This was another great week! Lots of time to proselyte and we got a lot done. The subject title comes from the fact that I didn't see any dead possums this week, which might be the first week in awhile. I don't think I've told you but one thing I'm known for out here in my dislike of possums. They are huge and just the ugliest animal ever, especially when they are dead on the side of the road. Gross.
Monday was the huge rain storm which I will put pictures of(nope), but by 6 pm it had totally stopped and it was pretty humid. We had one of the coolest experiences of my mission, it was so cool to be so guided by the Spirit. We tried stopping by a bunch of people. No one was home, we ran out of names at 8:15. We made a list of the less-active and part-member families we needed to stop by, and we just randomly chose one. We pulled up, and I said a silent prayer that we could get things going. It was a kinda frustrating day up to that point, and I really wanted to end on a good note. We stopped by the less-active lady and she was home but "busy" and said we could try by some other time. I feel distinctly to ask her to pray for us. So I asked her if she could pray for us to find people ready for the gospel because we were going to be working on her street (I didn't know that until I said it). She said sure. We moved to the next duplex with faith. A nice man answered the door, but wasn't really interested. This time, I felt prompted to ask for referrals differently and I asked if he knew anyone who had gone through a traumatic or life-changing experience. He told us that his neighbor Tom had just broke his hip at work and his wife had MS. We told him we would stop by and see if we could help. Of course, next door was the neighbor of the less-active member and they live in the same duplex. We thought, that would be interesting. The wife answered the door and she has to use a walker for her MS and she was really nice but said she doesn't affiliate herself with organized religions. That was going to be that, but we of course asked what we could help with and she said nothing, and then jokingly asked if we could walk the dog. I said "sure!" before she could say anything else and Elder R gave me a funny look. She said that would be helpful if we really wanted, so while I got the dog ready Elder R explained the Book of Mormon to her briefly. We took it on a walk around the block and we were prepared to ask people if they knew the couple we were helping and it was their dog and we were serving them. After we walked it around the block and came back, she invited us right in. Her and her husband are really nice and said they really liked us and asked what we believe about Heaven. We explained after-life really quickly and told them we could come back and explain much more. They said absolutely. It was sweet! We texted the less-active member and told her thanks and we might tell the neighbor thanks too. I'll tell more about the lesson later.
Tuesday we were super busy. We had to do District Meeting on short notice because the Assistants needed me to do it that way, so i threw one together and they gave me a new district again because they realigned the ward boundaries in part of the stake. So I have Sisters T, C (knew Chris Pew (cousin)in the Singles' Ward in Pflugarville), S and Sisters S and H, and the Assistants of course. So I lost Sister P and J. It was a great meeting though and we have a great district. We had to do some Moving Elder Stuff really fast and then we helped the Rs move into their new place (they finally found somewhere). We had dinner and a lesson with the As. It was great. They are such an amazing family. They have been reading everyday and Sister A basically told us all of her concerns and to me it came down to the fact that she can't imagine telling her parents she is getting baptized. It's a valid concern. We just answered some of the questions as best we could and referred her back to the Book of Mormon, how that is what she could do to get an answer. Basically what we got out of it is that she's on a slow path to baptism, but likely wont' be ready by the time they move out on the 20th. We met this crazy old lady named N. She let us right in and she claims her grandson has been baptized and she wanted a blessing for her surgery the next day. She said she'd been to church before. We gave her a blessing and we are going to go back and visit when she has recovered. That was fun trying to pronounce her name in the blessing (it was an unfamiliar name). We also realized that the Zone Leaders had texted us like 1.5 hours before informing everyone they had been informed of a tornado warning in San Antonio and 90 mph winds. We had no idea and had worked right through it. We called them and they said it was already past the time, so we were probably fine to keep going. So we did.
Wednesday we had to get everything ready for our Austin trip the next day. We also taught this former investigator named T, but she's not really interested. She did say she had a few friends that had questions about baptisms for the dead so we told her to invite them all over and we would come and answer them. Hopefully we can find someone through her. We also had a lesson with the lady with MS and her husband, the K family. We taught them the Restoration and they understood it really well. They accepted all invitations except a baptismal invite, but they weren't opposed to it, they just wanted to learn more. They have been doing really well. T said he couldn't come to church this week because of his hip, but his wife (we think B, Sister K) asked if she had to wait for him. We said of course not and she was really excited to come to church. Unfortunately we got a ride all set up with Sister W for her and then she felt too weak to come, but we've stayed in almost daily contact so we know they still really like us and are excited for us to come Tuesday and Sister K really liked Sister W so we are going to try and bring her.
