Monday, November 25, 2013

What a great week!

Hey hey -

GREAT week. This week happened to be the most fruitful this area has had as far back as our records go! The potential I saw in this ward when I first got here is starting to rise to the surface and we ended up teaching all sorts of lessons and gaining several new investigators.

On Tuesday, we had a lesson with the couple that showed up to church the previous Sunday. In thirty minutes we taught the message of the Restoration and answered a lot of the nonmember girlfriends questions, and her last question was perfect: "How can I know this is true?". We taught about prayer and invited her to offer up the closing prayer and find out for herself. This time, we told her that after the prayer we weren't going to say anything until she feels she received an answer. She begins to pray and starts to cry when she asks if what we've taught is true. After the prayer we sit there for maybe a full minute while she quietly cries, and then she turns and looks at us and smiles. She said she doesn't have to worry about choosing a church anymore; she would get baptized. It was an amazing experience; we set her for the 14th of December, although it's probably going to be pushed to 2014 because her and her boyfriend have to get married first. They came to church again on Sunday and were warmly welcomed by the ward - they're on the right track.

Throughout the week, we also received two referrals from the Church and found several people to teach through street contacts and knocking doors. We taught a lot of people the first lesson and have a ton of return appointments this next week - things are really moving. I feel pretty strongly that things are moving along because we have faith in this area and in the ward. It's easier for the Lord to bless us when we respect the stewardship he's given us, whether that be a quorum, a family, or an area. When we make the best with what we've got, we find out we've got a lot more than we thought we had. I hope that made sense haha. I love this work and the miracles associated with it - it's humbling to be the warm body working in His stead.

Love you tons,
p.s. when you see someone you don't recognize at church, go introduce yourself. Makes all the difference in the world.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Humbling week with lessons learned

Hey, guys!

This has been a pretty humbling week in a lot of different ways; it's neat to sit down at the computer and reflect upon the lessons the Lord has been teaching (or trying to teach) me throughout the week.
I mentioned a little about the area last week, about it's location/makeup. When I arrived on November 4th, there wasn't really anyone the missionaries had been teaching regularly, no one progressing. Our ward mission leader can't remember the last convert baptism in the ward; meanwhile, the ward a block to the west of us is baptizing and teaching like crazy. Elder Manning and I decided to work our hardest to find people to teach. Whether it's knocking doors, talking with everyone we see on the street, hitting up part-member family lists - we're down to do whatever it takes. Well, early in the week, we started to get excited; people were talking to us and some seemed interested - interested enough to set up appointments with us later in the week. Almost one by one, we'd set up an appointment, bring a member, and it'd be a no show. Every single contact punched out on us this week and we only got to teach three lessons. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was starting to get a little frustrated at the area, the ward, the people, and just about anyone and anything that gave me a wrong look (reminding me I was my father's son). Then, in the middle of our sunday school class, a member comes in and grabs us, telling us that there's a couple in the foyer that we should talk to. We get out there and it's an inactive member and his non-member girlfriend, showing up to church for the first time. He told us he's been thinking about coming back for the longest time and now it's time. The non-member girlfriend wanted to learn more, asked questions, asked us when WE can stop by (doesn't happen often (ever)) and we set up a time on Tuesday.

I share this experience because it reminded me of an eternal principle that I had forgotten for a short amount of time: when we do what the Lord asks, we'll be blessed. The blessings will almost never be how we expect or want them to be. I was expecting to talk to a golden contact on the street, or tract into a perfect family waiting for the truth. That didn't happen. Instead, the Lord saw Elder Manning and I express our faith and inspired a young man and his girlfriend to show up to church. I am so thoroughly convinced that them showing up is a direct blessing and outcome of our efforts spent finding people. The Lord is waiting to bless us - always - and we just have to give him a reason to do so.

I love you all and pray for you several times daily.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Week in the Meadows

Hello from Meadows!

So, this area is much, much different from my last one. Last night we sat down to plan and were drowned out by the sound of a police chopper flying over our little complex. Apparently this is a normal occurrence. The area is actually pretty cool and there are a ton of humble people living within it's boundaries. I'm amazed at how many people are willing to converse with us as we walk around and contact; I can already tell that it's going to be a lot easier to find people to talk to. That's always the first obstacle - if we can talk to people, we can talk about restored truth and give the Spirit the opportunity to bear witness of it. If we can't say anything or bear testimony of anything, then the Spirit can't soften their hearts and let them know we're messengers of the truth. Upon entering the area, there weren't any people that were being taught or that were progressing, but since Monday we've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people and set up some return appointments. This is a traditionally slow area, but I'm pretty confident that with a good attitude and work ethic, this place can be pretty dang fruitful. It's just a matter of time. I love being in new wards and getting to meet all of the members; there are so many stories and lessons to be learned in each ward. I'm looking forward to the time (and this time always comes - usually right before transfers) where I can name every person that walks through the doors on Sunday at church.
On top of learning a new area with a new companion, Elder Manning and I are preparing our "team" for the annual mission Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving! It oughta be a fun one this year; we have 12 zones this year instead of nine last year, so they're doing the brackets a little differently. It'll be a flag football tournament and I'm excited and nervous about it, but it'll be fun, regardless. Last year I wore a santa hat as a declaration that I wasn't taking it seriously. This year, Elder Manning and I are thinking about wearing suitcoats from DI. We'll see. 
I keep thinking about a scripture in the Book of Mormon that talks about the fall of Adam and Eve and the state of mankind as we are today. It's in 2nd Nephi, chapter 2, verse 25: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy". In an area like this, where the work can seem daunting and the teaching pool seems exhausted and barren, it's been important for US to remember that we are to have joy. We're supposed to be happy, and to find happiness in righteousness and in everything that we do. We all need to step back from the day-to-day junk sometimes and ask, "Am I happy?", and if the answer is no, reevaluate what you're doing. Everything is better when our attitude is positive.
Life is good and I'm happy. What more can I ask for? :)
Love you all very much,


Monday, November 4, 2013


Hey family!
Got the call on Saturday - I'm getting transferred to the Meadows Zone, and my new companion is Elder Manning! I'm bummed to leave Lakes and Elder's been a great six months here. Six months is the perfect time to stay in an area; I was in Tule Springs for six, six in The Lakes, and now I'm hoping for six more in Meadows. My ward will be the Meadows 1st ward and my boundaries are Jones on the west side, Decatur on the east side, Washington to the south, and Cheyenne to the north. It's a little bit different than the far west side I've been serving in so far, so I'm excited for the change and challenge. Elder Manning has a reputation as an overall stud and he only has one more transfer left, so it's going to be awesome to "kill" him off and learn everything I can from him.
Not too much more to report: next November, Larry is getting sealed in the Salt Lake temple; Sam will be going to the temple next June, so I'll be in Vegas for that. I love that these converts have their sights set on the temple. Last night, Elder Herlin and I took one of our investigators, Simon, to what's called the Zions Youth Symphony. It's a choir/orchestra comprised of LDS youth from Las Vegas and they were phenomenal. I found out last night that I'm not done playing the clarinet and being involved in performing; I'd miss it way too much.
Anyways, I have yet to pack (surprise surprise). I love you guys and will let you know about Meadows and Elder Manning next week!