Monday, July 28, 2014

New Area, New People, New Experiences

A cool tree that we found in my area. 
I got a letter from one of my recent converts. Her name is Kelsie and she is really learning much more about the gospel. This is what she wrote:
So we met the new elders and one of them said he knows you and that you are a great guy. The other Elder has only been out for a week and a half and all he talked about was his girlfriend haha. So I have a talk in sacrament today on my conversion story, and it's kinda funny, because while I was waiting to talk during passing the sacrament I felt like I was going to pass out. And everybody told me that I didn't look nervous at all and was a natural up there. I decided to not write down a talk and just let the spirit tell me the things that I should say. Which made me nervous and I couldn't sleep or eat breakfast haha. But it was a really cool experience. I cried a lot during my talk, so did a lot of other people. The interesting thing I noticed is that during my talk there was this still peaceful silence. There was no kids being loud and all eyes were on me. And during everybody else's talk people were moving around a little and kids were screaming haha. Also during Sunday school there was only 3 of us and about five minutes into class this guy that I had never seen walks in and asks if he could join us. After we all introduced ourselves he told us that his name I think it was Elder Doxie, then I was told later by the stake presidency that he told them he was impressed with me. I don't know what I did or said but he said that. Sorry this is kinda long and you probably don't have a lot of time to read this or answer but I just wanted to let you know how much I'm improving and it's largely do to your help :)
So thank you Elder Walker. You are a great example to me.
Sincerely, Kelsie 
I thought this was so cool. I love hearing about the change that I was able to participate in God's children. Also turns out that her less active grandpa lives here in our stake - actually about 5 houses away from where we live. I don't think that is a coincidence. I believe the picture you got of me was of my current companion because we have not gone on splits this transfer yet. This area is so cool. We have 3 people on date for baptism and they are all progressing really well. 2 of them are 9 and the other is about 35ish. She is a really cool lady. 

My last district
We are finding like crazy over here on the west side of the valley. In Draper is is harder to find people but when you find them they are normally a little more solid. Here you are able to find a lot, but they are normally not as solid. Our mission can on average baptize about 1 person in 5 new investigators. That is one of the best averages in the world. That is manly due to the member support. So if you want the people that you find to be baptized you need to get the members involved.

Being a zone leader is a lot of work, but the work is by far worth it. You get to serve other missionaries and love them so much. We have had lots of interesting things happen already. We are also in a lot more contact with President Chambers because we report directly to him.

My last zone
We gave talks again this week. So in the past 2 months I have given 6 talks. That is a lot. people really like to hear from missionaries out here. I think it is because it is a little bit different than normal. So it adds an excitement. 

Question for Dad, being the first counselor in the bishopric how do you think missionaries can help strengthen the ward the most? Also how do you think that as a bishopric that you can help the missionaries the best? I have been wondering what a bishopric's perspective is, because I am on the other side of things right now.

Also I have been told to tell you that I will be coming home before Christmas. they moved the transfer so my last transfer will only be 4 weeks long. :( How sad, but I want you to know this so you can plan accordingly. So I will be released from the mission on 17th of December.

We had 3 investigators come to church. One of them will be baptized this Wednesday, and the other 2 will be baptized sometime this month. The work is going really well in this stake and I love being a part of it.
I just took of my companion while I was sitting here because I wanted you to know what he looked like. He is one of the best companions I have ever had. He loves everyone and we laugh all the time with each other. He is a great trainer (he is a trainer because he is training me how to be a zone leader)
We are eating a lot of breakfast food. Elder Hammond loves it and he has been here for 6 months so the whole stake knows that he loves it. Funny! I like it as well. It is a lot different than what we normally get. This week was Pioneer Day and we had burgers a lot this week as well so this week was a combination of burgers and pancakes for dinner every dinner appointment we had. 

Also happy birthday Dad and BJ! Have a good one. 
Saying good by at the river view stake

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zone Leader & New Area

This week has been crazy. They whitewashed my last stake and they told me that about 6pm and I had to leave around 10 AM in the morning. Also Elder Garver went home (he got his mission call to Alaska) so I had to stay with the zone leaders because I did not have a companion any more. So no time to pack or say good buy to anyone, ok I did get the opportunity to say good by but not to as many as I would have liked to.

This new area that we are in is a great area. We are going to do well here. I like our zone as well. My companion is the first companion that has been younger then me in age. All the rest have been older then me. Crazy. He has been a zone leader a long time and is training me how to be a good zone leader. His name is Elder Hammond. Great guy. The past 6 weeks I have been training so it was a little bit harder in lessons, now it is much easier because he can teach on the spot with out having to go though each point multiple times during comp study so he knows what is happening.

Another big difference is that I am now junior companion. I am not used to that. It is good and bad. I can rely on him to make the final call on things to know if that is the best judgement. He has been out for about 16 months and is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I asked him if he knew Ryan Burnham and he did not, but it was worth a try.

