Monday, November 10, 2014

October 13th, 20th, 27th & November 3rd, 2014 and some photos

October 13th, 2014
Dear family,
First of all, I want to say happy Birthday to Emily and Gwen! And good luck to Brynn as she heads out this week, I know she will do great things! This was a decent week, but I'm getting the flu and feel pretty sick, so I'm sorry if this is short and not eventful. The subject line (I'm gravy) comes from R, who has had an eventful week and has been doing better. I'm not sure if I've talked much about him, but he is just hilarious. "I'm gravy" means "I'm good." Also he always stops us and says, "wait a sec," and then he wipes the bottom of his eye, and then flicks a fake tear and says "just had to grab that tear." He does it randomly and it's hilarious. He really likes me because I use all of his phrases. He is always saying "sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride," We taught him twice this week. He seems determined to change, but he hasn't really done much to help, other than he has been reading a little in the Book of Mormon. He didn't come to church and he didn't read the Tad R. Callister talk we gave him. 

Overall, we are really running out of ideas on things to do, because we have already contacted nearly every single person in the area book and less-active or part-member family, and it has been more comforting to see that the other zone leaders have been struggling too, not that that is good, but that we aren't the only ones trying to figure out what to do. But we have been working really hard and just laying it all out there, so it's just a matter of time. I feel like I'm at the peak of my application of Preach my Gospel, but we aren't seeing much visible success. Oh well, we will just keep trying and things will work out. 
Tuesday was a crazy day with a ton of administrative stuff we had to do to get ready for zone meeting and we had to meet with a high councilor in the stake over missionary work that went pretty well. I think we were able to address some of the needs of the missionaries in the zone. We had to finish up planning for our zone meeting the next day, but we still got out and taught two lessons, one to R, and the other to Sister M. She is doing pretty well and wants to get baptized, but she didn't come to church, but if she comes the next two weeks, she can still make November 1st. 
Wednesday was a crazy day. We had zone meeting and my trainings felt really scattered, but I thought they went pretty well. The first one I just had a bunch of thoughts and I just really wanted everyone to feel excited to be a missionary and get people excited about the success of each other so we read part of Alma 31 and Alma 29, so we started a thing where missionaries call in great stories particularly with finding new investigators that we send out to the zone so we can rejoice in each others successes. My other training was about changing who we are not simply changing what we do, and I got a little into sanctification which was really interesting to me and I really felt like I needed to share, but I didn't have as much time as I thought, so it wasn't as smooth. We also held a meeting for District Leaders and Sister Training Leader before and it went really well, we are really trying to get the zone unified, but with the doctrine, not just doing stuff together. So far, so good, we had 11 stories called in this week. After the meeting I was on exchanges with Elder T and we had fun and we are just so similar. They have a great area and people are just very prepared there. They have another 5 or 6 that should get baptized soon.
Friday we had another exchange with Elder B and he is a great missionary. He came with both of us. We had a pretty cool experience where we were contacting an investigator and then stopped by somewhere down the street, but we saw someone down a side street, so we talked to them and they weren't interested, but we didn't want to freak them out so we kept walking and then we decided to go by a less-active family nearby, but they weren't home and I saw this guy outside his truck, so we talked to him and he wasn't interested but we asked for referrals and he gave us someone he knew a couple blocks down but didn't know the address but they had a yellow ranger, so we drove until we found it, but it was parked in between two houses and the first house wasn't home, so we contacted the next house and the lady who was referred came out and let us teach her the restoration. It went well and she had some good questions, she is super busy, so hopefully they can contact her again this week. It is still cool to see how people are prepared for the gospel and in ways you wouldn't expect.
Sunday was good, and N and K came, so that was good. N said her mom is feeling better, so hopefully we can have a lesson this week, I really like the S family.
We are praying to see a miracle here, because there are some great things that could happen. We know that if we have the faith that the Lord can bless us with miracles, we can help some of these great families, or ones we don't know come to the gospel. Thanks for all that you do!
Elder Pew

October 20th, 2014
Dear family,
This was a very interesting week, but overall a great one. I will just go straight into it.
Monday I felt like crap so after writing and shopping I basically just slept. I woke up around six but I felt sick still, but a little better. There were a couple people I really wanted to visit and I got really antsy, so at 7:30 we left the apartment, but no one was home and then I had to come home again, so we were back by 8:15. 
Tuesday I woke up feeling almost all the way better, with just a slightly upset stomach, so we worked. We got a message from the Assistants that Stewardships were due early, so we had to go back and do that which takes forever. We have a really impressive zone and I think we have a lot of future leaders here. Also, Elder T was emergency transferred because of his nasty crash on his bike, but he didn't brake anything, and they set him up to be a zone leader in West Zone next transfer I'm pretty sure. My stomach got worse in the evening, but we had a few people we wanted to visit so we went out anyways and we stopped by the Bs to see if we could meet with R after getting the double-sided picture frame and signing it like Sister B asked. Sister M came out and while we were waiting for R she asked us if we could read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with her, so of course we did that. I almost suggested that myself, so I was really pleased she wanted to do that.

