Monday, April 28, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 1, Lakes Stake, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
Great Week mixed with a lot of stress!!! But dont worry its good stress :)
So Monday we had a great day! We taught Andy about the Book of Mormon. Things are going well with him. He has piano lessons on Sundays during church so we are trying to go get him to change lesson times with someone. He has some good friends that live close that are inviting him to church. Hopefully his mom says he can get baptized.
Tuesday, the first full day of the new transfer, I had to tell myself to be happy! So I am happy! It was a struggle to be happy on Tuesday but now its not a struggle. Things are going well!
Tuesday we walked around neighborhoods to talk to people. We met a few really good people in just an hour of walking the streets. One guy, Ishmael, is Muslim but he went to the University of Utah and is really familiar with LDS people. He talked to us for a while and we had a really good conversation. He said he would be intereseted in meeting with us. He also gave us a referral for a guy who lives on his street, who might be interested!
Thursday we had a really good day! We taught Jarmaris and prepared him for baptism. He is super solid! In the lesson he said, 'I am starting to understand the Holy Ghost more. The only way I'm happy is because of God, and its only when I feel the spirit that I am happy". He is also getting his 'reading pattern' down. He is reading for a specified time in the Book of mormon and then he reads a specified time in the Doctrine and Covenants. His mom is starting to be nicer to him and their relationship is continuing to grow.
One great thing that he said is that 'These people out there dont even know that all this (the world) isnt their home. They need to wake up and realize that we dont belong here. We are just in our days of probation.' He also said that when he is playing a game on the xbox he prays, 'I'm not happy because of this game but I'm only happy becuase of you.' He is super solid... which brings us to his baptism this saturday the 26th.
So we show up at 4:30 for his baptism at 5. It starts to get closer to the time and our members are coming in and Jarmaris isnt there yet. At 5:15 we called him 2 times and texted him a bunch. I just had this sinking feeling that he isnt going to show up. Which was weird becuase at this baptism I didnt feel as anxious as I normally do for a baptism. This one I was just calm becuase I knew how solid Jarmaris was... but then it started to worry us a lot! So it ended up that his mom, who was supposed to take him, wasnt home and he had no way of contacing us besides his moms phone. So in the end the baptism started 1 hour late and someone had to pick him up. But he got baptized and he is still really excited!
This week we had a great lesson with Ron. His wife is a member and he is not. We have been trying to get in touch with them forever! We talked to him about a month ago on his portch. He mentioned that he took the lessons about 17 years ago. I told him that the teaching style has changed and that he would love it. He told us to come by and its been month since he said that. Well we finally had a lesson with him. We came in and he made it super easy to get strait to the point. We started teaching him and we told him that if we felt inspired we would invite him to be baptiezed. As we taught we asked him how he has seen God in his life and family. He said that during times when it was difficult to find work and make ends meet he would pray for help and the next day he would get a side job. After the lesson we invited him to pray and have a moment of silence after, of which he could break, to allow the spirit to give him answers. We had the longest moment of silence ever! it was literally 2 minutes! But we invited him to be baptized and in the middle of the invite he said, 'thats something I definitely need to do'. We are meeting with him tomorrow (the 29th of april) and we hope it goes great!
So Brother Brad Wilcox came to our mission this past saturday morning and it was a great experience! He talked about how we are called to our specific missions partially becasue of our mission president. As I was thinking about that, Elder campbell pointed out that my love for Maxwell has come primarily becuase of his association to our misison president. Elder Maxwell has had a great impact on my life as I study the way he teaches. He has helped me focus my love for knowing movie quotes, in my previous life, to a love of memorizing and knowing the gospel. He has had a great impact on my new love of learning and my even greater love of the Gospel. I definitely believe that I was called to this mission because of the effect that my mission president would have on me.
Elder Campbell said the other day, "all the quotes you live have big words. If theres a difficult word in it, its an Elder John quote". Haha You've got to love Elder Maxwell!
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder John
"Like goldfish in a bowl, some are mindless of who changes the water and puts in the pellets, or, like a kindergarten child whose retrieving parent seems a little late, concluding, "Man is alone in the universe." Granted, some sincerely wish for more power in order to do good, but only a few individuals are good enough to be powerful. But craving power and the spotlight sucks out the spiritual oxygen, leaving some 'past feeling'. Strangely, though desensitized, some are still able to hear the beckoning click of a TV camera at a hundred yards. Doesn't the churning over the places of mortal power remind us on the childhood game of musical chairs?... There is an underlying reason, brothers and sisters, for all this fleetingness: those who bestow the transitory things of the world are, themselves, transients. They cannot confer that which is lasting becuase they do not possess it! Some, so sensing and seeing so little, want to have it all now!" -Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, April 21, 2014

