolla back to the mission office. Elder R had the GPS, Elder P had his phone and GPS, Elder D had our phone, and I had nothing. They had me lead since I know my way around San Antonio best (which is pretty weird) and it was so fun being in the front. I would purposely change lanes just to watch each one behind me change lanes individually. It was really funny to watch. Then when we were going to get off the freeway, Elder P didn't see me merge, so I watched him fly by right as he looked over his shoulder and realize he missed the exit. It was one of the funniest things I've seen. You'd have to know Elder Presser to fully understand, but we were cracking up when us three got back to the mission office and Elder P was who-knows-where. We were able to proselyte in the evening, but we weren't able to teach any lessons except one to Sister W after we talked about her friend that is in our area book and said to set something up with her. President Slaughter called and needed Elder D to come to the mission home after 9, so we took him there and the Assistants and Sister Assistants were there and the other two missionaries going home. We all had ice cream while President talked to Elder D. It was pretty fun, but me and Elder R were the awkward ones who didn't really belong. 
Saturday morning Elder D left for the airport and President told him that he would be back which was comforting for Elder D since he wants to come back. We tried to set it up so we wouldn't have to do any Moving Elder things, but we needed to take one desk to a new trio and then we got a call that some missionaries living with members needed some stuff taken out and moved urgently, so we had to do that instead. We had a lesson with a new lady named J, and she clearly felt the Spirit and was really nice, but didn't accept a return appointment. 
Sunday was a good day at church. Brother H came to church and he seemed to enjoy it.  A member's daughter and nonmember boyfriend just moved in and both came to church so we set up a lesson with the boyfriend. He has a stuttering problem, but seems like a nice guy and was following along the lesson in Elders' Quorum. After church we went searching again, but weren't able to find anyone to teach. We found some people with potential, but no one ready to be taught. It can be a little bit frustrating to not see success, but I know if we just keep working hard that things will work out and we will start to have the success we know we can have. I have such a strong desire to find and baptize a solid family that can be sealed in the temple, it sounds so incredible. I know this work is true, and that it's the best thing we can give anyone. I know that Restoration is a powerful message and those who accept it will be eternally blessed. Thanks for all the support and love!
Elder Pew

May 26th, 2014

Dear family,
This was a fantastic week here! We were able to have a bit of success with part-member families and got three of them to church! I don't have very much time, but I'll explain what I can. Also, it is raining SO HARD here and I love it! We have been getting flash-flood warnings and the streets are basically flooded. There was a waterfall over the door to the mission office, so we got soaked going in. Anyways:
Bro H- Pretty good week. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he took it off on a few tangents, but he's progressing. Unfortunately he didn't come to church.
H family- Couldn't get a hold of them this week. We are going to try again this week and if we don't see results we will give them a break for a few weeks.
A family- This was probably the coolest one of the week. Me and Elder N went by and talked to Brother A (the member) and he didn't seem interested. This week when we were driving around I felt like we should go by again even though he didn't seem interested and it had only been like a week and a half. He was much nicer and we set up a time to come back. We had a lesson and they are an AMAZING family! He's super nice and his wife is practically a member. We taught them the restoration with the pamphlet and then talked about church, prayer, and reading as a family (they have a 3 and 1-year old that are super cute) and they accepted all the invitations and kept them this whole week even with one of the kids getting pneumonia (if that's how you spell it). We are going over on Tuesday for another lesson and dinner!
G family- Another active non-member, Bro G is Catholic and we hadn't been able to have a lesson with them until this last week. We taught them a similar lesson to the As and invited them to do each. They didn't come to church, but it was great to finally meet with him.
P- He is the boyfriend of one of the member's daughters and they just moved in with the member, Sister S. He is a really nice guy and had a rough childhood. He wasn't opposed to baptism, but religion is totally new to him. It will take a few weeks (and he has to be married to his member girlfriend) and he will get baptized, no doubt. He came to church again too.
Brother A- We met with Brother A and his wife isn't a member and he expressed her concerns and his concerns but he wants to come back, but he wants his wife with him. She had a bad experience with missionaries in the past, so she's pretty hesitant. We talked about the importance of faith and things we can do to see a miracle. He wants to do it and so do we, so we are probably going to fast with him and try some other things too this week.
J and K-- These two are in a physical rehab center after a nasty motorcycle accident. Kurt is in pretty bad shape and neither of them were active. They were a referral, and we stopped by and gave them blessings. They think this happened to them because they have been neglecting God. They have a son who is 9 that they want baptized, but he's in Utah since they can't take care of him. We read 3 Nephi 17 which was powerful. I was getting choked up and both of them were crying too. Such a good chapter and a great visit. They will be there for a few months, so we will probably stop by every now and then. 
Moving Elder duties went pretty well. We were able to proselyte all day Saturday except when Elder R had a migraine for a few hours. We moved the South Zone Leaders and it was really tiring, but we finished by about 4:30. We went to Yorktown in the boonies and it was sweet! The missionaries live in a little trailer. Literally a mobile home. We also had interviews with President Slaughter and we talked about a second set of Moving Elders which it looks like is going to be the outcome. They would only be helpers, when we really needed them like on transfer week , but that would be great.

