January 26th, 2015
Mayhem is kinda what this week felt like, but it was a great week! I am so grateful for the great learning experiences I've had this week and on my mission, especially seeing some great missionaries go home has made me grateful I still have tons of time left.
Monday night was great. We had a first lesson with these two younger people. Neither of them were very religious, agnostic at best. We basically talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon and how they would help them know there is a God. We finished the night filling up with gas and Elder T cried a little bit because it was his last night to work. He was a great example of enduring to the end, and it was sad to see it end.
Tuesday we got up really early and drove up to Austin and picked up all the departing missionaries. It was a fun drive. It was Elder H's first time going to Austin. By the way he is from Gilbert Arizona and I think you can see what he looks like in J's baptism picture, we haven't had time to take a picture together yet. He is a really great missionary. He's helped me step up my planning especially and he is very driven. Anyways, we dropped off the departing missionaries and finished up everything we needed to logistically for the transfer (getting vans, luggage, locks, air mattresses, etc. in the right places at the right times). We had a really good evening. We had a lesson with the Gs. We had a lesson with P that was amazing. We taught him about eternal families and he really likes the idea. He's really determined to become converted so that he doesn't fall away. He is so cool. He was really excited for his baptism. We also had a lesson with the M family.
Wednesday morning we took the departing missionaries to the airport. It was sad to leave Elder T and we only cried a little bit. He will do great things though. We had the new district leader and trainer meeting and President told us he couldn't come so the LSTLs ran the trainer meeting and we trained the district leaders. It went really well. We picked up the new missionaries from the airport, and it's so cool how you can tell who the leaders will be so quickly. The gift of discernment is amazing. We had one new missionary named Elder N who is a convert to the church and he is going to be an incredible missionary. He blew me away. We took them to the temple and then to the church for lunch. We had to pick up the Mexico MTC missionaries and we took them all straight to the Alamo. It was a little chilly so it wasn't as busy, but it was a great experience. I went with a couple different people and we passed out about 5. Every time I absolutely love sharing the Book of Mormon with people and I still don't think I will ever be able to express my feelings for it with words. We took the new missionaries to the Slaughters for dinner and they were zonked. We tried to have some discussions with them, but they were totally zoned out so we left at 9. It was a good group. 16 total.
Thursday we got up really early again and took the new missionaries to transfer meeting. They were really excited to hear who their trainers were. I conducted the San Antonio transfer meeting and announced the transfer changes in Austin. It is fun to conduct. Probably my favorite thing ever is when everyone starts singing "Called to Serve" really loud right before we come in with the new missionaries and then we walk through the door and everyone stands as we enter. It is such a humbling experience. It was raining really hard after the meeting which made the chaos of luggage more chaotic, but everyone cooperated really well. We had 31 missionaries going to Austin which is a big group and only 18 areas were unaffected by transfers. It was fun to drive with a big group of missionaries. I took the 15 seater and Elder H took the other van. We had a pretty slow evening, but we did teach J about the priesthood and got him really excited for that.
Friday we planned our next transfer with the Sisters and then made the org card, so we were in the office until the evening. We met some cool new people and families, and we have been trying by a lot of part-member families, but we didn't have any luck teaching that night.
Saturday we were able to work for a lot of the day which felt great. We have one less-active guy who has a non-member girlfriend that seems like she could be interested, so hopefully that one pans out. We had a lesson with H on agency and revelation. Basically the goal of the lesson was to help him see he didn't need a miraculous experience to know to be baptized. He can choose. I think we helped him see he needed to change the attitude of his prayers to "this is my decision ____, help me to know if this isn't what I'm suppose to do." If he is willing to decide like that, he will be baptized.
Sunday was great. Church is always good. H came again, and P came just to Gospel Principles. I think he just wants to make sure he really believes it, and he's reading the Book of Mormon, so it should be a fast process. A returning less-active lady brought her friend who is really interested which was awesome so we are teaching him in her home on Tuesday, but he will be in a different area. A recent-convert family moved into the ward this week too, so we had a lesson with them after church. They are really solid. I was so impressed with them. They were baptized in November and we are helping them with family history on Wednesday because they are excited to go to the temple. That was exciting to see their excitement for the gospel. Our meeting with President was amazing! We planned out the things we needed to, and then we ended up talking about the difference between remission of sins and forgiveness, the gift of the Holy Ghost being the vehicle for the blessings of the Atonement, and the gathering of Israel. It was great. He just has so much knowledge. I love being able to work with him. Also, if you are wondering, forgiveness and remission of sins are usually used synonymously (I can explain that further if you want later).