We gave 2 talks this week in church. I have decided I can't do talks very well any more. Let me explain. I can give talks on things I know about like missionary work or any of the lessons we teach, but when it comes to topics that I don't know very many things about I struggle. This week I have to give talk talk on family history. I am not very good at talking on family history so I changed it a lot to missionary work and got though it, but there is still a good appointment of work I can do. My companion gave a great talk. I did not have to be the last speaker, which is a lot different because for the past 9 months I have always been the last speaker or at least after my companion. It was still a good talk, just not a great one. That was also probably due to the fact that I was sick, but that is a little thing. We are teaching several people and they are coming along. I  really like this calling, because I get to help lots more people then I did before, which is also a hard thing because we are not in our area as much as we normally would be, but the Lord will bless us. 

Something that our mission is trying to do is to give a lot more of the responsibility onto the district leaders. We have a big meeting about how to do that. Eventually it needs to get down to the senior companion and have him bear responsibility about the area. This is the same with bishops. They try to delegate things to the elders quorum president then from there to the home teachers and from there to the family to the fathers and mothers.

That is something interesting about our church it is all about the one. No other organization in the world has as good as set up as we do in this church. It would work great if only people did what we were supposed to.

We are a lot busier then we have been in the past. The first few days we did not even get to work in our area until 5 at night. Crazy. But things are slowing down now that transfers are a little bit behind us. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Missionary Life

This week was a different week then normal. Elder Garver had to pack because he is going to go home tomorrow. So from 4:00 pm to 10:00 am I will be with out a companion. So I will probably stay with the zone leaders. I have had this happen to me once before with Elder Mansfield. He got his visa and left the day before transfers ended. We also had to work hard so Elder Garver did not get too trunky. haha he has only been out 3 months and he is already going home. (He will be home for about 1 week and then go to the MTC and get trained then he will head off to his mission).

I actually think it a high possibility for them to whitewash me out of this area. Right now there is only one missionary that has been in his area longer then I have and he is going home. There are only about 6 other missionaries that have been in their area for as long as I have. It is definitely not very common to stay in one area this long. I like it. I know who are the potential investigators and the members to help with lessons. I know the recent converts that need help and need continued guidance.

The Assistants to the President came to my district meeting last week. That was interesting. They helped a lot in the lessons. That is again a tell tale sign that I will probably get moved, but only the president and the lord will know where I need to be.

We gave talks this Sunday again. 3 talks this transfer. I am now to the point where I have to be careful not to go over my time limit. I did that yesterday. There were 4 speakers and I was originally assigned a 15 min talk and I was the 2nd to last speaker there was still the high councilor to speak. We had about 20 min left of the meeting. So I probably should have done a 5 min talk. I ended up doing about a 13 min talk and I felt bad because I did not notice that all that time had passed. I said sorry to the next speaker. I think he has glad on the inside. haha. Well he gave about a 5 min talk and we ended going over about 5 min. I now need to be able to shorten my talks as well as make them longer. I have always been so focused on making my talks longer that I never really realized that I might have to make it shorter.

Something that I have been studying that I find really interesting is light. The first day Christ separated the Light for the dark. At that point there was no sun or stars or Moon so the light came from Christ. He gave the power to the sun and all light comes from Christ. That is why when he died there was no light according to the Book of Mormon for 3 days, because there was no way for it to even be here. The darkness was thick that you could not even light a fire. I find that really interesting. There was a lot more behind this discovery but this basic version of it. I thought you might be interested. 

You can look at darkness in a similar way.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lessons Learned

All of the girls in our stake went up to girls came this week. They loved it. We also got one of our investigators to go up there as well. That was really good for them. 

