Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Companion Changes

So my new companion is Elder Baum. He is such a hard worker. Just what I need right now. It helps a lot when you are with someone that wants to work as hard or even harder then you do. Keeps you busy and obedient. Companions that are ready to go home are so much harder to get motivated to work sometimes.

We have 6 people on date for our area and more on the way this week. It is really exciting to have this much work to do. Lots of things to continue helping this family progressing in the gospel. Yay I hope they get baptized on May 17th. 

This week I have given about 4 blessings to people. I love giving blessings to everyone. My district has changed dramatically. I now have the ZLs in my district and the sister training leaders and other sisters. Here in Draper there is about half sisters. It is a little different working with sisters then elders.

This next transfer there will be about 15 zone leaders going home. Crazy! I don't want to be a zone Leader. Too much driving around. I don't like that. I am not driving any more. I have decided that I like just sitting in the car navigating rather than driving. I have been driving for 6 months and I am now done. My companion really likes to drive, but he has not driven for 11 months so it is a little scary at times. haha He is from The South. His Dad was a bishop and he has a girlfriend. Really serious with her. He actually baptized her before he came on a mission. That is kinda cool.

Elder Kolpakov is going to propose to his girlfriend on May 3rd. That is strange to think about. He sent me an email with a picture of them. [Elder Kolpakov is now back in Russia.]

Church is fun. I got to go to 2 Gospel Doctrine classes and they were on the same lesson, But I found it interesting that because of the comments from the class I got two completely different Ideas when I was in basically the same class. I think that is neat how the Spirit can speak to you differently depending on the environment that it is in. I think that is one of the same reasons that when you read from the Book of Mormon that you still get a different lesson from it when you read it in different situations.

We are starting to do more service because a lot more people are out in there yards so we are able to stop and help them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Investigators

Hi family.
I had a great week. We found 11 new investigators, the most I have ever found on my mission. I am pretty sure it is a record in our mission. OK maybe not, but it the most I have ever found. We found 8 in one night. 

We started by going to teach a recent convert named Kelsie. She is really cool. Her younger brother is not baptized and he goes to church every Sunday. We sat down with them and started talking about the church. She has a really good conversion story which I will send to you one day, but we asked him why he comes to church. He told us that he really likes the feeling that he gets at church and that he knows that the church is true. We then asked him if he would be baptized and he said yes! So cool. So many cool things are happening in this stake. We set a date of May 3. He said he would pray about it.

Then we had another appointment that the zone leaders set up for us. They talked to this person on the street his name is Mervyn He is 36 and has lots of kids. We go there and we start teaching with him and 2 of his kids. The Mom was there but had to leave to go to the store. When she left Mervyn's father came and we started to teach him as well. Then the Mom came back with one of the other daughters and Mervyn's sister. So we had a total of 7 non-members that we were teaching. It was so cool. They were all receptive and ready to hear the gospel. We were screaming for joy afterwards. We talked about baptism and they said that they would talk about it as a family. I love this work. So many fruits of working for God.

Then we had another appointment a few days later and another one of his daughters was there as well. One of their sons had read some of the Book of Mormon and really wanted to get baptized. He said that he had a dream after he read it and he knew it was true. He is about 11 years old. We asked them if they talked about being baptized and they said that they did and some of the kids really want to be baptized and said they will come to church this Sunday. Yay.

We were also able to teach this other family named the Trip's. They are really nice, but it was more of a bashing appointment. We picked them up as new investigators as well, but I don't think they will progress because they said they want to convert us to there religion. My companion like to bash. Haha. I try to stay away from it. I have never seen any fruit from arguing with one another.

This week has been full of miracles. one right after another. I know these happen every day but it is nice to see big miracles once in a while.

Transfers are this week so I might get transferred but most likely I will stay because my companion is going home since he is finishing his mission. That is just to warn you if I change areas. I seem to change areas when I find lots of new investigators like this. Just when an area is turning really hot I get transferred. Oh well. That just means that the Lord wants me somewhere else.

So did the scouts go on a 50 mile hike since I have been out on a mission?
Also when does Michael [a young man from our ward]  turn in his mission call? Who is the next to go on their mission? 

