Tuesday, September 16, 2014

August 25th, September 1st, 8th & 15th Photos and some fun stories

August 25th, 2014

Dear family,
This was a really awesome week, so many great things happened! I can't believe I hadn't told you, but Elder T and Elder H are companions, and I went on an exchange with both of them, since Elder W is with us now. It was a blast! I will tell more later, but at dinner we were talking about family history with the family, and then the dad started passing out bacon and the we started talking about bacon, and then suddenly Elder H says, "I tell you, it's the Spirit of Elijah." And the mom was so confused, she was like, "what? Getting more bacon?" It was hilarious and he did switch subjects back suddenly. We were all dying about that one. Anyways, the highlights of the week:
We picked up Elder W on Monday and he is cool and us three have a lot of fun together. He is a lot like Elder N and it turns out they were both companions with Elder E. He is from Provo and is 21. We think they will keep a trio here until the transfer, and then I'm not sure. Also, I keep forgetting to tell, but Elder B is from Everett, Washington, pretty close to Seattle. We all get along great.
Tuesday morning I left for a back-to-back exchange since it would save us miles and Elder B and Elder W could stay and work our area. Tuesday I went with Elder W and Elder O in E. Elder W is the same one that was up in Round Rock. We are really good friends. I feel like exchanges don't allow me to use my strengths, so I don't know if anyone is learning anything from me, but I've learned to be patient until I figure out what exactly I want to do. We had a lot of lessons fall through, but when we were knocking this one door I turned around and saw two people walking that I felt strongly to talk to, so I left those two at the door and went and talked with them. They were super nice and they were pretty interested so the other two joined me and we taught them the Restoration in like 15 minutes. It was a good lesson and they really liked it. I guess they taught them again Saturday, but they didn't come to church, so I'm not sure what will happen with them.
Wednesday morning Elder W and Elder O drove me to the church to exchange with Elder T and H. I got to go to their district meeting and give a training on obedience. It was pretty cool as I studied for it how obvious it was that the commandments are really given to us so we can be happy (2 Ne. 2:13, Mos. 2:41, 4 Ne. 1:15-16, Alma 50:22-23, and my favorite Alma 44:5). Elder T did a great job and he has a good district. It was strange being the authority figure though, when no one knew the answer and they expect me to come up with something. We came back and ate and then headed out for the day. They are on bikes, so that was kinda fun to be on a bike again, I don't think it's bad in the heat. We had a slow afternoon, but a great evening. We taught three lessons, one to a family of 5 that only speak Spanish, so I was basically a statue for that lesson. I understood what was being said mostly, but I didn't think it was worth ruining the lesson just so I could practice my Spanish. They have 4 investigators with a date which is cool. Elder H is just hilarious, and I think he was really nervous to be with me, but I hated it when I went on exchanges and it felt like they were peering down at me, so I was just myself. We had a lot of fun talking at night and in the morning. Elder T works really well with Elder H and I actually remembered to get a picture with them! We exchanged back on Thursday.
Friday Elder B went with H, so it was me and Elder W and we had a great day. We stopped by some less-actives that moved from the R ward that Elders W and W worked with a lot.  They are pretty cool, but unfortunately are too use to missionaries hang out with them, but their friend H is living with them and she is actually pretty interested. We are going by tomorrow to teach her again. We had another lesson with a new guy that is married to a member named R. He's pretty cool and an older guy, but he couldn't come to church. We had a lesson with the Ss. Sister S is really smart and just an awesome lady and her 16ish year old daughter N has been coming to church with the V family for awhile. Elder B really talked up the importance of the lesson, especially since Sister S owns her own business and is really busy, so she can't meet much until she gives it away (happening this week or next). They have tons of questions and I felt like we should start with N's. We brought the As, a nice couple in the ward. We answered all of her questions and it's really hard to describe how it went, but we were really guided in answering their questions. Sister S is very reasonable, and if you just are honest and thorough, she accepts everything, she just believes a "true church" should have answers to every question. We pointed her back to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and she didn't really know how to get much out of it, and she showed us an example by flipping to a random spot in Nephi and then since I have my scriptures marked up, I just pulled every applicable thing out of it and she it really opened her eyes to what she can get out of it. They will be INCREDIBLE members once they join. We emphasized acting as part of prayer, and she said she already plans to come to church every week once she stops working 15 hour days on Sunday. It was just amazing and I really really like teaching her. The As were perfect too. We also stopped by the Ws who we hadn't seen much of that week and watched the Power of God mormon message which was powerful and talked about Brother W being able to hold the priesthood. He really liked the idea and Sister W did too. He finally opened up and said he doesn't feel like he knows enough and he's worried he will mess up when he's baptized. We talked him through his concerns and eased his fears. It was a really good lesson and his whole countenance changed back to the fun, laid-back way he usually is. Their neighbors that are members (the Ws) came over on Saturday to give A a blessing and the two boys blessings for school. It was a cool experience and a good follow up to our lesson. They came to church and loved it, and they are doing awesome. We went on a bike ride with Brother W this morning and Sister W made us breakfast, and we used their computer to put in our zone's numbers. So we are really close with that whole family. Brother W did tell us on the bike ride that his wife isn't too sure about church and feels like this non-denominational church "fits their lifestyle better" basically because it doesn't teach against alcohol which she doesn't see a need to give up because she only does it occasionally. Brother W doesn't know what to do because he is sold and wants an eternal family. We talked about reading the Book of Mormon together and I'm confident that she will change. 
Sister M was out of town, so her date won't work now, but she's still doing pretty well. 
We had another lesson with the G family and Brother G seems really interested, especially with the idea of holding the priesthood (that's been working a lot lately). Sister G came to church but he had to work.
T is doing really well and seems sincere. He's kept all his commitments and we set him with the 13th for baptism. 
L is still being taught but couldn't make it to church
K and the Ms didn't meet with us this week.
V did too.
We had a couple good lessons with C, D, and the As, but there is slow progression there. 
As you can see we have a lot of people to work with and things are going great. Just pray that the Ws continue to progress and that everyone else will be more firm in their commitment, especially that they will read the Book of Mormon.
Thanks for all that you do, I hope school continues to go well! I know this work is the work of our Savior and it is true.
Elder Pew