Thursday we had another lesson with P. Oh I forgot we taught him on Tuesday the Gospel of Jesus Christ and him and L have been reading everyday and he's really liking it. We invited him to be baptized on the 21st and he accepted! Thursday we came back and taught the Law of Chastity since that's his only hang-up. L wants to get married, but P seemed unsure, but he's shy, so we don't know what his real concern is. Obviously it would be best to be marries since they have a kid, but they are meeting with Bishop this week to discuss it. P is really doing well. We had to go to Austin and that filled the remainder of our evening.
Friday we were pretty busy with Moving Elder stuff until dinner and Bro H had to cancel on us because he fell and hurt himself really badly. Bro H also got sick, so we couldn't see them this week either.
Saturday we were able to proselyte almost all day except weekly planning we squeezed in there. We ate with the O family and it's pretty sweet because Elder R's dad actually introduced the O family to the church and Sister O got really emotional when she found out. We had another lesson with P and we basically just read from the Book of Mormon where they are to show them how to get a lot out of the Book of Mormon. It went really well. I am so joyful over his progress. They needed rides to church but really wanted to come, so we got it all worked out. There is this one guy in the ward, Brother D who is my favorite member of the church I've ever met. Also, he was baptized by an Elder Pew in Guatemala in the 80s and I keep forgetting to find out if I know someone who was there at the time. Anyways, he's the only person I've ever met who has magnified his calling as an Usher. He really puts his heart into it, and you wouldn't think an Usher could make a difference, but he's found a way. He said he could take them and then this is what he texted, "how else can I help? Please let me know. Thank you for allowing me to serve" He is what every member of the church should be like. He bore his testimony at church too, and he stuck with the pillars of a testimony (thank goodness). Anyways, we also visited J and K Saturday night and shared a thought with them. They are really good people and I love visiting them. J might get moved Tuesday and we are going to try and get them a bunch of uplifting talks and chapters from the Book of Mormon on CD for them.
Sunday was church. Surprise. Here is a story to illustrate one of my favorite things about serving in this mission. We are sitting reverently about 15 minutes before church starts and I see this really old lady of the ward sitting on the row behind us next to another single 80-or-older lady. When she sits down and they start talking, the first thing they start talking about is the Spurs game. I was loving it! Two really old saintly women sitting in church talking about the Spurs. Yes. P and Sister A both came and the ward did a great job with each of them. I think P really likes the church a lot. A few families were talking with the As too which was really great. We had a lesson with the As after church and we just shared a Mormon message because we feel it will be best if we don't push or pressure her and just make it a nice experience. She brought up the concern she has that she wants to be fully committed if she's baptized, basically she wants to be converted so she won't go against the teachings after she is baptized because she understands it's a big commitment. Someday she will get baptized, I'm sure of it. She's doing the right things to get there. We visited Brother H to see how he's doing and he was really glad to see us. He said he knew we would come. He's in pretty bad shape because he broke several ribs in the back too, so he can't really move. That ended up being a tender mercy, because Sister H answered the door and we met her finally. She was really nice and we made sure to be extra nice too. We shared a thought from the Book of Mormon. It was a productive visit. I also had a neat experience just last night as I was studying and walking a few mormon messages after I wrote in my journal and I received a burning confirmation that this work is true. It's a joy and a feeling of peace that's almost beyond description. Or as Manu Ginobli said, "it's joy too great for my body." I love experiences like that. I've got the fire of this work burning within me. "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel" (Rom. 1:15). Christ is at the center of this work. Joseph Smith was the prophet to restore His church. The Book of Mormon is the evidence that this is true. The priesthood is back on the earth. I know this is what brings true, everlasting happiness. Thanks for all the support, I really appreciate it!
June 9th, 2014
Today is a really really strange day knowing that Taran is coming home, it's kinda sad that I'm missing out, but things are going great out here! Elder M (the one from Lone Peak) asked me if Taran was still out and I was like, "yeah. Oh wait, he goes home today." That was weird. Exciting, exciting week for us.
Tuesday was a really crazy day for us. We had to bring a Sister in Rockdale here bike because their car is going into the shop and of course it is in the furthest northeast corner. We had a lesson set with P at one that we couldn't really move, so we got up at the normal 6 am but we drove up to Rockdale. It is a pretty drive. They live in a house on a member's property and they have cows that were blocking our path to the house. It was pretty funny and they were all mooing. I'm sending some pictures and I got a sweet video too. They also had dogs that were really hyper and one jumped on me and actually clawed my face and then jabbed me in the chest really hard. Pretty funny though. We were driving back and the cover for the tires on the trailer fell off, but somehow was suspended long enough for us to get the Buc-ees in Bastrop that was really close. We stopped there to try and figure out a way to fix it our take it off completely, but Buc-ees didn't have the tools that we needed which is really sad considering it's the biggest gas station in the world. We just ripped it off and hurried home. We had a great lesson with P and taught him the Plan of Salvation. He seemed to understand it well and they continue to read from the Book of Mormon everyday. They are awesome! They met with Bishop too about getting married and we didn't find out until Friday, but they all agreed for a wedding on the 17th so he can get baptized on his original date of the 21st. It is sweet! That is where the subject line comes from. We have 1 out of our mission wide goal of 6 investigators with a date. We also visited Brother H again but his wife didn't come out this time. He's doing pretty well. We also had a lesson with the Ks and we taught them the Plan of Salvation. It went really well and T understands things really well and has been reading from the Book of Mormon a lot. B is getting there. She was really excited to come to church though.