Monday, after we emailed you, we went to Soccer City an indoor soccer field. We played for about 2 hours. We had about 40 missionaries there. We get in for free and had the whole place for our-selves. That was lots of fun except I was sore for about 2 days afterwards. As missionaries we are only allowed to watch church movies and one of the best church moves that we watch is Legacy. I have never seen it before my mission but while on my mission I have probably watched it about 10 times. We watch the really old ones as well they are funny to laugh at.

Also Happy birthday Monica! I hope that you have a good day. You are now an adult and are almost done with high school. That is really exciting. I know that you are a wonderful person and love doing what is good. Keep it up. I love talking about my family to others and when I get to you my comments are always that you are the smartest person in the family. haha Don't tell Ben Alex or Robert I said that, but if you did they would probably agree.

Thanks for the picture! I love it. Robert is too tall. He needs to shrink before I get back from my mission. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Best Mission Ever

This week has been fun. On Tuesday we had district meeting. I like those. I remember the first time that I had to give a district meeting. I was very scared. I remember thinking, 2 hours! That's a long time! Well, this week we had the zone leaders come into our district meeting and they told me that district meeting was too long. I think that is an achievement. I also remember when I gave my farewell talk and how scared I was because I was going to have so long and then it ended up being short. I was glad. Now I think that I would be a little disappointed that I did not get to share what I wanted to. It is funny to see how much my perspective changed.

We had a baptism this week. That was cool. 
Jeremiah's Baptism
A little about Elder Gonzales 
His parents are not members of the church neither is his sister. He is the first member in his family as far as he knows. He is a good guy. He is going home after this transfer. Let's just say he is ready to go home. He is really funny and makes me laugh. He joined the church about 3 years ago, maybe 4, and his Dad was not very happy that he stopped schooling to go on a mission for a religion that he does not believe in. That would make a mission so much harder. His Dad also stopped his sister from becoming a member.When he was baptized, he needed his parents permission, so he got his Mom's. His Dad found out several weeks later and was not happy. He got over it. Elder Gonzales has a good conversion story and that is so very helpful when on a mission because you were not "born into it" his testimony is very powerful. 

I love our zone leaders. Their names are Elder Needs and Merenda. Elder Merenda became a district leader the same time that I did on my mission and now he is a zone leader. I really like them. Elder Needs is good at complimenting people on things when in lessons. That helps people develop trust in you so much better. I went on exchanges with him this week. 

I will probably stay in this area at least 1 more transfer because Elder Gonzales is leaving to go home and this stake has already been though lots of missionary changes. That hurts the trust of the members. luckily I have been here a while and people really trust me. I love my mission and all of the people that I meet. 

Remember at the beginning of my mission I told you people would pay for me all the time. Well they still do. Now we are not allowed to accept any of it, but some people force you to take it. If I were to hang around Walmart all day I would probably get close to $500 that day. People are really nice to missionaries here. I don't know what I am going to do when I get home and no kids look at me and say to their parents, "Look there are the missionaries" or no one is honking at us or all the other things people do for us here.

This really is the best mission ever. I love it. 

Elder Gonzalez was sick this week so we stayed in quite a bit while he slept. That was boring. There are not very many times of your mission when you sleep so much that you can't sleep any more, but this week I was able to sleep that much because we were always inside. We are trying to get back into the groove of things. 

We have an investigator named Lisa Wiseman. She is so nice and really wants to be baptized, but has to wait due to some things that need to resolved in her life. She really like us and I am the only one that has stayed since she has started investigating the church. We took them to conference. That was so much fun. Just to tell you again I love our prophet.

By the way Elder Gonzalez is from Mexico and then moved to Saint George. That is where he found the gospel. 

We had a fun Sunday. I really like confirmations. You get to feel the spirit and the person you give it to is now promised it always. Such a great gift. I think it is a greater gift than we give it credit for. I mean, we now have a member of the Godhead as a personal guide and a comforter.  A person who knows everything past present and future and wants to help us receive eternal life and exaltation. That is so cool that we can have that. Also he gives us gifts of the spirit that help us on our way, and basically all we have to do is ask and work for those gifts and he will gladly bestow it upon us. Isn't that wonderful? I love how the gospel works and how very simple things are in God's eyes. 

I am glad Robert is doing so well I hope that he continues to get better. He is a good athlete. 

