Monday, December 30, 2013

Transfer 14, Week 2, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

 This is me next to my 'itsy bitsy teeny tiny Christmas Tree'  that mom sent me :) thanks mom!
 This is my posterity with Santa! My son. my 3 grandsons. and my great-grandson!

Dear Family,
This week was great! We had a baptism for Byron on the 26th! It went well! I think there were only 4 members of the ward there but the rest of the room was filled with family members that came to show support. It was probably the least stressful baptism that I've been a part of. We just interviewed him this past week. We show up to the baptism and do a little message while we are waiting for them to get dressed after the baptism and then it's over!

This week seemed like it would be pretty slow but it turned out to be great! We had a lesson with Savanna, who is set for the 4th! We taught the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. Then we did a review of the Baptismal Interview Questions. The lesson went great! She had some questions about prophets and why they are needed today. It is so great when you explain a principle and then you can tell that they understand now! I really love the line, "A prophet provides and anchor of eternal truth in a world of shifting values". It really just sums up what the role of a prophet is and why we need them today!
Christmas this year was great! We spent some time with our ward mission leader, brother Jolley. Then we skyped our families at the Teshimas home. We opened presents and played some ping pong with some other missionaries. It was a great day!
A Family in the ward, the Reyes', gave us Christmas presents! They gave Elder Till a superman shirt and they gave me a 'Las Vegas' sweatshirt. They are so nice! (The family I mean) :)
We had a lesson with the Worku family. They have not been reading so we read a chapter with her. We are trying to help them understand the importance of the book of mormon and how they can find their answer. I really hope they will start coming to church on a regular basis.
Well thats it for this week! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
Love you!
Elder John

"The cause of most of mans unhappiness is sacrificing what he wants most for what he wants now" - Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, December 23, 2013

Transfer 14, Week 1, Lakes Stake, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week was great! We had our mission Christmas Party!!! So fun! President and Sister Ahlander talked for a little while then we had a Christmas program. Then one of the assistants, Elder Torgersen, read us his version of 'twas the night before Christmas'. Then we had lunch provided by the Red Rock Stake. It was so good!!! Finally we got to watch 'Ephraim's Rescue'! Great Movie!!! and yes I did tear up a bit!
So in the mission there is a tradition of calling the person you train your son. So according to tradition I have one son. Who trained 3 other missionaries (My grandchildren) and this last transfer one of my grandsons trained! So I'm a great-grandfather! I'll attach a pic of all of us sitting on Santas lap!
This past week has been very slow! No one can meet because of the holidays and its been tough. However we have had some rays of light. We have been tractng a lot and we have to walk a lot more becuase we are over our mileage allotment on our car. So we tract this one street and this guy answers the door and he says that he used to be a member a few years ago. He also said that a friend of his was over at his house just a few hours ago and told him that he would send missionaries to his house. So we happen to show up! The Man has an 18 year old son he wants us to teach and he said that "Gods phone calls travel a lot faster than mans phone calls. My friend 'called' God and God 'called' you to knock on my door". So great!
A Family in the ward is having their son visit from Washington. THey want him to get baptized while he is here for the holidays! He is getting baptized on the 26th of December and we are going to interview him for baptism today at 12 we are going to interview him. It should be fun!
This past Saturday my first 'new investigator' my first week in the mission was baptized! We've worked with him for a while and missionaries have been teaching him since I left my first area. I was so excited to hear that he is going to be baptized! Elder Wong (my trainer) came down from Utah to baptize him. I was also in the water to help because of his bad knees. Immediatly after he was baptized he started clapping. He then lifted Elder Wong and I up in the air. It was so great to see him so excited! The Bishop, as he was welcoming him to the ward, shared this scripture Isaiah 55:12. He said that 'you showed your joy though clapping' and the bishop made it a great experience for him!
So a few weeks ago we set Savanna for the 4th of January. She was a little hesitant but was willing to make it a goal. Spencer, her husband, sent us a text midway through this past week and said that 'Savanna is definitely getting baptized on the 4th. We were reading and I felt inspired to show her Alma 32. We had a great spiritual experience and she is excited to be baptized.'
Oh its so great! So exciting!!!
Finally, We went Caroling! We got permission from Wal-mart and our whole zone (19 missionaries) caroled for a few hours. People were taking pictures of us and they were so excited to see people singing at Wal-mart!
Well I better go!
I love you all!
Elder John
"Yes, we still wish Christmas were more deeply felt and lasted longer, but the visibly increased goodwill nevertheless reminds us, if only briefly, of what could be everlasting. For a few days, the first and second commandments are more pondered and observed."
- Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 6, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

 This is Javier in the middle and Simon on the left. They are so hilarious!!!

Dear Family,
This week was great! Today, however, is transfers and I will be staying in the Desert Breeze Ward and I will get Elder Till. He is a new ZL and he was in my last area as a district leader/trainer. He is very humble and the kindest guy you'll meet! I'm excited to have him as my new companion. I'm sad to see Elder Helin go but he will do great in Mesquite.
So sorry to spoil it by talking about what happened on Saturday first... but its the most exciting thing this week!

So we had a lesson with Spencer and Savannah at the Gardiners house. So a little back story: the Gardiners are having a baby Sunday, the next day, at 4 am. so 12 hours before their baby is due we are meeting at their house to have a lesson (they are the best!!!). So we followed up on Savannahs reading and how things are going with her and Spencer. We then watched the conference talk "The Lords Way" by Stanley G. Ellis. After that we discussed different aspects of our lives that we have to live the lords way or we will not be happy. We then committed her to baptism on the 4th of January! She was a little hesitant but she was comfortable with setting it as a goal. Then Spencer, her husband, comes in and gives such a great and powerful testimony! It is so great to see his progress, even in the short time that I've been in the area. He now can baptize her when she is ready and he is so excited for her to take this step!
Then at the end of the lesson he gave the prayer and it was one of the most heartfelt prayers I've heard! One of the lines that stuck out to me from his prayer was "We are thankful for the little things in life that make us smile, and the bigger things in life that make us happy". Even in a prayer he did so well with helping his wife understand what brings real happiness.

This week we met with the Worku family. They are doing well, however they have not been coming to church. We had a great lesson with Sable, the mom, this week though. We taught the Plan of Salvation (Elder Herlin and my last PMG lesson together) and she thought it was great! We also extended the baptismal commitment and she said that she's already been baptized. We explained the need for the correct authority and so forth... she said that she would start reading the Book of Mormon because, as she said, 'that's the only way I'll know what I should do'. YES! Right on! She also committed to praying and asking if she should be baptized or not. I'm excited!

So brother Johnston, who came to the Christmas party with his wife last week, is on his way to coming back to church regularly! His schedule has not allowed him to come to church while he has lived here in Las Vegas but since the time changes to 9am and not 1pm he will be able to come! Also sister Johnston's son is coming onto town and Brother Johnston has been cleared to baptize him! so cool!!!
We had a mission tour this last Thursday. Elder Steven E. Snow came to the mission. We had the opportunity to have a special Mission Leadership Council with him and it was great! I learned so much and I'm excited to continue to work!

On Saturday we went to a live Nativity that the Red Rock Stake puts on. It was one of the best that I've seen! It really brought to life the true meaning of Christmas and made me feel so grateful for the gift of Jesus Christ.

So just a random event that happened this week: We were visiting a less active who wasn't home. While we were driving to the exit of the apartment complex we came across this guy and his girlfriend trying to push/steer his car into a parking space. (they were having a lot of trouble with it) So we pulled around and came out and helped them push it. It was only like 30 feet but they were very appreciative and we were able to get their names to some other missionaries in our Zone to teach them. I just thought I would share how little acts of service/kindness can influence people. Christ was sent here to show the world what the father is like. We are sent into the world to show them what Christ is like.
I love you all and hope all is well at this time of year!