Photos from a P-day visit to the San Antonio Zoo!

for Zane

8 lb Pigeon, Elder Pew's favorite

for dad

We also took Elder R (one of the Assistants) ice cream for his birthday and had a fun time together one night and then came to our apartment at like 10:10 and there were two ladies trying to move in by themselves, so we helped them until 10:30 and then got the Assistants to come the next morning and they bought us bagels and were really thankful. It was cool to help even though they weren't interested in being taught.
Our mission now has the single standard of excellence of 6 investigators with a baptismal date. It's pretty daunting at times, but we are going to work hard to set these part-members with dates and to find more families. I have never had such a strong desire to find a family that can get sealed together. I know that this gospel is for families. The restored gospel helps us truly understand the importance of families and their true eternal nature. I know that this gospel is true and was restored by Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is true. Thanks for everything you do!
Elder Pew
p.s. I thought I'd just share an example of what President Slaughter emails us weekly, it's incredible: 
"Question #1: Why was the Fall necessary?
If there had been no Fall, by which came death; then there could have been no Atonement, by which comes life (1 Cor. 15:21-22).
If there had been no Fall, then "all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created... forever, and had no end (2 Nephi 2:22).
If there had been no Fall then Adam and Eve would have had no children, and the grand designs of the Lord would have been forever frustrated (2 Nephi 2:23; 1 Nephi 17:36).

Question #2: What was the great commandment given Adam and Eve in the Garden?
There was one great commandment given in the garden; one commandment that must be obeyed; if obeyed, man would be placed on the path to eternal life; if disobeyed, all the premortal spirits would have been damned in their progression.
This is the commandment given in the garden: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Genesis 1:28). This great commandment has remained in force to this very day (Family Proclamation).
Adam and Eve must choose to obey or to disobey this divine directive; the choice was theirs.
"Be fruitful, and multiply. Provide bodies for my progeny. Thus said thy God. Eternity hangs in the balance. The plans of Deity are at the crossroads. There is only one course to follow: the course of conformity and obedience. Adam... and Eve, our mother, must obey. They must fall. They must become mortal. Death must enter the world. There is no other way. They must fall that man may be.... And so Adam fell as fall he must." (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 221)

Question #3: Why did God forbid Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit?
In order to obey the great commandment given in the garden, a way must be provided that Adam and Eve can choose for themselves to Fall that man might be. The "fruit" is the way.
"And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Moses 3:16 - 17)
Let us understand this "prohibition." The Lord tells Adam that EVERY tree of the garden is given to him, and of EVERY tree he could FREELY eat, with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of that tree, the Lord said, "thou shall not eat of it" FREELY, meaning thou shalt not eat of it without consequence–without becoming mortal, without dying, without falling. "Nevertheless," the Lord says, "it is given unto thee;" "thou mayest choose for thyself." If you choose to partake, I forbid you to remain in the garden. You may eat of every other tree freely and remain in the garden, but if you choose to partake of that tree, you must Fall; it is your choice; I cannot make it for you.
Joseph Fielding Smith explained: "The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here then I forbid you eat it. But you may act for yourself and you may eat of it if you want to." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Address at Salt Lake LDS Institute of Religion, 14 January 1961; Improvement Era, April 1962, 231)
Joseph Smith, the Prophet, said, "Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall." (The Words of Joseph Smith, 63)

Question #4: Was the Fall a "sin" or a "transgression"?
"Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin–inherently wrong–but a transgression–wrong because is was formally prohibited. These words [transgression and sin] are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall. (Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 1993)