Transfer 16, Week 6, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week went great! We had 3 lessons with Jamaris this week. For the first lesson we had Ryan, a member with us. He is super chill and seems to be helping Jamaris out. He shared his experience of his mother dying when he was 11. That really hit Jamaris. he said, 'man that guy lost his mom when he was young and I fight with my mom all the time. He wishes he could just talk to her.' that's what he told us after the lesson. When we met up for the third lesson, Ryan came along. Jamaris told him how it hit him and Ryan was very happy that it helped. 
The baptism will be this Saturday at 1:30. We have a mission conference with Brad Wilcox, a Church Education System speaker. That meeting ends at 1 so hopefully we can clear the missionaries out in time to hold the baptism! 
Jamaris told us of some things that he has learned so far from meeting with us. He said that he noticed his speech needs to change. He has also realized that other people remember his name and he realized how respectful it is to remember peoples names and shake their hands. He is very excited to be baptized and to keep going! He has 25 cards that we gave him; he put our number on the cards and is passing them out. He said, "you guys work really hard and it must be difficult to get people to listen to you. I'll try to get you more people to talk to". He is super solid!!! 

We had a few lessons with Armour this week as well. We brought a member from the ward, Brother Boyak. He is super good at teaching, even though he apologized because its been a while for him. Things seem to be going well with Armour. We've taught him all the lessons except for all the commandments. This past Saturday morning we read 2nd Nephi 32. When it talked about coming in by the way, he said, "this seems like a kind of baptism. Then you get the holy ghost". I was like, "YESSSSS!!!!" well in my head I was thinking that! He put the dots together! We didn't have to do anything! The spirit is the best teacher! 

We got a referral for Eric and Alma. The address is on a street with no houses so we just decided to drive over there and see if we were mistaken. Well there were no houses there, so we called them and they seemed excited. We asked for an address but they gave us the same one that the referral said. We looked at the building number and its a water store... So I will update you on what happens this Tuesday at 6! I hope we get some good water!!! 

We have some good potential investigators coming up. Our ward mission leader is working with one of his friends who works at home depot. We hope to start lessons with him soon! 
We also have a couple that seems excited to meet with us. We contacted the husband outside their house a while ago, his name is Dave. Her name is Diane and when we showed up at the time we agreed on she said, "oh dang it. once I heard the doorbell I knew it was you. Sorry we didn't call you but we will have to reschedule, we were just heading out the door." That didn't sound too nice by just reading it, but pretend it was in a 'nice' voice :) 

This past Monday we had a great Day! We only have about 3 hours to proselyte on Mondays. But we ended up teaching 3 lessons! one to a less active family we had for dinner. Another to Jamaris. and our last one was Andy. He is the grandson to the Chinese woman that we taught. She was not interested but we taught him and he said he would be baptized. So he just needs to get permission and we hope to meet with him soon! We also had an encounter with a member from one of the other wards after our lesson. We went to one of the church buildings after our lesson and as we were coming out she was outside. She said, 'What time is it?" I told her it was 9:25pm. Then she said, "So you haven't retired home yet?" I answered, "No, we were just on our way to". Then she quickly said, "so the answers no". I said have a good night and we walked to our car. I guess she didn't realize that we just came from a lesson. I love members always watching out for us :) :) 

This past Tuesday we had a 'going away district meeting' for Elder West, who goes home this afternoon (Monday the 21st). We set up the hall as a terminal and the relief society room as an airplane. We gave everyone tickets and had signs around that said 'Air Canada'. then we all sit in the 'airplane' and watch Labor of Love. Its a missionary movie that is set on a plane. Its a tradition to do something like this the last district meeting of a missionary. so it was super fun! He is a great missionary and will be missed! 

Today we hiked a part of red rock. We hiked Calico Basin. Its super rocky and basically its just climbing up a huge pile of rocks and then coming down. Coming down was pretty sketchy but we made it back with few injuries :) 

Today is transfers and Elder Campbell and I are staying! Not really a surprise but we are glad to do so! 

Well I think that's all for this week! Love you all!
Elder John 

"Redeeming Jesus also “poured out his soul unto death” (Mosiah 14:12; see also Isa. 53:12; D&C 38:4). As we on occasion “pour” out our souls in personal pleadings, we are thus emptied, making room for more joy!" -Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, April 14, 2014

Transfer 16, Week 5, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week was great mixed with a little bad :( 
So Monday started off great! We taught Jamarus the first half of the plan of salvation and on Wednesday we taught him the rest of the lesson. He is progressing so well and he is very anxious to get baptized! This past Friday our Ward Mission Leader told us that Jamarus texted him. He asked him "Will I ever get an answer? I come to church and I feel good. I read and I feel good. But whenever I stop I always feel bad again." So we got to explain more about the Gift of te Holy Ghost and the influence of the Holy Ghost. He is super excited to get the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We hope that he will continue to rub off on his family so they can believe in God too. 