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus"- Neal A. Maxwell

"When we are impatient, we are neither reverential nor reflective because we are too self centered. Whereas faith and patience are companions, so are selfishness and impatience... It is so easy to command others when we are not in control of ourselves" - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, December 9, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 6, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week is transfers! we will find out on Saturday whether Elder Herlin is staying or going. I really want him to stay to show me the area a little more because I've only been here 6 weeks but I have a feeling that he will be transferred. 
This past week went pretty well, however it was not as productive as last week.
We had an investigator drop us this past Friday. Chris walks outside and tells us that he is happy where he is and he is happy with his relationship with God. It hurt so bad but it also was also pretty hilarious   because it felt like he was breaking up with us. He said "Even when you aren't here I'm still thinking about you". Which made us laugh a little bit. But it still hurt and we are really sad. 
The Worku family came to church this past week so we followed up with them on Wednesday to see how they liked it. It was so amazing to see the difference that has happened since they have come to church. They seem to understand everything so much more! When we asked them what the role of the book of mormon was in their conversion she actually tried to come up with a good answer and really thing about the question. They didn't come to church but hopefully we can meet with them this week! 
We had our Christmas party this past Friday! It was the best Christmas party I've seen all year! :)
It was 'polar express' themed and they had a train that drove all of the kids (and adults) around the parking lot. It was super fun but the best part about it was that the Johnstons came! We were not having a very productive day and we were trying to visit anyone we could. We thought of this family that usually isn't home during the day. We were desperate so we decided to go by. They were home and we invited them to the party! They came and sat with this great young couple in the ward. They sat and talked the whole night and seemed to have a lot of fun! When the Johnstons were leaving, brother Johnston came up and said "I'm very grateful that you guys stopped by and invited us to the party". Plus it turns out that the couple they sat with is his home teaching partner. So Sunday they went home teaching together!!! so great!!! 
The Christmas devotional was amazing and it really reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas!!! 
Thank you very much for all your support! 
Elder John

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 4, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving week!!! We sure had a great one!!! Thursday we had our Turkey Bowl for the mission and it was a success! The Lakes Zone won the championship and it was a morning full of fun!
We taught a lot of lessons this week! We figured its because we know people aren't going anywhere so we can finally catch them!
We met with Sherri and invited her to a Bible Study class that the sisters missionaries in our zone put on. She seemed very excited for that and she also said that she wants to start reading the Book of Mormon.
Wednesday we went on exchanges. I was with Elder Koval in our area. Elder Koval is a new missionary this transfer and I thought it would be funny to pull a prank on him (don't worry I'm not that mean). So I called a less active that we had an appointment to see that day and told him to pretend that he was a random person that we tracted into. He said that he would love to and that when we offered to share a message with him he would just say that he wanted to play board games with us instead. So the time came and as elder Koval thought, we were tracting. We knock on his door; do the introduction, and he says, "Hey I'm from the ward". and instead of being an investigator he is just a member and says that he wants to play games with us... so ya it didn't work out like I thought but it was still a good time. And I figured that the prank wasn't that mean anyway so it turned out to be a good laugh when it fell apart :)
Thursday was Turkey Day! We ate dinner at the Browns and it was fantastic!
Friday we were able to meet with Latasi and the Worku's! People we haven't been able to meet with for a long time! But we caught them on their day off!
Saturday we taught a less active, Steven. He and his mom were baptized when he was 12 and after she died he went inactive. He said that he knows he needs to get back to church. He lives with his girlfriend and her 5 year old daughter. He said that he would ask them if they would be interested in taking the lessons. Its so great!!! things are picking up!
We also taught Savannah about obedience, attending church, reading scriptures, and praying. Her and her husband are doing so well! Her husband is a member but has been inactive for a good part of his life. I felt so bad during the lesson because I asked him how taking the sacrament each week has affected him. He said that he hasn't taken the sacrament in a long time and he really wants to. He bore his testimony of how great it would be to take it and how he needs to meet with the bishop. I was grateful that i asked that question however because near the end of the lesson, Brother Gardiner, challenged him to meet with the bishop and get things worked out. Sunday he bore his testimony in church and it was so great to see him taking steps to grow closer to God!
Sunday, the Worku's came to church! We had a great lesson in gospel principles and I really hope they enjoyed it!
I love you all and thanks for your support! hope you have a great week!
Elder John

Monday, November 25, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 3, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week was fabulous! We were blessed with three new investigators! The work is really speeding up in this area!!!
Monday we had dinner at the Doxies. He is a recent convert and she is a returning less active. They went to the temple last Thursday to do baptisms for the dead. We showed them a video on the temple (from 'intro to mormons' on and discussed that, apart from the temple, the home is the second most sacred place. They are very excited to be able to go to the temple next November and be sealed!
Tuesday we had a great lesson with Chris. We found him while going through a 'new member moved in' list. His sister, the member, wasn't home but he said that we could come back and talk with him. When we returned he said that he is just looking to turn his life around. He has started up this new business and he is having great success down on Fremont Street. He wants to relieve the burdens that he has accumulated over his past few years and he wants to get married to his girlfriend. He was also super excited that we have basketball courts in our churches haha. (we made sure that basketball was not the reason he is meeting with us).
On Wednesday we went on exchanges and I went with Elder Corcoran in his area. We had a really great day! We almost got in a wreck because this drunk guy was swerving in front of us... but we made it out alive. We were also making visits to members that were not assigned home teachers. We knock on the door and this woman answers. She says 'oh we were just having a family meeting but you can come in and say hi'. We walk in and there are at least 12 kids sitting around this huge table and this other woman waves at us and says hi. It was so hilarious! It might not sound as funny through email but just pretend that this was the most exciting thing in your day :)
Thursday it started to rain. So we went tracting! On the first house that answered this woman lets us in and we ask her the survey questions. He husband/boyfriend walks down the stairs and he says, 'wow i know a lot about your church but I've never listened to missionaries before'. He invites us to sit and we tell him our message. He is very well versed in religion and he also has some misconceptions due to his ex-wife's family. He seems pretty open and invited us to come back whenever we want. His biggest deal will be the afterlife and kingdoms of glory but he seems open to new ideas!
Friday through Saturday afternoon we were on exchanges with the assistants. We have been working with the bishop to invite his neighbor to meet with us. We extended the bishop and his family a commitment and they accepted. So this Saturday morning we had a lesson with his neighbor, Dillon. She is a great lady who says that she is more spiritual than religious. She doesn't believe in one true religion but she does believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and she is so grateful that we have a prophet today! She will be great, we just have to help her connect a few dots that are missing!
Saturday night we had a lesson with Spencer and Savannah. Spencer is a returning less active and Savannah is his wife. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they seemed to want to take their search for the truth more seriously. We talked to them at church and they said that they read like 27 pages of the Book of Mormon after our lesson, which ended at 9pm. We are so excited and we hope that they continue to make time for the gospel!
Wow! that's a lot of stuff! We had a great week and I hope that you did too!
Love you all!
Elder John
 "Among so many things deserving of our deepest gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving is the feasting fullness of the Restoration.  It is like a harvest basket which, to use Jesus' metaphor, is a "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38.)  This abundant harvest spares us from hungering because of doctrinal deprivation. The lack of fullness has real consequences, especially for those who struggle, for instance, with adversity while trying to believe in a God of loving purpose.  Each of the key doctrines by itself would help us. In combination, however, these doctrines can produce stronger faith by providing vital spiritual nourishment. The Restoration is not only a harvest "running over", but it also brings back vital "plain and precious things" – the balanced essentials.  (1Nephi 13:26.)" -Maxwell