September 1st, 2014

Dear family,
That is what this letter is going to have to be, because we are at a member's house since the libraries are closed. (btw the member is head of cyber warfare for the whole US Air Force, it's sweet). We are having a lot of fun and also some frustrating times, but it's all good.
We had zone meeting on Friday combined with interviews with President. It was my first time giving a training in front of the zone, plus the Sister Training Leader Leaders were there and we have 28 missionaries in the zone, so I was a little nervous. I gave a training on being more family-focused as we strive to find new people to teach. My interview with President was really short. He said he would ask everyone if they were "all-in" and why and their evidence, but I sat down and he asked if I am "all-in" and I said "yes." and he said "I know, why ask." and smiled. That was comforting. He then asked about Elder W and wanted to know if he could be senior companion. I like that he really trusts my analysis on other missionaries, so hopefully he can continue to trust me with that. He asked when I go home which was a strange question and that was it. He gave a really awesome training on misdirected worship, and that we know who we worship. He pointed out that the rest of the Christian world is great, but they are really worshiping the Light of Christ. They are all about the good-feeling, warm, joy that everyone feels, rather than becoming like our Heavenly Father. It was really cool.
Brother W is doing pretty well, but he is really stressed because his wife is gone for two weeks and it's a lot to take care of A and the other two kids, and trying to change his life for his baptism. But, he's excited, he is just frustrated how hard it is to change quickly. I know the feeling.
The Gs are doing really well although they didn't come to church either because Brother Gs works on Sundays. He read Alma 7 and took notes and he understands things really well. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and he asked "what's next? What more can I do?" So we left him another chapter and we are going to teach the Sabbath day today so he can get baptized as soon as possible. He's ready.
T is still really hard to read. He seems sincere but he's really quiet. We aren't sure what to do.
We had a great lesson with N, but Sister S couldn't join us which was too bad. She said next week things will clear up. I sure hope.
V and D still have the desire, but aren't really acting on it.
K said she wants to get baptized, but is afraid what her deployed mom will say, and then she didn't come to church, which is tough because she is living with "active" members that haven't been coming and it's been keeping K from coming.
H is the lady who is friends with K and J and she is doing really well. We took her on a church tour and she said she really likes being taught.
We had a pretty funny moment when a companionship in our zone called and somehow we all had the same idea to have each one of us say something to everything the other companionship said, kinda like this: them- "hello." Elder B- "how is it going?" me "what's up?" Elder W- "good to hear from you" them- "what are you doing for P-day?" Elder B "we aren't sure yet." me "we don't know what we are going to do." Elder W- "we are undecided." It was really obnoxious but pretty funny especially when they didn't realize we were doing it on purpose.
Anyways, this work is true, it's real, and it's amazing. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people see the joy that comes from the restored gospel. Thank you all for your examples and your testimonies. They help me incredibly. I love you all!
Elder Pew
p.s. sorry it had to be so short