We met with a less active guy this week, Gary. He said that one of his long time friends called him and as they were talking Gary related to him that he was having a rough time. His friend told him to go out and serve others. When we serve others we will receive greater happiness. Gary said that he will try and serve more throughout this difficult time in his life. He has severe health problems but he is still willing to try to help others. 

We were on exchanges this week and I was with Elder Johnson in his area. We were contacting and we talked to this guy named Greg. It was a great experience. Greg played football for Utah State and he has been around LDS people/religious people all of his life. He has chosen to distance himself from religion because of the conduct of the people that he grew up with. As we talked with him we asked him what his outlook on life was. Then we shared what ours is. We were just regular people talking with him, and that is what people need. They need what we have, but sometimes we try to give it in a way that they don't need it. If we talk to them like regular people they will open up and give us the opportunity to bring more light into their lives. As we finished the conversation he said,"I'm not interested now but things change." We hope that he will continue to have good experiences with members of the church and choose to follow Christ!!! 

This past week I realize how different I'm seeing missionary work. How different I'm seeing how people need to change, and my role in that change. I feel more effective when I'm contacting and talking to people. I think, "Its taken me this long to figure this out?" I'm so excited to be able to continue to learn and help people! We are trying hard to find more people to teach!

On that note, our training for Zone Training went really well. We did our training portion and there was a lot of good conversation regarding 'Finding'. for the last 30 minutes we broke up into groups and practiced contacting. We also had them video themselves and then they can replay and see what they need to work on. It seemed to go very well! We have a prize for the companionship that gets the most 'Contacts' in the week! 

We had a really good lesson with Armour this week. We taught him the plan of salvation and he had some really good questions. He didn't come to church this week but hopefully he will come next week :( 

So for the bad part: Saturday we had service planned for one of our potential investigators. He cancelled. So we got to help our sisters in this zone wide project. The community that makes up the Sisters Missionaries ward only allows garage sales 2 times a year. This Saturday was one of those days. So the ward offers a pickup of goods that people would like to donate. The whole zone blitzed the area and we handed out flyers that told them the info about donating their extra items after their garage sale. Well that took 3 hours, a lot longer than expected. then we had lunch and went to a birthday party for a 3 year old of one of the families in our ward. We then had to do some stuff at the office with the assistants to prepare for the upcoming transfer. Later, we were trying to visit people and no one was home! The worst part was having to talk to some missionaries about being obedient. That last part was really stressful! So that was pretty much our Saturday:) To non missionaries that doesn't sound like too bad of a day but it just seemed like we didn't get to do much work in our area. But I will be grateful!!! That night I got a letter. In the letter the last portion included a testimony. Paraphrasing it said  "choose to be happy, because this is a gospel of happiness. This work is a work of happiness and we cant do it unless we are happy. So you better be happy Elder!" 
That helped a lot! :) 

Well I think that's all for this week! I love you all! 
Elder John 

"In the agonizing atoning process, Jesus let his will be "swallowed up in the will of the Father". As sovereigns, choosing to yield to the highest Sovereign is our highest act of choice. It is the only surrender which is also a victory! The putting off of the natural man makes possible the putting on of the whole Armour of god, which would not fully fit before" - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, April 7, 2014

Transfer 16, Week 4, Lakes Stake, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week has been great! General Conference was so amazing! Every speaker was so engaging and I'm so grateful that our investigator got so much out of it! 

Update on Jamarus! We met with him on Tuesday and introduced the Book of Mormon. We brought Brother Doxie with us and it was a great lesson! Before we started the lesson Jamarus asked what the difference is between our church and other christian churches. We said, "Priesthood". We started to explain a little more and he said, "That's all you need to say. You don't need to explain it anymore. I felt it on Sunday." 
As we were reading from the Introduction of the Book of Mormon, Elder Campbell told Jamarus that the Book of Mormon is written for our day and for our specific challenges. As he was saying that, Jamarus said, "I already know. Like, you don't even know. I already know that this is going to help me". 
So we had another lesson on Friday and we asked him how his reading was. He said that he read the first book and he apologized that he didn't read more. He said that he had to read it twice to be able to understand it. We assumed that he just read the first chapter. But the next thing he said made us realize that we were mistaken! He started to say, "Nephi and all of them were raised in a good house, a religious house. But it seems like Sam isn't really too into it. He is there, he believes. but he doesn't really do the things that Nephi does. But he still believes". 
From that we realized that he didn't just read the first chapter. We asked him if he read about them building a ship. He said, "Yeah, and his brothers said 'you cant build a ship'." Wow! He read the first book of Nephi from Tuesday to Friday!!! And he read it twice!!! 

