Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 5, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,

This week was great!!!! 
I can't believe its week 5 already! This transfer has gone by super fast! 
Well this week we had an amazing start! Its always great when you can have a lesson on a Monday, since we don't have too long to proselyte. 
We met with Anna and Grselda and read the Book of Mormon with them. They seem to love it and Grselda loved church! We taught them the Plan of Salvation this week with Brother Jolley our Ward Mission Leader. They were not able to make it to church this week because of Grseldas sisters wedding. But we hope they can continue to progress and do well! We are teaching them tonight (Tuesday May 27) and we will be teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are so cool and so prepared for the Gospel! Its great to see that if you just talk to people the Lord will put people He has prepared into your path. 

We had 2 lessons with Armour this week. We showed him a mormon message, "origin" and discussed how important it is for him to ask in faith and obtain an answer. He was finally able to connect some dots by himself and he realizes that he needs to do more. He came to church and stayed for the full 3 hours. He cancelled his lesson with us this morning because he got a rough start today. We hope to meet with him this Saturday. 

We met with Catherine and she is set to be baptized this Saturday. She met with the mission president and he is excited for her to be baptized. Tonight we will be meeting with her and talking about the atonement. We will also pound out the details for the baptism. 
It was super cool at church. She sits with us every week and I help her sing the hymns (by the way, she attempts and does a really good job with every song!). After church she came up and said that she realized that this would be one of our last weeks to sit together since I leave soon. She started to cry and it was super tough! We are so happy for her to be baptized this week! She is super cool and she has a great story!!!

We met with Jarmaris this week at brother Gardiners house and he did another new member lesson with us. It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jarmaris has read the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the History of the Church (included in the triple combination). He is working on the Doctrine and Covenants. And he's only been baptized a few weeks!!! 

So in less spiritual news... SWAT blocked off a few streets to catch someone... and there was a sniper on top of one of the church buildings. Pretty cool. 

Also on a less spiritual note. Which will help you get a view of the "preparation day side" of missionaries... every companion that Elder Campbell has had has done something called the 'Kool Aid Challenge'. You drink 15 'Kook Aid Bursts' in 15 minutes without throwing up. Well I got through 7... and then i didn't keep it down. Elder Campbell got down to having 3 and 1/2 left. But he didn't make it either. It was super fun but obviously a 'Memorial Day/P-Day' activity. :) 

We also went on exchanges. I went with Elder Johnson in the Young Single Adult Ward. It was a great day! We went to a less actives house and she came out and said, "I'm not going to be the Prize Heifer at the Cattle Auction". haha it was great! obviously she thinks that ysa wards are just to get you married. Which I guess is true... but I hope she still wants to go to church regardless of her circumstances :) 

This week was our last district meeting... of which I will tell you more about last week. But This last week I was thinking of something cool to do for Elder Johnson, who is going home this transfer as well. So I asked him who his favorite Recent Convert was that he was able to baptize. His name is Samuel and Elder Johnson met him at the beginning of his mission. I got his number and had Samuel come in as a surprise in district meeting for Elder Johnson. He talked about his conversion and how he is now sealed in the Temple. I wanted to surprise Johnson but also let the younger missionaries see what comes from our work that we do. 

We had Zone Conference this week. It was super good! It was mostly on the Atonement. We had to host it and conduct. But it still turned out good :). I gave my departing testimony. Which was hard but good. I quoted a lot of Maxwell :) 