September 8th, 2014

Dear family,
Sorry for writing so late, but we were with Brother W because he is really good at detailing cars, so we had him teach us and it gave us 3 hours with him. The car looks SUPER nice and is really smooth, "like a baby's bum" as Brother W says. Also, I've been telling Elders B and W Jack Handy quotes and they have been loving them. A couple of other quick notes about things over all. 1. We end up spending a lot longer doing administrative stuff than I realized as a zone leader, but it's been all good. 2. Going to MLC is easily the best part of being a zone leader 3. Our area isn't that big, but we cover parts of 4 different cities, and it's still the biggest area I've had, but the smallest Elder B has had. It's really similar to the other areas being just normal suburbs. 4. I am still trying to figure out exactly what my role is as junior companion, because I teach way better and really just do everything better when I know what the vision is but it will just take time. Anyways, a little bit of an up and down week with our investigators. 
inside the engine spotless
Tuesday we had district meeting, and right after we had a lesson with V at Sister G's house. It went really well and the Spirit was really strong. We talked about the power of fasting and committed her to fast on Sunday for her addiction and she really wants to change, but then we didn't see her the rest of the week, so maybe she is isn't serious about it. We had a lesson with K and she is still doing well and reading, but something has come up every Sunday. We also had a lesson with R, Sister M's brother. He also has a problem with addiction, but he's hilarious. He uses this really high voice and is always like "Come on man, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride." He also really wants to quit, so hopefully he makes progress.
Wednesday we had a lesson with H and she is doing really well and loves being taught and loves the Plan of Salvation. We did find out there is a Singles' Ward that covers our stake that is pretty far away, but we are going to ask her about it. She didn't come to church and we aren't sure what happened. We had a lesson with S and brought the Ts since they were Baptists before they converted and they gave great testimonies. We talked about baptism and priesthood authority, but he's still pretty firm where he's at but he's been reading the Book of Mormon and came to church.
Thursday we had a lesson with a new girl named K, a friend of the V family (they have 5 teenagers from two previous marriages all within like 3 years of each other, it's a party). We went on splits and I taught her with all of the youth in the ward basically, so they brought up a lot of things and we probably overloaded her with information since we covered all of the first two lessons and most of lesson 4 all in 35 minutes, but she's a nice girl and has good questions.
Friday was MLC, the conference for the mission leadership. It was incredible.  The whole mission was freaking out thinking we were getting iPads, bu I was certain we weren't and sure enough, we don't know when we are getting them. They really emphasized Preach My Gospel and President gave a great training on how to build unity by seeing "eye to eye" through councils. He does it by sharing a scripture and leading a discussion until everyone sees things the same way. That is how he started presidency meetings, ward council, etc. and he said it took about 6 months and everyone was seeing eye to eye, where he even delegated tasks to his secretary because he knew he would make the same decision. It is a great idea and something I have always felt, but never had explained to me. After MLC we went on exchanges with the Assistants and I went with Elder T in D. It was a party! We had SO much fun together again. He is awesome, and we are closer friends than just about anyone. Him, Elder T, and Elder V are the ones that I really feel close to in the mission. We talked a ton, probably too much, but we got a lot done and worked hard, just like we were in B again. He told me a bunch of cool stuff about President. Overall it was just a great experience to be with Elder T again for a day and I can't even really express it in words. 
Saturday we had to do stewardships for our zone, which is basically getting reports from all the DLs and Sister Training Leaders and writing reports for our whole zone. It took awhile, but we got it done. We also taught these two ladies that heard the church provides financial assistance and they happened to be in our area, but we taught them and they were pretty receptive and came to church, so hopefully they are also interested in the gospel. L is doing well, although couldn't come to church. We had a lesson with Bro W and went over the interview questions and he basically said he's not ready and hasn't been living the Word of Wisdom and hasn't really read. He still wants to be baptized, but he's doing nothing to maintain his testimony and it's starting to decline because his wife isn't all in and his parents haven't been too supportive. He's still really awesome and the key is going to be for him to read the Book of Mormon. 
Sunday was great to be able to fast, and by the way, praying out loud for personal prayers can be really cool, I highly recommend it. Sister M called us after church and is back on the map and wanted us to come over. We read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with her and hopefully this time she is here to stay. The Ss are still doing really well, and she hands the company off for sure this next week, it was going to be this week, but the person's mom or something died so she had to keep it for another week.
Finally a photo of the 3some!
Overall, I know this gospel is true, and that it is here to make us happy. I LOVE studying the gospel, especially Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon. Those two books are amazing. I learn new things every day (p.s. I'm curious what people's thoughts are on Alma 41:5, it seems like it could be a verse about the three kingdoms if you ask me). It's amazing how it all connects and how real it is. I know this is the Lord's work. Thanks for all the support!
Elder Pew