Monday, November 18, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 2, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week was terrific! We we able to go to the temple this last Wednesday and it was great! I learned more than I've ever learned in the temple this last trip! It is a great place to be and it should be the goal that each of us has in our spiritual cross-hairs. This week the Doxies, a recently baptized part member family, went to the temple with the ward to do baptisms for the dead and they had a great experience! The Doxies are awesome! We went to visit a less active member and brother Doxie was there with the elders quorum president giving him the sacrament after church! So cool!
We have been using the survey and have made some good contacts to follow up with. We need to build our teaching pool and the survey is helping tremendously! It has been getting dark very early as I'm sure most of you can tell and with that it is finally getting cold! So we put on our black sweaters while we were knocking doors, around 5:30 or so. We come up to a certain house and knock on the door. In a few seconds a woman opens the door and screamed really loud. I guess her and her husband were just then walking out the door and they didn't hear the knock. So she was very unhappy to be surprised by two men in black, silhouetted against the moon light.
There was a baptism for an investigator, Mimi, in Red Rock this past Tuesday (12th) but I was not able to go to it. We had a dinner scheduled with a family and they told us Sunday, as we were about to ask if we could eat after the baptism,  that they were going to invite a non member to dinner. So I decided that it would be better to meet with the non member. I totally thought that we were going to show up and the non member wasn't going to show up! However my pessimistic thinking was proven wrong! We had a great dinner and discussion with this man and he agreed to read the Book of Mormon. He lives in the other mission but he said that he will read some of it!
We had a lesson with the Worku family this week. They are from Ethiopia and Elder Herlin and his previous companion tracted into them. They are very nice but do not seem to be totally committed... or even partially committed. We invited them to come to church and they said they would if we called them. Well the day of reckoning came and they fell short! So hopefully we can get them to understand the significance of the message.
We also talked with a less active member who hasn't been to church since he was a little kid. He talked to us for about an hour and a half about conspiracy theories and a bunch of other random stuff. There are some great people you meet as a missionary!
Well I love you all and hope all is going well in your lives!
Elder John
"The worlds wisdom can be helpful, but only like a lighthouse that works some of the time" -Maxwell

Monday, November 11, 2013

Transfer 13, Week 1, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week has been great! Going to a new area is like starting another year in school, except this year all the kids are new! Its a great time to start anew and see how you have grown from the past area. I can see aspects concerning myself that have changed and other aspects that I still need to work on.
After the visit of Brother Donaldson from SLC, I have put a greater effort forward to excising real faith in what the scriptures, Preach my Gospel, and other materials say concerning missionary work. I have found that I have the faith to say 'oh ya that sounds like that could happen if it needed to' or 'ya I believe in that'. But I have discovered that it doesn't just happen. I need play an active role in what I am putting my trust in. For example: if i believe that there is someone that I'm supposed to talk to, or that someone is prepared, I cant just hope that I will meet them and let God do it. I need to talk to as many people as I can to be able to have the experiences that I want on my mission and to fulfill the Lords promises to me!
This past week I have been trying to learn the area. And it is so great! The members are fantastic and some of the investigators we are working with seem really promising.
I love my new companion! (I still love you Elder Manning/previous companions)  It is great to have someone that you get along with and someone who you can feel open with. It allows the spirit to direct not only our companionship as a whole but it also allows the spirit to direct my in all aspects of the work!
My first night in the area, Monday, we had dinner at the Jensen's and a lesson with the Doxies. The husband was baptized a few months ago and we started the new member lessons with them! The Doxies are great people and I look forward to them going to the temple! Their goal is November 8th of next year! (their anniversary)
This week we had the opportunity to teach Elder Quorum. We formed the lesson around the first presidency message in last months Ensign. I'm pretty sure it was 'To the Rescue'. There was great participation from the Elders and it allowed learning to occur. (also it was great not to have to talk that much haha)
We have started using the survey in this area and guess what! We found someone the first time we went out! His name is David and his room mate is a member of the church who hasn't been active since he was 13. His roommate, Andrew, said that he has been thinking of coming back to church and that he may come in the next few weeks. We have an appointment with David tonight so hopefully all goes well!
oh I almost forgot! This past Thursday we, Elder Herlin and I, we asked to usher at the Gladys Knight performance. She puts on a great performance to share her testimony and to allow non members to feel the spirit. It was a great experience and we have already had one referral from it! (they pass out card that people that fill out to receive a free gift; a Gladys Knight cd, Book of Mormon, and a Restoration DVD). The only down side to Thursday night was that we did not get to sleep until 12:30. then we got to wake up at 6:30 the next day!
Also this week we will be going to the temple and I can't wait!
Well that's pretty much my first week in my new area!
Love you all!
Elder John
"True as the scripture says, "wickedness never was happiness" (alma41:10) but neither is lukewarmness full happiness. Failing to be valiant in Christlike discipleship will leave us without significant happiness. therefore, our active avoidance of wickedness must be followed by our active engagement in righteousness. Then we can come to know true joy- after all, man in that 'he might have joy' (2 Nephi 2:25)
- Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, November 4, 2013

Transfer 12, Week 6, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

Dear Family,
Today I am being transferred to Lakes Zone! I will be with Elder Herlin, who was made a zl the same time I was! His companion, Elder Dowdle, will be coming and taking my place. So we are just switching spots for a while! I am very sad to be leaving Elder Manning! I've learned so much from him and I hope his last transfer in the mission goes great! However, I'm excited to be getting Elder Herlin!
This past week we received a referral from the bishop. We taught her this last Friday and it went so well! This is our first new investigator since the training by Brother Donaldson from SLC so we could start using the teaching ideas that he gave us! The lesson went so well and I could tell a difference between this lesson and the previous lessons we have taught together. Her name is Latricia and she committed to being baptized when she knows that its true!!! so Fun!!!
We had the opportunity to go to the Zion's Youth Symphony. It was a great performance! Every year the youth from the Vegas area do a show that people can bring investigators or friends to. This year they did "How Firm a Foundation", which was themed after the founding fathers and American history. It was so great! Almost like listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! It's ironic that we were listening to the '100 Years' cd of MoTab and most of the songs that Zion's Youth sang were on the cd we listened to that day!  
I almost forgot! This past Saturday was the 100 years of Scouting in the lds church and we were asked to help cook breakfast and lunch for over 5,000 scouts! We woke up at 4a.m. to be there by 4:30a.m.! It was a blast!!! but seriously it was cool... except the whole waking up at 4 thing. It was really fun to work and cook! Its amazing what being on your feet for over 12 hours will do! We were very thankful for daylight savings, once we figured out that if you put your clock one hour behind you gain an hour! At first we thought that it was the opposite so we were pleasantly surprised!
Well that's about it for this week!!! I love you all!!!
Elder John
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails whole daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."  - Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, October 28, 2013

