Monday, September 24, 2012

Changes this week

Hey guys,

It has been a strange week, adjusting to the smaller area and fewer wards. Our nightly planning sessions are becoming crucial, as we have to really dig and ponder the next days activities in order to fill every moment of the following day. However, we're very much enjoying the new found ability to focus more on three wards as opposed to five; our relationships with the bishops, WML's, and members of those wards are growing stronger every day and we're seeing the work benefit as a result. All of our current investigators are on hold as of right now; one is pregnant and experiencing some health problems, so she's at a hospital in Vegas, another just had a baby girl two days ago and she has jaundice, so they're not able to meet, and another we're meeting tonight and hoping we can set up a return appointment. Like I said, strange week, and it dragged ON. Like, on and on and on, but such is life, I guess. 

We got two new Elders in the valley, taking over two of the previous five wards we covered last transfer. One of them is Elder Jones, who, prior to this transfer, was a zone leader. His trainer is 22 year old Elder Kraft, a recent convert from Alaska. Elder Kraft had served before in this mission, but had come home due to health issues. We like them both a lot; they're a great addition to our district. They get down to business and don't really mess around, and that's what this area needs, really. It's been a privilege to help them get used to this area so far. 
Well, the next big thing we're all looking forward to is General Conference. It's basically like the SuperBowl for missionaries. It's going to be so nice to just sit next month and listen to the words that our Prophet and Apostles have prepared for us. I'm about 400 pages into Jesus The Christ, by James E. Talmage, and during my personal study today I read a little about the Apostle Peter. Christ asks his apostles who they think he is and Peter bluntly responded (as only Peter can) that he is Christ, the Son of God. Christ tells him that he is blessed because his testimony isn't based on the miracles he witnessed, but the personal revelation he received. The following verse is the one that Catholics cite as their claim to divinity: "thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church". However, he isn't talking about Peter as the rock, but revelation; the rock of revelation. I love that this church is the true church of Jesus Christ, and that we rely on modern day revelation given to us from a Living Prophet, who has received it from a Living God. It all makes too much sense and bolsters my testimony exceedingly every day. Fine print: read Jesus The Christ. Holy cow, it rocks.

I love you guys,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jason's Baptism

Hey guys,

Go Utes.
This week has been just a little bit of crazy. On the lesson front, it's been awesome; Wednesday we taught three lessons to three different investigators, all with a member present. Pretty sure that's a Logandale record. We found two new investigators, a 14 year old girl named Julia Johnson who has been attending girls camp and wants to take the lessons and a newlywed couple who's 6 weeks pregnant. Both of them are in the Logandale 4th ward though, so we were bummed thinking we were going to turn them over, but grateful we found them. Then we got a call from the AP's on Friday and we found out we're now over Logandale 3rd, 4th, and 5th, even though we live in L1 boundaries. It was awesome, as the only investigator we had in our old area was set for baptism on the 15th. Jasons baptism was awesome. I was actually very nervous; it was kind of odd. Elder Millar was performing the baptism (his first time, it was cool) and I gave the talk on baptism; it was a way cool service and the Spirit was strong. Seeing the change in him the six short weeks has been nothing short of incredible. When I first met him, he couldn't sit still, no eye contact, didn't finish his sentences. As we taught him and he began obeying the Word of Wisdom and keeping all of the commandments, he began to listen more intently and ask thoughtful, complete questions. The Jason that walked down into the waters of baptism was a completely different man than the Jason I met August 7th. This truly is the Lords work and I gain a stronger testimony of that every single day.

I love you all, stay strong and do some missionary work!


Elder Millar, Jason VanMittendorp, Elder Dowdle

Monday, September 10, 2012

Attack Goose!