Question #5: Did God want Adam to fall?
Death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator (2 Nephi 9:6).
In response to the oft-heard question regarding Adam and Eve: "Did God set them up to fail?"
The question itself is akin to that asked of Jesus’ disciples: "Carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38). Such questions are evidence that the asker does not understand who God really is.
God, in His infinite wisdom, created an earth for Adam and Eve; He commanded them to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth" (2 Nephi 2:24); He provided a way that they might obey the commandment given them (2 Nephi 2:15-16); He knew man would obey and inherit mortality, which would become a "preparatory state" for all men to prepare to return to God (Alma 42:9-10; 34:32); He provided, before the foundation of the world, a Savior, that man might know the joy of redemption and attain eternal life (Moses 5:10-11).
The Fall was not a fall "backward and downward" but rather a fall "forward and upward." We are grateful for the Fall; we are also eternally grateful to God that He sent His Only Begotten Son, whom we represent and whose gospel we declare to the world. It is the good news. May we declare it with the sound of rejoicing. Amen!"

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 5th & 12th, 2014

May 5th, 2014
A member who knows Elder Pew's Aunt Amy posted this photo on Facebook of him and his companion (so fun when people do that).
Some members texted this photo to Elder Pew's dad.

Dear family,
I am going to apologize ahead of time if I repeat anything that happened last week, I honestly can't remember what happened when, it's just a big blur. Things are going well. I sit here and chuckle every week just thinking of all my thoughts and how to explain everything. Here we go again! 
Monday we stopped by a part-member family, the H family. Brother H let us right in and we sat down and talked to the family. His wife and 9 year old daughter aren't members but they don't go to any church and are open. We talked about priesthood authority and eternal families. They really liked that idea. I also said that "the church needs good families like you, but good families also need the church." Brother H really liked that for some reason. It's cool what some people really grab onto. It was a short and powerful visit, and they wanted to come to church and learn more, but were busy the rest of the week and didn't show up for church. We both felt like we should have invited them to be baptized after we came out, but we didn't and now we are kicking ourselves for not having the faith.
Tuesday we had to go up to Austin and we delivered a bunch of things, but we left a little later than we should have. We had to make it to a lesson with Sister H, the active non-member in the ward. It was a blast driving up though, because Brushy Creek is finally getting their new car, so the car person wanted us to take it up. So we drove separately and I got to drive a brand new 2014 Corolla. It was beautiful and definitely the only time I'll ever drive a new car. It had 68 miles on it when I got in. It was such a smooth ride. It was super hectic trying to get back on time because we had just enough time, but we were almost out of gas, our gas card was out, we had to wait for other missionaries to come pay for us, and then we hit downtown Austin traffic. We got back about 15 minutes late and the H's were really nice and had gotten us dinner. We ate and then taught a lesson on eternal families and tried applying our zone conference by committing them to a temple date, and then the obvious step for Sister H would be to get baptized so she could get sealed. She is really nice, but said she had some concerns and didn't allow us to come back to discuss them or help her, so it's going to be on her time when she decides to join the church. We were a little bummed that we couldn't commit her to baptism, but it's just not her time.
Wednesday we had to go back to Austin to do the things we hadn't finished the day before. We got to drive through Brushy Creek which was strange as usual. That evening we didn't get much done.
Thursday we had a slow morning with Moving Elder stuff but it felt like we didn't get anything done. We dropped off a washer and dryer to the Sisters we moved in last week. That evening we taught a former investigator L. He is like 60. He doesn't show any emotion and I could not read his thoughts for the life of me. I had no idea what he was thinking, but we explained authority and the Book of Mormon a bit. He seemed somewhat interested, but he liked talking to us, but said he would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, but he wouldn't commit to church, and he set the next appointment until three weeks.