Wednesday Elder H woke up feeling really sick. We decided to have District Meeting in our apartment so he could still be there. We had a powerful district meeting in the humble study room of our apartment. Elder S gave a training on how to prepare for meetings so we can receive revelation, and I had actually read a talk by Elder Eyring the day before called "Listen Together" about that exact thing, so it was really ironic that that talk really prepared me for this training on how to prepare for trainings. The basic ideas are to pray for those who will be teaching, humble yourself, and be diligent on acting on even the faintest promptings to assure you will continue to receive them. Elder S started feeling sick, and Elder L was doing exchanges with Cibolo, so his companion, the other Elder S came with me, Elder L and Elder J worked in Cibolo, and Elder S and Elder H stayed home and slept all day. I really wanted to find a new investigator for Elder S in Universal City, but we were unsuccessful. We had a lesson with Sister M and she had stayed up all night reading about the Spirit World because she was so curious about it, so we taught about that. She was doing super well, but for some reason didn't come to church. My stomach was still giving me grief so I was still only eating Jello and Chicken Noodle Soup. Sister T brought us a ton of stomach-friendly foods for Elder H. They are sooo nice. That night we were also contacting a part-member family and they were sitting on the porch so we walked up and basically just started teaching them. The wife is the member and the husband looks like Chris Bosh. He really likes his family and is open to the church so we felt prompted to teach about how he could receive the Priesthood to serve his family and he really liked that, but he's not religious at all, so we have to start with the basics. It went super well and we were really thankful for that experience. We set up a lesson for the next day.
Thursday Elder H was still sick, so I took Elder J with me to the lesson and it went really well. We taught him about eternal families and asked if he would like to live with his family forever and he said, "well... that'd be rad." He is like a really mellow version of R. He had work on Sunday so they didn't come to church but we have another lesson tonight. Elder S was feeling better so Cibolo just worked and so we were stuck at the apartment. I got a lot of good studies in though so that was good.
Friday Elder H was still really sick and my stomach was still giving me grief and I was getting really sick of Chicken Noodle Soup, but it felt better by the evening. Since we were in the apartment, I decided to call pretty much every potential in the area book. I made about 50 calls and some of them were pretty interesting, but I actually set up one lesson for this Wednesday. I feel like I learned a lot about goals this week. It's been very helpful to think "Do I really expect to reach that goal?" And when I do, I really work for it and strive to reach it since I expect to get it. It made our goals lower than normal, but they actually helped me work harder and be more determined to reach them. 
Saturday Elder H was still sick, but Cibolo texted that Elder J was feeling sick now, so me and Elder S double worked Randolph and Cibolo. We had dinner with the Ms. We had a lesson with R and we really wanted to get him to church. He was very mellow and totally listening and we had a powerful lesson. He 100% promised to be at church.
Sunday Elder H felt well enough to go to church, so we did and it was the Primary Program. It was amazing! I love kids. Unfortunately none of our investigators came, but we had a few non-members of part-member families that came, but none are interested right now. We talked to one of them for awhile and his whole family has joined and he said he plans on joining, but he hasn't been able to quit smoking so he doesn't feel ready and doesn't think there is much we can do, we asked about the reading the Book of Mormon with his family to strengthen his conviction so he will have the power to quit. Interesting situation. So we have about 10 people that could call us any day and say they are ready to be baptized but we can't really do anything for them other than show that we care. It's tough, but we know there are people ready now for the gospel, so we are doing all we can to be placed in their path. It's amazing to see how the gospel really does bless and change people. I think it's so funny that we are so resistant to change because we are afraid of changing, and we forget that when we let the gospel change us it will never be a change that we aren't happy with. The gospel is all about change and happiness. Thanks for all the love and support!
Elder Pew

