Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 9 - Crazy Week

Hey everyone!

It has been one crazy week! We have had so much going on. We've been able to teach several lessons, and even put on an entire ward function with the help of our ward mission leader. Even better, today begins transfer #2!  Needless to say, I am pretty tired.

A few weeks ago, we were out tracting and we met this guy named Dave. He seemed like a really nice guy, and told us that we could come back, but that he was pretty busy at the moment. We have been trying to call him on and off for several weeks to set up an appointment, but for some reason he just kept pushing it off. He finally had some time to meet last week, and so we taught him and his son about the Plan of Salvation. Before we got to the main point of the lesson, that through Christ families can be together forever, he said that he believed that "heaven would only be heaven if he had those that he loved there with him". That part of the lesson was so awesome and powerful that even shared with us that "something had told him to let us into his house." We did not invite him to baptism yet, but we're hoping that we can meet with him sometime this week or next to teach him about the Restoration. (The prayer he said at the end of the lesson was awesome!!)

We also were able to teach an active family and a less-active in our ward about the Plan of Salvation. She joined the church, and then prepared herself to go to the temple to receive her endowments, but got freaked out when she actually received them. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation with a temple spin on the lesson. It was probably the best lesson that Elder Tillotson and I have taught together so far. Everything flowed, and after the lesson, the active member family told us we did a great job. What was even better was that the less-active woman told us that we did a great job as well, and that she believed everything we said. She's still freaked out by the temple, but we just have to remember, baby steps.

Our ward mission leader, Elder Tillotson, and I were also responsible for putting on the ward's annual chili-cookoff. That was tricky because we ordered bounce houses, called to remind almost everyone in the ward the night before, and had to make scones for the chili. Most of Saturday night was spent rolling bread dough and then frying it to make the scones. They were good, but we were at it for almost 2 hours. The event was engineered to invite a non-member family who moved into the area recently to one of our ward functions. Guess where that family is from...Kansas City, MO!! Even more interesting is the fact that they moved into the area about 7 weeks ago, pretty much the same time that I got here. They had a great time, and we will try to follow up with them in the next couple weeks. Ithink that Heavenly Father has something in mind for that family, and I hope that I can be a part of it.

Just a shout-out to all of you thinking about serving missions, make serving a mission a *priority.* The opportunity that all of us have to serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Although I still have a *long *way to go, I can already feel some changes in myself. I have found myself *wanting* to be obedient and *wanting *to be humble because I want to become better, and by so doing, maybe I can be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help other people move closer to having eternal life. Even though I still haven't perfected obedience, humility, charity, I believe that the desire to perfect those traits is something that can help anyone improve; and just remember, the Lord blesses us according to our *desires* as well as our needs.

I love all of you! Stay safe, keep in touch, send pictures, and just let me know how you all are doing. I love reading emails and letters, and I am sure that the other 85,000 missionaries in the world do too! I can't wait to hear from any of you!



p.s. Good luck to McKinzie, Hannah, and Eliza as you all start the fall semester at BYU and BYU-Hawaii! You all will do great!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Mini Me

Hey everyone!

After our apartment was inspected, it became apparent that we didn't have bed bugs. So they actually let us off quarantine! Hurray!! It was really boring being stuck in the apartment for 4 days, but I actually got a lot done. I read a lot in the Book of Mormon, as well as read several other books that our Ward Mission Leader Brother Truman bought for us. One that I read is called The Continuous Conversion by Brad Wilcox. It has so much truth in it. The main idea of the book is that we are here in this life, "not to 'earn' our way to heaven, but to 'learn' our way there." It was really a neat book to read; I might just mail home my copy so that Mom and Dad can read it!

Anyway, the excitement didn't let up once we were off quarantine. In Nevada, August is part of "monsoon" season, meaning that when it rains, it pours. We were riding our bikes to our dinner appointment after doing some service for a sister in the ward, when all of a sudden it started to sprinkle. Elder Tillotson and I didn't think much of it so we kept going. The rain started to pick up a little and we started getting wet, so we hid under a tree to wait for the storm to blow over. Then the wind start to pick up and the rain started to come down in big, fat droplets. Last but not least, it started to hail, so my companion and I hid behind a brick wall to get out of the wind. We called our dinner appointment and told them we were going to be a bit late because of the storm. 

A tree that was knocked over during monsoon
When we got to their house, the brother who greeted us said sarcastically, "You look a little wet!" We were drenched, so yeah we were wet. Then he told us to get out of our clothes so he and his wife could dry them. They gave us bath robes to cover up while our clothes were being dried, and so we ate dinner with them just like that. IN BATH ROBES...It was pretty awkward, but it's cool to think that now I have funny and quirky mission stories of my own now.

The week wasn't without spiritual experiences, either. This area overall has been pretty difficult to try to get something going in terms of missionary work. There are lots of less-actives and gated communities (which we aren't allowed to tract in). Most of the tractable parts of the area have been hit repeatedly over the last couple transfers, and frankly, people are tired of seeing us around. This makes us cherish the opportunities in which the people we contact actually listen to us.