Jamarus was also able to come to our Ward mission leaders house to watch General Conference and he really liked it! He said that its so great that he is hearing this now because this is what he needs. He also said that he used to by angry all the time and his family is noticing what the Gospel is doing for him because he isn't mad all the time. 
There were a few things that stuck out to him and that he said really were true. When the speakers would talk about fame, the world and how it comes up short, how the family should be... and so on. It was cool because right before the second session on Saturday he told us that he has a hard time trusting girls because of his mom and so on... but right in the next session one of the speakers mentioned trust and that we need to trust people more. There were so many answers and so many bells going off in Jamarus' head! 

I also had some questions answered this week. I always like to write down questions that I have in the weeks before General Conference, and for the most part they are usually answered! 
One of the questions I had was "how can I distinguish peace in the world versus peace in the Gospel?" My answer came in many different talks but the one that stood out to me was in priesthood session with Elder Nelson. My answer was basically that if there is truth in the world then it is the peace of the Gospel. The two are not separate. 

Also something I forgot to include in my previous letter is an experience with our High Counselor over Missionary work in the Stake. His name is President Nielsen and he was a mission president in Poland. He is so good at talking to people about the gospel! 
So he took us out to dinner and after the waitress took his and his wife's order and right before she was going to take ours President Nielsen said, "Do you know who these guys are?" then we got into a conversation about the church and where she grew up and it ended with us getting her contact info and she agreed to meet with us! She doesn't live in our area but it was a really great experience! Remember to talk to every one about the Gospel!!! 

We had such an experience when we were eating dinner at Wendy's this past week. The guy who took our order was really nice, but the store was busy so we didn't talk to him too much. While we were eating both Elder Campbell and I felt like we needed to talk to him. We waited for him to come around to where we were sitting and we started talking about his two jobs that he works and other aspects of his life. We didn't get to talk about the Gospel yet because he had to go take someones order. As we were getting ready to leave I saw Elder Campbell waiting to go talk to him and it was super awkward. so I said I am going to use the restroom to give him more time to talk to him. As I came out they were shaking hands and the guy had a Restoration Pamphlet in his hands! 
Elder Campbell said that he came up to him and said, "Do you have any extra pamphlets? I need to get back into church". It was awesome!!! 

So we are preparing to do a training tomorrow. Its Zone Training Meeting, which happens every month. The Training is on "Finding people to teach". We are focusing on "talking with everyone" and we are trying to get missionaries to stop being so robotic and start just being themselves. A part of our training is titled "Missionaries are people too" haha. So I will update you next week on how our training went :)

On Monday we set a goal to find 2 new investigators from the start of General Conference on Saturday to the end of General Conference on Sunday. We set this goal because it is super difficult for missionaries to get out and do a lot of work in between conference sessions because of members, lunch, and just the fact that its not that much time. So we went out in between the sessions and talked to as many people as we could! The first person we talked to, Jasmine, is from Armenia and we have a return appointment to teach her this Thursday. It was a great experience because with each of the people we talked to we had a good conversation with. We were able to get to know them and then talk to them about the Gospel. Our other solid person we talked to is a guy from Ethiopia and he said he would be at church this Sunday. 
The only bad experience we had while talking to people was when we saw this gangster guy walking on the other side of a residential street and we started to walk toward him. We said something to him and he just said, "Man! you are jay walking". After he yelled that at us I kinda lost my patience with him already so I just started to walk away; I knew that anything else I said would just have been out of anger haha. So as we walked away Elder Campbell said, "Have a nice day." To which he responded, "You Jay Walking again! You're breaking the law. Mormons are crazy!" Haha it was so funny! 

We were contacting a referral and they were not home. as we were leaving we saw a woman doing some yard work. We talked with her for a while and a concern came up about the Book of Mormon. She said she couldn't believe something like that. We gave her the background and explained the Book of Mormon and she loved it! People are just misinformed and we need to tell them the truth!!! Her name is Lisa and we will be calling her next week to set up an appointment. 

We taught Armour on Tuesday and he said he doesn't want to set a date for baptism yet but he does want to work towards it. So we will see how that goes! We don't think he watched conference which is a bummer but he did say he will come to church this week! 

Well I think that's it for this week! 
I love you all!
Elder John
"Life's comparatively few ironies are much more than offset by heavens many mercies! We cannot count all our blessings every day, but we can carry over the reassuring bottom line from the last counting." -Neal A. Maxwell