Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 10, 17 and 24, 2014 and some photos

November 10, 2014

Dear family,
We had a great week here in the TSAM. Some awesome things happened.
Monday night we taught J.
Tuesday we had a lot of zone leader stuff to do and had a baptism interview. Elder L has a SWEET investigator getting baptized. We also had a lesson with A, that less-active guy we just met.
Wednesday we also had a lesson with Sister M. Sister Marshall is excited and committed for her baptism. We tentatively set Saturday for the interview. 
Thursday was MLC so that was incredible as usual. President laid down some sweet doctrine and we basically counseled for like 2 hours on how we could apply the things we learned from Elder Hamula. I think the Assistants (and probably President) were impressed that we hit our goal again for baptisms and we led the mission too. It's really paid off to track the investigators in our zone so we can be so accurate and then work hard to make them happen. Our goal for the month is to go on lots of exchanges and really work to find. We have a goal to find one new family in each area we go on an exchange. I'm really excited. I just want to help the Elders so badly and give them a great experience with a new family. Elder Hamula said that we usually have more success in other missionaries' area if we are really trying to help them and raise their vision. 
Friday we went straight to work on exchanges and I went with Elder J in Cibolo. He is a great missionary and they have a very country area but are on bikes. That was fun to ride Gimgimno again (that's my bikes name, named after the city destroyed in 3 Nephi 8 I believe), and we talked to a ton of people. We even worked through dinner and talked to probably 100 people. We taught these two ladies who were very religious, but they weren't ready and so we moved on just making sure we are finding those who are ready. We were exhausted and starving by the end of the day and a little sad to not find a solid family, but we did our best.
Saturday we were trying to get a hold of Sister Ml and finally we called Sister B and talked with Sister M because I guess her phone broke, so we set up the interview for 4 and then had to call Elder L to see if that even worked for him. He said it worked so we went to pick him up and then we couldn't get a hold of Sister M again, so we just showed up and luckily she was ready to go. Sister M passed her interview with flying colors, so it's all set for the 14th at 6:30. 
Sunday was awesome. Sister M came to church and the H family did too. J and his wife came to Gospel Principles and the Ts did a great job of helping them to feel welcome. They loved it and they were making some really impressive comments. I don't think people were expecting J to be like that, but he was on the money with his comments. We were talking about the role of parents in a family and he even brought up how your kids should know you are a father first, then your friend, so they understand the importance of listening to their counsel. He said he would love to have an eternal family and it was just 40 minutes of heaven for us. They had to leave partway through priesthood because the kids were getting really fussy. We were very pleased to see both Sister M and J at church and for the successes we have seen with them. We worked really hard to find some new people, but didn't have any luck this week. The gospel is true and it really is such an amazing experience to see others experience the joy that we feel. Thanks for all the support!

Love, Elder Pew

November 17, 2014

Dear family,
First, we have a family that is just here for 2 months at Randolph AFB and they were at dinner yesterday with the V family and their last names are the Bowns. Super nice young family and gave a great talk in church last week. I recognized the name, but when Bro. Bown asked where we were from and we said Cedar Hills, he asked if I went to Cedar Ridge. I said yes and he asked if I had Mr. Bown. Turns out it's his dad. Small world! He took a picture to send to his dad. Anyways, I'm going to just write this by major events:
the baptism. We had a ton of drama this week trying to get all the details worked out for the baptism—normal for most baptisms! The baptism itself went super well. Her whole family came except R and the ward was very supportive. Sister B gave a great testimony and Sister M bore her testimony too. We told the M about the baptism and K really wanted to come and she loved it! We had dinner with them Friday and Sunday with the Vs too. We had everyone write a congrats to her. Anyways, the Hs came too and J really liked it and the ward has been awesome with them too. Their heater went out and it was almost Utah cold this week being in the high 30s and low 40s with wind and occasional freezing rain, and the ward helped a ton and Bishop was actually the one to invite them to the baptism. Later Sister M told us she wouldn't be at church (something came up) and we were able to talk her through it and at least consider coming and she finally understood that she needed to be confirmed. She didn't want everything to be a waste, so we told her that the confirmation and activity in the church would close that out. We kept the Bishop well informed and he handled it super well. He's awesome. We are still in contact with her and will confirm her next week if she starts doing better, or we might just do it during the week. Either way it was a challenging experience and Satan is working really hard against her. Prayers would be great. It's been interesting to notice how peaceful though I've felt through it all. Every now and then it hits me how bad that is, but it's always followed with peace and assurance that it will work out. 
Second, the Hs also came to church and even brought J's brother M that we met. The talks seemed like they were really good, so that should help J. He's loving the church and is really on fire. We got them a piggy bank to put their money into instead of buying cigarettes or beer. Hopefully that will help.
Third, we had zone meeting this week but the Assistants and STLLs were coming, so as a zone leadership we only had an hour to train, so I just had 15 minutes to present our plan to implement Elder Hamula's trainings. We are really going to strive for doubling our finding since by the numbers 4 new investigators a week would put us at 1 baptism a month as a mission and as a zone we are even doing better and it would be 2 baptisms a month. We had 15 minutes before lunch and the Assistants asked me to give some thoughts, so I basically had to get up and give an on-the-spot training, but I had something in mind so it wasn't a crash and burn. We also had interviews with President but nothing really to report from that. President Slaughter is just incredible. It was fun to talk to Elder Thorn during lunch.
Fourth, I went on exchanges in Highland Hills, the Spanish branch and that was an adventure. I wasn't able to contribute much, but I understood almost everything going on. They have some awesome investigators. We also found a new lady and her son at like 8:30, so we accomplished that goal.