Transfer 12, Week 5, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week we had the privilege of having Leadership Training by President Ahlander and Brother Donaldson (from the Missionary Department). It was very spiritual! one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission so far! (I will send the transcription from the meeting to those who ask). 
We are teaching Jeff, a man that our elders quorum found and he is progressing well. He said that he is not ready to come to church but that he will take it step by step. One way to ask people to read the Book of Mormon, that we learned from Brother Donaldson, is to ask them how long it would take them to read a 500 page book, then ask them to read the book of Mormon. Jeff said 1 week but that may be because he hasn't ever read a 500 page book yet.
We lost Elder Hart, the missionary that was with us last week. He is going back to his area with a Visa Waiter that we stole from Highland Hills Zone. It will be difficult for him because he has only been in the area for five weeks and one week of that he was in sick because of his companion.
We have started to go into members homes and train them on missionary work. Our ward mission leader, Brother MV Smith, has come up with a great way to report and to help the ward members progress as to their own member missionary work.
A few weeks ago I made a decision to memorize a parable each week. So far I have memorized the parable of the tares (matt 13), the unmerciful servant (matt 18), and I am almost done with the laborers in the vineyard (matt 20). I want to continue that for the rest of my life! Someday I may have the whole thing memorized!
So last pday Elder Manning bought a spider man sweat shirt for our trunk or treat. while we were walking away from the clothes section we passed a mom and her 14ish year old boy. I heard the mom tell the boy, 'I told you that sweater was cool'. haha it was awesome! So elder manning also bought a tag from another missionary Elder Parker. Elder Manning was going to wear this with his new spider man sweat shirt so he could be Peter Parker. To our dismay the trunk or treat was cancelled this last Saturday and moved it to Halloween night... they said it was because they couldn't get enough people to participate. We cannot attend because we have to be in by 6pm on Halloween. However, President has approved 17 Miracles and The other side of Heaven for Halloween night only. that should be fun!
Well that's pretty much my week!
Love you all!
Elder John
"We may at times, I we are not careful, try to pray away pain or what seems like an impending tragedy, but which is, in reality, an opportunity." - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trasnsfer 12, Week 4, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week was very interesting and exciting!
First off, this past Friday, a missionary went home for medical purposes. So his companion is with Elder Manning and I. We got back to the apartment Friday night around 10:50 so we were running on low fuel for the weekend.  It has been very interesting to deal with going back and forth between areas for various reasons, since our areas are at opposite sides of the zone! It has been fun however, since Elder Hart is a cool guy!
We also had a 'fun' experience this past week! So there has been a missionary in the Zone that has had some trouble keeping some of the rules and just having a hard time with certain things. We had some reports from members concerning various activities so Saturday night, after Stake Conference, at 9:35 we had the opportunity to have a chat with him. In my head I was thinking of all of the things that we needed to call him on. (imagine me counting with my fingers) I imagined how we could tell him of the things that we know he is doing and how we would tell him to stop. Mostly I was just angry that he had done some of the things that he did. However, I learned a great lesson that night. Elder Manning pointed out that we wouldn't get anywhere if we just pointed out all of the things that he's done wrong; we would only make an enemy. The first thing that Elder Manning asked him when we arrived and proceeded with our conversation was, 'how do you feel your mission is going so far?' We then proceeded to talk about how he feels about what he has done and how his actions not only effect himself but also everyone around him. As we started to come to the close this particular elder said, 'there was a passage in my patriarchal blessing that talks about my influence on others and how it will spread and affect many. I never knew what that meant until now.'
I am so grateful that one of us, Elder Manning, was willing to follow the spirit that night because I sure wasn't. I just wanted to go in and tell them how I might have perceived him currently and not how he could become. 
Our most promising investigator finally got back in town this past week and we were able to teach her! She went to LA for a few weeks and was able to find an agent. She has had a few auditions for modeling and has received a few call backs already. Things seemed to just fall in to place and work out perfectly for her. She said that 'all of the people that I have met there are 'spiritual' and they all say that it was 'me' that got me here but I tell them that it was God.' We explained how hard it will be to be firm in her faith but that God will always be there and members of the church are all over the world to provide strength. 
This week we were able to teach Jeff, a man that our elders quorum has found with our survey. He seems promising in that he is willing to pray and read from the Book of Mormon! It is great to slowly get a teaching pool! and we are so grateful for our ward mission leader and Elders quorum for trying to find people! Its funny because they say, 'ya getting the appointments are no big deal but then we get there and they don't keep them, they aren't home, or they are just busy. We need to come up with something for that aspect of the work." haha we laugh because that is every second of our day! Show up to a lesson and they cant meet! but it is great to have people with such high expectations :)
We also had the opportunity to sing Hark all ye Nations and Called to Serve for Stake Conference. It was pretty fun and we got to sit on the stand the whole time!
Love you all!
Elder John

"Patience is, therefore, clearly not fatalistic, shoulder shrugging resignation. It is the acceptance of a divine rhythm to life. It is obedience prolonged. Patience stoutly resists pulling up the daisies to see how the roots are doing." -Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, October 14, 2013

Transfer 12, Week 3, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

Dear Family,
Wow! General Conference is such a blessing and the Apostles are definitely inspired. I recall as I listened to Elder Hollands talk, it was not what I expected. Usually he speaks on a scripture or something like that. But this last conference he spoke on mental issues/depression. I definitely loved the talk but I admit that I was not too excited about it! However this last week we met with a man that our members found. He has severe PTSD and has had thoughts of suicide being the only way out. We told him of the conference and helped him look it up on his computer. I am so glad that the Apostles speak for our problems today and I am grateful that we can use the insights that they share with us to bless others, even if we may not see an immediate need.
I also had the opportunity and blessing to go back to one of my previous wards, San Miguel, to see the baptism of Melinda Bulmer. Her baptism was on the 12th and it was 10 months ago on the day that we knocked on John and Melinda's door. I am so happy for her and for her husband. I know that this gospel will bring them closer as they continue to follow the commandments and continue in faith.
It was so great to see all of the people in the San Miguel Ward! A sister that I saw there said, "when I saw you its like I'm home... and I'm already home". It is great to have such an amazing ward for the Bulmer's to be apart of!
This last Saturday was our Stake Day of Service. From 9 to 3 the missionaries were in charge of preparing and cooking all of the good for everyone. I was blessed with a nice sun burn but it is slowly turning into a tan. I was wearing an apron all day so I have a white streak on my neck. It's pretty hilarious!
This past week we also met with all of the Ward Mission Leaders in the Stake. We were asked to prepare a training on 'what is expected from ward mission leaders and how we can correlate our efforts to work in harmony.' I will list some of the aspects that we touched on just incase you can get some ideas from them:
-Weekly Coordination meetings with a progress record. -Ward missionaries informed on their role and motivated. -members of the ward mission working each night with the exception of Monday and Sunday nights - if needed call more ward missionaries. -during weekly coordination meetings, give missionaries new names to visit. - help find members that can go to teaching appointments. - creating a ward the Lord can trust by: making the investigators feel welcome (each ward missionary should introduce the investigator to a member of the ward) and creating a good learning environment in the gospel principles class (including supervision of the teacher and ensuring that 'principles' are being taught).
Well I hope some of that helps. It seems that it would be the perfect ward if that could happen but I know that some ideas can trigger revelation!
Love you all!!!
Elder John
"We are not always the already tempered and helpful hammer which is shaping and pounding another. Sometimes we are simply the anvil." - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, October 7, 2013

Transfer 12, Week 2, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

Dear Family,
General Conference was great! I love the talks on the Atonement and how we can find strength to be lifted out of despair! Great Stuff!
This week we had F.H.E. with a part member family! We did a few object lessons that were really fun and they seemed to love it!
We have 16 names that we are working with from our ward finding survey! Hopefully we can get some good prospects from that!
Our investigator Myah has been out of town until next week so we are really sad about that! Hopefully she will still want to be taught when she gets back!
That's pretty much all that happened this week!
Love you all!
Elder John
"How marvelous it is when we see people who are not so swallowed up in their own suffering that they cannot still manage sympathy, even empathy, for those who suffer far, far less. How many of us here may have undergone the embarrassment of being comforted by those who had more reason to be comforted than we? Yet we recognize in that act of theirs a saintliness to which we would so gladly aspire." -Maxwell

Monday, September 30, 2013

Transfer 12, Week 1, Meadows Zone, Meadows 1st Ward‏

 This is a painting that one of our ward missionaries painted.

Dear Family,
Yet another exciting week in Meadows! the weather is finally cooling down! its been in the mid 80's consistently for the past two weeks so its nice to get a break!
Because of the nice weather and the size of our area we have decided to break out our bikes! It is so refreshing to have it be cool enough outside to feel the wind in our faces! Usually it feels like a blow-dryer.
We had a great lesson with our new investigator from last week, Myah. We walked in and she did not seem happy. She said that all this has made her doubt that she even believes in organized religion at all! After a long discussion, answering questions and so forth, she started asking questions concerning where she was going after this life and what happens next. When we first prepared for the lesson we just decided to go in and share a few short videos on the introduction to the church then answer a few questions. However, as Elder Manning pointed out, as we followed the Spirit and actually taught what we were supposed to teach (the Plan of Salvation) we were better able to help her understand. She said 'you are right on the money'. That's the Spirit for ya!
Myah finally came to church this week too!!! Everyone was very welcoming and so friendly to her! The Gospel Principles lesson was very basic and so great!  Hopefully she loved it and was able to recognize the Spirit!
We met a man this week from our survey, Enrique. He is in his 30s and her has a wife and a few children. Years ago he felt the weight of his previous sins and he felt that he should change his life. He goes to a church now and is converted to Christ. His wife, however, does not seem to have the faith that he has. He said that we are welcome back anytime and that hopefully we can teach his wife about Christ and make a believer out of her as well.  
The survey is going very well! we are getting new people every week! On Saturday/Sunday the Elders Quorum set up two appointments for us for this next week. The goal that our ward mission leader has set is to have 18 appointments from finding every week!
Well that's about it! Thank you so much for your support and I wish you all well!!!
Elder John  
"True humility is intelligent self-respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves... it makes us modest be reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be." - Ralph W. Sockman