Friday was district meeting because the Assistants were busy since one of the leaders from the missionary department was with them Wednesday. We also planned to do exchanges with them after District Meeting. Oh yeah, so the Assistants told me on Wednesday that the District was being re-aligned. Also, President wanted to meet with me and Elder N after District Meting too. So Las Lomas was at District meeting. It's Sister J and Sister P. Sister J was in my MTC district so that's fun and Sister P is from Lone Peak. I think she's even from our Stake. Maybe the 6, 7, or 10th ward. They are both really cool and great missionaries. I'm excited to have them. Our district meeting was great and we talked about Preparation especially. It's been something on my mind a lot lately and it is SO important. I emphasized that we have been prepared, God is a God of preparation, faith and preparation removes fear, there are people being prepared, and how we need to prepare for them. God won't trust us with people who are ready for the gospel if we aren't ready to open our mouths, commit them to change, and teach them powerfully. After lunch we met at the mission office and I went first. It was a great interview. President Slaughter is the best. We mostly talked about Moving Elder stuff. He asked how much time we left the area and I explained the situation and he said that it is too much. I agreed and he asked what we could do to simplify things, so I shared a few of my ideas. He said that one reason I'm here is to help change things and make them more effective. We set up another meeting on Wednesday to meet with Elder Williams too to figure things out. We talked about the interviews and he opened up finally. We had a lesson with the Rs which went well. 
Saturday was our exchange. I went with Elder P in Deerfield and Elder N took Elder R in San Pedro. It was amazing. Elder P taught me what the missionary department taught them how to teach the Restoration in 7 minutes using the pamphlet. It's incredible! We used it a lot. He is a really good missionary. Just watching him made me feel more confident in my abilities and now I feel like I really know what to do. We had a lesson with a referral named F and taught him with the pamphlet. He had some questions so it took more like 25 minutes, but it worked perfectly and he accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of May. It was cool for him to ask questions that have always bothered him about religion and to know the answers. He has always not like the idea that if you are not baptized you go to Hell. What about the babies, people who don't hear about the gospel? Why would God want anyone to go to Hell? We explained Christ paying for children's sins, Spirit World, and the three degrees of glory. He liked it a lot. We had another really amazing lesson. We were leaving an apartment, and Elder P saw someone on their balcony going inside. He yelled to them and asked what they were cooking and then said that we were "his" missionaries and share a message about Christ's Church being on the earth. He said he only had 10 minutes and Elder P said we could do it in 7. We went up and taught him and his roommate the whole Restoration using the pamphlet in literally 7 minutes. We explained all the points of the lesson, it all tied together, we invited them to church, to learn more, to read the Book of Mormon, and to be baptized, all that they accepted. They were really into it and said it was a sign. It was sweet. I can't even explain all that I learned. Elder R and Elder N had a great time too and it really pumped up Elder N which was great. Elder R is super bubbly and energetic and no one can get mad at him. It was a great experience for both of us and got him excited. Sunday was good. Elder N forgot it was fast Sunday so I came out in the morning and he was eating a bowl of cereal, so I just walked past and waited for him to realize. Finally he's like, "oops it's fast Sunday!" It was pretty funny. We have a good friendship. Church was pretty good even though the H family didn't come. We went out and applied the things we learned from the exchange and it felt great. We didn't teach any first lessons, but we set up a few return appointments and it just felt to really do our best. People really respond well to "we are your missionaries, and we are here to help you." We had a few lessons with recent-converts, and less-active members that went great. 
I know that this church is true. I know that through the Atonement we can experience joy, peace, and comfort despite trials. I know that this gospel changes peoples' lives. I know that there are people who are ready to receive the gospel, we just need to work "all the day long" (Alma 26:5). I know Christ is our Savior and this is His church and gospel. I love you all and I am excited to call you for Mother's Day! 
Elder Pew

