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!"