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