May 12th 2014

Dear family,
I just wanted to start by saying that it was such a great experience to talk with each of you yesterday! It lifted my Spirit and motivated me to continue to work hard, so thanks! And thank you again mom for all that you have taught me, it has helped tremendously on my mission and I don't know what I'd be doing without it. I'll get on with the week.
Monday was a largely unproductive evening. We only had an hour or so to proselyte and then we had to set up our apartment for a bunch of sisters that were coming down for a Sister's Conference. We blew up a bunch of air mattresses and got it ready for them. It was weird since they got there right before we left and they were walking through our apartment and a few of them were sitting on my bed, it is just weird. It was pretty funny too because Elder N hadn't cleaned his toilet yet, so I had to distract them while he quickly went and made sure it was acceptable. We stayed with the Assistants. It sounded like the Sister's Conference went well. 
Tuesday was a good day. We taught a great lesson to a new investigator D. He lives with his cousin B, and yes we are teaching her too. She was in a different room but walked in and I invited her to join and she did. We used the pamphlet and taught the Restoration. It went well and they both accepted baptismal invites and accepted the 31st. Unfortunately we weren't able to have much contact with them the rest of the week and they couldn't come to church. We are still trying keep the momentum. D said that he read through 1 Nephi 6 though, so I'm still faithful things will work out there. We also had a bunch of lessons fall through, but we were able to teach Brother P. They came to church and are on their way back. There is also some potential with his daughter-in-law whose husband also just decided to start coming back. Not in our area, but still good to hear. 
Wednesday we had a bunch of deliveries to make and things to pick up from the furniture store. We also had that meeting with President and I sent him an email today with some of my ideas so we'll see if anything changes. We had a lesson with Bro H and it went really well. We've been pretty bold with him and he's responding well. He had read some of the Book of Mormon but he was more interested in what the Urim and Thummim was, which we just explained briefly. We also stopped by the H family and had an amazing lesson with them. We talked briefly and then the 7 and 9 year-old walk right in and sit down. We taught with the pamphlet and it was powerful. The Spirit was so strong! At the end we invited them to be baptized and the two kids said "yes" immediately. We have really clicked with them. Sister H said she's not sure, and she said she's pretty comfortable going back to her church. We should have been more bold, but we said okay and set a return appointment for Tuesday so hopefully the Plan of Salvation helps her. We invited them to church which the kids also accepted, but they were already going with Sister H's mom to their church for Mother's Day. They are an awesome family! I love them a lot. Brother H was grateful for us coming and we think he wants to come back he's just nervous to go against his wife at all. I think it will work out.
Thursday we had some more stuff we had to pick up and we got the Assistants and President lunch for transfer planning so we got to eat with him. He just asked us what we are studying and it just turned into asking him deep questions and he would answer. It was suhweet! We went to our storage unit to pick stuff up for deliveries but the Rs were there re-organizing their packed unit, so we decided to stay and help them which didn't finish until like 7:30. They were really thankful. 
Friday we had to help two sets of missionaries move, so that was the bulk of our day. We went and picked up a mattress and some end tables, and headed to their apartment. It was pretty dark skies and we ended up driving right into a HUGE storm! I wish you could have seen what it looked like. From a distance it looked like there was a line across two huge clouds where they separated, as we got closer it became apparent that these two clouds were crashing into each other, and at the slit the clouds were spinning on themselves. It looked SO COOL, almost like being under water when two waves hit each other and watching it spin. Like 20 seconds later there were huge clashes of thunder and enormous bolts of lighting and we got hit hard with rain. It was beautiful. The problem was that we ruined everything that was in the back of the truck, but whatever. We helped the Elders move and it wasn't too bad, mostly just the washer and dryer but President wants us to buy back braces and things to make it easier to lift. I cut my finger pretty badly on a screw, but it's fine. That evening we had another lesson with Brother H and this was great! He wanted us to watch something with him, and I was like "oh dear" but he started to pull it up and it was a discussion on 2 Nephi 9 from the Book of Mormon on BYUtv. That is basically what we were going to do anyways was read from the Book of Mormon so it was perfect. Wow those guys (BYU Religion Professors) were geniuses. I learned a ton and am an expert on that chapter now. Afterwards we talked about the Book of Mormon and Elder N brought up baptism again. He says he wants to work for that but he's not ready. Even though it was already 35 minutes in, I felt like we should go over the interview questions so we did and the only thing he has a problem with is the Word of Wisdom and whether or not Joseph Smith is a prophet (which can be answered the same way through the Book of Mormon) and he said he would pray to know that he was a prophet. We pointed out how close he was and explained how he would receive an answer and he said if he knew that this church was the only church with that authority as restored to Joseph Smith that he would definitely be baptized, so we have a much better picture of where he is at. We invited him to the Assistants baptism the next day and he came!
Saturday was the baptism. The guy's name is B and he is amazing! He's been smoking for 48 years but has completely quit and has been taught for like 3 years. He wanted to get baptized so badly and he finally could. He was crying and yelling hallelujah like the whole time which was awesome. The Spirit was so strong and he bore a very simple testimony on the spot, and he didn't really know what to say, but he knew that this church had what he had been searching for his whole life and gave him what he was looking for and no other church did. It was neat. We also had to pick up the bikes for the incoming missionaries which was fun. We stopped by a few more people and knocked, but didn't have any success.
Sunday was great. Church was so good, Bishop B gave an incredible talk on Motherhood. Brother H didn't come to church for some reason so that was frustrating but besides that it was a great meeting. We taught Elders' Quorum on a day's notice and I thought it went really well. We have a small quorum and no one really wants to participate but we were okay with awkward silences until someone spoke. We taught about Joseph Smith and read a bunch of quotes from the talks that President Slaughter gave us on him and I think it helped them. We got our transfer calls but we pretty well could guess what was happening, so I'm staying and Elder N is leaving. It's been fun to serve with him. He just looks more alive and happier since I got here. For the rest of Mother's Day we went to the F's and Elder N skyped his family but he went really long so I didn't have time which is why I didn't skype. Brother F gave me his copy of King Follet's Sermon so I read some of that while he skyped. We also dropped off some cookies for Sister H for Mother's Day. It's been an interesting transfer, but I've learned and grown a lot. I know that God knows each of us and I know that he doesn't give us something that we can't handle. I know that we have been prepared for everything we do and if we are prepared, we won't fear. When we are on the Lord's Errand we are entitled to the Lord's help. I know this gospel is true. It's amazing and eternal and brings us true happiness. Thanks for all of your support and your good examples!
Elder Pew

