Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, I guess?

So, transfer news: the call came in on Saturday and I'll be staying in Logandale for at least another six weeks with an Elder Steenstra. Yes, Steenstra. The poor members in Logandale, having to pronounce Dowdle and Steenstra. Apparently this guy has only been out three more months than I have, so we're both relatively young. He trained someone in my district these past two transfers (I think it might have been my MTC companion, actually) because the mission was so young and they really needed trainers. I've heard from a couple other Elders in the Vegas area that he's pretty serious, from a military family, and wants to work; I can deal pretty well with all of that. I'm actually pretty excited to meet him and get moving; we'll be picking him up in Vegas today at around 5:00PM. Elder Millar is getting sent to the Red Rock zone, which is the nicest (most affluent) zone in the entire mission. However, he's getting this kid who came out with me who is a handful, so his patience will probably be tested a bit. Millar deserves to go in valley finally; he's been out about 17 months and he's only spent three of those months in Vegas. That's a little weird when your mission call says "Las Vegas" and you spend your mission in the boonies, so he's pretty pumped. We'll have a new district leader, Elder Jones, which I'm excited about. He's a quiet and humble guy who really has a passion for the work. I think we're probably going to see a surge in missionary activity these next six weeks in Moapa Valley.
It was a quiet week as far as missionary activity goes. We had a couple "promising" referrals that ended up being a couple of door slams, my favorite. Deja Vu, I feel like I've typed that before...oh well. We are moving very slowly on Steve Kamin; he's following the Word of Wisdom as of last week but he wants to start over with the lessons so he can really learn what we're all about (plus, a goofy ward mission leader quoted Isaiah in our last lesson for about an hour). C'est la vie. I don't really know any French.

Hope everything is going well in The Woodlands! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and stuff,


Carved pumpkins for district meeting

Happy Halloween from Logandale

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last day as a teenager


I'm using as much slang as I can, seeing as today is my last day as a teenager. I've been a "man" in the eyes of the state for two years (and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I'm a man ONLY in the eyes of the state) but as of tomorrow I cease to be a teenager. I don't think being 20 years old has really hit me yet, but I also don't know if I really want it to hit me. Thank you all SO much for the letters and packages; the lady at the post office is super snarky about our mail, so the more stuff she has to carry, the better.

Julia was baptized this Saturday and it was wonderful and well attended by members of her ward; Elder Millar and I played small insignificant parts in the service in order to allow the ward to participate and get to know Julia pretty well. She was confirmed the next day in Sacrament meeting and her nonmember father was there, staying for the whole meeting (which happened to be the primary program). Hopefully we'll be able to meet with him soon, as it seems as though he's felt the Spirit on several different occasions. He's a great man and has had little exposure to the Gospel and to Church culture, but the little he's experienced he's liked. Not to mention the Logandale 4th ward is doing an incredible job with fellowship and making him and Julia feel comfortable and well-liked. It's amazing to see the night and day difference between someone unsure about a decision and someone that has prayed and received an answer to a question. Julia was a different person after she had knelt down and asked her Heavenly Father if baptism was a step she was supposed to take. She was sure of herself and happier, common traits among those who seek to find out for themselves through fervent and sincere prayer.

As this transfer winds to a close (last week is coming up), I can barely believe I've been here for three months. I'm most likely going to be here for three more, which is a little strange, but how things work. We sat through three primary programs yesterday, and it was odd to watch the kids speak and sing and go "I know almost every single one of name". Whether it's through dinner appointments or other visits, we've come to know a plethora of families here in the valley, and it's amazing how much I find myself remembering. In Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People", he admonishes the readers to learn names and one important fact. This has helped so much in member relations as of late, and we're seeing referrals because of it. I know that the Spirit is with us as we talk with the members in church and during the week; I can feel it. Long story short, I love love love being a missionary. Best thing ever, honestly.

I love you guys very much.

Julia Johnson before her baptism on Oct. 20th

Giant Logandale spiders. Back at the weird castle 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Zone Conference

Hey guys,

How in the world is it already October 15th? It's been kind of a crazy week to say the least; it's gone by extremely quick yet so much has happened. On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference and President Black and his wife came down to be there with us and have interviews. My interview with President Black was really great. He has this spirit about him that's just incredible (did I mention he graduated from the U? Just sayin'...). We talked about the work in Logandale, my challenges thus far and where I've felt the most growth. When he asked me what picks me up when I feel discouraged, what keeps me going, I immediately said "My family", and it's true. The badge I wear has two names on it, and I want to represent them both to the best of my ability. He also said that Elder Millar is almost guaranteed to get out to Vegas on the 29th, seeing as he's been out for 16 months and only three of those months have been spent in Vegas (his greenie area, too). I'm bummed to see him go; we've become pretty good friends over these past twelve weeks, but I'm glad he gets to serve in the valley. Out of valley areas can feel like banishment sometimes, and he's been away from Vegas for far too long, so it'll be a good change. I don't even want to think about my next companion for fear of jinxing it...