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Dear Family,
There is a Balm in Gilead! (Jeremiah 8:22) The drought of people to teach seems to be in the process of lifting within this past week! We have already found a degree of success in the survey that our ward implemented a few weeks ago. This past Saturday we taught Maria, someone that our elders quorum found. She speaks and understands English pretty well, however we gave her a Book of Mormon in Spanish so she can comprehend it fully. She is willing, at least, to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray to know that it is true.
We had another ray of light this past week! We contacted a referral that we received not too long ago; Myah is 20 years old and she really wants to learn what the Lord wants for her. We taught her the first lesson and when we came back her mom sat in on the lesson and we discussed the Book of Mormon and explained the background. In an earlier lesson, Myah posed a question regarding how  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is different from other religions. We explained that the church has the fullness of the Gospel and the restoration of the priesthood. She also came to the conclusion that the difference between 'Mormons' and other Christian churches is that the LDS Church practices what the Bible actually teaches. It was so exciting because her mom actually came to the same conclusion!
We have been meeting with Reese for a while now and we finally had the opportunity to explain and read the Book of Mormon with him. Unfortunately, he may be moving to Arizona. He has really good intentions but he seems like he has been misguided throughout his life and is paying for some previous bad decisions that he has made.
There was only one incident that when wrong this past week; Gary, who was set to be baptized on the 5th of October, is out of town in California until the end of the month. We are going to have to push the baptism back and get him to recommit to follow Christ in being baptized.
And Best for last!!! Elder Manning and I are staying together!!! We are obviously excited to stay together and to keep working on helping this area progress with its missionary efforts.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder John
"Some seek to brush aside conscience, refusing to hear its voice. But that deflection is, in itself, an act of choice, because we so desired. Even when the light of Christ flickers only faintly in the darkness, it flickers nevertheless. If one averts his gaze therefrom, it is because he so desires.
Like it or not, therefore, reality requires that we acknowledge our responsibility for our desires. Brothers and sisters, which do we really desire, God’s plans for us or Satan’s?
Whenever spiritually significant things are under way, righteous desires are present. Meek desire characterized those awaiting baptism at the waters of Mormon. With their baptismal commitments spelled out specifically, “they … exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts” (Mosiah 18:11). The Nephite multitude, enraptured by the presence of the resurrected Jesus, knelt in humble and intensive prayer, yet “they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire” (3 Ne. 19:24)."

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

This week went fairly well... We were able to meet with our investigator that is set for the 5th of October and he seems to be progressing well. He did not end up coming to church however, so we will have to push his baptism back another week. It's probably a good thing so now we don't have to work around doing the baptism in between General Conference sessions.
We had a ray of light this last Sunday which has turned into a small flicker of light. We received a referral Saturday night for a man that wants to come to church. We set up a ride for him and we met him the next morning. He seemed eager to learn and wants to come to our church. We met with him last week and we found out that he was Muslim. We knew that there were some restrictions concerning Muslim individuals because they could be in danger if someone back home found out that they joined the church. Well we decided to teach him the first lesson and then we called our mission president afterward.  Our mission president said that he cannot be baptized if he has family back home or if he ever plans to go back to Iran. It is a tough situation because this man wants to be baptized but he has a lot of family back home. We explained that he cannot be baptized and we are still working on having the mission president come to a lesson with us. We can still teach him and he can still come to church. We told him that he can receive all of the blessings of the gospel that are available to everyone, however he may not have the opportunity to be baptized in this life.  
Last week we had Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Tad R. Callister come to our mission. The meeting was with the Las Vegas mission and the Las Vegas West Mission!!! It was a great experience! (We were a little put out because we didn't get ipads but that's coming next summer haha)
I love you all and hope that all is going well in your lives!!!
Elder John

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Dear Family,
This was a very great week! We were able to teach the first lesson to Gary. We have taught him the Plan of Salvation and we have read with him in the past. We have also previously discussed baptism and let him know what we are going to shoot for. This week we were able to set him with a date for baptism!!! October 5th! we realized that it was General Conference that day but we will try and work it in sometime because this guy needs to get baptized!
Our ward has started to go out and knock doors every Saturday morning and they have come up with a great way to contact people. A brother in our ward created a 5 question survey. We knock on the door and say that we have a survey that will take 2 minutes of their time. We ask them 1. What church do you belong to? 2. Do you believe in Christ? 3. How often do you read his word? 4. How often do you attend church services? 5. If there was solid evidence that Christ visited the earth less than 200 years ago and gave us a message for today would you be interested in that event and hear His message?
We vary rarely get people who say 'no' and we have been able to get a few return appointments from it! As I said our ward is doing this as well and they have already given us a few referrals! We knocked doors for less than 20 minutes yesterday and we got a return appointment. This system is very effective!
I got permission to go to the baptism of Anthony in my last area. The ward seems very helpful in providing fellowship to him and his family! I'm so grateful that they are in a great ward!
We had a hilarious experience Saturday. This man called us over to him after we got out of our car. He said "Hi Elders, Do you know who I am?" to which I said "no" He answered, "yes you do... I am Raphael. Tell Bishop Wong 'one million dollars'... no '250 thousand' and that's all you need to know. good day". So we felt pretty happy that we saved the church seven hundred and fifty thousand :) We meet a lot of interesting people here :)
Well love you all!!! 
Elder John 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013

Dear Family,
This week went pretty slow. We did not have that many lessons but there work is doing well and we have had some good experiences. Monday we helped an investigator move from one ward in the stake to our ward. It was a late notice move so we got all of the missionaries in the stake together and moved them with 5 or so trucks. As I said they are now in our ward and they have only met with the missionaries a few times so we were able to go over there and formally meet them. We discussed Gods love for them and how prayer is instinctive when we realize our relationship with Him. They don't seem too ready to change but they know they need to so that is a great first step.
We had the opportunity to do one of the worst service opportunities that I have ever done on my mission. We knocked on a potential investigators door and she said that she was busy. So we naturally asked if we could help. After we finally convinced her that we could help we changed into our regular clothes and rushed back to her house. When we got in she had us move some things. She then asked us to tear out carpet from a particular room. This room had been housing 10 cats, from my estimation, and contained the foulest stench I have ever experienced. We started to tear up carpet and there were still puddles on the concrete. Of which she said, "Yep, that's urine!"  Needless to say we were very happy to take showers after that!
Well sorry I don't have too many spiritual experiences in this letter but I promise them soon! My mind is a little off track because I'm not used to emailing on a Tuesday night. Because of labor day and our busy schedule today we were not able to email until today!
Well I love you all and thank you so much for your support!!
Elder John
"Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek.  He does love you, and he knows your fears.  He hears your prayers.  He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed"- Elder Holland

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

Dear Family,
This week was another great one in Meadows Stake! It started off pretty slow and we were not able to have many lessons because our preparation day was mixed up due to our temple trip on Wednesday. Nevertheless we were able to have a lesson with Teki and we read 3 Nephi 11 with her. We discussed baptism and we committed her to be baptized. She said that she wanted her kids to be baptized and she also asked whether she could be baptized again. So we explained that the authority is necessary and that authority was gone after the apostles died. Once we told her about that  and related that it was necessary  for the restoration of the gospel, in order for that authority to be restored, she was so excited that she finally understood! So her and two of her 3 kids are going to be baptized soon! Unfortunately, she did not come to church this week so we are going to have to make sure she is committed. 
We did, finally, have an investigator at church this week! His name is Reese and he was welcomed very well by the ward! He fell asleep a few times but he seemed to have a good time anyway :)
We were able to also get in touch with another investigator, Demario. We talked on his door step with him for over an hour about the restoration. He believes that there was an apostasy from the original church and he basically believes everything that we do. However he seems to feel that there is no need for one man to be a prophet and he thinks that everyone today is a prophet. So we asked him how well that seems to be working out for the world today! He said he would go to and watch videos of Thomas S. Monson and that he would read the Book of Mormon as well.
We had another lesson with Karma on Sunday. We introduced Elder Manning to her and talked a little bit about events that are going on in her life. Then I felt like I should bring up prayer, something that we discussed in earlier lessons. In previous lessons she has expressed that she does not believe in prayer, as she has prayed when she was younger but it did not seem to help.  So I brought it up and explained how prayer is to bring our will to our Father in Heavens will, not to bring His will to ours. I told her that her that I believe her prayers as a young child are being answered at the present, as missionaries are meeting with her now. I told her just to think about her relationship with God and think of how God may have been in her life in earlier years. To me that seems like a form of prayer; at least it is better than her not praying at all!
We had an elders quorum activity on Saturday. The activity was to go in a certain neighborhood and knock doors to try to find people interested in the Gospel. Only the Elders quorum presidency and Elder Manning and I showed up but it was a good experience. We need more elders!!!!
This week has been great and the work is finally progressing!!!
love you all!
Elder John
"If you pray for strength, the Lord will give you something to lift"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 21, 2013

