Monday, January 28, 2013

January's over!?

Hey there,

This week has been pretty odd overall; we're reaaaallly not used to having just one ward. Because the boundaries are so small and it's so far away from our apartment (we're pretty short on miles right now), we put our bikes on the back of our Malibu and park in the church parking lot. We then take off our bikes, put on our helmets and we're off, looking like the most stereotypical missionaries ever. I love being a stereotypical missionary. Biking around makes for some interesting contacting, especially around the time that school gets out. We were stopped by a group of about 6 kids because they were making fun of us (and lets be honest - we look hilarious) and we ended up having a great impromptu lesson about prophets and the Book of Mormon. A couple of the kids accepted copies of the Book of Mormon and we got some contact info and were on our way.

We tracted into a woman on Tuesday that was incredibly receptive. When asked about her faith in God, she said that she's fallen away due to the things she's seen. When we asked if she would explain, she told us that she was an EMT on site during 9/11. It was pretty amazing (and sobering) to sit and listen to the trauma and horror that so many had to endure. I barely remember that day, but one thing I remember is how shocked and scared everybody was. The most strange byproduct of that whole tragedy was our nations ability to bounce back and unite, becoming stronger in the face of adversity and evil. In the least morbid way possible, I miss that. I miss that sense of patriotism and duty; the inherent understanding the nation had of "good and evil". I'm also bummed it took an attack of that magnitude to bring us to that state, and I hope something like that doesn't have to happen again before we are that united again.

The Hill family (the family with the 5 and 3 year olds that came to church) attended church again this Sunday! When they introduced themselves in Gospel Essentials, the wife poured out her soul and said "I hope you let me join your Church, because I love it". I don't think I've recovered from the heart attack I had yet; I just about fell out of my chair. We have an appointment with them this week and we're really looking forward to it; great family with a great spirit.

I'm loving the book "Latter Days" by Coke Newell - if anybody wants to learn more about what I'm teaching these people out here, go to and read that book. I love this Gospel and I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hope you have a great week!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gunfire and Holidays

Happy Martin Luther King (jr) Day!

It's kind of sad...the only time I really acknowledge this holiday is when I realize something is closed because it's MLK day. I'd probably be more aware of this holiday if I served near MLK Boulevard, but I'm glad I don't, since some parts are pretty sketchy.

Speaking of sketchy, in the past week there have been two shootings in our area, one of them a street away from where we were eating (drive-by). The other one was at a nearby park. As far as I know, no one was killed and only a couple people are injured. We've talked as a companionship before about how many cops we have in the area, and now we know why. Most people tell us that they used to live in Inner Vegas before it was ghetto, and that they moved up north to get away from it. Now it seems like it's catching up with them...they can't build houses fast enough to get away from inner city crime.

We got our transfer call on Saturday and we're losing one of our wards and keeping the one the shootings were in. We're excited to be able to focus and give all of our attention to one area now. It's a bummer to have to hand off a ward we really like to other missionaries (the Zone Leaders, of course), but it's meant to be and they'll do a great job there.

Elder Millar, my trainer, is being transferred into my zone! So is my really good friend, Elder Jones. We all served together up in Logandale and it's like a little reunion, which ought to be pretty cool. Elder Kraft (k-kraft, so not my companion, c-craft), who was Jones companion up there, is also in our zone, so we're pretty excited. Should make for a pretty interesting transfer.

Things are going pretty slow right now, but we're hoping that after transfers things will be picking up. This transfer is only five weeks long as opposed to six in order to line up with the new MTC schedule. We should be seeing some 18 year old Elders and 19 year old sisters coming in today, actually. Pretty exciting stuff.

Hope everything is going alright down there! Take care of my dog, k?



6 month out tie burning ceremony

Burn your ugliest tie...good choice.

Monday, January 14, 2013

6 months already!

Hey guys,

This has been a pretty busy week for us, what with exchanges, baptisms, and interviews with President Black. I'll share a couple of experiences from this week that ended up being pretty cool.

I didn't end up going out to Logandale for the Guessman's baptism :( I was really bummed about this. The baptism moved to 10am and my interview with President was at 9:00 that same morning and it takes a little over an hour to head up to Logandale from Vegas. I called President Black about it on Friday and he said he wouldn't be able to interview me any other time with transfers coming up and everything. This was one of those "have faith" moments, but I understood. Apparently (Elder Steenstra kept me updated every thirty minutes or so, great guy) 150 people showed up; they had to move the service to the chapel! After the baptism I called the mom of the family and we talked for a good thirty minutes. They're such amazing people; I can't WAIT to see where they are in a year or so. Their testimonies will touch all kinds of people, especially if the 13-year old son decides to serve a mission one day. This work is amazing.