October 27th. 2014

Dear family,
Anyways, we had a killer week.
Monday we had an awesome lesson with J. We taught the importance of the Book of Mormon and he understood it well. He was really curious to learn about the commandments.
Tuesday we taught him again because he set up the return appointment for the next day without us even asking. We had a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation. He understood it very well and he surprisingly pulls a lot out of scriptures. They read Alma 34 on their own. We had to take care of some zone things and then we had a good day but no other real successes besides teaching Bro. R again. He likes us and hopefully we can help him to come back to church.
Wednesday we taught J again because once again they set up the return appointment for the next day. We had an amazing lesson on the Word of Wisdom. He has really been on fire and he easily accepted the commitment because he could see how much it would bless him. Me and him are really good friends and he's awesome. I always stare at him when he is picking the closing prayer, and finally this time, he says, alright Pew, I know you want me to say it." So he gave the prayer and it was beautiful. He prayed for us and our families. He prayed that he would have the strength "to do this," He has made us sooo happy. We also taught this potential in our area book and she said she's looking for a church. She had sat in on her friend who doesn't live here anymore and she enjoyed the Restoration. She didn't come to church, but she was surprised we actually caught her home, so we told her that was a sign. She agreed, so hopefully we can see her again this week. We also showed S a mormon message and him and his roommates really liked it and we invited them to church, and S actually came this week with the Ts which was awesome. We had a lesson with the Cs right after, so we had four lessons before 2:30 which is a miracle. We tried finding some more, but no luck until our lesson with Sister M.
Thursday was when Elder Hamula came to San Antonio, and it was awesome. Here are some highlights:
-They noted that only 24 percent of you claim to open your mouths always.  Elder Hamula said, “If you are not preaching by the way, you are not living consistent to your divine commission.”  He also said, “Opening your mouth is the price you pay to succeed in all things you have been called to do.”
East Zone Conference
 -Elder Hamula noted a weakness of daily planning and companion study, which go hand in hand.  If you do not have effective daily planning sessions at night, then your companion study the next morning will be less effective.
-Elder Hamula said, “You cannot teach what you are not living.  You can say it, but you cannot teach it.”  Then he outlined how to receive revelation: 1.  You need to ask, seek, knock.  2.  You must sincerely desire.  3.  You must be committed to act on that which you receive.  4.  You need to listen.  In connection with listening, Elder Hamula said, “If you cannot stand the quiet, you won’t hear the quiet voice that speaks.”
-Elder Hamula mentioned that there was one thing that could help us all to attain the next level: complete consecration.  He felt impressed that many were still holding on to their old world, and that these needed to identify their weapons of rebellion and bury them deep.  He said, “It is full consecration of the soul that carries missionaries to the promised land.”
Elder Hamula said, “You have enough faith to come on a mission, but not enough to succeed in your areas.”  If we would do those things that we were counseled by the Lord’s servant and by the impressions of the Holy Ghost, we can achieve the next level in the Lord’s work.
-The Spirit of a group is a direct reflection of the man leading it
-The righteous seek correction. Great leaders seek correction
-He explained some really cool stuff about prayer and "realizing you are in the dark and dreary wilderness" like Adam and Eve, and Lehi in 1 Nephi 8 and some really cool parallels to the temple. Jesus Christ is the only way out of that. 
He really praised the mission. He said it's the best he's seen on his mission tours and he really praised President Slaughter, who also gave an amazing training on enduring to the end and how we must each endure to the end. President selected 10 people to be interviewed by Elder Hamula, and he chose me as the zone leader. I was pretty overwhelmed by the task of representing the mission, but it was such a good experience! I got to sit with him one-on-one for 15 minutes. He asked me questions about the mission, my zone, and especially member-missionary work. He said he was going to take a bunch of those things to the leaders of the church and to the leadership meetings he had that night. Then he asked me if I came with any questions that went unanswered. I told him my question and he gave a great answer. Basically my question was, "I feel like I have a good intellectual understanding of Christ and the Atonement. I realize why we need Him. I know why we need a Savior. It all makes sense, but I want to know if there is something more I can do to really FEEL that more, so that my desire to share the gospel will increase even more (PMG pg. 2)" He said that those who have never had to seriously make changes to their nature often have a more intellectual understanding. He said that's okay. He said that as I increase my love for those who really need that redeeming power, I will start to feel it more personally. He addressed me by name and promised I could have that. It was really a sacred experience and I wish I could have sat and talked with him longer. He was so wise and discerning, it was so cool. We had baptism interviews that evening for Highland Hills again, so that took up a lot of our evening (by the way we are going to hit 8 baptisms this month as a zone and the top 10 on Sunday nights has been great). 
Friday we had another lesson with Sister M that went well and we re-set her with November 8th for baptism which she is totally committed for. She came to church.
Saturday morning we had a special MLC with Elder Hamula that I can't even describe how awesome it was, but he even told more amazing stories and taught such amazing things. He basically showed us that it takes us about 15 investigators to baptize 1, and we find about 2 a week and 8 a month, so if we double that to 4 new investigators a week, we will baptize every month like our purpose statement says. It got me really fired up to find new people to teach. We had another great lesson with J on keeping the Sabbath and he says he wishes he knew the commandments better. Unfortunately they slept in, so they didn't come to church. It was the tri-ward trunk-or-treat, so we went to that. They had some super good chili and there were a couple non-members. The Cs brought their same friend that is from Venezuela and we talked to her for awhile. She is really cool and totally seems like a member. N was there, but not at church, but we set up a lesson for Thursday (oh yeah Sister S had gone back to the hospital and that's why we didn't teach them for so long). We took Cibolo home and still had 30 minutes left so we went to the Ls and had a good little lesson and discussion. Brother L still owes us a time at church and said he would come next week, they were going to Windcrest ward this week with Sister L's mom and dad. He really likes us.
Sunday church was great and testimony meeting was really awesome. Hopefully it really helped S and Sister M. Ever since Elder Hamula, I've just been in such a good mood and so motivated to work hard here. I'm learning more and more to not hold anything back and really give it 100%, it's really the only option. I have found so much joy in the quest to help others see the blessings of the gospel that we enjoy daily. The gospel is true and real. Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew
p.s. we are both staying as expected, lots of changes in the zone

