Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Last email....

Dear family,
This was an incredible week! I won't go over everything that happened because I wish to try and verbalize some of my thoughts about a mission, but here are some highlights:
1. S's children moved in. We taught them and the F family the Restoration and it went super well. They all accepted everything and S really wants this for her kids. She seems to be doing really well. We stopped by later in the week and they had all read the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon. I cannot even describe how incredible it felt to teach a huge family of six like that who are so receptive. They weren't able to make it to church however, but it is a matter of time.
2. L had an incredible week and we taught him several times. He accepted a date to be baptized on August 1st and I think he will make it. We got several members involved and it was great.
3. Elder T came on exchanges Wednesday to help Elder C with Spanish and because we were both going down to San Antonio Thursday for MLC and dinner with the Slaughters. It was fun to be with him all day Wednesday,Thursday, and Friday morning. MLC was great. All departing missionaries give testimonies. Elder L, Elder S, and Elder T were all very powerful. President asked me to write mine down as well and give it to the historians. Me, Elder T, Elder H, Sister T, and Sister S (one of the current LSTLs) all had our exit interviews. Mine was fairly short. It was amazing and I can tell you about it more later. President was so kind and loving, but none of it really hit me because it still doesn't feel like I'm going home. We drove to the mission home and had dinner and asked him millions of questions. He is so incredible. I will miss hearing his incredible counsel. I have been so blessed to have such an incredible mission president. A mission president couple just got home to Brushy Creek and the former President bore his testimony and it was great. There is a special spirit with President Slaughter. It can't be explained well, but you can definitely experience it. One day more people will understand how faithful and Christ-like he is. He answered a lot of our questions.
4. Luckily not many people in the ward know I'm leaving, but the ones that do are freaking out and trying to make us come over, but tonight is the last night so there's no way I'm losing proselyting time. 
It was an incredible last week. I have felt the Lord's approval and I could never have imagined having such a life-changing experience. 
I want to briefly go through President Slaughter's seven hopes and expectations for us, because I think he encompassed just about everything I have learned, although as President says, "fallen language cannot properly describe a Heavenly experience."
1. Know who you are and act accordingly
We are children of God (Rom. 8:16-17) and have the potential to become more like God. "The restored gospel enables you to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ" (PMG p 115). We are also children of the fall. "We are made partakers of misery and woe" (Moses 6:48) without which we would never know "the joy of our redemption" (Moses 5:11). "All mankind were in a lost and fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer." (1 Ne. 10:6) Christ overcame the fall and we can too by relying on Christ. We are also the seed of Abraham and have the responsibility to take the blessings of the gospel to all the earth (Abraham 2:11). As Elder Bednar said "you and I, today and always, are to bless all people in all the nations of the earth...We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise made to Abraham." ("Becoming a Missionary")
2. Discern the Spirit and submit to its promptings 
I have learned that we must "walk in the light" (1 Jn 1:7) and that God has given us the power to choose for ourselves and we can do much good of our own free-will (D&C 58:26-28). He allows to do all things "according to judgment and the direction of the Spirit" (D&C 62:8). Powerful promptings are more rare, and commonly they come as simple thoughts or feelings. We must act on the promptings we receive because "unto him that receiveth I will give more" (2 Ne 28:30).
3. Unksaken and unwavering testimony of the restoration
I have no doubts that this is the true church. Joseph Smith was called by Christ to restore His church. We have the authority to act in His name. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool in conversion. I have often wondered how much stronger the church would be if every member simply read from its pages every day. Jesus Christ is our Savior and He lives today. I have experienced too much to go back on it all now.
4. Has a sound understanding and teaches with power and authority
I have paid the price to learn of Christ's doctrine and it fills me with joy to know the power of His gospel. I have "searched the scriptures diligently" to "know the word of God" and have given myself to "much prayer and fasting" (Alma 17:2-3) to teach with power and authority
5. Understands the doctrine of gathering and the principles of effective finding
I have learned the importance of restoring the House of Israel. The children of Israel are to be restored to their true identity (1 Ne 15:14, 2 Ne 30:3-5). They are to be restored to the "true knowledge of their Redeemer (2 Ne 10:2). They are to be restored "to the true church and fold of God" (2 Ne 9:2, D&C 84:2). They are to be restored to "the covenant" (3 Ne 5:25) made to their fathers. We are here to gather the elect. We recognize them because they 1) recognize us as servants of the Lord, and 2) are willing to act on our message. (PMG p 156)
6. Learn and apply the principles of leadership
I have learned to observe my leaders and the "unwritten order of things." I have learned that the Lord qualifies those he chooses. I've learned the best leaders "teach by example" (MH p 64) and there most important influence "comes through ministering to others in harmony with the Savior's example and teaching" (MH p 57). And "a leader helps other most when they feel the leader's love" (MH p 60). 
7. Unending desire to improve
I have learned that the gospel is all about progression. It's about becoming something more. Probably the biggest thing that has changed about me is that I no longer will settle for being average. I want to build the kingdom at all times. I will always seek improvement. 
I am so grateful for the blessings I have seen of serving a mission. Not only have I learned things intellectually, but I have felt it all in my heart. I love the Lord and I love this gospel. It is the way to salvation. It has changed me and those around me forever. May we all continue this great work!

Elder Pew

Elder Pew will be speaking in church August 16th at 1 PM.  You are welcome to join us after for visiting and some "grub".

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Letters...