You gave a talk. That is cool I am really looking forward to when I can give a talk to my ward at home. I get to hear lots of home coming talks. That is cool to hear people.
A car we have in our area. It is for sale.
Utah streets.We go through this one almost every day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why I Preach the Gospel and a Conversion Story

I started preaching the Gospel because I was told to. Kind of like Adam when the angels came to him and asked him to sacrifice animals he told the angel that he did not know except that he was told to. That is how my mission started because I was commanded to do this.

Now this if a fine way to do things just because you are told to do them. This helps grow your faith. Doing something because I was told to. Now it is a lot different reasons that are all kind of mixed up. One is to be able to help others come into Christ. (Preach My Gospel chapter 1 talks all about our purpose). Other reasons include: the love and joy I have in doing it, the change I get to see in people because they follow Christ, I am also still doing it because I am told to as well, the knowledge that I get on my mission, the increased charity that I have for people, (they talked a lot about Christlike attributes in conference and I feel like mine has grown really fast on a mission) the challenges that arrive on a mission and how they help me grow, and a lot more that is kinda hard to explain.
Funny guy that is actually an active Mormon and is making fun of the street preachers. He posed for me.
This is my really good ticket that I found on the ground. That was a amazing blessing 
This is Jeremiah 

We took an investigator named Jeremiah to General Conference and the day before we talked about prophets and asked him if he believed in the prophet today. He said he did not know. So he went to conference trying to find out if he really was a prophet. He went to the afternoon and priesthood session and after he [President Monson] spoke in priesthood session he said to me, "That was really powerful, I know that that power could not come from a man but that was God's power. No one else. And about that question you asked me yesterday, yes, I know that he is a prophet of God and he leads this church towards God." That was so cool to be able to hear this from someone that does not know very much about the Gospel at all. 