Wednesday we had district meeting and I changed my mind like 100 times on what to talk about because I wanted to give a training on getting people to church like the district asked for, but then I came up with a unique idea to take them on a church tour and teach some different things, but it will be a really long activity so I'm doing that next time probably and then I decided to train on some principles of finding to go with the trainings I assigned both sets of Sisters and then after they gave their trainings, it felt like the meeting should end even though it was 15 minutes early, so we did. They gave great trainings. We spent a lot of time trying to find some new investigators, but didn't find any that day.
Thursday we had to go to the border to give Carrizo Springs a washer and dryer that are stacked on top of each other because they just moved and theirs don't fit in the spot. We picked it up from the dude who fixes our washers and dryers and he didn't want it to rest on the timer because I guess they are really delicate and it wouldn't stand up, and he said we couldn't lay it on its back, so we used a ton of straps to suspend it in the air on one side. I didn't feel good about that at all, so we got back to the mission office and I said we needed to fix it, and Elder R said we didn't, but we checked on it and it had already fallen. Luckily onto the mattresses in it already and the washer dude said it should be fine. I said we needed to find a better way to transport it, but Elder R was sure that it would be fine. We suspended it again and made it more secure but I still didn't feel good. We drove all the way to Carrizo Springs and pulled up to their house and opened the trailer and sure enough, it had snapped it half. It totally broke. At that point I was pretty frustrated since I knew it wasn't going to work. Then the Elders and Elder R tried to convince me that it was in good enough condition to just use it, but it was snapped in half and it would at least need to be tested. I was really frustrated that they wouldn't listen even though I was in charge of the whole thing. We called the washer dude and he said we needed to bring it back, so we did. Carrizo Springs is not the nicest place on earth, I'll just say that about it. I'll send pictures. We had a lesson with the Ks again and brought Brother L, the returning less-active member. It was an incredible lesson. B had to go to the store because her son said it was the only time he could take her, so we had it with just T. He said he's really liking the Book of Mormon and he wants to get baptized and come to church once he can move around better. We aren't sure what to do, because he seems sincere, but if he really wants it he would be more likely to at least try coming and set a baptismal date, but he won't at this point. They are a great couple. It helped Brother L too I'm sure. He was really grateful we even invited him to come.
Friday we had to take the washer/dryer back to the washer dude's house (his name is E so I can stop calling him dude). We had to wait for him and another customer came up and asked us who we were and we ended up teaching him about the Book of Mormon. We helped E get the washer and dryer to a place where he could start to work on it again. It was really really hot that day, but it felt good to sweat. We had dinner and a lesson with L, P and Sister S. It was great! We taught about tithing and he committed to live it. Sister S is a convert and she has an awesome testimony of tithing, so that turned out to be sweet. I had my first baptismal interview with R in Deerfield. He's like 60 and his wife is a member and he basically just decided he should get baptized. He's been studying the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants a lot and he is super ready. It was an easy interview. The Assistants are really impressed with the things we have going in our area.
Saturday we had a full day to proselyte, except we did have to weekly plan again. We didn't have any lessons set up, but the Lord blessed us with 4 lessons! We stopped by Bro H again, and his friend R was there. R was a really strong Catholic and he got a little confrontational at one point, but he recognizes that the church produces some really good people. At one point when he was talking about that and then at the same time how crazy the Joseph Smith story is, I was looking at him and it just made me sad that he was so close to the truth, but he couldn't connect a few dots to realize it. Brother H totally defended the church though, and at one point R asked what side he was on and he said, "the winning side of course!" That was awesome. He just needs to get baptized. he left out of town though, so he wasn't at church. We taught a guy on his porch and then we set it up for P to come to Brother A's baptism. Brother C (the Ward Mission Leader) picked him up and since he we were all there anyways, we had a short lesson before the baptism on the importance of the priesthood. It was a great baptism and P enjoyed it.