So Elder Garver sent a letter to the mission president last week about me and the mission president then shared it with basically the whole mission. So they have a first transfer training and they also have a second transfer training and in both of them he shared this with all of them. Then he went to a companionship study for the sisters in my district and shared this story as well. They did not know who it was until today when it came up in a conversion. 
I asked Elder Garver for a copy and he gave it to me:
Elder Walker and I were walking to an appointment when we crossed paths with a man walking his dog. He stopped us and asked us if we could answer him a simple question. He pulled out a wallet and gave us each a paper that he had typed up that was anti-material. He asked us a question that was set up in the fashion that no matter what the answer was, we would be wrong. I felt very uncomfortable, and I wanted to get out of there. Elder Walker said, "We cant answer that with just a yes or no question--" 
The other guy cut him off and with a raised voice said, "Oh my gosh, its just a simple question!" 
Without all the details, he tried to bash with us, and was just freaking out. I tried to testify and leave, but he didn't want to hear my testimony. I did everything I could to get out of the situation, but Elder Walker was just standing there listening to all the criticism from the guy. I didn't want to bash, and I wasn't feeling the spirit. Eventually he left, and I said to Elder Walker, "We need to talk about this, I didn't know what to do." Before he answered me, he walked over to a lady that was watching us, and sitting on her porch. I remember her getting up during the argument and going inside for a minute and then coming back out. When we walked up to the lady, I saw that she went in to get her Bible. Elder Walker really lovingly crouched down, and sat on the heel of his feet, (she was sitting on the ground) and asked her about her Bible. She said it was her mothers. He asked her if read it often, and she confirmed. He said, "Can I show you one of my favorite scriptures?" and then he flipped to James 1:5 and read it to her. He told her that if she had any questions about anything, to do what the scripture said. He apologized for what she saw, and she said "Don't worry, I see people like that all the time trying to mess with you guys. Why can't they just leave you alone?" He set up an appointment for us to come back. 
After her, we walked over to the other people who were watching, and Elder Walker did a similar thing.  
As we walked away, he told me that both those people were not members, and he had been trying to set up appointments with them for months.  
I told him how uncomfortable I was in the argument, and told him I didn't feel the spirit. He told me, "You always have the Spirit unless you do something that will drive it away. Just because he didn't have the Spirit, doesn't mean that you don't. If you stay calm and composed, and don't get worked up, you will have the spirit." 
That really made sense to me.  
Then he told me, "I usually don't like to stand there, but I noticed that people were watching. When someone is yelling, people usually watch. I like to stand there and show the people who are watching that we are disciples of Jesus Christ, and we don't egg on contention. If we stay composed, we get a lot of respect from those watching us."
That was an awesome lesson that I learned from him.
So this is the story he shared. President Chambers really like it. I thought that was so cool. 
Something you learn as a trainer. Your companion watches everything you do and will copy it. That is the same for almost all things when you find someone in a position of leadership or where you have been doing it for longer than others watch you. 

Also I remember when Elder Holland talked to us about a year and 3 months ago he told us something that has stuck with me.  I summarized, but it went something like this.
What is the most recognized thing in the church. Our temples? No. Our church buildings? No (then he listed some other things that the church is famous for), but he said that people associate the church the most with two young people on bikes riding down a street. (Then really forcefully like Elder Holland does) AND YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUIN THE IMAGE OF THIS CHURCH! THIS IS NOT YOUR RIGHT! He said especially in Utah where there are lots of kids that look up to missionaries that you must always maintain the image of a missionary!
I have taken that to heart. I must always remember that we really did take Jesus Christ's name upon us and that we need to remember that everyone knows that. This is not just for missionaries as well. People look up to us. 

I remember when I was in school when we would get some one that would swear. A common thing in high school. But if it was a Mormon then all of a sudden it becomes this great big deal and I would probably hear about it. They would say ''Did you know so and so said this? Aren't they Mormon?" 
I also remember when we were watching a TV show together one night and it was called Greed or something. They were talking about this guy who was able to con a lot of people out of their money. Then they mentioned that he was a Mormon Bishop. People know. People watch. So always show others that we really are a disciple of Jesus Christ by our example and our deeds. 

Well I hope that the video that you make does not get deleted if the power gets shut down. and if it does things will work out. 

That is another thing I am learning. Sometimes things go way wrong. For example we had a nonmember that had removed his records in the church because he did not believe there was a God. We were teaching him and he was progressing. Then we got to the Law of Chastity and we committed him to follow it. The next lesson was so sad. He said that he had tried and he felt horrible and did not ever want to try it again. He said that he still does not believe there was a God or anything we were teaching. I know that he does know there is a God. Why would he let us back time and time again? Why read the book of Mormon and go to church? The only explanation is that he was repenting, but then got to something he loved more then he loved God and denied all of it. Then the spirit prompted us to read Helaman 16:14-25 this was the exact thing that we needed to read to him. This is what happened:
We could feel the spirit so strong, but he just kept on denying it. Then he refused to let us pray. It was one of the saddest moments of my mission. We could see him progressing so well. He had been reading the scriptures going to Church, and he said he had started to pray. He had completely reversed back to his old self. (Side story, the first time we met him his Mom had us over for dinner and she was there. We taught kinda more of an argument about if there was a God. Then we kept going over and he started to say Amen to prayers and to take notes when we would teach. It was a fantastic miracle.) Now he has rejected us and cast us out and refuses to do anything we ask of him.  I felt so bad. I was reminded of a scripture Mosiah 28:3. I will remember that feeling.
I have learned that it is an easy what of getting our of feeling guilty. To not believe there is a God. An escape from the guilt that God gives us so we can repent. 

On a happier note. we had an investigator come to church yesterday. We also had a member of the 70 Elder Ulysses Soares give his testimony. That was cool to see. He is a good speaker and also a member of the presidency of seventy.

We had a lesson with her afterwards and she told us that she was happy she made it to church.  

Well I ran out of time but have a good week family!