Elder Pew and his district

June 1, 2015

Dear family,
This actually isn't sent from my iPad because that would take way too long, but yes, I actually have an iPad right now. It's strange. I'll give more info later. 
Monday was a great day. We had torrential rain and we got stuck at the church it was raining so hard. We got like 4 flash flood warnings and we got two tornado warnings. It was really awesome. I loved it. We still got out by 6, but we almost weren't able to get to one side of the area because of flooding. It was sweet. We stopped by some people close to the creek to see if they needed any help, but everyone was pretty good. I have pictures of where it was flooding over the road where it is usually about five feet shallower and there has never been a problem crossing. In one area it dips down and it was about 3 feet under water and we could barely even drive next to it. It was INSANE flooding. It was actually a little scary. 
Tuesday was a killer day. We dropped off Elder O in the morning so we had Elder D with us the rest of the day. We had a lesson with E at Sister Sanderson's and we read 3 Nephi 11. She doesn't like feeling pressured, but said she's willing to learn more, so I'm not sure what to do. We had a lesson with the entire G family finally. It was amazing! We brought B and had a powerful Restoration lesson. B (not interested husband) understood everything well and seems very curious. He had some good questions that hopefully we answered. We had a lesson with the R at the Js and it went really well. M is all ready for baptism. We had a lesson with J and E and S came and so we taught E the Restoration and she understood authority very well. She is really cool. We were so blessed to have such a great day. E and the Gs have a lot of potential. 
Wednesday we did some service in M's area and had a fairly slow day until a lesson with the Gs and Ls. It went well. We asked Sister G what we could do to help her son the most and she said bringing a 14 year-old over would help and he loves tennis and basketball so we might set up a time to play with him on P-day since school is almost out. 
Thursday was transfers. It was a great transfer meeting. Sister T followed me back out to the field, and she went back to her first area too. So she bore her testimony, then Elder T, then they had me. Yes, Elder T was visiting and he still seems like a missionary. It was awesome to see him. I got a little emotional, but not bad. I love our mission. I was a little unsure of who they would put with me since I knew President would want to put a future leader with me, and I couldn't think of anyone who wasn't already a leader or who would probably be a leader that transfer. To my surprise, I am companions with Elder S. He is awesome! He has been out four transfers and he trained after his first two and definitely could have been a District Leader, but I guess they will give him one more transfer to learn. He is really funny and I think he's going to be an Assistant in the future. He's like 25 because he was inactive for about 10 years but decided to come out. He's very consecrated and a good leader. I was really excited to be put with him. After the meeting I got to meet Elder T's parents and they are really awesome and I got to talk to Elder T for awhile. He's doing very well. I needed a temple recommend interview so I stayed to get one with President. It was probably the best interview I've had with him. He just wanted to talk, so we talked about the mission, different missionaries, etc. I've felt like we've usually been so business-minded when we've talked, but this was much more casual and I loved it. Like he was a father to me and he was just talking to his son. I also asked him about this situation that came up the day before. A, the LA guy we reactivated in Randolph, called and was super excited to be getting the priesthood soon and he really wanted me to come and ordain him. I told him because I am really far away it wasn't likely I could come, so I asked President what I should say to him, but he was like, "well you might as well come to our Sunday meeting and go to his ordination." So we are going down the 14th for his ordination and the Sunday night meeting. Also after transfer meeting we received our iPads. Mine is a loan since I leave soon, and it wasn't in great shape, but I've got it looking much cleaner. Basically all they told us was to go through the orientation and to become familiar with everything for MLC. Right now we are just focusing on using it to learn and teach better. Our evening was good. We had a visit with the Ms. We set up a dinner for next Sunday that we can hopefully involve his wife and invite her to learn. That would be great. We had a lesson with the Bs too and talked about daily scripture study. They are doing pretty well, but they missed church.
Friday we had to configure our iPads and download everything which was time consuming and we didn't finish. We had a lesson with R. He is so funny. I taught him once or twice last year right before I left, and we stopped by and he was really excited to see me. I'm surprised he recognized me, so we set up a lesson for Friday. He understood the Restoration waaay better than he did last year. He is much more sincerely open. He was like "how come every preacher isn't using the Book of Mormon? Shouldn't they all be trying to get the true authority too?" He's really fun. I hope he continues progressing well. We had to weekly plan and then we had a lesson with the F family. We used our iPad for the first time to watch a video and it went well. We can download basically any Mormon message or video which is very handy.
Saturday we had to spend a lot of the morning taking a test on the iPad and downloading everything else and becoming familiar with it. It's crazy the possibilities we have with them. It's a little overwhelming. They have interactive pamphlets that have videos, pictures, etc. that are really awesome. We had a great miracle that night. We stopped by a referral from the ASL Sisters for a guy named T and he was outside with his two kids. He was super nice and let us right inside and we taught them the Restoration using the pamphlet on the iPad when needed. It was powerful. His kids are A (10) and G (7) and he's divorced which is one reason he's looking for more guidance. His kids are incredible. They understood everything so well. When we invited them to read the Book of Mormon they easily accepted and Ashley was like "let's do this every night." They accepted an invitation to be baptized and to come to church. It was a testament that the Lord is preparing people for the gospel.
Sunday morning we texted them to make sure they didn't need anything to come and T said they were fine and then when we got to church we told them we saved them a seat, but they said they were running a bit late, and so we told them to text us when they got there. We never heard back from them. It was a bummer, but I'm sure something came up. They are such a good family. M came to church and E was out of town. We had a lesson with M after church about the Atonement. I think she's just afraid to commit for life, so she's not really praying or studying. Sister S was pretty bold with her and just said she's going to have to choose eventually and how glad she was that she has listened to this point. She's a good person. We also had an incredible lesson with this less-active family, the Ms. They've been less-active since before I was here the first time, and I've tried setting up so many lessons with them, but this one finally went through. They have been reading and praying together already, so we talked about church and invited them back and they said they want to. He works some Sundays and so that is what has made it hard to take that first step. They are coming this next week. Since we are TSAMers we of course didn't forget our purpose and asked for referrals and challenged them to pass out a Book of Mormon and they asked for three more! Turns out they are really good member-missionaries and talk about the church all the time. It is awesome. It is interesting that less-active and recent-converts are usually so much better at sharing the gospel. Hopefully they come next week to church.
This is God's church. We have the answers to eternal peace and joy. Thanks for your examples!
Elder Pew

June 8, 2015

Dear family,
This was an interesting week. We had a couple days that just make you laugh because of how many things go wrong, but that's the way it is and it's nice to see when you change enough that it no longer effects you.
Monday night we had another lesson with the Gs. They are doing very well. We taught the Plan of Salvation which didn't go very well at first because the kids were going crazy, but we just kinda paused at one point and stopped teaching and backed out and just started asking questions and having a conversation. We managed to save the lesson and Brother R came and he got along with B well. Sister G is still very busy with work, so we only met with them once, but we have another lesson Tuesday and B is still reading the Book of Mormon.
Tuesday was MLC. It was incredible of course. We had to leave at 6:30 to get down in time. President started by talking about how important it is to go all in with technology. Basically he said he's not using hard copy scriptures any more to study and neither should we. That is exactly what we all needed to hear because I think we all were being stubborn and wouldn't give up our paper scriptures just because we aren't familiar with the resources in Gospel Library. Since then I have gone crazy with the tags and notebooks and it has enhanced my studies tremendously, and more importantly it has enabled me to remember and organize everything I learn so I will always have it to pull from. I can even send my notes and things, so maybe I will send my training from District Meeting that I did completely on the Gospel Library. It took us a long time to get back, and all our lessons cancelled, but we met some good people. 
Wednesday we were out by 10 which felt strange and we contacted a bunch of people before we had to go to the iPad distribution meeting in the afternoon. Everyone else in the mission got their iPads and then we split into small groups and discussed the four safeguards to using technology. They are 1. Be in tune with spiritual promptings 2. Be focused on your missionary purpose 3. Be disciplined 4. Be one with your companion. There is a great promise from the Brethren that if we follow all four safeguards we will never find ourselves in a bad situation. I am grateful for the chance they are giving all of us to learn restraint with technology. I obviously wasn't worried about anything unrighteous, but the world as a whole really struggles with wasting time on technology, and this gives us a chance to learn how to be in control. It has made me realize how important the principle of acting and not being acted upon is. That is essentially the trick to life. Satan throws temptations at us, but as long as we don't let them act on us and we choose to act and do something else, we will avoid any temptation. I think my mindset really is shifting as to the purpose of technology. That it's purpose is not merely entertain, but to do the Lord's work, and we should simply use it for it's purpose. After the meeting we had dinner with the Gs and Ls, but A didn't really come. We have been trying to set up tennis with A today, so hopefully that happens because he loves tennis. 
Thursday we had District Meeting for the first time this transfer and it was great. It was a long one because we had to go through this safety course for iPads together and then we had trainings after it. I talked about consecration and our District is at a really high level. We stopped by the Ss so Elder S could meet G and we shared something with them, but he still isn't ready and it just kills Sister S. Oh well. We had a lesson set up with the F family and she let two of her friends move in, S and M. S is the one we had taught in the past, who declined in interest, but now she told us she is worried about her three teenage kids and wants them to have more structure. She wants to get them involved in church. Sister F is also moving in her sister this week and her two kids, so we could have up to 8 non-members living in their house. 
Friday we weekly planned. We had a lesson with E and it went alright. We taught him fasting and he was a little resistant to it, and I could tell he is losing his motivation. He said he would fast  though, so we will see. We also had dinner with an active family and the oldest daughter's boyfriend was there named W, so we taught the Plan of Salvation a little and invited him to learn. Unfortunately the Hs were a little protective and told him to think about it and get back to them before he even had a chance to reply. I think he's mildly interested, but the difficultly would be helping him do it for the right reasons.
Saturday was great. We stopped by Sister G and surprisingly her brother and his fiance were there and she isn't a member but is being taught in Brownsville. So we taught her and she is really awesome. She would be incredible to teach. She wants to get baptized but is waiting to make sure she's doing it for herself and for her family to support her. She's great. They are just in town for the week. We had dinner with the Ss and M invited another friend C to dinner, and then we taught him about the Book of Mormon and he is a really smart kid. He accepted and seems fairly interested, but he lives in Georgetown, so we will start the teaching and see what happens. 
Sunday was the crazy day. The F family was suppose to come as well as J and E, M, and the Ms and none of them came. We stopped by the F family because our lesson at 4 cancelled and they weren't home and then we went by J and E and J told us she is done with the church and isn't coming back, but she still wants E to be taught, but she cancelled the lesson for this week, so that was a bummer. It was sad to hear her say that. We stopped by a referral from the Spanish sisters and since our lesson at 6 cancelled with the Ms we set up a lesson with the referral named D. We ran to dinner and then we got Brother J to come to the lesson with D, but she wasn't home. She seemed solid, but wasn't there. We stopped by the Rs with Brother J and they are moving this week, so M isn't getting baptized here. Our lesson at 7 cancelled with T, so we stopped by a couple people and went to E. He started right off the bat by saying he thinks it's all too much commitment and he can't do it right now. He said fasting was too much. We set up to teach him every two weeks though because he still really likes us and is willing to come to church, but isn't ready to commit. We left him with the page for General Conference so he can study those since he never got into the Book of Mormon enough. So that was our crazy day, but we know that the Lord is preparing people and we can find them this week. 
This is the Lord's work, there is no doubt about it. Enjoy the summer!
Elder Pew