Sunday was awesome. One of my favorite days. The ward is pretty excited and ready for the marriage and baptism and there is good support. Sister W was giving Sister K a ride to church and she called and said that Sister K was saying she was really weak again and wasn't dressed appropriately, but Sister W convinced her to come anyways. Right as they pulled up to the church, it started dumping rain. It was sweet! It became one of the best moments of my mission, almost like a dream. We ran out with umbrellas and gave one to Sister W and the we sat there getting soaked while we helped Sister K get in her wheelchair and get inside the church dry. It felt sooo good to help her, and to be in the rain at the same time. She kept saying, "Satan really doesn't want me to be at church today." Then the talks were really good and one guy even talked about how Satan always tries to stop us from doing good and she was just nodding her head. She loves the focus on families and she said she wishes they had that when her kids lived with them still. Brother G came to church and P enjoyed church as well. The As didn't come, but we had a lesson right after church with them. They are a really good family. I'm going to be sad when they leave. I've really enjoyed teaching them. We weren't expecting much with proselyting once the Spurs game started, but we worked really hard and we received a few referrals, set up two lessons for today and one later this week, and an appointment to help a lady with family history. One family, S and J, are awesome. We feel really good about them. S has been to the Salt Lake Temple and she thanked us for "serving Jesus." They were really busy, but we have a lesson set for today and they seem ready. We want to have a lesson on the temple grounds and talk about eternal families. They are would be incredible members. It was so cool to see the blessings as we tried to apply all the principles that have been emphasized in the mission on finding by the Spirit and having the mentality where we believe that everyone we talk to is prepared. It paid huge dividends. Our district is doing really well too and I'm so grateful for them and there examples. We were also blessed to have just as many lessons as everyone else and more investigators at church and progressing despite less time to proselyte. We are really being blessed right now and we don't know what to do other than just keep working hard and increasing our faith. I know that this gospel gets us through the hard and even the easy times. I think I've shared this before, but I love the phrase in Alma 44:5 (I think) where Captain Moroni basically says they owe all their happiness to living the gospel. That's true for me and true for everyone who lives it. This work is true. Special thanks to Taran for the great example he has been. I am sooo happy for him to be able to return after two years of serving the Lord with all of his might like we can all tell he did. He has set an example that I hope the rest of us Pew children can follow and I strive to continue that example of loving the Lord. Also, I'm sending a letter for dad, but I want to thank him too for being a great example. I'm grateful for everything he has taught me and for his example of honoring the priesthood, serving others, loving his family, being patient, loving the gospel, etc. I hope to be a tenth of the father that he has been to me. Have a great Father's Day!
June 16th, 2014
That is a three word recap of the week here in the heart of San Antonio (Go Spurs Go). The people here are going crazy! I guess there was a huge parade in downtown SA at like midnight last night and tons of members told us about the game (we tried to use one conversation to set up a lesson with a part-member family but suddenly they didn't want to text us back). It's been surprising how it hasn't been too hard to focus on the work despite a town that is beyond obsessed with a team playing the sport I am beyond obsessed with, but we just worked and used it to our advantage. Once we found out they won, I cracked out my Kawhi Leonard jersey and wore it for PJs. At church yesterday the bishop got up and announced "due to our observance of the Sabbath day... I will not be visiting anyone this evening" in a straight face while everyone laughs. The funny thing too is that he wasn't kidding. Everyone watched the game, even members. It is really fun to be a part of even if I'm not a Spurs fan. Anyways, we had another spectacular week!
Monday was really sweet. Everyone is going to think that this whole email is about basketball, but P-day basketball this week was the funnest it's ever been. We have a really good basketball zone. We have 3 6'2 or taller athletes that are really good and can dunk, Elder T is really good (p.s. we are super good friends, we are really similar--he is related to Grandpa Jay Timo's new grandpa), and a bunch of other solid players. We split into 3 teams of 4 and played UCLA if you know what that is. We played to 15 going by ones and twos, and it was an intense game. Our team wasn't doing so well and we were down 7 to 10 to 11 and I ended up open for a three and made it. We came down the other side and somehow I ended up open again and I made another three. Then Elder T (one of the Assistants) got right up on me for the next possession. Elder T somehow drew him off me and I fired up another three and made it. Everyone was freaking out and yelling at the Elder who was suppose to guard me on the other end so I didn't end the game. Someone drove and kicked it out to me about 5 feet behind the three point line and the Elder was up in my face and I just let it fly and it swished, so we won and everyone ran and hugged me and jumped on me. It was a blast and helped me to relax from all the things on my mind. The night was pretty solid. We taught J, but S wasn't home, I don't think it was the right thing to teach without S being there, but we did, and we haven't heard from him since. He did seem to understand the lesson and seemed curious to read the Book of Mormon. We also taught H, a man we met the night before and he was almost the same. We found out towards the end that he had a wife even though he said no one was home. He was also curious but we haven't heard from him since. We taught P about following the prophet and he's doing well.
Tuesday we had to get ready to help Serenada move, and then we were able to proselyte. We mostly tried to find new investigators, but didn't have any success.