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 21 & 28th, 2014

April 21st, 2014

Dear family,
My body is constantly sore from now on from all the serious working out and lifting we do. I'm benching about 100 lbs and I carried a dryer by myself for the first time, so I'm making progress. It is so weird to talk like that. I am just not a workout-er. It was another incredibly busy week, but I wish it was busier with missionary work instead of "Moving Elder" stuff. I really wish I could just sit down with President to see exactly what he wants, but that's not how he works. Monday we had an interesting evening. Elder N tried to start teaching B what we had actually planned but it was 8:50 at that point so I just ended the lesson and gave him the chapter to read and set up a return appointment to actually talk about the basics.
Tuesday we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and Elder M came with us. He went to Lone Peak and graduated with Taran by the way. He is really cool and it was a good exchange. We had to drop off a washer in Kerrville, but we were able to proselyte a little bit more. The Pressers (office couple) gave us a referral to a man at a stroke rehab center and we were able to have a lesson with him. He is this cool guy named B. We had a good lesson and answered his questions and then taught about prophets briefly. We were pretty bold because he didn't think there was one true church, but we held our ground and explained why and he really liked us and said a really cool closing prayer. He wanted us to come back and to come to church, but he was already going somewhere else for Easter but said he would come the next week. We found out though that he's moving back to his original home this week though. He's cool. We also had a lesson with Sister W, one of Elder T's recent converts. We talked about Patriarchal blessings and she is excited to get hers. She is a great member. 
Wednesday we had a bunch more deliveries to make and we didn't get back until dinner (as usual). We dropped off some things for Sonterra which is the Sisters in our district, and Sister R was pretty sick and I felt like we should give her a blessing which she greatly appreciated. We had a lesson with the Rs, other recent converts and we also talked about Patriarchal Blessings as well. They are solid too. 
Thursday we did an Austin run and it was crazy. We had like 8 stops and it was raining all day (which I loved). It was the most physically demanding day yet. We had to move this 200 lbs washer over a porch fence which was pretty rough. It might not actually be 200 lbs but it felt like it was made of cement and lead and the bottom was made out of knives that made it impossible to carry. We dropped a bunch of things off for Brushy Creek which was strange, but it got stranger. We didn't finish all of our deliveries until close to 10 so we asked the Zone Leaders what to do and they told us to spend the night, so we went to Brushy Creek. We basically just talked about all the investigators and how they are doing and it sounds like they have had trouble having lessons. M called and dropped them and S and J did too, and the Ss, Fs, and Fs all cancelled on them. Elder W's new companion is Elder L he's pretty cool.
Friday we got up early and left again for San Antonio. We made a few deliveries on the way back and arrived with enough time to go to District Meeting which we moved since the Assistants were gone during the week and Sister R wasn't feeling well. We talked about increasing our faith to see miracles and "break the ceiling" and set some goals as a district and I left a few commitments too. It was a really good meeting and I was satisfied. The Assistants like it a lot so that was comforting. I had everyone in the District write on a paper how I can help them this transfer. Elder P put what is basically my goal for the District- to help them see who they can become and how to get there. I have been praying really hard to know how to help Elder N see his potential and that the leaders of the mission are inspired with what they say. I told him I'm a firm believer in obedience to leaders, but he basically said if it's not from President's mouth he doesn't need to agree. I tried explaining that obviously the Assistants were chosen because they most closely fit what President's vision is for the mission and they represent him in the work, but he didn't really agree. So extra prayers would be appreciated. We get along well and he is trusting me more as he's realized I have a pretty good understanding of the gospel, but we can do better.
Saturday we had a bunch of deliveries and then stopped by a ton of people but no one was home.
Sunday was Easter (duh). Church was pretty good even though B decided to go to his other church. We have been going through teaching records and the ward roster trying to find places with good potential so we talked to a lot of members if they were written on the teaching record or in one case if it was their spouse. We also talked to the active nonmember Sister H and she is nice and said we could come by this week. We decided to stop by B and invite him to a Stake Easter Devotional, but he said he couldn't go but we had a really good lesson with him instead so it was fine. We talked about faith and he has a lot of interest in the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony. We talked about how he can get one and talked about how we find truth and receive answers to prayers using verses from the Book of Mormon. He really wants the church for him and his wife, we just need to talk about the implications of a testimony and how if this is the one true church. We ate dinner with the ward mission leader and his family and his kids loved me for some reason. Brother and Sister C were talking with Elder N and the kids (ages like 6, 8, and 10) just kept asking me all sorts of questions and telling me stories. They are a great family. 
Well we are going to be super busy with Zone Conference, two apartment moves, and more this week, but we are going to really try to find those people in this area who are prepared for the gospel. I know that that promise is real and as we strive to follow the Spirit and do the Lord's work we will be guided. I know that this gospel is true. I know that Christ lives and because He lives we will all live again too. For much of my life I worried that I didn't have a very strong testimony of Christ because it always just made sense to me, that He is our Savior and that we will live again. It wasn't until recently while reading my Patriarchal Blessing that I realized that I have been blessed with a sure knowledge of Christ and His resurrection. I have never doubted it and I know it's real. I know He died for me and for all of you and that is why we can turn to Him in times of need. I know the Book of Mormon testifies of Him and His divine mission and Atonement. I know this work is true! Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew

April 28th, 2014

Dear family,
So, I don't know if you have been able to tell (sarcasm), but I have a lot on my plate right now. Sometimes it's like "I'm in over my head" but I have felt a lot of peace and confidence, so I'm doing really well, but there is a lot going down. I'll explain more as the week went on, but first a few thoughts about being a Moving Elder and my new area that I'm not sure mentioned. 
-The airport is in our area, so we see and hear airplanes constantly which is kinda weird, but it's cool to see the huge jets and things. 
- Working out is hard, but feels good. I'm usually sore, but it's a good feeling sore, and I'm getting stronger. (It can't be said enough how weird it is to read myself write stuff like this)
- We drive past the neighborhood where President Slaughter lives all the time and see the Slaughter family fairly often. 
- We work closely with the senior couples who we are really good friends with. They are so cool! Elder and Sister Williams and Elder and Sister Presser. The Pressers are the ones who referred B and Elder Williams is the one we work the closest with. He is very calm and wise and has a lot of knowledge. He served in the TSAM nearly 50 years ago when it was huge and served in some of the same areas. He has some sweet stories and we ask him gospel questions all the time
- We've driven past the Alamodome and downtown San Antonio a few times which is pretty cool
- It is pretty interesting to be in so many situations like stores, restaurants, the storage unit, etc. where the radio, or TV is on and we just have to block it out as best we can, but of course it reminds me of home.
Well on to our crazy week. Monday night we had dinner with a family and the food was really good. I told them we had to leave after like 45 minutes. After we stopped by a part-member family, the Hs, and we were able to teach them a bit. Bro H is the member, but works for the oil industry and is going out of town for the next 13 weeks. They are super nice and Sister H is willing to learn and go to church if Brother H was there too, so we are going to send the Relief Society by. 
Tuesday was SUPER busy, but a great day. We left at 8 and went out to Lockhart and Bastrop to drop off some things and pick up some other things and I got to talk to Elder L so that was fun. We had to pick up a couch from a member at noon in a different ward and then had to be at our storage unit at 1 to help the washer guy pick up some broken washers. We grabbed something to eat, stopped by the office, and then had to run to both of the furniture stores to get the things we needed for the moves. We made it to our lesson with B at 4:30 and had a great lesson with him. We left him with a Book of Mormon and got his new address so missionaries can go by. He's a cool guy. We had dinner and helped the daughter and her less-active boyfriend move a couch after we taught them, and then had to finish getting things together for the moves. We went to Wal-Mart and we had TONS of stuff to buy for the two apartments. We stuffed two carts and it froze the register when we paid for it. I've been thinking and praying for opportunities to share the gospel with people even at stores, and sure enough the cashier asked about the church and since everything took so long to scan and then it froze, we taught her for like 15 minutes. She really liked us, but wasn't really interested in meeting with missionaries, but it was still a really cool experience and makes those activities feel more productive. It was a very tiring, but rewarding day.
Wednesday was Zone Conference which was amazing! President Slaughter is incredible. He gave a really good training on Revelation, planning, and then we did role plays on resolving common concerns before we invite to baptism and talked about different ways to invite people to be baptized so it's not so rote and more natural. In one he did with my group, he was just like, "so will you be baptized?" and that was it. During lunch, President sat next to me and we asked him all sorts of questions and he just knows so much about the church. He's great. He also explained about how important it is to learn to not be offended, and how leaders need to always look to their higher leaders and represent them to the people they are over, rather than represent the people to the leaders. It is so true. He also