November 3rd, 2014

Dear family,
This week was gravy and there couldn't be a better time to be a missionary. I'm a little slammed on time, but I'll get what I can. I'll go by investigator:
1. Sister M- good week for her. We have her set for the 14th, Friday night. She came to Stake Conference and we read three chapters with her this week. We also brought a new 34-year old single guy who just moved in and they got along SUPER well. They went to Stake Conference together! We may have accidentally just hooked those two up, but it would really help her to have a good friend who is strong in the gospel like him. She already told him she wants him to baptize her.
2. J- He is the guy who looks like Chris Bosh and his wife is a member. They were pretty busy this week, but we had a great lesson with them Wednesday on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he committed to be baptized, but for the 22nd and then they went out of town on the weekend and didn't come to church, so that will need to be pushed back. He's super solid and loves us. We found out it was his wife's b-day so we went to drop off cracker candy for her, and they weren't there but J's brother was there, so we talked to him of course and he said J has been talking about becoming Mormon and he really likes the religion. We invited him to be taught, so hopefully he's being taught in Castle Hills now.
3. S- He started reading the Book of Mormon again, and we invited him to church and he came again, so we are going to start teaching him again.
4. K- We set up a lunch with the M's for Saturday with the hope that we could teach her and we did. We taught her about temples and she really likes the temple and has really been wanting to go. We were very pleased with that meeting.
5. S family- We finally had a lesson with them on Thursday and it went well. We really emphasized gaining a spiritual conversion, not just intellectual and how important it is to act.
6. Brother H- He is the active non-member and we had a great discussion with him. He loved "Meet the Mormons" and he said it was more than a movie to him. He told us he just doesn't feel like he knows the doctrine or history well enough, but he loves what he sees in the church. We talked about Matthew 7 that a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit, so if everything about the church is good, the church is true. He invited us to come back and explain the first 20 years of the church, so we think he might have some issues with Joseph Smith.
7. Brother W- We went by to check up on them and they were in the process of packing. We had a great conversation with them and they missed meeting with us. We showed them a Mormon message and Sister W loved it (that was huge for her) so they wanted to watch another, and we ended up watching like 5 and showed them the Mormon channel so they could keep watching them. We went by Saturday to help pack and move things and Brother W said he really liked "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" and he's been thinking about it a lot. We are helping him today again for part of P-day and Elder H just bought some new scriptures and he's just going to give them to Brother W and we marked some of our favorite scriptures and wrote a note for him, so hopefully he catches fire in Round Rock. 
8. S, S, D- we had a couple first lessons with random people that we aren't really sure what their interest level is, but we were pleased to teach some new people. 
Halloween was honestly super boring. We had to be in by 6, so we just weekly planned then and ate some candy. 
Transfers were this week and we lost some great people in the zone, but we gained some great ones too including my former District Leader Elder W. He's the one that is super good at basketball.
We had Stake Conference and Elder Greer of the Seventy was there and it was cool to be around General Authorities for 2 weeks in a row. He was great. He was very sincere and you could tell that he really loves everyone. President Slaughter was there and all the members fell in love with him as usual. He talked about growing up and participating in so many sports, but his wall of achievements was all "participation certificates" and not trophies. He quit sports and did band instead in High School, but he said if all he gets is a certificate of participation in Heaven for the work of salvation, he will be more than happy. He urged all members to participate and not worry so much if they succeed. He said the work of salvation is more than increasing numbers, it's about deepening conversion. He's incredible.
I know that this work is real and such a great thing to participate in. I have received so many blessings out here and I've grown so much, I'm so grateful for this gospel and what is has done for me. People say that "the mission" changes them, but really it is Jesus Christ and His gospel. A mission is just a unique chance to be so immersed in the gospel, you can't help but jump on board and see how much it helps you. Thanks for everything!
Love, Elder Pew