June 15, 2015

Dear family,
It was another exciting week with zone conferences and a trip to San Antonio.
For P-day we played tennis with A. He is really good. We had a great game and he won 6-4 in the set. I won the first two, but then I got this blister on my thumb that threw me off. He definitely has more skill, but I was beating him with strategy and mental toughness, but I collapsed after the blister. It was good to spend time with him. Monday night we had a lesson with this new guy named B. He is the boyfriend of a less-active member that lives with her active mom. We stopped by a week ago and he seemed pretty interested and set up this lesson. He is basically not religious at all and he's more intellectually curious, but the lesson went well. His girlfriend just had surgery so she wasn't there for the lesson but we gave her a blessing afterwards. Hopefully she is willing to come back and do it with him. He's pretty cool.
Tuesday we had zone conference. It was amazing. President showed us how to use the Gospel Library to have better studies and it was incredible and he taught how Christ is the Father. Thanks to the Gospel Library I was able to capture more of his training and keep the references and notes. It was great. The Assistants gave great trainings. Elder C is hilarious. We had another lesson with S. It went pretty well. She read the Book of Mormon. We talked about how the gospel helps families. 
Wednesday we had one in every single key indicator! First time of my mission, although having a referral received that hasn't been contacted isn't necessarily a good thing, and I've had some days with everything but a referral received, but it was fun to get all ones. We had district meeting and I just wanted to follow up with Zone Conference and we focused on phase one of the iPads with learning to learn. The missionaries in my district have been hesitant to dive in with studies because they feel like they have to come up with some system for the tags and notes, but I encouraged them to just start going. That's what I did and I haven't had any issues. We had a lesson with Sister Rs if you remember her from last year.  She was excited to see me and we set up this lesson. We taught them church, prayer, read and how it will unify their family and they loved it. L seems like a great person. He has great potential. 
Thursday we helped E in her yard. I mowed her forest (that's literally what it was like) and it took 2 hours, so we stopped there. She really needs the help. Sister S invited her to dinner next Tuesday. We had another lesson with S and the F family. We taught the purpose of life and the Plan of Salvation. S is quiet but seems to be opening up more. We had a lesson with this less-active lady we found that we didn't have her records and she lives next to R, so we brought him. It went pretty well. We also had a lesson with the Bs. It went really well. Sister B came to church again. They have made good progress.
Friday we weekly planned. We had a lesson with the Ms and they said they would be at church and Sister M came, so that was great. Brother M was sick. We also had another lesson with R. He read a little in the Book of Mormon and we read Mosiah 3 with him. It was sweet. Hopefully he continues to read and meet more consistent.
Saturday we were out all day and didn't teach any lessons, but we did meet this less-active part-member family that just moved in from Walnut Creek. Brother H served a mission but went less-active afterwards. Their three kids haven't been baptized, so we are going to start trying to teach them tonight. The parents want to get sealed, but the kids just don't really care. Hopefully we can help see that they do care.
Sunday we didn't have anyone at church. That was too bad, especially that the Fs and S didn't come. They really should have. The Gs have been really busy with work so we didn't see them last week, but we are this week, and M is out of town. After church we actually went down to San Antonio for Allen's ordination. he's the one in Randolph that Elder H and I helped bring back to church. Obviously it was time consuming so I wasn't planning on coming, but  in my temple recommend interview with President I asked him what to say, and he said to just go and come to the Sunday night meeting. Well, later I felt like we needed to be back here for the evening and I would rather go for my last Sunday, so we changed plans, but it was too late to back out of going to Allen's ordination. It was neat to see him take that next step in his progress. We made it back by 7 and stopped by T. He was actually there with A and G! We taught them and had an amazing lesson. A is incredible for a ten year old. She remembered almost the whole restoration and was asking great questions like "what happens when the prophet dies? How do you know the new one?" and "let me get this straight, so Joseph Smith got the authority, right?" They are so prepared, hopefully work doesn't keep them from progressing. T really loves his kids and he can see this will help them. I gave A my marked up "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet because she wants to find good friends. She was excited to read it. In the closing prayer A said "I'm going to start reading the Book of Mormon now and this pamphlet so I can learn more about you." They are awesome. Definitely pray for them. This will be so good for them if they make it more of a priority. Thanks for all the support, it means a lot!
Elder Pew

June 22, 2015

Dear family,
Well this was a crazy week. We got a call this morning that there was an emergency transfer and Elder S is going to Uvalde. So I am getting some new companion tomorrow. Yes it was very surprising and I have no idea what's going on, but at this point it doesn't really matter. It's strange to move things around when we were doing so well together and it was set up perfectly for Elder S to take over as District Leader, but I guess there is a different plan. I'll go by investigators this week. 
1. S- She had a great week. We taught her twice and she has read a little. We had a lesson the day she was freaking out about her kids being off the deep end and we had already planned to watch "Mountains to Climb" and it went super well. She was crying and Sister F. She came to church and seemed to enjoy it. Her kids move in this week and so we will hopefully start teaching them. She seems eager to have them join in and I think she has faith this is the answer.
2. L- We had a really great lesson with him on Monday night. We taught him about the restoration of the priesthood and how he could hold it to bless him family and he loved it. He asked how he could be a part of it. We talked about baptism and meeting with us regularly and he accepted a date for the July 18th. Unfortunately he felt sick for our next lesson and didn't join us, and then he missed church, so that was a bummer.
3. T- Didn't see him this week. He had to cancel our lesson on Thursday and we tried stopping by Saturday and Sunday but he wasn't home. So that was a bummer.
3. E- We taught her this week, but she's pretty much in the same place. Still doesn't think she needs to join the church, but she likes the Book of Mormon.
4. A and E- Nothing really. Both have kind of dropped off. J will still talk to us and likes us, but she's given up on the church.
5. E- Had a rough lesson with him. He says he's been reading but we know he hasn't been and he says he just doesn't understand it. We taught him, but he's really lost a lot of light. He just doesn't get it anymore. It's sad. 
6. Gs- Have been super busy with work, so we haven't met with them.
7. Hs- The kids are harder than we thought, they really don't have much interest in the church and Brother H isn't willing to put the gospel first on his priorities, so that's a bummer. 
Luckily this week it rained a bit, although the really big storms that were suppose to hit us were very weak sauce or missed us entirely, but it has been overcast almost all week, so I loved that. 
I also want to thank dad for all that he has done for me. He has been a great example of loving his family and he always magnifies his priesthood. I'm so glad he set the example that at any opportunity to serve, the Pews would be there. Thank you for being such a great role model for me in my life. Have a great week! 
Elder Pew