had all the district leaders stand and explained again how important he sees us in the mission and for everyone to heed the counsel from District Leaders. President closed the conference with a discussion on marriage with Sister Slaughter. It was interesting, but really cool. He explained how our missions are bigger than we realize and that they are really important for our future as well obviously. It was sweet. He also explained how the effective way to find people (through investigators, recent converts, part-member families, etc) is where we always see success, but the successful missions and areas are those who open their mouths and talk to everyone, and they are rewarded with success in those other areas. That is exactly what I've always thought. We were too busy with Moving Elder stuff to proselyte which was too bad.
Thursday we moved the Sisters in Boerne which is a really rich area, in fact, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and most Spurs players live there, although we didn't see any of their houses. The Sisters lived at a member's house and we pulled up with the big trailer and they told us to go to the left in the driveway, but there was no way for us to turn because of how skinny the path was and there was a tree hanging over too. We basically got stuck, so I had to back the trailer out of it which was one of the hardest things ever. Anyways we finished that and got home around 4 and we were exhausted from the scorching heat (it was about 95 degrees). We stopped by a part-member family that recently moved back into the ward, and had a good lesson with the member wife who is really sick but still wants to come to church. We talked to her husband who is really nice, and I feel like there is potential there even though she said he's not interested at all.
Friday we had to move the Elders in Buda but we were able to get that done really quickly, so we ran some errands up to south Austin which was close. Our gas card was out of money and we needed to fill up so we had Elder V come fill us up. He's a zone leader in Capital ward (the UT-singles' ward that everyone covets and Elder T served in and three former Brushy Creek Elders served there) and is loving it. It was a lot of fun to talk to him and he wants me to come up there for his last transfer to be his companion. I told him to finish his mission as a moving Elder with me. It would be a blast to be his companion again. We stopped by a ton of people that evening, but we didn't really have any success.
Saturday we helped the O family paint part of their house which was fun and they are a good family. We had a lesson with the Ws (Sister W is a recent-convert that Elder T baptized). I am so glad she got baptized. She is an amazing lady. We had the adult session of Stake Conference which we weren't planning on attending since we couldn't get B to go, but the Zone Leaders said we were invited to participate in a song with the youth and to go if we didn't have lessons, so we went.
Sunday was also Stake Conference which was really good. I really enjoyed the talks given and the Stake President is pretty cool and a great speaker. We were behind the Slaughters all the way to the Stake Center and he was driving like a California driver would (because he is from California). It was kinda funny to watch knowing it was him. We had lunch with a bunch of families in the ward and the O family (same one) brought their non-member friend which was great because we shared a great spiritual thought and the Spirit was strong as everyone shared their thoughts on obedience. We also had a lesson with B and it went really well. He loves the church, he just needs to see how important it is to act on that knowledge. It was a great Sunday. 
Our district is in a really interesting spot. I'm just trying to hold everything together and keep the work moving. I've been blessed with a lot of clarity of mind and peace with the whole situation and I have complete confidence. I would still love prayers for them, but this has been a good experience for me. I'm learning a lot of patience and it has been so neat to think how much better I am handling this than I would have at the very beginning of my mission. I know everything will work out. I know the Lord lives and loves us and that trials really are to help us grow. Thanks for everything you do!
Elder Pew