Interviews were alright; we're about 99% sure that we're staying together next transfer and Elder Craft is finishing his mission in this area, which means I'll be here for about six months in all. We had exchanges on Friday and my District Leader taught me how to tract. I thought I knew how to tract, but nope. I learned how to tract effectively. After that day out knocking doors, I've been able to leave a copy of the Book of Mormon with 1 out of 4 households (Dad and sports ruined me; I keep my own stats!) The work is picking up now that we're finding better through our own efforts.

Praying for you guys!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Great start to a New Year

Hey there,

I hope 2013 is treating everybody as well as it's treating me; this is going to be a good year. I've dedicated the entire year to serving my Lord in every way possible, and I can't really imagine a better way to spend it. A kid leaving on his mission soon, spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday and mentioned how he can't think of a better way to spend the prime of his life. I tend to agree.

This Saturday, the Guessmans in Logandale are getting baptized and I'm so excited, especially since President Black is letting me go up there to be there for it! That family was prepared beyond belief; they've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. The father is already a member, he was just inactive. Next Sunday, he'll be giving his son the Aaronic Priesthood, which is just about too cool. I know how it feels to be given the priesthood by a worthy father, and I'm so happy that the son, Chase (13), gets to experience that (on his birthday, too!). I'm so excited to see the baptism take place, and I'm sure the Spirit will be there in abundance. It'll be kind of neat to be back in Logandale, even if it only for a couple hours. 

As the third hour of church was starting, the teacher pointed to a man sitting on the front row and said "I'm sorry, but I don't recognize you. Are you visiting?". The man began to explain that this was his first time going to church in over 20 years and his wife, a Catholic by tradition, was in Relief Society and wanted to learn more about the church. We were able to contact him and set up an appointment this following week, which is awesome, but it was something he said that I couldn't stop thinking about all day. When asked why he decided to go back to church, he simply said "I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old". He understood that the best gift he could give his young children is to be reared in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That really touched me and it reminded me of my parents and how their adherence to the gospel has impacted me. The most wonderful gift that can be given to a child is the opportunity to be raised in a loving family, blessed by the presence of the priesthood and the knowledge of gospel truths. 

I'm out here, freely giving two years of my life, to share the good news that's brought me an immeasurable amount of happiness. The best feeling in the world is when somebody decides to make the leap of faith and is rewarded. I love this work and I love my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know that through Him, all can be forgiven and made clean. I love you guys and hope all is well!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

What the heck, 2012.
This year I finished my first year of higher education, finished off my teenage years, said goodbye to friends and family and shipped off to Las Vegas to teach people about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and castrated several farm animals. This has been a full year if I've ever had one. I can't believe that it's already New Years Eve, and that tomorrow will be the first day of 2013. I'm dedicating the entire year to serving my Lord; every hour will be spent in His service. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I have to consecrate and set apart an entire YEAR to doing nothing but forwarding the work and building His kingdom. It's been an amazing ride thus far and I'm only about a quarter of the way through.
Elder Craft and I had a wonderful Christmas, all due to the Leavitt family. They were incredibly nice and hospitable, making us feel like we were part of the family on such a family-oriented holiday. Calling/Skyping home was great; it was wonderful to be able to talk face-to-face (persay) to those I care about the most. Plus, it was nice to actually see my dog move on Skype and get some confirmation that he's still alive and not stuffed by the fireplace. Christmas Eve and Christmas were non-proselyting days, meaning we didn't go out and make visits or contact people all day. New Years Eve and New Years Day are the same way, actually, so we'll be staring at the wall again today trying to find a use for all the free time we're not used to having.

We've been striking out a lot at doors and contacting referrals; while some are nicer than usual due to the holiday season, some are more stand-offish, feeling like we are intruding upon sacred family time during this part of the year. That's understandable, and we kind of have to bide our time until the New Year with a lot of missionary work. There's two people who agreed to take the missionary lessons after New Years, which we are looking forward too. Hopefully as soon as 2013 kicks in, the teaching opportunities start to roll in. We're keeping our hopes up and doing everything we can.
I hope this next year is even half as good as this one was!

Don't get to see many Ford GT's in the church parking lot