This is going to be a great transfer! This first week, however, was difficult. We were not able to have a good number of lessons but we are working on finding new investigators and working with the investigators that we have, who actually want to learn.
We had some very funny experiences this week as well! While we were tracting we had knocked on a door and this Hispanic man opens and motions for us to enter. we slowly walked in and he said something about them already having a meeting. We thought it was with another faith but as we walked into the main room we saw three Spanish speaking missionaries sitting on the couch. We felt bad because we interrupted their lesson but the woman said that this experience just shows her that the message we have to share is really important and that she needs to listen to it.
We had another funny experience while contacting a man. He was pushing on his tires with his feet to check the tire pressure (how they helps you know if they are flat is a mystery to me) and I said, "Checking your tire pressure?" followed by a laugh that I can only spell as "hurph". and we kept on walking and it was super awkward! but that's how missionary work is! haha
It is great serving with Elder Manning! He is going home in a few months and I am excited to continue serving with him near the close of his mission.  I am going to learn a lot from him and I have learned much so far. He is a great missionary and I feel dwarfed compared to his gospel knowledge and mission experience.
We had the opportunity to go to the temple today so sorry that I didn't email Monday. The temple is an amazing place and everyone should have their goal be the temple. Our goal as missionaries is not only to bring people to the covenant of baptism but also to help guide and prepare them for the temple.
Things are going really well and we are working hard. A lot of tracting and contacting which, hopefully, I am getting better at. We are here to find the elect that want to hear this message so for all you missionaries don't worry if you mess up or think you say something dumb because it wont matter either way! If they are ready they will still accept it if you are trying your hardest!
Love you all!!
Elder John

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Dear Family,
This week went pretty well. It started off very slow as we did not have any lessons at the beginning of the week and it seemed as though none would come.  Wednesday was specifically a trial when no one we knocked on opened the door. All or our potentials and some less active members that we tried to visit did not open. We knocked on the door of a potential investigator named Myca (Mica). I was thinking in my head, "we have knocked on her door 10 times in the past transfer she has opened once and never let us in. She will not open and she is not interested." Well she answered the door and before we could say anything she said, "come in... do you have a message to share?"  so we went in and got to know her a little better and then we shared the message of the Restoration with her. When we asked her about how she felt/what she thought after we shared the First Vision she answered like it had been a fact of history that was shared in the U.S. History text books. we committed her to be baptized and the lesson went very well! We are finally having success!
I feel that I have faith that something good will happen in the future and that we will have success at some point, but it is very hard to realize that something good can happen when the entire day everything is going wrong. I will try to stay positive even through those hard days because sometimes the Holy Ghost will slap you across the face and get you to wake up to your blessings!
We also were able to get another new investigator, Reese. We were only able to teach a few principles from the Restoration lesson because he like to talk a lot but he is great!
I think that 9:00 church is too early for some of the people here because we have not had any of our investigators come to church, even though they are very excited to come!!!
I love you,
Elder John
"We know that God loves his children. Sometimes that has to be enough" -Elder Maxwell (paraphrased a bit)

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Dear Family,
this has been a bitter sweet week. We were able to get a couple media referrals and from them able to get two new investigators. They live right next door to each other in an apartment complex that we call the "homicide apartments" because there are always police cars there :). One of them Jackie is in her 30's and her father is a very religious man and she said that 'he can tell you how every religion is wrong. its amazing'. so of course she had some questions that he had put into her head. One of them was of the Sabbath day being Saturday instead of Sunday. I told her that I can show her in the Bible how the day changed from Saturday to Sunday and we also explained that it was changed to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. She then proceeded to call her dad and tell him the great news of what we opened her mind to! After me arguing with him for a little while we said that we don't want to argue and then after hanging up the phone told her that we teach truth and she needs to pray about it. She seems lie she will be a great investigator!
The other investigator we were able to meet with was actually referred to us by Jackie. According to Jackie, her neighbor needed some financial help of which he heard that the church might help out with. When we were finally able to meet with the neighbor her situation was a bit different than what we expected. Her name is Teke and she was just looking for a job. we went in and talked with her for a while and told her about the church's recourses and about what we do as missionaries At the end of the conversation she was like 'man you guys are pretty cool. I was expecting you to come in and shove that literature down my throat. But you guys did a very good job!".
We were also able to get some good progress with our other investigators Karma, Gary, and a few others.
The down side to this week was that no one came to church! we had 3 individuals that we were totally expecting to come and a few others that were questionable. but no one came! I was very... disappointed. and the ward mission leader, as we were talking about them not showing up said, "our job is not to worry. Our job is to work". So that is the little bit of wisdom that I would like to leave with all of you! no matter the situation that you find yourself in and no matter the trials that come your way. "Our job is not to worry. Our job is to work."
Elder John

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

Dear Family,
This week has been going very slow! we are trying to meet with a hundred different investigators and potential investigators and non of them can meet!!! hopefully this week we will do better with lessons. but I did have a great lesson that made the whole week worth it! We visited a less active family that we visit about once every 2 weeks and the son was at home (we have never met him). He is in his high 20's and he has a real desire to come back to church. since his family moved to the United States from the Philippines he has not been active, since age 14. He has a non member wife and he discussed the challenges of having a non member spouse and how he doesn't feel comfortable going to her church. We told him that if he lives up to his covenants that he has made that he can receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father has promised him and everything will work out.  
We had a lesson with a potential that our ward mission team found while "member finding". He has had open heart surgery and he has other heart problems/ But he is very knowledgeable about the Bible and he is eager to learn truth. We were able to get him a large print Book of Mormon and he is eager to read! We are very excited to have another progressing investigator!
We were also able to have another lesson with our potential investigator Karma. Her husband seems more interested than she is so that is good! Kinda haha. she has had a hard life and she doesn't believe in anything. she said that she has tried prayer before but it didn't work then so why should it work now. So we are still working with her.
We were also able to finally have a lesson with our investigator Nelsy. She doesn't seem to believe in Christ and we are working on helping her with that. We asked her if she believes that the bad things we do have an eternal consequence. then we talked about justice and mercy. hopefully we will be able to meet with her soon! 
Thank you for all of your support and prayers!!!
Love you all!
Elder John

