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.