Also I got a letter from Brother Maltsburger and it was his conversion story. Here it is. I put it on here [with permission]. You need to read it. He spoke in [stake?] conference and said some of those things there as well.
This Relationship Began over 18 Years Ago 
Baptism of Brother Malsburger 
I am new to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was baptized, last September, 2013. This is my reality leading up to that event.  
I built, Pat’s and my home in what is now the 4th Ward in West Jordan, back in 1993. That is the year we moved in.
I first saw Norm standing on the sidewalk, at the end of my driveway, looking at me through my open garage door. I was doing one of my many projects. Once he had caught my attention, we exchanged greetings and talked about meaningless things like the weather.  He explained that he was on his morning walk, and liked to stop and talk to his neighbors.            His walks continued and many times he stopped and we talked. We shared our military experiences, the state of our country, the beauty of our neighborhood and what was really great about life.            One day he informed me that he and Brother Sermon were my home teachers, and asked if the could come by and talk with Pat and me. Normally that would happen on a Thursday evening, but not always. That went on for many months, years actually and it was good to talk with them.            Most of the time the chats were all about our health, family, and how we were doing and if there was anything that he and Brother Sermon could do for us.  The usual lessons seemed almost nonexistent, but there was always something said or implied that one could call, thought provoking. I was always left with something to ponder and think about.
            Norm would show up or call and have fresh produce for Pat and me as well as many of his other neighbors. The fresh fruit and veggies were always welcomed, and we would share part of our harvest as well. 
           I had built an addition onto the back of our home after my retirement and needed help to move our hot tub to its new location.  Pat said to call Norm. I called and asked if he might know of someone I could hire. He said he didn’t know of anyone I could hire, but if I would give him about thirty minutes, he would see what he could do. In about that time frame several able bodies showed up at the door and the project was completed in a matter of minutes.  I didn’t even have time to buy pizza.   
One day Brother Riggs asked if he could send missionaries over. I really didn’t know if I was ready for that, but said sure.  Several missionaries came by from time to time. They all had lessons they wished me to learn and understand. All were good young men. In their own way of communication skills, they tried hard to point out where I was going astray 
I remember working with my dog Max at a small park near by, two Elders stopped and watched while I exercised him. Max is quite accomplished and knows many tricks.  I throw out three frizzbies in different directions.  He has figured out to pick each one up and stack them on top of each and bring them all back at once. One of the Elders asked what it takes to teach a dog to do that. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was not my doing but that Max had figured most of it out on his own. So I simply said, well first you have to love the dog.  They both weren’t sure what to say to that, and left Max and me to have a great day.   
I believe that loving an animal or someone brings the best out in both of you.  Brother Riggs shared this thinking as well.  Maybe that is part of the strength of our relationship. 
Again, Norm was out in the neighborhood, found me and asked if he could send the missionaries by.  He said that two new young men were assigned in the area.  I said okay, I decided I needed to be less aggressive with the new missionaries. I resolved to listen more and kibitz less. 
Several days later while working in my front yard, two young men came speeding up on their bikes, introduced themselves and asked if the might park the bikes in front of my truck. They sat down with me on the front porch and said they really like to do some service work for Pat and me.  They said that they did a lot of study, but needed something physical to do, a project of some kind. I told them if the were really serious about that, to drop by tomorrow morning. 
Elder Kolpakov and Elder Walker dropped by at the arranged time and asked what I wanted done. They said they could probably do most anything, but I might have to show them how I wanted it done.  They were here to work and assist me with whatever I needed.             I was in the process of excavating soil and removing a damaged window well that needed replaced.  I handed them both a shovel. They worked hard and only stopped when they were assured, it met my standards.
These types of meetings became routine. They included sprinkler repair, rain gutter cleaning, weeding the garden, you name it. They always had to have something to do for service work. I told them I was starting to feel guilty about all the work they were doing. They laughed and said I was doing them a favor. That it kept the days full of positive thoughts and they liked having some work to do.             We would talk on breaks and lunch, this time I did buy pizza. So we ate and talked about the scriptures, in particular the Book of Mormon, and they gave me a copy to read.  They asked if I had read it before, and I said I had gone through some of the book, but knew only a small amount of its content.  At another time I had mentioned I would like to read the Bible, the one where Jesus’s words were printed in red ink.  Surprise, they brought me a beautiful bible and I had them autograph the inside for me.  How thoughtful and giving is that. 
Many times the two of them would come to dinner. Pat enjoyed cooking for them. We had everything from Mexican food, barbeque, to good ole Texas biscuits, gravy, and chicken fried steak.  And let us not forget the ice cream and pumpkin pie.  They did love to eat, like most men their age. 
After a few weeks of talking, working and laughing, Elder Kolpakov asked if I might want to be baptized. I said I really didn’t know. He suggested I pray about it. So I did. Prayer was not new to me, but it wasn’t a regular part of my life. I had prayed for members of my family, when they were in the hospital with possible life threatening health problems. I prayed for my son, my wife, friends, even a very special dog or two.  I am even know to give grace at special meals. 
My time in the military and other events in my life had left a question in my mind about being worthy of being baptized. This time my prayers brought forth a dream, with light and shadows and the words, you have always been worthy. I was not awakened by the dream, but remembered it vividly when I awoke. 
After several prayers, I told the Elders I did wish to be baptized and the event date was set. Elder Kolpakov and Elder Walker asked whom I wanted to baptize me. I told them I would like Brother Norman Riggs to do that. I knew he was quite ill, so I told the Elders to approach him in a way that would let him suggest someone if he felt he didn’t have the strength.  At their visit with Norm he said wanted to baptize me and he commented with a smile, “Well it’s about time.” 
Brother Riggs baptized me even though he was weak from cancer and needed his sons’ assistance and assistance of my missionaries as well.  My family was there supporting my decision, what a great day for me.
Norm Riggs, the Navel Officer, the teacher, the professor, the friend, always provoking me with thought. His friendship of both WORDS AND DEEDS has me standing here now. Elder Kolpakov and Elder Walker, my two great missionaries, who taught with example and love, gave me such joy when they were around. 
At brother Riggs funeral he left me one of his ties, with the words “Now we will always be tied together.” I know I will see Brother Norm Riggs again. Norm may have to step down a few steps to greet me, and he will; that’s what friends do. 
I will see Elders Kolpakov and Walker, my great missionaries again.  We exchanged phone numbers and email and still communicate to this day and will for always. 
I share these truths with you in the name of my savior Jesus Christ Amen. Brother D. Dean Maltsberger
The one on the right is my zone leader the other is Elder Mansfield 
This is Elder Pilcher.
This is when Elder Liva got transferred. 
Me with Lisa and investigate who is from the South. She is really cool.