So we had a lesson with Julia on Sunday and she brought up some concerns about her baptism. She said she wasn't so sure about it yet. We asked about her concerns and fears and what prompted this realization and she couldn't really say. Finally, after about a couple seconds of silence we asked, "have you prayed about it?" to which she shook her head. We challenged her to pray about it that night and plan on seeing her at 8:00PM today. Hopefully she will have received a witness last night and she'll be able to make the right decision; if that's the case, the baptism will probably have to be postponed, as she hasn't been to enough sacrament meetings yet. I'm actually glad she was brave enough to bring up her concerns to us; we talked and got closer as friends as well and I feel she'll make the right decision. Teaching is a little slow right now, but this next week we should have some more potentials and referrals to check up on. We've also been keeping track of rejections lately, so we're more apt to talk to every single person we see. It's paid off so far; an unorthodox way to make sure you contact everyone you see, but an effective one.

Love you guys a ton! Keep doing what you know you should.


Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference

Howdy howdy.

I say "Howdy" way more up here than I ever have in my LIFE. Same with y'all, I'm afraid to report. I use those two all the time and I just don't get it. It must be the years in Texas, if you can call The Woodlands "Texas", manifesting themselves in me as I walk around the desert talking to the residents of Logantucky. In all honesty, I've got some mad Texas pride going on since being out here. I'm all for secession now; Romney for President of Texas if things don't work out this November (praying and hoping and praying). Speaking of which, Elder Millar and I find it hilarious that almost every prayer in Sacrament meeting has something along the lines of "and please bless those that are in the race to lead this country"; some have straight up said "please bless and help Mitt Romney", which I can assume wouldn't go over too well in anywhere but Logandale. I'm all for praying for our leaders, but there's praying and then there's campaigning...
Anyways, this week has been a pretty good one. We have a baptism date set for Julia Johnson, a fourteen year old girl in a part-member family! She's set for October the 20th and we're way excited. Her mom is in the process of becoming reactivated and her father is not a member, but okay with his daughter learning more about it. Julia became interested when she became friends with a lot of the young women in Logandale 4th ward, and they've been fellowshipping her something heavy. It's such a testament to the amazing effect your example can have on somebody. As soon as someone finds out that you're a Mormon, all eyes are on you. People are curious; they want to know what we believe, how we act, how we think. We are doing our Church and our Savior a disservice by acting contrary to how we should. Julia represents one sheep coming into the fold due to the example someone has set; imagine the masses that can know of this wonderful Gospel if we all lived and acted how we know we should. It helps me realize that I don't always portray the kind of person I want to, and I work on that every single day.
Remember how I've said Logandale is a pretty funny place? Well, a couple out here decided to build a castle and they have parties on top of said castle with moonbounces and what not. I'll include some pictures. Funny place, Logandale. Transfers are October 29th and Elder Millar will most likely be shipped out of Moapa Valley since he's been here for some time. We shall see, though. We shall see.

How awesome was conference? Conference as a missionary is just about the best thing ever. I've never really sat and listened like I was able to this weekend, and I could actually feel my testimony of our leaders grow and expand. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God; the God of Abraham, the God of Jacob, and the God of Israel. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and I know that He speaks through His prophets and apostles today. I yearn for the opportunity to bear this testimony with all I come in contact with, not for the duration of my mission, but for the duration of my life. There is nothing like seeing the Holy Ghost manifest itself in one who seeks to know for themselves. I am blessed beyond belief for this glorious work I am able to participate in.

I love you guys way too much. Take care of my dog, gosh dangit.


You know, your run-of-the-mill castle here in 

Logandale, complete with Moonbounce. 

Me disapproving of the moonbounce-equipped 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's already October

Hey guys,

September is over and done with; shortest month of all time. This has all just flown by so far and it's semi-freakin' me out. I feel like I stepped in the MTC two weeks ago as opposed to ten, and it's odd to think that I've spent as long as I have in Logandale. Logic says I'll be sticking around her for about two more transfers, but you never really know. I'd like that, as member trust is really the way to go in a place like this. So many people hold on to referrals for missionaries they feel will be up to the task and I'd like to have some more time to continue to prove to the members here that we are those missionaries. We had one of those referrals yesterday, actually; a girl gave us the number and name of a friend who wants to learn more. Hopefully we can gain the trust of all the members in the valley and help them understand that we're up to the task.

We've made some headway with an investigator by the name of Steve Kamin this week. His wife had a beautiful baby girl named Delaney last Tuesday and they are beaming as brand new parents. We went over to offer service and he asked us for the rest of the missionary discussions (we had given them a week before, he asked again due to the baby). He expressed a desire to eventually become a member of this church, but also said it's important to him that he knows that it's all true. Hopefully tomorrow when we discuss the Plan of Salvation we can help him gain that testimony.

Things are going pretty well and pretty quickly. Keep being awesome to your local missionaries; helpful members are the best kind of members. Every member a missionary.