September 15th, 2014

A sign a family in Elder Pew's last area sent him with some other missionaries!
Dear family,

Post detailing a bird fixed that perfectly cleaned car!
This was easily the least stressful pre-transfer week ever because I was 100% of what was happening. Elder B is leaving (duh)-he is finishing his mission, Elder W is leaving and being senior companion (President and Elder T already asked my advice on that one), and I'm staying. We are pretty certain it will be a zone leader companion, but the mission has several split zone leaders, so we will see. I wouldn't care either way. Well all of our investigators are struggling so I'll just go right in.
1. Brother G- He is actually doing really well. We had two lessons this week. We taught him the Sabbath day and he asked his boss for work off on Sundays and starting in two weeks he will have it. He has been LOVING the Book of Mormon and he pulls so much out of it, I love teaching him. We left him 2 Nephi 2 and he picked up on everything including the necessity of the Fall-he really liked that, and verse 13 which I've been obsessed with lately so I was super happy to see an investigator see how cool that verse is about God giving us commandments so we can be happy. He moves this week, so he will get baptized wherever he goes.
2. K- She is actually doing alright, but the family she is living with, the Ms, who are really struggling. She met a couple young men and really liked them, she is really interested.
3. S- We taught him the Word of Wisdom and we thought it would be really hard for him, but he easily accepted the commitment, but we went by later and he was smoking and then he just didn't feel like coming to church, so we aren't sure if he's actually committed. 
4. H- She is still really interested but her boyfriend is keeping her from being taught. We will pass her off to the Singles' Ward. 
5. K- The friend of the V family. She is doing well and likes being taught, but her family isn't into it too much, and she is technically in C ward. 
6. V- She fasted on Saturday without us telling her too, but then she ended up not coming to church.
7. Brother W- Decided to try a different church, so they are really struggling and we have a lesson with them tonight.
8. Everyone else- struggling to really commit.
So we have a lot of work to do here, but it's just like B and S when I came into those areas, so I'm sure me and my new companion will get things going again soon. I really think we have been shooting ourselves in the foot by focusing on people who aren't really ready with misguided hope that something we do will somehow change them. It's made me really think a lot about the line between realistic and faith. Because obviously we need faith that people can change, but we need to be realistic that people who aren't really ready need some time, so that's where we are at right now. We did have zone meeting on Wednesday which went really well. It's strange that just two months ago I would have struggled to give a training to a zone, but now it feels right and I don't get nervous at all, in fact, I get really excited to do it. I gave a training on having more meaningful studies. I used the quote "show me your morning, I'll show you your mission, show me your mission, I'll show you your life." I was really guided for that training and the other training I gave on relying on the promises of the Lord from Preach my Gospel. I had everyone discuss it with their districts and having the district leaders lead those discussions on what we need to rely on more. I have made a big emphasis to build up the District Leaders for the rest of the missionaries, because we have great District Leaders. One of my other goals is to destroy the perception that zone leaders are "all talk." We are probably going to go on a lot of exchanges this transfer. We have an awesome zone. We are leading the mission currently in baptisms, not that it's a competition, but we have great missionaries. I know that things will always work out when we have faith. God is preparing people for this gospel. It is His work. Thanks for all the support, it is much appreciated!
Elder Pew