I can't believe it's been five weeks here in Logandale. Time is seriously flying by; it's a little bit scary. It seems like just yesterday we pulled up to our wonderful trailer complete with yard-toilet. Speaking of which, there was some construction outside of our home and some workers came to our door to let us know the power will be off for about 20 minutes. 20 minutes later, it came back half of the house. We have some borrowed extension cords running from one room to the next to keep our AC and washer running; the dryer is completely shot, it's pretty hilarious.
This has been the most fruitful week of the transfer by far. It seems as though the work has been exploding in several wards (the ones we'll most likely lose...) and we've been really busy checking up on different leads and potentials. Jason has been having several awesome lessons. We've been teaching him at a member home with two members who have gone through similar trials (overcoming Word of Wisdom issues). Their testimonies have bolstered his resolve and he's more attentive and serious in a more learning conducive environment. He's admitted to dealing with some physical withdrawals from the alcohol, but hopefully our prayers and daily contact will help him overcome his afflictions. We went over to Steve's house on Saturday and helped him with his yard for a couple hours. Afterwards, he opened up to us and told us that his parents are going through a nasty divorce over money after 40 years of marriage and he just can't understand it. He's opening up a lot to us lately, which is awesome, and we have another lesson with him set for this Wednesday. His child is due on September 17th, so everyone's pretty excited.

Our companionship continues to improve with every day. After a weekly planning session, we made some goals that have helped us immensely, one of which being diligent with our nightly planning sessions. As we've taken those more seriously, we've seen an increase in the workload we have every day; efficiency is through the roof. We're a little bummed that we might lose some investigators/potentials with our area being changed come the 17th, but we also understand that what is done is done for a reason and by inspiration. Oh well.

So, I knew that I was probably going to have to deal with some mean dogs on the mission, guarding their house and stuff. Only in Logandale would you have to deal with a guard goose.

It was seriously the scariest experience ever. We get out of the car at this weird house and start to walk up when we see this HUGE goose stick his head up from behind a bush. When I say huge, I mean the size of a large dog. It then proceeded to honk, lower its head, and charge. We ran to the car and basically cried until we couldn't cry anymore, so scary. Not really on the crying, but seriously on the running to the car.
Thanks for the prayers and keep doing whatever it is your doing. Here's a challenge for ya; give your local Elders some wonderful referrals, will you? They'd love that.
Love you all so much!


Helping restore power outside our trailer

Legendary Logandale guard goose. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Temple trip

Having P-day on a Wednesday is not natural.

However, it was AWESOME to attend the Las Vegas temple today. I feel completely reset, spiritually and mentally; I really needed it, too, as this past week and a half has been full and somewhat stressful.
We have a baptism date for our investigator in Logandale 1st ward, Jason VanMiddenorp, on Sept. 15th (WOOHOO). We're excited that he's set a date and we're doing all we can to aid him and help him move towards it. His struggles lie in the Word of Wisdom, so hopefully with the 12 step program and our/the wards support we can help him move past all of that and into the font. The Ward Council in first ward has been so good about helping him out; they're fasting for him this next Sunday and I will be too. Our last lesson with him was a little odd; he expressed some concerns about baptism and they mostly surrounded lifestyle changes, and so the best we could do was bear testimony of the change he was making and help him realize why he wants baptism and membership. He's bearing his testimony this next Sunday (he talks about it all the time) so hopefully then we'll be able to gain a greater insight into his conflicts and better address his needs and concerns. Pray about him, if you could; I'm feeling a little on edge about it all, which apparently is normal. On Sunday, an investigator just fell right into our lap; we were at the sacrament meeting of Logandale 5th ward when we realized a nonmember (who is married to a member) we have been trying to contact was in the congregation. We immediately approached him after the meeting, he agreed to a lesson, and we taught him during second hour and now have a return appointment later this week. His wife is pregnant with his first child, and he kept saying "My wife's family is so happy and functional in comparisn to mine, so there must be something here". We bore testimony of how we know the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ can strengthen his family and enable them to live together with his family forever. I told him about the difference it made in my own family, and the strength, comfort, and unity we have in our home because of our knowledge. Finally, I bore testimony of the Saviors love for him and his family, and he said he could feel His love. This was an awesome experience (and surprise); Elder Millar and I feel good about this one (Steve Kamin).

I love the letters and packages, guys; I really do. Thanks for the plethora of support thus far! I'll be sending some pictures soon, so relax (mom).

I love you guys with everything!

Scorpion hanging out on our window

Another epic sunset in the desert

Elder Dowdle and Elder Millar at the Las Vegas Temple