Wednesday we moved Serenada and it was fun to talk to Elder S and N again, although it made the move take longer than it needed to since we talked a lot. I guess Elder W is telling everyone in his zone everything about me, so both Elder S and N were telling us some of the funny things he has said. We got back in time for a lesson with the K and they fed us dinner too. We had a good lesson on prophets and Sister K really liked the idea that there is a prophet on the earth today. We left them with "He Never Leaves Us" or something like that from President Monson in October 2013. They also gave us this really rare ice cream from Poteet Texas which I guess is the strawberry capital of the world or something and for one week they make ice cream from it that gets sold out really fast. It was good. We aren't sure what is holding them back from accepting a date for baptism or coming to church more regularly. They could use some prayers. We were asked to give a blessing by the Assistants from the St. Cloud Elders from the Sisters in Converse, so I'm not sure why we were assigned and we left after our lesson, but from the accidental game of telephone we got the wrong address and ended up in Pleasanton which is way south of San Antonio and then realized it was the wrong address. So at like 9:15 we had to get the right address and found out it was in northern downtown, much closer to our area, so we had to drive like 20 minutes to get there. We gave the blessing to this random non-member that I guess some member who works there that lives in the Converse area felt prompted to ask if he wanted a blessing. He was a nice guy and we asked him if missionaries could keep visiting him and he accepted and they came back and he accepted baptism. It was sweet, but we got home after 10.
Thursday we had a specialized training of faith in finding. It was incredible! I wish you could all see President Slaughter teach. He just expands your vision no matter how hard you try to prepare for the things he will teach. We had an exchange with the Zone Leaders but E (the washer dude) said it was the best day to pick up the washer/dryer combo, so us and the zone leaders went to pick it up. It is pretty heavy. That only gave us like 4 hours for the rest of the exchange, but we had a great night. I was with Elder F. He trained Elder T (who I believe is replacing Elder P this week as the new assistant) and has one transfer left. He's really laid back and a good lacrosse player. We taught P the Word of Wisdom and reviewed the baptismal interview questions. Even without his stutter, he had a really hard time explaining any of the commandments, prophets, etc. so that made us a bit worried. On Sunday we finally decided to move his baptism to the 28th to give him more time to prepare. We also got a large-print Book of Mormon for T and we called to see if we could bring it by and they said yes, but to hurry because there was a severe tornado warning. Guess who we were visiting when we called? N again, same person last time we found out about the tornado. Kinda freaky. We dropped it off at the Ks and read Mosiah 3 with them. They really liked it and Sister K started crying when she read verse 19 about being willing to submit to all that the Father sees fit to inflict upon his children part. The Spirit was strong. We also found a part-member guy who is really nice. We taught him the Restoration and asked for referrals and he has a friend he wants to invite to be taught. It was cool. I asked him if all his family were members and he said "yes" even though we thought he had a wife. Sure enough she walked out at the very end and she seemed really nice, so we are going to follow-up with them. We got some rain, huge lightning bolts, and some really bizarre looking clouds, but we didn't have a tornado. I was going to send the picture Elder F took of the sunset and tell you it was a picture of a tornado and make you search for hours, but I decided that would be cruel so I'm telling the truth. It was a great exchange.
Friday was a good day as well. We drove the washer/dryer to Carrizo and we had it strapped down really well in the back of the truck and just took our time. We got back before dinner which was great. We had a lesson with P and we taught him about the Sabbath Day and we are really good friends with P, L, and Sister S. We have fun and good lessons that are under 25 minutes. We had another huge AMAZING miracle. At like 8:30 I felt like we should go by the Gs on the other side of the area. We drove there, and they weren't home. It was 8:40 and that side of the area doesn't really have anyone we are working with, so I wasn't sure what to do. Elder R wanted to just make some calls, but we really didn't have anyone to call and I felt like it would be better to move with faith, even if we didn't have anything planned. I parked in this apartment complex and Elder R asked me what we were doing and I said walking around. He kinda rolled his eyes like "why?" but thankfully he came with. We walked down to the end and no one was out. We were walking back and I was praying that at least we could talk to someone. As we approached our car, we saw three people on some stairs. We introduced ourselves and they were really nice (and probably the only white people that spoke English in the complex) and we asked if we could share the Restoration with them. At this point it was 8:55 or so, but we taught them in like 10 minutes. They really loved it. About three minutes in before even talking about Joseph Smith, the son M who is about 20 said, "I've been wanting to get baptized for some mistakes I've made." I said, "that's great! We help people to do that. Will all three of you prepare to be baptized?" They all said "yeah!" and Elder R set them with July 12th. We taught them about Joseph Smith and the mom, J, started crying during the First Vision. She said it really touched her and she knows how he felt searching and not finding. We testified this is what they were looking for. The daughter who is about 14, C, also said they have gone to many churches but none of them have felt right. It was awesome. We told them that it was no coincidence that we had met them. They absolutely agreed. We got their information, but they weren't able to meet the next day because they were super busy, so we invited them to church. They wanted to come, but I guess they got really busy and we know they have a lot going on. At least we have stayed in contact and we are going to visit them tonight. We are praying that they are still excited, because they absolutely seemed ready. It was the best first lesson I've ever had.