Fifth, we moved this week! I forgot to warn you all. We just moved to a bigger, nicer apartment (strange I know) so that Cibolo could move in once their lease ends to save the mission money, but that means for now me and Elder Hughes have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment to ourselves. I realize that that was bad timing since my birthday is coming up, so hopefully nothing gets lost in the mail. I forgot my birthday was so close. We had to spend almost all day Thursday packing everything up since we had to be out of our old apartment by the end of Friday, and it was also the first day the new apartment would be ready. We got everything moved over pretty well and are settled in the new one. So from everything going on, we didn't have as much time to find this week as we'd like, but we did teach a first lesson to a lady named E that seems fairly promising.
Sixth, A, is one fire too. He's been a really cool experience to be a part of. I can't remember if I even told his story, but basically late one night we were walking past his house and we saw him inside painting and we walked past, but I figured we might as well talk to him and knocked on the door and he told us he was LA and was wanting to come back to church. He loved church and wants to meet everyday if we can. His daughter E is like 4 and is super cute and she really loves us. 
Overall it was a great week despite the little hiccup we are still working out. The work is true and it's real. It's more than a good idea or a nice fantasy. It really works and really changes lives. Jesus Christ is the way to true joy. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Elder Pew
November 24, 2014
Dear family,
Happy birthday to "Zane the President of the USA and Pompeeface Sr." today!

This was an eventful week. 4 exchanges, driving to San Antonio twice, and becoming two decades old. 

I first want to start by saying thanks for all the birthday cards and wishes! It helped "another day" to be a good day. I also want to give thanks for each of you. Thank you for being such a great family. I am so grateful to be a part of the crazy, pompeeface Pew family. I am thankful to have such great parents who have taught me so well. I still brag about you guys to every missionary who ever talks about their parents and the counsel you have given me comes back to help on a weekly basis. One example was this week on an exchange, teaching a recent convert that after 40 days of quitting drinking, slipped up and fell back into alcohol. The missionaries have been lost how to help him. In the lesson when he retold his story of drinking again, a question that dad once asked me after making a dumb decision came into my head, "Did you read the Book of Mormon today?" So I asked him. He sat there, and realized that it was the first day he missed reading in a long time. We testified that it would give him the daily power to give it up again. I'm thankful for growing up in a home where the gospel was the center. Even if no one listened to me that little kids only have a 20 minute attention span and FHE shouldn't go any longer, I'm grateful for the consistency of daily scripture study, prayer, and weekly family night. Thank you for helping me to gain a testimony of this gospel.

Monday was a hard working day. No one was home and it got into the mid 30s, and we ended up knocking for a lot of it.