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013

This week went fairly well. We didn't get to teach that many lessons but we were able to do some service and meet a few new people. We had a lesson with a pm/la family and their two young girls. One is 4 and the other is 6 years old. They have not had any upbringing in any church or anything relating to God. We taught them how Christ takes away our sins. we used the analogy of cleaning our rooms. We asked 'do you always clean your rooms exactly how mom wants it?' we then explained that we can do all that we are able to do and then mom will help us clean it up and finish it the way she wants it. The girls were so cute during the lesson! After the prayer we told them that they could open their eyes and after a few minutes told them that they can unfold their arms. haha so great!
We are also going to start teaching a la family with a 13 year old boy that is not a member. The dad is a very funny guy! when we call he sounds like he is bored until he finds out that it is the missionaries calling. After he learns who we are he says, 'This is the missionaries??!!" in a loud voice.
We had a party for the 24th of July this last Saturday. We have invited literally everyone we have talked to and nobody came!!! It was still a very fun event! we had Dutch oven chicken and vegetables. Elder Sanders and I were in charge of a few dutch ovens and got to help cook. It was 109 outside and plus the head of cooking the food, it was almost enough to make my tag melt. (I thought it actually might). But the party was not a complete failure, missionary wise. A returning less active, Ryan, brought one of his roommates and we invited her to come to the next lesson we have with him. She said she believes in God and I said, 'Well then we will talk about God.'
We had a lesson with an investigator this week who is our closest to being baptized. However, she does not have a social security number and does not want to quit her job, seeing that it will be even harder to find one without a green card. And She needs to quit her job to be able to come to church! So we will see! We told her to fast and pray about it and she has a lot of faith so I'm sure she will be able to find something.
I love you all and hope all is going well!
Elder John
"God does not send thunder when a still small voice is enough" - Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Another great week! We were able to go on exchanges with the asistants on Wednesday and we had a great time! We were able to teach some good people that need to come back to church and also a recent convert as well.
We are working with the Stake to find out ways that we can improve working with the wards more. Elder Sanders and I are also working on an incentive that we can create so that the Zone will reach more baptisms in the future.
We had a lot of lessons cancel on us this week but we were still able to teach a few people. We were able to meet with one of our progressing investigators, Jasmine. She has had trouble in the past understanding, recognizing, and feeling the  spirit. We went in to start the lesson and we asked how her reading was going. she said that she read and prayed to know if it was true and then she felt that it was true and was able to recognize the spirit. I was so excited!!! When people actually do what we give them and want to progress, it happens! we then gave our lesson that we prepared on the holy ghost. we showed the Mormon messages from elder Bednar, Patterns of Light. We invited her to church but she wasn't able to come this week.
We were able to meet with a potential investigator Shirley. She opened the door and said 'Ive been drinking'. she then stammered out of the door and told us how here work had shorted her on her pay check and she was very upset... crying and a lot of stuff. we pulled out our book of Mormons to give her comfort. as we were doing that she asked if we could share the story from the bible about the well... So I was very grateful that I knew where the woman at the well story was! We pulled it out and talked about it then elder Sanders read 3 nephi 11. about putting the kingdom of heaven first. She came to church this last week and I was so grateful because I spoke Sunday about Finding Happiness. She really needs to find happiness through the Gospel.
I closed with reading Isaiah 53 and then said 'Jesus Christ died for you, so what are you going to do about it?'  I explained that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can choose to be happy through our trials and find strength through the atonement of Christ. Its all up to us!
I love you all! Sorry I don't have much time left!
Elder John

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

Dear Family,
I love being in the Meadows 1st ward! It is a lot different from Red Rock however!
This is a very low income area but the people are great! (and interesting at times). We have a while list of potential investigators and we are working on visiting them. most of them are not home but we have been able to set up appointments with some of them. My zone leader in my previous area told me of his observation of missionary work, while on exchanges. He said, "its funny that all we do for two years is knock on peoples doors for 2 years and see if they are home". Its so true! all we do is knock on their door and see if they are home. if they are then we say what we need to and see if they would be interested, if we could set up a time... and so on.
Elder Sanders is a great missionary! He is very quiet but we get along great.
I love living and breathing missionary work 24/7!!!
We were able to have a lesson with a returning less active member on Thursday and it is great to see the change in people! He has tattoos all over and he looks pretty rough. but he is the kindest guy in the world! from age 15 he was out of the house and into selling drugs. Now he is in his 30s and he is changing his life. He talked about all of the horrible things that are on tv and even on commercials. He has been able to recognize areas of his life that he needs to improve on and he is doing it.
We had a discussion with a man named, Demario. He was a potential that neither of us have met before. We knock on the door and the first thing he says is, "hey guys I'm really not interested". but the conversation soon changed and we were able to see what he thought about religion. He does not believe in organized religion but he does believe in the original church that Christ set up. He basically taught us the Great Apostasy while he talked. We told him that the original church of Christ is back on the earth. we talked for over an hour in 113 degree heat on his door step and it was good to finally be able to see him grasp what we were trying to say. For most of the conversation we were trying to tell him that what he was saying is exactly what we teach! and he wasn't getting it! But by the end he started to understand and he was willing to have us back again.
I love the mission and cant wait to get out there and meet some more awesome people!
Elder John
"wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our acting. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion." - President Monson

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

This week has been great! I am being transfered to the Meadows 1st ward in the Meadows Stake. My companion and I are the zone leaders there and his name is Elder Sanders. I dont know him very well but he is very quiet so things should be great! haha
we were finally able to meet our mission president and his wife; President and Sister Ahlander. They did a power point presentation at a chapel with the whole missoin! it was very warm in that room :) They seem really nice and they have great stories and experiences that they shared with us!
We finally were able to get one of our investigators, mimi, to pray last week! this week we didnt even have to give her reasons why she should pray in front of us. After the lesson all we did was say, 'will you give us the closing prayer?' and she did it. She is progressing very well and I cant wait for her to be baptized! she said she wants to get baptized in October but we asked her to pray and see when God wants her to be baptized.
I have learned much in this area while serving with Elder Pierre-Louis. I have learned to be patient. I have learned to give my opinion and stick to it without allowing others to feel bad. Elder Pierre-Louis said the other day 'if you dont get what you want its your own fault'. and I feel that is true but its still ok if I dont get what I want because I could force my way and finally get what I want, but at the end of the day I wont have very many people that like me.
This week we were able to have a lot of great opportunities to talk to people! We met a 90 year old Italian guy who loves to talk with his hands! and we were also able to meet a guy who we met while knocking doors who actually seemed very interested!
This really wasnt a missionary experience like those but ater we had our mission meeting with the new mission president we went to 7-eleven to get lunch and when we walked in there was a female employee smoking outside and inside the 50ish year old female employee was helping all of these customers by her self. she had a line and she got us our hot dogs from behind the counter and she seemed to handle everything very well. we waited for everyone to leave, then bought our lunch. I asked her how long she had been working there and she said only 8 months. I said 'wow, it seems like you have been working here for a long time. You are doing very well.' I told her how well she handles the customers and how she can keep her cool. she then said, 'God bless you. I've had the worst day. that just made my day. God bless you'.
Let us not keep our good words to ourselves! :)
I am happy to be able to serve in Meadows 1st ward with new challenges and great experiences ahead!
Elder John 

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

Dear Family,
Wow! Changes are coming in the way we do missionary work! "The Work of Salvation" broadcast yesterday announced changes in how we do missionary work and I am so excited to be a part of them!
This week has been fairly slow but we have been out doing all we can. We were able to get the husband of a part member family to start progressing in the lessons! He believes all that the church teaches and sees that baptism is where his journey needs to lead him but he doesnt want to just do it, look back, and then realize that he left something out. We are working with him to help him dig deeper inside himself and see what he really needs to work on and how we can help. It is so great to get humble people that are willing to accept our help, who know why we are there! I feel like I am actually needed somewhere when we find people like this. I will give you a short history of this family:
    so the wife is has been a member for around 5 years and about 6 or the 8 kids are baptized. The husband is out of work and they have one car. 4 of the children that live at home have jobs, the mother works as well. They are able to get their schedules so that they can have a rotation between who will drive the car and pick people up. They all come to church every week! I have seen from their examples that none of us have any excuses to obey gods commandments. "does the journey seem long" (I think the name of the hymn is). does it matter that the journey is long? would you have it any other way? Elder Pierre-Louis says "if the mission were easy I wouldnt be here". Exactly! If life were easy I wouldnt want to be here!
I have learned so much from this families example and I hope that we all can follow the commandments of god, regardless of our status, position, or posessions.
"when we are on the lords errand we are entitled to the lords help."
This week has been another great learning experience for me and I am sorry I havent written that much but I am running our of time!
I love you all!
Elder John 