Saturday we had to weekly plan again and then we proselyted. We had a lesson with Brother H and we basically told him he should get baptized, and he basically agreed. He said he really likes the church and really likes missionaries. I told him the secret is we have the priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost is real and he can have it too. He said he still doesn't quite feel ready, but he has decided to leave his other church by the end of July. He also read the whole book of Moroni, even though it's hard for him to read with his head injury. It is awesome. Unfortunately he still plans on helping Dr M (his pastor) build a huge church complex, but besides that he is making huge strides.
Sunday was a great day for us and the city of San Antonio. We both felt pretty sick in the morning, but by the end of the day were fine. It was probably from this Mexican restaurant we ate at on Saturday because we have a potential who works there and they weren't even there. Church was great even though P was the only investigator there. Everyone is being really supportive of his baptism and wedding, and I'm excited to go to my first wedding! Unfortunately T and B weren't feeling up to church. Sister W has been doing a great job with her, so the support is there. We had another lesson with P and we reviewed the commandments. We had a lesson with the Ks, but something didn't seem right with T, although it might have been that he was missing the beginning of the Spurs game. We talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and B feels like she already has constant companionship of Jesus, but she and T said the cleansing of sin does sound good. We reviewed that they need to do three basic things to prepare for baptism: come to church, read the Book of Mormon, and pray. They are teetering a bit, so they could also use some extra prayers. The evening was basically useless because everyone was watching the game and some people were actually mad that we even would knock during the game. Like I said at the beginning, everyone was going crazy that they won. If we find out the parade is today, we are going to try to go, or we might go to downtown San Antonio anyways because it will probably be bumping with Spurs festivities. Well we were blessed with a great week and the work is really moving along as we seek to raise the level of our faith. We learned firsthand, there are people being prepared and if you trust in God and move with faith, even if you don't know what to do (1 Ne 4:6), and you work just past when you give up, you can see miracles. It is usually right before God is waiting to bless us and for miracles to happen when we give up, but if we don't we can see miracles, I know it. The Holy Ghost is real. Jesus Christ lives and this is His work and he has His hand in it. This gospel is real and true. GO SPURS GO!
June 23rd, 2014
This headline (Stuck in the Spurs parade traffic) is actually not a lie...
Monday we had a lesson with that lady T we met at Wal-Mart that is a member. She has two daughters and lives with another lady who is also a member. They are converts of like 3 years, and have been out of the church for a year or so. We talked about their conversions and it was pretty cool. They remembered the good feelings they had and they said they want to come back but it is going to be hard. We told them to read, pray, and come to church, start with that. The friend, Sarah, came to church, and I guess Tesa had to work but wanted to come.
Tuesday was pretty busy with Moving Elder stuff and we tried to have a lesson with M and his family, but they bailed on us and have basically disappeared. Dang it. We went to the mission office to figure out a couple things and the Elder P (the car czar is what they call him) told us that our new truck was there and a couple other trucks. We ended up spending a lot of time waiting in some random dudes office at the dealership helping Elder P with paperwork and then I got to drive a 2014 Silverado off the lot. It had three miles on it. It's a pretty nice drive, really smooth, but it doesn't have a CD player. We have to put everything on flash drives now. I feel SUPER spoiled to have a 2014 truck. Everyone in Texas covets it and I don't even car what we drive. I am super protective of it because I will never have something this valuable ever $35,000). P and L got married on Tuesday night and it was a great event. They had a ton of non-member friends and family there and the ceremony was literally 2 minutes long and then socializing. We invited all of them to the baptism and one of Paul's friends, K is super nice and when I was talking with him he knew surprisingly a lot about the church and finally I told him he had to have met with missionaries before and he said that he had a few years ago and even watched General Conference. He's totally getting baptized, unfortunately in a different area. We gave P and L a picture of the San Antonio temple and we wrote a note on the back that said "See you here in one year!" They seemed to really like it. We had a pretty slow evening other than the wedding, but we did get a few referrals just from asking everyone we met for referrals, but none of them panned out.
Wednesday we cleaned out our old truck and moved everything into the new one and deployed it for the first time. We had a few deliveries, but we finished everything we had already been asked to do, which felt good to finish. We had a lesson with P and L and we reviewed the commandments and the other questions and set up his interview for Sunday morning.
Thursday we were able to actually weekly plan which was nice. We had a great lesson with Brother H and he told us he read the Book of Mormon for 3.5 hours!! He read all of Mosiah and he really likes it. But he's really close still. We just need to be patient. We had a lesson with N. She says she has read the whole Book of Mormon in Swahili. She was really happy to see us and we taught her about the power of prayer. She wants us to help her son S. We are going to bring her CDs with talks and chapters to listen to since she can't see with her bad eye. She still calls us "my Elders" and it's really awesome. She said Elders always show up when she needs help and we are her little angels. Don't know why she hasn't been baptized. We really like her.
