April 21st, 2014
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!
April 28th, 2014
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!