June 29
Dear family,
So my new companion is Elder C. He is from Ephrata, Washington. He is great. He's been out 8 months and came from Uvalde so he and Elder S just switched places. This has been another week testing our faith that the Lord has a plan. It obviously makes little logical sense why we would need a random E.T. and now Elder C has to try and gain the momentum that Elder S had picked up and get it in two weeks. Then everyone we are teaching either dropped us this week or weren't able to meet, so that didn't make it much easier. 
Monday we had a couple lessons fall through. We did stop by the As and L seems to be really hesitant all of a sudden because we didn't even see him. We talked to Sister A and we asked if she needed help with anything and she said we could help her weed her garden bed, so we did it right there and the kids came out and helped and it was a great family moment, but then they didn't say much to us the rest of the week. Oh well.
Tuesday we left early for San Antonio. There were like 16 missionaries that got transferred. It was super bizarre. I'm positive it wasn't because of any problems, but I don't know why so many were moved. While we were waiting for a few companionships President asked if he could talk to a few people so he pulled Elder S in probably to tell him about the situation he was going into, then he came out and pulled me in, so I thought he would have something to say about the transfer, but he didn't. He basically just wanted to talk and say hello. We basically just talked about my district, new things in the mission, transfers, and using iPads. I got with Elder C and we made the drive up. We had dinner with E and Sister S. We had a lesson with the F family that went pretty well. E had a couple of other funny moments too. 
Wednesday we had district meeting. We have an awesome district. We just role-played teaching with the iPads. It was great. Not much else happened.
Thursday we weekly planned, but we didn't have any luck after that teaching anyone except the Bs who have been to church four times in a row. They are doing great. We biked since we are out of miles and that was fun.
Friday we finally got in contact with the Gs again. We stopped by and she let us in. Sounds like things have been crazy, and B didn't come out, so I think he has some concerns or something. She is great though. She still wants to be active and everything, but they are having some challenges. We had a great lesson with R too and read with him.
Saturday we biked again and we were out right at noon, but it rained on us which I loved, but wasn't super comfortable. We had no luck again, but we did have Stake Conference which was amazing. President spoke for like 5 minutes and just threw it down because it was the anniversary of Joseph Smith's martyrdom. He was almost emotional and the Spirit was super strong. Elder Jones of the Seventy got up and just talked about how incredible President Slaughter was for the first few minutes of his talk. He talked about what makes good councils which was awesome. He also showed how the same principles should apply in our family councils, marriage councils, presidency councils, etc. and I hadn't thought of it like that before. It was great. Also, in the morning for my workout I ran a 5k in 23:58, so I accomplished that goal. Now it's harder to have motivation to run in the morning.
Sunday we had the rest of Stake Conference and it was also amazing. We visited a ton more people but we just haven't been able to catch a break. We did see the L family again. The less-active family that knows they need to come back and we committed them to come back this Sunday. I think they will be there. Sister G contacted us and said she was going to have to cancel visits for awhile because they are having financial problems. They could use some prayers. Also, M said she's done with missionary lessons for now too. I really hope we can find some solid people for Elder C to teach this next week. 
This is the true church. Joseph Smith was and is a prophet. He saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Because of him we have the true knowledge of God. We have the priesthood, we have the Book of Mormon, we have eternal families, we have the Apostolic keys. He is the prophet of the restoration. Jesus truly did anoint that prophet and seer. May we all be loyal to the prophet Joseph Smith.
Have a great week!
Elder Pew
Elder Pew's shirt after helping someone with their car.

The Rest of May Letters and some photos!

May11, 2015
Here was President's email today about Mothers, I thought it was incredible:
Dear Sisters and dear Elders of the great Texas San Antonio Mission:


I have very much enjoyed speaking with you in interviews recently. Thank you for your deep desires to be consecrated disciples! Yesterday in Eagle Pass 2nd Branch, Sister Slaughter and I had the opportunity to speak. Below are some of the thoughts I reviewed in my talk, also taken from my letter to you on 12 May 2014.


I hope you enjoyed a very memorable Mother’s Day.  Many of you have faithful mothers in the gospel; some of you have mothers who struggle; and some of you have lost mothers to death or disease.  One sister asked me, “How can I honor my mother when she is against everything the Church teaches?”  In answer, “The only true way to honor your parents–whether they are faithful, wayward, searching, or deceased–is to honor the Lord.  When you truly honor the Lord, you honor your parents in unimaginable ways.”


We celebrate Mother’s Day in the Church.  We center our sacrament meetings around mothers.  The primary children often sing “Mother I Love You.”  A young woman might stand to express the gratitude she feels for her mother: “I am thankful that my mother is always there.  She feeds me; drives me to school; cleans my room; buys me clothes; and helps me with my homework.”  A father might stand to talk about the importance of mothers and tell stories about the good old days and the fond memories of his mother; or he may even brag on his own wife, the mother of his children.


But,” I think to myself, “couldn’t I hear these same stories among the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Lutherans?  Couldn’t I even hear these exact expressions of gratitude among the Buddists, the Sikhs and even the agnostics?”  The answer is “yes, of course.”  Mothers come from all different backgrounds; they have different personalities and perspectives; and they each play a significant role in the divine design of our Heavenly Father.  Remember that “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is not just to Mormon mothers but to all mothers of the world.


So now let me ask you a question.  If you were asked to speak on mothers, what would you say?  I know your answer; because you are such a faithful missionary, you would remember this important Preach My Gospel principle: “Whatever your initial approach, refer quickly and simply to the Restoration of the gospel, for this is our unique message to the world” (PMG, 159; see also 6).


Now some may ask, “What in the world does the Restoration have to do with mothers?”  In answer, “EVERYTHING!”  If we are to see mothers in their proper perspective, then we must see mothers through the lenses of the Restoration.  When we see mothers in the light of the Restoration, we see them like no other people can.


Let me list a few perspectives of mothers which have come to us through the Restoration:


1.  Motherhood is meant to continue after death (D&C 131).  The religions of the world teach that motherhood is an unnecessary part of eternity, and that the family is dissolved at death.


I had a friend, a mother not a member of our faith, who was asked this question by her daughter: “Mom when we get to heaven, will you still know me?” My friend told her daughter that we would not have any need to know each other in heaven, since we would be angels, praising God day and night. When I asked my friend how her daughter took the news, she told me that it really bothered her daughter, even sent her into depression. I told her that it would bother me too. Who invented such a cruel doctrine? Surely not the Lord. In each of God’s children is planted the yearning to be with family and friends in heaven, for “that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there” (D&C 130:2).


2.  The eternal promises of the temple, which scripture refers to as the Abrahamic Covenant, include the “continuation of seed forever” (D&C 132).


Only in the restored church will you find this restored doctrine, once known among the seed of Abraham, then lost, now known once again among his seed.


3.  Each woman was “predesignated” before the foundation of the world to become mothers.  Even before having children, the faithful daughters of the covenant, are already considered “mothers.”  Eve was known as the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20) before the Fall.  Rebekah

was blessed as “the mother of thousands of millions” (Genesis 24:60) before she ever even met Isaac.


Each and every woman who is faithful to the Lord and His commandments will receive the blessing of motherhood, even those who never had the opportunity in this life to marry or to bare children. No faithful woman will be excluded.


4.  Each of God’s children “is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” (Family Proclamation).  Did you notice how clearly the Brethren speak to the world?  This profound, yet simple restored truth is unknown among the religionists of our day. The world speaks of us as being the “creations” of God, and a few may even speak metaphorically of us being sons and daughters of God, but only in the restored gospel are we taught that we are the literal spirit offspring of heavenly parents.


5.  “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (Family Proclamation). The world is growing ever more confused on this point; there is absolute clarity in the gospel. A mother was female before birth, is female here on earth, and will continue to be female forever after. You cannot vote to change this.


We could go on and on about what the Restoration has done to help us see mothers in their true eternal perspective and identity.  The world does good to honor and love their mothers.  You, however, have the ability, through the Restoration, to help the world see things they have never seen before.


This message of the Restoration is either true or it is not” (PMG, 39).  It is not only true; it is amazing!  With it I can see!  Without it I am blind.


May we all be the missionaries our mothers hope we are.


I love you!  I trust you!  All in!