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013

Dear Family,
This week was a great learning experience!!!
We were able to do exchanges this week with our Zone Leaders and I was able to go with Elder Manning into his area while Elder Pierre-Louis stayed in our area with Elder West. While on exhanges we had dinner with a sister from Hawaii. She is serving as a senior sister missionary and is awesome! She said that she woke up one morning and said 'I do the same things everyday. I wake up. make breakfast. clean the house a little. I want to do somehting different. So she told her bishop that and he said, 'do you want to serve a mission?' she said, 'yes'. 'For how long', he asked. 'for the rest of my mortal life'. She now has no ending period on her service as a misisonary. She is agreat example to me and is so inspiring!
Elder Pierre-Louis and I got to have dinner with an amazing family this week! they came from the philippines (dont know how to spell that)  and he served as a bishop there. he came in and sat down and started talking about all of these spiritual things! he could reherse any scripture and he could apply them to his life and our lives very well. He also showed us his scriptures; five years ago he started to read and to go to every cross reference in the standard works. he is almost done. that is one of my life goals!
He also shared with Elder Pierre-Louis and I that he can feel the spirit with us because sometimes he sees that missionaries done get along but he sees that we fit together like this... (imagine him interlocking his fingers :)
That was a great experience and definitely one that I needed. During the prayer tears were streaming down my face because of the faith of this humble man who is definitely the elect of God.
Yesterday I had the worst headache of my life! (so far...) and I threw up while we were driving making visits! It was so fun!!! I just thought I would share that as some extra words of wisdom... BE SURE NOT TO THINK SO HARD ALL THE TIME!!! haha jk. but seriously :)
 Love you all!
Elder John
"Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragment- discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint" -F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013

Dear Family,
This week was another great one!!! So happy to finally be 20! less than a year left... :(
 It was discouraging because we had 5 lessons lined up for Wednesday but only 2 went through!!! oh I knew it was too good to be true! anyway... President and Sister Black came to our sacrament meeting this week and they gave great talks! Sister Black talked on things we need to do to always have the Holy Ghost. She mentioned that service is one of the things we need to do to have the Holy Ghost. she said, "Service is not service if it is convenient. Service is service when it is needed."
We had 4 investigators at church this week! We had a lesson with alyssa and Zach, two primary age kids, and they havent come to church this whole time I have been here! so we told them that if they want to get baptized they need to come to church! So they came this week! We were so happy!!!
I think thats it for this week... kinda boring.
Well I love you all!!
Elder John 

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013

Dear Family,
This week went really well! We met a new investigator yesterday! A family from the ward brought a young man to church yesterday and we talked with him and he wants to take the lessons!
We had a dinner with a part member family this week and we talked about the non members beliefs. We answered both of their questions and got to know them a bit better. We gave them some sugestions on what they could do together so that they can have the spirit in their lives and to be constantly thinking of the gospel. After we talked the sister told us how much she appraciated us and appreciated our worry for their concerns. I have never felt more appreciated on my mission than that experience!
We had an awesome experience yesterday! (well it wasnt that exciting, but there is no way to put half of an exclamation mark haha) anyway, we were visiting members after church and we decided to visit this one brother that took us to dinner and the beginning of my first transfer here. He is divorced and he gets his son on weekends... but his wife doesnt want him to take him to church. So he cant go to church either. well we drop by his house and he was so excited to see us! he said 'I've never had a drop in visitor'. it was aweosme because he ws so excited! I think he asked us how we were doing like 10 times during the conversation. well as we talked he asked us if we could come over next sunday and teach his son. it was funny because he was like 'I know you are busy and I dont want to take up your time'. uh... THIS IS WHAT WE DO!!! I was so happy that him and his son will be ble to get the spirit in their home this way!
 Yesterday it was 101! starting to get hot!!. since we got a car we dont want to get too soft so we decided that we wont turn the air conditioning up to level 3 until it gets to 103, so we are praying for it to get just a little hotter :)
That is about it for this week! I hope you all have a great week and have a happy last week of school!
Elder John
"For our light afflictoin, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. "
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

Dear Family,
So I sat down to wait for the computer to be ready, just a few minutes ago... and this guy says. 'hey John, do you know anything about computers?' This guy on his laptop was trying to make google his homepage so I did it for him and then sat down next to him. he then said "So hows the wife?" to which I said... "Wife?" he then explained how the bible talks about the 12 qualificaitons of an elder and that they should be married. I then showed him in 2 Timothy and Titus where, in the KJV, it is translated Bishop not elder. Then he says 'oh well I wasnt trying to start anything' and I just laughed and we talked about some other doctrinal views that we have in common. Thanks guy! haha
Not much has happened this week except.... WE GOT A CAR! We are so happy because it is starting to get hot! the hills arent as bad anymore :)
By the way sorry to not email this monday but the library was closed and we went to the temple today so we got to email now!
We were able to have our new investigator from last week come to church and he brought a nonmember friend! We taught both of them after church and the friend seems to be interested. He aslo said he would bring his mom next week to church!

We have been working with a lot of less active members lately and it is so interesting to talk to them and see why they are inactive and why they dont come. It all boils down to Joseph Smith. They are offended by someone and dont think that coming to church is important; well is Joseph Smith a prophet? Thats all they need to find out. We have told these less active people, who have grown up in the church, that they need to find out for themselves. Most of the time it seems that they only do it for their parents so if they can take it on for themselves then it will stick.
So wierd I will be out a year next week!!! its gone by so fast!
Love you all!
Elder John

"Everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or fathers, or mothers, or wife, or children, or lands, for my names sake shall recieve an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." Matt 19:29

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

This was another great week! I'm excited to be staying with Elder Pierre-Louis for another 6 weeks! . I know I am not the easiest to get along with so I need to exercise patience with whatever faults that he may have. and I know I can keep going and continue to do good work! Through the Lord we can do all things and I read this scripture "Oh lord, I am yet strong. Give me one more mountain" Joshua 14:11-12. I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I don't need to fear, and no one does. We have been given the power to do anything the lord needs us to and in that way we are all 'yet strong'.
Things are going well with the ward. We are finally able to see fruit from our work this last transfer! We got a new investigator, Anthony. His mom is a returning less active member and she seems to be doing really well with getting back! We had a lesson with them on Friday and it went great! We brought McKay, a priest in the ward, to the lesson and it was so great! McKay is 16 and Anthony is 13 but they are interested in the same things so Mckay did the same activities in middle school that Anthony is doing right now! the mom was so appreciative that we brought someone that he can connect to!
They came to church and it was such a surprise to see them there! I was so excited because the talks in sacrament meeting were on the lesson that we taught Anthony the week before! Anthony is 13 and he has a bunch of kids from school in his sunday school class and in deacons quorum! They both are making great friends in church and I am so excited for them! Anthony's mom even said, 'I feel at home here'! Just goes to show how fellowshipping works!
We have had some other great lessons with people that we met while trackting! We are getting some great potential investigators and the work is finally progressing!
Oh man! Sacrament meeting brought back memories of being stressed out while passing the sacrament. They were starting to run out of cups because three babies were being blessed that day ( a lot of extra people in the ward). so they would switch trays and fidget around a lot to try and get everyone. They did a great job and did all that they knew how...but then it came to the point that they totally ran out of cups and they didn't know what to do. they were just standing in line and looking at each other. so I got up and talked to them and said 'just walk up to the front and tell the priests that you are out of water and they will make another one' so they all walked up and stood in line and waited for them to make another one.  it was great! good memories.
Well I think that is all for this week! Love you all!
Elder John
"Love your life, poor as it is... The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich mans abode."- Henry David Thoreau 

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

Dear Family,
This week was great! especially with it being mothers day! It was a slow week however... people are not wanting to meet with us this week so things were slow. But they will hopefully get better! This is week 5 of the transfer so only one more week and transfers happen! I hope Elder Pierre-Louis and I get to stay together!
We had a great zone conference this week. it was sad however because President and sister Black gave their departing testimonies. During zone conference we talked a lot about increasing our faith. That is something that we as missionaries need to do. especially since we will be covering one ward now. It is also something that the members are doing. Trying to have missionary experiences and doing all they can to be examples of the Savior.
I was able to baptize Corry Spencer this week! It was pretty funny because we were wearing the same size jump suit and he is a little more hefty than I am... so he told me only to baptize him once and not mess up... So I let him fall and bringing him up hurt a lot! (I fell off my bike on Wednesday and hurt my shoulder) so it was a great experience! haha. then I got to go back to the San Miguel Ward and see a whole bunch of people that I miss! Its like being back home!!! everyone knows you! ("cheers theme song: sometimes you want to go...") it was so fun to be there and to see so many people that I miss and love! (I'll be back :)
Well those are the exciting things that happened this week! it is 96 degrees at 10:20 this morning so we are excited to be biking!!!
I love you all and hope everyone had a happy mothers day!!!
Elder John
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"- 2 Cor 4:17