Tuesday I left on a two-day exchange, the first one being with 1st Ward. That is where P and L moved, so I got to have a lesson with them. It was awesome! P was super excited to see me! The lesson went great and hopefully they are more motivated to go to church. I accidentally interrupted a drug deal in that area. We racked up a lot of referrals just by asking everyone. My goal to find a new family was accomplished. We went by an old media referral and the lady let us right in. Her name was G and she said that missionaries had stopped by before and gave her a "Merman Bible." We clarified to make sure it actually was the Book of Mormon and she still had it and said she knew she should be reading it. We asked what she was looking for in life and she said "humility" so that was cool. We read part of Alma 32 and she really liked it. In the closing prayer she thanked God that she was able to open up her "Merman Bible" again. Those Elders have been struggling so hopefully that helped to find a new person for them to teach.

Wednesday I was with Mission Creek. I went with them to their district meeting. Elder S in Mission Creek is the District Leader and he's pretty great. We spent most of the day teaching and they have some really cool investigators. They didn't have a clue it was my birthday until President texted at like 10 to say happy birthday. It was just how I wanted. A normal working day serving the Lord without any attention. It's weird to think that on a mission a birthday just doesn't mean that much and I honestly kept forgetting. 
Balloons and poppers for Elder Pew's birthday

Thursday I returned and found that Cibolo had moved in with us. While I was gone they had a lesson with J and he was super excited about his baptism, so they talked about the 29th but we haven't been able to teach him again, so we will need to move it to the 6th since he hasn't quit smoking. We had to take Elder S to the mission home and it was weird being there again. I feel like I'm always the one who ends up at President's house and it was clear that I was the only one who felt comfortable there. I asked him about Sister M and he said it's not a huge deal. He said he will only start to worry if it's been 3 months and she still hasn't been confirmed. We stopped by to give them some goodies just so they knew we were thinking about them.

Friday Elder H was on exchanges and so I was with Elder J double working Randolph and Cibolo. Not much happened other than a lesson with the L family (the one who loves the Cowboys). Me and Bro L get along super well, it's too bad he's just not interested in religion still but he was the one who wanted us to show him a mormon message. We also found out Elder J was getting a new companion Saturday. He was super stressed about it because they don't have anything going on in Cibolo and I think he was looking forward to working with us and having some help, so I helped him go through their record and get a ton of people to go by and I just talked up the potential in the area and I hope it helped him, he seems to be doing much better.

Saturday we had to go to the mission office and saw Elder T and President again. We picked up Elder J's new companion Elder R, who is from PG. He has been out 6 months and totally reminds me of Elder V. Knows tons about every subject and is pretty funny. Good addition to the apartment. We got Elder H back and went to work. We had no luck for a Saturday and I have really exhausted this area. We have gone by nearly every single former and potential investigator, as well as every less-active member. It's just hard that everyone we are working with can't have lessons. It started to rain at about 8 and turned into an absolute typhoon. It was awesome!! We were at a less-active member's house and it started coming down soooo hard. The entire street was flooded so we decided we needed to quickly leave if we wanted to make it back. Driving home was the funnest, most dangerous thing I've ever done. It was insane. In some places there was a feet or two of water and at one point it nearly stopped us and I had to floor it pretty good to get out. We made it safe and were done for the night and I loved it. The rain here is just amazing.
Sunday was pretty good. Church was great and the Hs came again, but only for sacrament meeting. They didn't really have a reason to leave other than fussy kids and being tired, so that was too bad, but we have a lesson tonight that hopefully won't fall through. J's brother Mo did come with, the same one we referred to the missionaries in Castle Hills and he moved in with the Hs. I told him we were happy to have him at church and he gave me a big smile and said "you'll be seeing a lot more of me around here, I love it!" Of course if he's there tonight we will start teaching him too, although he might be better in the Singles' Ward. We had another unsuccessful night trying to find new families to teach, but we are talking to lots of people everyday. We know it will turn around soon.

Out of all things I'm thankful for, the thing that I treasure the most is my testimony of this gospel and of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful that it's always been firm and that I know how to keep it that way. I am thankful for the peace and joy it has brought me despite whatever hardships we face. I'm thankful for the direction it has given me in life. I'm thankful for the knowledge of the Atonement and of repentance. I'm thankful for the knowledge of eternal families. I'm thankful for the example Jesus Christ set for us to live joyful, successful lives, and to return to live with Him again forever. Thank you all for all you do!
Elder Pew