Friday we had zone meeting and it was great. I love how it is always the things I need to work on or the things I have let slack a little bit. It also felt good because I don't feel so far below the rest of the zone like I did when I came here, and I'm really glad I did because it has helped me grow and reach my potential by pushing me more to do it. I'm glad I've made some improvements. We left right after that to go to Austin because we finally found out from the Assistants the trios that need extra beds and desks in Austin. Also, Elder Thorn is the new Assistant and it has been really fun to be with him again. We talk all the time and I feel much more comfortable with the Assistants now. We work out every morning together and we just have a good time. On the way up to Austin a big piece of metal broke off of a semi in front of me and it spun in the air and smacked down on the hood and windshield. It was pretty freaky and was really loud. At first we didn't see any damage, but then we realized it scratched the windshield and left three nice dents in the hood. That was frustrating so we already have to take it into the shop. We got back in time for a baptism interview for the Castle Hills sisters. Their investigator named Wes is really cool and really ready for baptism. I really like doing baptism interviews.
Saturday we had a lesson with P and L and while we were there the Zone Leaders said they were in our area and asked if we could possibly do the interview then. We told them we were actually at their house right then, so the Zone Leaders came right then and interviewed P. He passed despite his stutter! He's excited and so are we. We have been handing out tons of invitations, and we set a goal of 26 non-members at the baptism. We had an amazing lesson with the Ks that night. They had been wondering when we were meeting again and we had tried calling but they hadn't answered until Saturday. T has been reading in the Book of Mormon like crazy and he really likes it. He's more than halfway done with 1 Nephi. B has been slacking a lot, but things should get better. We had a really powerful lesson on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. It was a neat lesson on the importance of planning because I felt we did a really good job planning specifically for them, and practicing different scenarios. After we taught that we don't shop, work, etc. T urned to B and was like, "we need to stop shopping on Sunday." Bingo! Barbara didn't see the need to come to church, but we explained how taking the sacrament is a commandment once we are baptized and it's not about the building, but about sacrament, fellowship, etc. They understood it better and T was like, "I wish I knew all the commandments better, not just the ones I like." We laughed and pointed out how awesome that was and how ALL commandments are for EVERYONE and we need to keep them. We invited them to church and T said not this week, but we had practiced that and we explained that he would like it and resolved his concerns and he committed to come to Sacrament meeting. B was being difficult, but she said the Texas heat is hard on her in the afternoon. She has pretty good fellowship with Sister W, so that should help.
Sunday was alright. P and the Ss got sick, so they couldn't come, but we went with Brother S and picked up T. He really liked church and everyone was really nice to him. We asked him if he was up for another hour, and he said sure. He really liked Sunday School and he likes that they don't pressure you at all. He plans to come back. Sweet! Them and Brother H could be baptized in a couple weeks if they will just commit to it. Our evening was pretty slow except a lesson we had with S, N's son, the one she wanted us to help. N was gone, so we taught him. He said he was glad we came and that he wants to change, so we'll see what happens this week. We got our transfer call and we are both staying unsurprisingly. Not much excitement for the rest of transfer calls except Elder N is training and Elder S is going to be a Zone Leader. Elder V is staying in Capital, and Elder W is staying in Old Settlers. Well, I know that this work is true and I love being a part of it. I know that God knows each of us. I know that the Holy Ghost is very real and there to guide, comfort, and help us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Christ is our Savior. Thanks for everything!
June 30th, 2014
First I just want to say that I am very excited to hear about B and J both getting their mission calls! So cool to hear the great things people are doing back home! Good luck to each of them! This was transfer week and so we were beyond busy. Hopefully I can remember everything.
Monday we got Elder W with us who was going to Brazil the next day. He's been waiting for his visa for 10 months! We had a lesson with the C family, and they are really cool, but not interested. Supposedly they are both super famous musicians. I guess Sister C is like the best singer in Texas. We had a lesson with P and just filled out the baptism record and a read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. We met with the Assistants to run through the plans for the week and make sure we were all on the same page. We also went to President's house and ate ice cream and talked with Sister Slaughter while President interviewed Elder W. The Slaughters are incredible.
Tuesday the craziness began. We had a couple appointments set for the afternoon so we didn't have time to run to Austin, but we got everything else we needed locally in San Antonio and Lockhart (I still really love that city) and the lessons ended up canceling. We had to pick up a ton of furniture in the trailer (12 mattresses, 3 bunk beds, 3 tables, etc.) and pick up the departing missionaries luggage and bikes. I still like seeing them leave. They are all so happy. We took their bikes to the shop to be shipped home and made the rest of our deliveries. We got back around 8:30 and decided to start building our bunk-beds for our apartment so we can more easily house tons of incoming missionaries. We stopped at 10:20 of course and went to bed.