Well I love you all! and hope you have a great week!
Elder John 

There was a funeral that we were asked to attend this week. One of our Recent Converts nephews just died and they had the service at the church. 
"Though otherwise a “lively” attribute, hope stands quietly with us at funerals. Our tears are just as wet, but not because of despair. Rather, they are tears of heightened appreciation evoked by poignant separation. Those tears of separation change, ere long, becoming tears of glorious anticipation." - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, May 19, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 4, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
So this week was amazing!!!
So we've been teaching Cathernine and we talked to President Ahlander to see if we could baptize a person that doesnt have an address. After talking for a few minutes we came to the conclusion that we could not deny someone the opportunity to be baptized if they were truly converted. She is set for te 31st of May to be baptized and she seems to be progressing very well. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ along with Tithing, Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and the Ten commandments. This week we are probably going to show her some videos of President Monson to get her more familiar with our modern-day prophet.
We taught Armour and we watched the Restoration (20minute version) to get him more aquainted with the Joseph Smith story. We also read Alma 32 with him and he really enjoyed it. He told us he was going to make it to church and stay all three hours but he texted 10 minutes after church started and said he wouldnt be able to make it.
On a brighter note, I dont remember if I said this in my last letter, but Anna (the daughter of Grselda) is best friends with Ferrah Jolley (daughter of our Ward Mission Leader). So we set up a lesson and we all went over to teach Anna and her mom. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and how they can read it and gain help from it. We commited them to baptizm for the 14th of June, however we may have to do it earlier because Anna is going to Mexico for a few months this summer.  Brother Jolley and Ferrah seemed to love the lesson! Bro Jolley told us this Sunday in Ward Council that Ferrah said she wants to serve a mission now. So cool!
It helps so much to have members fellowship! Brother Jolley at the end of the lesson told Grselda that he would pick them up for church. She was very appreciative and guess what! She made it to church! Hurray for Fellowship!!!
We were also able to teach Sister Smith (the lady who Elder Campbell taught last week with Bishop Warnick. We took Bishop Hunt with us and he is very familiar with Sister Smith. She has been taking the lessons on and off for years and he told her that she jsut needs to get baptized. So we taught her the Restoration and commited her to baptism. She was out of town this weekend in Arizona but we hope to baptize her quickly. In the past she has seemed to be sketchy with being commited so we are hoping that she is more committed now.
We had our second new member lesson with Jarmaris this week at brother Gardiners house. He taught the lesson this time and it was on the Plan of Salvation. He is a wonderful teacher and Jarmaris just soaks everything in!!! Bro Gardiner asked me during the lesson, "what is your favorite part about being a missionary and sharing the plan of salvation with people?" I was caught off guard, almost cried (but I stopped myself), and I think it is just being able to share the truth with people that will actually accept and live it. If they will accept it they will get a greater view of themselves and their potential.
We had a great opportunity to do some service for a less active family in the ward. The Faircloths are a great family, Sister faircloth and Natalia. Natalia is 9 and was baptized a few months before I got to this area. they have not been to church since. However we have visited them almost every other week and finally they allowed us to do some service for them! We painted their wall in front of their house and we picked the worst day to do it. Saturday was over 100 degrees! But it was worth it because they came to church Sunday! The first time I have ever seen them there!!
Well I think that was it for this week! This past week our ward was really hiped up on missionary work! They are excited for the upcoming opportunities in the ward boundaries!
I love you all!
Elder John
"Redeeming Jesus also 'poured out his soul unto death'. As we on occasion 'pour' out our souls in personal pleadings, we are thus emptied, making room for more joy"- Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, May 12, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 3, Lakes Zone, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
Wow! Such a great week! We got 6 new investigators this week! 
So the first one was Catherine. She is the one who is living on the streets. We are working with members of the ward to get her in a place to stay so she can get baptized. 
We had 3 great lessons with her this week! We taught her the Restoration, Book of Mormon, and Plan of Salvation. During our first visit she brought up a site on her ipad. It had the top ten most bizarre things that 'mormons' believe. And we went through them all, one by one, and for the most part they were all true. and she believes in all of them as well. 

We were able to teach Dave and Diane finally. We found them while coming out of Kims house. They are christian and when we brought up baptism they said that they have already been baptized. We explained that it is essential to have the correct authority to perform baptisms. They will be a long project but hopefully they can come to church and feel the spirit. 

Elder Campbell was able to teach a former investigator Sister Smith while we were on exchanges. I'm not really sure how the lesson went, since I wasn't there, but she came to church and we have a lesson set up for Tuesday evening! 

On Tuesday night we went to an appointment which fell through. As we were leaving we saw this lady walking her dog. We asked her if she has ever met with missionaries and she said she has not. We explained a little about the restored Gospel and she agreed for us to come by on Saturday. So We stopped by on Saturday we taught her and her daughter, Anna, the first lesson. The daughter said she would pray every night this week to know if what we taught was true. Anna also accepted to be baptized when she knows its true. Greselda, the mom is going to be a little more tough. She is catholic bt she doesn't come to church because she doesn't feel the spirit. We invited her to come to church (she didn't make it this week) and we hope she decides to come soon. Anna is going to be the backbone of their conversion. She seems to really want to do what is right. 

So those were our new investigators for this week! We are so excited to have a lot of people to teach! it is still going to be really difficult to meet with them but we are just excited to have things looking up. Last week we were in the finding stage and we are so glad that the work paid off! 

So one of our potential investigators, Chris, tried to make a deal with us. He works at the pool Hard Rock Cafe (i cant think of a worse place for missionaries) and he told us that he would listen to our message if we went and visited him there. We told him that we cannot go. He then invited us to this festival (in our zone) where he would have a booth. He then made the same deal if we came there. So we decided to accept. On Thursday we went over to the festival after our temple trip in the early afternoon, to avoid crowds. As we walked up we decided not to go in. It might have been the 9 dollar entry fee mixed with our already present hesitation that made us decide not to enter :) We hope that doesnt truly effect him listening to us!

We met with Armour on Tuesday and we asked him to pray for what it means to him that the book of mormon is true. he knows its true but he just doesn't know what to do with that knowledge. He said it is going to be a huge change in his life if he gets baptized. so we told him to pray about it. He didn't make it to church this week but he better make it next week!! :) 

We had a great lesson with Jarmaris. It was his first 'new member lesson'. Brother Gardiner came with us and he is such a great teacher! Jarmaris said that he wants to serve a mission and when we told him that he will have to wait a year he said that would be perfect for his music career. We are so excited for him! We were able to ordain him a priest yesterday! So cool! 

It was so great to be able to call home and talk to my parents for Mothers day! I hope they had a mothers day too!! 