Elder Pew's letter:
Dear family,
It was great to talk to you all. I am grateful to have a family that is so supportive and are such good examples of living the gospel. Obviously especially for mom and all that she has taught us about the gospel and her example of serving others and putting God first. She has definitely shaped our lives and the people we will become. This was such a good week! I'm going to go through investigators:
1. E- This was the only setback of the week. We had planned on him getting baptized either the 17th or the 24th, but we were having a hard time pinning down a date for sure and time, which was stressing me out a little especially because it can be used as such a good finding tool, but we had a great lesson Friday and he came to church Sunday, but his talk with his parents that night did not go well. They were pretty upset with him and even called B and gave him an earful. We still met with him Sunday night and it was just us and him at the church because we were going to have his interview right after. He said they really want him to study out both churches before he makes a decision. He will still come to church and be taught and I asked if he thinks this is the true church and he said yes, so I'm not worried. The only thing that makes me sad is that Elder T won't be here for it if he gets transferred. I think B will help him too.
2. M- We ended up teaching her twice this week and she came to church. We went over the interview questions and from that I concluded that she knows if there is any true church this is it, she is just working on strengthening her faith in God and I asked her what helps her with that the most and she said reading and discussing scriptures. That was really good to know, so we have some direction on how to help. I think she is still progressing pretty well. 
3. Gs- We finally worked out a time to meet at the church before scouts so we could teach them and they could start scouting. We had a good lesson and her son C enjoyed scouts. Hopefully we can do it every week and we can prepare him to be baptized. They didn't come to church because she works on Sundays, but she is trying to get those off.
4. E- She is the roommate of another recent-convert, J. She joined and never had to new member lessons, so we came over Tuesday and we knew the roommate was there so we invited her to join us and she at first acted like she wasn't interested at all, but she ended up sitting down for almost the whole lesson. J started crying and said that with the trials she is going through sometimes it's hard for her to believe God has a plan for her. Her roommate was very comforting and when we read some scriptures she totally agreed and was trying to help us. I think she is ready for the gospel and it would help J a ton if someone was there to help her in the church. 
5. S- PM family that are basically only home on Wednesday and Thursday and we finally caught them on Wednesday. They were heading out but we asked if we could share something with them and the wife who isn't a member and from Ukraine told us to stay and teach something. We just explained the Book of Mormon and how it is the evidence of the Restoration. We read a few verses with her and it went well. She isn't necessarily super interested because she has some misconceptions, but she is willing to learn and as she does I think she will open up a ton. 
6. J and A- We street contacted these four college age students and they started asking us a ton of questions but they were just curious because they didn't know much about the church. We ended up teaching them for about 20 minutes just answering questions and sharing the Book of Mormon with them. They seemed really interested, but we've had trouble getting in contact since then. 
7. G family- This is a grandmother with her daughter and her five kids and another son who is 14 and not a member that just moved in. They are all returning members and two of the daughters kids have just been baptized, so we are going to try and work with him. It was great!
8. F family- That is the family we found at 8:55 on Saturday night that we set up another lesson with this next week, so hopefully that goes well.
Other good experiences:
Tuesday was MLC and it was at the institute building at UT campus. It was really good. It was kinda nice to not be in charge. We talked a ton about the importance of the Book of Mormon so I was kinda like, "why didn't we do this when I was an Assistant?" But it was all really good and then President looked and me and mouthed that I had 4 minutes to speak. So I got up and shared my thoughts about how to use the Book of Mormon better and it was fun. I love MLC.
Wednesday we had District Meeting which was really fun. I've noticed that we all need to work on using scriptures better, but it's largely because we don't know any scriptures and so I created an activity for us to work on that. Every day one person in the district is in charge of sending out two scriptures that they would actually use but have never used in a lesson to the rest of the District. Then every companionship keeps track of how many times they used those scriptures that day and we are having a competition. The idea is that the best way to remember more scriptures is to  use them and practice using them. Our district was really excited to do it and they are pretty competitive so it will be fun.
Thursday was the Spanish conference and that was pretty fun, although I was definitely behind the other missionaries in speaking, but in grammar I was pretty far along. 
Saturday B took us down to the temple to do baptisms for the dead with the Ns. It was incredible. I wasn't too excited that it was at 5 which meant we would lose a lot of our Saturday, but it was absolutely worth it. They are doing so well. Brother L, the As, the Bs, Bishop , and Elder H and C were there. They had me do some of the baptizing and it was incredible. Me, P, and A were some of the first ones done so we got to just talk in the baptistry. It was some of the happiest I have ever been. P totally understands the importance of temple work and he even tried to remember the temple names he did because it was such a big deal to him to help them out. Sister N was asking about her temple dress and what the requirements are because I think she's going to make her own. I am SO excited to go to the temple with them in a year! As we drove back I pondered on the experience and I thought that if nothing else good happened on my mission (which millions of things have) it was worth it to see the joy and the light that P and A have living and even loving the gospel. I am seriously considering working for them at the carnivals for at least some period of time next summer. It would be a great experience. 
Well there is no doubt that this is the true church and that nothing will bring us more joy than living the gospel. This is what life is all about. Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew

At the temple with a couple who Elder Pew taught 

At the temple with the member who drove them to the temple.

May 18th 2015
Dear family,
This was another great week with some great things that happened. 
Monday we started teaching the Rs which is a less-active family but they want their 8 year old to get baptized and we were asked to help prepare her.  It was good practice for teaching simply and for understanding since they have kids. They are a good family,
Tuesday was crazy. We had a lesson with E in the afternoon at Sister S's house and it went pretty well, but all of her clocks were wrong so she showed up like 25 minutes late and we had a lesson right after so we had to make it really short. I'm not sure how interested she is is, but we set up service with her again, so hopefully that softens her some more. We went straight from that to a first lesson with a lady named T and her husband. We brought B and it was an intense lesson. They knew the Bible really well and at first I thought T was just going to hear us out and not try and question us, but she started to like 10 minutes in so we did our best to answer her questions by referring to the Book of Mormon, and she actually opened up by the end and said she was willing to give it a shot, but I'm not sure what to think, so we might try again this week and see what happens this time. We had another lesson with the F family and they have missed church the past few weeks, but we had a good lesson.
Wednesday we had District Meeting and it went well. Our District has really grown close and they are doing so well. I love serving them. They are all so willing to just dive in and try things and to seek improvement. Right afterwards we exchanged with the Zone Leaders and I went with Elder O, so that was our fourth exchange together. He is great. We had a slow day in McNeil, but they had a great day in Brushy Creek. C came to scouts again, but Sister G still works on Sundays unfortunately. They also had another lesson with the G/Ls the returning members that moved in with a 14-year old son who isn't a member. Apparently he's willing to learn more. They all came to church except the son. 
Thursday we went on exchanges and I was with Elder J in Brushy Creek. We had an awesome day. He is a really good missionary and he's almost ready to be senior companion. He has a lot of potential. We had a lesson with the Ms and we read in Leviticus again, but he let us share a message so we watched the "Because He Lives" video with them. It was better than normal. We also stopped by the Bs and they had a bunch of family over so we started talking to this one guy from Oklahoma and we asked if he had time we could teach him right there, and he said yes and then Sister B asked if she could invite the rest of her family to join, so this nice young family joined as well. It was sweet! We only had like 15 minutes so we just taught about the Book of Mormon and it went really well and they were both interested. They were leaving the next day so we got their information to send off to Oklahoma. We had a lesson with J and her roommate E and we brought S. It went really well and we taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. E was totally involved the whole time so at the end we invited her to actually investigate and she kinda pretended like she had to think about it, but she is totally interested. She is pretty cool but she's almost playing "hard to get" which is funny. She said she has been telling J she will come to church, but they weren't able to make it Sunday.
Friday we weekly planned and we had a lesson with E and he is doing alright. He is definitely not as excited because of what his parents said, but we read 1 Nephi 8 and it went really well. That chapter was perfect for what he needs. We talked about how important it is to consistently read from the scriptures. He understood well and knows he needs to read the Book of Mormon if he wants to know if this is the true church.
Saturday we didn't have any set lessons and we went out and worked really hard all day and didn't see any luck. It's been interesting to me that Saturdays are suppose to be the most effective day, but over my mission I feel like it's the day I've had the least success. Oh well. 
Sunday was great. I love this ward. I don't know if anything special happened, but I just noticed more how kind everyone is and how selfless everyone is. That has been the biggest change. Everyone seems to be so much less worried about themselves and have turned outward to help whoever they can. The G, L, F, Rs, M, Rick, and Cs were all there, and we were missing the Bs, J, Gs, E, and S but it was awesome to see such a big number of people who are coming back to activity at church that we had a part in. We had another lesson with E and we brought Brother R. E couldn't come to church because his parents made him go to Catholic church with them. We talked about having modern-day prophets and he is doing alright considering the opposition he is facing. He told us he's definitely going to have to wait on baptism, but he said he'd like to come to church if he could, so we told him he is always welcome. He said he wants to receive that witness that this is true and that is what is motivating him to continue. I'm worried because this isn't the easy thing to do he will slowly start leaning towards the Catholic church if he doesn't really read the Book of Mormon, but it's totally expected for him to be going through what is he is based on his situation. A lot of the first lessons we had fell through, but I'm sure we will get some next week. Have a great week!
Elder Pew