We met this guy named Gus. He and his grandson were polishing his old 1966 Chrysler 300 in his car. So what did we do? We started talking to him. Come to find out he's been to St. George, Utah. He said he was a little bothered by Mormons because when he tried to go into one of our churches, they wouldn't let him in. We pretty quickly figured out that he had tried to go into the temple. We had to explain the differences between our temples and meetinghouses. Then he even let us share the first lesson with him! He didn't seem turned off by it at all, and even said we could come back pretty much anytime! We invited him to pray about the message of the Restoration, but he appears to be having a rocky relationship with God. Hopefully, the next time we meet with him that he will have that desire to talk to our Heavenly Father!

I just want you all to know that, yes, missionary work is hard. There are a lot of days and moments when I wonder to myself what I'm doing here. I sometimes wonder if I am wasting my time. Needless to say, it's quite easy to get discouraged. But the moments that I apply myself, my faith, and my determination to help the non-members and less-actives come closer to the Savior are the moments that are most dear to me. I'm here because I want to be here. I want to help people to know that Jesus Christ is there for them, that he truly wants what is best for them. I really know, and should always remember that God loves me; however, He loves the people that I am teaching just as much. No matter how many miles I ride my bike, or how many slammed doors, or even how little sleep I sometimes get, I can't afford to forget that. There are souls at stake here.

I love you all! Be safe, keep in touch, and send pictures! I want to know how you all are doing.



P.S. Happy early birthday Wilkin!! I love you bro! (I know it's tomorrow, but I am sending the email now)

My room mates who are going home this week

Monday, August 11, 2014

Don't let the bed bugs bite...

Hey family!

It's so good to hear from all of you! I'm glad that everything at home is going well, and I just want you to know that everything is going well over here, too. This week has been fairly slow, and we haven't been able to do much because there have been tons of meetings and trainings that our zone has had to take part in. Add that to the fact that my companion, my roommates, and I have been quarantined in our apartment over the last 2 or 3 days due to an infestation of "bed bugs" :\ that has gone around the mission. I'm pretty sure we don't have them, but we can't leave our apartment complex until the mission checks our room.

Last week we had the opportunity to go to Zone Conference. That was so awesome (if you want the pictures from that, look on the Las Vegas West Mission blog under the photo album that says "meadows zone conference"). I learned so much. The topic of the day was obedience, and so President Ahlander gave us a training on why we should be obedient. The most powerful training of the day probably was Sister Ahlander's when she asked us who the Savior really was to us. The most crazy thing happened; the first thought that popped into my head was "friend". I wasn't planning on sharing, but as I listened to the other Elders and Sisters responses, I felt like I needed to share it. My heart was pounding; I stood up and said that the Savior was my friend, and how he has helped me through my biggest challenges in life. The feeling in the room completely changed, and the Elder right next to me's first reaction was, "What the..." It was just amazing how sincere I felt at that moment. I really believe that we are entitled to short, powerful, spiritual statements all the time, and most definitely as we share the Gospel with people.

As far as some of those people that we've been teaching, this area is a little slow. We don't have very many investigators. The 12 year old girls that we were teaching were set for baptism, but one of them ended up moving to Boston so now we're down to one. We've been struggling in finding a time in which she is actually home so that we can teach her all the lessons before school starts, but we're still working at it. The Hispanic man we met last week lives in North Las Vegas so we referred him to the East Mission.

I'm glad that Wilkin is having a good time in marching band. That was my favorite activity in high school and it helped me have instant friends when I went into high school who were my friends all the way through graduation.

Anyways, I love you all! This mission is something that I am currently growing to love. I certainly want to feel that way when I get on the plane home in 2 years.

Tell people to write! I love reading emails; it's one of the things I look forward to every week. Also, send pictures if you can. It would be great to see how you all are doing.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 6 - Under the Palm Trees

P.S. You should show the palm tree pic to Brother Poor and Sister Norton; they'll know what it's for ;)

Ready, Aim...

Hey family!

Just wanted you to know I've been thinking about you. Everything here is going pretty well. The work is a bit slow in the ward that I'm serving, but we're doing our best to make our time efficient. We just got a new ward mission leader. He's pretty awesome, so I think that I got here just in time. (On a side note, he has a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. He took us to church in it; I will try to get a picture of it this week, so when you get it, show it to Grandpa. He'd think it was awesome.)

Elder Tillotson and I have gotten to meet some really cool people this week. I don't know what it is, but it seems as though the people who talk to us are either Hispanic or Latino. Anyway, we were out contacting and we met a man named Francisco who was doing some work on a house. We asked him if we could talk to him. He said yes, and so we taught him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. The Spirit was so ridiculously strong as we did so, and everything that we taught made sense to him. At the end of the lesson, I invited him to baptism. He told me that he needed to read the Book of Mormon, then ask God if it was true; and if he received an answer then he would. Sadly, however, he doesn't live in this mission, so if he were to ever get baptized, I probably won't be involved. Even so, I am grateful for the experience.

It's probably obvious, but missionary work involves lots of study :) I love having an hour of personal study every morning. I've learned so much in the past several weeks. I was reading in Alma 39 this morning. Verse 9 is a scripture mastery, but I never quite understood to what extent it meant. It says "Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things."

I never quite got what cross yourself meant, but after searching the scriptures, I found out that it actually means to deny yourselves of all ungodliness, like it says in Moroni 10:32. The scripture really means to become as Christ is, to be "perfected", as it were. It really means to be a true disciple of the Savior! I don't quite know how I am going to use that today, but I know that it was an important thought anyway.

I love all of you! Like you said, it's crazy that a month has already gone by, but hey, time flies when you're having fun. Be safe and keep in touch.