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