May 25th, 2015

Dear family,This was a great week! I'm just going to go through our investigators.
1. E- He's doing much better. We had two great lessons this week and he came to church. We read Alma 32 and talked about having a "spiritual load" and how that is important. He enjoyed church and read on his own one time, so that was great. He goes out of town this week, but hopefully he picks up where he left off.
2. M- She's slowed down a bit. We had a lesson about the true nature of God and it went well. She came to church, but I don't think she's really studying on her own although she is busy with school right now.
3. E- Didn't teach her this week because she wasn't able to join in the one lesson we had with J. We dropped off some cookies though later in the week, so hopefully that makes her happy.
4. Gs- C came to scouts, and they were able to go to church, but Sister G woke up late. We set up a lesson for tonight and her husband has really been warming up to us. He is supposedly going to join us for the lesson tonight, so that would be a huge breakthrough to teach him. Sister G is doing very well. I think she's excited to come back.
5. Rs- Taught them the Plan of Salvation, they enjoyed it and the daughter is pretty excited for baptism. There isn't much more we need to teach her. She just needs to meet with Bishop. 
6. E- We did service for her this week and pulled her weeds and she was really grateful. We set up a lesson for next week and we had Sister S invite her to church and she came, so that was pretty great. She didn’t stay for all three hours, and I’m not sure if she’s really interested in converting, but it was good for her to come to church. The talks were incredible. I love this ward so much. The people here are such good members. Both talks were focused on being converted to the word of God and not being swayed by others’ opinions. It was perfect for E and E.
7. F- We finally got in when the whole family was there. It was fun to talk to them and then we showed the “Because He Lives” video. I just straight up asked them if they were willing to really try learning and coming to church. They said yes, sort of, but then listed off why it’s so hard. They are busy with soccer and work, they were offended and can’t forgive, they don’t know people, etc. It was so sad to hear. Basically they said that they aren’t willing to put the church and the Lord as a priority. I don’t think we will go by very many more times, but I feel a little obligated because they told me that I am the only connection they have to the church right now. Basically if they ever come back it will have to start with me somewhere. It was definitely one of the saddest experiences because of how much I love them, but it didn’t affect my faith at all. I know there are families ready for the gospel somewhere in the area.
In other really big news, Elder Allen and Evans of the Seventy came to our mission on Wednesday because the time has finally arrived to get iPads in our mission. The conference was amazing. They barely talked about how we will use the iPads, so I don’t really know other than to use videos, study, plan, and the area book will be on them. The title of the conference was “Disciples in the Digital Age.” They focused on one of the main reasons the Brethren feel inspired to give us more technology is so that we can learn how to use it righteously during these two years of our missions. Instead of sheltering us from the evil in the world, they want to teach us how to walk right past any temptation. They talked about how we have no temptation to buy liquor when we go to the store even though we walk right past it. It’s because we have learned how to not be phased by that temptation and use the goodness of the store for righteous reasons. That is how our use of technology should be. The main focus is for it to be righteous, measured, and appropriate; now and always. It was incredible to see the vision that the Brethren have. It’s not really even about “getting with the times” or simply to show more videos, it’s about saving this generation. I loved it. So I think I get a loaned iPad at transfer meeting to give back at the end of the transfer since I’m a part of the MLC. It was be interesting to see where this goes.
Also, we got transfer calls. Unsurprisingly Elder T is leaving and I’m staying. Sometimes I worry if I’ll be able to figure out things to do since I’ve met everyone, but I know the Lord provides a way. Elder T is sad to leave, but I’m sure he’s going to a Spanish area, so it will be all good.
Thanks for your examples and your love!
Elder Pew

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All of April's letters from Elder Pew and some photos!

April 6th, 2015

Dear family,
District Leader Training
This was a great week! We held a District Leader Conference for the mission this week and we had Elder W give a training on keeping apartments in order. The first thing he said is "President Slaughter and the Assistants are like the First Presidency. Elder W, Elder R, and I are the Presiding Bishopric. We take care of the temporal needs of the mission." It was hilarious. His whole training was funny, but he went like 15 minutes over. 
Monday we had a great lesson with J at the Bs. She is doing incredible. We taught her about family history and temples, but she already knew everything. We were going to show her familysearch.org, but she already had an account and found some relatives. She is working on Personal Progress, and she knew which prophet's teachings are found in 2 Nephi 9 without us telling her (and it's not Nephi if that's what you are thinking). She is great. We tried contacting her mom all week, but we didn't make contact.
Tuesday I was on exchanges with Elder W. It was a blast. He has made so much improvement. He is a very stable and steady missionary now. We got a call from the Balcones Heights sisters and told us they had an investigator that moved into our area, and that their day off was Tuesday, so we went and contacted them. They are a cool couple. They are really young and have two kids. They are trying to get back on their feet. and living in their friends apartment who is being generous. They were taught several times and we showed them "Because of Him" and they loved it. They have been reading a little bit in the Book of Mormon, so hopefully they progress well. We also shared the "Because He Lives" video with several people on the street on their smart phone, so that was cool.
Wednesday we had our District Leader Conference. I gave a training on conducting effective exchanges and giving correction. My main emphasis was that we often correct others too much. Much of the "correcting" should be taught by example. The missionary handbook makes it clear that is what it is suppose to be like. Also, there is a difference between correcting and suggestions. We should rarely give correction, especially in the TSAM because everyone is so obedient. That is vocally helping someone that is way off the path to and is doing something harmful to their effectiveness or salvation. Suggestions are merely things that could help them improve, but aren't life-altering and even many of those should be taught by example. So on exchanges we should do everything we can to be examples because that Spirit we bring is what will teach the other missionaries more powerfully than anything we can say. I talked about the three most important things we should be examples of are constant faith, consecration, and conversion. The three C's. President got up in MLC and used those same things and read letters he receives about exchanges and it was really cool to hear that they often said things like, "the things I learned weren't said. I was so impressed by their constant faith" or "their consecration." Those are also the things that should last after the mission too. We had a great meeting. We had a good lesson with P and he seems to get really excited about what we teach. He was so excited about Apostles, but he didn't come to General Conference. 
Thursday we did all the office work we needed to. We helped the As. They are such a good couple. They also told us they allowed this Medical student from Mexico live with them and so they brought them to Conference. We are also teaching a different friend in their home on Friday. They are such good member missionaries simply because they don't worry about being awkward or slow with things, they just be themselves. We brought H with us to a lesson with the Os. It was a good experience though to have H add his testimony and give him a chance to vocalize it. We figure that is all we can help him with at this point. 
Leadership Conference
Friday was MLC. It was incredible. Elder I and Elder I gave great trainings on how to help District Leaders. The LSTLs both gave trainings on exchanges and correction and it was cool to see they had some of the same thoughts that I had from the District Leader Conference. Sister R and her companion are STLs in Round Rock and they are the ASL missionaries. There was a deaf expo that they went to and had been preparing for for like 3 months. They taught like 26 lessons at the expo and got about another 30 referrals, and things have just exploded with that, so we had them speak to us for a bit on what happened and how we can help. It was inspiring. President Slaughter gave incredible trainings again. Elder H and I gave a training on the "Because He Lives" video and how to keep it going after Easter. We did a big scripture chain of what the Book of Mormon teaches about the resurrection (Mosiah 15:8-9, Mosiah 16:8-9, 2 Nephi 2:7, Alma 34:9, 2 Nephi 25:13, Helaman 14:15). It was a great MLC. I went on exchanges with Elder H right after. He is a younger Zone Leader and he is great. We had a bunch of things fall through but we had some really good discussions. We had a lesson with the M. They told us they were planning on going to the Davis' for Conference on Sunday. That was great.
Saturday was incredible. We had to print off stewardships for transfer planning this week, so we didn't have any time to proselyte, but Conference was so good. Several of them stuck out, especially Elder Bednar and Elder Andersen of the 70 and Elder Ballard in Priesthood. That was perfect. J watched Saturday afternoon at the B's and loved it. The As brought their new roommate and she seemed to enjoy it.
Sunday was also incredible. Elder Holland and Elder Nelson's stuck out but they were all good. We went to the D' for afternoon session and the Ms came! We brought them cookies. I think Brother M enjoyed it and hopefully they stayed after for awhile. We stopped by the As just to see what we should do with M and they have already talked to her a ton about the church, and they brought her down so we showed the "Because He Lives" video and basically invited her to investigate. She will only be here for a month or so, but she has a great spirit about her. She would be a great kingdom builder in Mexico, especially since she is working on her PhD. We had a great meeting with President. We counseled together and decided it is time to bring in and train another Assistant and I am going to go back into the field. I'm not sure where, but it will be good. Elder C is my replacement and he will do really well. It will be sad to go, but I trust that there is somewhere I need to be for the remainder of my time. 
Elder Pew's district
We had such a great opportunity to witness one of the great characteristics of being part of Christ's true church. To hear prophets and Apostles speak. One thing I've learned on my mission is the need to be "quick to observe." We all heard things that we can improve and do better, and there is no point to the Conference if we don't quickly observe them. I hope each of us take the inspiration we received and act on it. It was also special to be representatives of Christ on Easter, to bear witness of Him. He does live. He "stands betwixt [us] and justice" and he made it possible for us to overcome both physical death as well as spiritual death. We can return to live in His presence as we accept Him and live His gospel. This is the church that contains the fulness of it and the authority to teach and administer the ordinances necessary to access His Atonement. Thank you for all you do!
Elder Pew
Elder Pew and his companion with a friend