Anyways, I'm just full of gratitude for the chance I have to serve the Lord. Thank you for your love and support. I know everything we share is true. This is the way. Have a great week!
February 2nd, 2015
This was a fantastic week! I can't remember if I told you last week, but Elder Nelson came with Elder Foster and Elder Wright to speak to us on Saturday. It was amazing and I will tell you more details later.
Monday we didn't have much going on. We stopped by H and gave him a bunch of scripture verses.
Tuesday we had District Meeting. Elder W is our district leader now which is such a neat experience and he did an amazing job. He knows the gospel really really well. He is a study junky and everyone in the district really got a lot out of it. We had a meeting with the Area Leaders to define what their responsibilities are. They are basically going to be traveling assistants who will be focused on helping the Spanish in the mission improve. They will be a good addition. We had a lesson with the Gs and they are slowly progressing, but it is really hard to know how to help people like them. I've wondered my whole mission how to help low-commitment people break their cycle and stay committed. I still don't know the secret, so if somebody does, I would love to know it.
Wednesday we had a chance to weekly plan and do some other work we needed to in the office. We had a great lesson with P about following the prophet and he was excited for his baptism and loved church last week. They made us these delicious hamburgers too. I love that family. We had a lesson with the recent convert that just moved into our ward, the B family. Wife is a member, husband is a convert of two months. They are really solid. We helped them get started on their family history on familysearch. It was really neat. We went back as far as he knew and we hit a line that had already been done. He is going to go in and put the rest that he knows and tonight we are hopefully going to help him find some more names. It was a great example of being involved in all aspects of the work of salvation. We were helping retain a new member, reactivate a less-active one, do work for the dead, and teach the gospel all at once. Lots of people see missionaries only being a part of conversion (baptism), but that is not our only focus and purpose. We are involved in all five aspects and each member should be too. It's not the high priest's responsibility to do family history, or the elder's quorum to reactivate. We should all do all of them.
Thursday we went on exchanges. I was with Elder W. He's a really good missionary and he's pretty young. He has only been out 13 months but he will be a great zone leader. He is a great teacher and very urgent. I felt bad because all of our lessons canceled and I could tell he was slightly nervous, but one of my goals is to be very approachable. We had some good discussions.
Friday I was on exchanges with Elder N. It was kinda chaotic since Elder H planned the day on his previous exchange, but it was fun to be with Elder N. He's the new zone leader here in our zone, so it's fun to have Elder W as my district leader and Elder N as my zone leader. We had a lesson with P and reviewed the interview questions. He is ready and excited. We set up his interview with Elder W for Saturday.
Sunday was a great day. P came to all three hours of church and so did J. P had some more interactions with ward members which is great. We had a great lesson with the M family. They are part-member and the 9 year old isn't baptized. I think it will just a little time, so that is a family that you should pray for. Also, we fasted today that H would decide to get baptized on the 21st of this month, if it is the Lord's time.
This week I am especially certain that we have living prophets and Apostles. They hold all the keys of the kingdom. We will never go astray if we follow their counsel. This is the true church. Thank you for all that you do and for your faith!
February 9th, 2015
This was a fantastic week! So many great things happened, hopefully I can put it all into words.
Monday we had a great lesson with P. He said some things that couldn't have made me happier. He was really excited to invite his family to his baptism and he just loves the church. He opened up to us a lot more and he said that "the high standards of the church are just so important to our family, and staying strong. We just hold them in such high regard." We also helped the B family again with family history and now we have his membership number so we can request the ordinances. We are excited for them.
Wednesday we another lesson with P and he was even more impressive. He said that "there is something inside me, that just pulls me to do what's right. It's something I've always had." He is incredible and I feel like us and the N family are really good friends too. We had district meeting and Elder W is doing well. He has been impressive. I went on exchanges with Elder T and we had a great day. We are just so similar. I've almost convinced him to go to BYU. We had a really powerful lesson with a part-member family. They aren't interested but we just astonished them. I know they felt the Spirit, but they just don't want to change yet.The ward did a good job of supporting and his confirmation went well too. I am so excited for them!
This work is true and I know that P's baptism was a true baptism. Even a great person like him can receive so much more by being a part of Christ's true church. Thank you for everything!