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