April 13th, 2015

Dear family,
Monday we picked up Elder C and he's doing well. He's so teachable and humble. He's great. We had a lesson with this man we met several weeks ago street contacting and he missed the appointment but we saw him Monday night and he beckoned to us and wanted us to come in. It was a great lesson, but we haven't been able to get together again. His name is A.
Tuesday we started transfer planning. It is always incredible to see the love and inspiration from President Slaughter. It gets easier every time because I know all the missionaries so much better. It took awhile to find a place for me. It just so happened that the best place would be in Brushy Creek. I would be over 8 missionaries in the district and Elder T just happens to be there and he is in his first transfer but he's going to be really good. We finished out the planning for the day and I had no idea what to think about going to Brushy Creek. Lots of mixed emotions. We had a great evening. We had a lesson with P and again he was so excited to see us and loved everything we taught. He canceled our next lesson and missed church. Not sure how to help him. We had a lesson with J and S and talked about missionary work but unsurprisingly J is already doing tons of missionary work. She's great. We had a lesson with this lady named M about the Book of Mormon. She was another person we street contacted and she was really interested. She didn't come to church but was excited to start reading. 
Wednesday we finished transfer planning, and throughout the day I felt uneasy about going back to Brushy Creek. I don't want the mission to think that I just chose where to go and moved everyone out of the way so it could happen and Elder M, who is in Brushy Creek right now has been very clear about the fact that he doesn't want to leave Brushy Creek. I voiced these concerns with President Slaughter, but he didn't see a problem and really liked the idea of me going there, so that is where I am going! So I'm very excited and also nervous for how people react. I'm sure it will be good. My only goal is to baptize a family. That is my only desire. That night was the night Elder H left, but Elder C and I didn't have much luck besides the Indian couple we taught. 
Thursday we had zone meeting in the morning. It was great. Elder W and I sang our own words to "Oh Savior thou who Wearest a Crown" to the tune of "If you Could Hie to Kolob" and it went really well. I wish we recorded it. That will probably be our last chance to do that. We had to do a bunch of office work after that until dinner. We also didn't have much success that night, but we set up a bunch of lessons for the next few days.
Friday we had to go pick up Elder H in Austin and bring him back. We got more of the office work done and then headed out. We had dinner and a lesson with M at the As. We had a lesson with R and we just watched "Come, Join with Us" with him. He really liked that, so we'll see if he starts to open up some more. He's doing better. We also had a lesson with the Ms that was great. I had the son build a lego house while we opened to the scripture. We talked about the importance of having a strong foundation and that the way that we build that foundation is by hearing and doing the words of Christ. That is exactly what they need to know right now too. It went well.
Saturday we finished the office work for the weekend and headed out. We had a lesson with J and S and we had J and S teach us since they both understand the gospel so well. They did a great job and we are just waiting for her mom still. We might have an FHE with her at the B's again tonight. We talked to this lady who thought she was Jesus in the flesh, but besides that, not a lot happened.
Sunday at church everyone figured someone was leaving since in this ward a trio means someone is going home, so they all found out I was leaving. This ward is so incredible. I am going to miss it. We didn't have any investigators at church, but Paul came back into town for church, so that was great to see them. They are doing so well. We are eating with them Tuesday so I will see them again. We had an incredible lesson with the A family. They are so awesome. They had been out of town but just got back and they let us right in. We read 2 Nephi 32 with them and they were just eating it up. They are all in. They had been reading on their own too. I'm sad to leave them, and I'm sure they will get baptized soon. We did transfer calls that night and it went well. Everything is worked out for transfers. It was sad for it to be a last meeting at President's house, but it was great. 
This is the true church. I know this is the way of salvation. Thanks for all you do!
Elder Pew
A fellow missionary made this for him when he was on splits with him!

April 20th, 2015
Dear family,
This was a crazy week, but it has been such a great experience. I know I'm already a better person this week than I was last week. 
Monday we taught that Indian couple again. They are such good people. We made it simple and just invited them to read the Book of Mormon. That was mostly it.
Tuesday we got the departing missionaries. We had a great lesson with the A family. I am so sad to leave that family. I hope they get baptized. They are so great.
Wednesday morning we dropped off the departing missionaries at the airport. We had our district leader meeting which was strange knowing that I was going to be one of them. It was good for me though to have some time to think about what I want to accomplish with them. We picked up the new missionaries which was an interesting group because all three of the Elders had already been out for a few transfers but either got reassigned or were coming back. We took them to the Alamo
At the Alamo
and the Slaughters left for a meeting in Dallas, so we were on our own. We still took them to the Mission Home and did our best to replicate the presentation the Slaughters give. The Pressers were there and the kids, so it was only us. It went well.
Thursday morning we took them to transfer meeting. I bore my testimony in the transfer meeting in San Antonio and I actually got really emotional. I was reading from Alma 26 with my own words a little too.
And now, these are the words of [Elder Pew] to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren and [Sisters], behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of [Utah] that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? 
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the [Texans], were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands... 
Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle , and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves ! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. 
I just started thinking about how great the Lord had been to me and our mission and it made me emotional for one of the first times on my mission as I shared with our mission my feelings and testimony. I was overpowered by the Spirit and it was probably the most powerful speech I've ever given. There were so many people wiping tears away afterwards which is the first time I've ever noticed that. I was grateful for that experience. Once we finished announcing the San Antonio transfers everyone knew I was going up to Austin and everyone was asking where I was going, but I didn't tell anyone. The Austin transfer meeting was really good. We did alright for not having President Slaughter with us. When they read my name going to Brushy Creek there was an audible gasp in the chapel. It was crazy. After the meeting Elder T and I got everything together and headed out. Elder T is great.
New companion and Elder Pew
He has a lot of excitement and he's a powerful teacher. He has a lot of potential. He'll be great. I'll just give you a rundown of the people we are working with. 
1. M- Single mom with four sons. Three live with her right now and are 9, 7, and 1. They hadn't taught her yet and she hadn't been to church. Right when I met her I felt great charity for her and I had a good feeling about this family. We invited them to church and she said that she needed to come back and she came to church! She liked it and her sons seemed to like Primary too. We are teaching her tomorrow night. It will be great. The ward did a great job of helping her feel welcome.
2. E- Lives with a recent convert named B (not the one I baptized last time) and he is pretty interested. He's been to church a couple times and wants to learn more. We taught him the Restoration and he understood well. He seems ready. His only holdup will be that he works on Sundays for the next four week, but he really wants to come to church which is great.
3. M- Young women. Friends with the Ss. Taught her in their home. She knows all about the church and studies with the Ss from time to time and reads on her own. She seems to be one who is waiting for some powerful answer instead of just choosing what she thinks is best. It is just a matter of time for her.
4. O- Nice guy who has brain trauma. He likes what we have taught so far. He's really nice.
5. The Fs and E- Both going out of town but were really excited to see me. They seem like we will just pick up right where we left off.
6. E, J, and others- Still don't seem to be ready. It is a little sad, but they are good people.
Church was crazy. Everyone was so excited to see me and Sister S was probably the most excited. She was telling everyone that I was the one that got her back to church. It was cool to see their excitement and luckily none of them have thought that I came back just to have a good time or something. I have never been so motivated to work so hard in my life. I just want to give everything I've got to this area and Elder T. He's doing well but it has been hard just being companions with someone so new again. I'm used to Zone Leader or Assistant companions, so I've been praying constantly to just be the example he needs me to be and to give him the experiences he needs to be a leader. He's going to be good but sometimes I need to not worry about getting him all the way there this week. It will take time. My district is incredible. We will have a great time. I have been surprised by the weight of the load I've felt here. It felt very heavy the first few nights, and I've come to understand in a small way the burden the Savior felt and I've grown closer to Him because of this time. You would think that being an Assistant would be a bigger load, but I've come to see how important District Leaders are and how important it is to stand alone. I've been used to being surrounded by other missionaries at the top. The Lead Sister Training Leaders and the Zone Leaders and those at MLC, but out here I have really had to put more on my shoulders to help them out. I am very grateful for this opportunity because it has been helping me to give absolutely everything I have because I have to. There is no one else that can do it and it has already made me grow a lot. I am excited to continue to serve here in such a great area. I'm so grateful for my mission. The Lord truly is good to us. Thank you all for your love and your examples!
Elder Pew