We woke up Wednesday and went straight to work building the bunk-beds. We were planning to run to Austin, but it was dumping rain on us. The Assistants asked for help running a van and trailer to the Slaughters so we did that and started getting our apartment ready for the incoming sisters. We had to throw out our garbage and we got SOAKED. I loved it! It was so fun! We got some pictures too. Probably the hardest it's rained. We got the apartment ready just as the sun came out and we were able to load everything for Austin. We got back in time for a lesson with the Ks. We taught them the Word of Wisdom, and T is totally on board. Sister K could use some prayers. We had a lesson with P and L and practiced P getting baptized and watched a Mormon Message. We hurried home and finished up the final preparation for the new missionaries (and yes we wrote some more crazy stuff on the board but I forgot to take a picture). The Sisters were super impressed with how nice we made our apartment. We slept with the new missionaries and right when they got out of the van. Elder H (Emily's friend) was like, "where is Elder Pew." I was like, "here we go" and we had a good conversation. The Assistants said he did alright at the Alamo.
Thursday we got up early and left to get the trailer and the new missionaries bikes. Transfer meeting started and transfers were awesome! My district is enormous! They call it the district/zone. 13 missionaries in it. They closed down Stone Oak (former DL) and combined it with another area, so their whole district is in mine now. I love it! We have us, the Assistants (Elder R and Elder T), Sonterra (Sister Assistants, Sister B and C), Las Lomas (Sister P again and her trainee Sister G), Castle Hills A (Sisters C, S, and F and Castle Hills B (Sister Hand S). It took like an hour to collect numbers. Sister J stayed in the zone and Elder S is in the just northern zone and the one Elder T came from and they come to P-day, so that will be a blast. We had another lesson with TW and he is doing better and came to the baptism and church. He's a cool guy. We had to run some errands the rest of the evening.
Friday we had to go to Austin again (third day in a row) for some emergency stuff and took care of some other things while we were up there. So far our Moving Elder responsibilities look much smaller, however almost all of it is in Austin. Whatever. We got back and weren't able to get much done other than a lesson with P and L just making sure everything was good for the baptism. Also, we had been working with them on inviting all those people to the baptism that came to the wedding and more, and we were looking at over 20 non-members invited, but none of them came unfortunately.
Saturday was awesome! We took our lunch break and went to the Sister's baptism which was awesome. I set a goal to be a much better district leader this transfer, so I wanted to support them. We had a couple hours to proselyte before the baptism. The baptism itself was awesome. Sister B and C brought an investigator. I ended up playing the piano, giving a talk, and witnessing, but it went really well. It was pretty intense because President Slaughter recently told us to stop errors in wording before they had to be baptized again, but I would feel bad interrupting, so I'm glad Bishop said it right. Oh yeah, he baptized him which was really cool. Straight from there we went to a lady who referred herself on mormon.org and she said she needs help but didn't have time right then. We asked if we could pray for her right there and she accepted and when we said Amen, she was crying and told us to come back Sunday. We brought M who is about to get his mission call, but unfortunately she wasn't home. Pray for her too. She seems super solid, but we need to get in and teach her.
Sunday was P's confirmation and Brother C gave a really good blessing. T also came to church and he loved it! A member of the temple presidency spoke and gave a great talk. Gospel Principles was perfect too. Big class and on the Sabbath Day, something that will continually help T since he's never been a church-goer. The ward has been kind to him too. Things are going awesome right now! Oh, Brother H was in the hospital with a stroke but he's out now and said to give him a few days. Luckily, we were able to talk to his wife though and she really appreciated us stopping by. N just left out of town but we caught her before she left and she was SO happy to see us. Direct quote "Sweet-heart, I love you so much. You are my two angels." She's awesome. Super funny story about the Assistants too. They were talking to this like 80 year old lady walking a dog and a pitbull started attacking her dog, like eating it. It knocked her over and Elder T started trying to get the pit bull away. Then in Elder R words, he was like, "yeah, get away!" and so he started kicking the dog. It wasn't doing anything so Elder T started wrestling and punching the dog and Elder R grabbed its collar. It sounded super intense. Finally it let go of the little dog and Elder R picked up the pit bull by its collar and he said next thing he knew he was swinging it around and then he chucked the pit bull like 12 feet in the air and it slammed against a tree. It got up and then decided to not mess with them anymore and ran off. They helped the old lady and it sounds super intense. I was cracking up because if you know Elder T and R, you can picture them perfectly just freaking out about what to do and then just going ape on this pit bull. Good times. Anyways, it was awesome to see P get baptized and open the gate to the Celestial Kingdom. I know that the gospel has been restored. I know the Priesthood is here again so we can teach and baptize. The Book of Mormon is true. I love all of you! Thanks for everything!