Well I think that is all for this week! 
I love ya!
Elder John 

"If we are not serving Jesus, and if he is not in our thoughts and hearts, then the things of the world will draw us instead to them! Moreover, the things of the world need not be sinister in order to be diverting and consuming." - Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, May 5, 2014

Transfer 17, Week 2, Lakes Stake, Desert Breeze Ward‏

Dear Family,
This week went by super fast! I look at my planner and say, 'Wow! Its already Thursday?'
Well this week we have been using a lot of our time contacting people. We are in the rebuilding phase of the work. As we were walking the streets we stopped to talk to this guy. He pretended he didn't understand English even though he was totally white! We had a good laugh with him and it was surprisingly one of the nicest 'rejections' I've had in a while. 

We had another experience while we were walking. We had been walking for a while and we were just super bumbed out that we hadn't been able to talk to a lot of people. The ones we had talked to were either not interested at all, not nice, or it was just a really awkward situation. So we were heading to our ward mission leaders house to have coordination and we realized that we were not going to make it on time if we didn't hurry. So we decided to start running. I thought it would be really funny to see two guys in suits running on the sidewalk. Then as we were running we saw this guy up a head. We wisely decided to stop running. As we came up to him we asked him if he had a minute that he could talk to us. He said, "I'm on my way to the groceries store and I don't have much time. But I've been thinking of Joseph Smith and I wanted to study it more." Wow! That was out of the blue! It was a great feeling to have something good happen after a few hours of rejection. 

We had a good lesson with a new investigator, Kim. She is the mom of Reece (we found him by parking our car and walking up to him near a gas station). She is a very nice lady who is looking for a church. She said that she has tried all of these other churches and that she hasn't felt the spirit in them. We promised her that she would feel the spirit in this gospel if she sincerely prayed. 
She has some trouble with comprehending a lot of what we teach but we hope that she will continue to progress well!

We had a good lesson with Armour this past Saturday. On Tuesday we met with him and he hadn't read. So we read with him. He had some good questions but the lesson just went super slow and seemed really boring. So on Saturday we came up with something we thought would be good for him. Then when we got there he didn't read since last time we came! He asked about repentance and we explained the steps. He felt really bad that he didn't read. He realized that the 'task' was easy and he hadn't been doing it. He was disappointed with himself. We gave him one of our 'missionary daily planners' so he could schedule 'read and pray' into his day. Hopefully he will read!!! 
That reminds me of a quote by Elder Maxwell! To me it tells me that we are all still gods investigators that need to keep doing the same things to learn lessons we think we already have learned. 

"Given the tremendous importance of these virtues now and in the world to come, should we be surprised if, to hasten the process, the Lord gives us, individually, the relevant and necessary clinical experiments? We do not usually seek these, however. Yet they seem to come, don't they, even when we do not remember having signed up for a particular course? Sometimes we find ourselves enrolled again in the same course. Apparently we were only auditing before; perhaps this time it can be for credit!" 
-Neal A. Maxwell

We had another good experience when we went to teach Andy. We got out of the car and waved to a woman playing with her kids across the street from our appointment. We had seen her out there a few times before but had never talked to her. When we knocked on our investigators door they said they couldn't meet. So as we were walking to the car I just thought, 'we really need to talk to her'. We did and she was really nice. She has sat down with missionaries before and she was open to going it again. She even said, "If i don't call you in a few days, give me a call." usually people just give us the 'dont call me I'll call you' scam! 
We talked to her again this past Sunday and she said her schedule is really hectic and we could probably meet Saturday! 

We had a really cool experience with a woman that some of our members found. The elders quorum went to clean the church and they found this lady who was sleeping outside the church. They asked if she wanted a Book of Mormon and she said that she already has one.  They invited her to church and she came!!! 
When she walked in you could not tell that she was homeless! She was really well kept and I guess she does it out of choice. She has a gym membership and an ipad but she just chooses to live outside. She sang all the songs we did, or at least she attempted even though they were foreign to her. Then in gospel principles, as we were explaining the Book of Mormon, she said, "I've always thought that. God doesn't only love the people in Jerusalem." 
Also our newest convert, Jarmaris, was super good with her! at the beginning of Gospel Principles Jarmaris was asked to give the opening prayer. He looked at the woman and asked her what her name was. Then he prayed. His prayer was specific to her. He didn't pray about anything else. He asked that she would have a good time in church and that she would find out of the truthfulness of the Gospel. He is going to be a great missionary!!!! 
We have an appointment with her tonight at 7:30! I'll let you know how it goes! 

well I think that's all for this week!!! 
I love ya!
Elder John 
"The Lord loves each of us too much to merely let us go on being what we now are, for he knows what we have the possibility to become! It is all part of the journey of going home. Developmentally, we are all prodigals. When we really "come to" ourselves, spiritually, we, too, will say with determination, "I will arise and go to my Father". This true celebration of the risen Lord, therefore, is one of emulation as well as of adoration for him. Since he is risen from the grave, let us not be dead as to the things of the spirit! How can we celebrate the empty tomb with empty lives? How can we celebrate his victory over death by being defeated by the world?" - Neal A. Maxwell