April 27th, 2015
Dear family,
I think I've regained the knowledge of the area I had forgot. I will just go through our investigators again.
1. E- We taught him twice this week and we taught him about baptism and invited him to be baptized May 23rd. He accepted but he works that day, so it will have to be another day that week or sometime around then. He is a really nice guy. Elder T was freaking out since it was the first person that has accepted a baptismal invitation on his mission. He even called President because he was so excited. We taught him on Sunday and brought some more fellowship and read with him in the Book of Mormon. He's doing well and is on track. He is worried his parents won't support him, but he said he's pretty committed. Being roommates with a recent-convert will help him for sure. 
2. M- She came to church and we also taught her twice. She told us of this awesome experience reading the Book of Mormon when she was not feeling well and she read in Alma 17 when it says to "be of good comfort" and "bear with patience thy afflictions" and it was exactly what she needed. That was incredible, but she still says the Book of Mormon is just another book. Oh well. 
3. O- We weren't able to meet with him. We might need to move on from him if he isn't ready.
4. A- who has been taught once and we read Moroni 6 and invited him to church but he didn't come. He is cool though. He lives on his own and is about 50. 
5. G family- Didn't come to church and we stopped by. She still responds over text and had to work until 2 in the morning on Sunday so that is partly why. Hopefully we can just start teaching her son this week.
6. Fs and E get back this week so hopefully we can set something up and hopefully they progress.
7. D & S- We met this couple trying to go by a part-member family but we accidentally went by the wrong apartment and the couple we met was super nice and were in a hurry but they let us in and were interested in the Book of Mormon. We talked about it and gave it to them. They were pretty interested but are busy until the summer, but we are going to stay in contact and hopefully start teaching them as soon as possible. We talked to sooo many people this week, it felt good to have so much time.
Friday night and Saturday was an open house for the new church building they built in Cedar Park as part of our Stake. They set up the church with tons of information about the church and made it a great missionary opportunity. It didn't have the biggest turn out but there was a good number of non-members that came. Our whole zone had to be there the entire time so that was pretty long and there wasn't always stuff for us to do, but it was good. I hope it yields some positive results. 
Thursday we moved into a new apartment that actually isn't in our area but it's in McNeil and isn't too far away. The washer flooded after we finished moving in so that was an adventure. 
Wednesday was my first district meeting and it was a blast. I focused on prioritized planning and preaching by the way and I made it very flexible so I could really help the district with the things it needed. They had some questions on how to find new investigators through current investigators so we practiced that for awhile which went well and then we talked about what makes a good street contact and then I just asked what they needed to work on and then I gave a demonstration and then we practiced. It went fairly well. I am excited to work with this district. It's me and Elder T, the Sign Language Sisters and Sister Training Leaders Sister W and R (yes the one from Lone Peak), Elder D and O (our zone leaders and the ones we live with), and Elder B and J (the one from South Africa). It should be a good transfer. 
Thank you for all that you do and your examples. This is the true gospel of Christ on the earth. It is the way to true joy. I love you all!
Elder Pew

May 4th, 2015
Dear family,
This was a busy week and it flew by! We had some good things happen, although no family yet. 
Monday we showed up at O's house perfect timing. He was needing help moving some furniture so we did that and had a lesson. We basically read with him and he realized he needs to read more often. It was kind of a make or break lesson, and we haven't heard from him since, so he might be done taking lessons. 
Tuesday I went on exchanges in Walsh Ranch. We were on bikes so that was fun. I was with Elder B. He is great. He's only been out 5 months but he will be a great leader. He is so teachable. We had fun. We found this family from Colombia move some furniture and they were pretty Catholic but we asked if we could show them "Because He Lives" and it was powerful. They are such a good family. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon and the dad wasn't really interested right now, but the wife was actually curious and asked us some questions.
Wednesday we had a lesson with M. We read from Mosiah 4 and it was good. She is slowly coming along. We had Brother H come out with us and he is great. Such a good member. We actually taught a lesson to a partially Hispanic family that mostly speaks Spanish but they live in Austin and it was a short first-lesson. 
Thursday we had zone meetings with interviews. It was really awesome. President gave a great training on finding balance and seeing the big picture in the scriptures. Basically he tore apart the classic response we get down here "all I have to do is confess with my lips and I'm saved." He talked about how we are saved by the merits, mercy, and grace of Christ and taught the difference between grace and mercy and how the gospel is how we access that power. It was great. My interview was pretty short as usual. I gave a training on using the Book of Mormon more, so of course I enjoyed that. I ran through a couple scriptures that show the power and importance of the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:40, 2 Nephi 25:18, 2 Nephi 33:10, 2 Nephi 29:9) and then we did a bunch of role plays. 
Friday we had a great lesson with E and explained the Plan of Salvation. He said he had actually been wondering about that and what happens after this life. He is great. We met this new guy named D. He was outside his house and we went up and talked to him and he is 19 and just moved back in with his family because he had a rough year away from home. He got caught in the wrong crowd and he said he "woke up to God." He has made a ton of changes in the last two months and we taught a bit of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and how this will help him make those changes. He seems really solid. He had to reschedule our return appointment. We might have to pass him off to the YSA Sisters if the rest of his family isn't interested, but it was a great experience.
Saturday we were out all day and we had 5 lessons fall through. We worked until 9 and we didn't see any successes, but it was a great day to test our faith. Those are the true tests to see if you will still serve the Lord faithfully even when nothing seems to happen. I think it was hard on Elder T. 
Sunday was great. Church was fantastic despite no investigators coming. We had a lesson with M and watched "Come, Join with Us" We had a really open conversation with her and she expressed her concerns being able to balance church and everything else in life, and tithing. I think they both come down to her not being sure if she wants to do this forever yet. I asked if she saw herself getting baptized someday and she said she thought when she was on her own and could not be swayed either way she would be able to see what she really wanted. I'm glad she understands the long-term impact of her joining, hopefully we can help her develop enough faith to do it. Her fellowshipping family is incredible. They help her a lot. We also had a great lesson with E. We talked about prayer and commitment and he seems totally on board. He is probably getting baptized May 17th or 24th. It should be great. 
Thank you for all that you do and your examples! This is the Lord's work!
Elder Pew